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.
Coming into Fisher, my biggest fears were circled around being a “non-quant”. With my background in law and public policy, I had never taken an accounting or finance class and I haven’t taken a math class in almost nine years! I had nightmares about being singled out for not knowing about the intricacies of pivot tables in Excel or for forgetting how to determine whether two variables are independent of each other. What I found at Fisher was a welcoming community of students and professors from all walks of life who were more than happy to help.
The most “feared” first-year class is Data Analysis, a class that covers everything from statistical analysis, probability, regression, hypothesis testing and sophisticated excel functions. For a “non-quant”, I was sure that this class would require a significant amount of my time and energy. What I didn’t realize (besides the late nights) is that it would also be the class I would learn the most from. Every career panel and professional I have spoken to has specifically pointed out the skills that we develop in this class as an essential part of their job.
Where I have struggled, my classmates have been more than willing to help me catch up and fortunately our TA, Ryan, has gone above and beyond to help us understand the concepts. These experiences, even two weeks in, exhibit the atmosphere at Fisher. Encouragement is shared freely, ideas are accepted and risk is rewarded. These two weeks have felt more like two months, but I can already tell it will pay off immensely.