A Case for Competition

There are certain things in life you know you should do, know you might enjoy if you do them, but are really challenging to embrace. That was my initial attitude about the MLHR internal case competition. Voluntarily give up an entire Friday and most of Saturday to work on a case, in Gerlach Hall?!  Gack! Not really what I had in mind for a good time.

But, with a little prodding, and a genuine interest in the process, I was soon signed up and teamed up with two fellow second-year students, Rachel Brokaw and Priya Jhangiani and one first-year student, Qin He. With the exception of working with Rachel, I had never worked with the other two students and, honestly, had never spent anytime in class with them either. To soothe the pre-competition transition, we met the week before at the local Panera and mapped out a tentative strategy. One of the rules of our strategy: If you disagree with an idea, speak up. If you have an idea that is out-of-the box, let’s really look at it.

And so the competition began at 7:30 am Friday, January 20 and wrapped up around 3 pm on Saturday. We were fortunate to have a “live” case presented to us by local giant, Cardinal Health. Everyone appreciated the opportunity to get feedback from professionals in the field and work on a case with real-world significance.


But in between plotting strategy, creating slides, practicing the presentation, sharing ideas and poring over research articles, there were moments of levity. One team drew caricatures of themselves on the white board. Another took a break in late afternoon to go exercise. We looked forward to every meal break (we were well fed!), spent time getting to know each other, talk about classes, and laugh about the stupid things that suddenly seem very funny after spending 12 hours together in a conference room. And thanks to an icy Friday night that made driving home dangerous, I enjoyed an impromptu sleepover with one of my team mates. Thank goodness I had packed my suit, just in case!

When Saturday morning arrived, we were tired, relieved, and ready to present our case. Unfortunately, we were slotted to present last, which meant a nearly unbearable wait. As other teams were happily returning from their presentations (were they doing cartwheels down the hall?), we were still nervously waiting. Finally, around noon, our turn arrived. We were calm, rehearsed, and ready to give it our best. I was so proud of my team mates who were as professional as real-world consultants.  Given the judges’ feedback, I think all teams must have been professional with forward-thinking ideas.

In total, 28 MLHR students (7 teams) competed in the internal case competition. Like me, I’m sure others stretched and pushed themselves in new ways. While everyone came away having learned valuable skills, three students won individual presentation awards, and Team 5, a group of four women with various backgrounds who had never worked together before, but met over a meal at Panera to discuss a strategy that welcomed ideas and collaborative sharing came away with first place. But even before our names were announced, I already understood the value of the case competition and the unique opportunity it presented. In that way, we all came away winners.



First HR Summit – successful!

Two Fridays ago was the first HR Summit held by GHRA (the professional development committee) and I have to say, kudos to them. It was held in the Fawcett Center from noon to four and people from all of Fisher was invited (although it was mostly HR students) as well as HR professionals from around Columbus.

Over lunch we had the opportunity to talk to everyone at the table. It was actually nice to be able to talk to one of the second years that I had never formally met before as well as a professional consultant, who had worked in HR for about ten years before starting his own consulting firm. I also shard a table with Amber, one of the other MLHR bloggers/first years, and an MBA student focused in finance. It was a great experience to talk to other students that I had never really had a chance to talk to before as well as a professional consultant.

After/during lunch, there was a speaker from Cardinal Health, who talked about the health care industry/Cardinal Health. It was interesting to hear his insight into how the new health care bill affects their business and, in turn, how it affects HR professionals. It was great to start with him because what he spoke about was more general HR information, not too much into the specifics. After he spoke, we had a little discussion/activity at our tables. We had the luxury of having a professional consultant at our table, so he helped lead the discussion in terms of where we should start when it came to solving the problem in the mini-case study. I learned so much about consulting in that 30 minutes, than I knew after about a year of the MLHR program, which is not a knock on the program, it just isn’t HR consulting focused. Also, it was interesting to hear from the MBA student at our table who wanted to look at solving the issue from a financial perspective instead of an HR perspective. After the activity we heard from a panel of two professionals, one lady from Nationwide Insurance who focuses on diversity and Steve Russell, the Chief People Officer, at McDonald’s. Both professionals discussed the issue of diversity and how it relates to HR. They answered questions from one of the second year GHRA executive board members about what their company’s definition of diversity was and how they handle diversity. Finally, we had our last speaker from Nationwide, who also summarized what her company does and then lead a discussion about anything we wanted to talk about further.

I certainly hope next year that the new GHRA professional development committee and our new president (hint hint Shawn H.) will continue this tradition.

Cardinal Health

I have good news to report tonight…

A few weeks ago, Cardinal Health offered me a full-time position as a finance manager.   After speaking with my family, friends, and former colleagues, I decided to accept the offer.  I’m happy to have my job search complete and I’m even happier to be returning to a company I know and like.  This past summer, I interned in Cardinal’s Nuclear Pharmacy division and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.  Over the next few months, I will work to improve my financial skill set and prepare myself for a successful start to my new career.

The End of Summer

After a summer absence from blogging, I’m officially back.   Why the long absence you wonder?  My answer is two parts: first, when the weather is nice I try using my computer an absolute minimum.  Second, my computer had a hardware malfunction and I couldn’t type anything without wanting to slam my computer against a wall.  For a few months I thought I had set my default settings to the “sticky key” format but after several long phone calls with Dell, it turned out my computer keyboard was shot and my DVD reader was also broken.  Fortunately I was able to replace the parts before my warranty expired.   Now business school is in full gear and this blog will become part of my routine again, especially as the days slowly become shorter and colder.   Since so much time has elapsed, I’ll give some quick updates.

  • Cardinal Health– This summer I spent 12 weeks interning at Cardinal Health in the Nuclear Pharmacy Services Division.  This finance internship drastically improved my excel skills and I was able to apply several business school concepts to the position.  Overall the internship went very well and I am going to stay in conversations with Cardinal Health about a full time position next year.
  • Teaching Assistant – I accepted a TA position for an undergraduate class taught by Dr. Tansky.   This is a 20 hour TA, so I won’t have much free time this year, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have my tuition waived.  I also see this as a great opportunity to practice my own public speaking skills.
  • FGSA –  Last spring, I was elected President of FGSA.  Over the summer I spent several hours each week preparing for the upcoming year and planning endless meetings.  Between my TA and my involvement with FGSA, I will have little to no free time.
  • Upcoming classes – I’ll be taking four classes this quarter.  Two finance classes, a strategy class and a leadership class.  I’m going to major in Finance and Strategy, so this year will be mostly quantitative.

That’s pretty much it.  I think we are all caught up on my last three months.  Overall my summer was really busy, but I was able to get a lot out of it and even sneak in a few relaxing weekends.  My goal now is to start blogging once a week.  Stay tuned.


I’m back… sorry for the long absence.

A lot has been going on recently and unfortunately blogging had to take a backseat while I prepared for final presentations, exams and the start of my internship.  The good news is that I successfully made it through my first year of the MBA program and have an awesome internship lined up for the summer.

Internship – I have made it through my first week at Cardinal Health.  I’m a Finance intern for the  Nuclear Pharmacy Services division.  I find the work really interesting and have already learned an unbelievable amount.  I’ll continue updating the blog with work related updates.

Next summer plans – I recently committed to join some of my Yale rowing friends in a competition next summer (The Henley Royal Regatta) in Henley-on-Thames, England.  This will be my fourth time rowing in the regatta, so hopefully we can finally win it.  The regatta is similar to March Madness – basically it is a single elimination bracket and teams row a 2112 meter course in a one-on-one competition.  If you win every race it will be five consecutive days of exhaustive races.

I’m going to remain quite busy with FGSA this summer.  We are working with Dean Wruck to set-up several “current event debates” between faculty members during the lunch hour.  If you have any good ideas for topics, please let me know.

That’s all for now.  I’ll start updating the blog more often.


3rd quarter = Reading galore

I’m a week into the third quarter and I can already tell that this quarter is going to be hectic.  If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, this statement should come as no surprise.  Fisher College keeps us busy and it doesn’t help that I lack traditional business class experience.  Although my learning curve is steeper than some of my peers, I have found each quarter to be a little easier since class material coincides with earlier work.

This quarter is going to be reading intensive.  After previewing the syllabi of my classes, I decided that it would be in my best interest to only take four classes so that I can focus on the reading… and possible a few rounds of golf.  Unfortunately, I have the feeling that the reading will trump the golf.  Every week I need to read The Economist and be prepared for a short, five question quiz on the material.  I enjoy staying informed on current events, but The Economist leaves a lot to be desired.  It is basically 100+ pages of dry, British stories regarding the state of the European Union and ObamaCare.

The good news for this quarter is that I will not need to allocate time to my internship search.  Last week I accepted a finance internship with Cardinal Health.  I am very excited about the opportunity and I can’t wait to rejoin the workforce… even if it is only for a couple months.

Spring Break – Cincinnati

The second quarter is officially complete… unfortunately, so is Spring Break.  Despite only having one week off (and the fact that it snowed), my spring break was a much needed escape from the hectic life of an MBA student.   During my vacation, I was able to schedule two interviews; one with Cardinal Health and the other with Battelle Memorial Institute.  I was also able to return home to Cincinnati for several days to spend some time with my family.

Overall, I really enjoyed my second quarter at Fisher.  I actually thought the second quarter was easier to manage than the first quarter (probably because I’m use to student life).  Hopefully this positive trend continues since I am planning to take some challenging courses this upcoming quarter.  Those courses are International Business, Strategy, Services Marketing, and Corporate Finance.

The end of football

It has recently become very evident that I will have little free time this quarter.  Between working on my core classes and my recently invigorated summer internship search, this might be my busiest quarter of the year.  I guess for the benefit of my MBA degree, the Bengals lost in the playoffs yesterday to the NY Jets.  There is no doubt that with my team out of the playoffs, I will now have significantly more time available each week.  Gone are the days of spending endless hours on espn.com to get the most up-to-date information on my team, gone are the Sundays of spending four hours watching the game and then several additional hours either too happy or depressed to do any work.

I was actually at the Bengals game this Sunday with my dad and brothers.  The 1 degree wind chill was not nearly as bad as losing.  I’m still upset about the loss, but eventually I will adapt to life without football.  Hopefully I do this sooner rather than later, especially since I have an important phone interview with a recruiter from Cardinal Health on Tuesday.  I will be speaking with her about their summer marketing internship and hopefully I can make a positive impression.