OUAB in the Kitchen – Graduate/Professional Student Activities

OUAB in the kitchen – BBQ

Ohio State University has many entertaining offerings beyond the Fisher campus even for the serious, and seriously busy, graduate student. One can easily become absorbed in their own program and in the rigor of recruiting and academic work or research. It is acceptable and encouraged to engage in activities on and off campus. OUAB, The Ohio Union Activities Board, arranges events specifically for graduate and professional students. These events are timed appropriately for our programs and vary in area of interest and even location. OUAB has events ranging from Kickboxing to Happy Hour. Many events are exclusive to graduate/professional students. I chose my first OUAB event as the OUAB in the Kitchen – BBQ. OUAB has arranged a series of interactive cooking classes, in a variety of topics and cuisines, which allow the busy grad student to take a break, get to know people outside of their discipline, and to just participate in a fun campus activity.

Held in the lower level of the Ohio Union on campus the OUAB in the kitchen classes are taught by a well trained staff. Not the best at–home –chef? Not a big deal, the class is very fool proof. Ingredients are measured out for you and a combination of live demonstration along with personal help from the head and sous chefs and good old fashioned team work will keep you from ruining your meal. You get to eat what you cook and take home leftovers so this is a particularly delicious event to participate in, choose wisely though! In general, you are limited to 3 OUAB Kitchen classes per semester.  I chose to go to the BBQ class where we made BBQ chicken, jalapeno corn muffins, baked beans and banana cream pie.

My group consisted of graduate students from all disciplines and we had great time. My partner and I were in charge of making the banana cream pie and if I may say so, it was delicious!


Chef Marc was great. He helped us out, gave great tips, and made sure we did not ruin our dinner.  The room was full of lively conversation throughout the whole class and everyone was enjoying themselves. At the end of the class tables were pushed together and arranged with real china and silverware for a family style meal to enjoy the food that we had all cooked.

I would definitely encourage anyone to try and sign up for an OUAB in the kitchen event! You are even allowed to bring a non-student or non-graduate student guest as long as you register them along with yourself. In addition to guests there are some classes which are open to families and are kid-friendly. The popularity of these classes has led to an increase in topics, class times and overall number of events. Snatch up a spot while you can before the class fills up!

Click HERE to see a list of Graduate and Professional OUAB events for Fall 2013.

Keeping Pace

There was a saying that we used in the Marine Corps: “It is easier to keep up than catch up.”

This phrase mostly applied to things like running or forced marches in that context, but it seems to me that is is quite applicable to an MBA program as well.   Time management is a crucial skill that is needed in order to thrive in this sort of environment.  In the Marines they begin training in stress inoculation and time management almost immediately.  It is not uncommon in boot camp for something simple, like making a rack (bed), to be given an impossible, or nearly impossible time restriction, and it progresses from there to more complex issues with seemingly impossible time constraints.

Important life decisions.

Time management and the ability to work under duress are two of the many valuable skills (along with leadership), that the Marines helped instill in me.   So, back to the MBA program, during the program, there are a lot of priorities that need to be balanced.  Some of the main ones are:

  • School:  Not just going to all of my classes, but doing homework assignments, studying, and working on projects.
  • Future Careers:  Especially for people like myself looking to switch careers, I need to actively work on building my professional network, attend company info sessions and events, job fairs, apply for jobs, hopefully interview for jobs, work on my resume, and meet with my career counselor.

    First Career Fair as a graduate student today!
  • Student organizations:  There are a myriad of student organizations at Fisher, and they all offer valuable opportunities to students.  There is certainly not time to join all of them, but I have joined several, but each additional one requires an additional time commitment.
  • Personal:  This is possibly the easiest to neglect, but humans need sleep, and to eat, and every once and a while to relax.  Things like going to the gym take time, but it is something that should not be neglected.  Also, having a social life within the program is important.  A big part of business school seems to be networking, so doing things like going to happy hours, and football games are important to building strong relationships with classmates.

All of these areas need to be kept in balance, and maintained, sometimes one is going to be more in focus than the rest, but that doesn’t mean the rest can be neglected.  If I neglect an area, then I am going to fall behind in it, which means that in the future, I will need to expend the same amount of energy needed for it now, plus the energy needed for it in the future, in order to catch up.  That is in addition to meeting all of the other requirements from the other sections of my life.  So, a short term sacrifice now, causes long term harm if I decide to slack in one or more areas.  So, even though it might seem overwhelming sometimes, keeping up with it all is easier than trying to catch up with it all in the future.  I should thank my Drill Instructor for the life lesson.


Four simultaneous Script Ohio’s is an amazing thing.

It’s Good To Be Back

As the title of my post relates, it is good to be back.

As my wife and I were making the drive back to Columbus from Minneapolis she asked me if I was ready to start my second year of business school. I hadn’t really thought if I was ready or not but I did know that I was excited to return. Some people may think that is crazy, but let me explain what I mean when I say that it is good to be back at Fisher.

Here is what I am looking forward to at Fisher this year:

  • Camaraderie – Oddly enough this reminds me of my days playing sports. When you are on a team, or in business school, you develop very close relationships with others. Why? Because you are all going through the same trials and challenges and celebrating similar successes and accomplishments. Business school is a mentally and emotionally grueling time of life and great friendships are established that will last a lifetime. To put it simply, I’m excited to see all of my friends from b-school that were off in different parts of the country (and world) completing their internships.
  • Education – I like to learn. If you are in business school and you don’t like to learn, you may as well drop out. School isn’t the only place where education and learning take place. They continue on into the workplace. If you don’t like to learn new things and stretch yourself, you probably shouldn’t be in b-school. I love the challenge and love to learn from others experience and knowledge. This year will be even more exciting as I focus my classes on my majors of strategy and marketing.
  • Buckeye Football – I have to be honest, right? I love sports and I love football. Put me in a school with one of the best teams and storied programs in the country and it makes for some excitement. Not only is it fun to gather weekly with classmates, but it is fun to feel the buzz in the air surrounding football season here in Columbus. You may not show up to Fisher as a Buckeye fan, but I can guarantee you will leave as one. It’s inevitable.
  • Exposure – Being a students here at Fisher comes hand in hand with loads of exposure to recruiters, top faculty, and great alumni. During my first year I was able to meet with numerous recruiters that were very interested in Fisher students. They have had great success with Fisher students in the past and they enjoy recruiting here and meeting more potential candidates. The faculty and alumni are beyond generous and have been a great asset to me as a student. It has been fun to see a few of them and fill them in on my experience with 3M this summer.

Like I said, it is good to be back. Good to see friends, talk with faculty, and enjoy the community feeling of Ohio State. Hopefully this year won’t fly by too quickly!


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.


A student once again

Saying that I am a student once again may not be completely accurate, because really, we are all constantly students in life, expanding our horizons and our knowledge.  Perhaps “back to being a professional student” is a more accurate description.  It has been a little over six years since I received my Bachelor’s degree in Ohio Stadium (a.k.a. the Horseshoe), and in those six years I learned a lot about myself and the world.  I am sure I will talk more about the journey in future posts, but here is a picture to serve as a primer.

Seeing the world, one muddy field at a time. Yes, all that stuff was quite heavy.

But coming back to Ohio State, and going to the Fisher College of Business for my MBA was the kind of offer that I just could not turn down in good conscience.  The reasons to come here at this point in my life are varied, but things like Fisher being a top rated MBA program (including in Operations, Logistics and Supply Chain Management), a world class faculty, beautiful campus in a vibrant city, and small class size for more exposure to faulty and staff certainly didn’t hurt.  But, I also get to go to one of the happiest places in the world, on a regular basis for the happiest time of year:  Ohio Stadium for Football Season.

A slightly dated, but beautiful, Horseshoe picture, I will need to take some new ones this Saturday.

Neil Building Graduate Housing at Ohio State

One of the things that I worried about the most when coming to Columbus was where I was going to live. Upon submitting my intent to enroll in the SMF program, I was given a comprehensive list of nearby apartments with monthly rental rates and reviews from past student residents, which I found extremely helpful. Knowing that I was not making the drive to Columbus from San Francisco, I focused on a place within walking distance to the Fisher College of Business. I initially considered Fisher Commons, which is a relatively new complex with well appointed kitchen amenities that is a short fifteen minute walk to campus. The only drawback for me was that the apartments were not furnished. The last thing I wanted to worry about at the end of the program was how to get rid of my old mattress.

Neil Graduate Housing

Since I probably cannot bum rides from friends all the time, I had to make sure restaurants and grocery stores were also within walking distance. After looking over the various locations, I decided on the Neil Building Graduate housing. Located at the corner of Neil Avenue and West 10th Avenue, the graduate housing is a twenty minute casual stroll to Fisher College of Business. CVS pharmacy is half a block away for the occasional allergy relief or late night munchies. A Kroger grocery store is also close by on East 7th Avenue and High Street (about a ten minute walk).

However, to add icing on the cake, the best part of the Neil Building by far is the Marketplace located on the street level. The Marketplace is an OSU dining food court that serves pizza, salad, pasta, sushi, Asian stir-fry, and my favorite, the Memphis BBQ beef brisket grilled panini. In addition, there is a VIP access door that connects the rest of the building to the Marketplace. I love how I can go downstairs to grab a quick bite without dealing with the outside elements, especially on a rainy or snowy winter day! How’s that for awesomeness?

BBQ brisket panini hot off the grill!

Finding a Balance at Fisher

This past week has given me some time to reflect on this past year at Fisher and everything that I have learned. I have had the opportunity to meet and speak with many friends and family members that have asked me to tell them the most important lesson I have learned thus far through b-school. To be honest, I tell them that learning how to balance every aspect of life and business school has been the greatest lesson. I’ll go into specifics below.

Family – When you move your wife and 2 month old son across the country you realize that you are not the only person involved in the decision making process. For me, coming back to school to obtain an MBA was not a personal choice, it was a family choice. They have been more than supportive. With that being said, they always have been and always will be my first priority. I personally feel that in business today, too many people put dollars above family. Spending time with them and having time to play with my little boy each night helps me to focus better on my studies than I normally would. They help me realize what the purpose of returning to b-school was all about. My advice to any b-school student with a family – put your family first and everything else will take care of itself.

School -Let’s face it, grades and school are important. The costs of returning to b-school from working full time are extremely high. Knowing that, I do my best to allocate my time at school as efficiently as possible. I have also learned to prioritize my time to certain subjects and responsibilities that I have. Because of the heavy work load and demands on my time while I am at school, I have become better at managing my time. It also helps being on such a great core team that works well together.

Networking – Almost equally important as the education and knowledge that one receives at b-school is the important aspect of networking. When I talk of networking I don’t mean the cheesy guy at the bar with a beer in his hand trying to chum it up with every person that enters. Those guys annoy. I am talking about learning from those with expertise in areas that interest you. It should be a learning experience, not just another business card or email address. Learning how to network and speak with people about industries that I have no experience with has helped balance my understanding of many interesting business industries and meet many great people.

Social – If all you worry about at business school is getting straight A’s and your interviews you might go crazy. I have been able to balance my schooling with many social events and activities that help me stay sane. From hanging out with classmates at a happy hour to tailgating for a buckeye game there is always a way to take a step back and breathe. A few weeks back I was able to participate in a dodge ball event that helped raised $500 for a local charity. I have also been able to play intramural basketball with a few of the other first year MBA’s. Each week their is an event of the week that is hosted by the Fisher Social Chairs that give students the chance to meet one another and relax from studying for a few hours. These social opportunities help with mental and physical health and have been great for me.

Ohio State MBA

The message of my post today is to work hard and play hard. Business school can be a very demanding time, just like any worthwhile accomplishment … but if you don’t find a balance you may get burned out. By balancing my life here at Fisher College of Business, I am hopeful that it will carry over to my career for many years to come.

Tom Herman Visits Fisher

I recently had the chance to sit in on a Q&A session here at Fisher with a successful entrepreneur who was willing to spend time discussing the challenges and rewards of starting and running your own business. Tom has a lot of experience in entrepreneurial ventures and continues to work with start-ups and other companies in need of capital.

Tom is currently a partner at KCP Capital which specializes in investing and consulting with digital media clients. He is also currently working as the Chief Product Officer at DashBid, a video advertising private exchange company. His past is full of great experiences within the digital and technological business field and he was nice enough to give us some of these key points of insight for entrepreneurs.

Working With Friends – He is definitely a proponent of working with friends. He said that it makes work more fun and that it is an environment that can really harness the strengths of all parties involved due to the level of comfort you have with your colleagues.

Understand the Finances – Tom mentioned that one of the most important steps of being an entrepreneur is making sure that you understand how the financing aspect of your venture will take place.

Effort -Starting a company takes a lot of effort and time. He mentioned that it is hard to focus a lot of time anywhere else than a start-up. He made sure to emphasize the importance of time management and the effort and work that is required to get a new venture off the ground.

Passion and Fun – The more you care about the product, the more passionate you will be in helping the business be successful. Tom mentioned that he enjoys working in IT and Tech industries and it helps motivate him to work more efficiently and diligently.

Dress the Part – This goes without saying but Tom made sure that we all understood that we need to dress and act the part. Early in his career he didn’t grasp the importance of his personal brand. He has since changed and emphasized his wife’s help in that category.


Fisher’s Chinese New Year Gala

The Chinese Business Club at Fisher College of Business hosted its annual celebration for Chinese New Year. This year, students from around the world helped ring in the new year with food, fun, and great performances throughout the night.

For me, being from the United States, this was a great opportunity to learn more about a culture that I know so little about. I was able to watch traditional dances from many Asian countries. A handful of performers sang some of their favorite songs and played traditional Chinese instruments.

One of the highlights of the night was when a number of students, families, and professors joined together to play a traditional game. The game not only kept the participants on their toes, but it also gave the audience a great deal of quality entertainment.

Next year I will definitely be attending the Chinese New Year celebration here at Fisher. If you are around next year, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Check out more photos of the event on the Fisher Flickr Page.

Brucetta Williams (VP Consumer Marketing from @BET) Visits Fisher

Last week students here at Fisher had a great opportunity to gather together and learn from Brucetta Williams, VP Consumer Marketing at BET.  She was nice enough to fly in to Columbus and visit the Fisher community to discuss her career path and share advice for future business leaders.

Brucetta shared a few points of career advice that she swears by. Some of the advice she shared that jumped out at me are as follows:

Continued Learning – Being a student doesn’t end with receiving a degree. It is a life-long process. Brucetta remarked that she stays current on issues by being active in her trade associations. She participates in local meetings and networks with others in her industry to continue growing her knowledge of marketing and media.

Know Yourself – Regarding career progression, Brucetta made it clear that one of the reasons she has had success in her professional career is that she is self-aware and knows what she wants out of her career. She suggested that MBA students discover where they want to be in the future and work hard towards it.

Set Goals – Even if you may not achieve all of them, set them. Brucetta sets goals every year and makes her best effort to achieve them. If she doesn’t achieve them, she rolls them over to the next year if applicable. Continued growth and progression are the results she sees from setting goals.

Life Balance – This area of the discussion with Brucetta really jumped out at me. She emphasized to all of us that when you die, your obituary may have one line regarding a career or professional achievement. Maybe. To this point Brucetta spoke towards leading a balanced life, at work, home, and play. Have fun. Have hobbies. Life life. Great advice that resonated with me stronger than the others she shared.