Preparing to return to OSU by spending the summer in . . . Hong Kong???

I am going to start off my first official blog as a full-time MBA student by admitting that I am already a two-time grad from Ohio State (both degrees in engineering – and yes – this does mean I’m a bit of a nerd).  However, it’s been a year or two (or eight) since I’ve been a student, so the prospect of returning to writing papers and taking exams was a little daunting (not to mention the fact that I’ve never had a single business class).  So, in my quest to prepare myself to transition back to student life (and out of engineering), I decided to start off my second academic career with a summer internship in Hong Kong.

At the Fisher Red Carpet event last April for incoming MBA students, Kurtis Roush, the director of Fisher Professional Services, gave a presentation on the Global Summer Program, which offers Fisher students the opportunity to work as part of a team on a special project for a company in Ireland or Hong Kong.  My fiance, Mark, attended the presentation with me, and as soon as it was over, I turned to him and told him I had to go.  Fortunately, he’s extremely supportive, and the first words out of his mouth were “Go for it.”

I ended up as part of a great team of students (two second-year MBA’s, three undergraduates, and myself) working in Hong Kong at the Asia Pacific headquarters of the Parker Hannifin Corporation.  I’d never been out of the US (except to the English-speaking parts of Canada and the Caribbean, which I don’t count), so living someplace totally out of my comfort zone for 7 weeks was definitely a learning experience. I made new friends, got some great teamwork experience, and learned some new presentation skills.  While I was happy to come home to my fiance and family in the end, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  I also can’t wait for my next international experience (maybe Brazil in the spring or Ghana next summer).

This summer was the first step in my plan to say “yes” to all the great opportunities that present themselves while I am at Fisher.  Over the next year, I’ll continue to post about my experiences (good and bad!), and try to convey the realities of life as a grown-up (at least in terms of age) who is trying to be a student again.


Fisher students at the Big Buddha on Lantau Island in Hong Kong (I'm the i!!)

Legacies Left Must Be Alright

Ever notice yourself having a train of thought due to a recurring theme manifesting itself in your life events?  No?  Well then maybe you should pay closer attention.

Last we spoke, I just arrived in Peru and promised to provide you an update with pictures.  I’m not one to disappoint . . . I just didn’t realize there would be such an enormous lapse between posts.  Well, as they say: “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  Personally, I prefer: “Life happens when you’re making other plans.”

Here’s what’s new with me:  My aunt died.  I visited Peru.  Spring sprung.  Spring quarter started.  Peruvian bacteria accompanied me home.  My internship search continues.  New officers are being elected in student organizations.  Red Carpet weekend just ended.

My array of feelings (in no accompanying order to the prior list): sick, tired, sick and tired, over-committed, under-utilized, over-whelmed, under-appreciated, appreciative, apprehensive, excited, hopeful, ambitious, grateful, irritated, exhausted, elated, deflated, determined, distracted, supportive, suspicious, apathetic, empathetic, blessed, lucky, and loved.

Bi-polar?  Nah, it’s just my Fisher Grad life.  Ups and downs are normal and they come quickly and sometimes unexpectedly.  There’s a lot going on and it is really important to navigate through everything without failing to make time for the people and things that *really* matter.  Which brings me back to contemplating “legacy”.

Just as a snail leaves a trail, we are each bound to leave a legacy.  I’m amazed at the legacies left by people and by institutions.  The Ohio State University has a lot of alumni.  I was told this during my Red Carpet weekend event last year.  David Smith of our Admissions Office travels throughout the world recruiting MBA students and he told us that no matter where we were, we could let out a cry of “O-H!” and undoubtedly it would be met with an response of “I-O!”  These are the stories of legend.  Stories of legend are worth testing when possible so while hiking around Machu Picchu, our group opted to conduct a test.  Standing at the Intiwatana overlooking the Central Plaza, we let out a loud cry of “O-H!” and to our great amusement we were promptly answered by “I-O!”  Yes, seriously.  We were so amused we continued our cry time and again until we were shushed by some nearby Peruvian park attendants.  In our exuberance, we forgot about the fact that we were at one of the modern wonders of the world and not all guests would enjoy listening to us yell while they navigated this sacred space.

Fact is: I’m proud to be a Buckeye.  Over the past couple of days I’ve met many potential members of the Ohio State MBA Class of 2013.  Some of them have accepted their admission letter and will be joining me this fall.  Others sit the fence and are still considering their options.  My advice to them is the same I’d give to any of you reading this that are unsure of your MBA future: Choose the program that your heart tells you to attend.  Each program has its merit and will provide great opportunities for your future.  You’ll do fine wherever you choose to go.  That said, make sure you’re following your own inner voice and not that of your parents, fiance(e), boyfriend/girlfriend, boss, co-workers, or friends.  You spend a *HUGE* amount of time on campus and with your classmates.  Be sure you’re spending that precious time at the place that suits you best.  Life is short and the days/weeks fly by quickly.  I can hardly believe I’m seven weeks away from the end of my first year.  Leave your own legacy… not one that someone else dreamt up for you.

Fisher has a very intimate and collaborative program but – believe you me – B-school pushes you to compete against each other.  Frankly, I’m getting really tired of competing.  As long as I’m doing the best I can do, I’m fine.  In the end, what matters is not the things that we accomplish or leave undone.  It is not the offices held or the grades, salaries, or frequent flier miles earned but the people we love and whose lives we touch that matter.

I’m trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you’ve ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it’s only life after all”  – The Indigo Girls

This is what giddy looks like.
Found him!
Downtown Lima at dusk
O-H-I-O (photo courtesy of Jeff Sleasman, taken by Leanne Gluck)


There are two kinds of people in life . . . those who are spontaneous and those who are planners.  Sure, you can argue that you’re somewhere in between but, when you really think about it, I purport that you find yourself in one camp or the other.  Me?  I’m a planner.

I’m writing this from my hostel in Lima, Peru.  I arrived a couple of hours ago and within the past hour the remainder of my classmates (spare a couple) have all safely arrived.  We are here as part of our winter quarter course work.  We opted to take part in the EMFS program offered by the International Programs Office and CIBER at Fisher.  There is a group in Brazil, a working Spanish group in Puerto Rico, and we’re the micro-enterprise group visiting Peru.  Spring break is a great time to stretch your wings and gain some international exposure… especially if you don’t participate in a longer-term study abroad program.

My planner-self really struggled with this trip.  We didn’t receive an itinerary until the week prior to departure, boarding passes arrived yesterday afternoon, finals just ended yesterday, and I am staying an extra day in the city because I wanted to find airfare for under $1,000.  Oh yeah – my level of Spanish consists of what I learned 30 some years ago watching Sesame Street.

I’m well traveled in the states but am used to staying in hotels.  Hostel is the name of a horror flick.  Have I mentioned my over-active imagination?

Fact of the matter: I chose this particular trip option because I knew it would challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone.

It would also allow me to explore a subject area that has increasingly intrigued me for the past few years… Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship.  If you find yourself in the same boat, I strongly suggest you check out the upcoming summit.  I attended last year before I was a student and I’m really looking forward to attending again this year.

I hate shots and had to get five (tetanus, flu, HepA, typhoid, yellow fever)… half of our group is going into the Amazon jungle.  They needed to get malaria too.  I’m not particularly earthy and I’ve always refused to leave the house without makeup.  For this trip, I’m sans makeup, staying in hostels, sleeping in group arrangements, and doing my best to ward off mosquitoes (there’s one in my room now so I just doused myself with repellent).

That said, I’m learning a new culture, touring the Andes mountains, seeing Machu Picchu, earning class credit, testing my limits, and helping small dairy farmers grow their businesses.  What’s the full-time MBA all about?  Life experiences.  Can’t wait to post pictures for you later!

Beyond the Ball

Breaking: OSU sports are not the only events in Columbus, OH

This post is specifically geared to the non-sports-fan audience.  So, if you ceremoniously watch ESPN’s SportsCenter, you may want to stop reading this now.  Furthermore, if your idyllic weekend involves countless hours of watching sports with a beer in hand, please stop here . . . the remaining content won’t likely appeal to you.

One thing that might be factoring into your b-school decision is where you’ll be living for the next two years.  Knowing that, I’ll try to give you a brief synopsis of Columbus and the options available to you from an food & culture standpoint.

ART & CULTURE Frankly, sports have never interested me from any aspect other than a social outing.  My favorite places to visit are art museums and galleries.  I could spend countless hours visiting them (but not every weekend).  There is a rather strong arts community in Columbus which I believe is fostered by the amount of colleges & universities within the city.  On campus, we have the Wexner Center for the Arts.  Just down High Street is The Short North district which houses multiple galleries, restaurants, and shops.  Further down the road, downtown, you’ll find the Columbus Art Museum, the Riffe Gallery, and CCAD’s Canzani Center Gallery.  Also downtown, my favorite space is Hawk Galleries… if glass is your passion, you’ll be in heaven.  Additionally, you can find more spaces in surrounding areas: German Village, Bexley, Grandview Heights, Dublin, and Delaware.  Admire from a distance or try your hand at creation… there’s a long list available.  I can’t possibly include them all here.

Beyond art, there are many other places to see and visit in Columbus.  For illustrative purposes, here’s a few: the Topiary Park, The Franklin Park Conservatory, The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, COSI, the Santa Maria, The Ohio Historical Center, The Ohio Statehouse, and the Ohio Expo Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds.  Columbus is truly a great place for singles, couples, and families.  Art Festivals, Oktoberfest, the State Fair, Home & Garden Show, ComFest, and just about every cultural festival imaginable are all apart of this city’s calendar of events.  Want to enjoy the outdoors?  We have the Metroparks and additional options within a couple hours driving distance (Hocking Hills, Lake Erie, etc.).

FOODIES Also worth mentioning is the food culture in Columbus.  Home of White Castle, Donato’s, Wendy’s, Max & Erma’s, and Bob Evan’s, Columbus could be viewed as nothing more than fast food and strip malls.  Yes – Columbus has fast food and vast amounts of shopping which many people enjoy.  (Note: something for everyone.)  If you are familiar with terms like edamame, sous vide, tapenade, and aoli, read on.  Columbus’ destinations for foodies are gaining national recognition lately.  Recent articles have been published in The Washington Post and Columbus was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” when Anthony and Michael Ruhlman visited a few bright culinary spots in the city.  We also have our share of Farmer’s Markets that offer fresh fare late-Spring through Fall.

So, if you’re an international student (like my roommate Edouard) and not attached to American football, have no fear.  We are a diverse city that has many international influences (thanks to the amount of professionals entering and exiting the city working in government, higher education, retail, insurance, and banking).  Without a doubt, Columbus has something for everyone.  Rest assured – you will enjoy living here and, if you ever find yourself with some extra time on your hands (which is rare), there’s plenty to do right outside your door.

Want more?  Also visit Insider Ohio for additional information on the area.

Making Friends Across the Globe: Part 2

I wanted to follow up to my post from two weeks ago entitled “Making Friends Across the Globe” this week because I actually got to practice what I preached.

This past Friday I was invited to dinner at one of the international student’s home. Of course, I was so excited to try real, traditional Chinese food, so I accepted the invitation without question. Of course, as is American custom I had to offer to bring something to add to the meal, but my host said no, that I only needed to bring myself.

When I got there, I was greeted by my friend’s roommate, his friend from the MBLE program, and three more international students from our MLHR program. Dinner was already on the table when I arrived and the guys all announced that they were starving, so it was time to eat. I sat down, then chopsticks were passed around the table, when they got to me, my host said, “Oh, here, this is for you” (handing me a spoon). It was probably best I didn’t try to make a fool of myself using chopsticks (that will be a challenge I’ll have to tackle next time).

The food itself was so good. There was rice, a chicken leg, carrots, potatoes, all covered in a thick sauce (that I cannot pronounce) all served hot in a large bowl. Everything that was “extra” or anything that wasn’t supposed to be in our bowls at first was placed on the table and served “family-style.” The atmosphere truly felt like a family dinner away from home.

The best part about the meal was getting to talk to another international student from the MBLE program, so we were all able to learn more about the kind of work he does in his program. Also, it was fun talking to everyone about China as well as what things were similar in both Chinese and American culture. One of the most interesting things was the fact that Facebook is banned in China, so it was interesting to hear the international students talk about being able to use it in the United States. One of my favorite moments of the dinner was trading relationship stories and at one point one of the women from MLHR said “I think that is an issue that is something that all girls know” after we had been talking about guys and relationships. We all started to realize that, yes we were born and raised in different countries, but the four of us are still women, which means there are so many things we have in common.

Overall, dinner was such a great experience and a nice way to learn a little bit more about Chinese culture, and more importantly the interests and feelings we all share, no matter what our nationality. These friendships with international students are so amazing because not only do you get to experience another culture, but you also get to make new friends in the process. So, while you are at OSU, take the time to get to know the international students, because they bring so much invaluable knowledge and friendship to our program.

Making Friends Across the Globe

Last week in MHR 851, we had a guest speaker come in to talk about her job in Human Resources and to give us some advice when it comes to job searching. She gave a lot of great advice (I recommend really paying attention to speakers your professor brings in to class because they usually have a LOT of wisdom to share, especially when it comes to jobs). Anyway, one of the main take-aways from her presentation was travel. She talked about how most companies nowadays are going global. When hiring, companies like to see that job candidates have traveled outside of the United States. As someone who LOVES to travel, this was music to my ears. But, I also started to think about how great it is that I’ve been able to keep in touch with a few of the people I’ve met/become friends with while abroad. My international friends, as I like to call them, have taught me so much, not just about their culture, but also how to communicate with those who aren’t from the United States.

For example, my friend from Guatemala tries (bless his heart) to teach me Spanish by throwing different Spanish words into our conversations from time to time. He also tells me about what it’s like to live in Guatemala, how medical school is a little different there than in the U.S., and current issues going on in the country.

My friend from France keeps me up-to-date on all things European, like who the best DJs are and some good French movies I might like. He also tells me things about doing business in France, such as how his internships work, how his university classes are set-up, etc.

These are two great examples of all the things you can learn from having been abroad and knowing people in different countries. There is so much to learn about so many different countries, so who better to learn from than people who actually live in these places.

My advice to you: Travel as much as possible and make as many friends abroad as you can. Even if you just exchange information based on business, it will make you so much more marketable in job interviews if you can show you are knowledgeable about things happening outside the U.S.

Below are some pictures from Brazil:

Brazilian Children in Class
Ariel, Rebecca


As I’m sure you’ve read, things have been moving along at a fast pace and we’ve all survived midterms.  I am guilty of being a delinquent blogger and I’m truly sorry for the absence of posts.  My intention will be to catch up with multiple topics so you continue to get a feel for life in the program.  I promise: none of my posts will be about OSU football.

When you enter the program, one of the considerations many of you will need to make is whether or not you want to find a roommate.  My opinion: go for it.  Sure, it can be risky but there are several tools available to help you find a roommate within the program.  Rooming with a stranger becomes much less risky when you know you’ll have classes with the person for an entire year.  Worst case scenario: you don’t find a lot in common, you live under the same roof, and your expenses are cut in half.  Best scenario: you make a new friend, you have someone to study and commiserate with, and your expenses are cut in half.  Either way, it’s not a bad deal.

Resource-wise, you want to connect with your incoming class on Facebook and possibly LinkedIn.  Beyond that, there is a Google group for graduate housing and OSU has an off-campus housing site that provides leads on housing as well as your search for a roommate.  I found my roommate via Facebook . . . or maybe I should say he found me on Facebook.

Some days I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world because I honestly do have a great roommate.  He’s from France and is part of the shared program Fisher has with Audencia.  Having an international student as a roommate has serious perks.  Not a single day goes by that I don’t learn something new . . . and the culture differences make life really interesting.

You’ll soon find: it doesn’t take much to amuse me.  Within the first couple of weeks, my roomie observed that there are a few words that play a major part in my day-to-day vocabulary and, evidently, their overuse was surprising.  My three most overused words are: hilarious, “ish”, and seriously.  Needless to say, I was amused. 

Admittedly, I use hilarious all the time and am quite aware of my dependence on the word.  I’m not sure when it crept into my vocabulary but it has definitely been in heavy-rotation for quite some time.  Hopefully someone comes up with a word equally as fitting that can replace hilarious.  I’d love to move on.

“ish” really isn’t a word but it is a way of describing the accuracy of a situation, attribute or thing.  My use of it was the first time my roommate had ever heard it.  He immediately questioned it which forced me into an explanation.  Think about that for a moment . . . you try explaining what “ish”, cranky, or grouchy mean to someone that’s never heard of them before.  Go on, do it.  See?  Not as easy as you thought, is it?

Get asked for a definition for the twentieth time in one afternoon and you’re reply may be: “Seriously?”  Or have someone cut you off in traffic and almost cause an accident . . . “Seriously!”  Well, I was able to explain this overuse to my roomie very easily: Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m amazed at how much our culture and everyday lingo is influenced by TV.  Case in point:

SERIOUSLY?! (You Tube)