The Concrete Jungle

Before you go on reading this post, I want you to open this music video in another tab and allow the song to play while you continue reading….

Now that the mood has been set, here we go. This past weekend, from the evening of Wednesday the 21st to Sunday the 25th, I took a trip to the land of Sinatra, Bobby Flay, and Tupac. A little place called New York City.

As I was flying in, listening to the song you are hopefully listening to right now, it was around 8:30pm on Wednesday night. If you fly into LaGuardia and are lucky enough to get a seat on the left-side of the aircraft, you will have that 1-million dollar view of NYC lit up like a Christmas tree. That sight always seems to give me the chills, and I was left in awe and ready to take on “the City” the next day.

Now you may be wondering: Brett, what were you doing in NYC?Good question. I ventured on the trip with three of my fellow SMF classmates and an undergraduate group targeting the investment banks in NYC. Between Thursday and Friday, we visited banks like Goldman Sachs in the Financial District and J.P. Morgan in Midtown. With my intended career path of Investment Banking, it was an awesome look into the workings of “Wall Street” and the current state of Investment Banks.

Two of my classmates and I in Times Square.
Two of my classmates and me in Times Square.

Also, I used this trip as a means to network. From our trips to the banks, we were able to speak and network with Ohio State alumni working there, as well as at a reception on Thursday night. In addition, we had free time in which we could network with other working professionals and alumni in the City– and I feel that I established some awesome new connections.

Finally, despite having been to New York City before, I let the inner tourist in me come out a bit and I stopped by some of the most famous spots like: Wall Street, Times Square, the Raging Bull, the Rockefeller Center, and Broadway. Final takeaways? I really do love NYC and can’t wait for my next trip back!


A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.
A classmate and I at the Raging Bull near Wall Street.




Domestic Travel For International Students

The holidays, and therefore traveling season, are coming upon us.  Quickly.

For myself, I will be going home to DC for Thanksgiving a week late so my sister and niece can spend it with her husband and in-laws, and also to avoid holiday traffic since they either drive or take the train from Manhattan generally.  This also means that I can avoid holiday travel, and if you read this post and this one too, you’ll see why that’s a good thing for me, my blood pressure and all those unsuspecting and innocent bystanders that are my fellow travelers in the airport.

Though I loathe doing so, I will be driving out to DC on 12/16 after my internship at OCLC ends, spending a few days with my boyfriend who lives there, spending the Christmas holiday with my family, and then driving back to Columbus the day after Christmas with my boyfriend; he will then spend a whole week with me in Columbus all the way through New Year’s and fly back to DC the day after.  It couldn’t have worked out more perfectly, even with the 6.5 hour drive taken into consideration.  I consider myself lucky.  I have a colleague who is considering driving back to South Dakota for Christmas and that is a 13 hour drive at the least, not even factoring in inclement weather.  Best of luck to you, Eric!

But what about all of our international friends whose homes and family are far far away?  Thinking about the holiday travel made me revisit some of the holiday plans that my international colleagues made and were kind enough to invite me to.  Like I said before, their homes are far away and traveling back to Asia or Turkey or wherever else can be difficult considering the short amount of time they have and the prohibitive costs.  When my family goes to Taiwan, we try and stay at least a week, preferably 10 days, and the plane tickets cost at least $1000.  Not exactly grad student friendly, is it?

So last year, I know that a bunch of the international students went to or considered some domestic destinations during our winter and spring breaks.  These destinations included:

Orlando – flights starting at $190

NYC – flights starting at $333

DC – flights starting at $199

Chicago – flights starting at $148 (on Southwest, flying to Midway.  Midway is less congested than O’Hare); Round trip bus fare on Megabus starting at $50

I’ve listed the current prices from Travelocity, Southwest and Megabus.

If you haven’t heard of Megabus, it is a double decker luxury bus with wi-fi, comfortable seats and one stop in Indianapolis.  Picks you up in Downtown Columbus, drops you off in Downtown Chicago.  Great deal and I’ve done it a couple of times!  It also doesn’t take much longer than a normal drive to Chicago, even with the stop.

The flights are priced assuming departure on Friday 12/9 and a return on Tuesday 12/13.  Flights tend to be cheaper with a weekday stay.  And if I’ve learned anything from the Traveling Gnome, Tim Gunn and the woman who looks like Milla Jovovich but isn’t, it’s that you save money by booking your flight and hotel together.

So even if you aren’t an international student, you can still use this as a guide to kick off your winter break excursion.  Enjoy and safe travels!

Travelocity's Traveling Gnome (all rights reserved)

Travel Like A Pro

As I try to psych myself up for traveling on the busiest travel day of the year tomorrow, I am reminding myself of some traveling best practices, so I can make my own life, as well as the lives of the people around me, easier as we try to make our ways home.

I won’t belittle your travel expertise, so I’ll instead make a list of things I wish OTHER people, not you, would do when traveling:

1) Stick all of your loose items like wallet, change, etc. into your carry-on bag instead of a big bin or little bin.  You can then leave the security area and put everything back at your own leisure, rather than having another traveler breathing down your neck.

2) Grab a bin as soon as possible.  In this bin should go your shoes, belt, and cell phone, liquids and your coat.  But not your boarding pass. For the love of Jake, hold on to it or put it somewhere you can very easily access it.

3) If you have a laptop, take it out of the case, put the laptop bag on top of it and then put the laptop bag onto the conveyor belt separately when it is your turn.  This way you’re only carrying two bins and a carry on.  Very manageable, and less awkward than juggling two bags and three bins.  No one likes being behind the stumbling camel in line for security.

4) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  It’s Thanksgiving.  Take a stand on your own time instead of burdening everyone around you with your peaceful protest.  I’d rather have a little radiation than get screamed at by TSA and other travelers.  I’d rather have a little radiation than have a bomb on my plane.  Let’s not forget the Underwear Bomber and what could have happened.

5) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  It bore repeating.  I’d rather have a little radiation than being very intimately frisked by someone who is not my physician or boyfriend.

6) I’m not a big guy.  Average height, lean toward the slim side in terms of girth.  I don’t care how big or small you are, random, large or tiny and inconsiderate random traveler that I inevitably have to sit next to on every flight.  Your knees are supposed to fit within the borders of the armrests, not halfway into my leg room.  And being that I’m flying United this trip, (if my flights take off at all), it’s not much leg room at all.  And I will tell on you to a flight attendant.

7) You also get one armrest, guaranteed.  The one in the middle is a little touchy.  It depends on who sat down first and claimed it.  I’ll give you that.  You, however, do not get the middle armrest for your arm and half of my personal space for your elbow.  I will push back.  Please don’t make me be mean.

8 ) If I am reading a book or have headphones in, I do not want to talk to you. If I have not made eye contact with you since we were thrown together in this world, I do not want to talk to you.  If I am monosyllabic in my responses to your invasive questions, I do not want to talk to you.  If I look you straight in the face when you try to talk to me and I turn away, I do not want to talk to you.

9) If you have one of those roller luggage bags, put the wheels in first.  It’s the only way it’ll fit.  Don’t pull a Gaylord Focker.  And don’t say bomb on a plane.

10) Don’t be one of those people who is going to protest the scanners.  Seriously.  Don’t.

Follow these tips and you will be an expert traveler and be spared being yelled at by me or other travelers or the TSA.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

PS – This is what happens when you protest the scanners.  No one wins.

The Wake-Up Call From The National Black MBA Conference 2009

So our first week of classes ended last Thursday, and I was hoping to get a break to relax after a very grueling 2 days of classes. Instead, I immediately hoped on a plane with 10 other first year students to fly to New Orleans for the 31st annual National Black MBA Conference. The National Black MBA Conference has a multifaceted mission, which you can discover from their website, but my main mission was to start networking and try to find a internship for this summer. The most surprising thing I learned, was that, wow! finding an internship was going to be a little harder than I thought! The conference really put into perspective how competitive the MBA job space was. Although there were more than 400 corporate sponsors and recruiters, over the course of the conference, about 5,000 MBAs were rambling through the career fair (you can find other conference statistics here). Especially when you got to very desirable companies like Disney, Microsoft and Ogilvy, the lines to wait to talk to a recruiter could stretch beyond a half hour. And when you did get to talk to a recruiter there was a varied mix of responses ranging from  people who were very interested in your career goals, people who wanted to just run through your resume, people who wanted to just direct you to their company’s career website and people who were actually doing on the spot first-round interviews. I felt mostly though that the Conference’s career fair was quite a wake-up call/ reality check that just handing out your resume is not enough, especially when it is sitting on a mixed off-white, cream, eggshell white pile of 500 other resumes. The rest of the conference besides the career fair was fun too, and New Orleans was a very fun city, with lots to see and do, all in all a very worth while experience, although running on 4 hours of sleep 4 days in a row is very hard! Can’t wait for next year’s NBMBAA Conference in Los Angeles!