Posts Tagged 'MBA'

Interview Prep

I know that preparing for interviews can seem like a waste of time sometimes.  In the basic sense, it is just having a conversation, so why not just go in with the attitude of: “I’m just gonna go in there, be myself, answer their questions with great stories, and knock the interviewer’s socks off.”  And the answer is, because that probably isn’t how it will go at all if you don’t do any prep work, like having answers for common questions prepared.

When I was up in Chicago for the MBA Veteran’s conference, I participated in a conversation with some fellow combat arms vets that probably could have been titled:  The greatest hits of terrible interview question answers.   The questions that were asked in the interviews were generally along the lines of:

“Tell me about a time you were in a seemingly impossible situation, how did you find an innovative solution?”

“Tell me about a time when you were under a lot of stress and had to make a difficult decision?”

“Describe a time when you worked as part of a team to meet a seemingly impossible goal?”

“Describe a time when you used your leadership skills in order to resolve a conflict?”

As a former infantryman who went on multiple overseas deployments, I have a fair amount of experience working in adverse situations, making difficult decisions, working as a part of a team, and using leadership skills.  But, as the mental Rolodex clicks through my life’s story, the first experience that comes to mind for any of those questions is not one that I am going to use in a job interview.  The reason I say that isn’t because I lack pride in my time as a Marine, or am ashamed of what I did overseas or anything like that.  The reason is that the interviewer is not going to be able to understand how to translate those answers into potential value for the company.   During a job/internship interview, the potential employee has to show that it would add value to the company to bring them on board.   If your answer takes the interviewer to a situation and place that they will never understand, full of acronyms and jargon that sounds like a foreign language, they are not going to be able to grasp the value that you can add to their company through your past experiences.  Instead of stories appropriate for the VFW hall, focus on positive stories, that showcase skills like the ability to work as part of a team, be a leader, use time management efficiently, make timely decisions, ect…

So, in my humble opinion, if you are in a situation where you are going to be going to interviews, taking the time to think through some answers to typical behavioral interviewing questions.  That is what I have done, and now I have alternative experiences to draw on, and don’t need to rely on the first experience that comes to mind when someone asks me about a time when everything was going wrong, and success seemed impossible.

I know this post seems rather veteran-centric, but I think it applies to everyone.  It is a good idea to think before you speak in an interview, and make sure that your story conveys a sense of added value to the company that they will be able to understand.  That generally isn’t something that is going to happen without some prep work ahead of time.


Lean Six-Sigma, The Basics

Last month I attended a Six Sigma Workshop during lunch with Professor Peg Pennington. It was about an hour and students with non-operating majors were encouraged to attend. I had my Matching Supply and Demand class with Professor Hill yesterday — boy was I glad I had that ops review a few weeks before! Professor Hill’s class will focus on different things than what we discussed during lunch, but the workshop was the perfect jolt back to the “ops world”.

I saw the Six Sigma Workshop on the Hub, a RSVP system that allows students to review and sign-up for activities.  These range from lunches to events put on by student organizations or Fisher departments, information sessions and more.  It’s a great system that allows students to stay organized and involved with everything at Fisher.

Throughout the workshop we discussed how six sigma is a problem solving methodology that uses research and data to construct a plan. Topics also included the DMAIC method (see illustration below) and quickly talking through two examples of a banks and an emergency room in a hospital. For a one hour workshop, it was jammed-packed with information!

Visual explanation of the DMAIC method – image taken from Google.

This type of of workshop is one of the reasons I absolutely love Fisher’s MBA Program. One of my fellow students described it best: I am treating this opportunity like a dressing room – I want to try on everything and see what fits”.

Fisher has given me an opportunity to find out my passions, but has also exposed me to brand new worlds. I will never be a finance guru, but I feel much more comfortable with the topic after my CORE finance classes and my  Corp. Finance 1 Class. Operations and Logistics, sign me up! Negotiations and strategy, let’s try it out!

My heart will always lean towards marketing and advertising, but why would you ever stop yourself from learning everything you could? I am excited for my Matching Supply and Demand and my diverse course load next semester. Who knows what I’ll learn and what “will fit”!?


Three terms left…

 

  • Negotiation final – finished
  • Org. turnaround final paper – finished
  • Services Marketing final paper – finished
  • Corp. Finance 1 final brief – ….stay tuned

I cannot believe that as I am writing this, I am quickly wrapping up the first term of my final year of the MBA program. It’s unreal.

In the past two years I have studied and taken the GMAT, filled out applications for business school, interviewed, received admission letters, gone through pre-term, made it through my CORE classes (looking directly at you stats class!), interviewed for internships, accepted a wonderful internship and learned so much and am now making my way through year 2.

Also, add in a few happy hours, some tears, lots of laughs, some stress for good measure, and a bunch of people that I now consider my close friends.

These past couple years have been incredible and pretty challenging. When people ask me about my program my favorite phrase is, “it’s an adventure”. This has been a very humbling experience, and I still have so much more to learn. I am meeting great people in the Office of Career Management (direct shout-out to Jeff!), the GPO and in the classroom. My professors are becoming mentors and my classmates are becoming those that want me to become a better, smarter business woman.

Only three terms left?! Where has the time gone?


Let’s Do Lunch

Jesse Tyson (left), former Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil came to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in late September 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Cullman luncheon with the former President and COO of Wilson’s Leather, Dave Rogers. Earlier this fall I participated in a Cullman Luncheon that featured Jesse Tyson, Global Aviation Leader for ExxonMobil. The Cullman Executive Luncheon Series is designed to bring 10-15 graduate students and senior executives, many of whom are also graduates of Fisher, together in an informal setting. Past executives have identified their current roles, discussed work history, and have provided insights into business in general. There is also a time for Q&A at the end.

Personally, it was hugely beneficial to interact with and glean “best practices” from these executives who had 35+ year careers to draw upon. Jesse and Dave both shared things that they did well and also shared about things to avoid as a manager and an executive. The questions asked by my fellow classmates were also very informative and brought out the richness of their experiences in business.

In an age where there seems to be a lack of either good or ethical leadership, the luncheon was a great way to get face to face with an executive who led well and could share those experiences and lessons learned along the way.

Jack Detzel, Director of Supply Chain Capability & Baseline Optimization/Productivity for PepsiCo, is coming to speak at a Cullman Luncheon in October

Craig Bahner, Fisher alumnus and Wendy’s chief marketing officer came to speak at a Cullman luncheon in April 2013

 


It’s Good To Be Back

As the title of my post relates, it is good to be back.

As my wife and I were making the drive back to Columbus from Minneapolis she asked me if I was ready to start my second year of business school. I hadn’t really thought if I was ready or not but I did know that I was excited to return. Some people may think that is crazy, but let me explain what I mean when I say that it is good to be back at Fisher.

Here is what I am looking forward to at Fisher this year:

  • Camaraderie – Oddly enough this reminds me of my days playing sports. When you are on a team, or in business school, you develop very close relationships with others. Why? Because you are all going through the same trials and challenges and celebrating similar successes and accomplishments. Business school is a mentally and emotionally grueling time of life and great friendships are established that will last a lifetime. To put it simply, I’m excited to see all of my friends from b-school that were off in different parts of the country (and world) completing their internships.
  • Education – I like to learn. If you are in business school and you don’t like to learn, you may as well drop out. School isn’t the only place where education and learning take place. They continue on into the workplace. If you don’t like to learn new things and stretch yourself, you probably shouldn’t be in b-school. I love the challenge and love to learn from others experience and knowledge. This year will be even more exciting as I focus my classes on my majors of strategy and marketing.
  • Buckeye Football – I have to be honest, right? I love sports and I love football. Put me in a school with one of the best teams and storied programs in the country and it makes for some excitement. Not only is it fun to gather weekly with classmates, but it is fun to feel the buzz in the air surrounding football season here in Columbus. You may not show up to Fisher as a Buckeye fan, but I can guarantee you will leave as one. It’s inevitable.
  • Exposure – Being a students here at Fisher comes hand in hand with loads of exposure to recruiters, top faculty, and great alumni. During my first year I was able to meet with numerous recruiters that were very interested in Fisher students. They have had great success with Fisher students in the past and they enjoy recruiting here and meeting more potential candidates. The faculty and alumni are beyond generous and have been a great asset to me as a student. It has been fun to see a few of them and fill them in on my experience with 3M this summer.

Like I said, it is good to be back. Good to see friends, talk with faculty, and enjoy the community feeling of Ohio State. Hopefully this year won’t fly by too quickly!

 


Brucetta Williams (VP Consumer Marketing from @BET) Visits Fisher

Last week students here at Fisher had a great opportunity to gather together and learn from Brucetta Williams, VP Consumer Marketing at BET.  She was nice enough to fly in to Columbus and visit the Fisher community to discuss her career path and share advice for future business leaders.

Brucetta shared a few points of career advice that she swears by. Some of the advice she shared that jumped out at me are as follows:

Continued Learning – Being a student doesn’t end with receiving a degree. It is a life-long process. Brucetta remarked that she stays current on issues by being active in her trade associations. She participates in local meetings and networks with others in her industry to continue growing her knowledge of marketing and media.

Know Yourself - Regarding career progression, Brucetta made it clear that one of the reasons she has had success in her professional career is that she is self-aware and knows what she wants out of her career. She suggested that MBA students discover where they want to be in the future and work hard towards it.

Set Goals – Even if you may not achieve all of them, set them. Brucetta sets goals every year and makes her best effort to achieve them. If she doesn’t achieve them, she rolls them over to the next year if applicable. Continued growth and progression are the results she sees from setting goals.

Life Balance – This area of the discussion with Brucetta really jumped out at me. She emphasized to all of us that when you die, your obituary may have one line regarding a career or professional achievement. Maybe. To this point Brucetta spoke towards leading a balanced life, at work, home, and play. Have fun. Have hobbies. Life life. Great advice that resonated with me stronger than the others she shared.


A day in my shoes

I’ve always wanted to record a day in my life, but my life has generally been too boring to record.  I’m not saying that my life is now any less boring, but it is a lot busier.  Here is a general layout of my Mondays & Wednesdays.

———————————

6:40 – Alarm clock rings.  I quickly turn it off and roll back over for a few more minutes of sleep.

6:45 AM – Phone alarm sounds.  This alarm I can’t ignore since my phone is on the other side of the room.  I get up, turn off my phone and quickly browse the 13 emails I received overnight.   Most of the emails are from the university… they get deleted.  A handful of other emails are regarding group projects, so I hold off reading them until later in the day when I am more alert.

6:50 – I quickly eat breakfast even though I am not hungry – I realize in a few hours I’ll be starving if I don’t eat.

7:00 – I jump in the shower.  I’m already running late.  I quickly dry off, dress, pack my books and head out the door to the Fisher College of Business.

7:20 – I roll up to the St. John’s Arena/ ROTC parking lot and claim one of the best spots since no one else is awake – even the army reserves.

7:27 – I stroll into Schoenbaum Hall to teach the BA499 recitation.  About 34 of my students are already there.  It will be another 10-15 minutes for the next 6 to show up.

7:30 – 9:18 –> I start teaching the BA499 class.  Today each student has to turn in their first paper of the quarter and they also have to do their elevator speech in front of the class.  Overall, everyone does a great job and we manage to have fun in the process.

9:30 – 11:18 –> I start my second BA499 recitation class.  This time most of the students are on time.  This class is livelier since they were able to sleep a few additional hours.  I’m significantly better teaching this class since it is my second time through the material.

11:30 AM – 12:10 PM –> I arrive at Gerlach Hall and spend a half hour replying to emails and making sure I’m prepared for classes.

12:20 PM – 1:20 –> I meet with fellow members of FGSA and interview a classmate about a new student organization focused on Risk Management.  The meeting goes well and we determine that the group has merit but we need to gauge student body interest before we approve the organization.

1:23 – 1:27 –-> I inhale a PB&J sandwich I packed the night before.  I recently bought a plastic container to protect my sandwich from getting smashed.  Unfortunately I have been unable to successfully remove the Crayola sticker on the front of my container so I take a ribbing from a few classmates.  This doesn’t bother me because my sandwich is 3 times thicker now that it can’t get smashed while in my bag.

1:30 – 3:20 –> I attend class on Organizational Turnarounds taught by Jeff Rodek, former CEO of Hyperion.  In this class, we analyze the decisions Professor Rodek took while he was the Chief Executive of Hyperion.

3:30 -5:45 –> Standing meeting with my finance group to go over the next day’s homework for Dean Wruck’s valuations class.

6:00 – 7:45 –>  Attend Jay Barney’s Advanced Strategic Analysis class.  Professor Barney cold calls students based on names he randomly selects before class.  This makes me nervous because I usually have a good response to half his questions.  The goal is get selected for a question you can answer, otherwise you get labeled “the stupid kid.”

7:47 – I quickly run downstairs to grab a cup of coffee because my day is still not over.

8:00 – 9:45 PM –> Attend Steven Young’s Financial Institutions class.  At this point, I am on the verge of falling asleep despite the coffee.  It has nothing to do with the Professor or the class.  In fact, I think it is one of the more interesting classes I have taken at Fisher.  It really doesn’t matter how much coffee you drink, at this point I have been up since 6:40AM and have only had a bowl of cereal and a triple stuffed PB&J sandwich.

9:50 – Leave Gerlach, head to my car.  On the walk I start to plan out my dinner options.

10:00 – Eat dinner, respond to emails from students in my class, complete my homework for Dean Wruck’s class tomorrow, and organize the assignments from the two classes I taught earlier in the day.

1 AM – Finish Dean Wruck’s assignment.  Convince myself that I’m actually too tired to do anything else.  End up going to bed.

1:01AM – Fall asleep


Dear Time, We aren’t friends. Love Christina

3 midterms, 1 paper, several group projects, 2 speeches, various interviews, plus normal everyday coursework. Sound familiar? If your work load looks anything like mine, this pretty much sums up your next two weeks. Major yikes. That doesn’t even include other priorities like keeping up with email, checking the Hub, Fisher Connect, My Fisher, Carmen, and other websites, keeping tabs on internship opportunities, going to the gym, putting in hours at work, making time for a significant other, etc., etc. That reminds me… I should probably give my mom a call to let her know I am still alive.

Man, it can pile up fast, can’t it?! If I surveyed my classmates on the toughest part of grad school so far, I wonder how many would consider “time management” the biggest challenge. For me, that has been something I’ve really had to focus on. Without a clear schedule, daily to-do lists, and color coded binders and notes (no, I’m not kidding)… I’d be lost. Everyone has their own time management style, but the trick is, no matter what your system is, KEEP WITH IT.

If you haven’t yet mastered your own time management groove, then here are a few tips that might help you along the way:

1. Figure out where you are losing time. One of the best things you can do is keep a journal of your time allocation for a day. Literally log your activities and how much time you spend on them. Then, at the end of the day, go back and see how much time was devoted to non-priorities. This exercise was an eye opener for me. Now I know I shouldn’t check Facebook, ESPN, or MSNBC when I have other priorities. Sometimes I even turn my wireless router off when I have an assignment that doesn’t require the internet.

2. Get a calendar – any calendar! I prefer Outlook only because I’m comfortable with it, but many of my friends use G-Cal or other tools to help them stay organized. Every day I block off time to work on certain projects and set reminders to make sure I’m on task. At 7:45 this evening I had a reminder to write a blog post – and here I am! The trick with this is sticking to your schedule. If you fall behind, it is hard to make that time up!

3. Learn to say no. (Or at least to prioritize.) Some of my classmates have been commenting on my ghost-like tendencies over the past couple of weeks. While I’d love to socialize as often as possible, I’ve learned that I have to say “no” to going out sometimes. It’s a bummer, but it saves me freak out moments the night before a big assignment is due. If you have a hard time saying “no,” then the best thing to do is prioritize. For example, I promised myself I’d go with my classmates for $3 Brazenhead burgers on Wednesday nights, and I’ve gone every week! Remember to give yourself breaks and reward yourself for your hard work.

I hope this helps some of you who are stressing for time! When in doubt, just keep swimming!


Not the best way to end the quarter…

Today’s topic is a bit more serious in nature.

Fisher College of Business hosts a variety of graduate programs, including the MAcc program, the MLHR program, the MBLE program, the Full-Time MBA program, the Working Professionals MBA program, many dual-degree programs, as well as Executive MBA programs.

Judging by actions of select faculty, staff AND students, there seems to be some sort of feeling that the Full-Time MBA program is more important than the other programs. The evidence for this conclusion is both pervasive and disheartening. I do not wish to delve into specific occasions, but suffice to say, I found the topic compelling enough to present it for public consumption.

I believe that since everyone pursuing a graduate degree is already realistically in the top .5% of the world’s population in terms of opportunities, there is absolutely no reason to create any sort of hierarchy within the Fisher College of Business.

I encourage everyone in the Fisher College of Business to truly think about their beliefs about this school. Do you want Fisher to be known as an inclusive, welcoming community, or as an MBA program with some “other stuff” thrown in? I strongly believe that the first choice is the correct one, and if you do not, I recommend re-evaluating your position. As someone once said, the greatest danger is not evil people, but the indifference of “good” people to evil actions.

That’s all for today. Best luck to everyone on your finals, term papers, and everything else!

Stacey


A Guide To Recognizing Nameplates

If you spend any amount of time wandering the halls of Gerlach, and staring into lecture halls, you will probably see many students sitting at attention diligently paying attention to class. If you look in front of the students though you will probably see the most important item that is issued to them during their time at Gerlach… their Nameplate Dimensionsnameplates. These nameplates are 9 inches long, 1.88 inches high and 1/16 of a inch thick with the student’s name routed into the front with capital letters. The name plates are useful for the professors to cold call you and make sure that you are in class… more importantly though it is helpful for your fellow students who may be very forgetful with names to be able to quickly remember your name. It is one of the worst feelings in the world if you forget your name plate (or even worse, LOSE IT!) and are forced to be represented by a piece of loose-leaf paper with your name scrawled on it with a sharpie.

Gerlach is home to several graduate programs and each has its own specially designed nameplate. The Masters of  Business Administration (MBA) program is designated by a black plate with white type.

MBA

The Masters of Accounting (MACC) is designated by a yellow nameplate with black type.

MACC

And the Masters of Labor and Human Resources (MLHR) is designated by a purple/blue  plate with white type.

MLHR

I also recently discovered a special nameplate while working at my Graduate Assistance-ship position for a special event for alumni. Apparently if you are a VIP you get a super special Silver name plate with black type. One can only dream!

special



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