Posts Tagged 'grades'

The End of Autumn Semester

One review session, two exams and one take-home final stands between me and break.

So. Close.

When I look back on the first semester of the Fisher MBA Program, and I can’t even begin to list all the memories. Ranging from classes, hysterical lectures (really, wait till you hear Professor Campbell tell you about pirates), Fisher Follies, drinks at the Varsity Club after finals, tailgating, EOTW (Events of the Week),  study groups, a perfect football season and so much more.

*picture taken from the Ohio State Buckeyes Facebook page

There have been tears, there have been laughs, and there have been hundreds of cups of coffee.

I know that days into the holiday break I’ll be missing everyone at school, but I am excited to sleep-in and watch a few movies. But in all honesty, this break will be a great time to throw myself into my 3rd full-time job: finding an internship.

I know numerous companies will be posting internships and coming to campus in January, and I want to be ready. I have had some great mentors show me how they researched companies, and I know I am up for the challenge. Even better, a few weeks without class will allow me to research more companies and follow-up on networking emails.

No one ever said business school was easy – good thing I love a challenge :)

The break will give me a chance to rest, recharge, start researching companies and see my family and friends back at home. I know that next semester with Strategy, Finance II, Marketing II and Operations II will be here before I can blink…so let’s get my last three finals out of the way!

 

Happy Holidays!

Light Up The Lake (after thousands jumped in for the M!ch!g@n Game)


Grades and Exams In Graduate School (At Least From My Perspective)

This post has been inspired by a recent exam grade that I have received for one of my classes.  It wasn’t absolutely stellar, but it didn’t make me want to down cyanide pills (and the way this class is designed it is better that I chance having my slightly better than mediocre grade than take the comprehensive final).  My experiences with assignments, grades, and exams in graduate school can only come from the experience of someone who graduated with a degree in journalism just a few years ago from Ohio State, so if anything that I write about applies to you then be fortunate that you are already one step ahead!

Undergrad

Undergrad was sort of easy for me.  To be fair, the journalism program here isn’t anything prestigious in the world of journalism like Fisher is in the world of business.  I will say though that not everyone is a writer, so what I may have found easy a mathematician, engineer, or pre-med student would have struggled with.  I was though very involved in student organizations and normally held down like 2 jobs, so I wasn’t just a lazy bum.  Anyway, being that I studied journalism, the majority of my assignments were papers done by myself.  The majority of my tests were some kind of multiple choice, and my professors normally gave us some kind of guidance and direction to how to study.  A lot of it was the regurgitation of theory (which I cannot stand), or memorizing some crazy rule from the AP Stylebook (the grammar rules of journalists).

Graduate

Graduate assignments and tests are a whole new level of crazy.

  1. You are expected to know like an infinity more amount for a test.  The amount you’re expected to read and study is a lot more intense than what I had in undergrad.
  2. There really are not that many smaller papers, projects, or assignments.  Normally it is one huge project or paper that you have to work on with a group of people.  Group work occurred, but did not happen that often with me in undergrad (how many group news reports have you ever read?).  Group work is the nature of Fisher though, because my friends in the undergraduate program would always complain tell me about how many group meetings they had to go to.  My teachers in undergrad would always comment on how everyone’s schedules were so different that they tried to avoid group projects.  I almost never had the same classes with the same people so this was true and difficult, but even when you have all your classes together it is still hard to coordinate the schedules of grad students.
  3. Because there are very few assignments, you really have to make sure that you don’t screw up on an assignment or that could be your grade for the class.   Professors will be willing to help you out, but they don’t have structured mini assignments to make sure you’re doing the reading that you’re even more expected to keep up with in graduate school.  It is nice to not constantly have to be tested on something….sometimes you just need to have a few days where you don’t read anything because of other things going on and have a few days that you don’t ever leave the library.
  4. I wrote a few papers where I was the sole author (if any) in graduate school.  I NEVER wrote a group paper in undergrad (once again though journalism is kind of solo field).  I am sure other graduate students write many individual papers, but due to the collaboration and teamwork of the business world many papers are done with others.  Though it is good that you can split up that 25 page paper among 3 or 4 other people, but truth be told there have been quite a few times I have raised an eyebrow or rolled my eyes at some people’s writing styles or overall lack of effort and would have rather had wrote the paper myself.
  5. The exams are a lot less straightforward.  If you want a study guide, you better study and then make your own guide.  You could be tested on literally anything that you have covered (no matter how obscure it appeared to be in class or in the text).  Professors want you to know theory, but they also want you to apply in some kind of way or example (that either they make up or you have to make up).  This may not be odd for some, but has been a challenge for me in spending time in remembering some particular thing and having an application to it.
  6. Exams also may lead to arthritis as well, because I would say at least 75% of the exams I have taken have been essay.  Essay exams are always the hardest, because you can BS a paper or have a lucky guess on a multiple choice exam but you HAVE to know your stuff in these exams.  There is no way getting out of this.
  7. Last thing I want to say is that a lot of professors in graduate school do not follow the standard midterm/final schedule that most of my teachers did in undergrad.  Midterm and finals week are still stressful, but instead of having to worry about all exams I need to individually study for, I may have one paper, one exam, or one project due (that have due dates that all are annoyingly close to each other).  For my Research Methods and Negotiations class, there was neither a midterm or final.  The final was optional for Staffing and is optional for Collective Bargaining.  With Staffing, the exam was factored in your final grade, and CB if you take the final than your midterm does not factor into your grades (both are comprehensive so it can be worse if you take the final).   There was only one exam for my HRIS class.  A lot of professors believe in different methods of learning than the dreaded test, but regardless these tests/projects/papers are worth a lot of your grade.
  8. There are a lot more presentations.  Most of the presentations that I had to do in undergrad were individual, where most of mine  in graduate school have been group (which you can have the same issues with group papers like someone really not contributing, reads straight from their slides, etc).
So I think that about covers everything.  Oh and being that it is graduate school, it is more challenging obviously.  So though I would love to get an A in everything, I am no longer in high school so it would be good when you start to accept one of my favorite mottoes “Bs get degrees.”
-G

Holding On and Letting Go

B-school life is full of times to hold on or to let go.  Lately it seems I continually face the decision to hone my tenacity or choose the way of Lao Tsu and “go with the flow”.  Insider hint: the Tao of Eve needs some major work.

I’m really not one to make new year’s resolutions because I can never seem to stick with them.  When I fail, it becomes one more thing to gnaw on my conscience.  This year, however, things are different.  During break, I realized it is really important for me to let things go and I resolved to make a concerted effort to do so during 2011 (and beyond).  A few things prompted my decision:

(1) Grades: One thing you’ll hear time and time again in b-school is that grades don’t matter.  As a first-year, I’ve heard this from various people across disciplines and departments.  I suppose old habits die hard because I waited with great anticipation for my grades to be posted online.  All in all, I did alright and was pretty happy with my results.  But there’s always that one class… in my case, it was Organizational Behavior.  I missed the next letter grade by one point and wasn’t one of the students that was moved up based upon class participation.  “Disappointed” is a fair way to describe my feelings on the situation.  What to do?  Let it go and move forward.  I’m not happy about it but there’s not much I can do to change it at this point.  I could dwell on it and let it affect me or release it and focus on the next term.  I choose to focus on the future.  And, although I realize that grades do matter to me (at least somewhat), I also know that I want to take full advantage of the other opportunities & activities available in the full-time MBA program.

(2) Clutter: If there’s any advice I can give you that will prove helpful, it’s PURGE NOW especially if you’re moving to Columbus from somewhere else.  Downsizing is extremely important to do in advance; you really don’t want to move everything and then realize it doesn’t fit.  In my case, I was faced with the closet storage reality over break.  I finally had time to fully switch my wardrobe from warm weather to cold weather.  I ended up with several bags of trash and six piles of clothes that need to be donated to Goodwill.  Some mementos are worth keeping but all the stuff you have set aside “just in case” should be dumped before you get here.  You won’t have the time to do it when classes begin and you’ll feel so free by ridding yourself of the excess baggage.  Let it go and make room for good things to come into your life.

(3) Rejection: Recruiting season is heading into full swing and I can honestly say I have already gotten my share of rejection.  I *really* don’t need any more.  Realistically, it could be a lot worse.  The good news is that I have a few angles that may pan out.  The ones that didn’t work out really didn’t suit me anyway.  My advice to you is: do your homework and decide what matters most and what you really want.  Have the conversation with your Career Management counselor and make sure your goals are realistic.  If you have a specific target, you can focus all your energy toward that goal.  If you’re anything like me and are unsure, or are switching careers, you might need to spend extra energy and take a path less traveled.  I believe we all want to be wanted and it is normal to feel validated by a potential employer wanting to speak with us.  But when your request for interview is rejected, it doesn’t invalidate you.  In my case, each “no” pushes me closer to a “yes” and the path I trod is not the most worn.  Fisher provides many resources for us to use to build our networks.  Finding the ideal career fit may involve on campus recruiting but it may not.  Some of us choose a path less common.  At Fisher, faculty, staff, and alumni are very willing to help each one of us discover our way.  They really see us as individuals.  Personally, I’m letting go of the “no”s and holding on to the perfect fit being out there.  It just takes some of us longer to find it.

This quarter proves to be getting better by the minute.  To gain momentum and keep the right pace, I resolve to hold on to what’s truly important and let go of the things that can slow me down.

The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency.  All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson


It’s All Relative

One thing I guarantee you: it snows in Ohio.  Being from the Cleveland area, I don’t think it snows much in Columbus.  However, I forget how many people aren’t used to snow . . . and how many of my classmates have never seen snow before (much less driven in it).  This year, the weather turned colder earlier than usual and we’ve had snow accumulation for at least a week.  Right now I’d guess we have only 2-3 inches on the ground… which really translates to nothing major… especially if you’re from Minnesota (where they received a couple of feet within a single day last weekend).  My roommate is from France: according to him it was a blizzard.  What can I say?  It’s all relative.

Speaking of my roommate, he accompanied me home for Thanksgiving.  From my perspective, it was really neat to be able to extend a warm welcome to a friend that has never celebrated such a holiday.  Thanksgiving is an American custom that I’ve taken for granted all my life.  When I think of “Americans”, I don’t consider us to have a culture per se.  We all come from different backgrounds and heritages – which means many of us still practice the customs and traditions our ancestors did.  It was nice to realize that, as Americans, we share a common bond and tradition that dates back a few hundred years.  Nicer was the fact that my father decided to cook the turkey Martha Stewart-style (he covered it with cheesecloth) and it came out beautifully (my roommate took the picture to prove it).  Along with preparing a fine meal, my dad set the table and decorated the dining room with harvest-time colors and patterns.  I felt quite proud when my roommate first saw it and whispered “It reminds me of home”.  Being far away from loved ones for an extended amount of time has got to be difficult.  I’m glad I was able to share my family with him… surrogate relatives.

Final grades just finished posting = fall quarter is officially in the books.  One thing that can throw you for a bit of a loop in b-school is the way you are graded.  Grades are distributed on a forced curve with the average at B+.  Being the achievers we are, we aren’t exactly used to being average . . . much less *below* average.  Sadly, the fact of the matter is: someone has to be below average (technically, half of us).  What you’ll need to figure out, amongst many other things, is how much effort you need to spend on your academic work in order to achieve the standing you want… and then hope all of your cohort teammates share the same goal.  Grades aren’t everything but they do matter.  Realistically, your final grades should come as no major surprise… most of the time.  By the reactions I’m reading on Facebook, many of us got surprised by at least one of our grades (class varied by individual).  Inherently, your calculated percentage could normally equate to an A- but you get a B+ in the class.  Why?  Because it depends how the rest of your classmates scored.  So, as much as you want to celebrate each others’ successes, you also want to stay near the top of the pack.  Yes friends, it is all relative.

Turkey Martha-style

the table is set for Thanksgiving



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