Posts Tagged 'Fisher College of Business'



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.


Getting To Know Your Peers At Fisher

When I was looking into business schools, I had a list of specific attributes that my target school needed to possess. The size of the class and the number of students attending the program was high on that list. I wanted to be sure that I would be able to know my peers and my professors. I also wanted them to know me. At Fisher, that isn’t a problem. Let me tell you why:

Class Size

My class size is approximately 130 students in the full-time MBA program. This allows for the school to divide the students into four cohorts all consisting of roughly 30 students. During the first year, classes are assigned by cohort which enables students to have classes with every one of their peers, on multiple occasions.

Student Organizations

Fisher is full of student organizations that help students meet others that have similar interests and hobbies. The organizations can range from the marketing or finance club, to the golf or Fisher 5k club. Anyone that is interested in starting a student organization is given that opportunity. These clubs and organizations have enabled me to meet many other students and get to know them on a more personal basis.

Classroom Environment

The classroom environment at Fisher breeds participation and collaboration. Students are expected to participate and share their knowledge with the class. Professors frequently cold call their students to make sure they are prepared and to keep them on their toes. Attending class and hearing from my fellow students has been one of the best ways I have learned more about them. They share details of their past jobs and what management principles they were able to apply or learn during those years. Not only do I learn about business, but I learn more about my friends.

Social Opportunities

I wish I had enough time to write about all of the social opportunities that exist at Fisher. Every week our Social Chairs make everyone aware of “the event of the week.” This is usually an evening at a bar or a sporting event that allows students to relax outside of the classroom and have a good time. Aside from those events I know a number of students that play intramurals, go to the gym, attend concerts, try new restaurants, and many other activities together. The possibilities really are endless.

These are a few of the areas that have allowed me to meet many of my fellow classmates at Fisher. Because of Fisher, not only will I have learned a great deal from my classmates, I will leave knowing every one of them and viewing them all as my friends.


Fisher Annual Book Draw

Every year before the winter break, students and faculty gather together in the student lounge to participate in the annual Fisher Book Draw.

The book draw is hosted by the members of the Graduate Programs Office. Favorite books of the faculty at Fisher are purchased and on hand for students to receive through the drawing.

Each student, regardless of graduate program, is eligible to win one of the books.

This year, I was lucky enough to win one of the books that was given. I received the book The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America. I am about halfway through the book and it has been a great read thus far.

The annual book draw is just another reason that I have loved my time at Fisher. It is an example to me of the benefits of attending a business school that has a small intimate feel where students really get to know all of the faculty and all of their classmates. Fisher provides that in so many ways and the annual book draw is just one of them.


Fisher Serves – Working at the Animal Shelter

Fisher Serves is a student organization at the Fisher College of Business that reaches out to the community by providing service at non-profit organizations. All students from the various programs within the college are able to participate in this organization that gives back to the Columbus, OH community.

For the Fisher Serves day of service, I was asked to help at one of the local animal shelters here in Columbus. I was excited to attend but was given a simple disclosure from my wife that I was not to bring home any animals. Lucky for her, I didn’t.

When the group got to the shelter we were given a list of assignments that needed to be completed. The staff at the shelter was very friendly and made our day of service fun and enjoyable. Here is a brief list of some of the activities that the MBAs were able to help with while volunteering at the animal shelter:

  • Walking Dogs
  • Dog Obedience Training
  • Cleaning Kennels
  • Playing With Kittens
  • Washing Dog Dishes
  • Preparing Dog Treats

The day was full of fun and although it sounds like a lot of fun and easy activities, I was surprised at how tired I was after being on my feet for the whole afternoon.

I am happy to say that all of the MBAs left without an injury or wound. Even more importantly, we all left feeling a sense of gratitude for the opportunities that we have in life to reach out and serve others. I am grateful for the Fisher Serves organization and I truly feel that it helps mold more balanced MBAs during their time at Fisher.


A Lesson in Ethics: Aaron Beam Visits Fisher

Greed.

This one word was what Aaron Beam used to describe the cause of his and other top executives’ motivation for “cooking the books” of Healthsouth.  The former CFO of one of the nation’s leading outpatient healthcare providers visited Fisher for a MAcc Applied Talk unlike any other I’ve attended.  If you’re unfamiliar with the story behind Healthsouth and the fraud Mr. Beam was involved in, I’ll do my best to fill you in.  While Mr. Beam was acting CFO, he and other accountants falsified revenue and misstated financial statements in order to meet Wall Street analysts’ expectations.  He plead guilty to involvement in the fraud and served three months in prison.

Mr. Beam’s stories of the fraud, his relationship with former CEO Richard Scrushy, the trials, etc., were all enlightening.  The former CFO made a few points that I found to be full of wisdom and extremely good advice for us as students and future business people.

Success, as defined in the Webster’s dictionary in 1806, meant “being generous, prosperous, healthy and kind.”  Today, the definition of success is “the attainment of wealth, fame, and rank.”  Culture, especially in business, has transformed over the years to where many people are focused on getting rich no matter how many lines they cross.  If everyone is doing it, that means it’s okay, right?

Mr. Beam told us that we, as students, are the beginning of the change of the culture in the business world.  We don’t just do something because we’re told – we want to know why; we want an explanation.  We’re not afraid to blow the whistle when we know decisions being made are unethical or unlawful.

One student asked Mr. Beam what he would have done differently.  After the first white lie he was asked to go along with, he said he would have left.  He wouldn’t have stayed at a company that pushed employees to go outside their ethical comfort zone.  In giving us advice, he suggested to look at the tone at the top.  If it’s one we’re not comfortable with, we’d better have an exit plan.

Lastly, when asked how his friends and family reacted to the fraud, Mr. Beam was quite short.  He was ashamed of his cowardly behavior and was disappointed in how he hurt his wife, daughter and friends.  I think if he had been thinking of all of his loved ones when Mr. Scrushy had asked him to commit fraud, he would have acted quite differently.  That’s something that we should all take with us as we go into the business world and will undoubtedly be faced with ethical decisions down the road.

And we could probably all be a little more focused on being generous, prosperous, healthy, and – most of all - kind.

 


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