The right school.

This is my second or third post on how important it is to get into the right school.  I am not getting any other single thread of thought that links to whatever I am doing here at my MBA program. Be it a new idea that I bring in or work together with classmates in a case competition or take help from a classmate in understanding American culture or have lots of fun with them celebrating Indian festival, I am having fum or learning something new because I chose my right fit and so did everyone else in my class.

When I brought in the idea of starting ‘Microsoft Firenze’ case competition at Fisher, the support that I got from all of the faculty and the dean was awesome. With very tight deadlines, I wasn’t told that it was not possible. I was given the kind of freedom and support that we needed to bring this on. I should mention the help that I got from the second year students in making this happen. With their experience in school, they did all that they could. The result? We progressed from a time when we thought pulling off 8 teams will be difficult, to gathering 14 teams in all! Firenze is on now and am very happy to see many students from across schools participating in it. All thanks to the Dean Karen Wruck, the faculty and my seniors at school.

Talking about case competitions, there is no dearth of such at Fisher. I love solving cases and suggesting solutions. I am a devil’s advocate within whatever team that I work in. Questioning assumptions and validating the solutions are some things that come naturally to me. So case competitions are something that I really enjoy working on. Green Case competition was one such.  I loved my team on that competition. These are the times that you get to work with different people, understand them, have fun, and make good friends. And the best part is when you cheer for your classmates when they win the same. The most heard line in the conversations between the teams was “The only part that I don’t like about this is competing within ourselves”. So when another team from the class wins, it’s just so natural to feel happy for them.

Coming from a foreign land, I didn’t want to take anything for granted. I always want to be sure of what I speak and do with my fellow mates and other Americans. So when I was invited by the IFI to spend the Thanksgiving day with an American family, I sought the help of one of my classmates to pick up something for them. She was gracious and generous enough to not only suggest a gift but also take me to the right place to get it. I am truly lucky to be with such wonderful people.

When it comes to celebrations in India, nothing beats Diwali. That just multiplies 10 fold when you are celebrating it in a foreign land and 100 fold, when you are celebrating it with your American and other international friends. 🙂 I am just back from the best party that I had so far in school – Diwali Dinner organized by Fisher Indian Students’ Association. 🙂 That was a lot of fun. All those who were present were very open minded, had a lot of respect for Indians and their culture and wanted to learn more. They all learned some cool Bollywood moves!! No one had any inhibitions and the kids of my classmates had fun too. This was one of my best times here at Fisher. 🙂

I got a few emails from prospective students on how and why I chose Fisher and I said, “Because this is where I fit very well”. That’s what I would say to any one looking at a business school:- contemplate on whether that school will be the right fit for you. Trust me, these two words “Right Fit” mean so much and more!!


Turkeys, Pies and a Hint of Revertigo

My ability to tell what day it is naturally has been completely obliterated.  I never seem to know the date, day of the week or time without first consulting iCal on my phone or laptop or without checking to see what room I’m in, who is teaching, which event I’m attending or what exam, homework or reading I’m cramming for that day.

Essentially, it’s like living in a casino, 24/7.  No sense of time or the outside world.  My BuckID sits in front of my license in my card clip now because it is used far more often and they are starting to recognize my face, order (veal Parmesan sandwich with lettuce, half order of fries, extra sauce) and my favorite booth in the corner at Tommy’s.

So it was of no surprise to me that as I took some time out for me yesterday and got a haircut, that I was totally blindsided by the fact that next week is Thanksgiving.  A magical week where I possibly get to look forward to full-body scans at the airport (which the Pilots Union is protesting because of the high levels of radiation it uses) or the alternative which involves full-body pat downs that make you feel like a cheap date, unless the TSA agent bought you dinner and a drink first.  Even better is flying through Dulles International on a holiday and trying to maintain a semblance of personal space as people crowd on to the antiquated and inconvenient shuttles you have to take between terminals.

Also, it turns out that both Port Columbus International and Dulles International will be using the back scatter scanners, the ones that potentially use too much radiation.  If I come back a little bit meaner, greener, tougher and with superhuman strength from the holiday, it’s because my levels of East Coast charm and finesse were replenished and supplemented with gamma radiation.

I also get to look forward to cooking in my parents’ kitchen in which I know where nothing is, arguing with my sister about how mise en place should be done, arguing with my other sister about which place settings should be used, fighting my mom for the seasonings and dealing with my dad’s insistence on looking over my shoulder and scrutinizing every dish that I’m cooking.  I also get to look forward to my brother in law busting my butt with the Kenpo, Ab Ripper, Cardio and Plyometrics videos from P90X all weekend long.  But hey, that’s family and you gotta love it and them.

What is most shocking and jarring to me is that my 10 year high school reunion is next Friday (yes folks, I am that old).  It is because of the juxtaposition of starting a new chapter in my life with this program, with the notion that I am diving back into high school for one night and surrounding myself with hundreds of former classmates.

I still see some of my best friends from high school every time I return to DC/MD.  What happens when we all get together was summed up best in a classic episode of How I Met Your Mother, where they examine the effects of revertigo.  It is that irresistible force that regresses you to your high school self, whether you were the band geek, editor of your high school magazine, the cheerleader, jock or goth kid, whenever you hang out with an old friend.  It is real and it is deep and there’s nothing you can do about it.

It definitely happened during my five year reunion and it was hilarious.  Suddenly we were all talking like teenagers, our high school crushes were suddenly reignited, and old cliques reformed instantly.  Ancient rivalries flamed back up and died down quickly as we, for a brief moment of sanity, realized that we were no longer 17 and were in fact adults with college degrees and a professional job.

Looking around Facebook lately though, it seems that most of my former classmates are either married, engaged and have kids already or some are on the way.  It will be very interesting to see how the spouses get sucked into the revertigo wormhole and how that changes the dynamic.  My boyfriend luckily dodged the bullet and will not have to suffer through an evening as arm candy, something that he is very thankful for.  As am I.  He doesn’t need to see what I was like in high school!

Lily\’s Revertigo

I heard there was a long weekend

This was the first Thanksgiving that I didn’t spend with my family since I came to the US (four years ago). It did not make me too sad though as this holiday has not been a tradition in my family, and I knew a bigger time was awaiting for me to spend with my family—the winter break and Christmas!

I was grateful to have this long weekend though. I baked a pie and cooked a meal with chicken (no turkey, too much for me), enjoying a real day-off considering its scarcity. Spending the time alone gave me time to think of many people who I miss and I would like to thank. And this holiday turned out to be the first Thanksgiving that I actually spent much time writing to friends, peers, and families to thank them and tell them how much I love them. I also received a surprise from my old school friend, who saved a CPA prep book for me as he knew I was going to take it soon! Such a holiday day was wonderful with good food and knowing there are so many friends who care about me and are supporting me despite the physical distances apart.

But once Thursday passed, the weekend just returned to regular mode, no longer a long weekend! Well, isn’t it?! All the stress from homework, presentation, and group cases was back! And “whoosh”, the weekend was gone! Thankfully at least I got some good sleep and was recharged a bit. Finals, papers, and presentations, here I come!


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.


Service Projects

During my undergrad, I was a member of a National Honorary Band Service Sorority, Tau Beta Sigma – shout out to all of my Chi sisters. Our main focus was the Ohio State Marching Band and the School of Music while also helping music programs around the greater Columbus Area. I’ve had an interest in service projects since middle school, so I found this to be a good opportunity to get involved in a more unique way. Since becoming an Alumni, I’ve needed a new outlet, so I joined the GHRA and signed up to be on the Service Committee. Last night was our first service committee meeting. Our three chairs started talking to us about a potential service project which involved a somewhat sponsorship by General Mills in order to make Thanksgiving Baskets for the single parent students living in Buckeye Village. Great Idea!! The problem is that we don’t know how to get people involved and actually want to help. There’s so little time between now and Thanksgiving – three weeks or so – that we don’t have time to set up a full blown fundraiser or really market the activity. We’re working with a few other groups, I won’t mention them until it’s all set in stone, but we need some ideas on how to pull this off. Would it be easier to ask for money? To sell something – bake sale style or something else simple? Or to ask for donations such as food, materials to make the baskets, etc?

Does anyone have any ideas? The details are still being worked out, but any ideas in the meantime would be greatly appreciated!