Friends and Family

With MLK Day off, I had the chance to go back home for a couple of days last weekend. It had been ten months since I had been back in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. Needless to say, I had a lot of catching up to do with friends and family.

With numerous breakfasts, lunches, coffee meetings and nights out, I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, but it was all worth it. Hanging out with my childhood friends was like stepping back into my early twenties. I got to see one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen in over five years, who was practically a brother to me when I was young. I hung out with all my best guy friends, most of them who I’ve known since I was in elementary school. I also got to spend lots of quality time with my 16-year old brother (my only sibling), who is the joy of my life. It was really nice to leave the books at home and forget about school for a couple of days. I came back to school on Tuesday a little tired, but totally re-energized from the love of friends and family.

Now it’s back to reality as this quarter is picking up fast. In two weekends, we will be representing Ohio State at the Wake Forest MBA Marketing Summit Case Competition. We recently found out the other schools that are competing: Wake Forest, BYU, Notre Dame, UNC, University of London, IESE and Dartmouth. Pretty stiff competition indeed. On top of our class loads and extracurricular duties, we’ve been busy meeting as a team and doing research on IBM (the lead corporate sponsor who we will be solving a real-world challenge for). Hopefully, all the hard work pays off as the first place team wins $50,000.

I’ve also been working on putting together the Ohio State team for the Duke MBA Games. This is an annual event put on by the Fuqua School of Business that brings a couple dozen teams from MBA programs across the country together to compete to raise money for Special Olympics. I didn’t go last year, but I heard it’s an amazing time. This year we have an awesome team, so I’m really looking forward to the competition.

There are a couple more exciting events in the near future, but I’ll save those for the next blog.

Mike ^_^

Friends for a lifetime

My little brother and best friend

Beards, Goatees and Mustaches, Oh My!

The first week back from winter break is always a great week. After a full three and a half weeks off, you feel ready to take on the quarter with a renewed vigor. Also, the twenty-something students who were studying abroad are all back. My favorite part of coming back from winter break though is the Fisher College Post-Winter Break Beard and Mustache Competition.

Last year, we came up with the idea of a beard growing contest over the long winter break. We had different events for each day of school, with special guest student, staff and faculty judges. This year we had 25 competitors with five to six guest judges every day. On Thursday, our EOTW (Event Of The Week) was held at a country bar where we fit in very well with our mustaches.

The week’s events were:
Day 1 (Mon) – Best Beard
Day 2 (Tue) – Unique Expressions (chinstraps, lightning bolts, serious creativity)
Day 3 (Wed) – Best Goatee (including fu manchus)
Day 4 (Thu) – Mustache Competition

Next year will be the 3rd Annual Fisher College Post-Winter Break Beard and Mustache Competition. I hope the Class of 2011 finds a way to grow the event even more. Maybe a corporate sponsor or two? A fund raising element? An all-bearded case competition? Looking forward to seeing the pictures next year on Facebook…

Mike ^_^



New Years Resolutions

Last year I had a long list of resolutions for 2009, thirteen to be exact:
1. Earn straight A’s in Winter 2009, Spring 2009 and Autumn 2009 quarters
2. Get a summer internship in human capital consulting
3. Have a consulting job offer in hand by the end of the year
4. Take 1st place in a national case competition
5. Become president of at least one Fisher College student organization
6. Create from scratch five new things to make the Fisher College a better place (new programs, classes, events, workshops, organizations, ideas, etc…)
7. Take the whole year off from drinking any alcohol
8. Teach yoga again regularly, starting in Winter quarter
9. Get back to a daily personal yoga practice
10. Get to bed by 10pm every night
11. Learn how to do a standing back flip
12. Get back down to 215 lbs
13. Learn Japanese again

Looking back at them, I only accomplished a handful of them (which D-Day loves reminding me), but they were such stretch goals that I still had an amazing year with some great personal and professional accomplishments.

This year I just have one resolution:
1. Achieve balance.

This past year I found myself a little out of balance at times from a number of things, especially this past autumn quarter. Some of these inner struggles included:
Living on a student budget vs. Enjoying life
Going out with friends vs. Getting enough sleep
Taking the lead on projects and groups vs. Not spreading oneself too thin
Getting good grades vs. Trying to find a job/internship
Having time alone vs. Spending time with loved ones
Doing anything on the weekend during autumn quarter vs. Football
Reading for pleasure vs. Reading hundreds of pages a week for class
Eating healthy vs. Enjoying food and drink

The MBA program (and life for that matter) is a constant optimization game. In b-school, the most valuable resource is time, and there is never enough to do all of the things that you’d like to do to the fullest (sleep, go to class, study, work on group projects, participate in or lead student organizations, perform a career search, exercise, go out with friends, spend time with loved ones, travel, go to football games, attend professional development events, etc…).

In 2010, I’m just going to work very hard on balancing everything in my life. No lofty achievement-oriented goals this year, just balance, harmony and contentment.

See you on the middle path,

Mike ^_^

“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” – Robert Fulghum (author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)

Saint Christopher

I script this on Christmas, on two fifths of Swiss Miss,
Connect quips like isthmus, been tested like litmus,
White elephant gift sits, like presents I rip this,
My presence is witnessed, so pleasant it gives fits,
Good heavens, he spits quick, I wrap raps like gifts,
I amass stacks like blackjacks, and attack tracks and riffs,
This melody brings memories, I blast back to six,
With flashbacks to backpacks with Snack Packs and Twix,
On this fast track I miss, when love was unconditional,
And life was so traditional, we didn’t need additional,
No concept of rich/poor, bought outfits at thrift stores,
Now tons of opportunities, but I can’t pick which door,
Ignorance was bliss, now I search for reasons for living,
But reminded by a friend, that ‘tis the season for giving,
Who found a higher purpose by going under the knife,
To prove the struggle’s worth it, cause “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

An amazing front page article in the Arizona Daily Star about one of my best friends in Tucson:

Happy Holidays,

Mike ^_^

Chris McCline: A real life superhero

A Little Pre-Holiday Good News

Yesterday I got the email that I had been waiting for all week.

Dear Michael Hrostoski:

Congratulations!  We would like to invite you to participate as a finalist in the 2010 Wake Forest MBA Marketing Summit, to be held February 4-6, 2010 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  We were very impressed with your team’s submission, and are confident that you will be able to provide some excellent solutions for our sponsor, IBM.

Me: “Whoo-hoooooooo!”

The Wake Forest MBA Marketing Summit Case Competition is one of the most prestigious case competitions in the country. Last year’s finalists were: The University of Chicago (Booth), The University of California at Berkeley (Haas), The University of Virginia (Darden), The University of Washington (Foster), Harvard University (HBS), Notre Dame University (Mendoza), Wake Forest University (Babcock)  and The Ohio State University (Fisher).

This year there were 83 submissions from MBA programs nationally and internationally, so to send a Fisher team two years in a row is a great accomplishment in itself. Having participated in several case competitions last year, I learned first-hand how great our MBA business communication department is (especially considering that the MBA business communication department is just Marc Ankerman).

This year’s team was hand-selected from our Big 10 and CIBER case competition teams. We spent several early morning and weekend hours during this incredibly busy quarter discussing ideas for our application video, working on the script, shooting footage, and working on application essays. Chad Stutz is magic behind the camera, so we turned out a very professional yet hilarious application video that will be premiered at Fisher Follies. This year’s team (Vandana, Eduard, Jeremy, Seth, Chad, Ryan and myself) is ready to do whatever it takes to come home with the grand prize of $50,000. With the varying skill sets and backgrounds on this team I think we have a great chance.

Wish us luck!

Mike ^_^

The Last Lecture

This Wednesday I taught the last class of the quarter to my undergraduate business students. I remember one of my Finance professors at University of Arizona giving a great lecture on the last day of classes (shout out to Sharon Garrison!). She talked all about life and success and told us that “life is an optimization game.” This means that we all have a limited amount of time and resources and we can’t do everything at the same time. Career, health, friends, and family, you have to choose which levers to push. She also warned against buying a new car and a new house right after graduation, wise advice indeed for a freshly minted 22 year old college graduate. It’s one of those few lectures that stuck with me forever. In an attempt to do the same for my students, I threw together a “last lecture” in the attempt to teach them some of the things that I’ve had to learn the hard way. Here’s the highlights from it…

1. Everything in life is negotiable
If you’re not negotiating, you’re leaving money on the table. Cable bills, phone bills, insurance, travel, credit card rates, a car, a job offer. Anything really. Remember that YOUR business is valuable. From my experience, grades are also negotiable. On that note…

2. Ask for what you want
Most unhappy people today simply do not ASK for what they want. This applies to your job, parents, significant other, teammates, etc. It is up to YOU to make sure that your needs are taken care of. Whether we like it or not, we’re all adults now and we are the only ones responsible for our lives. Have the courage to ask for what you want.
BUT… balance this with a spirit of giving. Or else you’ll just turn into a big jerk, receiving without giving. I try and give as much as possible, so when the opportunity to ask comes, I feel justified in doing so.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously
Have you ever watched children play? Not a care in the world, eyes wide open, inquisitive, and happy. It’s ok for you to be child-like as well. That doesn’t mean acting like a child, but rather taking on the world with an open mind, using your imagination, and not letting the stresses of life weigh you down. You create your own reality. Stop caring about what other people think. Do silly stuff just because you feel like it. Have fun! The world is your playground.

4. Actions speak louder than words
Even if you don’t care what people think, there are established rules and social norms that you have to live by. What you convey to others through your actions is how they see you. Perception is reality. So dress for the job you want, smile when someone makes eye contact with you, don’t be late, and don’t drop the ball. Also, as unfair as it might seem, how you look will have a lot to do with how others perceive you. We’ve all heard the study that says when communicating: 7% is the words you say, 38% is voice quality and 55% is your nonverbal cues. So be self-aware with what messaging you are sending out with your non verbal communication.

5. Stay within your ethical boundaries
We’ve spent half the quarter talking about ethics. The fact of the matter though is as the world gets smaller and more interconnected, the stakes for unethical behavior get higher and higher. If you do something bad now, it’s in the paper and online forever. It’s not the 1950’s anymore. Whether you’re a “good person” or not, play by the rules. Doing bad things is fun, but stressful. You’re always watching your back, worried that you’re going to get caught. On the other hand, doing good things feels good, it raises your self esteem, and you get great results. I’ve learned through my experiences and the experiences of others that integrity is everything. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. It’s a constant struggle for most of us, but by living your life with 100% integrity, everything else just falls into place.

6. Cherish every relationship
If you didn’t listen to a word I just said, remember these five words, Life is all about relationships. Your ability to succeed in this world primarily depends on your ability to understand and interact with others. Everyone is a human equal. For example, from Dean Poon to to the people who empty the trash in our buildings, they are all human equals who deserve the same level of respect and consideration. Try to go out of your way to make someone smile every day. And remember, social networking tools are great for managing your networks. I’ve used LinkedIn successfully to get job interviews, meet people in industries I’m interested in and even get work done.

Mike ^_^


Thanksgiving is always a great time of the year. A four-day weekend, time with family and friends, unlimited amounts of food and an all-around feeling of contentment and gratitude. It’s times like this when I realize how lucky I am to be where I’m at in my life. Growing up in a family who never pushed me to pursue higher education, I didn’t even plan on going to college. The only reason I even went was because I got a full scholarship and at the time it seemed like a better option than working. It’s funny how things turn out. Now I find myself getting an MBA from a top-tier program, networking with prominent business leaders and thought leaders, interviewing with companies that I would never dream I could work at, and teaching undergraduate students about business. An MBA isn’t just an advanced degree, to me it has been a doorway to a completely better life.

I sometimes hear some of my classmates complain about the lack of jobs or how hard classes are, and it makes me chuckle a little. Our lives are awesome. We have three day weekends every week, we’re in a culturally rich environment with students from all over world, every day we get to exercise our brains and learn new concepts, and we go to an MBA program that emphasizes cultural fit, leadership, and personal development. Every day when I walk into Gerlach, I’m always greeted by smiling faces with huge personalities.

Life is good. Really, really good.

80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name. 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. And we complain when we can’t find a parking spot close to Gerlach and we have to walk an extra 2 minutes from the next lot over.

Most Americans today live better than the kings of ancient history. Hundreds of millionaires in this country were born dirt poor, but through hard work and discipline made something great out of their lives. When your mother told you repeatedly, “you can be anything you want to be,” she was telling the truth.

I’m thankful for so much, and I was going to write the obvious blog about everything I’m thankful for, but that would take all afternoon. A picture tells a thousand words, so here are some things that I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.


Fisher Winter Game

“I look at my schedule for the week, a presentation, a research case due, a quiz. Definitely no time for a “formal” workout before the Fisher Winter Games. What if I play the “MBA beast” Mike Hrostoski (sorry Mike, you sound really scary), and what if Prof. Inks aims the dodgeball at me? No, no, I should really squeeze sometime to at least warm myself up for the Winter Game.”

The above was what I put down (but not posted) before the Fisher Winter Games held on last Friday. And related information about Mike and Professor Inks can be found at Mike’s blog below.

For me, the Winter Games last Friday were really unforgettable. I did not champ like Mike did and even did it three times, but I was on a “special” team. I signed up for the basketball game and the dodgeball game. Since apparently the volleyball and dodgeball teams consisted of both male and female players, I thought the basketball game was going to be coed. Well, it really was, but I was the only girl playing in the game. What made my team even more special was that, there were only two players. Ben, probably one of the greatest players in the tournament, and I, obviously the weakest, only figured we were missing one teammate the night before the game. We had to grab one more teammates from other teams, who happened to be Kevin, another awesome player from MAcc.

So things became very interesting for us. Kevin played at least four games since he played both on his original team and with us. I played formally with all-male teams first time in my life. Not only Ben and Kevin had to take care of me but the opponents were also somewhat hampered because of me. Ben and Kevin’s excellent skills were evidenced as we won the first game. The second game was more serious, nevertheless, as one player from each team was out injured. And I felt so sorry for Ben, Kevin, and Patrick, who joined our team after Kevin was hurt. If I was not on the team, they might have advanced to the final and even won the basketball championship.

The Winter Games ended with me being sad a little, not only because our MAcc dodgeball team was disqualified for being “absent”, though we were there all the time (yes, we protest!). I realized it might be the last time I played formally in a basketball game. I enjoyed playing with my teammates in every single game. I felt all those energy and passion which once faded away has come back to me. However, I doubt whether I will sign up for future basketball games since I do want my gentle male teammates to win. There are only two solutions to alter my decision:
1. I get a great coach to train me so that I can better match with the guys next time the Games come.
2. More girls sign up for the basketball games!

So come on my Fisher ladies, join me!!

The Thrill of Victory!

Mirror Lake jump… check.

Fisher Games Basketball Championship… check.

Fisher Games Volleyball Championship… check.

Fisher Games Dodgeball Championship… check.

The past 24 hours have been awesome! Last night our EOTW (Event of the Week) was the Mirror Lake jump. We all met beforehand at a nearby college hangout and walked over to the lake at 11pm. I wasn’t planning on jumping in, but after talking to everyone about it all week, I decided to take the plunge once again. It was just as amazing as I remembered it from last year. There were people in Halloween costumes, football jerseys, and even on surfboards.

In regards to the weather, It was incredibly warm for mid-November, somewhere in the 40s. Last year it was snowing, so we had to go straight back home after the plunge. This year, we hung out afterward and watched the festivities for a while. After jumping in several times, my friends James and Ashish swam with me to the center to stand on the fountain. Being out there in the middle with no one around us made us feel like the thousands of students at the outskirts of the lake were cheering and dancing and jumping and splashing for us. It was one of those moments that makes you happy to be alive.

After getting to bed at around 2am, I got a couple hours of sleep before I met my case competition group at 7:45am to film some scenes for an application video. We’re applying to be part of an incredibly prestigious case competition, and I’ll talk more about it here if we get selected. Wish us luck!

After filming for over two hours, I raced over to the RPAC for the start of the Fisher Winter Games. I’m always amazed at how athletic our graduate students are. In the MBA program alone we have a pro lacrosse player, an MLS and US Olympic soccer player, college baseball players, college football players, college basketball players, triathletes, marathon runners,  cricket players, an American Gladiator contestant, a yoga instructor and a nationally ranked tandem surfer. MBA students are pretty achievement oriented, so it makes sense that many of them have a history of excellence in both academics and athletics.

Coming back to the day’s events, I played four basketball games, three volleyball games and three dodgeball games, finishing on the championship winning team in all three events. I think standing on the fountain the night before must have given us some good luck as James was on our basketball team and Ashish was on our dodgeball team. The dodgeball matches were definitely the hardest competition of the day and our team put together an incredible team effort to win in the final game. Kudos to Jorge for making an amazing double catch, and totally changing the momentum of the match. You can see it again on tonight’s ESPN top 10 plays of the day.

All in all, the day was a huge success as students cheered for each other, ate together, shared stories and enjoyed some friendly athletic competition. We all played hard but at the end of every game it was always smiles, hugs or congratulations for the opposing team. Being well past my athletic prime though, my body is already feeling the effects of the day’s activities. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out of bed tomorrow morning.

Thank you to the Graduate Programs Office and the student volunteers who put countless hours of work into organizing the event. I hope everyone made some new friends today as we take one more step to bringing all Fisher programs together as “One Fisher.”

Mike ^_^

Fisher MBA Class of 2010 wins The Briefcase!

Let’s all go jump in a lake!

The Game is almost upon us.

In 2000, ESPN ranked Ohio State vs. Michigan as the greatest North American sports rivalry. Over the years, The Game has determined countless Big Ten Championships, dozens of Rose Bowl match ups and several national championship games. Last year, I had the pleasure of watching the Buckeyes serve up a 42-7 beatdown at Ohio Stadium. This year, they will be going for their sixth win in a row against that school up north.

The week leading up to the game (aka: “Beat Michigan Week”) is always full of exciting events, fundraisers, parties and long-time traditions. One of the most interesting traditions during Beat Michigan Week is the Mirror Lake Jump. Every year, on the Thursday before the Michigan game, thousands of students make the trek to jump into Mirror Lake, a small lake on campus. This is supposedly carried out for good luck for the football game on Saturday. You can Google or YouTube “Mirror Lake Jump” to get a better idea.

I jumped in last year and it was one of the craziest scenes I’ve ever been a part of. Everywhere the eye could see were Buckeyes marching to the lake singing Ohio State fight songs, and jumping in as if it were a hot summer day. This year the temperature looks like it’s going to be around 40 degrees, which is incredibly warm considering last year it was snowing.

We had a solid group of MBA students participate last year, but it got a little disorganized and everyone went at different times. I’m hoping we can organize ourselves a little better this year. Maybe one of the Operations/Supply Chain guys can figure out the most efficient workflow. For those of you jumping into Mirror Lake this Thursday, here are a couple of tips:

1. Bring a towel and a change of clothes. Layer, layer, layer.
2. Go in a large group and have designated people to hold everyone’s stuff.
3. Bring a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee.
4. The lake is very shallow. Do not dive in headfirst.
5. Wear flip-flops, old sneakers or water shoes when you jump in. The lake isn’t exactly the cleanest body of water in Ohio.
6. Even if you’re not jumping in, I would leave your cellphone and camera home. Just in case that peer pressure kicks in and you find yourself in a lake with dozens of your friends.
7. If you’re on the fence, just do it! It’s a time honored tradition at Ohio State and something that you can proudly tell your kids when they become Buckeyes too. Remember, you’re only in college twice.

Mike ^_^