This week’s top five

  1. Best person in the world award this week goes to my rockstar cousin for her hospitality towards me during this weekend.
  2. My baby took me all the way to Alexandria, VA, which is ca. 450 miles away, on just one tank of fuel; just one more reason for me to love my baby.
  3. I came back, against all odds… that’s cool (I guess)
  4. I could watch TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. And following on the previous one, I was introduced to the George Lopez show, and as Gabriel Iglesias says, “I damn near pissed m’pants”.

“(whrrrrrrr…)” –my furnace

Xavier University College Entrepreneurship Conference

Last week I took a day off of classes and headed down to Cincinnati for Ohio’s Only Statewide College Entrepreneurship & Ethics Conference and Competition (I think the name needs to be changed to…something you can remember).  The conference was attended by graduate and undergraduate business and entrepreneurship students from several Ohio/Kentucky Colleges including: Ohio State – Fisher COB, Xavier – Williams COB, Bowling Green and Northern Kentucky – Haile COB.  There were three components to the conference: a keynote addresses, breakout sessions (which took the form of lectures and/or forums) and a small business simulation.

Here were some of the highlights:

  • Computer business simulation that required our team (four other Fisher Students and me) to run a coffee: setting pricing, ordering inventory, advertising, and hiring and firing.
  • Breakout session reviewing the concepts behind Kim and Mauborgne’s book Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant.
  • Breakout session presented by Dr. Chris Manolis on Entrepreneurial Marketing.
  • Breakout session presented by Dr. Ravi Chinta titled Model Business: A Tool for Business Plan Evaluation.  Here, he described a 23-dimension rubric he used as a venture capitalist to evaluate a business plans—however it can also be reverse-engineered a give an entrepreneur a few things to think about when writing a business plan.
  • Keynote Address by Pete Hensler, President of RC2 a toy and infant/toddler products company that licenses and sells John Deere, Disney, and Tommy the Tank Engine toys.  The primary takeaways were to keep a global context (RC2 does much of its manufacturing in China, but has recently turned to the country as a new market for its products) as well as list of ten question that he asks himself everyday to keep him focused.  Also, he ended his speech with this video…definitely worth a watch.

Reposted from aaron360.com.

A

1/350,000

There have been a lot of times that I have worked hard in order to beat the odds.  Most recently, it was to get accepted to Fisher.  I have worked hard to beat the class average on the mid-terms.  I hope to be in the top of MBAs and get an internship.  Basically, I am always trying to beat the odds and essentially “win” the next lottery.

However, this past weekend, I think I overcame the biggest odds I was ever up against.

Over the weekend, I drove down to Louisville Kentucky in order to visit my best friend.  As we were catching up, she was telling me this story about this crazy bird that kept attacking her windows and her cars because when it saw its reflection, it got really scared.  We were laughing about it, and did not think anymore about this crazy bird.

However, the next morning, as we were going to the store, we realized that my car’s side mirror was the latest victim.  The bird had attacked my mirror and there were scratches and bird droppings all over the side of my car.

We laughed about it, and decided to make a quick stop at the car wash before going to the store.  As we were going through the car wash and we heard a loud thunk.  We did not think much about it, and left the car wash.  We could not stop talking about what a great car wash it was and how easy and quick it seemed.

However, when we pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car, I looked at Katie and noticed that my spoiler on the back of my car was not connected to my trunk anymore.  The suspicious thunk we had heard was something knocking off my spoiler.

Needless to say, it became a big ordeal.  We spent the day going between the car wash and the car dealership, trying to fix what had happened.  Currently, I have holes in my trunk covered with black tape, and a large spoiler sitting in my trunk.

As I spoke with the manager from the car wash, he was laughing almost as he told me that I was the first car that this had happened to in the 350,000 car washes that had gone through, since their opening 5  years earlier.  I did not know if I should have been upset about this, or happy because that is a big deal.  I have never gotten anything where the odds were 1/350,000.

If only we had not bought a lottery ticket instead….

A Long Time Gone

Well, I haven’t posted in a few days. It’s just been one of those weeks. One where you thought you were busy before and then the busy door slams in your face and you realize you were wrong.

Friday I drove to Louisville for the North American International Livestock Exposition. I’ve been coaching a 4-H team for the past 3 months and this past Monday was the competition. It was a very long weekend, but they ended up placing 5th overall, 4th high individual overall, 2nd high team in Quality Assurance and high individual in Quality Assurance. I’m very proud of them and I’m sure they’re glad it’s over, too. A picture of my team is below:

My team at Lynn's Paradise
My team at Lynn's Paradise

Tuesday morning, I had to wake up very early to get my fiance to the GRE by 8:00am. That’s no easy feat considering I live off of Sawmill. But we made it and he did very well. His application for graduate school at OSU is complete!! We’ll finally be students together! That’s pretty exciting. 🙂

With all of that stuff going on, when Benjamin and I were on our way to my work, my car started making awful noises…and then my dad comes to look at it, and the power steering motor had died. So my dad and I switch cars and when he was taking it to the garage to get fixed, the power steering belt fell off. Luckily it was right as my dad pulled into the parking spot. If he had been on the highway, we would be replacing the engine, too. Then, this morning, I was on my way to work and a rock flew into my dad’s car (because mine’s still not fixed) and cracked the windshield. This is just not my week for automobiles.

BUT!!! There are a few positives about this week: 1) We didn’t have class last night! It was great to just relax, but that means we still don’t have our midterms back. 2) Tonight is Mirror Lake night. Everyone should go, even if you don’t jump in, go just to watch! It’s a sight to see. 3) Tomorrow I’m heading up to East Lansing to visit with my fiance then Saturday we’re going to Ann Arbor for the game. I’m STOKED! This is the best part of the football season! I’ll post pictures next week from my travels!

Don’t forget to give blood for the blood battle, and to save lives. You can save up to 3 lives with just one donation!

Skepticism Overcome by Reality

I have never had a mentor before. Sure, I’ve had employers take me under their wing, but my bosses who have done this have also had a friendship with me and that’s why they took more of an interest than the ‘average’ employer normally would. As a member of the GHRA, we had the opportunity to sign-up for the mentorship program and have a professional assigned to us. Because I have limited knowledge of the HR world, i.e. I’m from Psychology and I’m amazed I’m not sinking yet, I am looking for many ways to gain exposure into this crazy world.

Yesterday, I met my mentor, Lisa, at a HRACO (Human Resources Association of Central Ohio) event. Lisa is everything I didn’t imagine in a mentor, in a good way. 🙂 I was expecting an awkward person, who didn’t know how to interact with me and didn’t know how to use their expertise to help me learn more about the field. Oh gosh, Lisa’s amazing. She has such a great personality and we had a great talk. Additionally, she has such a vision on how to help me. She has the personality which just engages people and she knew nearly everyone at the meeting, introduced me to all of them, and truly made me feel welcome. What’s really amazing is that she has real ideas on how I can advance my career search and work towards getting myself to a point where the job search will come naturally. I’m very excited for it all.

In other news, I found out (well I guess my entire class did) when my group presents and it happens to be after Thanksgiving for MHR 851. Whew. I’m pretty stressed out and it’s good to know that I have two extra weeks to work on our presentation. My group met today and I feel the general consensus among my group is that we are light years ahead of other groups, even the ones who are presenting next week. We have a really great idea, we’ve talked to a lot of people, found a lot of research to back up what we’ve discovered. It’s a really great feeling and the rest of our project should come very easily.

This weekend is the conclusion of one of the major stressors in my life. I’m currently coaching an agriculture based knowledge team – it’s called a skillathon – and the team is competing on Monday at a national competition in Louisville. I was on the team when I was in 4-H, my mom used to coach the team, my fiance was on a national championship team and was 2nd high individual overall. This team was a big part of my life when I was in 4-H. I was very honored when my boss asked me to co-coach it with him. While it’s been a lot of fun, it has also been very stressful planning the practices, grading piles of homework, working and going to class/studying. I feel as though the team we put together is going to represent Ohio very well and they’re going to have a great experience. Think of us on Monday when we’re competing! Good wishes to them. 🙂

Happy Thursday! It’s almost the weekend!

Delayed

It feels as though I haven’t posted in quite a while. So much has happened in the last 5 or so days that I feel horribly behind in my updating.

First and most important, I got the interview! I’m very very excited about the opportunity. I had the chance to speak with the director of IMS a week ago and after talking with her, it just made me realize so much more that I would love the chance to complete an internship with the program. It wasn’t until a few days later that I was offered a position within the center. Such a relief. It will surely be a great opportunity. I have my first training program tomorrow during lunch. I’m nervous for it all, but excited at the same time.

Second, this weekend was Halloween, and it was a BLAST!!!!! I’ll post pictures below. I went up to Michigan State for Halloween. I know, I know, I skipped out on the grad student Halloween get-together, but I had so much fun this weekend. Friday night, I went to a long-time friend’s party dressed up as a Crayon. You can’t beat home-made costumes. I was “tickle me pink”. I love that costume. Saturday night, my fiance and I and his friends roamed around the streets of Lansing and East Lansing dressed up as the toy soldiers from Toy Story. It was SO much fun seeing everyone’s expression as we walked around and randomly posed. We were trying to find a place to catch the MSU vs Minnesota game, and decided on Bdubs. We walked into the restaurant in our stealth mode and you could hear the entire place go silent. It was awesome. I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Anyway, pictures are below. We’re now taking ideas on next year’s costumes. If you have any awesome costumes that you saw, send them my way, or feel free to share.

Lastly, tomorrow is your chance to go out and vote. Vote yes for Issue 2. That’s my only political plug because I have a personal connection with it. Issue 2 will establish a board of directors to make decisions about animal care in Ohio and the board will be made up of informed individuals who know the animal industry and know what’s best for Ohio and for the animals. I grew up on a small sheep farm and I have many farming friends who know what’s best for their animals and would rather have informed individuals make decisions about how they’re supposed to farm than people who know very little about the agriculture in this state. If nothing else, make sure you’re informed about what/who you’re voting for, but just make sure you vote.

Living the “vida loca”…

Today’s classic cocktail highlights some of the adventures of my past and toasts the hopes of my future journeys to come:

Pisco Sour:  2 ounces Pisco * 1 ounce fresh lime juice  * 1 ounce simple syrup  * 1 small egg white * Several drops of Angostura Bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with several drops of Angostura Bitters on top of the foam.

Prior to Fisher, my undergraduate studies, work experience, and personal life was greatly enriched by a deep interest in the Spanish language, Latin American politics, culture and business.  While at Fisher these interests have not played as dominant a role as I had expected, however I do continue to feed this passion along the way.

One way I have done this is through participating in the  Emerging Markets Field Study (EMFS) micro-finance course last winter which culminated in a 10 day excursion and working trip to Peru & Bolivia over spring break.  It was an amazing experience and one I will not soon forget.  Learning more about micro-lending and meeting with people in the villages of the Alto Plano of Bolivia was definitely a moving experience.

Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to brush up on my Portuguese skills using Rosetta Stone as licensed through Fisher’s International Programs Office, CIBER.  Muito bem!

Although I greatly miss my friends from Latin America back in the DC area and abroad, I will say I have found the right mix of international flavor while here at Fisher that suits this moment in my life.  I have been very blessed to have traveled the world to the extent that I already have and am excited to see many of my colleagues here at Fisher take their first adventures abroad.  Who knows what great journeys the next phase will hold, but I know I will always have my passport ready and my eyes open…  So while I head off to my pricing class – enjoy a tasty pisco sour and consider your next trip to Latin America. Salud!

Peru-Bolivia 328

Business Travel and the MBA

Just a quick note on business travel while taking classes.  Fortunately I haven’t had too many occasions where I have to miss class due to travel.  In cases where I can’t avoid it, I’ve found a few tips that helps
  • Notify the professor as soon as you think that your travel may conflict with class. I try to email the professor before the quarter starts so that I can get a feel whether my travel will cause a substantial issues with class, i.e., exam dates or scheduled project deliverables
  • Ask your classmates to see if they’ll make their notes available.  Once again it’s critical to connect with fellow classmates, even if there are no group projects in the class.  Ideally, one of your classmates also likes to record lectures.
  • Try to get ahead in your studies before your trip.
  • Be prepared to study on the plane.  In my job, business travel is very much more hectic than my normal routine.  Regardless, I always plan to pound through the books and course packets when I have free time.

Missing lectures can really set you back so be diligent with your studies so you don’t fall behind.

Opportunity Only Knocks Once – Proverb

Hello again. The principal purpose of the My Fisher Grad Life experiment is to give prospective students a perspective into what it’s like being a graduate student at The Fisher College of Business. I hope that you have been able to cut through my thinly veiled attempt at humor and that  I have provided some insight  into what MBA student life is really like.

First, BOILER UP! Even though I am now a Buckeye I will always be a Boilermaker at heart.  Hopefully this win for Purdue will make tickets to the upcoming Iowa game cheaper. Another reason to enjoy the win!

Second, I’ve noticed a peculiar state-of-mind develop among myself and my fellow MBA classmates. Obviously, we are all occupied with coursework. In fact, between classes, group meetings, and homework – coursework itself is a significant time commitment (if you’ve been following my posts, you already knew this). However, coursework isn’t what consumes our thoughts or conversations.

Rather, the tremendous amount of opportunities in extracurricular and personal/leadership development activities seem to consume us.  Conversations typically cover what lunchtime information sessions, speaker,  interviews for various organizations, or team meetings for non-course related projects we are going to attend.

As an example, here are the extras I am participating in (or plan to participate in):

My short list of activities just scratches the surface of what is available. A more complete list of Fisher’s student organizations can be found here.

Professors, if you are reading this, please don’t interpret this as a reason to make your courses more difficult. The last thing I need is the class hating me for something like that! They are challenging, I assure you.  Classes are table-stakes – everyone does it. I think each student differentiates himself/herself by his/her performance in the classroom and by which of Fisher’s unique opportunities he/she takes advantage of.

I apologize for the relative sincerity of this post. More humor will follow.

Caveat lector. Finis.

ECHOES from Fisher Class of 2011 – Nicholas Derrien

In the B-School classes, I have noticed that all my phenomenal classmates have so many wonderful thoughts to share. That really makes the whole Fisher experience unique and out of this world. I love writing blogs, but one thing that I don’t like about it is its individualistic demeanor. I want all my classmates to speak out of my blog and with that intention in mind, I have decided  to introduce my classmates to the blog from time to time.

This week I will introduce Nick Derrien. He is a Frenchman who has taught English to the Chinese. He is very fluent in Spanish and learned it while working at a school in Bolivia . He dreams of alleviating poverty from the face of the earth.

Over to you, Nick.

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By far the best thing I have done so far is visit Macchupicchu and Wynapicchu in Peru. For the curious ones, Wynapicchu is the tall mountain you see in lots of pictures behind Mannupichhu. To get there, you have to wake up at 4:00am to climb up to Macchupicchu and be one of the first 400 people in line, and people get up even earlier to be there. We made it to the top at about  5am and were one of the first 75 people…a bunch of tired, delirious, hungry, thirsty, but super happy 20-30 year olds. 30 minutes later there were a ton of people. Long story short, we made it to the top of Wynapicchu and it was an incredible view…maybe one of the coolest things I’ve even seen.

Oh, also, how can I forget taking part in some Peruvian mountain witchcraft practices. On this 4 day hike to Macchupicchu, I started to feel sick after eating or drinking something. We got to Santa Terresa, some small town in the mountains where they have hot springs, and the guide, who was super nice, tried to find some special tea, and managed to do so at a local’s place. The hut consisted of 4 pieces of sheet metal with the same type roof. The room was no bigger than 10 by 10 feet and housed a family of 5. One horribly decrepit bed, an old picnic like table, some makeshift over, and a few chairs all on a dirt floor. Rotting fish lay on the table, surrounded by flies , which the mother was preparing for dinner. The kids were eating raw eggs. Anyway, my guide victor asked them for this special tea, and after I drank it, I started to feel sick, so I ran out and promptly threw up! I immediately felt better and walked back in. I tried to say thank you and give them a couple of soles, the currency, but the guide told me that I needed to stay.
Ummm…….ok.

Then it got weird. I had to sit down on the stool. Victor, my guide, came over and started to pass an herb around my head, my body, and then told me to inhale. He did it three times and then told me to spit on it three times, all the while humming something. At this point I still didn’t know what was going on, and was wondering when the earth was going to open up and we would all be swallowed up. Then they, the residents, brought him some type of alcohol, which actually smelled refreshing, but also really, really strong. Victor did about the same thing as before, passing it around my head, rubbing in on my face and arms, inhaling, etc. This time, I didn’t have to spit on his hands! I thought it was over, but then he brought out some ‘rum’ and poured out a cap full. I told him I didn´t know how I would react i.e. whether I’m going to throw up if I take this stuff. But I did…and I did (throw up)! And so guess what, we started all over again. This time, I concentrated so hard not to throw up when it was time to take this shot again, and thankfully I passed.

I learned after the fact, which would have been nice to know before, that the belief is that if you throw up after walking in the mountains, you have inhaled an evil spirit, and it is necessary to cleanse your body of this spirit. I tell the story in a joking way, partly because I had only left the comfort of the US a week before, but please don’t overlook the incredible spirit of these Peruvians. Victor, who had no real obligation to look after me while I was sick, went completely out of his way to try to help me when I needed it. And he did so without asking for anything whatsoever in return (in fact, he even gave the family several soles, a large sum for both he and the family, and did so thinking that I didn’t see it). The family, who themselves didn’t ask for anything, opened their house and gave me everything they knew to and had to try to help me get better. While the remedy was definitely not typical, the gesture and manner with which it was done was incredible. I will remember both Victor and the family for a very long time.

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