A Juggling Act

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“Work-Life balance” is a phrase I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My first two weeks of grad school consisted of 12 hours of class, 40 hours of work, 2 career workshops, 3 informational meetings, 1 career fair and several long hours of reading (exact number unknown). I ate a lot of fast food, slept far less than the recommended daily average, and managed to wash exactly zero dishes. Let me tell you, grad school at the Fisher College of Business is no joke.

I’ve always considered juggling one of my strengths (no, not literal juggling). But by the end of the first week, I already felt myself floundering– barely treading water to stay afloat in the sea of opportunity. I found myself looking around in my classes, wondering how the heck is everyone else doing it?! How do I juggle work, school, and a social life, which are all arguably—and certainly in my opinion— components of a healthy life? Is it okay for one to win out over the others, or even more dramatically, to drop one entirely so the other two can survive? Well, I decided to ask around and collect some data.

The bad news: no one really knows how to do it. The good news: everyone is in it together.

More on the bad news:

Well, it could be more accurate (and less sourpuss) to say that the jury is out on how to best juggle the trifecta of work, school, and a social presence– and everyone has their own strategy. My advice in three simple steps:

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  1. Schedule: Have one. Plan out what needs to be done and do the things you tell yourself you’re going to do. It feels good to deliver in tangible ways and to follow-through—for yourself. In the words of a wise Morgan Hite, “there is no substitute for sanity.”
  2. Make time for the things that reinvigorate you: This is important. Spend time with people you love, have a beer with a friend, watch stand-up comedy, blast the music in your car and sing at the top of your lungs. These are a few things that help me put chaos back into perspective.
  3. Take Pleasure in the Simple Things: Even when you feel like you don’t have time. Get some fresh air, people watch on campus, enjoy the walk home from class, appreciate the full moon and the sound of summer nights while they last. Try not to rush—appreciate the transition times as much as the activities themselves.

More on the good news:

We’re in this together. I’ve known my cohort for less than three weeks, and I already feel we understand one another better than most. There’s something about being stressed together that connects people on a deeper level. I realize now that I’ve missed this feeling from undergrad.

Maybe it’s because we’re like-minded people who genuinely care about helping people become the best version of themselves (call it HR). Maybe I just lucked out in the gamble of grad school cohorts. But when I think about the last few weeks, one word dominates—grateful. I am grateful to be treading water in this sea of opportunity and wisdom that is the Fisher College of Business. It is one of the best “problems” to have.

Paraphrased from the wise Dr. Larry Inks (Clinical Associate Professor at FCOB), there’s only one thing to do with the towel of experiences that make up life—wring it out and soak ’em up.

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The Columbus Arena District

One of my favorite parts of Columbus is the Arena District, and it is located in the northwest area of downtown. The focal point is Nationwide Arena, for which the district is named. Nationwide Arena is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets NHL team and also the site of many big concerts. Another great concert venue in the district is The Lifestyles Community Pavilion (known as “The L.C.”). They host outdoor concerts during the spring, summer, and fall and indoors concerts year-round.

Not only is the Arena District home to Columbus’s hockey team, but it is also home to the city’s minor league baseball team, the Columbus Clippers! The AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians play at Huntington Park, and the stadium has a capacity of 10,100 fans.

The Arena District has a nice balance of buildings and nature. McFerson Commons Park (or Arch Park) is part of the Scioto Mile Parks System and is named after Dimon R. McFerson, the former Chairman and CEO of Nationwide Insurance. The Arch located in the park was recovered from Columbus’s Union Station.

For movie buffs like me, Studio Movie Grill is located in the Arena District. It is a dine-in movie theater where you can order food to be delivered to your seat at any point during the film.

In addition to being the location of many exciting Columbus sporting, musical, and cultural events, the Arena District has some of Columbus’s best restaurants. No matter what you choose to do in the Arena District, you can’t go wrong!

 

Me exploring the Arena District with my MAcc friends, Pat and Tanya
Exploring the Arena District with my MAcc friends, Pat and Tanya

 

 

 

 

 

Operations, anyone?

Last week I had the opportunity to attend not one, but two Operations related Career Conference events and they were awesome! First, there was the Annual “Links Symposium” sponsored by the Operations and Logistics Management Association, and I volunteered to help organize this event, being a member of OLMA myself.

The half – day event was hosted at The Blackwell Inn, Fisher’s own hotel and Executive Conference Center. This year’s topic was Lean Management, and there were two discussion panels, one for Lean Management in Manufacturing and the other Lean Management in Services. For all the Ops and Supply Chain Majors out there, this was a fantastic opportunity to interact and network

At the OLMA Links Symposium

with the panelists, who were a mix of academic faculty and industry experts from companies such as Greif, Huntington, Cardinal Health etc. To top it all, we had a great moderator – Georgia Keresty, a lean expert with more than 30 + years of experience. 

The very next morning I attended an Operations Career Change Round table event hosted by the Working Professional MBA Program. Fisher’s apt selection of the panelists should not go unmentioned. The 4 WP panelists were each from different areas of Operations – the distribution side, Supply chain side, the IT side and the customer side. It led to a very interesting Q and A session where they shared valuable stories from their work experiences and advice on how we could better ourselves to become ideal hiring candidates for Operations Management roles in top companies.

The biggest perk in attending these kinds of events is that you get to meet such vibrant personalities who are willing to help you in your career any way they can . Drawing from their experiences is a big plus, and ultimately helps you in connecting with more people in the field of your interest. Kudos to Fisher faculty and the COE , for their amazing contributions year after year and a special thanks to Fisher alumni who are so eager to give back to the business community – you are invaluable resources to the current students and one of Fisher’s greatest assets.

And these networking events are right at your doorstep. My advice is to never let these chances slip, because these are golden opportunities that can lead to lifelong career connections. Boy, am I glad I came to Business school 🙂

With WP alums Megan and Jonathan at the Ops Career Change Roundtable

The Heart of it All

Time has still been flying by around here, and there has been lots of excitement.  Notably the end of our first terms, and our first round of exams.   Each semester at Fisher is divided into two 7 week terms, which means a new set of courses every 7 weeks, just to keep us on the bounce.  In addition to new classes, the internship search seems to be coming along, with people attending conferences out of state, second round interviews, and some starting to receive offers.  I had the chance to go to the MBA veterans conference in Chicago last week, which was a great opportunity to talk with companies specifically looking to recruit talent from top schools who are also veterans.

So, needless to say, life as an MBA student is still very busy, and requires proper time management.  That being said, life balance is still important, and students need to take time to enjoy life whenever possible.  As someone who is interested in supply chain management and operations, it hasn’t escaped my notice that there are a significant number of companies who have headquarters or distribution centers in the Columbus area, as well as Ohio in general.  Part of the reason for this is that a significant portion of the American population lives within a day’s drive of Ohio.  So while the state is not the geographic center of the country, it is in a strategic location for getting goods to customers.  In fact, I think one of the iterations of license plates the state used to have said “Ohio – the heart of it all.”

In keeping with the need for a healthy work-life balance, especially for people who haven’t traveled much within the U.S., Columbus is in a good spot for those who want to take weekend trips.  I consider about 6 hours (approx 350-400 miles) to be the most I would drive for a 2-3 day weekend trip and within that radius of Columbus are the following cities:

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, OH

Pittsburgh, PA

Indianapolis, IN

Chicago, IL

St Louis, MO

Detroit, MI

Buffalo, NY

Washington, DC

Lexington, Louisville, KY

Knoxville, Nashville, TN

And those are just some of the bigger cities that I can think of off the top of my head, there are many more smaller cities, national/state parks, lakes and other attractions worth visiting within that radius as well.  As you can see, Columbus, Ohio really is rather well situated to serve as a base of operations for someone who wants to have access to a large portion of the U.S., which is another attractive attribute of the Fisher MBA program.

 

Let’s Do Lunch

Jesse Tyson (left), former Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil came to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in late September 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cullman luncheon with the former President and COO of Wilson’s Leather, Dave Rogers. Earlier this fall I participated in a Cullman Luncheon that featured Jesse Tyson, Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil. The Cullman Executive Luncheon Series is designed to bring 10-15 graduate students and senior executives, many of whom are also graduates of Fisher, together in an informal setting. Past executives have identified their current roles, discussed work history, and have provided insights into business in general. There is also a time for Q&A at the end.

Personally, it was hugely beneficial to interact with and glean “best practices” from these executives who had 35+ year careers to draw upon. Jesse and Dave both shared things that they did well and also shared about things to avoid as a manager and an executive. The questions asked by my fellow classmates were also very informative and brought out the richness of their experiences in business.

In an age where there seems to be a lack of either good or ethical leadership, the luncheon was a great way to get face to face with an executive who led well and could share those experiences and lessons learned along the way.

Jack Detzel, Director of Supply Chain Capability & Baseline Optimization/Productivity for PepsiCo, is coming to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in October
Craig Bahner, Fisher alumnus and Wendy’s chief marketing officer came to speak at a Cullman luncheon in April 2013

 

Running Around Columbus

Fisher’s campus gives you little reason to leave, but venturing outside Ohio State University’s community reminds you that Columbus is a vibrant and growing city that offers plenty of attractions and activities to keep you busy. I have gotten to know the city of Columbus very well while training for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, which will be held in downtown Columbus on Sunday, October 20th.

My training runs have taken me down the Olentangy River Trail, a 13.75 mile bike path that follows the Olentangy River and runs right through Ohio State’s campus and into downtown Columbus. The marathon itself will run down Broad Street, which is lined with the Art Museum and Franklin Park Conservatory.

 

After passing the Governor’s Mansion – and The Ohio State President’s house! – runners will go through German Village and up High Street towards Ohio State’s campus and a quick tour through the Stadium at Mile 16.

 

The race continues through Grandview, with its picturesque boutiques and shops, then wraps up through Victorian Village’s mansion lined Neil Avenue and Goodale Park to end in front of the Blue Jackets’ stadium in Nationwide Arena. And the best part: all runners are supporting the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The marathon has been a great way to learn more about my city and help me feel connected to the broader Columbus community. I cannot wait to participate again next year. Until then, you can find me on the trail! Happy running!

Start early, start often

People, perhaps now more than ever, like instant gratification.  We want answers and results right now.  We don’t want to have to wait until 6 in the evening to catch the evening news, which is why we have multiple 24 hour cable news networks.  Most of us carry more computing power in our pockets than it took to get to the moon, so that we have everything, news, weather, banking info, contacts, and whatever else there is an app for, at our fingertips.

But, if you are looking at attending an MBA program, or utilizing the GI Bill, or even planning to use the GI Bill to attend an MBA program, then an important element to achieve success is to start both processes early.   And neither one is really going to give you that instant gratification that we all crave these days, but they are worth it in the long run.

If you are thinking that attending a top MBA program sounds like a good idea, then if you haven’t already, you should be studying for and scheduling a time to take the GMAT.  It was actually about this time last year that I took mine.  That way, you will have your score when you go to recruiting events, and if you don’t score as high as you would have liked, might even be able to re-take the test before it is time to apply.

After the GMAT is done, come all the other important things, like recruiting events, campus visits, and interviews, all of which you want to get done before application deadlines, so that you can make the best informed decision possible.   Sometimes there are also scholarships and fellowships that are available only to those who apply to the earlier deadlines a school may have.

And, if you are eligible to use the GI Bill, I assume you have dealt with the VA before, so start the process of verifying your eligibility early, because that process can involve a whole lot of hurry up and wait as well.   Time management and task prioritization will be of the utmost importance when pursuing an MBA, so it is best to build those skills early, if you don’t already possess them.

Finally, here is a more current picture of Ohio Stadium, taken last Saturday vs.  Buffalo.

I think my seats are not too shabby.

 

Exploring Sites near Campus!

The Labor Day long weekend has just started! So some of you may be wondering, ‘Hmmm-so when I have some free time and I’m not attending class, studying, or engaging in all the great Ohio State campus extra-curricular activities, what else could I be doing in Columbus?’ Well there is definitely no shortage of fun to be had in this great capital. In fact, just a few minutes drive from Fisher is an intriguing little strip on Columbus’s main High Street known as, ‘The Short North Arts District.’ From dining options to shopping experiences, this area offers something for everyone. Here are two sites I can’t wait to check out on my next trip to The Short North:

  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: Jeni’s is a Columbus favorite as the dessert shop was founded right here in the city in 2002. The ice cream maker is known for creating one of a kind, handmade delights with unique flavors. My current favorite is the Bergamont Frozen Yogurt. With every bite I get a burst of tart citrus and a slight hint of Earl Gray tea. Every time I visit Jeni’s I am surprised with a new flavor combination that never disappoints!

    Photo-shoot from one of my last trips to Jeni’s!
  • Gallery Hops: As The Short North is known as the Arts District, every first Saturday of the month the area is full of visitors crowded on the strip to see new art exhibits and watch live street performances. I have yet to experience my first Gallery Hop, but have heard so many good things about this event that it is definitely on my to-do list this year! Some of the MAcc students have even been chatting about organizing a group to gallery hop together!
I’ll try to snap a few pictures from my next trip to share with all of you!

 

Things to do in Columbus (plus, a little buckeye)

This past weekend, I was able to go to the Columbus Blue Jackets game with my younger sister. While my wonderful Jackets lost 2-3, Erin and I had a blast AND we received free hats!

My younger sister is a freshman at Ohio State and currently applying to the nursing program. I am so happy that she chose to attend OSU – so I can see her a little more frequently AND keep an eye on her. Because truly, what are big sisters for?

My sister & I cheering on the Blue Jackets!

I’ve mentioned it in a few previous posts, but I love Columbus, Ohio. I moved here in 2007 when I started at OSU as an undergrad, and I now consider the 614 my home. I moved back to Cincinnati for a summer or two, and then Orlando, Florida when I was working at Walt Disney World. Still, from Southern  Ohio to Florida – there is something special about Columbus.

When entering the MBA program, you are surrounding yourself with resources, both inside and outside school. We have top companies in the Columbus Area (check out this article that appeared in Inc. in 2011), cool neighborhoods when you are ready for some fun and great sports teams (what can I say – I’m a sports girl).

Cool places to around school:

  • Arena District – see a show and have a drink – I’m in heaven!
  • Short North – edgy and express (see my post about Betty’s!)
  • German Village – shopping, bakeries, coffee and beautiful architecture
  • Grandview – Close to campus and great for place for graduate students to go when wanting to relax and enjoy a happy hour
Sports around Columbus:
Food:
Other cool things in my favorite city:
So, why are you still reading? go explore this fabulous city – see you around 🙂

 

Annie Leibovitz at the Wexner Center

As an SMF graduate student with limited funds, I love to maximize the utility I can get with every single bill that leaves my wallet, or rather, with every swipe of the plastic these days. From plotting all the happy hour spots around campus (check out James’ blog post on $3.50 burgers on Wednesday at Brazenhead), to scoring deeply discounted tickets to events (check out Jessica’s blog post on d-tix), there’s nothing more exciting than discovering fun things to do on a tight student budget.

One of the activities I would love to spend more of my free time on is visiting museums. Luckily for OSU students, we have the Wexner Center for the Arts on campus. Not only is the museum conveniently located, but admission is also free for all college students with ID. Do not worry if you are not a college student. The Wexner Center takes care of the general public as well by offering free admissions on the first Sunday of each month and every Thursday after 4 PM.

Currently, the masterpieces of Annie Leibovitz are on display through the end of the year. Annie started her career in the early 70s as a photographer for the Rolling Stone magazine and has amassed a huge collection of well-known celebrities she has worked with over the years. The works of art are not limited to musicians. The exhibit also includes iconic athletes like Muhammad Ali, actresses like Angelina Jolie, and political figures like Condoleezza Rice.

If you are on campus, you should definitely swing by the Wexner Center for the Arts and check out the exhibition! I promise you will not be disappointed.