The Varsity Club – A WPMBA’s Golf Course/Boardroom

I’m a golfer and I was reading an article on *Golf Etiquette* just to brush up on making sure I was following some basic rules that I had either assumed or didn’t know but I was more intrigued on how the article talked about how the golf course had been transformed into an executive boardroom. I kind of knew this, but never really paid too much attention to it.

This should not be surprising, after all, a golf outing with friends, family, and/or colleagues can be time consuming (hopefully in a good way) and many important conversations and decisions can happen without even knowing about it. In fact, after the golf outing, actual work meetings on topics go by smoother because direction, strategy, or decision was already made. With this being said, I was thinking that the Varsity Club for WPMBA’s is similar to this golf course setting.

 Here, let me explain…

With the last class session of the week, it’s Thursday night and it’s getting late, we are all tired, we have been pushing our brains to the limit after working a full 8 hour day and sitting through 4 hours of class and yet we are all excited to meet up at this magical place called the Varsity Club. Yes, the Varsity Club, a place where projects get mapped out, homework questions get answered, tail gates and parties get planned and where WPMBA’s enjoy each other’s company with cold beverages in hand to close out another long week.

As a WPMBA it’s important to understand that our life is dominated by 40 hour work weeks, 8 hours of class time, at least 6 hours of outside the classroom prep work, family time, and leisure time. Needless to say, time spent with friends and class mates is important and we value every opportunity provided. It’s not only about hanging out with these folks but also to have each other’s backs when it comes to getting through the quarter in one piece.

For me personally, I value every chance to network with different people in the program. If you think about it, that’s one of the prime reasons why Fisher is as successful as it is with its enormous resources dedicated to student groups, seminars, career fairs, and guest speakers like Ben Bernanke and Jeffrey Immelt. It’s all about networking and that’s one of the big reasons I chose Fisher in the first place.

So, back to the Varsity Club. First off, it’s not a club per say but more of a bar setting. We usually head out of class to drop our books off in the car and cross the street to VC. Once there, we are usually in a pack. This is to say that group members from classes and previous classes combine to form this super group of individuals who know each other pretty well. Depending upon the weather, we either migrate to the patio and sit around tables or stand inside.

Our chats are typical to any other setting but will always come back to school work at some point. Here is the part that is so valuable to those that come out to VC on Thursday nights and I have listed some questions that get answered relevant to the MBA program and our course work: 

  • What did you get on homework problem 3? How did you do it?
  • You know, I’m thinking about the group project and I think if we focused more on marginal benefit to position our Economics paper it would…what do you guys think?
  • The exam is coming up next week, here is my strategy for answering questions on financial leverage and using these concepts and equations, does this make sense?
  • For our presentation next week for Marketing, who feels they can explain this topic better, do any of you guys have a preference?
  • What are you planning on taking next qtr? Oh, really? Cool, what classes are you taking first so that we can stick together again?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these questions are brought up and get answered in other forms and in different settings like group meetings, email, and phone. But, a “free” group meeting at VC can help pave the way for the actual group meeting to go smoother. In addition, remember what I said about our strenuous lives with work, school, family, and leisure? Yeah, needless to say every opportunity we get to chat we capitalize on it.

On the flip side, I am very much aware that many of our colleagues simply don’t have the luxury to stop by at VC every Thursday night because of family commitments. After all, classes end at 10 pm and we usually are at VC till 11 pm. I also notice that the “usual” crowd are the ones that show up at VC and the majority of them do not have family commitments anyway. With this being said, I am not advocating one way or another but shedding light on how VC is our golf course and boardroom where we all have a good time and yet get some “work” done.

Varsity Club: Say Hello To Goodbye

Varsity Club: right there on Lane Avenue, across from the fabled Fisher and Gerlach Halls.  It was one of the first places we went, orientation mixer, and had a chance to really develop the bonds that this Cohort is known for.  Second years are still talking about and envious of how well we’ve meshed. Reference my Cohort blog post here.

It’s the first place we got to say hello, relax a little and let the business school armor fall to the ground with a clang on the concrete floors outside the school where they belonged.  We are MLHR, and we are like none other, not MBA nor MAcc.  There’s a spirit in us that is different, undeniable and incredible. Because of this, we let ourselves be unguarded and vulnerable, mingle, really know each other, and start to form this amazing cohesive unit that we are today.

I did not have the final that everyone took this night, but I wanted to meet up with everyone there at Varsity Club afterward to say goodbye to those that would be leaving soon for their summer internship adventures, because I love each and every one of them.  We have become more than friends, more than colleagues, and more along the lines of family and veterans of a war.  The war is grad school, we are wearing Purple Hearts proudly, tending to each others’ wounds, talking about kills and comparing scars.  We leave no one behind.  I have more brothers and sisters than I could ever have hoped for, and the blood we all share is scarlet and gray.

When we first met at the Varsity Club for our very first mixer, we were a ragtag bunch of adventurers, vagabonds, neophytes and strangers.  We knew nothing about each other and we were sizing each other up as competition.  Varsity Club changed that for all of us, and we are stronger, wiser and better because of it.  We are a melting pot of personalities, cultures, backgrounds and education that reflect the business world so absolutely and perfectly.  Because of that, and what we learn from each other, we will all change the world.

Unfortunately, the last time we got together at Varsity Club as an entire Cohort was sometime early Winter quarter.  Tonight, however, we gathered to say our farewells and good lucks and congratulations and expressions of missing and keep in touches and best wishes.  It was like coming home again for the holidays.  The din of shuffling tables and scraping chairs as we grew in number and decreased and grew again; people playing Chinese Fire Drills as we switched around to talk to each other; voices carrying across the expanse of the bar and tables; flashes of cameras and scents of greasy food was like a reunion.  Here was our family, battered and exhausted, but happy and content.  We were together again.  And for a night, we laid down our burdens and regaled each other with memories of things past and visions of things future.

Varsity Club is the place where we came to shake off Stats, had cold drinks to cast off the coils of Compensation, and release the tension from Research Methods.  It was our hub, the focal point of our angst and anxiety, freedom and fear, happiness and horror. This place served as our escape from errors academic, advent of adventures, loudness of laughter and safe place for sorrows.  Here we could be together and all was well because of that.

Soon we will all part for our separate journeys.  It will be strange to not see each other for hours of days, days of weeks and weeks of months.  But I have no doubt in my mind that the bonds we made and the experiences we shared will stretch across state lines, miles of continents, leagues of oceans and seas, time zones and meridians.

We will be together soon again though, more experienced and worldly, stronger than ever, happier to see each other and more ready for the challenges that will face us come September 21st.  We will be first years no longer.  We will be second years, but we will be second to none.  That is how strong we are, because nothing can come between this Cohort and what we will do.

I love you all and wish you the best for the summer, for the coming year and for all that we will encounter afterward.  Together.

(nearly) Group Photo At Varsity Club
"Mom and Dad" Their nicknames for the year
Two of the MLHR boys, Shawn and David
Me and my mei mei (little sis)

Penn State vs Ohio State

Football season is one of the best parts of autumn quarter at Ohio State.  Ohio is plagued by awful NFL teams – specifically the Browns but I guess the Bengals also need to be put in this category.   Despite the Browns and Bengals struggles, the OSU Buckeyes are consistently a powerhouse in college football.  This helps my sanity as the Bengals season continues to implode.

Although the Buckeyes won’t battle for the national championship this January, they still have a great shot to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.  This past weekend the Buckeyes played the Nittany Lions and came out victorious despite a few first half scares.

Regardless of the win, this weekend was really great because a few of my undergraduate classmates came to town to visit and watch the game.  I wasn’t able to get tickets for everyone, so I sold my ticket and we all went to the Varsity Club to watch the game with hundreds of other fans.  If you ever aren’t able to go to a game, I highly recommend you watch at the Varsity Club.  It turns into quite the scene by the fourth quarter.

Varsity Club

The sign at the Varsity Club on Lane Avenue
The Varsity Club on Lane Avenue

So enough history. Let’s talk about beer.

As you can imagine, our schedule in the Working Professionals program is a little bit different from that of students in the Full Time program.

Since there are no classes on Friday, the “day kids” start their weekends on Thursday at around 6:00pm, and they often do so at the Varsity Club.

This is the time that most of us working stiffs are just starting class. By the time we finish class around 9:45, they have generally moved on. So they take the first shift, and we take the second.

The Varsity Club is really close to the Fisher campus, just across Lane Avenue from the parking lot many Fisher commuter students use – so it is a convenient meeting place.

Due to its convenience and the friendly owners, the Working Professionals MBA Council organizes pizza parties there periodically as networking events. There is usually one on the first Thursday of the quarter, and there is a pretty good turnout – considering some of us have staff meetings in the morning. Of course, the Council does supply the pizza, and we business students know the value of free pizza.

During these networking events, we fill the place up pretty well:

The Varsity Club patio full of WPMBA students
The Varsity Club patio after Fisher evening classes let out
The Varsity Club patio before classes let out
The Varsity Club patio before Fisher evening classes let out

The VC also gets pretty busy around and during football games, or any sporting event. My wife and I watched the US tie England there in the World Cup along with a pretty good crowd.

Because we have less time to have fun, we tend to take it seriously.

With busy lives and intense classes, it’s critical to unwind once in awhile. And since we working professionals don’t spend much time on campus outside of classes, it’s important to make time to get to know each other and make friends. These networking events are the perfect time to do that.

Geocaching and rock climbing– A really sweaty day

A short rain in the morning did not keep us MBLE students from participating this fascinating teamwork activity during orientation. On the contrary, the rain helped to leave us cool and comfortable, but I never expected I would make so much physical effort within one day!

The process of geocaching is to use GPS to find boxes distributed on campus, and get the location of the next box with instructions in the previous box. After learning how to use the equipment and taking a group photo, we just set off! Since the first group getting to the destination would be awarded a Fisher T-shirt, every team seemed ambitious. So did our group and we began a small competition with Group One right after starting. Fortunately we got different directions after the first location, otherwise I don’t know how much more we need to run that day.

To be honest, those boxes were well hidden: on or under trees, behind statues and one was even in a trash bin! Well, the first thing I learned from this activity is never to think “habitually.” After quickly finding first two boxes under trees, we took it for granted that the third one should be there as well. We spent several minutes on the hill around Mirror Lake searching carefully the ground,  beneath the brush and trees, only to find the box was between two branches! That’s what I mean.

As we had no idea about the others’ progress, we had to run occasionally either not to fall behind too much or to take the lead little by little. The guy in our group helped the other girl to carry her bag, and we split up work at each location: one to find a card to get directions and help the GPS-holder input those parameters, one to obtain the sticker, pass it to the other member and then put it in the record booklet. It’s really helped to save time – and we can never stress too much teamwork!

Guess the result? Yes, we were the first team! When we arrived to the destination, the instructor didn’t even show up since he never expected for us to get there so soon. He said the time we took was “record-breaking” and you never know how exhausted we looked. Anyway, it was worthwhile and we got T-shirts!

We ate lunch at Varsity Club and had nice chats with David, Kaylin, Samantha, and of course with other fellow MBLE students. Then I went to Adventure Recreation Center with several friends for rock climbing. At first, I just wanted to try new things, and it’s really fabulous to find considerable resources on campus. And when I really engaged in it, I had to say I had sympathy with Sheldon and I knew why he would faint on half way up. However, after trying the easiest one, I just  could not help to try a harder one, and I wanted to know how far I could go, then try to make it further next time.

Well I eventually finished two climbs and was about one meter from the top of the third one. It’s really hard for me and I had no extra strength; I had to go back down with a little disappointment, but I’ll definitely try it again next time I go there.

Besides these physical challenges, I start job hunting even before classes began, and it’s really a huge challenge. The good news is I’ll stay optimistic and enjoy the process. Anyway it’s a part of my life, I cannot change it, so I am just gonna love it~!