As a freshman, Jeff Dong was among a group of students to receive the Outstanding First-Year Student Award from OSU. Although past performance may not always be a predictor of future success, in this case it has been. This year as a junior Jeff has been named a Pace Setter, an award given annually to the Fisher’s top students. The award is selected on the basis of academic performance and demonstrated leadership ability, and less than 5 percent of the business school's alumni population have ever earned the award.
Jeff, originally from New Jersey, was not born and raised a Buckeye. He experienced a culture shock coming here, which included learning many new mannerisms and experiencing Skyline Chili for the first time. Nonetheless, he quickly caught on and became more comfortable in the culture here. Like many students, Jeff wanted to try everything. He tried to join paintball club, mock trial club, business fraternities, Undergraduate Business Council, Asian American Association, and more. Many of these organizations had an application process, and as a result of over extending himself, Jeff was left with many rejections and no involvements.
At this point, Jeff turned to case competitions as a way to get involved and continue developing himself professionally. In his first case competition, his team came in first place. This experience set him on the path to a career in consulting. Jeff ended up joining both Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club (BUCC) and Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations (SCNO). He’s now VP of Finance and Administration for BUCC, and he was formerly a Project Leader for SCNO. He also joined the Fisher Emerging Consultants program, an Office of Career Management program focused on preparing students for a career in consulting. This coming summer Jeff is looking forward to experiencing his first consulting internship with Ernst & Young in Los Angeles.
If Jeff could give a TED Talk, the topic would be the 5 daily habits one needs. The talk would suggest the 5 daily habits be performing physical exercise, learning something new, doing something you enjoy, undertaking a mindfulness activity, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Jeff enjoys working out, reading 10 pages of a book, and practicing meditation as a few of his daily habits.
This discipline has surely helped Jeff have great success in his undergraduate career. His Pace Setter award provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on his accomplishments, but Jeff knows it also signifies that it’s time to give back and share the knowledge gained from his experiences with other students. Jeff has already begun this stage through mentorship and as a Peer Career Coach, and he’s looking forward to continuing these efforts as a senior next year.
Meet Faith Nimely, a third-year student majoring in accounting and January’s Student Spotlight.
Faith grew up in Liberia in West Africa before moving to the U.S. in April 2009. Faith attended high school in Groveport, Ohio, where she graduated as her class valedictorian. The incredible achievement was also instrumental in helping Faith overcome her fear of public speaking.
Her high school achievements also set her up to pursue success in college. At first unsure about accounting, Faith took a class and joined a program in high school focused on the subject. Accounting came easy to her, and she now sees it as foundational to her life goals.
Faith now serves as treasurer of the National Association of Black Accountants at Fisher. She’s also interning at Crowe as an audit intern during the firm’s busy season, and she will be interning over the summer with Johnson & Johnson in a finance role.
In addition to her part-time internship, Faith finds time to pursue other passions. She spends time volunteering through Fisher Cares, and she is a resident advisor to a floor of 37 female students. Recently, Faith joined the Honors Cohort program to continue her pursuit of new environments, challenges and experiences that has been prevalent in her life.
Faith also spends time mentoring three younger students. Among the programs she’s involved in is Fisher’s Peer Mentor Program, which matches first-year students with upperclass mentors. The program helps first-year students transition to college and get involved as part of the Fisher community. She joined the program to meet new people and to be a resource for others. For Faith, the program is about being there for the students whenever she is needed and about learning from first-year students and their new perspectives..
Faith hopes she is paving a better way forward for her mentees and for herself. Like most students her age, she isn’t exactly sure what the rest of her life will hold, but she does have great ambition. She is interested in nonprofit work, and has a dream of improving the education in her home country, potentially by helping to build a school there.
If Faith could give a TED Talk, the theme would be awareness — self-awareness and the awareness of other cultures and backgrounds. She believes it’s important to learn about others, to be aware of prejudices and stereotypes, and to never give in to pressure to conform.
For the December Student Spotlight, we sat down with graduating senior Jesse Wildman. Jesse is excited to be graduating, but lately he has been reminiscing about his college experience. There is a great deal of nostalgia, and he considers himself grateful to be in his current position.
There are several memories that define Jesse’s freshman year. Some of his best memories include meeting a great group of friends in the Business Scholars Program and winning the intramural flag football championship. Like many students, Jesse also struggled with some homesickness. He was also rejected from Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity that he was certain was the right one for him, but he stayed persistent and was accepted into the fraternity the following semester. Finally, his freshman year concluded with the Freshman Global Lab experience to Switzerland and Italy. He had an amazing time and gained a global perspective he didn’t previously have.
During his sophomore and junior years, Jesse became very involved in his fraternity, working with corporate sponsors while serving as VP of Fundraising. But of all his wonderful memories at the college, his favorite was storming the field after the Buckeyes’ double overtime win against TTUN during his sophomore year. With an interest in digital marketing, Jesse completed a Summer Global Internship in London with a digital ad agency following his sophomore year. It was another memorable experience that included going to Wimbledon and also traveling to Dublin. He enjoyed his tightknit team at the ad agency and developed valuable connections.
Jesse made more memories during summer 2018 in Chicago, where he lived downtown in The Loop and worked for CDW as a public sales intern. He enjoyed his work experience, but he also enjoyed making great friends, going to Cubs games, attending Lollapalooza, and eating his way through the city’s many fine restaurants. He loved what the city had to offer.
Coming back to school for his final semester, Jesse was back to networking and recruiting, and he was more focused than ever with the companies he targeted. He wanted to make sure he found the right fit to begin his career. Ultimately, Jesse had his choice among multiple opportunities and he recently accepted an offer to join LinkedIn in Chicago on a sales track.
Jesse is looking forward to celebrating his graduation with his family and friends. He plans on remaining in the Columbus area with a spring internship, and he will begin with LinkedIn in July. Jesse is excited for his new chapter, but he is appreciative of his time at Fisher College of Business.
Thinking back on his memories, Jesse draws many life lessons. He now understands the importance of seeing the bigger picture and taking a step back when necessary. He believes it is important to spend time with the people who want to spend time with you, and he also considers it important to “pay it forward” by giving back to organizations and students in the college. If he could give a TED Talk it would be about how nothing we do is done alone. It would focus on the instances where people are successful thanks to those around them, such as friends, family and mentors.
Max Wasserman knew from the age of nine that he was going to become a Marine. On September 17, 2010, he fulfilled his childhood dream by officially enlisting. Sometime later he found himself in San Diego undergoing 13 weeks of training that was structured to the minute. By the end of the training, he received his insignia and officially became a Marine for life.
Max’s enlistment lasted a little more than four years and included two deployments. During his first deployment, Max spent time in Afghanistan as a Squad Automatic Rifleman. He described his first patrol there as stepping into a whole new world. Although temperatures averaged well above 100 degrees during his time there, he enjoyed the experience seeing and experiencing a different world. The culture was completely different than anything he had ever previously known. He met children, families and villagers, and gained the perspective that everyone — everywhere — is just trying to do the same thing: live their lives.
After Afghanistan, Max had the opportunity to remain home for the rest of four-year enlistment. But that wasn’t what he signed up for. Instead, he extended his enlistment by two months and was deployed to a Marine expeditionary unit in Japan as a crew man on a Light Armored Vehicle.
The decision to leave the Marines was not an easy one for Max. He was very close to re-enlisting and had already filled out some of the paper work. Max had taken leadership courses and by most measures he was ahead of his peers. He had a nice path set up in the Marines. However, this path starts to get very linear as one rises through the ranks, narrowing to only one way up. Max ultimately made the decision that it was time to seek new opportunities. With an excellent set of transferrable skills and leadership experience, Max applied to Ohio State.
His transition to the university was a process and involved learning new cultural and workplace norms. At first, he was quiet and reserved, but he eventually became comfortable. Having already researched and strategized his involvement plan, Max knew exactly which clubs and programs he wanted to join. However, the application process for these clubs and programs came and went, leaving Max with no acceptances. Faced with these disappointments, he decided to take a step back and reflect.
Things ended up working out for Max. He was accepted into the Fisher Futures Investment Banking Program and became a Fisher Ambassador. He had an internship with Ikove Venture Partners and, this past summer, he worked at JPMorgan Chase as an Investment Banking Summer Analyst. Max has now turned his attention to the asset management industry, a field in which he is currently interviewing.
Max lives by a philosophy of having no regrets, and if he could give a TED talk it would be on mental strength. He is fascinated by the concept of pushing oneself farther than the mind wants to go. On any given day, you can find Max leading tour groups through Fisher’s campus and making them laugh with his — occasionally — hit-or-miss jokes.
Meet Alli Esker, a third-year student majoring in finance with minors in economics and design thinking. Her finance roots began when she was just 12 years old when she asked her dad for a Roth IRA, a type of retirement account. Now 21, her explanation for her curiosity about the IRA hasn’t changed: “It just makes sense, I did the research.”
While her rationale for wanting to invest at a young age hasn’t changed in the past eight years, plenty of other things have. Alli currently finds herself at a pivot point, as she is considering multiple career paths and internship opportunities. Alli is focused on an internship following junior year, but she also believes that despite whatever opportunity she chooses, things have a way of working out the way they should.
This past summer is a perfect example. Alli spent time at her first real corporate internship with Cisco in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her role as an Advanced Services & Customer Experience Product Management Intern was largely project-based. She found her time at Cisco to be a “robust experience,” and she enjoyed her experience enough to continue as a remote intern with Cisco during this current academic year.
Alli will be the first to tell you that the process to land her internship with Cisco wasn’t an easy one. She applied to many companies in the fall and didn’t end up receiving an offer. However, in January she received the call she’d been waiting for from Cisco. Her advice to others struggling during recruiting season: stay patient. It can be difficult when your peers are receiving opportunities while you’re waiting, but have hope even if you don’t get that opportunity in the fall. Spring is right around the corner.
Additionally, Alli believes that utilizing the resources that Fisher offers has helped her tremendously. She applied to become a Career Coach in the Office of Career Management to be a resource for others. In her role, she has helped others realize their worth and value by helping students focus on what they can control, like a polished résumé, and ignore the things they can’t.
If you need career assistance such as creating a résumé, having your LinkedIn profile critiqued, or want to speak about other career services offered, consider seeing a Career Coach during drop-in hours or a full-time Career Consultant by appointment. Students and staff are there to help you become the most well-developed professional you can be.