Ok, guys. It’s officially crunch time. Both my job and school are entering the peak of their busyness – at the same time.
Group Projects: I have a group project and/or presentation in all three of my classes – all due in the last two weeks of the quarter.
Finals: I have to take my finals EARLY, on Friday of the last week of class, because I am leaving the Saturday before finals week for a week-long business trip in Las Vegas (off strip…don’t get too jealous, it will be more work than play). This means I will miss a weekend of study time, as well as Professor-led study sessions.
Work: I am responsible for the success of our biggest meeting of the year – one that involves customers – and just so happens to be during finals week.
So, yea, I’m busy right now. But it’s time I stop b*tch*ng about it, and instead, take a deep breath, and start pushing through it. I will try to take one day – no, one hour or minute- at a time, and make the most of that hour or minute. I will plan ahead, so that there is set time to complete all of our group projects. And I will hunker down this coming weekend and study, study, study for finals!
Over Christmas break, I came across a neat new book. Karen Patterson, a Southern Ohio Author, has recent published “Eating Your Way Across Ohio – 101 Must Places to Eat”. In this, Patterson reviews restaurants across the state that are not chain restaurants or fast food. What a great book; I mean who doesn’t like to eat? This book has pictures of yummy food, pricing, locations, and reviews of 101 places to eat. With the ease of technology these days, I know it’s easier to find a review online but this hardcover book is a great resource for those looking for a great new place to dine.
With final exams, presentations, and papers right around the corner, take some time for a road trip. Grab some friends, flip through the book and find a location you want to try. My personal favorite in the book is the Old Canal Smokehouse, located in Chillicothe (Unfortunately, it is closed for the time being while it’s being remodeled due to a recent fire.) Another good place that is reviewed is the Der Dutchman Restaurant, located right outside of Columbus in Plain City.
Last week, I wrote about meeting Kevin Malhame, owner of Northstar Café and Third and Hollywood restaurants at the “Taste of Innovation” event. Well, the very next day I attended the Fisher Graduate Women in Business Annual Summit, an event that I also attended last year as a recently accepted WPMBA student. My manager graciously gave me the go-ahead to let me spend part of my busy workday at this event, which was focused on women entrepreneurs and the concept of driving your career. “Chart your Course” featured numerous different speakers, including a Professor, three local Columbus entrepreneurs, and a career counselor. All were excellent speakers and very insightful. I especially enjoyed the workshop lead by Nancy Jane Smith, carreer counselor. Her process for finding your “right” career really clicked with me, and I plan on using it throughout my career.
But the highlight of the event for me was meeting Liz Lessner, CEO/Founder of the Columbus Food League – and more notably, Betty’s restaurant – a favorite of mine! After Liz spoke on the panel, I introduced myself to her and, just like I did with Kevin, told her how much I love her restaurants and admire the work she’s done in Columbus. Liz was amazingly warm, kind, and down-to-earth – I felt like I could have talked to her for hours! She gave me some insight on how I could merge my passion for good food and great restaurants with my non-experience in the industry.
In less than 24 hours, I met both of my Columbus food idols – the owner of Northstar Café and the owner of Betty’s! It seems my MBA is paying off already. Thanks, Fisher!
As a Working Professional MBA student, there are many weeks that I’m sure I cannot possibly fit anything else in my schedule. But I still try. With only being at Fisher for a little over two years, I hope to experience several speakers, events, and opportunities that I could not or would not have the opportunity otherwise. The Fisher College does an excellent job of bringing in speakers and having events geared to expanding knowledge, networking with executives, and some opportunities just to have fun. Granted, the majority of events are held during the weekday which are a little harder to attend but talking with your employer about the event you want to attend may help in your ability to go. Going to the Varsity Club after class is also a good place for networking (or so I’m told, my hour drive home hinders me going, but some night I really will go after class.)
One of the events that was held recently was the Taste of Innovation; a fundraising event for the Spring Innovation Summit that will be held on April 20th. Fortunately, my 8pm class was not being held so a group of six WPMBA students went (among many other students from other programs). A sampling (and by sampling, I mean, enough to call supper and then some) of food was offered by a few Columbus restaurants. As someone not from Columbus, I intend on making a trip to a couple of the restaurants now that I’ve had a yummy sampling! The owner of Northstar Cafe, Kevin Malhame also spoke about what he is looking for when hiring using an comparison of finding a “good egg” when cooking. It was a fun event, great conversation with classmates, and good food.
These outside of class events are important to meet and networking with others. You never know who you will meet that may lead you to a new job, new career, or just a new friendship. What you know is important, but who you know can potentially be even more important. I encourage you to attend some events outside of class. The HUB has most of the upcoming events listed with information or a contact. Find something that interests you personally and professionally and make plans to go.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the “Taste of Innovation” event hosted by Fisher. The event was right up my alley. It was catered by local Columbus restaurants including Betty’s, Jury Room, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and others. And the keynote speaker was the owner of Northstar Café, Kevin Malhame – number one on mytop five restaurants list. Thus, I took it as a sign of good fortune that my typical 8 pm Thursday night class was cancelled, allowing my classmates and I to attend this exciting event.
We expected the food to be small hors’ devours, but my friends and I were greeted with full-on entrée-size portions upon arrival, which suited our 8 pm bellies just fine. Some of the food I had tried before, like the veggie burrito from Betty’s. I have yet to dine at Piada, a quickly growing Chiptole-meets-Italian type restaurant. I had heard mixed reviews – some loving, some not so much. The burrito I tried put me in the not-so-much camp, but I will visit the actual restaurant before I take an official stance. I also tried some macaroni salad and chicken salad cups from Jury Room, both of which were fantastic. And, of course, the icing on the cake was the Dark Chocolate Gelato I had courtesy of Jeni’s Ice Cream – a staple in my life.
And then came the keynote speech from Kevin Malhame, owner of Northstar Café and Third and Hollywood restaurant here in Columbus. The chance to meet Kevin and hear him speak was my main motivation for attending the event. I’ve admired Northstar from the very first bite of Veggie Burger I took many years ago and have always wondered what it would be like to work for such an innovative company. Kevin spoke about what he looks for in a “good egg” – both in the culinary sense and in his employees. It is clear that Northstar Cafe sets very high standards for not only its ingredients, but also the people it chooses to represent them – both evident in the many dining experiences I’ve had there. After his speech, I was fortunate enough to actually speak one-on-one with Kevin about his restaurants and my career interests – and even snag a free dinner at Third and Hollywood (after giving it mixed reviews – hey, he told us he likes honesty!).
Stay tuned for my next blog post about my experience meeting Liz Lessner, the owner of Betty’s, another one of my top five!
On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with Dean of the Fisher College of Business, Christine Poon. This was started last quarter (see Sarah’s post for a quick overview) and is a great opportunity that has continued. The dinner was held in the Dean’s conference room and there were nine students that attended who were all in different stages of the program. We were all moderately jealous of the one student who was going to graduate in March. We had a catered dinner from Panera.
The dinner was about 50 minutes long; many of us had an exam at 6:00 p.m. We all introduced ourselves and then Dean Poon gave us some insight on her background. She participated in a similar MBA program and worked during the same time so she knows what we are feeling with working 40+ hours a week plus attending class two evenings.
She also discussed the rankings of the programs at Fisher and how the rankings are measured. The WPMBA program is ranked in the top 10 whereas the full-time MBA program is not. We also talked about the semester conversion and shared some of our favorite professors. She was very interested in our thoughts and comments about the program, both during the dinner and was opened for emails/phone calls about our comments/concerns.
This opportunity was really insightful. Dean Poon has an open door policy and she is genuinely concerned with getting each student through the program to graduation. This was a great opportunity and I hope that the dinners continue and others have the opportunity to spend time with Dean Poon. Thanks for such a great dinner!
Before you freak out – the baby is NOT mine! Thank goodness. I am speaking of my friend Mark, my best friend in the WPMBA program who I met at orientation and befriended on day one of class. He and his wife, Lucia, are expecting a baby any day now – in fact, by the time this is posted, they will already be a few days past their due date – and could be parents!
Mark and Lucia were planning on starting the WPMBA program together this past summer; in fact, Lucia was accepted before Mark! But, a few weeks before school started, Lucia got the exciting news that she was pregnant, and decided that work + school + baby = impossible – a choice that many women make. Mark, however, would continue on with his plan to start the program. I find that this is a pretty common decision – there are plenty of fathers of young children in the program, but very few mothers. Chalk it up to whatever you’d like – a women’s maternal instinct to “be there” during the first precious years of childhood, the sheer exhaustion of childbirth, “typical” male/female role, inequality in the workplace…the list goes on.
But the purpose of this post is not to debate these issues. Rather, I simply wanted to dedicate a post to Mark while he’s still childless – and while his life is still (mostly) about him. Word on the stree is, having a baby turns your world upside down. I’m sure there will be nights that Mark nods off through class, or doesn’t make it at all. Tests for which he will barely study. Group projects that he will barely contribute to (OK, I’m getting a little harsh). But for all the difficulties, he will be experiencing one of life’s greatest joys – to be a parent. I haven’t known Mark long, but in the two-plus quarters I have known him, I can say that he will make a darn good father. As far as the WPMBA + Baby = *$(*&#@ equation goes – for that, we’ll have to wait and see!
It’s that time of the quarter. Midterms are upon us. When it comes to studying for midterms, any, and I do mean any task seems better than studying. Clean the house, check. Work on taxes, check. Laundry, check.
Anyways, here’s a few tips on how I manage to focus on studying and not get completed burned out:
Set a timer. I set the timer on the microwave for 90 minutes. I’d study for 90 minutes, break for 30-45, then study again.
Find a room with minimal distractions and leave your material out. You can sit down and study without spending time getting books/computer/notes out.
Use break times for Facebook/Pinterest/TV. I would leave my phone in another room when studying.
Explain concepts to other people. Some of the bigger topics, I’d try to explain them to my husband and give examples related to what he does.
If you have multiple exams, focus on the harder of the two, but do not neglect one exam altogether.
Find a study group. Some people prefer to study in groups because each person picks up different information during a class and can help explain different topics.
Stay positive. Going into an exam with a positive attitude makes a big difference.
Wait, is there life after the WPMBA program?! Right now, with just two quarters under my belt, it’s easy to feel like post-graduation is far off. But it’s important to remember that I will eventually graduate one day. And while I really like my job, I don’t know if it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. So that’s why, when Fisher Career Services scheduled a career session specifically for WPMBA students, I immediately signed up.
The session, held this past Sunday afternoon, focused on helping us think through what our values, talents, and likes/dislikes are, and then use those to create a “Career Marketing Plan”. Personally, I found the values exercise to be the easiest – out of a list of about 30 values, check the eight that matter most to you. Things like health, friendship, challenge, and variety were at the top of mine. From there, we went to the likes/dislikes exercise, in which we listed out things that we both liked and disliked about our past three positions. In doing this exercise, I realized how much of what I currently do at work I really like, and forced me to articulate what I don’t like as much. The talents exercise was more of a challenge – it instructed you to recall times in which you felt certain emotions, like “proud” or “fulfilled”.
These three exercises were meant to give us a foundation for building our “Career Marketing Plan”. By knowing what is important to us and what we like to do, we can lay out a description of who we are and what we want out of our careers. This helps us focus our job search on positions that will actually fit our needs, rather than approach the process with a more open and generally haphazard approach.
Overall, I was very pleased with the WPMBA Career Session and appreciative that it was offered. I hope to attend more events like this in the future that will better prepare me for life after the WPMBA Program!
A year ago, when I was going through the process of applying for the WPMBA Program, one of my biggest concerns was the commute. When I had a phone interview before getting accepted, the interviewers even asked me about the drive time and if it was going to be acceptable to manage both work and class. On a good day (good meaning, no chance of weather or traffic), it takes me an hour and a half to get to campus from where I work. Then there’s an hour drive home. Working and living this far from campus can be a challenge, however, here are some tips:
Talk with your boss before you begin the process to discuss work flexibility. On class days, I leave work early and make up the time by working a little longer on non-class days or in the evenings at home since the majority of my work can be accomplished from my laptop.
Also, factor in fuel and vehicle maintenance in the costs of the program.
Plan for traffic issues. For a 6:00 p.m. class, my goal is to make it to the parking lot by 5:30. Now, that does not always happen with unpredictable traffic issues. When it looks like it might rain or snow, I leave a little bit earlier too.
For group projects, find teammates who can respect your drive. I have been fortunate to have groups that have met before class or on the weekends. Also, utilizing Skype is helpful. Be accommodating and up front about your drive time and be as flexible as possible of when to meet. Try not use your distance as an excuse.
Stay up on maintenance on your vehicle. If you know your car is reliable, you won’t have that to worry about on your drive.
Audio Books. Purchase some of your required reading as an audio book and listen to it on your drive.
Plan for the day. Get gas when you aren’t pressed for time and pack supper/snacks if you don’t want to stop at fast food every day.
Create a driving playlist of upbeat songs for the drive home to help you stay awake.
Find a driver – someone willing to drive you around every day. (I’m still working on this one, maybe if I win the lottery, this will happen.)