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Fisher Follies: Fostering Community, Inspiring Creativity & Having FUN!

One of the greatest things about Fisher, which seems to come up quite often when I speak with prospective students, is the unique and supportive culture that we have here among students, staff and faculty. I truly believe it is rare to find a culture of collaboration where, for example, you can prep for an interview with a classmate who is interviewing for the same job. And, to have a community that truly cares about each other, their successes and their well-being.

That is the community that Fisher Follies, our unique social and non-profit organization here at Fisher, aims to foster. We raise money for the Fisher Follies Fund, which is a relief fund that make gifts (both monetary and in-kind) to any graduate student in the Fisher community that is facing extreme and unexpected hardship. Students are able to anonymously nominate themselves, or they can be nominated by two of their peers.

Each year, we hold a Fall Auction event that raises money for this fund. All auction items are donated by students, staff and faculty and range from dinner and desserts with other students or faculty, to your own personal “hype man” for a week, to a lavish trip to California to visit the “sea and c-suites” with one of your favorite professors. At this year’s event, which occurred on November 21st, we had over 110 items donated for our silent and live auction and over 200 people in attendance. Considered our “cocktail” event in the fall, it was a great time for everyone to dress up, take pictures at the photo booth, and socialize with their friends and professors.

In addition to it being an incredibly fun event for everyone, it was tremendously successful. We raised over $23,500 for the Fisher Follies Fund, which is the most money we have every raised at our annual auction! All of which goes directly back to students in need. This year, we unveiled the launch of our website, www.fisherfollies.com, so I encourage everyone to check it out to learn more about the Fisher community and the great things that we do as an organization.

Now that the auction is over, Fisher Follies will move on to begin writing and directing skits for our annual Variety Show in the Spring (February 20th), which celebrates our success and camaraderie as a community, and essentially enables us lampoon each other after a year of taking ourselves way too seriously.


Welcome to…America?

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      Some people say that if you come to the United States only to visit the big metropolis such as New York, Miami, or LA, you don’t really know what America is. You don’t really know the Americans. As a Brazilian who has lived in New York and also in a small town in Ohio, I have always been a firm believer of that saying. However, after coming to my MBA I realized one does not need to be in a huge capital to completely miss the American lifestyle, it could happen right here in Columbus- and that could be a good or a bad thing, depending on what kind of experience a person is looking for.

During my junior High school year I was an exchange student in a small town in Ohio. I lived with American families and there was only one other foreigner in my school. I got to live an all American lifestyle, making a pledge to the American flag in the mornings, having American food for all my meals, going to church on Sunday mornings, and really engaging in the life and responsibilities of any typical American teenager. So in many ways I can say I got to experience everything from the perspective of an insider. But of course my obsession with nailing peculiar “American details”, or my pleasure in listening to people who lived during WWII, JFK, Space Race, or just my History teacher telling me history from a completely different perspective than what I was used to, reminded me at all times that no matter how immersed I was, I was still the outsider in a trip to observe.

In New York my experience was completely different. I was older and more independent, and even though I lived with an American, I would spend the greatest part of my days with people from different nationalities. I would eat whatever I wanted and go wherever I wanted, and while that kind of gave me a more multicultural experience, it also allowed me to stick closely to my own culture.

When I came to Columbus, even though I was expecting to interact with many foreign people, I assumed my experience would compare more to my first time in the U.S. And for a little while, it did. During my first weeks in Columbus I temporarily rent a bedroom in the house of an American girl, in a residential neighborhood. Upon walking out of the house, my part Yankee, part redneck soul still felt surrounded by the atmosphere that rings the “You are in America” bell to me. The America of the Americans. However, a few days later I finally got my own place in an apartment village. I got a house by the pool though, not an apartment. House searching had been a very stressful time for me, and I remember going to my window on the first afternoon in my house and just being glad that for a moment I could finally relax and enjoy a drink overlooking the pool…I was not on vacations, and I was surely not in California, but that looked like a very clear picture of the American dream. Except one thing was odd in that cliché scenario: the pool was packed with Asians.

Soon I started noticing, after walking around, that most people in that complex are Asians. An 80% estimate, I would say. I have always been extremely involved with the Asian community back home and many of my closest friends are Asians, so for me that was interesting. I could not help noticing though that ever since I moved to that house things changed a lot. When I walk outside of my house I see Asians. I ride the bus with Asians. I get to school and I find a diversity of people from all around the world. And then I go back home, or sometimes get to hang out with my mixed group of school mates. One day I realized that even though I am still in Columbus, the world where I live now is completely different from the world I was inserted in during my first two weeks here- and that being just a few miles away! I was expecting to relive my High school experience, or a mix of my High school experience with my NY days, but it has been a whole new chapter and a whole new story. And for me, that is ok, and more than that, it has been an enriching ride- after all, in the context of my apartment complex, I am still an outsider observing cultural differences.

Evaluating my own experiences, however, I was led to think about some of the foreign students who are experiencing the US for the very first time. Just like people who only travel to touristic places in major capitals, these students might live here for several years and never really know the America through an American perspective. Many of them are usually surrounded by people from their home countries, speaking their own language and eating their native food, so I assume their perspective of things are very different from mine. I realize for many staying close to their own culture is a personal choice, it definitely eases the adjustment process. In the end I guess that is just something that I have been reflecting about and thought I’d share so that new students moving here get to maybe put some thought into what kind of experience they want for themselves. While school is certainly important, we surely take a lot from the experiences we have outside of class. And of course, every experience has its ups and downs, and there is no way to completely control our environment. For those like me who are just completely fascinated by surprises, that’s what makes it even more exciting.


The Internship

The Internship-Vaughn and Wilson
Second year MBA students-they’re older, wiser, and more mature, right?  The first one in that list is guaranteed to happen.  The others, not necessarily, but the internship between the first and second year of the MBA program is aimed to help towards that.  This summer I interned as a Global Supply Chain Project Manager at Greif, which is a $4.5 billion industrial packaging company headquartered here in the Columbus area.

Greif Global Supply Chain
It was a great internship.  The Greif supply chain folks welcomed me as a full member of the team and never looked at me as an “intern”.  The projects I got to work on were ones that the other full time team members would have been working on if I weren’t there.  Not only that, but I also worked on a project that had an international focus and was able to travel to Amsterdam for a week during the summer to pitch the solution we had come up with to the leader of the business unit there.

I’ve found as a 2nd year MBA this year there are a lot of things I’ve been able to hit on from my internship at Greif while at career fairs and in interviews.  The things I learned while doing the internship have been beneficial in growing my experience and understanding of supply chain management, and it was largely due to the role I had there.  So, when looking for an internship it’s worthwhile to focus on what kind of internship it will be and if you’ll get a great experience out of it.  I sure had that at Greif, and was more than happy to intern there this summer.


And so it begins.. Oh wait, it began three weeks back!

 

Belay On

Belay On

 

Before I begin telling you about my experiences in the last 1 week at Fisher, I definitely would like to share some activities( Read super cool) which we did during our Pre-term program.Yeah,you read it right. PRE-TERM. At Fisher,we believe in truly in our motto ” Go Beyond”. The pre term program exposed us to various facets of the Fisher MBA- Career Management, Core courses, Leadership development opportunities, and of course, the fun ” team” exercise at Summit Vision. This was one such experience wherein you get into it with one set of expectations and you come out with a totally different set of perspectives. It helped us get out of our comfort zone, I mean literally. If you had not earlier considered dangling from a beam 50 feet above the ground as a part of your comfort zone, you would consider reframing it now.It helped us trust our team mates who were acting as the ‘belayers’ and believe me, the word ‘trust’ was definitelyredefined in my mind.During the course of 4 hours, we learned from each other’s mistakes, put aside our individual goals and collaborated as a team to see the task through the finish line. I think we cherished the outing even more because it provided us a much needed break in our hectic schedule.On a side note, I used to think my pre MBA schedule was jam packed and hectic. I am laughing at that thought now.I will leave you at that.


Welcome Fisher MBA Class of 2016

Fisher Campus

It was a warm morning. Not too uncomfortable, although it left little doubt that the afternoon would be quite hot. As if I didn’t have enough on my mind already while making my way across the Fisher campus, I now had to brood over the efficiency of the off-brand antiperspirant I was wearing. Coming up to Schoenbaum Hall,  I took one last glance at the Pre-Term schedule I had printed out the night before to make sure I was in the right place, heaved one last heavy breath, and entered the building.

The door opened into a small corridor brimming with well-dressed men and women, acquainting and socializing, demonstrating their varied levels of networking competence. Striding across the corridor, from handshake to handshake, I felt as if my mind was hosting a potluck attended by two dozen different versions of myself, each bringing a different emotion. I was excited; I was nervous. I was confident; I was diffident. I was calm; I was frantic.

An administrator directed us through two sets of doors leading into a large lecture hall with stadium seating. I found a seat and continued to converse with my neighbors, trying desperately to remember their names without looking at their name tags. The murmuring in the halls quieted down as the administrator stepped forth once again and, to a roaring applause, officially welcomed the Fisher MBA Class of 2016 to the Pre-Term Orientation.

What transpired over the following week and a half of orientation is far too much to detail in just one blog post, but in summary, it was truly an uplifting and apprehension-slaying event. It was an exciting blend of macro and micro insights into the adventure my class and I are about to begin. Between meeting my classmates, getting assigned my cohort (shout out to Team 11!), learning about all the student groups and opportunities, lectures from such distinguished guests as the CEO of Sherwin-Williams, Christopher Connor, and activities such as team-building exercises at Summit Vision – which was far more enjoyable and of practical use than my skeptical mind expected – orientation provided an excellent introduction to this new chapter in my life.

I’ve come a long way to get here (more on that in another post). As bumpy as the road was at times, I’m sure ahead it will be even more long and winding. Great changes come prepackaged with great uncertainty. I might not be venturing into the last frontier, but I am running full-speed into my own unknown with nothing but drive and optimism providing bright but limited lighting. But as far as I can tell, I couldn’t ask for better resources to help guide me along the way than those which I have found at the Fisher College of Business at THE Ohio State University.


Summer Activities – Pelotonia

It is hard to believe, this this school year is already coming to a close.  Last August seems like such a short time ago, and the months have gone by in the blink of an eye.  I am currently in the middle of mid-term exams for the second term of the spring semester, and will be halfway through my MBA journey in under a month.

This summer is showing no signs of being any less busy, between working during my internship, to participating in the GAP program, and taking advantage of other opportunities around Columbus.  One of the activities that has occurred in Columbus every summer for the better part of the last decade is the Pelotonia charity bike ride, which raises funds for the James Cancer Center here on campus.  A short description from the ride’s website:

The model of Pelotonia remains simple: Pelotonia’s operating expenses are covered by funding partners so that 100% of every dollar raised by Pelotonia riders, virtual riders and volunteers goes directly to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Pelotonia was initially funded with a five-year, $12.5 million commitment, with a goal to raise $39 million during this time period.

The ride has raised over $61 million dollars to help fund cancer research over the years, and is a great way to give back to the community.  This year, I will be riding as part of the Fisher College of Business team, along with several of my other classmates who are also going to be in the Columbus area over the summer.  So, along with my internship this summer, I will be balancing my training regime in order to prepare for the ride.  If you have any interest in learning more about myself and the other Fisher students who will be riding, you can follow this link:  Dan Reeder


Sparking INNOVATION around the CAMPfire

On March 21, 2014, Innovation Fisher and the Association of Marketing Professionals present INNOVATION CAMP 2014 to a group of approximately 200 students and business professionals.

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The speaker line-up was phenomenal:

Sucharita Mulpuru, VP and Principal Analyst of Forrester Research
Cathy Lewis, VP and CMO of 3D Systems Corp.
A panel discussion – “Marketing Columbus as an Innovative City”
Daryl Butler, Director of Brand Marketing for Beats By Dr. Dre

Each speaker and discussion brought a different outlook and great takeaways of marketing and innovation in today’s world. Sucharita outlined disruptive innovation in the customer service industry, food and shopping/delivery models. Buying groceries online and having them delivered or picking them up at specific location? Count me in!

The discussion about 3D blew me away. From retail, electronic, automotive…even food! I am excited to see what happens next with this cool tool – the possibilities are endless. Cathy talked about the possibility of personalized organs and bones.

Cathy Lewis - 3D Systems

Cathy Lewis – 3D Systems

Then, there was a panel that told the audience how they are putting Columbus on the map. We compete directly with other cities such as Cincinnati, Chicago and etc. for talent and resources – how do we bring, and sustain, life in the good ol’ Columbus? Our brand of ColumbUS has always caught my eye, but it was interesting to see where that stems from. THE state of Ohio losing to Michigan because of the “Pure Michigan” campaign?! Say it isn’t so!

Fisher voted Beats by Dr. Dre as the Marketer of the Year. The event ended with a talk about Beats advertising that was incredible – Daryl talked about the “Hear What you Want” campaign and how storytelling plays a critical role in all commercials. The attribute of noise cancellation became the campaign of “Hear What You Want”. Daryl also talked about how products, culture and music support the company of Beats by Dr. Dre – but at the core is passion.

Daryl Butler - from Beats by Dr. Dre - to accept the Fisher AMP MOTY award

Daryl Butler – from Beats by Dr. Dre – to accept the Fisher AMP MOTY award

Here is the Beats commercial with Colin Kaepernick & the commercial about the Pill Dudes – whenever I watch these I feel so inspired!

Can’t wait to come back next year as a business professional :)

 


The Internship Search

The New Year started the busy time for finding a marketing internship. I was fortunate enough to make it through several phone screens and had final interviews with some great companies during January: L’Oreal, Nestle, Kellogg’s, and Amazon to name a few. Part of the fun of finding the right internship match is getting to travel to visit the headquarters of amazing companies. L’Oreal hosted an entire weekend, Taste of L’Oreal, in New York City at the Westin in Times Square.

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We met the CMO of the company, heard a presentation from the North American President, and participated in a day-long case competition for a L’Oreal product in either the Luxury, Consumer, or Professional Product Division.

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It was a phenomenal experience and really let candidates get a feel for the company, and its culture, and meet other MBA students from around the country (I still keep in touch with three of my case competition team members!). And we got a lot of goodies just for visiting!

Nestle hosted 60 candidates at their Solon, OH, office and treated us to a wine tasting led by their head chef, and a networking event with top executives. We also got dinner at the best restaurants in town, since everyone who works at Nestle (and planned our visit) is a foodie!

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Kellogg’s hosted a group of Fisher and Ross students for a Day at K at their Battle Creek, MI headquarters. After a harrowing drive through a snowstorm, we had a great day kicked off by a presentation from Kellogg’s CMO, a tour of Kellogg’s vault, and meeting with the company’s ad agency Leo Burnett.

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I also got to experience Seattle for the first time during my Amazon interview. Amazon hosted candidates in the best part of town, just a quarter mile from Pike’s Market, and I spent the morning checking out the market and visiting the original Starbucks!

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Amazon’s headquarters are very low-key, and you could drive right through the company’s campus and not realize you were at Amazon! They arranged a lunch with current Product Managers and then held interviews for 3 hours. It was intense. One constant across all the companies was the friendliness of the people and focus on employee development and culture fit. We have some amazing people and organizations recruiting at Fisher and I know wherever I end up, I am going to have a great experience this summer!


Ramon Gregory – Success to Significance

In any strong MBA program, you get plenty of opportunity to hear about the application of specific disciplines from researchers, experts, and professionals at the top of their field.  What you don’t get as often is the chance to hear a successful, dedicated leader talk openly and intimately about their life journey, their successes and failures, and values that led them along the way.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a lunch event sponsored by Fisher’s Black MBA Association, wherein we heard from Ramon Gregory, who is Senior Vice President, Customer Care Shared Services for Cardinal Health.  With more than 25 years of experience leading customer service and contact centers, Mr. Gregory can speak with authority on multiple topics, but at this event, he focused on his professional journey, the way he and his family navigated the various forks in the road that they encountered as he balanced raisinRAMONg a family with leading in a company, and the mindset of a leader.

As he spoke, Mr. Gregory kept coming back to a phrase that seemed to be very important to him: “from success to significance.”  Although he never directly explained the phrase or specified how he came across it, he used it to underscore a shift in his professional perspective that seemed to occur over the years.  Although he is extremely successful, he seems to have come to a conclusion that I have heard expressed before from men and women of high achievement.  He communicated to us that success is great, and that we—as MBAers who are hungry to get out into the world and climb the ranks—should do so.  Success comes with a lot of benefits, and he recommends them.  But he said that once success is attained, there is something more important that he hopes we will set our eyes on.  That to lead truly significant lives, we should invest in the process of knowing, developing, and collaborating with people.  Mr. Gregory spoke with kindness, honesty, and humility about his dedication to serving others, developing leaders who work for him, and leading a life that will benefit not only his company, but the people who work there, in powerful and meaningful ways.  I am thankful to him for his transparency and willingness to speak to a room of strangers about some of his deepest convictions, and I hope I am blessed with the opportunity to put them into practice.


Happy Lunar New Year! An Amazing Celebration in Fisher!

Happy New Year every one! January 30th was the first day of Chinese New Year-the year of Horse! To me, it was my first time to celebrate this traditional Chinese festival abroad. It should be the day to spend with family members, just like Christmas. This year, instead of celebrating it with my family members in Beijing, I celebrated it with my new family members in Columbus! Check this video for all those sweet greetings sent from my classmates:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhWCpm5wB6g

Isn’t it sweet? All of them in the video are saying Happy New Year in Chinese. My fantastic classmates are so interested in learning Chinese and Chinese culture.

photo-CNY2So, in Fisher, as an international student, you are never alone. Last Saturday night, the CBPA(Chinese Business Professional Association) and MBLE Council held the Chinese New Year Gala in Fisher. A total of 150 people attended this gala, including First year and second year MBA students, MBLE students,  professors, and corporate guests. Everybody had a lot of fun. Picking eggs by using chopsticks, guessing the Chinese idioms, Chinese Kongfu show……and, of course, Chinese food! 3 hours passed fast…..I’m even looking forward to the gala next year! And I hope more and more friends come and join us to celebrate the new year.

As Chinese old saying, it’s always lucky for a person born in the year of Horse. I wish, not only to those who were born in the year of horse, but also to everyone in the MBA program, a prosperous year of Horse! Good luck in your MBA study!

photo-chinese new year

 

 

 


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