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Being Out & Proud at Fisher (and Columbus)!

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When searching for business schools, I was not only looking for top-notch academics, but also whether there was a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) presence on campus and in the surrounding community. It was important for me to feel safe, accepted, and share my MBA experience with other LGBT students. Fortunately, Ohio State and Columbus have one of the largest LGBT populations in the Midwest. In fact, Ohio State was ranked as one of the top 50 LGBT-friendly campuses by Campus Pride (www.campuspride.org) and Columbus earned a perfect score as a LGBT-friendly city by the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org), which is America’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

On-campus: Although most LGBT organizations are undergrad-based, they all welcome LGBT graduate students and allies. Most of these organizations meet regularly and offer informative and fun events, ranging from socials to LGBT speakers. Laverne Cox, the transgender actress who appears on “Orange is the New Black,” even spoke at our school this semester. For business students, Out in Business (www.fisheroib.com) is Fisher’s main LGBT business club. I also recently attended the Reaching Out MBA conference (www.reachingoutmba.org) in San Francisco with several of my classmates. Definitely a fantastic conference that brought together LGBT business students from all over the country and included speakers, case competitions, recruiting fairs, and social events. Highly recommended!!!

Off-campus: Not surprisingly, the LGBT “scene” in Columbus pales in comparison to much larger cities, such as New York City and San Francisco. Even so, it is still very vibrant and active! There is something for everyone, ranging from nightlife in and around downtown Columbus to support and wellness organizations, such as Stonewall Columbus (www.stonewallcolumbus.org), and musical groups, such as the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus (www.columbusgaymenschorus.com). If you are ever looking to experience LGBT outside of the area, Columbus is in close proximity to other major cities, including Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

So whomever you may be, Fisher and Columbus is definitely a welcoming LGBT environment! As a business student, now you just have to find the time to see all that it has to offer, but that’s for another post ;)


I’m THANKFUL for…

Being back home this past weekend for Thanksgiving Break got me thinking about what I am thankful for. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to say that there is so much I am thankful for, and that I have been very blessed throughout my life. So much has changed in just the past year alone though. I got my rescue dog (Riggs), bought my first home, and began the Fisher MHRM program and my position as the MHRM Ambassador.

Deciding to attend the Fisher MHRM program was one of the best decisions and investments I have made for myself. The path I took to get to where I am today was not always clear, but I am so happy with where it led me. The MHRM program has a rather diverse student population with different cultures, educational backgrounds, work experiences, and more. Prior to beginning the MHRM program I had received an undergraduate degree in Secondary Education and a graduate degree in Higher Education Administration. It was not until my first Masters program and two years of full-time work after that I learned more about the different HR functions and fell in love with it!

When the time felt right, I started researching different programs, and it did not take long for me to realize how Fisher’s program is set apart from several of the other programs. I firmly believe that people need to find programs and schools that are a good fit for them, and that are aligned with their goals and aspirations. Nonetheless, Fisher’s MHRM faculty and staff have a passion for what they do and take a sincere interest in their students.

I didn’t have a HR background or business background prior to beginning the MHRM program, so I love that the program provides a business acumen and HR Generalist’s perspective. Plus, I think the curriculum is positioned nicely and helps create a foundation to build upon throughout one’s time in the program. The faculty also do a great job at breaking content down so that it is digestible, but if students have questions or concerns along the way, faculty and peers are more than willing to provide assistance!

In addition to the distinguished curriculum and faculty, the Fisher staff is extremely supportive. The Graduate Programs Office staff and the Career Management staff go above and beyond to ensure that students have the necessary resources to succeed. They are readily available, approachable, and care about you and how they can help.

I’m also super thankful for how inviting the program is. I was a little nervous before starting the program, not only about the curriculum, but also about the culture that would exist within the business school. I was happy to find that people are overwhelmingly supportive, and that peers are willing and able to help one another and encourage one another. I love that the class size is typically 45-50 students because that allows us to get to know each other, both inside and outside of the class.

So, as I think about the past year and where I am at in life, I think choosing to pursue the MHRM program at Fisher has definitely impacted me for the better. I can honestly say that it was a great decision and that I am thankful for the knowledge, skills, experiences, and friendships the program has provided thus far.

Did I mention how thankful I am for all the free food at Fisher too?!?

Did I mention how thankful I am for all the free food at Fisher too?!?

 


Experience the World through Columbus

International exposure and work experience is becoming hugely important in the business world. This year I had the pleasure of attending the Columbus International Festival. I’m a member of the Fisher Global Business Association and we used the festival as an opportunity to come together and have a fun international experience.

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A small group of us hit up the Ohio State Fairgrounds to see what the rave was all about. Thankfully it was indoors; if you don’t already know about Ohio it starts to get a little chilly in November. Obviously from the start of the festival we were pretty focused on FOOD, who doesn’t love food. I settled on some bubble tea and Chinese, but I couldn’t help but take a picture of this humungous pretzel.

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Throughout the few hours we were there, there was a stage hosting various styles of dances from all over the world. The variety was great, and ever better, some acts featured some cute kids doing their best to impress the audience. I captured some good ole bag pipe action.

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Outside of the food and performances, there were various booths ran by different international organizations from Columbus and a lot of shops with cool cultural knick knacks. Columbus is always hosting cool festivals that present you with new food and cultures that you may not have had the opportunity to confront otherwise. There’s a whole world out there, go experience it!

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MAcc Gives Back

Twice each year, the MAcc program gets together to do a day of service in the greater Columbus community. Community service is something that had a large impact on my undergraduate experience, and so I was excited to participate in MAcc Gives Back. My group’s project site was a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center. After a brief introduction to the store and its layout, we got to work. We split up into three smaller groups, and my group worked to reorganize and price rugs that were recently donated.

It was fun to work as a team to figure out the best way to move and measure some sizable rugs. In the middle of our project, a husband and wife entered the store and asked us to help them find a rug to put in their new infant’s nursery. We helped them pick out the softest and best-sized rug for her needs. It was nice to talk to customers in the store and be able to help them find the perfect item at a great price!

After finishing organizing the rugs, we cleaned and organized kitchen appliances until it was time to leave. Then we met up with other MAcc volunteers at the Varsity Club, the sports bar across the street from Fisher. It was very nice to volunteer in the community and share a Friday afternoon with my fellow MAcc students, faculty, and staff!

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Habitat Group

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Hanging out at Varsity Club

 


NYC Financial Services Trip

At the end of October, Nancy Gilbertsen, a director in the Office of Career Management at Fisher, organized a trip to New York City with the purpose of connecting Fisher graduate and undergraduate students with professionals and Ohio State alumni working in financial services such as investment banking and asset management. Around twenty Buckeyes took advantage of this opportunity, with ten of those students coming from the graduate programs at Fisher.

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We started our trip with a tour of Bloomberg, which impressed all of us. In its main lobby, Bloomberg offers its employees and guests an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink meal service free of charge.  Throughout our time at Bloomberg, we saw Bloomberg TV and radio studios, meeting rooms, and offices.  In the middle of our tour, Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg and the past mayor of New York City, strolled right by our group – a very cool experience!  After Bloomberg, UBS hosted our group at its offices, where Steve Pierson, UBS’s Co-Head of the Financial Institutions Group, presented at Q&A sessions with topics ranging from current trends in the market to the differences between bulge bracket and boutique investment banks.  Upon conclusion of this presentation, we interacted with several UBS professionals in their Global Healthcare Group, all of whom were incredibly engaging and helpful in answering our many questions.

That night, we had dinner as a group at Nha Trang, a Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown. We went through a countless variety of delicious Vietnamese dishes, all pre-selected favorites of Professor Dan Oglevee, who was a regular at Nha Trang during his career on Wall Street.

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On day two of our trip, we began with a tour of the New York office of KeyBanc Capital Markets, where we received a tour of the trading floor and presentations from a senior bankers in Key’s Debt Capital Markets group. Next, we travelled through Grand Central Station on the way to visit the New York Offices of Goldman Sachs, which are right across the street from the Freedom Tower, the tallest building in North America.

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At Goldman Sachs, we participated in Q&A sessions with wonderful, professional, and friendly Ohio State alumni ranging from junior bankers to Jim McNamara, the Global Head of Asset Management, Third Party Distribution. Afterwards, we visited Sagent Advisors, where we met with Marty Murrer, a proud Ohio State alum, managing director, and co-founder of the firm.  Mr. Murrer walked us through his career, gave us interview and career advice, and answered our wide array of questions.  Our fourth stop that day was at the New York Offices of the Australian-based firm, Macquarie, where we had a Q&A session with Timothy Gallagher, a managing director at the firm and another proud Ohio State alum.  We concluded this very long day with a networking dinner with over forty Ohio State alumni working in financial services at Da Noi, a wonderful Italian restaurant which reserved the entire back section of the restaurant for our event.

On our final day of the trip, we began our day at one of Professor Oglevee’s breakfast spots, the Majestic Delicatessen, where we enjoyed enormous bacon, egg, and cheese bagels. After we had sufficiently raised our cholesterol levels, we visited Barclay’s beautiful offices in Times Square.  There we met with several Ohio State alumni, including Elizabeth Mily, a managing director in the Healthcare Division.  These Barclays professionals were very generous in providing advice and insight to members of our group aspiring to work on Wall Street. We concluded our trip with a visit to ING’s New York offices, where we received presentations from seven professionals from throughout the firm and a tour of the trading floor.

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It was a jam-packed three day trip to the Big Apple, and I highly recommend this trip to every Fisher student seeking a career in finance. The lessons that we learned from hearing these men and women’s different career paths and the advice that we received are invaluable.  My interactions with these professionals provided some of the most helpful preparation for my investment banking interviews.  In my opinion, Fisher’s Office of Career Management is second-to-none for reasons like this NYC Financial Services trip.  As a Fisher graduate student, you have access to some of the best career advisors in the country, who will stop at nothing to help you make the most of the Ohio State alumni network of over half a million people.  Take advantage of this resource – I’m sure glad that I did!


MAcc Breakfast!

One cool thing about the MAcc program is how open and inviting the professors and faculty are to the students.  This can very easily be seen through the MAcc Breakfast.  Once every couple weeks the MAcc program hosts a breakfast for around 10-15 students.  The breakfast is invite only, but throughout the course of the semester every student gets invited.  In addition to the students, available professors and members of the Graduate Programs Office attend.  They are held before classes start in the morning so most people won’t have any conflicting scheduled events (besides sleeping in).  The breakfast is pretty laid back and informal creating a comfortable environment to interact with other students and the faculty.

How the breakfast worked was we got there and picked up some breakfast goodies from Panera as well as coffee or OJ and sat around a conference table.  We small talked for a little bit until everyone got there and got settled and then we individually went around the table and introduced ourselves, said where we were from, and talked about one interesting fact about us that is not on our resume.  The interesting fact then spawned a short discussion and some of the professors or staff would ask questions about it.  Clearly our MAcc class is extremely interesting; here are some things I learned during the breakfast:

  • Two students in the program are twins (not identical)
  • One MAcc student has been an extra in two movies
  • This is the first time one international MAcc student has ever left China
  • One MAcc student has pet chickens
  • One MAcc student played water polo in high school

The MAcc breakfast is a great way for students and faculty to interact and bridge the gap a little bit.  The professors are all interested in getting to know the students and learning more about our background.  This laid back environment helps students feel comfortable asking questions and going to office hours.  Overall, I found the MAcc breakfast beneficial to not only learning more about fellow classmates, but also the faculty associated with the program.


Fisher Board Fellows – Bridges to the Boardroom

Last April I attended Fisher’s Red Carpet Event, which was a great way to meet some of my future classmates and professors and to learn more about the program. I learned about Fisher Board Fellows for the first time at that event, and knew instantly that it was something I wanted to be a part of.  Fisher Board Fellows is a student-run organization that places MBA students on the boards of non-profit organizations in Columbus.

First year students go through an application and interview process, and those that are selected as fellows are invited to attend events throughout the year that help inform and prepare them to sit on a non-profit board the following year. During their second year, fellows attend board meetings (and sometimes committee meetings) and work on a project that adds value to their non-profit organization.  The project varies based on the non-profit and its needs, as well as the fellow’s major and skill set.

This Monday, several first year fellows had a Bridges to the Boardroom luncheon with Mr. Tony Wells, President of the Tony R. Wells Foundation.  The foundation focuses on developing stronger non-profit leaders and is very involved in social innovations and entrepreneurship for non-profits.  Mr. Wells was passionate about the work his foundation does and told us about the many ways it helps other non-profits grow and develop.  He had wonderful advice, and he spoke about how non-profit work and volunteerism had impacted and helped his career.  He told us to really get to know our boards and the organizations we’re serving, and to learn as much as we can through mentors and committees.

Mr. Wells’ advice was extremely helpful for us.  None of us have ever sat on a non-profit board before, and although there’s a lot of excitement, there’s also some nervousness.  I definitely think we all walked away from that lunch feeling more prepared and with a better idea of what next year will be like.  And I have to tell you, I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!


If You’ve Ever Wanted to Sleepover at School…

You’ll have the chance at the Fisher College of Business. Not just once – but TWICE!

Kidding. Sort of.

The Annual Fisher MHRM Internal Case Competition was held the previous weekend (November 7 and 8) and I’m 100% certain I’ve never spent that much time at school in my undergrad – or ever. While this might not sound like the party you’d expect to have during your weekend, it was an absolute blast.

The case competition goes like this: you wake up at an ungodly hour, attempt to make yourself look like a normal person, and arrive at school by 7:30am (how on earth did I do this on the regular when I was in high school?) Don’t worry; coffee and breakfast are supplied. Shortly after, you’ll be given case rules and then be presented with a live case*. Once the case has been introduced, you break into your (previously determined) teams and begin to come up with a viable solution for the company which presented the case. Some teams may finish quickly…others may not finish until well after midnight. My experience was the latter.

Despite being in the same room on campus for more than 15 hours, the time flew by because our team was coming up with great ideas as well as having a great time (pretty sure we played Taylor Swift’s new album at least three times).

The next day we had to be on campus again at 7:30am. More coffee – more breakfast. We were then given our presentation times and set out into our team rooms to practice our pitch. We definitely played T. Swift a few more times to harness some positive juju.

Nerves were high until we were in front of the judges ready to present. Rather than a lecture-like presentation which we’ve all experienced when presenting a project for class, the presentation is very conversational. The judges ask questions, you answer. Generally, your classmates don’t have a ton of questions for you regarding your presentation. But many of the judges are from the company which presented the case or a company facing a similar problem. They want to know why you came up with the solutions you came up with. Everyone in the room is very engaged. You’re allotted 25 minutes to present your solution and most people still have plenty they want to say when the time is up.

My suggestions for anyone interested in participating in the case competition: bring a pillow and blanket (kidding – sort of); get up and walk around when you’ve been sitting for too long; make sure you’re well-fed and hydrated (food and beverages are provided the whole day. Take advantage of that); you’re not given enough time to present all of your ideas – pick two to three of your best ideas and prepare to go into detail about them; have proof about why your ideas will work – while businesses generally value creativity, they also value results. Prove that your solutions will give them what they want.

Most importantly – HAVE FUN.

*Case details are omitted for confidentiality.


The CEO of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Speaks at Fisher

Columbus has a very vibrant, up-and-coming, and creative population. It should come as no surprise that there has been some incredible innovations that have started here. A favorite local artistic creation is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Founded in 2002 by Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s scoops out tasty flavors year-round such as Salty Caramel, The Buckeye State, and Ndali Estate Vanilla Bean. Honoring seasonality, they serve unique flavors during certain times of the year like Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam, Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Sweet Potato with Torched Marshmallows, and Middle West Whiskey Eggnog. In recent years, the business has expanded to other locations such as Cleveland, Nashville, Atlanta, Chicago, Charleston, and New York. Through its growth, Jeni’s has stayed true to its artisan roots and values.

What sets Jeni’s apart is its commitment to finding the best ingredients- whether that’s using milk from cows that graze grass on a family farm less than 200 miles from Columbus or locating the finest Fair-Trade-Certified vanilla beans in Uganda. After a bite of one of Jeni’s creations, all other ice creams pale in comparison. You can just taste the exquisite quality and truly savor the special treat.

Jeni’s is really something special, and so when I heard that its CEO, John Lowe, was going to speak at Fisher, I knew I’d have to attend. Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, sponsored the event and opened it up to all Fisher students. It was a well-attended and excellent presentation. John was relatable, a great story-teller, and used his talk as an opportunity to reflect on his background, mistakes, and aha moments. He was good friends with Jeni before he was asked to take on the role of CEO of the ice cream company, and he attributes all of the creative success of Jeni’s to her. What John brings to the table is business acumen and persuasive speaking skills. During his presentation, he emitted a true entrepreneurial and competitive spirit. He wants the world to know that Jeni’s is the real deal in the world of ice cream, and they dream of expanding their scoop shops and wholesale business so more people can taste Jeni’s true artisan creations.

Learn more about Jeni’s here: https://jenis.com/

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Fisher’s New Dean: Anil Makhija

Recently The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business announced their new dean, Anil Makhija.  All graduate students in the FCOB were invited to stop by and meet the dean during our lunch hour.  This was a great opportunity for students to go and listen to Makhija talk about his appointment to dean.  Makhija started off by speaking about his background.  Makhija has been a Buckeye since 1998 and has held numerous prestigious roles within the college including senior associate dean and the chair of Fisher’s Department of Finance, which ranked among the top 10 in the world for research.

Makhija was also very open to questions from the students that attended the event.  The students asked great questions about what direction he saw the college heading, how the students can help him accomplish the college’s goals, and how he was going to continue to establish the network between the college and alumni.

It is no secret that the Ohio State name brings with it a network that is second to none, but what is greatly underestimated is the connection and bonds that the Graduate Programs establish between the faculty of the college and the students.  There is no shortage of great opportunities, like “Meet the Dean”, that are available to MAcc students.


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