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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

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 ‚Äď 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.

2651_80242188312_668993312_2165805_2365246_n

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‚Äôve 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôt have to spit on his hands! I thought it was over, but then he brought out some ‚Äėrum‚Äô and poured out a cap full. I told him I didn¬īt know how I would react i.e. whether I‚Äôm 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.

DSC02740

Jajaja!

This weekend I attended the NSHMBA Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I went with a group of nine great Fisher students also in the Fisher Latino Graduate Association. We had an extremely productive, fun-filled weekend. I don’t know how many total attendees there were, but I’d guesstimate around 1000-1500. The company list was impressive as well. Most of the top MBA employers were represented, along with most of the top 25 MBA programs. The highlights of the weekend were:

  • Interviewing with three of the top companies on my short list.
  • Making solid contacts at several other companies.
  • Networking with MBA students from other top schools.
  • Going to the corporate-sponsored parties. The Target party was amazing!
  • Watching Ohio State receive the Brillante Award for Educational Excellence.
  • Seeing some of my friends in the MBA program from last year on the other side of the table, recruiting for their companies.
  • Spending some quality time with the incoming first-year MBA students.
  • Hearing from several different recruiters how highly regarded the Fisher College brand is.

8829_137338852394_502212394_2304791_612978_n

8829_137338862394_502212394_2304793_852006_n

8829_137339092394_502212394_2304821_2395970_n

Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Hispanic culture and people. It was great to be back in that warm, loving environment after a year in Columbus (not that I don’t love the Midwest, it’s just a different kind of nice here). My cheeks hurt a little bit from laughing so much the entire weekend. As my buddy Jorge would say, there was much jajaja’ing the entire trip ( how some of my Hispanic friends say “hahaha” in a text message or Facebook post). I know one thing for sure, no matter where I’m at next year, I’m going to the 2010 NSHMBA Conference in Chicago.

On a similar note, I just decided that I’m spending my Spring Break in Brazil. Fisher College has a program called Emerging Market Field Studies where students take a class in the Winter to learn about and become experts in one particular emerging market. Upon finishing the course, they spend their Spring Break in that country. Upon return from the country, students are required to write field study case reports. I had friends go to Bolivia, Vietnam and Ethiopia last year and they all had a great time. I can’t wait!

In not so good news, I’m getting to the point now where sleep is a thing of the past (currently it is 2:31am Sunday night/Monday morning). I usually work from 8am-10pm most days and catch up on emails and manage my career search from 10pm-2am. I feel bad for my friends with iPhones and Blackberrys, but it’s the only time I have right now to go through my 100 emails a day. So sorry if your email notification goes off in the middle of the night.

Well, I’m off. I have a dozen or so emails to finish and a couple cases to read before I call it a night. Make it a great week!

Mike ^_^

Fisher Commons… No Left Turn!

I really enjoy living at Fisher Commons, its very convenient for getting to Gerlach, especially for my 8 am GA, its 30 minutes walking and less than 8 minutes of a drive. The only inconvenient thing is that, you can’t make a left turn into or out of the only entrance to the Fisher Commons. It is really annoying because it means making several inconvenient turn and tacking on precious moments to get home, to ease the suffering, I made a small infographic showing the best routes to get from the Fisher College of Business parking lot to Fisher commons, with the accompanying times… you should really print this out and tape it to your dashboard… or just look at it once… whatever you want.

Fisher Parking Lot to Fisher Commons Infographic
Fisher Parking Lot to Fisher Commons Infographic

Networking in the Big Easy

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the National Black MBA Association Conference in New Orleans.  After two days of classes, I was excited to get away with 10 of my classmates and see a new city.  I soon learned that the trip would be nothing short of a whirlwind.

We got into New Orleans around midnight Thurs night/Fri morning.¬† I was so exhausted but there was no time for sleep because we were up and at ’em at 7am headed to the convention center.¬† Upon entering the career fair, I was very¬†taken aback.¬†¬†I’ve been to national conferences for different organizations before but never to anything of this magnitude.¬† There were elaborate exhibits including product demos of Harley motorcycles, Chrysler, P&G products, and many more.¬† Not only were the exhibits impressive but also to see over 5,000 people navigating the different booths in search of jobs and internships.¬† I was able to talk to representatives from over 10 companies and I even snagged an interview¬†on Friday¬†afternoon.¬† I hope to hear back soon!

Attending the conference definitely showed me that in order to succeed, I need to be at the top of my game.  There are so many top students from top universities competing for a limited number of positions.  Having a clear plan of what I want to do and how I expect to get there is key!

Apart from the professional aspect of the conference, it was great to get to know my classmates and meet students and professionals from around the country.  Of course, we ate some authentic New Orleans cuisine, ventured out to Bourbon Street (which was crazy), and even had the chance to wander around the French Quarter.

Although I was extremely exhausted and swamped with work when we got back to Columbus, the trip was very much worth it.  Where else would I have the chance to talk to over 400 recruiters on one day!?!

Detroit Trip

I would say one of the great things about being in Columbus, Ohio is the accessibility you have to other neighboring cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, or of course Detroit!¬† After the first week of graduate school I needed to get my mind off things and refocus!¬† I wasn’t overwhelmed just yet, but I could feel the emotion rising inside.¬† Luckily, it was my friend’s 24th birthday this past weekend and it allowed me the opportunity to get away.¬† The drive to Detroit from Columbus¬†is about 3.5 hours, not too bad.¬† I was particularly excited about this trip because:

1. I had never been to Detroit

2. My friend was also my college roommate in undergrad and I hadn’t seen her since graduation (2 years ago)

3.¬†Two of our other friends lived there and I hadn’t seen them in a year

Consequently, I had a lot to look forward to.¬† Usually I feel like a 32 year old trapped in a early 20 year old body, because my life is just that uneventful.¬† However, this past weekend made me feel like the 23 year old that I am.¬† The weekend was mostly spent celebrating her birthday in two of Detroit’s casinos, Motor City and MGM Grand.¬† Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see much of Detroit, yet I am positive this will not be my last trip to Detroit.¬† At the end of the weekend, I felt renewed!¬† Sometimes you need that little getaway to get your life back in order.¬†So many changes have been made and this past weekend really allowed¬†me the opportunity to just relax and let everything settle for a bit.¬† First, I was getting acclimated to Columbus, and then graduate school. It all happened so fast!¬† Since I got back from my trip I feel less worried about graduate school, and am feeling more comfortable as each day passes by.

Moral of the story:¬† Don’t be afraid to take a break while in graduate school. Sometimes refocusing your energy is all you need¬†to get back on track and in the game!