How to Become a Time Management Ninja

Happy Fall, everyone! The temperature is dropping here in Columbus but some beautiful fall colors were seen these past few weeks!

Fall at Ohio State campus

I was recently advised to blog about how my experience as a student-athlete has helped me as a finance graduate student. That gave me the idea to write a post on what skills will help you be successful in grad school and detail along some specific examples where these skills are put into play in the SMF program. So here it goes!

In my first post, I mentioned used to be part of the Ohio State University tennis team when I was an undergraduate. During my time as a student-athlete, I found myself juggling school, academics and life in general. Life as a student-athlete is very busy, especially during the season when you are playing two matches per week, sometimes even either at home or away, or when there is a tournament happening out of town and you have to miss class for a whole week. Also, the more your team wins, the more days you will need to take off school to play matches if you are playing a tournament. Therefore, you learn to use every minute of your time productively.

I was thankfully able to begin to develop my time management skills back when I was younger, as I used to juggle tennis, school and life since I was 11 years old when I started traveling for tennis tournaments and would come back home to catch up with school.

Time management skills developed in my earlier years are definitely helping me with my responsibilities between school and being a graduate assistant. I would share to anyone applying to graduate school that time management is something you will need to master during your years as a graduate student.

In graduate school, you are taking around fifteen credit hours per semester but most of your time will be spent working on group projects outside the classroom. For example, I am currently part of two teams for three different classes. One of my teams is working on an R (coding) project, my other team is working on our core capstone equity research project and several Excel presentations. I would say at least five hours each week are out put into group work, and that is keeping it short. Another SMF team was meeting for six hours straight one of these days. Kudos to them, seriously!

Either you run the day or the day runs you. — Jim Rohn

I was not familiar with Jim Rohn’s background as a motivational speaker but found this quote on the Internet and decided to include it in this post because it could not be more true.

Either you start working on that long assignment today or the length of the assignment will seem more daunting tomorrow. Either you read that one more chapter of the book today or are lost in class and have to read two more chapters tomorrow. Time is so valuable in the life of a business student and professional in general, that either you control it or it starts controlling you.

But what is the best way to control time, you may ask? Some might have different answers for this one but this leads me to another topic for my next blog: planning! No pun intended, but I’m planning to ask some SMF students who are currently preparing for the CFA about their experiences studying for the exam and how they are dealing with time management. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

The NBMBAA Conference Experience

This past September, the 40th Annual NBMBAA Conference & Exposition was held at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. For those of you who don’t know, the NBMBAA Conference is the “world’s largest career exposition with exhibitors from 300 of the nation’s top companies.” The event gathers members, corporate partners, and some of the world’s most sought after thought leaders for a week of exploration in the areas of dynamic leadership, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, professional development, and education and workforce policy.

This year was my first time at the conference, and it was one of my favorite MBA experiences so far. There were so many top companies from a variety of industries, such as BlackRock, Eaton Corporation, Google, Johnson & Johnson, National Basketball Association, PepsiCo, Inc., Under Armour, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Whirlpool Corporation. The conference also included different breakout sessions, pitch challenges, speaker lectures, and other events, such as “Big Data: Algorithms vs. Human Analysis” – sponsored by LinkedIn, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Microsoft and The Leadership Studio: R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Women in Leadership – sponsored by Georgia-Pacific.

The conference provided me with one of the best opportunities to get my face in front of my target companies. I had a chance to interview with Microsoft, the NBA, and Under Armour—three of my potential employers. I never imagined I was going to be able to speak with any of those companies, but the conference made that possible.

A few other benefits I received from the conference were being able to watch our case competition team present, speaking with local high students and undergraduates about The Ohio State University and the Fisher College of Business, getting invited to the NFL Kickoff Event at the Detroit Lions Stadium and the Microsoft Meet & Greet, attending an Under Amour Detroit Brand House event, and building relationships with other black professionals. I will always remember this event and how blessed I am to have experienced it, all thanks to Fisher, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and the NBMBAA.

Here are some other perspectives from a few first-years and second-years:

Neethi Johnson, second-year: “I had a wonderful experience at the NBMBAA conference in Detroit where I was able to connect with amazing employers, engage in fruitful conversations, and meet other driven, conscientious MBA students from around the country. As I continue to interview with companies I met at the conference, I look forward to maintaining and cultivating my NBMBAA relationships.” 

Chineze Okpalaoka, first-year: “Last month, I attended the National Black MBA Association conference in Detroit. It has been the highlight of my semester so far. I had the rare opportunity to have enormous face time with recruiters from organizations whose work I admire. I was also able to connect with other young black professionals from universities across the nation. One of my favorite moments was from a breakout session I attended on black women entrepreneurs. It gave me the motivation I needed to keep investing in my own ideas even while I am pursuing my MBA.”  

Tomilola Abiodun, second-year: “The Black MBA Conference was exciting and fulfilling for me. I had the opportunity to network and even interview with some of the top companies in the United States. I am grateful for the opportunity granted to me by Fisher and the Office of Diversity to volunteer and attend the conference.

“I was able to make the best out of the conference by preparing very early. I started applying to jobs on the website in July and started my Interview prep with career management in August. The conference provides great networking opportunities for a second-year MBA like me but can be very overwhelming if one doesn’t prepare adequately. I will advise students to make good use of the resources available to them at Fisher to ensure they gain maximum success at future conferences. I look forward to Houston next year where hopefully I will be at the other side of networking. Thank you, Fisher!”

Anique Russell, second-year: “I attended the National Black MBA conference in Detroit last month and the experience was unforgettable. As a first-year MBA student, it felt so rewarding and beneficial to network with established professionals. As an entrepreneur, I was inspired by the breakout sessions geared specifically toward women in business. I also attended the FedEx small business competition, it was very exciting to watch startups pitch for $50,000 in funding. I can’t wait to attend the conference next year.”

The End Is Near

I spent a part of this morning going through photos from the past year, and man, it is crazy how quickly these past eight months have gone. Reminds me of this old country song by Trace Adkins. As our email inboxes get flooded with graduation information, ways to purchase regalia, and other information regarding diplomas; graduation is starting to become a real idea indeed.

Looking back on these photos brought back great memories. For example, I remember our orientation and our Turbo Finance class, where I was planting the foundation of my current financial knowledge and getting to know my new classmates better. Another example is the numerous dinners that we went to as a class and all the great food and conversations we had.

My first team at Fisher

Fast forward to the Fisher Follies Auction event in the fall, to accepting my job, to traveling to NYC and meeting with the banks, to finishing out the first half of the program on a strong note. Christmas vacation was an awesome time to have some rest, start studying for the CFA exam, and begin to prepare for the second half of the school year.

Classmates and me in NYC in the fall.

Looking back on the past two months, I also did a lot of traveling: Denver, New York, Chicago, and Islamorada. It was awesome being able to enjoy these places with family, friends, and classmates. It was also nice to do a little traveling while I was still in school and before I started my job.

Skiing out in Denver at Keystone.

Now, we have just over one month left and I am going to cherish these moments a little bit more than the rest as I recognize that this is the end. We have a few more events planned, including the Fisher Follies Variety Show event and a few other SMF events. I am looking forward to this next month and walking across the stage with my classmates at graduation.

What’s Up, World?

Hello there,

My name is Brett Hornung and I am a Specialized Master in Finance Candidate at Fisher, with a focus on Corporate Finance. I am one of the Graduate Ambassadors this year for the SMF program and will be blogging throughout the year to give you all some insight into what goes on in the world of an SMF student. In the meantime, here is my story.

A picture of me as part of an introduction to who I am.
This is me, the man behind the blog posts.

A couple of random fun facts to start it off:

  • My career goal is to be an Investment Banker.
  • Go Browns, Go Tribe, Go Cavs. Go anything Cleveland really.
  • My favorite type of food is steak.
  • I speak Mandarin at an intermediate level and have been to over 10 cities within China.
  • I enjoy outdoor concerts, (of most genres) with my favorite being EDM, and my favorite artist being Flume.

Born and raised on the West side of Cleveland, OH in the beautiful town of Westlake. Ended up attending St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and ultimately choosing Marquette for my undergraduate studies. At Marquette, I double-majored in International Affairs & Political Science, and double-minored in Economics & Asian Studies. In addition, I also played NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse for the inaugural team, and last year we won the Big East Championship, so, as you could imagine that was a great way to cap off my undergraduate career.

This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.
This is me with the trophy after we won the Big East.

 

When I realized I was interested in graduate school, specifically programs revolving around finance, Ohio State was a natural choice. My older brother was a 5-year student of Fisher, my best friends all went to Fisher, and I had only heard great things about the place. In addition, I had probably visited a million times at this point and knew the campus as well as I had known Marquette’s. So, when I received the offer to come and enroll as a member of the class of 2017, I knew it was the place for me to be.

Since our program starts in the first week of August, I have been on campus for about a month now and have been loving every aspect of it. Classes and professors are interesting, the weather on campus is beautiful, and the people I have met so far have been awesome. Really am looking forward to the next 8 months as a Buckeye, especially with the start of football season upon us. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more posts of mine throughout the year. Take it easy.

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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O-H … I-O!

If you know me, it’s no secret that I am a huge buckeye fan. But, when you go to Ohio State for undergrad, buckeye fever is in your blood! However, it’s more than just a game on a field, it’s an experience. From tailgating with Fisher friends beforehand to going to the game and cheering on a win, it’s a great break from classes, homework, school, internship/job searching and the 10,000 other things on a business student’s to-do list.

Ohio State is full of rich traditions, but I think the football atmosphere takes win. When you are on campus during game day,everywhere you look it is a sea of scarlet and grey. Games are usually Saturday afternoons, but the night games against big components are even more fun. True, during late October and early November, the layers start to appear. We just played Penn State – and everyone was putting on scarves and hats!

OSU v. Penn State – cold, but so much fun
The Shoe!
Fisher Ladies!

Ohio State football is full of traditions, from Brutus Buckeye, to the Mirror Lake Jump, to the leaves on the players’ helmets. The games are a great way to bond with fellow students and make incredible memories. My MBA program is only two years, and they are FLYING right by me.

The game, and the celebrations before and after, are memories that I will never forget!

Go bucks 🙂

The Other Side Of The Table 2

I saw a FaceBook post by the amazing and universally-loved Alisa McMahon at Fisher about how a 2011 MBA graduate returned to Fisher to recruit some MBA interns.

This is what I love about our program.  We represent the college well; we do good work; and we bolster and perpetuate the incredible reputation that our programs have.

I had the opportunity to help recruit MLHR students to replace me when I leave the HR Intern position at OCLC.  Out of 150 candidates that applied, it was narrowed down to 10 that were interviewed and 8 of them were from the MLHR program.  That speaks volumes and it makes me proud that I have represented my program and our college so well that my current employer wants to ensure that they are the future employers of the wonderful talent that is coming out of the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Be proud of what you do as a master’s candidate, absorb the material and apply it to everything you do professionally and personally.  Be proud of your cohort.  And be proud that you had the opportunity to be a part of the incredible programs and activities here.

Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

In keeping with the “end of the first year” theme from 2 weeks ago (stay tuned for another bonus blog this week, since it has been 2 weeks since my last blog), I decided to reflect on a comment I received today. I opened my email from the weekend  and in one them was the comment (directed at me), “I expected more from you.” Of course, I’m not going to go on and say who said it or even the situation surrounding the comment because it really doesn’t matter. The fact is, that comment really stung. After the inevitable hurt feelings that come after a comment like that, I started to think about expectations. Specifically, I started to remember the ones I set for myself coming into this program and how in the grand scheme of things, this little comment doesn’t have any bearing on my life as a whole at Fisher.

My expectations for myself in terms of this program were to obviously, do well academically and after that I just wanted to make some new friends, maybe 3 or 4 that could become really good friends and maybe take on more leadership-type roles,and of course, find an internship. These expectations weren’t particularly lofty in terms of specificity, but this list was a challenge none-the-less, especially at the beginning of a completely new experience.

Because of Fisher, the MLHR program, and the new friends that I’ve meet along the way, I have met and exceeded those expectations. Here’s what I actually have accomplished in one year, thanks to the three groups listed at the beginning of this paragraph:

1. Went from Co-Social Chair to Social Chair for MLHR. This really “kills 2 birds with 1 stone” because I have been able to make new friends because of this and take more a leadership role as well.

2. Found an internship via FisherConnect. After editing my resume, thanks to the Office of Career Management and FisherConnect, I was able to land and internship with the State of Ohio (Department of Natural Resources), which is one of the best internships I could ask for.

3. Made friends with students from across the globe. I’ve been able to get to know students from China and Turkey and have had the pleasure of learning about their culture and sharing some of mine with them (i.e. “Chinese Thanksgiving”). I definitely think that when the program is over, Skype will be in our future, so we can stay in touch, no matter where we are.

4. Learned so much about HR and realized that HR and the program here at Fisher is the perfect fit for me. I knew I wasn’t totally sold on Strategic Communication when I graduated as a career (although I am still a total PR and advertising nerd), so finally finding a specialty that I am passionate about is such a blessing. It doesn’t hurt that my class is full of great people to work with and see 3+ nights a week.

5. Been able to keep up a little bit with Communications through this blog. It’s been nice to still feel like I’m tied to “Comm-world” by maintaining a blog.

6. Ran my first 5k. As I said in the Fisher 5k blog, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support from classmates who were volunteers and fellow runners who were so encouraging every step of the way. I doubt I would have done a 5k if it weren’t for some of classmates in MLHR and everyone who organized the Fisher 5k.

7. Went down zip line. This FOR SURE would not have happened without the help and encouragement of the classmates that were in my team. It may not seem like a big deal to some reading this, but for me, it is a big deal. I put my faith in people who were telling me it was OK to slide myself off of the ledge and being able to put my faith into other people saying it was OK is a HUGE accomplishment for me.

These are only some of the highlights from this past year, and for me, just these alone are proof that I have met and exceeded expectations that I set for myself starting out as a first year graduate student. I would encourage everyone starting in any of the graduate programs at Fisher to think about what expectations you have for yourself starting in the program and after one year look back at how much you have accomplished. It really puts things into perspective if  you’re having a bad day or if you feel overwhelmed with everything that is going on at the end of the year. So, when you come to Fisher, get ready make your list of expectations and be ready to meet and exceed every single of one them.

Power in Numbers

Whenever I tell friends outside of MLHR that the program has an emphasis on group work, the usual response is something to the effective of, “Ugggg I HATE group work.” or “I don’t know how you handle group work all the time. Isn’t that so hard to find time with your schedules?” Now, I must admit, I came into the program with a similar attitude when they told us we would be working in groups for most of our time here. However, I think I might have come to rather enjoy group work. Here are a few reasons why group work isn’t as bad as people think:

1. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people in the program. Last quarter, was the beginning of a new program with new people. Our group projects facilitated a way for us to get to know each other. As with every group project there are times when we get off topic, and it is really nice to actually have the opportunity to get to know the AMAZINGLY TALENTED people in our program.

2. Divide and conquer. I know sometimes solo projects can move a little quicker because you are not dealing with a group, but you still have to do all that work by yourself. I love being able to divide up the work for the project knowing that each person in our group will do an excellent job.

3. Meeting in different places and getting away from campus. Like many people, being in Fisher at night during the week and on many Sundays is not my idea of a good time after awhile. Don’t get me wrong, Gerlach is a beautiful, dare I say, high-tech building, but it gets old. Especially in the winter when all anyone wants to do is go outside in warm weather. This is why winter has been a great time to get out and meet at other places. Today, my group met at a Panera in Upper Arlington. New scenery and not as crowded as the one by campus. You can explore different parts of Columbus and get work done at the same time. How about that?

4. This may go along with divide and conquer, but less presenting time. It’s great having people stand up there with you when you are presenting your work. Unlike many other programs, you have to do the work by yourself and then stand up and present it on your own. Then, you have to talk for at least 20 minutes. Can you say SCARY? It give me so much more confidence when you have people with you as you present and you don’t have to speak for very long when there are 3-4 members that all need to do some of the talking. Literally, power in numbers.

Of course, there are some downsides to group work. It can be challenging finding time to meet with people, especially as more people get jobs during the school year (myself included), but it’s worth it. Now that many of us know each other’s schedules it is not that bad. One thing to do though, is be up front with your schedule at your first group meeting. This sets the tone if you will, so everyone is on the same page when it comes to meetings.

MLHR has made a believer out of me when it comes to group work. Go Team!

A Day at Nestlé

Today I traveled to Solon, OH with several Fisher MBA classmates to take a tour of the Nestlé campus and learn more about brand management opportunities at the company.  After the tour, it was clear that Nestlé is a unique place with remarkable brands.  I thought the most interesting part of the day was when two Marketing Associates spoke to us about their experience in the Toll House Cookie Dough Group during the E. coli recall several months ago.  I can’t think of a larger obstacle to overcome than a product recall, but this group never panicked.  After several weeks with the product off store shelves, the baking division re-launched the cookie dough in a slightly modified package highlighting that the product was safe.  Their initiatives were a major success and the Toll House brand suffered no major brand damage.  In fact, their sales this month are slightly higher than they were a year ago.

Tomorrow is the big game against Michigan.  I’ll be at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe talking to prospective students about Fisher and all that it has to offer.  So if you’ll be there, please hold any questions until non-critical moments of the game. Thanks.