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)

Why You Need A LinkedIn Profile

Well it is currently that crazy, exciting/nightmarish (depending on how many offer/rejection letters you receive) time of the year known as recruiting season.  Unfortunately, due to our soon to be “deceased” quarter system, Fisher graduate students have historically been at a “timing” disadvantage in getting internships and jobs since many students at other universities have already had midterms by the time we finally have had our first day of class.  Fortunately, though, the Fisher graduate programs are amazing as are their students.  Thus, many big companies are very willing to wait the time for Ohio State/ Fisher graduate students to start and get them into their company.

One of the biggest things I tell students to do as they search for employment is to create and actively use a LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world.  Notice how the word networking is in bold.  Every time you see your career advisor, or anyone you ask “how do I get a job” related question in Fisher, he or she will tell you to NETWORK.  Last year I just wanted to say to people “Ok. WE GET IT.”  As many times as your ears may ring from hearing that phrase, get some gauze because it is extremely true.  But let’s face it, networking can be uncomfortable and sometimes really awkward face to face.  That’s why LinkedIn is so perfect!  It allows you to professionally network and remove the initial awkwardness.  And by the time you have established some communication with someone over the Internet and actually encounter them in person, it can take away a lot of that initial awkwardness.

(Don’t go just “Linking In” with people you don’t know or you’ll look like a crazed freak.  More on this next week).

My organization, Columbus State Community College, just started using LinkedIn and paid a decent amount of $$$s to set up a contract with LinkedIn.  The reason I deem this important to put into this blog is due to the fact that we are in a transition of having a transactional HR department to a more strategic one.  We don’t even have recruiters or someone who mainly focuses on bringing in our talent … our HR Representatives do it (among the million other things they have to do).  However, our department thought, in our steps to evolving as an HR department, that it was very important to start using LinkedIn.  If a local community college deems it important, than I can guarantee practically every person you are talking to at career fairs are using it.

LinkedIn is transforming the way recruiters recruit.  From an HR side, it gives us access to millions of people/resumes/profiles that we can search for down to what we want.  It has made things so much easier.  I sat in on a webinar a few weeks ago and this recruiting consultant who does training for many corporate recruiters praised it up and down, and he said he enjoyed using it so much that if he weren’t so “experienced” he would be a recruiter again (since this tool was not available to him at the time he coming up through the ranks).  It is also nice because it is one of the few social networking sites that tends to be acceptable to be on at work.

Now, some may disagree that using this at work means you’re trying to leave your job.  Perhaps – but it is actually better if more employees are connected.  It is a lot easier to sift through the connections of your employees (who know good people) than random people who you may not be able to see their entire profiles, because you’re not connected.  All employees should be encouraged to broaden their network (so your HR department can use you through your networks).  Any employer who doesn’t encourage this is limiting themselves, and making the lives of their recruiters a lot harder.

I was going to insert my personal tips on how to use LinkedIn, but I think this post has been long enough.  So I will save that for next week.  Plus, Ringer is about to come on.


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!!)

Cohort: Companionship, Cooperation, Coexistence

I had written a blog earlier this quarter about coming full circle in the program.  I had talked about how navigating the workload as a graduate non-degree student last spring was markedly different than doing so with the support and power of the Cohort.  And I had promised to give the Cohort a shout out in a later blog.  So here it is.

What can I say about the Cohort?  First of all, we first years have an awesome one.  Even the second years say so and that they are amazed by how well we all get along.  Which is true!  Despite our many varied personalities and backgrounds, we have gelled into a very cohesive unit that is ready to take the HR world by storm when we finish the program.  These are the people that we will be calling for jobs for ourselves one day, people who will be inundated by resumes from us that we’ve received from nephews, nieces, family friends, buddies and *gasp* perhaps our own children.  “Oh yeah, I know Eric Dosch, SVP of Organizational Change at Exxon.”  Or “Katie Eyre at Anheuser-Busch?  I can get your resume to her.”  “Jen Hunt at Abercrombie?  I’m having brunch with her this weekend.”

It is absolutely amazing what a group of differently-minded, but similarly goal-oriented people can do when we put our heads together.  We can put out papers and projects that amaze professors and colleagues.  We can break up the workload of our intense courses so we only feel like we’re taking a few crazy pills, and not the whole bottle.  We can make sense of the sometimes seemingly nonsensical information we are fed.

Despite this, it’s true, we don’t always get along.  Sometimes, we simply coexist.  We are able to take our different personalities and mindsets and exist in this bubble that usually consists of rooms 305 and 315 of Gerlach Hall.  Although some of us have yet to enter the professional workforce, everyone is learning to be a professional here and now.  We are learning to put aside what has happened in our day and work together and work things out and not let the bad mojo of our personal lives affect our interactions.  We are learning to coexist and cooperate on a level that is above pettiness and agendas and scheming.

Unfortunately, our not so little Cohort has been slightly fragmented this quarter by course selections.  Some people chose HRIS over HR Econ.  Some people chose T&D instead of Staffing.  And I’ll be the first to admit, but most certainly not the last, that it hurts.  We’ve grown so close over the last few quarters that at times, we have separation anxiety.  All of a sudden, that person who is great at managing teams isn’t available.  Or that amazing note taker is in a different elective.  We miss our friends and colleagues.

What do we do?  We make up for it!  There isn’t a weekend that goes by where there isn’t some sort of social event, official or not, that we can come together at.  Even though we spend a significant portion of our lives together, either in class, on Facebook or Twitter, we still want to see each other more.  We remove ourselves from the context of the program and we stop being colleagues and we find that we are amongst great friends that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.

I’m getting schmaltzy, but I’ll go on.  This summer, we’ll all be embarking on an adventure and heading out to our respective summer internships.  They will be incredible experiences where we’ll learn much about ourselves and much about what we’ve learned as we apply the invaluable knowledge we have gained in the program thus far.  And for the most part, we’ll be going it alone.  Some people are leaving the area, some of us are staying, and some of us that are staying will have the opportunity to work together at the same company.  (That will be interesting.)  I’m actually hoping someone from Cardinal Health will be sent to the building on OCLC’s campus so they can see “work Wes”, because he is a very different creature than “school Wes” indeed.

But much like going on summer break during high school, we will come back with stories and pictures and memories and new skills.  And instead of staying resolutely our own, they’ll be poured into our collective consciousness and become something that all members of the Cohort can learn from and bask in and enjoy.  We are the Borg.

So, cheers to the Cohort.  To us, to fun, to work and to our future!

Golden Voice, Golden Opportunity

I started to see the links on my Facebook page yesterday. Ted Williams, the homeless man with the “God given gift of voice,” was standing by the edge of a highway entrance ramp to I-71 telling a Columbus Dispatch photographer the condensed version of his life story in a voice made for big-screen promos and radio voice overs. Wearing a camouflage jacket and sporting a Sammy Davis Jr. smile, Williams held up a small sign asking for help, any help. How many of us have seen Williams, written him off as an addict, and kept driving? But on this day, he was becoming a star.

By this morning, Williams’ video was showing up on the Today show. They claim he’ll be in the studio tomorrow morning for an interview. Radio stations are calling and recruiters are trying to locate the man without an address. Some say they can make him a millionaire. I have to wonder if he wants any of the attention. If Williams had submitted his resume to local radio stations and Hollywood studios listing experience from a Columbus AM radio station years ago, a battle with addiction, and no recent experience to speak of, would they come calling? No.

Williams’ story is a reminder to HR about looking beyond the resume. Like other job seekers, I’ve felt the frustration of submitting resumes with no response. This quarter I resume the search for an internship. At times frustrating, disappointing and disheartening, like other applicants who don’t get a position, I start asking that dangerous question: Why not me? Followed by its equally dangerous cousin: What’s wrong with me? I keep telling myself the “right” opportunity will come soon enough, and then it will be time to earn my keep.

But if Williams’ story has shown me anything, it’s that luck can change in a day. One day he’s asking for help, the next day he’s being asked for interviews. For his sake, I hope the story has a happy ending. For my sake, I hope to accept an internship before I’m standing on the edge of campus holding a sign, and asking for an internship, any internship.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

When I was growing up, my favorite day of the week was Saturday.  As a kid, life always made a lot of sense to me.  Oddly enough, I had a fuzzy understanding that Monday through Friday was meant for school.  But Saturday, now that was a different story.  Saturday was MY DAY!

I have so many great memories of Saturday morning.  I have to admit, I was a ‘tootsie pop’ for cartoons.  And for the most part, I still am (I love Tom & Jerry).  I would definitely say a large part of my young adolescent life was completely and totally dedicated to cartoon watching.  All I wanted to do was wake up early and turn on the television to watch TMNT (that would be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, by the way), GI Joe and, occasionally, sneak in an episode of Bill Nye, ‘The Science Guy’.  Nonetheless, I felt it was somewhat of a Saturday morning tradition for me.  Now, on Satudays, I like my bed and the amazing sleep that comes along with it.  Oh, how times have changed for this guy.

Now, I need to fair to the Saturday morning cartoon argument.  Sure, I had my favorite 3-4 shows I watched with religious fervor and intent.  Yet, what I remember the most about Saturday mornings was all my “not-so-favorite” shows.  Seriously, you almost had to be methodical in your approach because if you got up too late, you were gonna get stuck watching horrible cartoon television programming.  Take my word for it:  horrible cartoons = no fun.

The show that quickly became one of my “not-so-favorite” shows was, “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”.  I strongly disliked this show.  And I even more strongly disliked the “annoying, still to this day can’t get it out of my head” theme song (listen).  The basic premise of the show has you (the watcher) being agents for ACME Detective Agency attempting to thwart the featured V.I.L.E. ringleader, thieving villainess and former ACME Detective Agent, Carmen Sandiego.  The series initially focused on teaching geography and history.  All I can say to that is:  boring.  To me, Saturday mornings are meant for mindless watching of cartoons, not educational stimulation.  I felt I was getting enough of that in school.  Eh, I was 10 years old.

Now, in the month of November, I think I’m going to finally know how Carmen Sandiego “really” felt all those years while she was on the run from the ACME Detective Agency.

After a long month of interviewing at OSU for summer internships, I have been invited to some 2nd round interviews.  I feel very fortunate, humbled and excited to be considered for as many opportunities as I have thus far.  My ‘Carmen Sandiego-esque’ itinerary is as follows (so far):  Kansas City, to New York, back Cleveland and a few other places in between.

Needless to say, I am just going to take one day at a time and let the chips fall where they may.  As always, I will have to continue to balance my studies/class time/etc. around all of this traveling, but I know that’s what I signed up for.  I may feel like ‘I’m on the run’ this next month, but I am sure it will be an experience I will be sure to enjoy!