Another quarter to check off!

We have made it through another quarter!  I have been a blog slacker for the past couple of weeks because of being (like everyone else) completely swamped with final presentations, group projects, and final exams.  I also had a big conference for work the Friday and Saturday before finals that took up most of my time for the past month.

Here’s a few reflections I have on Winter Quarter:

  • I’m very thankful for the weather cooperating.  With my drive, I was dreading bad weather but luckily I only had two nights with a tiny bit of snow.
  • The theme of the quarter was group projects.  Having a group project in three classes makes for some creative scheduling and a some outside of class prep time.
  • Group projects led to meeting more people and interacting more with my classmates which is great!
  • Winter Quarter seemed to go by a lot faster than Autumn Quarter.
  • Spring Break is far too short.

Enjoy Spring Break and this beautiful weather!

Book Review – Eating Your Way Across Ohio

Over Christmas break, I came across a neat new book.  Karen Patterson, a Southern Ohio Author, has recent published “Eating Your Way Across Ohio – 101 Must Places to Eat”.  In this, Patterson reviews restaurants across the state that are not chain restaurants or fast food.  What a great book; I mean who doesn’t like to eat?  This book has pictures of yummy food, pricing, locations, and reviews of 101 places to eat.  With the ease of technology these days, I know it’s easier to find a review online but this hardcover book is a great resource for those looking for a great new place to dine.

With final exams, presentations, and papers right around the corner, take some time for a road trip.  Grab some friends, flip through the book and find a location you want to try.  My personal favorite in the book is the Old Canal Smokehouse, located in Chillicothe (Unfortunately, it is closed for the time being while it’s being remodeled due to a recent fire.)  Another good place that is reviewed is the Der Dutchman Restaurant, located right outside of Columbus in Plain City.

Amazon has the book available here:

Feel free to share what some of your favorite restaurants are in Ohio.

The Opportunities are Endless at Fisher!

As a Working Professional MBA student, there are many weeks that I’m sure I cannot possibly fit anything else in my schedule.  But I still try.  With only being at Fisher for a little over two years, I hope to experience several speakers, events, and opportunities that I could not or would not have the opportunity otherwise.  The Fisher College does an excellent job of bringing in speakers and having events geared to expanding knowledge, networking with executives, and some opportunities just to have fun.  Granted, the majority of events are held during the weekday which are a little harder to attend but talking with your employer about the event you want to attend may help in your ability to go.  Going to the Varsity Club after class is also a good place for networking (or so I’m told, my hour drive home hinders me going, but some night I really will go after class.)

One of the events that was held recently was the Taste of Innovation; a fundraising event for the Spring Innovation Summit that will be held on April 20th.  Fortunately, my 8pm class was not being held so a group of six WPMBA students went (among many other students from other programs).  A sampling (and by sampling, I mean, enough to call supper and then some) of food was offered by a few Columbus restaurants.  As someone not from Columbus, I intend on making a trip to a couple of the restaurants now that I’ve had a yummy sampling!  The owner of Northstar Cafe, Kevin Malhame also spoke about what he is looking for when hiring using an comparison of finding a “good egg” when cooking.  It was a fun event, great conversation with classmates, and good food.

These outside of class events are important to meet and networking with others.  You never know who you will meet that may lead you to a new job, new career, or just a new friendship.  What you know is important, but who you know can potentially be even more important.  I encourage you to attend some events outside of class.  The HUB has most of the upcoming events listed with information or a contact.  Find something that interests you personally and professionally and make plans to go.

Dinner with the Dean – Winter Quarter

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with Dean of the Fisher College of Business, Christine Poon.  This was started last quarter (see Sarah’s post for a quick overview) and is a great opportunity that has continued.  The dinner was held in the Dean’s conference room and there were nine students that attended who were all in different stages of the program.  We were all moderately jealous of the one student who was going to graduate in March.  We had a catered dinner from Panera.

The dinner was about 50 minutes long; many of us had an exam at 6:00 p.m.  We all introduced ourselves and then Dean Poon gave us some insight on her background.  She participated in a similar MBA program and worked during the same time so she knows what we are feeling with working 40+ hours a week plus attending class two evenings.

She also discussed the rankings of the programs at Fisher and how the rankings are measured.  The WPMBA program is ranked in the top 10 whereas the full-time MBA program is not.  We also talked about the semester conversion and shared some of our favorite professors.  She was very interested in our thoughts and comments about the program, both during the dinner and was opened for emails/phone calls about our comments/concerns.

This opportunity was really insightful.  Dean Poon has an open door policy and she is genuinely concerned with getting each student through the program to graduation.  This was a great opportunity and I hope that the dinners continue and others have the opportunity to spend time with Dean Poon.  Thanks for such a great dinner!


Midterms – The time when my house is the cleanest! (aka “How to study and not get burned out”)

It’s that time of the quarter.  Midterms are upon us.  When it comes to studying for midterms, any, and I do mean any task seems better than studying.    Clean the house, check.  Work on taxes, check.  Laundry, check.

Anyways, here’s a few tips on how I manage to focus on studying and not get completed burned out:

  • Set a timer.  I set the timer on the microwave for 90 minutes.  I’d study for 90 minutes, break for 30-45, then study again.
  • Find a room with minimal distractions and leave your material out.  You can sit down and study without spending time getting books/computer/notes out.
  • Use break times for Facebook/Pinterest/TV.  I would leave my phone in another room when studying.
  • Explain concepts to other people.  Some of the bigger topics, I’d try to explain them to my husband and give examples related to what he does.
  • If you have multiple exams, focus on the harder of the two, but do not neglect one exam altogether.
  • Find a study group.  Some people prefer to study in groups because each person picks up different information during a class and can help explain different topics.
  •  Stay positive.  Going into an exam with a positive attitude makes a big difference.

Good luck with midterms!

WPMBA from an hour away

A year ago, when I was going through the process of applying for the WPMBA Program, one of my biggest concerns was the commute.  When I had a phone interview before getting accepted, the interviewers even asked me about the drive time and if it was going to be acceptable to manage both work and class.  On a good day (good meaning, no chance of weather or traffic), it takes me an hour and a half to get to campus from where I work.  Then there’s an hour drive home.  Working and living this far from campus can be a challenge, however, here are some tips:

  • Talk with your boss before you begin the process to discuss work flexibility.  On class days, I leave work early and make up the time by working a little longer on non-class days or in the evenings at home since the majority of my work can be accomplished from my laptop.
  • Also, factor in fuel and vehicle maintenance in the costs of the program.
  • Plan for traffic issues.  For a 6:00 p.m. class, my goal is to make it to the parking lot by 5:30.  Now, that does not always happen with unpredictable traffic issues.  When it looks like it might rain or snow, I leave a little bit earlier too.
  • For group projects, find teammates who can respect your drive.  I have been fortunate to have groups that have met before class or on the weekends.  Also, utilizing Skype is helpful.  Be accommodating and up front about your drive time and be as flexible as possible of when to meet.  Try not use your distance as an excuse.
  • Stay up on maintenance on your vehicle.  If you know your car is reliable, you won’t have that to worry about on your drive.
  • Audio Books.  Purchase some of your required reading as an audio book and listen to it on your drive.
  • Plan for the day.  Get gas when you aren’t pressed for time and pack supper/snacks if you don’t want to stop at fast food every day.
  • Create a driving playlist of upbeat songs for the drive home to help you stay awake.
  • Find a driver – someone willing to drive you around every day.  (I’m still working on this one, maybe if I win the lottery, this will happen.)
Feel free to share any tips you have as well!

The Switch … it’s almost here!

On Tuesday, I attended a meeting focused on the big switch to semesters which is happening right around the corner.  Semesters will initially start this summer with a seven week term before the start of “Fall Semester” that will begin in the middle of August.  There’s a lot of work that goes into switching an entire program from a traditional 10 week schedule to a 7 or 14 week schedule.  There’s course plans available to show a sample outline of how to finish the program by when you started.  The advisers are doing a great job of trying to make this transition as seamless as possible.  Here’s a few of the nuggets I got out of the session:

  • Core classes will move to Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Classes will be one night per week.  Instead of having class both Tuesday and Thursday evenings, classes will just be one night per week for a longer period of time (I think, she said 6:00 – 9:15)
  • Many of the elective classes will last 7 weeks.  Many of the core classes will last the full 14 weeks.
  • May session, which will last the month of May, will offer a “Workshop Core” or a project experience.  The workshop will focus on ethics, communication or other professional development topics.
  • The program will last slightly longer than previously, under the new curriculum, the program will finish up in slightly less than three years.
  • The electives will be structured so students could have a more clear concentration (if you want).
Overall, the switch to semesters seems pretty straight forward.  Another meeting will be held in late February to discuss class options.

Tips on Surviving the GMAT

A year ago, after the holiday hustle and bustle died down, I started studying for the GMAT – The Graduate Management Admissions Test.  For many graduate level business programs, the GMAT is required or suggested for acceptance.  Some programs require a certain score so be willing to devote many hours of studying to get a score that will allow you in the program you want.  It is a lengthy exam that covers your writing, quantitative, and verbal ability.

Here are a few tips I will share from my experience with the GMAT:

  • Click here for the official website.  Read over this site to learn everything about how the test is structured, what you can expect on test day, and any other questions you may have.  This is where you register for the exam.   When you register, you will get a couple of practice exams.
  • Determine when you should take the exam.  It takes a couple of weeks for your schools to receive your scores so factor that into when you take your exam.  Give yourself plenty of time to study.  Take the exam early to allow yourself the option of retaking it.
  • Set a date as a goal for when to take the exam, then plan how many hours per week you should study leading up to the exam.
  • Begin studying by taking a practice exam.  There are many books you can purchase or find a library or websites online that have practice exams.  Taking a practice exam at the beginning gives you some basis of what you will need to focus your studying on.  If you are better at math, focus on the verbal, or vice versa.  Taking a practice exam will also give you a feel for how long you will have to answer questions.
  • Set aside time each day/week to study.  Find a quiet place with no distractions to study.  This website was very helpful to me.
  • Stay positive.  Go into test day with a positive attitude.  Get a good breakfast, get there early, have all the required documents and identification, and be ready to beat the GMAT!

The GMAT is adding an integrated reasoning section in June 2012.  So read up on the changes and determine if you want to take the new version or not.  The main advice I have for those looking to take the GMAT in the near future is to know what to expect on test day.  Review how the exam is structured, how much time you have and what type of questions you will expect to see.  Good luck!

Time for a Break

Autumn Quarter is over!  This was the final Autumn Quarter at OSU with the switch to semesters approaching soon.  The switch also means that this will be the longest break for a good while (more than just a week at a time).  Here are some options on what to do during your break:

  • Give back to your community.  Donate time or money to an organization.  Give can goods to a food pantry or go through your closets and donate some clothes to those less fortunate.
  • Random acts of kindness.  Do something nice for someone, where it’s a compliment or a small showing of appreciation for those around you.
  • Bake/Cook.  Find some new recipes and try them out.  Host a dinner party and share your new ideas with others.  Even better; have your guests try out new recipes and make it a potluck.
  • If you are not into cooking, try out new restaurants.
  • Read.  Now is the time to catch up on reading that is not “required reading” for a class.
  • Home improvement.  Maybe you have put off a project in your house or apartment; now is as good as time as any (unless it’s an outside project, then invest in some Carhartts first).
  • Go see a movie, play, musical, concert, or sporting event.
  • Catch up on your DVR.
  • Head to the Columbus Zoo and see the Wildlights.
  • Road trip.  Take a weekend and go on a road trip.  Visit friends, family, or an attraction.
  • Exercise.
  • Enjoy the holidays.  Try not to rush around or stress out.
  • Spend quality time with friends and family.  Catch up on lost time when you might have had to cancel plans in favor of studying.
  • Plan ahead (yes, this may be the last thing you want to do but it’s still important).  Buy your books for next quarter and pay your fees.  Winter Quarter will be here before you know it.

These are just a few ideas.  Feel free to share your ideas as well.  Enjoy your break!

The end (of the quarter) is near!

We have finally reached the end of the quarter!  It’s the time when classes are wrapping up and finals are near.  Whether you have a final paper, project or exam, here are a few tips to get you through the next couple of weeks.

  1. Back to the lists.  Make a list of everything you have due, the requirements and the deadlines.  It’s easy to forget something for a class when things are due and sometimes a final for the class might not be at the same time as your regular class.
  2. If you have a final paper(s), ask someone to proof your writing.  As it’s getting down to the end of the quarter, your writing might not be as strong as it was at the beginning, so find a friend to proof your paper.
  3. If you have exams, study…then study some more.  Figure out your best means of studying and go at it.  If you have multiple exams, study for one for a time frame, then take a short break and study for the other.
  4. If you have an open book/note exam, be organized.  Flag chapters or important material and highlight relevant terms in your book/notes for easy reference in the exam.  Time is valuable.
  5. Set the DVR for the next couple of weeks.  You will have plenty of time after finals to catch up on television shows, but for now, focus on improving your final grade.
  6. Do not check Facebook while you are studying.  A quick look inevitably takes 10-15 minutes.
  7. Sleep and food are important.  Getting a good night’s sleep and eating a good meal before an exam are two keys to help your focus and concentration.  You do not want to be the person with your stomach growing all through an exam.

Good luck on your last week of classes and finals!