I doesn’t feel like my first day at Fisher was a long time ago, but we’ve actually gone through half of the MAcc program already. From the first day of orientation, August 14th, to the last day of class in the autumn semester, December 6th, we’ve all done some incredible work.
I still remember all the projects that we had done (and sometimes, all the frustrations they brought us). Nevertheless, all of us finished the projects well and we all learned something.
Now that I’ve been here for awhile, I can tell you that being a graduate student is a lot different from being an undergrad student. Everyone in the program is very self-motivated. We work a lot more efficiently as a group. Since the program is heavily case-based and group-based, having good interpersonal skill is very important. But it’s fun! From what I can see, everyone in the program is enjoying themselves and our groups; most of us met new people and got to know a lot of new friends.
The spring semester will start on January 8th. But when we come back to campus, we will not see the KPMG students anymore. I was talking to some KPMG students the other day and he said he met (and befriended) more non-KPMG program students than he originally expected. I was glad to hear that, but also realized that– unlike me– he would be leaving soon and coming back for the summer term to finish up his degree. It’s a unique program.
Time for me to relax over break. See you in January!
As a way to wrap up the first semester of the MAcc program, all MAcc students, faculty, and staff came together this past Friday night to celebrate one last time before winter break. The evening consisted of a cocktail hour, dinner, and reception.
The cocktail hour was by far one of my favorite portions of the evening. Not because of the cocktails, but rather, the casual aspect of the cocktail hour. I was able to jump around from classmate to classmate and reconnect with them. I was even able to reconnect with some of my undergraduate professors (who also teach in the MAcc program) and update them about my life– and thank them for all that they have done for me. Once the cocktail hour ended, we sat down and had a delicious dinner. Following dinner, Professor Zach had the opportunity to give a speech. He had the whole room laughing and reminding us of all the good times we had this past semester. Additionally, a guest speaker came in who was also a part of the MAcc program a few years ago herself.
Trying to be cool at the MAcc receptionAfter the MAcc reception ended, a number of us enjoyed the nightlife Columbus offers. It’s crazy to think that we are halfway done with our MAcc (and some of us are 87.5% done with our college career). I will miss some of my peers who will go off and do an internship this spring semester through the KPMG program. However, I will continue to work hard and to make those lifelong connections!
As I reflect through the past five months of my Fisher MBA experience, one thing that kept me going through this rigorous and fast-paced program was my core team. Yes, you heard that right – my core team! Go, Team #3!
Fisher heavily emphasizes the concept of team. Just before you officially start your MBA, you go through a three-week pre-MBA term. At the end, you find out who’s on your core team, the team you will be working with throughout the first year of your program. Just to offer a glimpse of how a pre-MBA term looks, this is where you get to know about the program structure, professors, resources at Fisher and Ohio State. At the same time, you get to attend executive lunches, seminars, career roundtables, and speaker series.
The whole entering class is divided into teams of four to five, with people not only coming from different backgrounds but also from different parts of the world. The diverse nature and vivid experiences that every individual brings to a team make you appreciate the power of such a setting. We, as a core team, faced our first challenge on the very first day we got introduced to each other. As a part of Fisher Challenge, we had to present a case analysis on one of the budding organizations in Columbus and propose an innovative way to help increase the firm’s profits. This was the first group exercise with my team and to date, we’ve delivered on many such assignments. We ended our pre-MBA term with an experiential learning program with all core teams at a location little outside of Columbus (called “Summit Vision”). This was absolutely one of the experiences that I’ll add to my special memories from Fisher for the rest of my life.
Over time, as I’ve progressed through the MBA program, these are the people who’ve become a big part of my Fisher family. It’s not just the assignments inside class, but the other experiences. Recently, we all planned a day out at the Columbus Zoo. It was definitely a stress-reliever after the end of our first term and simultaneously gave us the time to know each other better in a setting outside of the class.
Overall, working in a team setting has not only helped me in learning the art of coming together as a team to solve a problem but to also appreciate different leadership styles operating within the same team. It, in a true sense, gives you the flavor of how your post-MBA corporate life would be.
Can’t believe that we are already halfway through our MAcc program! Last Friday, the MAcc program hosted a dinner reception and invited all MAcc students, their spouses and children, as well as MAcc faculty and staff. Some of the MAcc students are involved in a unique partnership between Fisher and KPMG where they won’t return for spring semester but will be back in summer to finish the rest of their program. I was surprised by how sad I was when I realized that there were only about 10 days left with them.
One of my favorite memories with them centers around our Financial Reporting class, one of the core classes of the MAcc program. Just like the other classes, we self-selected our case group and came up with a name for it–“My Favorite Group.” Whenever the professor called on us, he would always say “Let’s go to ‘My Favorite Group’.” Some of the students didn’t realize that it was our group name until they confirmed with us. Here’s the group:
I, as well as other students, will miss them a lot. So, guys, come back for a visit soon!
The SMF Class of 2018 has been trying to keep a tradition alive: the SMF class dinners. Over the past semester, the SMF Council, led by the one and only Nenson Wang (best event organizer at Fisher), organized two wonderful dinners for the entire class.
The council decided back in mid-October to organize the first SMF dinner of this academic year at a Chinese restaurant called Hong Kong House. Regardless of location, the goal of these dinners is to get us off campus and to really enjoy our limited time together. In this case, it was a great opportunity for domestic students and students coming from other countries to have a taste of authentic Chinese food.
More than 40 students and Professor Pinteris (SMF program director) attended the dinner and we can definitely say that it was a success. I had the opportunity to try multiple authentic Chinese dishes such as Mapo Tofu or Dumplings and was really pleased with it, as were my fellow classmates. For my part, I have to admit that prior to that dinner, the only Chinese restaurants that I had been to was Chinese buffets not representative of typical Chinese dishes. When not munching on the food, we talked about a lot things– classes, the finance world, and our own personal experiences from across the globe.
Our second SMF dinner took place about a month later at Melt Bar and Grill in Short North. Attendance for this dinner was slightly lower but we had the chance to share the meal with two additional guests: Professor Pirim, who taught us statistics in the first quarter of the program, and Professor Schneider, who is currently teaching us Investments. The food was more traditional American food and the atmosphere was great! It was also really nice to see the faculty in a different setting than a lecture hall!
This year, in the spirit of involvement, I decided to join the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) student council. Every graduate program here at the Fisher College of Business (including MBA, MHRM, MAcc, SMF) has its own council representation that is responsible for being the collective “voice” for the students in the program.
Each council is comprised of students who are elected by their classmates. For 2-year programs like MHRM and MBA, the council is primarily 2nd-year students. For 1-year programs like MAcc and SMF, obviously all council members are in their first year. Each council decides how to delegate responsibilities amongst members and establishes the scope of what they hope to accomplish as a team over the course of the year.
Meet the MHRM Council
“Chief of Everything”
“Queen of Funds”
Obviously, we have a good time. But we also take our jobs very seriously. I view the role of MHRM Council as the heartbeat of the MHRM program. We are the eyes and the ears of the students, and it’s our responsibility to keep the pulse of what Fisher students are experiencing, saying, and feeling about the MHRM program. Then, the most important part: what we do with that information.
I think our most noble duty is to represent the interests of the students by passing along feedback to faculty and staff with regard to possible additions or revisions to the program. In a field where technology advancements are affecting nearly every aspect of what HR professionals do—recruiting, talent planning, compensation, training, you name it—it is critical that our curriculum is agile enough to keep up with current best practices. And I feel fortunate to belong to a school that respects its students and actively listens to our suggestions.
Beyond being a bridge between students and faculty, the MHRM council also puts on additional events to engage outside of class and keep the Fisher MHRM community alive. This year, we’ve had football tailgates, pumpkin picking, bar crawls– and this week, we went to a comedy show.
For professional development, we just had our first event of the year. It was a TED Talk-inspired event (no surprise for those of you who know my obsession). The idea was inspired by some feedback we had heard from last year—students want more opportunities to engage with smaller companies that may not have a presence on campus, and they want to do it in ways other than traditional networking. So we brought in HR Professionals from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Marathon Petroleum, CoverMyMeds, and Cardinal Health to talk about innovative things they are doing in the HR space. It was really exciting to be able to interact with some folks we don’t normally get exposure to and the event was a great success.
On the whole, it is really rewarding to be able to give back to a program that has served me well in my time here. It also gives me a chance to stretch my leadership muscles in preparation for future roles I may have.
I recently enjoyed another of the famous SMF class dinners (the first of which I talked about in a recent blog post). Once again, the turnout was great and this time, we even had several of our professors attend! It was another great evening of chatting with people who we see in classrooms every day in a different setting. However, the best part of the evening was yet to come…
After dinner, a large group of our classmates went to The Ohio State Ice Rink for ice skating! The rink has times that the public is allowed to skate on the ice and students get a discount. There were a ton of students there, most of whom were very graceful on their skates, and I think the SMFs stood out like a sore thumb.
There were a very small number of experienced skaters in attendance from the SMF program, but that’s part of what made it so fun! I’ve been skating just a handful of times in my life and I skate with the grace of a new born giraffe. However, I did manage to stay on my feet the whole time (with the assistance of some strangers who I almost toppled over). I can’t say the same for all my classmates, but for a lot of them, it was their first time skating and there were a lot of really quick learners.
I really was very impressed by how willing everyone was to get out of their comfort zones and be such good sports the whole time. It was great to get to hang out with the general student population and to get to participate with my classmates in somewhat of a holiday tradition in the United States.
My favorite class this semester, and thus far in the MBA Program, has been Organizational Coaching with instructor John Schaffner. This course not only provides the opportunity to learn more about yourself as a leader and how you can improve, but also how to bring out the best in others to help them achieve their personal goals. As an added bonus, Professor Schaffner is hilarious and makes the class very engaging.
I spent seven weeks in this course with about 25 other students. The class began with each student personally reflecting, and included an exercise where we had to create our “Life Map.” This map looks like an EKG reading, where the peaks and lows are representative of the best and worst moments of your life over the years. While this exercise is very personal, it allows you to be introspective, and by going through a coaching session with a partner in the class, you gain additional insight into how some of your life experiences translate into your style of leadership. After completing our life maps, we spent the remainder of the course completing additional exercises to learn more about ourselves and then practicing different strategies for developing and maintaining a coaching relationship.
Coaching is a co-active relationship, and as the coach, you work through the process of deepening the client’s self-awareness by asking the right questions to help them realize they truly are capable of solving any challenge they are experiencing, whether personal or professional. Through practicing effective listening, awareness, and communication, you are able to develop skills that are critical to success in any leadership position.
Fisher just recently introduced a course called LEAP+TC (Leadership Effectiveness through Applied Projects + Team Coaching) where students gain hands-on experience managing a project with a non-profit organization in Columbus to further develop leadership competencies, practice team building skills and apply the skills they’ve learned in the classroom. I’m glad to have the opportunity to learn more about coaching to better prepare me for my career post-MBA!
While sitting down with a prospective candidate of the SMF program and Nicholas Denker at lunch the other day, I had time to reflect on what Ohio State has to offer students. You should know the vast amount of resources you have at your disposal here at Fisher College of Business, although I can’t name them all within this short blog post!
Just within the first half of the year, I have learned from professors who have very recent work experience, professors who hail from other nations and give new perspectives on issues, and even a professor who was in the armed forces. All have been excellent and helpful. Just because this is a large school does not mean professors are not able to meet with students. Professors always encourage us to stop into office hours to see them.
Also, the wide variety of working professional and academic professors is a huge benefit to students. Their experience and connections give students more knowledge than we know what to do with. They expect the best out of the class and, in time, the transformation from student to professional takes place.
The SMF program brings in speakers from all different types of industries, as well. On most Friday mornings, there are presentations (set up by Fisher faculty and staff) featuring a variety of leaders. You can come in and listen to industry experts who are actively working. Not only will you be able to gain insight from their presentations, but a select number of students each week can have lunch with the speakers to ask any questions that come to mind. This perk is not limited to just the business college. The entire university brings in highly-regarded speakers. Just this past week, OSU hosted J.D. Vance to talk about his work, The Hillbilly Elegy.
Fisher College of Business has a vast alumni network, as well. The success of past graduates helps us as future graduates achieve even more. To be able to go on LinkedIn and see that alumni of Fisher are working at almost every company I look up is reassuring that I can do great like my colleagues before me. These alumni know all too well the difficulties that may lie ahead for students. From my experience, these alumni have responded when I reach out to them and provided great advice for me to move forward with. Put in the work and Fisher will reward you with the knowledge you need to succeed.
One of the main reasons I decided to pursue the full-time MBA at Fisher was because of the many experiential learning opportunities offered, especially the GAP international consulting experience. However, little did I know that other opportunities would present themselves even within our first semester here!
One afternoon, while exploring the events on our Event Hub webpage, I stumbled across an information session to get involved with “Fisher Serves” and engage in a consulting project for a local non-profit. Fisher Serves is a student-run organization committed to promoting awareness and connecting Fisher students to service-based opportunities in the community. The information session I signed up for was about working on a consulting project for the Columbus Museum of Art.
After attending the session, I realized what an opportunity this would be to not only get more involved in my new community and engage in the art scene of the city, but also build relationships with students outside of my core team and apply some of the key concepts we’ve been learning in class.
After a group meeting and tour of the museum with museum staff, we’re working in two teams to help improve museum event revenues and the café experience. It’s been a great opportunity working with the Fisher Serves team and we’re excited to build out strategies for the museum moving forward. Hopefully, you will see some of our new ideas come to fruition at the museum next year!