Buckeye Network

I wanted to use this blog to talk about how much being an Ohio State student has helped me during my internship. To begin with, I have encountered six different OSU graduates while in NYC. Within my daily work I see two OSU faces all the time. One of the two managers in my engagement team graduated from Fisher’s masters in accounting program in 2008, while the controller of the banking holding company that functions as US representative of the bank graduated from Fisher in 2002. This point in common has helped me start conversations with the client (to better understand his relationship with the Fed) and to find a supportive member in the audit group through my manager. While in NYC, I have also seen some familiar faces in the streets, two Fisher rising seniors and one just graduated alumni, who happened to be in the city for training. I have also gone out on weekends with many OSU friends, DSP brothers and other friends from school.

I had the opportunity to meet with experienced Buckeye coworkers here at PwC. I first met Jordan Payne, OSU graduate from 2009. Jordan works for the PwC Consumer Banking advisory group in Columbus, and came to NY to meet with a client. He is also a brother of mine from Delta Sigma Pi. Jordan and I spent an hour or so catching up. I also had the opportunity to meet Jim and Carl, 2014 and 2013 graduates from Ohio State’s Fisher Futures program. They now both work in the valuations arm of PwC, and helped me further understand where I can take my career here with PwC.

Finally, as an Ohio State student I am often thought of as a good intern by default. Everyone is familiar with the buckeyes and I often get jokingly corrected when I say that I am from Ohio State with someone in the group saying “THE Ohio State”. Being a Buckeye has been far more helpful than I originally expected. The network is real.

 

12 in 12

Below are my top 12 of the amazing opportunities that I have had through my 12-week internship with DSW. Take a look below to see some of the great projects I’ve worked on and people I’ve met!

  1. Fashion Week Columbus: FWC is a non-profit organization that supports local fashion designers and DSW is a huge sponsor! Throughout my internship I’ve been able to meet with their Executive Director and figure out how DSW could be a part of it, which includes providing all the shoes for the Kids Show and Final Runway show!
  2. Magazine features: As I’ve mentioned in my blog, I work with editors of magazines almost everyday including Cosmopolitan, InStyle, People StyleWatch, Redbook, Real Simple & more! They usually let me know the trends or styles they are looking for, and then I work with our Merchandising team to pick out what would work. Check out the below picture of a sample I sent to Oprah that made it in their August issue! thumbnail_IMG_7172 (2)
  1. Information Sessions: These sessions have helped me learn way more than I would have imagined. HR arranged about 10 information sessions where executives gave an overview of what goes on in their department. I mean, who would have thought that I would have completely loved the finance meeting I went to? If your internship has anything like this, make sure to go!
  2. Lunch with Interns: This is one of the things I am going to miss so much! About 10 of the interns and I meet in the cafeteria each day for lunch and it was a great way to get to know the other interns from around the country. It was also a safe zone for questions we might have thought were embarrassing, like where someone’s office was or how to use the fax machine.
  3. Skechers Events: If you happened to be at the DSW in Dublin on July 17th you would have seen 1 of the 23 Skechers Kids Parties that I helped with. The store in Dublin had a try-on event complete with a DJ, face painter, balloon artist and free prizes! This was really cool for me to attend and see over a month of planning come to life!thumbnail_skecher
  1. Pokémon Go: I know you’ve heard of the app that has taken over the world! This project was very unique because we didn’t have much time to plan at all when the app exploded with popularity. I was able to work with people in Communications, Signage and Media to pull off Pokémon Go in select DSW stores in just a few days. Customers received $10 off that day if they played Pokémon Go in the store! 
  2. Art Review: This was just one of the regular weekly meetings I always went to, but my favorite! Every week in Art Review different people in Marketing present their email, signage, gift card, website artwork and more. It was so cool to hear the feedback and see all of the behind the scenes work that goes into this business.
  3. Holiday Look Book: This was my big intern project and my favorite one too! I was able to gather products to show magazine editors what DSW would have in stock for their holiday issue. From the selection of products by the Trend team, to getting them shot by our Photo Studio, designing a layout myself and gathering over 100 contacts to send them to, this project was extremely rewarding. The whole project went through my hands from the beginning to end, and ended up turning out great! Keep a look out in your favorite magazines for DSW in Holiday Gift Guides!
  4. Bloggers: If you follow Barefoot Blonde or other bloggers, you’ve probably seen them wearing New Balance, Vans, Converse and many more DSW carried brands. I was able to see how these posts unfold from beginning to end, so fun!
  5. Buzzfeed: Ever wonder how Buzzfeed writes their articles? It’s from lots of drafts back and forth! Check out this one that tells you what your shoes reveal about your horoscope! I have to admit, mine was spot on…

    These were my results from the Buzzfeed quiz. What are yours?

    These were my results from the Buzzfeed quiz. What are yours?

  1. Events Planning Committee: Make sure to get involved! On the first day of my internship (still can’t believe that was 10 weeks ago), I volunteered to be on the Intern Events Committee. Throughout the summer a few of us have planned events like happy hours, Columbus Clippers games, cycling classes and a dinner. What better way to keep involved inside and outside of work!
    Some interns and I at Cycle614!

    Some interns and I at Cycle614!

    Interns take on the Columbus Clippers!

    Interns take on the Columbus Clippers!

  2. Amazing Mangers: Seriously, everyone who works here is fantastic. I report to two amazing women in PR (Hi Maria and Kris!) and have learned more than I ever thought I could in one summer. I’ve gotten my hands on some amazing projects, but more importantly received invaluable feedback each step of the way. I can’t thank them enough for the coolest summer I’ve had yet!
Maria and I at DSW's carnival that raised money for United Way!

Maria and I at DSW’s carnival that raised money for United Way!

*Fun Fact: All employees at DSW get 30% off! And that’s off clearance too! DSW’s employee benefits are amazing…I’m going to miss this!

**Tip of the day: Set up lunches with people that you would like to get to know better! In a quick hour lunch you might learn about a career path that you had never even thought about. I haven’t heard a “no” yet!

***Embarrassing moment: So you know how in #6 I worked on a Pokémon project? Yeah, I still can’t believe that just came out of my mouth. Well, in order to have it work in stores, I first had to test to see if it work which involved me going to the 3 stores in DSW and playing. More than one sales associate caught me taking selfies playing Pokémon Go. Oops! I have to admit though, it was really fun! IMG_8667

Desk Must Haves, Tips & More!

I’m 20 years old, have no kids, and yet my roommates all call me “Mom.” Seriously, sometimes I answer better to Mom than my own name. One of those reasons is that I’m always the one to have a random Band-Aid or tissue in my purse. So why should my desk at work be any different? Check out my list below of the top 12 things to keep at your desk. Most of these can be found in mini versions in the travel section of Target or Meijer! And don’t forget to decorate your desk a little too, you may only be there for a few months but you won’t feel as temporary with a desk that feels like your own!

  1. Sweater: When the AC is on full blast the marketing department turns into the tundra. Bring a neutral color cardigan/sweater/jacket to work and always keep it at your desk for those extra chilly days!
  2. Cough drops & tissues: To avoid death glares from your coworkers when you are sick or have allergies, always have cough drops, tissues & hands sanitizer with you. Slide5
  3. Ibuprofen: This isn’t middle school anymore and you can’t go to the nurse’s office for your headache. You also probably shouldn’t go home unless you are actually sick. Keep some medicine in your desk just in case.

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

  4. Lotion: Lots of lotion. I’m obsessed with lotion. That’s all.
  5. Gum/Listerine strips/mints/toothbrush: You should have at least one of the mentioned in easy reach so when you decide to get the garlic potatoes for lunch everyone at your 1:00 meeting isn’t backing away from the conference table.

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

  6. Lint roller: If you have a pet or lint just seems to like you, make sure you keep a lint roller handy to keep you from looking like a mess. You can buy mini ones in the travel section of Target!
  7. Band-Aids: My shoe obsession has its consequences and besides eating my paycheck, sometimes it means blisters. Keep a few Band-Aids in your desk for the heels you know are a bad idea but look so cute with your outfit. Beauty over pain, right?
  8. Water bottle/travel mug: Don’t kill the environment with your 3 Styrofoam cups a day. Also, these have lids so you won’t spill. Or is it just me who still can’t be trusted with a cup without a lid?
  9. Plant: I don’t have a window near me and also am not great at keeping things alive so I opted for a bamboo stalk! Just pick something green to brighten up your desk!

    Slide1

    Check out my bamboo stalk in the corner! I think its probably only grown about 1/2′ in the past 2 months. Am I doing something wrong?!

  10. Pictures: So you can remember that one of the reasons you are working is to afford fun things with all your friends and family.
  11. Deodorant: I won’t go into detail but a few weeks ago I unpacked 18 boxes of super heavy promotional items, so….
  12. Food: This last item shouldn’t need an explanation, but I’ll give it one anyway. I love food. Food passes time and is delicious. Food makes me happy. Good enough?

    Slide3

    Not going to lie, this is one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had.

 

Share in the comments section what other “must haves” are at your desk!

 

* Fact: No matter your position, there is no greater feeling than clearing a printer jam that no one else can figure out.

**Tip of the day: Introduce yourself! Even if you still don’t know the name of the person who sits at the desk next to you, it’s not too late! You never know when you will meet someone who is from your hometown, college or who is just plain awesome!

***Embarrassing (long) moment:

As I’ve said before, I mail out shoe samples to editors of magazines. The mail is normally picked up from our building at 3:30 and taken to our mailroom to be labeled and shipped out. However, I had a last minute shipment that needed to be overnighted and I missed the pick up. So I called the mailroom and they said I could still drop it off, I said I would be there in 5 minutes.

After standing in the empty mailroom for 10 minutes, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t actually in the mailroom. Sadly, most people had left work since it was pretty late on a Friday. I finally found someone who told me that the mailroom was in the Distribution Center (building next to mine).

This is the DC!

This is the DC!

So I walked into the DC aimlessly for a good 5 minutes until I found a security guard. He told me to go outside and click the buzzer to the mailroom doors. So naturally I walked around the corner of the building, looked for another 10 minutes for the buzzer and came back in to tell the security guard that no button existed. Long story short, the security guard then escorts me to the mailroom and there definitely is a buzzer. Apparently I’m just oblivious.

The man who works in the mailroom that I called, now 30 minutes ago, saw me coming and told me he figured I was lost! Whelp, at least I’ll never do that again

My First Week of Work in the Pacific Northwest

Seven strangers, three guys, four girls. One unfurnished apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Chaos. Absolute chaos, but I am loving every second of it.

Back in January I accepted a summer internship with a financial firm called “Fisher Investments” which is located right north of Portland. I didn’t really know much about what I would be doing, how I would be living, or how my day to day work would look. All I knew is that the recruiters were incredibly smart and genuine people, and I really appreciated Fisher’s vision to change the financial world by truly putting their clients first. So as time drew near to me flying out to Portland for the summer, I was getting more and more anxious on what to expect. Luckily, if my first week of work says anything about my next seven weeks, then this is going to be one hell of a summer!

Before I get into the details of my internship and work, I want to say that due to client confidentially, I will not be able to get too in depth with any of my projects or different tasks. That said, I still plan to give a detailed overview of what a day in the life of a Fisher Investments intern looks like.

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I flew into the Portland airport on Friday afternoon, and got into a cab that took me about 30 minutes north into a town in Washington called “Vancouver.” The cab pulled into my apartment complex which at first glance any normal person would assume was a retirement community. My knack for knowing elderly communities proved pretty accurate when I got my bags out of the taxi only to be greeted by an 80 year old woman. After a nice conversation with her, I got my apartment keys and walked into my apartment. I was greeted by one of my roommates who seemed really nice and totally normal, both great qualities in a roommate. We talked for awhile as we waited for some of our other roommates to arrive then we went shopping to buy air mattresses, an inflatable couch and our other household necessities. When we got back we met our neighbors which happened to be four more Fisher Investments Interns, or “FInterns” as we so affectionately call ourselves. By the end of the night about 10 of the 18 FInterns had arrived in town and we spent the night talking and getting to know each other.

On Saturday two of my good friends from Ohio State who are working in Seattle for the summer came down to Portland to visit me. The three of us broke off from the other FInterns for the afternoon as we explored downtown Portland. What an experience… When people say the slogan for Portland is, “Keep Portland Weird,” they aren’t kidding. I’m convinced that the majority of people in Portland decide to go against every social norm possible just to make a statement. Maybe it was because there were so many festivals in Portland that weekend, but I can’t say for sure yet. The culture shock I experienced was almost as strong as when I first explored Hong Kong last summer for my internship. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring downtown on Saturday and Sunday with my friends from OSU and the other FInterns.

After a great first weekend getting to know the other FInterns, Monday morning came and it was time to get to work. Luckily two of our roommates brought cars for the summer, so we split up and drove to the office. As we pulled through the gate to Fisher Investments, we laid our eyes on 170+ acres of tall pine trees and two huge buildings right in the middle. Wow, this office is wayyyy nicer than I was expecting. Two five story buildings made of almost entirely glass stood mirroring each other (literally). We walked into the building right before 7:00 am to see the golden letters spelling “Fisher Investments” placed on the wood paneled reception area. All the FInterns and new hires proceeded to a large classroom style room where we were greeted with breakfast and a handful of members on the HR team. We were given the itinerary for the first three days of training. Day one was about 5 or 6 hour-long classes on things like basic investing, how to keep our computers’ data safe, Fisher’s Culture, etc.

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There’s not much worth noting about these classes, except for the overwhelming sense of culture. Every single person I met and talked with was just as nice, intelligent, and genuine as the recruiters that brought me to Fisher. It was clear that Fisher truly meant it when they said they set out to change the messed up world of finance. Fisher is set up as a Fiduciary which means that it has a duty to act in the best interests of its clients. Fisher is unique in how they operate, and I think it really shows in how caring every single employee is about “doing the right thing.” I absolutely love that about Fisher’s culture.

Fast forwarding through two more days of training, Thursday rolled around and it was the first day of actual work for the FInterns. Another FIntern and I were placed in the “Annuity Conversions” team. At Fisher we believe that the vast majority of annuities are bad investments because they are overly complicated and often aren’t the best use of money for investors. They have a team to evaluate annuities, and where appropriate, will reimburse some or all of the cancellation fees. This is just one more example of how Fisher really tries to put their clients first, even if it means Fisher taking a small loss in paying off fees.

So during these two days at work, the other FIntern and I pretty much just read different materials on what annuities are, and the different policies for how Fisher handles annuities. We sat in on a phone call to a client about annuities, we had a classroom style presentation on different kinds of annuities, and we shadowed different people in our team of 10 to see what kinds of things they do throughout their typical days. Not much of this I am allowed to explain in the blog, but hopefully next week I’ll have more experiences that I can write about.

Outside of work, the FInterns and I all enjoyed a few beautiful hikes, I tried to learn how to drive a manual car with two of my roommates, and I called a few friends from back home to hear how their summers were going. All in all, I’ve loved getting to know everyone out here, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this summer turns out! I’ll hopefully have another blog out next week that will touch more on my actual day to day work. Thanks for reading!

John

DCIM100GOPRO