Practicing Gratitude

As our year in the MAcc program comes to a close, I asked a few soon-to-be graduates what participating in this program has meant to them. Although we were only here for a year, we know that we will continue to feel Fisher‘s influence throughout our lives.

Max Smith is grateful for the opportunities he found to give back to our temporary home in Columbus:

“I am grateful for the experiences and activities that are available outside of the classroom. As an undergrad, volunteer opportunities were around if you sought them out, but the MAcc program really makes it easy to get involved and help out in the community. Hopefully, this will be something I can continue in the future after the MAcc program.”

MAcc Council President Ace Lassman is grateful for the people he met along the way:

“I am most grateful for the friends I made here! It was a blast to be able to connect with people from such different backgrounds who all want to go out and make an impact in the accounting industry. I couldn’t be more excited to see how all of us will go out and change the world after graduation!”

And finally, I am grateful for the all the opportunities this program has afforded me. I engaged with research, participated in community service, and made lifelong friends. From Big Four recruitment to living in a large city, this program has pushed me and exposed me to ideas and opportunities I would not have otherwise had. So, on behalf of the MAcc Class of 2018, thank you, Fisher!

Special thanks to Maxton “Max” Smith and Andrew “Ace” Lassman for their assistance.

Spring Conference 2018

On Friday March 30th, 2018, the current full-time MBA students welcomed back the alumni of the Fisher College of Business for the “Spring Conference.” The Spring Conference is an annual alumni conference where alumni are invited back to speak to current students about life after the program and to share tangible insights for students heading off to their summer internships.

We welcomed back 13 successful, engaging, and knowledgeable alumni– all experienced in different aspects of business: finance, marketing, operations, and human resources. They represented well-established organizations such as Nestle, Nationwide, Abbott, NetJets, Ford, Wendy’s, P&G, and others.

The current students began the day with a high-level discussion about Transforming Data into Insights and The First 100 Days. Then, students attended presentations about Taxes, Savings, and Personal Investing, All About Buying a Home, and the informative Managing Up, Down, and Sideways. In this session, students were thoughtfully reminded to be authentic, on time, and present. It is important to present your best self at your workplace; people always notice. Then, students were able to go to a breakout session of their choice where they could earn more about the data and skills used in finance, marketing, and operations. The breakout sessions were one of the most important aspects of the day. One student said, “My favorite part of the day were the breakout sessions. I was able to ask specific questions I had pertaining to operations. I was able to gain clarity and felt more confident as I headed into my internship this summer.” Here, students were also able to ask the alumni about tangible skills used while on the job. Many students found this to be very helpful. We finished the day with all-encompassing presentations about Work/Life Balance 2.0 and The Intern’s Final Presentation. During The Intern’s Final Presentation, the students learned how to communicate recommendations for the company. After running the necessary tests and analyzing the data, what do we think the company should do next? Organizations want to see how each candidate goes beyond the data to deliver solutions and results. This puts our creative minds to the test. What is incredible about this insight is that at Fisher, we are given many opportunities to put this into practice. Through classes and group projects, we are consistently encouraged to go beyond what the data says and effectively find solutions. At Fisher, we not only learn how to sustain a business but propel it.

We ended the day with a delightful happy hour where the students and alumni we able to chat and connect. Here is where meaningful connections were made. Students engaged with alumni in a more informal setting which allowed students to feel comfortable asking more questions. The very kind and humble alumni not only offered their insights and expertise, but their willingness to connect further with the students. As the day was coming to an end, an alumni who currently works in the marketing department at Nationwide shared, “I felt extremely prepared for my position at Nationwide after going through the MBA program at Fisher.”

Students left the conference with new insights and new connections but most importantly, with a confidence that Fisher provides through its unparalleled alumni network and invaluable education.

My Top 5 Moments of this Year

  1. Ohio State vs. Penn State

This was probably the most intense and exciting game of my final year at Ohio State. I have gone to a number of Ohio State games, but this came close to being one of the best ones in my entire college career. Both teams were going head-to-head in a top 5 match-up and throughout the game, Ohio State looked lackadaisical on both offense and defense. However, down by more than 16 points in the fourth quarter, Ohio State (led by J.T. Barrett) made miraculous play after play to help seal a win in the final minute of regulation. As a result, the students rushed the field and it was one of the most surreal moments of my senior year!

Me before the Penn State game
  1. Getting a Job!

I have already gone into detail about the job search in one of my previous blog posts, so I will not go into that. However, getting a job is by far my most important personal goal that I achieved this semester. I also passed the first of four CPA exams. Wohoo!

  1. Random Social Gatherings

The MAcc program extends outside the classroom environment. On any given weekend, someone will text another and we will all gather and go out together. It is always fun and a great time to further your bond with your classmates in your personal life.

  1. Intramural sports and random pickup games

This year, we had a MAcc soccer team. That was super fun, and I did not realize how good my classmates were at soccer! It was great team-bonding and it really translated well to our group projects that we were working on together in class. Additionally, I love our random weeknigh get-togethers when we would all meet right outside the RPAC and play a few friendly games of sand volleyball.

The RPAC sand volleyball courts
  1. Making new friends

Coming to Ohio State, you meet students from all different walks of life. You have students who have lived their entire lives in Columbus and students who are living in the U.S. for the first time. I made sure to befriend as many students as possible because each person means something to me. I love how friendly each student is in the MAcc program, and my peers and friends are the real reason why I will never forget this amazing one-year experience.

My new buddy, Ben, from Belgium

Traditional Festival, New Family

Some of the “MBLErs” (Master of Business Logistics Engineering) are from China, including me. We celebrate the Traditional Chinese New Year which is also called “Spring Festival.” This is the first time for most of us to celebrate Chinese New Year away from China (and the first time to celebrate without our families), so we decided to celebrate this special occasion with all MBLE members and professors.

photo by Xiaoyue (Diana) Huang

On February 11th, 2018, the MBLE Council held the Chinese New Year Celebration in the Mason Hall rotunda. Several members from the MBLE program participated. We were glad to have faculty from both the Fisher College of Business and the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering enjoying this wonderful night with us.

Of course, we honored various traditions– including the enjoyment of making authentic Chinese food together (in this case, some people learned how to make dumplings for the first time). Also, we wrote spring festival scrolls and “Fu” characters. By giving the scrolls away to everyone who participated in this event, we wished everyone a happy and lucky new year.

Some modern activities also made things fun. The president of the MBLE Council gave a performance of the Chinese pop song Qinghuaci, and we played Mahjong and card games just as we would at home.

The holiday is an “ending day” for us since this is a time for 2017 to end, but a “starting day” for us since this is the beginning of spring. We will continue working on professional growth and finding our ideal jobs. During our time together, we felt like family members to each other and built what will hopefully be long-lasting relationships.

Maybe this is the true meaning of celebrating the new year, no matter where it is celebrated and when it is celebrated. We say goodbye to the old year by acquiring something valuable. We give a warm welcome to the new year by looking forward to new challenges and treasuring friends and family. Although this is a traditional festival, we have a new family at The Ohio State University.

Seattle Trek!

MBA student Rajat Gugnani reflects on creating a career trek to Washington state and the opportunity it provided to graduate students at Fisher to connect with industry leaders Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft and Starbucks.

With the academic year coming to an end and everyone finishing final presentations and papers for various courses, I look back and feel blessed to have spent a wonderful first year with some fantastic people at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. One of the things I feel passionate about is serving as an MBA Ambassador. It gives me a chance to speak with prospective candidates from across the world, show them our campus, and take them for coffee and lunch while sharing my perspective about our program and school.

I recently took the initiative to build a new “career trek” to Seattle. My motivation for creating a new career trek targeting tech companies came from innumerable phone calls I answered while working with the Admissions Office during my first semester at Fisher. Many students asked if we have established connections with organizations on the West Coast, and I always wanted to say “Yes!” This consequently led to the development of a formalized trek to Seattle.

As soon as I decided to undertake this initiative, I approached a current second-year student, Thais Batista Ronconi, who interned at Amazon and will be joining Amazon in a full time-role this year in Seattle. She was enthusiastic about the idea and was happy to mentor me throughout the development of the trek. We approached the process step by step and started reaching out to alumni and talent acquisition heads/recruiters at various organizations in Seattle. In the meantime, we gauged interest from current students and started working on the timing.

The response we received from students was massive — something that kept us going even after hearing “no” from some of the organizations. After working with companies for almost three months, we got our final “YES” list: Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft and Expedia. Yes, the Big 4 in Seattle.

The timing worked out well with the organizations. We visited in mid-March during spring break with a group of 15 first- and second-year MBAs.

Seattle’s Ferris Wheel at Pier 57

Day 1 started at Starbucks! As soon as we entered Starbucks’ board room, we received a bag full of coffee and goodies for each of us. We started with a session from one of the executives on Sourcing and Global Operations and then learned more about how Starbucks is differentiating itself by investing in technology. We toured Starbucks HQ, which was one of a kind. Every wall illustrated the company timeline by connecting Starbucks’ different product releases with prominent historical events. Also of note: employees can contribute to the less fortunate by buying coffee at a special store inside the building. People from across all departments also meet weekly to discuss how they are impacting people’s lives. From its coffee-tasting space to roasteries, everything at Starbucks is distinct.

Starbucks’ first logo!
At Starbucks’ HQ (top floor)

We commenced Day 2 at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. The first activity took us to the visitor center, a place that has a neat display of everything Microsoft (it features all of Microsoft’s current and upcoming products). From Xbox to Surface book, and from HoloLens to Microsoft’s Age Detection API, we experienced everything.

We were introduced to some cool initiatives at Microsoft and learned how it is utilizing technology to make the world a better place to live. One of the projects that stood out was how Microsoft is helping to find missing children in China. After spending some great time with the recruiter, we met a panel of Ohio State alumni who answered our questions about “all things Microsoft.” Concluding our visit with lunch, it was overall a great day spent in sunny Seattle with our alumni members. Big shout-out to Rafael Williams, university recruiter at Microsoft!

Outside Microsoft’s Visitor Center

Expedia welcomed us with an overview of its organization and later gave a detailed description of its global network of brands. The best part of the visit was a Q&A with the recruiter, who answered more than 50 questions from us.

At Expedia Group’s headquarters in Bellevue, Seattle

Amazon came at last — marking a perfect ending to our Seattle trek. This organization never fails to surprise me — it has now surpassed Google as the best place to work in the United States, according to one survey. We started at Amazon’s “Day 1” building (they consider every day at work to be the first day creating an entrepreneurial start-up environment) with a panel discussion featuring the head of Product Management and a mix of people covering different areas at Amazon! Conversation with each of the panelists gave us more clarity on what Amazon is seeking from its future employees and how its current employees live those 14 leadership principles in their day-to-day work.

After touring the building, we went to the newly opened Amazon Spheres. These spheres serve as a “haven of carefully tended nature geared to letting Amazonians break free from their cubicles and think disruptive thoughts.” Going through each of its floors while experiencing more than 400 different species of cloud forest plants from all over the world was an exhilarating experience. It is definitely a “must-visit” for everyone visiting Seattle. Amazon will soon open the spheres to public.

Amazon Spheres (photo from https://www.instagram.com/seattlespheres/)
Inside Seattle Spheres (I am at the extreme left in a white shirt ;))

It was absolutely a delight to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event and to learn new things about all these organizations. I hope this new trek becomes a legacy at Fisher College of Business.

Organizers (From left to right: me, Rajat Gugnani, current first-year MBA; Thais Batista Ronconi, current second-year MBA, and Alexander Toomey, advisor at the Office of Career Management)

Fisher MBA Opportunities for Law School Students

My Fisher experience is a little different than most other MBAs. Directly after graduating college, I enrolled at the Moritz College of Law to pursue a J.D., with the hopes of being a lawyer. After my first year of law classes and my internship experience working in a law firm, I discovered that practicing law was not something I wanted to do. I felt a little “stuck” in a program that would not present the type of opportunities I was looking for upon graduation. When I discovered Ohio State offers a dual-degree JD/MBA program, I was immediately intrigued. Coming from a business-based undergraduate program, this seemed like a logical next step. Still, I was little hesitant about adding on another year of school. Now, almost one year into the MBA, I could not be happier with my decision.

I have enjoyed every minute of my time at Fisher. The classes are interesting, the professors are engaging, and I have met some really cool people. Classroom discussions are engaging, with a good mix of different viewpoints being adequately represented on every topic imaginable. The environment is extremely collaborative: students are more than willing to work with each other and help everyone out. Even though my peers are competitive in classes and internship searches, everyone is genuinely interested in their each other’s success.

One of the most memorable experiences I have had at Fisher so far was the ability to participate in the ULI Hines Case Competition. The competition allowed me to write pro-formas for a multi-billion dollar mixed-use real estate development project. I was on a team of architect students, landscape architect students, and city planning students to help bring an idea of a development to fruition. The project was two weeks long and extremely time-consuming, but gave me insight as to what it’s like working with others in a simulated development project. Additionally, I was able to network with many in the real estate development industry in Columbus, as professionals served as mentors throughout the process. Being on the winning team of the Columbus competition was a plus as well.

I was able to work with the Office of Career Management to secure an internship at L Brands in its Real Estate division—something I want to do in my future career. Plus, I have a great opportunity in the GAP program to travel and work in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, and Shanghai in May– and I could not be more excited for the opportunity.

As a member of Ohio State’s JD/MBA Class of 2019, I know I will be more than prepared to face the world. I cannot thank Fisher enough for my experiences here, and really have thoroughly enjoyed getting my MBA.

MAcc Gives Back

One of the difficult parts of being in such a short program is that by the time you start to get to know the city, you’re almost done. This can sometimes make it hard for students to participate in community service. On the one hand, you have a whole year to volunteer. But on the other hand, it can be intimidating to finding a good cause immediately after moving to a new place.

 

Future horticulturalists at Franklin Park Conservatory
Cleaning up a new Boys and Girls Club site

One of the MAcc Council’s solutions is “MAcc Gives Back.” Similar to Fisher Impact Day in the fall, MAcc Gives Back is an annual day of service to spend a morning giving back to the Columbus community in the spring. This year, we had the opportunity to volunteer at five different sites across the city. Focusing on issues that ranged from food insecurity to youth programs, MAcc students, faculty, and representatives from Crowe Horwath and Deloitte all had a great time serving.

Hanging out at the food bank with a recent alum
Farming in the city

As Vice President of Community Service for the MAcc Council, I also got to plan and coordinate this event. For any prospective students interested in nonprofit work or even just continuing their service projects from undergrad, this is a great opportunity. This position allows you to plan MAcc Gives Back, VITA, and any other service projects you can fit into the year. I would definitely recommend this position to anyone wanting to engage with the broader community around Fisher.

Our photo shoot at Dress for Success

My Top 3 Memories at Fisher

As my two years at Fisher comes to an end, I can’t help but reminisce on the many experiences I’ve had while completing the Full-Time MBA program. When I first began the program, all the second-year students would say, “Enjoy your time. It goes by fast!” and I would just smile and think, “yeah, sure,”as I could only focus on my seemingly never ending to-do list of homework assignments.  Now that I am one month away from graduation, I finally understand.  It really does go fast!

So naturally, as I become sentimental and reflect on the last two years, I have to share some of my favorite moments– with photos!

#1 – Meeting my Core Team

So, this was slightly awkward at first. We all sat in silence for the first 10-15 minutes of meeting.  But now, we are actually the best of friends!  We look back on that day and laugh.  You become very close with your core team throughout the program and I am thankful to be graduating from the program with friends who feel more like family.

 

 

 

#2 – KeyBank Case Competition

There are numerous opportunities for development while at Fisher, and one that I feel helped me the most was competing in case competitions.  There are both internal and external case competitions and my favorite was the Key Bank Case Competition.  Working closely with this team was a great experience that challenged me to explore outside of my comfort zone and provided me the opportunity to work with two students who have now become close friends of mine.  Plus, we placed in the top 5!

 

 

#3 – UTSAV

Fisher has a diverse class of students and throughout the program, there are numerous opportunities to engage with individuals from different backgrounds and to celebrate their cultures.  UTSAV does just that! UTSAV is an event held by the Fisher Indian Student Association (FISA) in April each year and involves both faculty and students.  UTSAV shares Indian culture with the Fisher community through Bollywood music, Indian dance performances, delicious Indian food, and some fabulous entertainment.  “UTSAV,” which means celebrating life, is a manifestation and celebration of the diversity within the Fisher community.  I performed last year with my core team and had so much fun! I’m looking forward to attending this event again next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Typical Day for a Graduate Administrative Assistant

As a graduate administrative assistant (GAA) for the SMF program here at Fisher College of Business, I’m often asked by students to explain my experience working for the admissions and recruiting team– specifically how I earned the role and what I do. Here’s the information:

Part of the GA crew!
Part of the GA crew. That’s me– third from the left. Also pictured from left: Thais Ronconi, Michael Mahoney, and Danny Chehade.

All admitted applicants to the SMF program are considered for a GAA position. Applicants do not have to complete any additional essays or interviews to be considered for a GA position. The positions are typically merit-based and provide a 50% fee and tuition waiver in addition to a monthly stipend. Students with a GAA position typically work 10 hours per week. There are also very rare 20-hour per week, fully-funded GAA positions. As you can imagine, there is a very limited amount of funding available for these positions and the selection process is quite competitive. Again, you’re considered automatically once you’re admitted and you’ll be advised if the admissions and recruiting team wants to award you with a GAA role.

All GAAs work in the Graduate Programs Office located in Gerlach Hall 100. I’ve always found it convenient because all my classes are located in the same building. The 10 hours per week are typically split into two- to three-hour shifts throughout the week.

On a typical day, I come to the office and spend about 45 minutes to an hour answering emails and phone calls from prospective students interested in applying to the SMF program. I also often meet with students currently studying at Ohio State who wants to know more about what the SMF program offers.

Another aspect of my position consists of welcoming students wishing to visit Fisher for a formal visit. After having a first contact with the student, I set up and plan the visit. The day of the actual visit usually consists of me taking the prospective student to lunch with another current SMF student, going to one of my classes, meeting with faculty and staff, and going on a tour of the Ohio State campus.

This is just a short list of what I may do on a typical day. The goal is for me to support the admissions and recruiting staff in any way needed so that they can find and accept the best students for one of the best SMF programs in the country!

Columbus Staycation

Over Spring Break, my parents made the drive from Oklahoma to Ohio to see me for a few days!  I showed them many of the sights of Columbus, and with some time off from school I got a chance to really enjoy everything myself.

One of my favorite things that we did together, was attend a Blue Jackets game.  For anyone who doesn’t know, the Columbus Blue Jackets is an NHL team that plays in Nationwide Arena in downtown Columbus.  This was my very first hockey game to attend, and it was a ton of fun (it doesn’t hurt that the blue jackets beat Montreal 5-2)!

 

We also made a trip to the Columbus Convention Center, where we saw the statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also stopped at a very cool piece of public art that is housed in the convention center.  It’s really fun to go to with friends and see how goofy your picture turns out.  What’s really cool, is once your picture is taken it’s sorted into a database with everyone who has ever taken a picture there and randomly displayed from then on!

Finally, we made a trip over to Easton Town Center to do a little bit of shopping.  Easton is a really cool outdoor shopping complex with tons of great brands to choose from and also a really fun atmosphere to hang out in during nice weather.

 

All in all it was really fun to get to play host to my parents, and to get to be a tourist in my own city for a little bit.  It was a great reminder of how many different fun things there are to do in Columbus!