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

 

More than a degree: a real opportunity to be influential

Recently, the MHRM students participated in a case competition where we sought to resolve a current HR challenge that PepsiCo is facing. The reason I want to talk about this experience is not only because it’s a cool activity the program provides, but because of what it means for the entire program’s approach to our development as business professionals.

The case competition consisted of 13 teams who presented in front of a variety of influential HR executives. PepsiCo presented the case early on a Friday morning, then we had 24 hours to come up with recommendations and craft a formal presentation. During the first round, we were split into three big groups so that about four teams presented to four judges per room. Out of each presentation room, a team was selected to move on to the next round. During the final round (as if the stakes weren’t high already), each winning team presented to all other competing teams and to all the judges together. An overall winner was picked at the end!

MHRM team (Julie, Christine, Mallory, Tessa)
“Cha-Sha” Team (Sharmeen, Champaigne, Shannon, Charlotte)

The greatest part of this experience was the opportunity to present in front of judges who would interrupt and ask all kinds of tough questions. It teaches you to answer on the spot, how to read a room, how to clarify your ideas, how to maintain poise in the midst of nerves and challenging questions, among other great presentation skills. It truly was all about the delivery of your idea! Forget about school presentations where everyone knows exactly what they are going to say and how long it’s going to take. My team didn’t even get through four slides!

My team: “Crisp Solutions”

In my team’s case, pretty early into our presentation, one of the judges expressed that he didn’t like the idea. What do you do with that?! It’s not like we could go back to the drawing board and adjust. We had to keep going. I loved that this happened to us, though, because it taught me two key lessons.

The first was that I knew and believed in my presentation more than I thought I did. I surprised myself with how confidently I was able to walk the judges through our thought process and to build on what my teammates were explaining to get our point across. I think the minute we saw we were losing the judges’ buy-in, we looked at each other and knew exactly how we would stand our ground.

Yes, we had just worked 24 hours on developing a solution together, but it was the intentional trust-building efforts that taught us how to move forward as teammates not just as a group. By asking each other questions further outside the box every time, the more we deepened how to be highly in tune with each other. I felt very proud that we gave a powerful presentation despite not winning, and that I walked out of the room beaming with admiration for the way my teammates handled themselves and how they helped me handle my response too!

Crisp Solutions (Megan, Reid, Mai, Sarah)
Alex, Reid, Richard feeling accomplished!

 

 

 

The second key lesson was that you never know what new information you are going to have thrown at you. It may make you feel like all the work you did was for nothing, but in reality it has the potential to elevate your professionalism and expand your comfort-zone like never before.

Right when we left the presentation room, I felt cheated because the judges based their questions on information that we were not given. I complained about it for a while, which I realize was not my best move, but when we went back for a feedback session, I realized it was on purpose! The judges spoke about how well we defended our strategy and tried to connect their observations to our plan despite being caught off guard. Realizing my lack of awareness, I asked them how they have handled situations like this when new information came to light.

I learned a lot from their perspective, but most importantly how I could challenge myself to respond differently. It was a clear uncomfortable growth moment, yet the self-reflection that resulted from it is something I will treasure as I continue to develop my skills.

Me receiving “best presenter” award

To say that I recommend this competition is an understatement. I learned so much about myself and I feel really encouraged about the small and intentional ways the Fisher College of Business is helping me achieve my goals!

How to Get Both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in 4 Years

Picture this – It’s May of your senior year of college. You are at graduation in Ohio Stadium and walk across the stage with your classmates, shake the Dean’s hand, and get handed two separate degrees: bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.

The combined BSBA/MAcc program is one of the most unique opportunities the Fisher College of Business has to offer.  You are essentially both an undergraduate and graduate student during your final year of college, taking graduate level classes that satisfy both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.  Every year, high-achieving undergraduates who have met the combined BSBA/MAcc requirements enter the MAcc program and take classes with graduate students from all around the world.

In order to be able to join the combined BSBA/MAcc Program, you must:

  1. Be an Ohio State University undergraduate student studying accounting.
  2. Have 90 credits at the time of application and 120 credits by the time you enter the program.
  3. Have a cumulative GPA at 3.5 or above.
  4. Have taken all required 3000-level accounting specialization courses (except 3400 – tax) by enrollment.
  5. Complete an online application during the fall of your junior year. For the application, you will need to have taken the GMAT and have at least two academic letters of reference, so make sure to plan ahead!

There are a number of undergraduate accounting courses that can be taken as equivalents in the MAcc to satisfy both graduate and undergraduate requirements. This allows for maximum flexibility in completing other undergraduate courses. For example, I was able to finish my Spanish minor my Junior Year because I could defer undergraduate courses to the MAcc program. Here are some examples of course substitutions:

                                                       BSBA/MAcc Course Substitutions

If this seems like something you might be interested in, plan ahead! It is never too early to come into the Graduate Programs Office to speak with a Graduate Ambassador about planning out your undergraduate schedule to meet the program requirements.

I know that this is a lot of information, so if you have any questions about my experience with the BSBA/MAcc program, please feel free to reach out. Being a part of the MAcc program has been an enriching experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to make themselves stand out by obtaining a graduate degree.

WondAVO Morning Routine

(This post is dedicated to all the avocado lovers in the world… I know there are many of us out there.)

So every morning I get up at 6 to go swimming at the RPAC. It’s already 30-ish degrees right now, but the hardest part is not jumping in the water since they’ve got awesome warm water pools. Instead, climbing out of bed is the challenge here. Let’s hope I can keep up on this early-morning swim thing  when winter comes!

Cutting to the chase, after swimming, I am always VERY hungry. I want to share with you how I eat breakfast like a queen:

Step 1: What is more cheerful than cutting open an avocado? I can’t be the only one who feels like a proud mom when looking at these perfect halves!

Avo baby

Step 2: Mash the green little things and grill them on toast with tuna and cheese. My heart missed a beat when taking this picture… So beautiful!

Breathtaking combo

Step 3: Best avocado toast in the world IMO.

Put together (with chopsticks!)

I’m not a cooking enthusiast, but I still feel blessed to have a decent oven in my dorm. Hope you enjoyed my simple recipe!

Shout out to avocado lovers again: An avo a day!!!

It’s getting colder and prettier in Columbus. Stay warm and happy everyone 🙂

Campus looks

The NBMBAA Conference Experience

This past September, the 40th Annual NBMBAA Conference & Exposition was held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, the NBMBAA Conference is the “world’s largest career exposition with exhibitors from 300 of the nation’s top companies.” The event gathers members, corporate partners, and some of the world’s most sought after thought leaders for a week of exploration in the areas of dynamic leadership, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, professional development, and education and workforce policy.

This year was my first time at the conference, and it was one of my favorite MBA experiences so far. There were so many top companies from a variety of industries, such as BlackRock, Eaton Corporation, Google, Johnson & Johnson, National Basketball Association, PepsiCo, Inc., Under Armour, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Whirlpool Corporation. The conference also included different breakout sessions, pitch challenges, speaker lectures, and other events, such as “Big Data: Algorithms vs. Human Analysis” – sponsored by LinkedIn, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Microsoft and The Leadership Studio: R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Women in Leadership – sponsored by Georgia-Pacific.

The conference provided me with one of the best opportunities to get my face in front of my target companies. I had a chance to interview with Microsoft, the NBA, and Under Armour—three of my potential employers. I never imagined I was going to be able to speak with any of those companies, but the conference made that possible.

A few other benefits I received from the conference were being able to watch our case competition team present, speaking with local high students and undergraduates about The Ohio State University and the Fisher College of Business, getting invited to the NFL Kickoff Event at the Detroit Lions Stadium and the Microsoft Meet & Greet, attending an Under Amour Detroit Brand House event, and building relationships with other black professionals. I will always remember this event and how blessed I am to have experienced it, all thanks to Fisher, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and the NBMBAA.

Here are some other perspectives from a few first-years and second-years:

Neethi Johnson, second-year: “I had a wonderful experience at the NBMBAA conference in Detroit where I was able to connect with amazing employers, engage in fruitful conversations, and meet other driven, conscientious MBA students from around the country. As I continue to interview with companies I met at the conference, I look forward to maintaining and cultivating my NBMBAA relationships.” 

Chineze Okpalaoka, first-year: “Last month, I attended the National Black MBA Association conference in Detroit. It has been the highlight of my semester so far. I had the rare opportunity to have enormous face time with recruiters from organizations whose work I admire. I was also able to connect with other young black professionals from universities across the nation. One of my favorite moments was from a breakout session I attended on black women entrepreneurs. It gave me the motivation I needed to keep investing in my own ideas even while I am pursuing my MBA.”  

Tomilola Abiodun, second-year: “The Black MBA Conference was exciting and fulfilling for me. I had the opportunity to network and even interview with some of the top companies in the United States. I am grateful for the opportunity granted to me by Fisher and the Office of Diversity to volunteer and attend the conference.

“I was able to make the best out of the conference by preparing very early. I started applying to jobs on the website in July and started my Interview prep with career management in August. The conference provides great networking opportunities for a second-year MBA like me but can be very overwhelming if one doesn’t prepare adequately. I will advise students to make good use of the resources available to them at Fisher to ensure they gain maximum success at future conferences. I look forward to Houston next year where hopefully I will be at the other side of networking. Thank you, Fisher!”

Anique Russell, second-year: “I attended the National Black MBA conference in Detroit last month and the experience was unforgettable. As a first-year MBA student, it felt so rewarding and beneficial to network with established professionals. As an entrepreneur, I was inspired by the breakout sessions geared specifically toward women in business. I also attended the FedEx small business competition, it was very exciting to watch startups pitch for $50,000 in funding. I can’t wait to attend the conference next year.”

PeopleTalks: Human Capital Strategy

I recently attended the first installment of PeopleTalks, a Ted talk-style event coordinated by the MHRM student council open to all students in the Fisher College of Business. This event featured local HR professionals discussing current Human Capital trends and strategies. This session also included the opportunity to ask questions and network with the speakers. Companies in attendance ranged from startups to global organizations.  Here are my top takeaways from the speakers.

Second-year MHRM students who organized the PeopleTalks event

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Caren – Director of Talent Management, Honda Manufacturing

The labor market has changed dramatically over the years—the current demand for labor is high while the supply is low. Because of this, one of the most difficult issues employers experience is with sourcing and retaining quality talent. For Honda specifically, the technological change in the external environment has increased the need for more IT workers. Over the past few years, they have seen a lack of interest in manufacturing positions within their industry. To combat this, Honda has increased their investment in STEM programs and encourage students to co-op with their company in order to develop the talent they know they will need in the future.

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Rachael – Director of Talent, HR, and Culture

Established in 2008, Updox is a startup that provides customer relationship management systems to reduce the amount of administrative work for healthcare providers. The speaker from this organization, Rachael, was brought in as the first HR Representative and has implemented many initiatives since she began with the company. Since much smaller, new companies can struggle to match the monetary compensation of larger organizations, part of her strategy to attract talent was to offer company stock and generous paid time off (PTO) benefits to their employees. Thus increasing the value of an employee’s Total Rewards.

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Craig -Senior Compensation & Benefits Analyst, MHRM Program Alumnus

Acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, NetJets is an aviation company that offers fractional ownership of small, private jets. Since they are a global operation with a mobile workforce, they continue to be challenged on how they can better connect with these employees. One of the projects they have been working on is transparency of pay, a hot topic in the HR industry right now. NetJets plans to implement a career framework for compensation that includes grouping each department by pay level called “bands.” This allows for vertical and horizontal movement throughout the company and lets employees know exactly what to expect with each transition.

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Samantha – HR Manager, MHRM Program Alumnus

One of the HR team’s most recent projects was within their talent management function. More specifically, on measuring employee engagement at work in order to better understand what drives and motivates their workforce. By implementing a third-party survey vendor, they were able to collect and receive employee data, use it to influence their HR decisions, and better support their employee’s needs. Measuring engagement has become an important aspect of crafting an organization’s employee experience and is being adopted as a practice for many organizations.

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Sami- Campus Recruiting Lead

CoverMyMeds is a healthcare software company that provides solutions to consumers regarding their health insurance coverage. Sami, the campus recruiting lead, has responsibility for the company’s talent pipeline. This can consist of forecasting for the employees they will need in the future and creating learning and development opportunities so they have the right people in right place at the right time. They are currently focusing their efforts their high-potential employees and shaping them to become leaders in the company.

Overall, HR is a fast-paced, ever-changing field and attending events like this make me excited to be a part of it. I look forward to the next session of PeopleTalks and learning more about what both small and large organizations are doing to become more effective and efficient in the workplace. Thanks for reading, that is all for now!

“But…is it easy?”

Seriously, look at how cute he is in his fall fleece. Shameless plug again: @livinglikebernie

First off, sorry for the delay in writing this blog post, the life of a part-time graduate student with a full-time job is not an easy one. Work had been picking up right when midterms were rolling in, leaving me with very little free time. I barely even got to spend time with Bernie (@livinglikbernie), much less sit down to write a blog post.

With how busy I’ve been, it actually got me to start thinking about a question I get a lot from those interested in the MHRM program and graduate school in general. As somebody who loves admissions work and meeting new people, I’ve met a lot of prospective graduate students, from visit days to friends of friends at parties. Regardless of how I meet them, most ask me the same question: “but…how easy is graduate school?”
They’ll then ask me about my background, if I was “good” at my undergraduate studies, how much GRE score matters, and if you actually have to read to be successful in graduate school. My answers are normally yes, depends, and yes…duh.

Captain America says “Remember kids, make sure to read for class…and also don’t let Thanos get all of the Infinity Crystals.”

Now, I’m the first to admit that I work really hard on my academics, and I believe in the concept of an educational contract, where if I expect the professor to come to class prepared and organized, the same should be expected of me as a student. Are there people who don’t read everything? Obviously. Do I think they can be just as successful as somebody who does read everything? Of course, but their success isn’t as guaranteed as those who do read and prepare.

I offer the above context about me, because I believe that my answer to the “is it easy” question can come off a little harsh without it. Simply put, I believe that if you’re looking for easy, then graduate school isn’t for you. It’s graduate school—it shouldn’t be easy. It should be challenging. It should be difficult. It should make you think and grow and push yourself to a level that you didn’t think was possible. The easy choice is never going to be attending and completing a graduate program, regardless of the subject you choose to learn.

 

“When Alex tells me I can’t find an easy way to get a Master’s degree.”

My intention isn’t to discourage anyone from getting a master’s degree, my hope would be that this inspires you and makes you want to rise to the challenge. The MHRM program requires a lot of work, just as any other graduate program in Fisher or around the world will as well. You should want that level of work, to achieve something that so few others have (about 8% of US citizens have Master’s degrees) and to feel like accomplished something truly great.

So as I head to class, my second of three this week, I’ll answer the question I get asked all of the time “Is graduate school easy?”

The MHRM program is a lot of things. It’s difficult, it takes a lot of work, it has lots of reading, writing, and arithmetic (I’m kidding about the math, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say that). It’s also incredibly rewarding, energizing, inspiring, and you’ll leave with a sense of accomplishment that is like no other.

Lesson From the First Session

As I write this, it’s October 10 at 3:33 p.m. and the first session of the fall semester has come to a close. Memories of my first week here are still fresh and palpable. I can still remember the nervousness of being in a new school and the gazillion questions I had about the weeks and months to come. Yet just like that, more than two months have already passed  and the next two months won’t go by any slower.

As you prepare your applications or consider multiple offers, you might ask yourself, “What kind of experience will I get at Fisher?” or “What is it like being in a one year Master’s program?” Well, this blog post is for you. I want to share one important lesson from the first session to help give you an idea of how things might be for you as an SMF student.

Time flies in this program, so it can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Seriously—time flies when you enroll as an SMF. Events and activities will come at a fast pace that you never expected. As some of you might know already, our semesters are divided into two sessions and we have a different set of classes in each session. For you to succeed in this program, you will have to adapt quickly to this set up if you are not used to it. Second, deadlines for assignments are a little shorter than they would be if the classes were spanning the whole semester. This means time management is very important. In fact, time management is one of the top three skills students in this program need in order to excel.

If you fail to manage your time wisely, you would have declared war on time, and very few people succeed when they have time as their enemy. With time as your enemy, two things could happen: you could either find yourself missing deadlines or  having to stay up too late trying to complete your work. Missing deadlines or turning in sub-par work will affect your grades and ultimately hurt you GPA.

In contrast, if you are proactive about your work and avoid waiting until the last minute to start or complete an assignment, you will have a much smoother experience because you won’t have to sleep at odd hours doing homework, nor will you miss assignments. Also, you will have enough time to visit your professors in the event that you need help with a certain topic or concept.

Application advice: If you are a person who has great time management skills, use examples and find a way to relay your skill to the Admissions Committee through your essay or video interviews.

 

Ways To Get Involved!

Grad life here isn’t just academics—there are a lot of activities outside of classes to get involved in while at OSU. There are many organizations to join and events hosted to make sure we have fun during out short time here. Here are a few ways to enjoy your time here while in the MAcc program:

MAcc Council 

The MAcc council is a group of MAcc students whom we elected to plan activities and organize events during the program. In the past, we had a cornhole tournament, we’ll be having a MAcc picnic soon, and many other activities are currently in the planning process. They also team up with the councils for the other Fisher Graduate Programs to host events like tailgates before football games. So whether you join the MAcc council or just go to the events, it’s a great way to get involved and meet other Fisher graduate students.

Clubs/Organizations

There are many organizations available to Fisher grad students! Joining an organization is a great way to meet other people not only in the MAcc program but also other Fisher Graduate Programs. Check out this list of clubs you can get involved with as a Fisher student. You can also pick from over 1,300 clubs that are offered here for everyone at Ohio State University.

Intramural Teams

Something I am personally involved in and love doing is playing on intramural teams. Currently, I am on soccer and sand volleyball teams, and will be on a basketball team once these are over. I am on a team of all MAcc students and despite our 1-3 record in volleyball, it’s a lot of fun! 

A Breath of Fresh, Fall Air

I am writing this on my first day back from a much-appreciated fall break. As you may know, our first seven-week session of classes ended last week. This made the Thursday–Sunday break that much more enjoyable, as I had no responsibilities or classwork to worry about!

So how did I spend my break? Enjoying the (finally) cold weather

Cheering on the Buckeyes from home!

and some serious R&R while reflecting on all the great memories that the first seven-week session brought. My weekend was filled with bonfires, pumpkin bread, turkey chili, and dozens of games of college football Saturday (Go Bucks!) and NFL Sunday!

I am very excited to be back in Columbus and starting the second half of the first semester. Time has flown! This seven-week session will lead up to winter break.

We had our first day of classes for our last two required courses today. The first class I went to was Accounting Policy and Research taught by our MAcc program director, Dr. Tzachi. He is one of the most engaging professors I have had thus far in graduate school and I am looking forward to the rest of the session with him!

After his class, I had a Financial Reporting class in which we will be able to apply the knowledge we acquired from intermediate accounting to interesting cases about companies like Apple and Google! I am also taking three business electives in the subject areas of tax, assurance, and human resources. I love that we have the ability to take electives outside of accounting. This allows me to learn and network with students outside the MAcc program while getting exposure to other subject areas at the graduate level!