Posts Tagged 'Wendzicki'



Serendipity

When I opted to visit a local vodka distillery with a few of my MBA classmates, I knew I’d enjoy the experience (they included a free tasting) but I did not realize I would walk away re-energized and inspired.

I honestly believe there are times when planets align or when connections are made as if they were always meant to be.  This is exactly what I thought about as I stood in the distillery area of Middle West Spirits and listened to Brady and Ryan tell the story of their company and their vodka, OYO.  What happens when your significant other brings you along to one corporate event after the next?  In this case, an advertising exec and fourth generation distiller discover each other’s backgrounds and shared passions.  Voila!  A new company is born!

Brady summarized the essence of their company’s start: serendipity.  What a succinct way to capture the magic of the way things seemingly just fell into place!  Mind you, they did not get to where they are without a lot of work, plenty of obstacles, and a struggle here and there.  The inspiring part of the story is the way they handled each and every hurdle.  They addressed them and worked through them by recruiting experts to help.

Everything at Middle West is done with a focus on quality and achieving the best result.  Being different is good and they will tell you exactly why that is true.  Brady also shared that they “wanted to give their vodka a sense of place”.  Much thought was put into the logo, the name of the company, the name of the vodka, the company’s location, the partnerships sought, the distilling equipment purchased, the distilling process, and the ingredients used.  On top of it all, their operation focuses on sustainability.  In a word: impressive.

I couldn’t help myself – I began relating all this intentional detail back to the internship search and recruiting process we’re facing as first-year MBAs.  How interesting things would be for each of us if we were so focused and intentional while creating our own brand.  As I continue to hone my story, I will now incorporate some of the same concepts into my work (focus, different is good, have a sense of place, deal with obstacles, work with intention).  Seeing the world from a new point of view is energizing and gives me new hope as my personal search continues.

As I’ve mentioned before, Columbus is turning into a city for foodies.  It also cultivates and promotes an entrepreneurial spirit and the success of start-ups, local producers, and small business.  I am confident we will see more great things from Middle West Spirits in the future.  If we’re lucky, we (as Fisher MBAs) can partner with them on various business cases as they continue to grow and expand.  In my opinion, they prove there is great potential in ideas, innovation, and dreams.  I doubt I’ll be the only MBA to be inspired by their story.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

AND “The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it.” – Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s)

NOTES: For a nice overview of the process information Ryan shared with the group, check out this article on Columbus Alive, John Schumacher’s blog post, or The Pegu Blog.  Each offers a great summary of additional information I learned on my visit.


Schadenfreude

One of the reasons I think vampire series are so popular lately is because we see so much of our humanity visually depicted in imaginary characters, including witches and werewolves.  Whether you’re Team Edward or Team Jacob . . . or rather, like me, are clueless about Twilight yet find yourself obsessed with the brothers Salvatore (my guilty pleasure = The Vampire Diaries), there’s something about the struggle between good and evil that each of us can identify with.

My belief: B-school has a way of bringing out the best and the worst in all of us.  Some folks use a lot of smoke & mirrors.  You know the type: they put on the charade that they’ve got everything together and that all things work in their favor.  Yeah?  Bologna.  No one leads such a charmed life.  We each bear burdens.  Anyone that tells you different is either a crazy person or a liar.  As humans, none of us are perfect and that’s perfectly OK.  Remember: without contrast, those low times in life, we’d never be able to appreciate our highs or know when something is really good.

Fisher is an intimate community.  Sometimes I find it really hard to happily coexist with the “together” people day after day, week after week. Q: Why is it that I long for the moment I see a chink in their armor?  A: Why are reality shows so popular?  Why, as a society, do we love to see others screw up?  I think it’s because we seek things that are similar to ourselves.  It makes us feel better to know we’re not the only ones that struggle . . . and that struggling is normal.  Is that bringing out the best is us?  Probably not.

As I ponder all these questions of “why”, it dawns on me that even Superman and Batman had to contend with having a good side and a dark side.  If they couldn’t escape it, what chance do I have?  I’m certainly no Jedi knight.

The epic battle of my “good” self vs my “evil” self rages on during this season of job hunting . . . and here I stand without a cape.

“Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”  – Mark Twain


Beyond the Ball

Breaking: OSU sports are not the only events in Columbus, OH

This post is specifically geared to the non-sports-fan audience.  So, if you ceremoniously watch ESPN’s SportsCenter, you may want to stop reading this now.  Furthermore, if your idyllic weekend involves countless hours of watching sports with a beer in hand, please stop here . . . the remaining content won’t likely appeal to you.

One thing that might be factoring into your b-school decision is where you’ll be living for the next two years.  Knowing that, I’ll try to give you a brief synopsis of Columbus and the options available to you from an food & culture standpoint.

ART & CULTURE Frankly, sports have never interested me from any aspect other than a social outing.  My favorite places to visit are art museums and galleries.  I could spend countless hours visiting them (but not every weekend).  There is a rather strong arts community in Columbus which I believe is fostered by the amount of colleges & universities within the city.  On campus, we have the Wexner Center for the Arts.  Just down High Street is The Short North district which houses multiple galleries, restaurants, and shops.  Further down the road, downtown, you’ll find the Columbus Art Museum, the Riffe Gallery, and CCAD’s Canzani Center Gallery.  Also downtown, my favorite space is Hawk Galleries… if glass is your passion, you’ll be in heaven.  Additionally, you can find more spaces in surrounding areas: German Village, Bexley, Grandview Heights, Dublin, and Delaware.  Admire from a distance or try your hand at creation… there’s a long list available.  I can’t possibly include them all here.

Beyond art, there are many other places to see and visit in Columbus.  For illustrative purposes, here’s a few: the Topiary Park, The Franklin Park Conservatory, The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, COSI, the Santa Maria, The Ohio Historical Center, The Ohio Statehouse, and the Ohio Expo Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds.  Columbus is truly a great place for singles, couples, and families.  Art Festivals, Oktoberfest, the State Fair, Home & Garden Show, ComFest, and just about every cultural festival imaginable are all apart of this city’s calendar of events.  Want to enjoy the outdoors?  We have the Metroparks and additional options within a couple hours driving distance (Hocking Hills, Lake Erie, etc.).

FOODIES Also worth mentioning is the food culture in Columbus.  Home of White Castle, Donato’s, Wendy’s, Max & Erma’s, and Bob Evan’s, Columbus could be viewed as nothing more than fast food and strip malls.  Yes – Columbus has fast food and vast amounts of shopping which many people enjoy.  (Note: something for everyone.)  If you are familiar with terms like edamame, sous vide, tapenade, and aoli, read on.  Columbus’ destinations for foodies are gaining national recognition lately.  Recent articles have been published in The Washington Post and Columbus was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” when Anthony and Michael Ruhlman visited a few bright culinary spots in the city.  We also have our share of Farmer’s Markets that offer fresh fare late-Spring through Fall.

So, if you’re an international student (like my roommate Edouard) and not attached to American football, have no fear.  We are a diverse city that has many international influences (thanks to the amount of professionals entering and exiting the city working in government, higher education, retail, insurance, and banking).  Without a doubt, Columbus has something for everyone.  Rest assured – you will enjoy living here and, if you ever find yourself with some extra time on your hands (which is rare), there’s plenty to do right outside your door.

Want more?  Also visit Insider Ohio for additional information on the area.


Holding On and Letting Go

B-school life is full of times to hold on or to let go.  Lately it seems I continually face the decision to hone my tenacity or choose the way of Lao Tsu and “go with the flow”.  Insider hint: the Tao of Eve needs some major work.

I’m really not one to make new year’s resolutions because I can never seem to stick with them.  When I fail, it becomes one more thing to gnaw on my conscience.  This year, however, things are different.  During break, I realized it is really important for me to let things go and I resolved to make a concerted effort to do so during 2011 (and beyond).  A few things prompted my decision:

(1) Grades: One thing you’ll hear time and time again in b-school is that grades don’t matter.  As a first-year, I’ve heard this from various people across disciplines and departments.  I suppose old habits die hard because I waited with great anticipation for my grades to be posted online.  All in all, I did alright and was pretty happy with my results.  But there’s always that one class… in my case, it was Organizational Behavior.  I missed the next letter grade by one point and wasn’t one of the students that was moved up based upon class participation.  “Disappointed” is a fair way to describe my feelings on the situation.  What to do?  Let it go and move forward.  I’m not happy about it but there’s not much I can do to change it at this point.  I could dwell on it and let it affect me or release it and focus on the next term.  I choose to focus on the future.  And, although I realize that grades do matter to me (at least somewhat), I also know that I want to take full advantage of the other opportunities & activities available in the full-time MBA program.

(2) Clutter: If there’s any advice I can give you that will prove helpful, it’s PURGE NOW especially if you’re moving to Columbus from somewhere else.  Downsizing is extremely important to do in advance; you really don’t want to move everything and then realize it doesn’t fit.  In my case, I was faced with the closet storage reality over break.  I finally had time to fully switch my wardrobe from warm weather to cold weather.  I ended up with several bags of trash and six piles of clothes that need to be donated to Goodwill.  Some mementos are worth keeping but all the stuff you have set aside “just in case” should be dumped before you get here.  You won’t have the time to do it when classes begin and you’ll feel so free by ridding yourself of the excess baggage.  Let it go and make room for good things to come into your life.

(3) Rejection: Recruiting season is heading into full swing and I can honestly say I have already gotten my share of rejection.  I *really* don’t need any more.  Realistically, it could be a lot worse.  The good news is that I have a few angles that may pan out.  The ones that didn’t work out really didn’t suit me anyway.  My advice to you is: do your homework and decide what matters most and what you really want.  Have the conversation with your Career Management counselor and make sure your goals are realistic.  If you have a specific target, you can focus all your energy toward that goal.  If you’re anything like me and are unsure, or are switching careers, you might need to spend extra energy and take a path less traveled.  I believe we all want to be wanted and it is normal to feel validated by a potential employer wanting to speak with us.  But when your request for interview is rejected, it doesn’t invalidate you.  In my case, each “no” pushes me closer to a “yes” and the path I trod is not the most worn.  Fisher provides many resources for us to use to build our networks.  Finding the ideal career fit may involve on campus recruiting but it may not.  Some of us choose a path less common.  At Fisher, faculty, staff, and alumni are very willing to help each one of us discover our way.  They really see us as individuals.  Personally, I’m letting go of the “no”s and holding on to the perfect fit being out there.  It just takes some of us longer to find it.

This quarter proves to be getting better by the minute.  To gain momentum and keep the right pace, I resolve to hold on to what’s truly important and let go of the things that can slow me down.

The characteristic of a genuine heroism is its persistency.  All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Under the Weather

Actually, if you talk to a number of people in the program, you’d hear the opposite: they’re “so over the weather”.  Yes, friends, we’ve just started to get some more snow over the past two days.  Heh.  In the melodic words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet”.

As for me, since starting on our student health insurance plan, I have encountered three occasions that required prescription meds.  The most recent occurred this week.  The quarter started on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon in Cost Accounting, I could tell my cold was developing into something more.  I hoped for the best (2pm) and opted to see how things developed.  By 8pm that night, I was miserable and opted to inform my roommate of that fact every couple of minutes.  He knew I was sick but had no idea to what extent . . . until I grabbed a flashlight and had him glance at the back of my throat.  Sparing you the details, I’ll leave it at: it was quite a mess.

Here’s the thing: as students, we have health coverage for doctors appointments and unanticipated illness.  We can make appointments to be seen at the Wilce Health Center… which is fine and dandy as long as you don’t need to be seen outside of the hours of 8am-5pm M-F or 8am-noon on Saturdays (unless there’s a football game and then you’re out of luck).  Appointments are meant to be scheduled in advance.  Unfortunately, many of us can’t pre-plan when we’re going to really need to see a doctor.  Considering that, you can call in the morning and try to get seen the same day.  I had to do that in October and it happened to work out extremely well.  That time, I called at 7:30am and got a lab appt followed by a doctor’s appointment within about an hour.  The process there went like clockwork: all ran on time and I was in and out within about an hour.  There’s a pharmacy on site and I was good to go.  That was October . . .

. . . flash back to the nastiness of my throat infection on a Tuesday night ….

After seeing the mess my throat became, my roommate was a bit freaked out and worried (it really was nasty) and believed I should seek more immediate medical attention rather than wait until 7:30am and try to score an appointment at the health center.  By this time (10pm), the alternative treatment options listed on the website had all closed for the day… all except for one: the OSU Medical Center Emergency Room.

Desperate times call for desperate measures . . . but I really did not want to be one of “those people” tying up emergency resources for something non-critical (it’s not like I had a severed arm).  I was really on the fence: my situation was becoming increasingly dire and I didn’t want to be up a proverbial creek the next morning unable to attend class AND unable to get an appointment.  For reassurance, I called the phone number listed and spoke with a delightful woman named Nicole.  She said they’ve treated people with less serious issues; if I wanted to come in to see a doctor I should.  Given that, I opted to give it a go and head over there . . . knowing the wait would likely be a long one.  I wasn’t mistaken.  My roommate, aspiring for sainthood, chose to accompany me.  By 3am we were at a 24-hr CVS picking up my prescriptions.  We woke up at 7am to make it to classes (8:30am start).

The first time I needed to see a doctor was a few days after our insurance began but a couple of weeks before school was actually in session.  I did not have my student insurance card yet and was unsure of how everything worked.  Luckily, there is a lot of pertinent information listed on the OSU web and I was able to reach the website of the administrator of our student insurance plan.  On their site, I registered and gained immediate access to a version of my insurance card.  With a printout in hand, I visited a local urgent care center (the Wilce Health Center wasn’t open; it was a weekend during break) and was taken care of rather promptly.  The only dismay came when getting my prescription filled: if you don’t do it at the pharmacy on campus, the cost is out of pocket.  Luckily, I was still on my previous employer’s insurance and could use their prescription coverage to make ends meet.

So, to quickly summarize: OSU has outstanding facilities and services available to students.  With pre-planning, all works like clockwork.  Unexpected illness can be dealt with rather timely although a small wait could be involved.  Our medical staff and support personnel are professional, courteous, and very patient-oriented.  They are truly a first-class operation at the OSU Medical Center as well as the Wilce Health Center.  I am very happy with the treatment I’ve received and I’m confident you will be too.  To me, it is just one more reason to illustrate the power of a large research university backing an intimate and individual MBA program like Fisher.  You get the best of both worlds.


It’s All Relative

One thing I guarantee you: it snows in Ohio.  Being from the Cleveland area, I don’t think it snows much in Columbus.  However, I forget how many people aren’t used to snow . . . and how many of my classmates have never seen snow before (much less driven in it).  This year, the weather turned colder earlier than usual and we’ve had snow accumulation for at least a week.  Right now I’d guess we have only 2-3 inches on the ground… which really translates to nothing major… especially if you’re from Minnesota (where they received a couple of feet within a single day last weekend).  My roommate is from France: according to him it was a blizzard.  What can I say?  It’s all relative.

Speaking of my roommate, he accompanied me home for Thanksgiving.  From my perspective, it was really neat to be able to extend a warm welcome to a friend that has never celebrated such a holiday.  Thanksgiving is an American custom that I’ve taken for granted all my life.  When I think of “Americans”, I don’t consider us to have a culture per se.  We all come from different backgrounds and heritages – which means many of us still practice the customs and traditions our ancestors did.  It was nice to realize that, as Americans, we share a common bond and tradition that dates back a few hundred years.  Nicer was the fact that my father decided to cook the turkey Martha Stewart-style (he covered it with cheesecloth) and it came out beautifully (my roommate took the picture to prove it).  Along with preparing a fine meal, my dad set the table and decorated the dining room with harvest-time colors and patterns.  I felt quite proud when my roommate first saw it and whispered “It reminds me of home”.  Being far away from loved ones for an extended amount of time has got to be difficult.  I’m glad I was able to share my family with him… surrogate relatives.

Final grades just finished posting = fall quarter is officially in the books.  One thing that can throw you for a bit of a loop in b-school is the way you are graded.  Grades are distributed on a forced curve with the average at B+.  Being the achievers we are, we aren’t exactly used to being average . . . much less *below* average.  Sadly, the fact of the matter is: someone has to be below average (technically, half of us).  What you’ll need to figure out, amongst many other things, is how much effort you need to spend on your academic work in order to achieve the standing you want… and then hope all of your cohort teammates share the same goal.  Grades aren’t everything but they do matter.  Realistically, your final grades should come as no major surprise… most of the time.  By the reactions I’m reading on Facebook, many of us got surprised by at least one of our grades (class varied by individual).  Inherently, your calculated percentage could normally equate to an A- but you get a B+ in the class.  Why?  Because it depends how the rest of your classmates scored.  So, as much as you want to celebrate each others’ successes, you also want to stay near the top of the pack.  Yes friends, it is all relative.

Turkey Martha-style

the table is set for Thanksgiving


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