My Favorite Class: Strategy

As an MBA student there are number of classes we take in our first year designed to given us an understanding of a wide range of business aspects, from finance and accounting to data analytics and marketing.  As someone who came from the supply chain background I found these classes to be exceptionally in learning the about industries I had not previously had experience with.  There is one class in particular that students take in their second semester that I have found really show what the MBA is all about, that class is Strategy Formulation and Implementation.

 

In this class MBA students take all of the knowledge they gained in the previous semester and apply it to cases about real companies and the decisions they made to reach a level of success and what decisions they should make when at a strategic crossroads.  This class helps to put students in the CEO’s shoes and consider all the opportunities and risks they face when considering the decisions needed to maneuver a company through the marketplace.

 

Along with the in-depth case studies and discussion-based lectures there are computer simulations that let provide students with a company their own to run, and where they can see the outcomes of their decisions.  Something as straightforward as a manufacturers decision on its delivery schedule can have profound effects on its profitability and place in the marketplace.

 

What is CAMP?

The Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum (CAMP) is a dynamic event hosted by the Fisher Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) that brings together nationally recognized keynote speakers and industry professionals to discuss the leading edge of marketing. 2019 marks our tenth year hosting this event, and our discussion will center on Customer Experience Design which is the practice of designing products/services with the focus on quality and thoughtfulness of the user experience. Every touch point within the customer’s interaction with a product/service is designed to deliver experiences based on the brand’s promise. It requires companies to weave in storylines through online and offline experiences that bring the brand to life.

We invite you to join us!

What can you expect from CAMP?

100-plus attendees from the Columbus community come to hear our engaging, charismatic and fascinating speakers from local and national companies.

Our keynote speaker and recipient of the Marketer of the Year Award is Russ Klein, CEO of the American Marketing Association. We will also have Adam Torres, Founder of Torres Capital, who will be speaking at our event! Both Russ and Adam have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to Customer Experience Design.

Russ Klein, CEO of American Marketing Association
Adam Torres, Founder of Torres Capital

We will also be raffling off items! Thanks to our generous sponsors, we currently have items from Watershed Distillery, Columbus Blue Jackets, Bibibop, and Homage!

If you would like to be a part of this event, whether as an attendee or sponsor, please let us know! Tickets are available here, and you can always email us at fisher.amp@gmail.com with any questions!

2018 “Marketer of the Year” award went to Jenna Measelle, Senior Brand Manager at Abbott and Fisher MBA alum

Growing Professionally and Giving Back with Fisher Board Fellows

“I now call this meeting to order…”

Sitting in on your first nonprofit board meeting can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you have never worked on a board in the past. Now, heading into my eighth month as a Board Fellow for Dress for Success-Columbus, I am able to actively participate in board meeting discussions and share updates on my resource development committee projects.

Reflecting back, being a part of Fisher Board Fellows has been a wonderful opportunity to give back to my community, better understand the governance of nonprofit organizations, apply lessons from business school to a real-world setting and grow my network. In addition, committing to the mission of Dress has grown my perspective regarding our local community needs and areas of opportunity in Columbus.

Fisher Board Fellows is a student-run organization that places students on local nonprofit boards during the second year of the program, attracting candidates from the full-time MBA, MHRM and MBA for working professionals programs. Candidates go through an application process to join the organization, complete training in the second semester and join their board in the second year of the program. As Co-Vice Chair of the organization, we work hard to maintain our relationships with our nonprofit partners and will have 34 partners this coming year!

Some of our partner boards include: United Way of Central Ohio, BalletMet, A Kid Again, LifeCare Alliance, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Local Matters, and many more. Please check out our full list here. This year, we are also excited to add several new partners including: YWCA, Flying Horse Farms, Columbus Humane, MBA Research and Curriculum Center and SmallBiz Cares.

Fellows work on a wide range of strategic projects for their organizations, ranging from donor engagement research and improvement planning to marketing and communication plans and inventory management system recommendations. In addition, fellows are provided a board mentor during their time with the organization to help navigate the new experience and set them up for success in providing impact!

This organization has been, hands-down, one of the best experiential learning opportunities during my time at Fisher and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the board post-graduation this May!

“The meeting is now adjourned!”

What is Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP)

The Association of Marketing Professionals (AMP) is one of the largest graduate student organizations at the Fisher College of Business. While we hold events and activities primarily geared toward those focused in marketing, we have had opportunities to network with non-marketing professionals. Below are some highlights of our annual traditions, as well as new events that we as a leadership committee have implemented. I would say that we have been pretty successful so far! I am proud to be the Director of Professional Development of such a wonderful organization.

Annual events

Columbus Hop – Takes place every fall break. This year’s companies included IBM iX, Root Insurance, Orange Barrel Media, and Watershed Distillery. It gives students an opportunity to network and go behind the scenes to see how each company works.

Fisher MBA students at the Watershed Distillery as part of Columbus Hop

Chicago Hop (upcoming) – We celebrate the end of the fall semester and final exams by hopping on a bus to Chicago! This year’s companies include PepsiCo, BlueCross BlueShield, Tyson Foods, and Ogilvy. If you are not yet an AMP member, you should become one just to be a part of this awesome event!

Attendees at Chicago Hop last year

Marketing For A Better World (upcoming) – Our theme this year is Marketing Ethical & Sustainable Consumer Goods. Agenda includes keynote presentations by Levi Strauss & Co., and Fairtrade America, and a marketing panel moderated by ethics professor David Freel. We are still accepting registrations, and we are raffling off some autographed Columbus Blue Jacket items! You can’t miss this event!

Columbus Advertising & Marketing Practicum, CAMP (upcoming) – This will be our 10th annual CAMP! More details to come, but we will bring students, business professionals, and faculty together to discuss pertinent marketing topics.

CAMP last year

New events this year

Nail the Interview series – a two-part session where different marketing frameworks were introduced that helped with interview questions. We listened to feedback from the first-year FTMBA students and provided them with resources that they needed.

Brand Management series (ongoing) – Over lunch, students get to learn more about brand management from different companies. We have had former Fisher alumni from T.Marzetti (Lucy Liu) and Wendy’s (Emily Jacobson), and we hope to bring in a few more in the spring.

Other events

Happy hours & Panels

2nd-year FTMBA students sharing their marketing internship experiences

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

What is the GRE?

The GRE is one of the two possible qualifying exams prospective MBA students will be looking to take as they prepare to apply to the Fisher College of Business, the with the GMAT as the other possible exam.  The main difference between the GRE and GMAT is that while the GRE is used as part of admissions for a wide variety of graduate programs, such as business school, law school, or other specialized master’s programs, the GMAT is primarily only accepted by business schools. For the purpose of Fisher, either exam is acceptable.

How the GRE Works

The GRE is broken into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing, with each section receiving its own score. While the Analytical Writing section does help schools understand a prospective candidates writing abilities and logical thinking, it is the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections that will generally receive the most attention. The Quantitative and Verbal reasoning sections are scored out of a total of 180 points each, with many schools making their composite average score available for prospective candidates to view. For example, the Fisher incoming Full-Time MBA class of 2018, the average composite score was a 312.

How to Study for the GRE

The best advice I can give when preparing to take the GRE is to use books or online resources to practice the types of questions they give in the GRE, and understand what it is the questions are asking. One of the most important skills the GRE tests is the ability to read through entire questions and passages and understand what answer is being sought. There are a number of online resources you can use to find free practice tests and the general questions you can expect to see come test day.

One Last Thing

As you start studying for the GRE, remember that while a high score can definitely help a candidate, business schools will be looking at many aspects of a candidate including work experience and cultural fit. This means a lower-than-expected score does not necessarily place someone out of the running. And if you do receive a score not as high as you wanted, one of the best parts of the GRE is that it can be taken multiple times.

Celebrating National Diversity Day

National Diversity Day is a day to celebrate and embrace who we are, despite our differences, no matter what race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, or disability. A day to reflect on and learn about different cultures and ideologies. A day to vow acceptance and tolerance. A day to consciously address these areas at educational and religious institutions, as well as in the workplace and at home. National Diversity day is an annual event on the first Friday in October (Diversity Awareness Month). This year, National Diversity Day was October 5, 2018.

Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of Columbus Urban League

The Fisher Graduate Women in Business and Black MBA Association collaborated together to invite Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of Columbus Urban League, to speak and discuss with Fisher students about her journey and experience as a minority woman in the business world. This took place in the Mason Rotunda. Over dinner, students had the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a discussion with Stephanie over issues that took place in the workplace, home, social events…etc. Overall, it was such a successful event, and we hope to continue having such events. A big thank you to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for sponsoring this event!

Enjoying dinner from Sweet Carrot
Fisher students engage in a discussion with Stephanie Hightower

FGWIB and BMBAA Leadership Committee with Stephanie Hightower

 

How to Rock the Recruiting Process

Start Early

While it may tempting to spend the summer before business school taking a bit of a break from work, there are a ton of great opportunities and resources that you can take advantage of before school starts. Search for “Pre-MBA Boot Camps” and find something that fits your interests or career goals. There are numerous opportunities across a wide range of industries including The Forte Foundation’s Financial Services Fast Track, Google’s Student Veteran Summit, and P&G’s Brand Camp, to name a few.

Use your Resources

Take advantage of the awesome resources and staff at the Fisher College of Business Office of Career Management (OCM). Career consultants from a variety of backgrounds help students narrow down career goals, fine-tune resumes, and practice elevator pitches and behavioral interview questions. In addition to the one-on-one sessions that students can schedule with career advisors, the OCM routinely holds seminars and workshops to prepare students for the job hunt.

Know your Deadlines

There can’t be a worse feeling then checking a job posting for your dream company and realizing the deadline has passed. The best way to stay on top of deadlines and other important dates in the recruiting process is with an Excel file. Keep track of important deadlines, as well as the dates that you applied for and interviewed for positions. If you haven’t heard back in a few weeks it may be a good time to follow up with your company contact.

Dress the Part

When it comes to recruiting events and interviews, the rule of thumb is that it’s always better to overdress rather than underdress. If you are looking for some more affordable options to purchase a suit, check out the Tanger Outlets or Ohio State’s Career Closet. The Career Closet occurs every fall prior to recruiting season and has lightly used business attire, shoes, and accessories offered to students for free!

 

My GAP Experience: Italy and Germany

Fisher MBA students often talk about GAP. What exactly is GAP and why is it such a focal point of our program?

Global Applied Projects (GAP) is an opportunity for MBA students to gain international consulting experience by working on a business challenge in a global location (non-US). It is a three-credit, graded, elective course that allows students to lead, plan, and execute global consulting engagements across multiple functional areas for a wide variety of corporations, not-for-profits, and governments in locations outside of the US. A typical GAP project timeline looks like this:

January: Project client and Office of Global Business work to define the business problem and formulate a high-level scope.

Late February: Student participation begins with the section of MBA team members chosen to meet the needs of the project.

Next 10 weeks: Team is directed by a second-year MBA team coach and a faculty functional expert. Students attend weekly classes that teach best practices in project management and global consulting, and develop cultural awareness. They also meet regularly with teams, advisors, coaches, and clients, and submit class assignments that support the development and execution of the projects.

May: Three-week, in-country, primary research phase with a presentation of findings, an in-depth analysis, and specific, actionable recommendations to the client.

As a second-year MBA student, I would love to share with you my most recent GAP experience, where I had the opportunity to work with Technical Rubber Company, based in Johnstown, OH, as well as Salvadori, based in Rovereto, Italy. 

 

 

Client: Technical Rubber Company

Team members: Luke Barousse, Abhishek Chakrabarti, Adam Kanter, Andris Koh, Vaibhav Meharwade, Carl Shapiro, Sangyoun Shin, Kristen Stubbs

Cities/Countries we visited: Rovereto, Italy, and Munich, Germany

Activities: Visited TRC’s corporate headquarters, Salvadori’s headquarters, as well as attended the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

At the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management
World’s Largest Tire at Salvadori’s Headquarters

 

Project Title: Rubber Molded Products Business Plan

Objective: To define a pathway for TRC to forward integrate from the equipment business to manufacturing and selling products made from recycled rubber.

Submitted Deliverables: A 100-page business plan that contained our industry analysis, strategic recommendations, as well as financial, operational, and marketing plans. We also delivered a final presentation to TRC’s and Salvadori’s executives.

What were some takeaways from this GAP experience?

1. Even though I had no experience in the manufacturing or recycled rubber industry, I was extremely fascinated by it. By keeping an open mind, as well as the willingness to learn, changed my perspective of recycled rubber and the manufacturing industry.

An espresso vending machine

2. Italians absolutely love good food, wine, and espresso.

Best pasta ever had

3. Working in a team of eight within close parameters is not easy. There were many memorable moments, but there were also moments of tension. It is important to talk through these issues, instead of letting emotions breed over time.

4. Take some down time for yourself. I decided to stroll along the river one evening in Rovereto, where I enjoyed the perfect sunset with a glass of wine.

Rovereto, Italy

5. Communication is key. One of our team members was unable to travel internationally, so we had to find a way to deal with different time zones, interact and engage with our teammate, as well as communicate in a way that made him feel as part of the team even though we were not physically together.

6. Take time on the weekends to explore nearby cities, take a break from work, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. I visited Rome, Venice, and spent the last weekend in Munich visiting the Neuschwanstein castle.

Rome
Venice
Munich

7. Rely on each other’s strengths to get things done efficiently. For example, when we were working on the business plan, we had Carl work on designing our logos, Sangyoun/myself on market research, Adam/Abhi on financials, Luke/Vaibhav on technical viability, and Kristen in putting things together. We each had our own strengths and we used them to maximize our output.

8. Having the opportunity to work as a consultant for a global client is something really unique and special. I know that having these relationships with clients and colleagues will carry into the future as I embark on more global projects in my career.

Original Hofbrauhaus
Our Team!
Pork knuckle, anyone?

 

 

Organization Design Strategies: A Look at the Global One Health Initiative GAP Project in Ethiopia and Kenya

Rolling out of bed after finals week at the end of our second semester in the MBA program, it was both exciting and nerve-racking to be packing for a three-week trip for Ethiopia and Kenya. After making it through final group projects and coursework, I kept wondering if I was truly prepared for our in-country portion of the GAP global consulting project. On May 4, 2018, most of the members of my GAP team met at the Columbus airport for our journey to Addis Ababa. We were headed to our client’s regional office that was recently opened at the end of 2017. Our client, GOHi, is an NGO based at The Ohio State University focused on education, research, training and outreach programs to build capacity toward a global One Health approach.

My amazing GAP team!

Before leaving for Ethiopia, our team of seven MBA students met with GOHi several times to work through project objectives and develop a plan of action during the in-country experience. We were working toward developing recommendations for their organization structure and a list of potential partners for GOHi to establish a sustainable presence in the region. The months leading up to the trip, we identified organizations with similar missions to connect with in-country and learn more about their strategy and operations on the ground. We prepared interview guides, developed spreadsheets, laughed late into the evenings in Gerlach Hall, made nicknames for ourselves and bonded over Graeter’s Ice Cream.

After all this time, May 4th finally came around, and we embarked on our journey. Our team spent the first week in Addis Ababa getting to know the GOHi team and beginning our interviews with similar organizations working in the region. We were able to walk to the office every morning from the hotel where we stayed, passing by the ongoing building construction and liveliness of the capital city. The GOHi staff was extremely welcoming and supportive, inviting us to learn about their daily activities, taking us to a traditional Ethiopian lunch and dinner where we tasted our first authentic injera and later experienced the traditional dance of eskista, and allowing us to observe project sites and learn more about the on-the-ground project work taking place.

We met with organizations like Amref Health Africa, PSI Ethiopia and the Ethiopian branch of the CDC. We learned about the importance of maintaining relationships with government entities to gain support for organization success, we identified potential partnership opportunities and recommendations for increased visibility and flexibility in organization structure. 

Meeting with GOHi team and PSI Ethiopia

After our week in Addis Ababa, we traveled to Kenya to further our research with organizations based in Nairobi. There, we met with and learned from organizations like the International Livestock Research Institute, World Animal Protection and the University of Nairobi. Although most of our time was spent in meetings, we had time for a quick weekend safari to Maasai Mara as well!

After a week in Nairobi, we flew back to Addis to bring together our final report and presentation to the GOHi team. Throughout the entire project, we had established a strong group dynamic that enabled a strong final product for the client, one that they are still using today! Although a short trip, I found this to be an amazing experience, full of learning, the chance to build new relationships and the opportunity to consult for an organization working toward an important mission.

Beautiful sunrise on our last day in Addis!

A huge shout out here to my amazing Fisher MBA GAP team: Aziza Allen, Ariel Cooper, John Cox, Kaitlyn Kendall-Sperry and Obi Nnebedum

And to the GOHi staff and leadership team: Wondwossen Gebreyes, Emia Oppenheim, Ashley Bersani, Getnet Yimer, Kassahun Asmare, Tigist Endashaw, Tewodros Abebe and Joshua Amimo

Global Business Expedition (GBE) – Spring Break 2018

Everyone loves Spring Break– the perfect week to enjoy right before craziness sets in with projects, exams, and papers due before the academic year ends. Each student’s experience is different. Some students in the MBA program embark on a Global Business Expedition (GBE). GBEs are short-term, high-intensity global programs where students travel on a private tour to visit globally successful, multi-national companies, as well as the must-see historical sites of the region. This year, Singapore and Israel were on the list. I decided to interview two of my classmates, Andrew Page, and Carl Shapiro, who visited Singapore, and Israel, respectively. Continue reading to learn more about their journey and enjoy the beautiful sights!

Andrew Page
First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing

  • Why did you choose Singapore for your GBE?

AP: I chose to go to Singapore for several reasons. First, I have never been to Asia and I felt like I would be able to get a great experience with many different cultures in a short amount of time. Secondly, this GBE was focused on experiences with doing business throughout Asia and we had opportunities to meet with companies that had operations in Singapore and throughout Asia.

  • Who else was on this trip with you?

AP: There were 25 other students and two faculty members.

  • What were some memorable experiences that you would like to share?

AP: First: the food! We tried all the great food that Singapore has to offer and although it may seem weird that this is such a memorable experience, it is such a unique part of the culture throughout all of Singapore. Everyone has food recommendations for you whether you ask for them or not.

Another memorable experience was visiting the different culturally-specific areas, for example: Little India, Chinatown, and Arab Street. It felt like we were walking into a different country when we went into these areas, but at the same time the cultures were so integrated with each other. There were Chinese jewelers selling to Indian customers in Little India and an Indian clothing shop owner selling Islamic clothing on Arab Street. It was just so unique to see these cultures intertwine.

Finally, I was able to interact with a lot of people with whom I have not had time to spend before. Out of our group, the majority were in the Working Professionals MBA program, so I was able to speak with them about their experiences and make some great network connections. I was also able to spend a lot of time with our faculty member and get to know him outside of the classroom setting.

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

AP: I did not expect the opportunities that were available to us as students in that part of the world. There were many instances where we were able to make connections for future opportunities with the companies we were meeting.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

AP: I would recommend GBE to every student who can do it, and I might try to do it again next year!

Carl Shapiro

First-year Full-Time MBA student with a focus on marketing and brand management

  • Why did you choose Israel for your GBE?

CS: The focus for my career is marketing and brand management which has a strong relationship with the culture in which the brand is doing business. Israel is unique in that the domestic market is too small to support a major company on its own, so as a means for survival, Israeli firms have to export and market themselves in foreign markets. To be on the ground and start to understand the strategies that these firms develop is incredibly powerful.

I also have a personal relationship with Israel, having family there. I am personally invested in the success of the country. I think the unique aspects of Israel– bringing the Hebrew language back to life, establishing the first independent Jewish state in 2000 years, and transforming a desolate environment into fertile land– show what grit and hard work can accomplish.

  • How many students/faculty were on this trip?

CS:  I went to Israel with Oded Shenkar (faculty) and there were nine students on the trip.

  • Any memorable experiences that you would like to share?

CS: Some of my most memorable moments were interacting with Israelis outside of the corporate environment to develop a deeper understanding of their culture. By spending my free time out in Tel Aviv on the beach, or in the markets of Jerusalem, I could really get a feeling of where the entrepreneurship begins and what makes the Israeli condition so relevant to the success of disrupting technology. In the corporate environment, we had the opportunity to talk to the leaders of the businesses we visited, the decision-makers at the highest levels. Because Israel’s culture is so casual, we were encouraged to ask probing questions and get very honest and valuable answers that in the United States might not be possible.

 

  • Was there anything that you did not expect or would have done differently?

CS: I would have liked to have more time for one-on-one networking with some folks from the different companies. Many of the companies we visited introduced us to several high-level managers, but we didn’t have the opportunity to hear them all speak, and it would have been helpful to break out into smaller groups or have unstructured time when we could focus more on the things that interest us with someone from the company who also shares that interest.

  • Would you recommend others to join the GBE next year? 

CS: I absolutely recommend the trip. The reality of the closeness of the Israeli economy with the American economy means that if you work in tech, you will encounter an Israeli firm. It can be an incredible asset to understand the differences and similarities of the two cultures to get the most out of the relationship.