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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.


Innovation Israel Pre-Trek Meeting

Visiting Israel has been a lifelong dream of mine for quite some time. Because of this, you can imagine how excited I was to learn that Fisher was planning on offering a course this year that included a visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Of course, I signed up for the class.blog_telaviv

The class is centered around the economy and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel, specifically in Tel Aviv. Our instructor for the course was born and raised in Israel and has an incredible background in business and international consulting. As a student, I have really enjoyed learning about the Israeli economy and culture.

One way in which I was able to learn more about the culture was to attend a social gathering at the home of David and Bonnie Milenthal. The CEO and founder of Israel and Company attended the event, along with representatives of the Columbus Jewish Federation. We learned of their experiences and connections in Israel and had the chance to speak with them in a nice setting that allowed for a lot of learning to take place.

While in Israel, my class will visit various companies and organizations, ranging from global Fortune 500 firms to technology startups. Along with visiting businesses, the trip will include a visit to Jerusalem to see and learn more about the historic Israeli culture. I couldn’t be more excited for this amazing opportunity.


Lessons From Harley Davidson’s Chairman and CEO

Keith Wandell is the current chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Last weekOB-YU416_0905ha_DV_20130905150728 he stopped by The Fisher College of Business to enjoy lunch with students and speak about leadership. His story is quite unique and he ended up being one of my favorite speakers that has visited Fisher.

Keith was very blunt and honest about his life and the business he oversees. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He was very transparent and honest in assessing his own performance as CEO and chairman. He admitted his faults and highlighted many of his successes during his tenure at Harley-Davidson. What he has done for the company over the last 5 years has been pretty amazing.

I was really impressed with how focused he was on the customer. When I think of an auto company, whether cars, trucks, or motorcycles, I think of operational excellence. Keith mentioned that his first order of duty when becoming the CEO was to focus efforts on their customer. He felt that the customer needed more attention, and not just the typical Harley customer, but the future Harley customer.

Keith looked into minority groups and helped the company develop and market products to groups that had previously not been targeted. This has been an important factor in the success of Harley over the last few years. Women and African Americans have made a huge shift into the biking industry and Harley was well positioned to receive them.

During his time as CEO, Keith had to make a lot of difficult decisions to help keep the company moving forward. He said that it is never easy, but it is necessary in the position of a turnaround CEO. In addition to being extremely focused on success, he stated that a great leader needs to know how to take a stand against mediocrity. He related a story about meeting with an extremely poor performing Harley plant that illustrated his focus very well. He didn’t negotiate with the employees and was honest in telling them how poorly they performed. His tactics worked. That same plant is now one of the top performing manufacturing facilities in the world and has won various rewards for its success.


MBA Internal Case Competition

A week or so ago, the annual Fisher Internal Case Competition was held here on campus, pitting teams comprised of first year students against each other, in competition for spots on the team for the Fisher Invitational Competition which is coming up in April.  The invitational brings teams from other Big 10 business schools to campus, to compete in a live case for a company.  As I have said before, I like case competitions because I feel that they allow me (and my fellow students) to put theories learned in class into action in a safe environment, and get then get feedback on the ideas generated.  One awesome aspect of the Internal is that the judges for the competition were a combination of business executives and faculty who volunteered their time to come in on a Saturday to come in and take part in the competition.

You may have heard the quote before “feedback is a gift”, which is something that I believe is true.  It allows a glimpse of your actions through the eyes of another person, giving additional depth and perception to your personal beliefs on something.  Since case competitions are a safe environment, participants can apply some creative thinking to the theories that they have learned, and see what the results are (what I mean by this, is that if you take a risk, and make the wrong choice, you won’t be fired, and a company won’t lose millions of dollars).  While such a safe environment doesn’t perfectly replicate the post-business school working world, it allows skills and ideas to be developed and tried that can be useful in the future.  Relating this to my past as a Marine, this is similar to conducting training patrols against other U.S. units in the United States, before deploying overseas.  Both units, or teams, benefit from the exercise and the additional stress of competition, while at the same time building skills.   Having impartial judges who are experts in their fields observe all the teams during this process, and then provide feedback to every team and participant is a very valuable learning experience if the participants take the input to heart.

Win or lose, I think that all of the participants from this year’s competition learned some valuable lessons about themselves and their teamwork skills through the process.  I personally believe that that learning and growth opportunity is move valuable than the accolades of winning a case competition, although winning is nice too.

 


Angela Joyner’s Career Advice

Frequently business schools invite many executives to visit campus and share experiences with students. I personally love these opportunities because it allows me to see someone’s perspective regarding their career path. Many times the executives have great lessons for getting ahead in business, which is important. But the real insights I take away from these meetings is how I learn to have a more rewarding life.

Angela Joyner is a big name executive from ConAgra Foods, but what she spoke about wasn’t all business and leadership; It was more than that. She spoke about how to become a better individual and a more rounded leader in today’s business world. Here are a few of my favorite points from my time listening to her:

  1. Find Your Purpose – This really resonated with me because I think that there is much more to life than a successful P&L. Clearly, any business leader wants his or her business to perform well, increase revenue, grow the bottom line, and provide a great experience for employees. However, at the end of the day, what is your purpose in being a business leader? Are you replaceable? Most leaders would like to think that they aren’t. The truth is, almost everyone is replaceable. So, find your purpose, work hard, and enjoy life.angela joyner
  2. Surround Yourself With The Right People – Most great athletes recognize the importance of their teammates when it comes to achieving great success and receiving awards. Similarly, successful coaches heap appraise upon their wonderful staff and players for winning championships. This isn’t because they aren’t the best in the business, but because they are some of the smartest in the business. Similarly in business, great leaders surround themselves with hard working, honest, and capable individuals. This not only helps the business succeed, but it allows for everyone on the team to learn and grow from one another.
  3. Make Your Personal Brand A Priority – This is key for any new business leader. Angela highlighted that everyone has thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s performance and style. In business settings, it doesn’t take long for someone to label you as an all-star, an average joe, or an under-performer.
  4. Align Your Heart With Your Smarts – To sum it up, find out what you are passionate about and find a way to excel in that specific industry or function. Incorporate what you love to do into your daily routine. This will create a much more balanced leader that is good for the long haul, not just short term performance that eventually burns out.

MAcc Applied Talk with Joseph A. Alutto

Joseph A. Alutto, Interim President who served as the university’s executive vice president and provost for more than five years and dean of Fisher College of Business for 16 years, shared his experience and advice on leadership with our MAcc students.

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“There is more to life than work and a career”

Joseph A. Alutto pointed this out at the very beginning of his speech before he talked about other leadership topics. He advised us to find out  ’what really means for you’, either at work or in life. He showed different attitudes towards work and life for different time periods by recalling his journey of work. At the early stage of his career, work was always the priority. However, at this point of time, family overrides work. For us, who are going to start a brand-new career path, may not be able to get a good balance between work and life, but what we can do is to figure out what really mean for ourselves, either career achievement or family relationship, and approach it step by step. We should work toward what we are expecting, not what others are hoping.

“Thick skin” 

This is another interesting concept that Alutto mentioned during the speech. I understand this concept in a few aspects: first, we need to develop a thick skin to face failures and learn from them. Second, we need to develop a thick skin to push changes in the organization. Third, we need to develop a thick skin to deal with complaints among team members and “accept the reality that you will often be the only ‘adult’ in the room”.  Alutto mentioned this concept several times through his speech and concluded that “develop a thick skin, know ‘who you  are’ and make it your brand”. I consider this is the key to leadership. How you brand yourself affects how you are going to stand out from the crowd.

Alutto highlighted other key insights, including:

“Skill development and performance have greater career value than title, position or compensation.”

“Always surround yourself with people who complement your skills, interests and perspectives but who duplicate your values.”

“Focus on alternative paths to goals and not just on goals themselves.”

“Do what you believe is best.”

Leadership is a process that one’s reputation is built. There are a lot of things we need to learn before reaching the stage of leadership, and there are also many things we can do to step toward it.  Go Buckeyes!

 

 


Angela Joyner, PhD – plug the leaky buckets

Last week was a whirlwind at school – with a ton of fantastic opportunities to have small-group chats with inspirational leaders.

Don’t believe me?

  • Monday – lunch with Melisa Miller, President of Alliance Data (and my future boss!) with a small group from my Advanced Leadership Class
  • Tuesday – Super Bowl Ad Review with AMP and a few marketing professors
  • Wednesday – lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets – data analytics meets marketing
  • Thursday – lunch with Dr. Angela Joyner, Vice President/General Manager at ConAgra Foods, Inc., courtesy of the Black MBA Association

Told you. Whirlwind.

On Thursday, a few females were asked to join Dr. Joyner for a lunch before her afternoon session to talk about women in the business world and leadership positions. I was so honored to be part of this event and have the chance to ask some questions to Dr. Joyner in a more personal setting. It was a very open dialogue and we discussed female leadership, tricks for approaching conflict and then general work-life balance concerns.

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Then Dr. Joyner spoke to a larger group later that afternoon. I filled several pages of notes during her session, but I summarized some of my favorite take-aways below.

These are great tips for business school, the workplace and life in general :)

  • Prioritize
  • Plug the leaky buckets – allow yourself more time to be effective — set guidelines and rules
  • Get the facts at work – Dr. Joyner said this beautifully; find out what good, better and a rock-star looks like at your company
  • Identify your gifts & be an expert in something
  • Create a powerful brand
  • Surround yourself with the right people
  • Find your entourage and create raving fans
  • Authentically promote yourself
  • Reflect, revise and renew – celebrate all of your accomplishments and look at your life with open eyes

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Fisher is constantly bringing in inspiring and note-worthy guests that speak to so many topics.

As you can see from the list at the beginning of the post – one week was full of diverse speakers from a wide range of organizations. The meeting with Dr. Joyner inspired me — but so did the lunch on Monday with Melisa Miller. She got me so excited about returning to Alliance Data and working every day to make an impact. However, my Wednesday lunch with Jeff Eldersveld from the Columbus Blue Jackets was extremely informative.

Just another great week here at Fisher!

 

 

If you’re interested, check out Angela on Twitter and her blog from The Wonder Loft‘s page.

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Happy Lunar New Year From Fisher

photo-CNY2Every year the Fisher College of Business hosts an evening to celebrate Chinese New Year. This event is one of the favorites for many students. Here’s why:

  • Great entertainment from many Chinese students- this includes, singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, and much more!
  • Fun games for all attendees, including children. The event isn’t only for graduate students, but for members of the faculty and community. This truly is one of the best attended events every year!
  • Incredible Chinese food is brought in from a local restaurant. Not to worry, the Americans aren’t selecting the restaurant, we leave it to the experts to choose which offering is the most authentic!
  • A glimpse into another culture. Because many students at Fisher aren’t Chinese, or have never been to China, the celebration allows others to have an educational experience as well. For me, this is one of the reasons why I find this event so enjoyable.

 


2014 Internal Case Competition – controlled chaos

A couple weekends back I volunteered for the 2014 Internal Case Competition. It was a great experience to set back and time – much less stressful that last year where my group and I were frantically trying to create a strategic plan, marketing campaign and solid finances for a fake perfume company.
I am a a big fan of case competitions – I even traveled to Calgary, Canada last year to complete in the Haskayne 24 Hour Case Completion with the Haskayne School of Business. Side note, want to see four outspoken and intelligent Fisher MBAs become experts about the Canadian Oil Sands Industry in less than a day? Send them to Canada and throw them into a case competition!

One thing I enjoyed seeing during my volunteering was truly how much you learn in business school. As a timer, I was able to watch several presentations – and hold up cards that said 5/2/1 minute left and STOP – yeah, I  know, I am a huge deal :)

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But in all seriousness, the presentations were fantastic. I am constantly in awe of the talent of my fellow classmates. The Class of 2015 is full of great presenters and very creative individuals. The Internal Case is a weekend of long nights, early mornings and learning how to communicate with your teammates. Judges aren’t afraid to ask intense questions and make you defend your ideas — or think on your feet!

Congrats on another successful Fisher Internal Case Competition weekend!

 

 


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