First Week at HOPE International

June 2-5

Tuesday: Originally was going to leave for Lancaster tonight, but oops… change of plans, I haven’t studied enough. I’m taking my last exam tomorrow at 8 AM; off to cram.

Wednesday: Finished my last final and head back to the apartment to pack for the summer. It’s kind of surreal that I only have one year left of college left. Six hours later I’m back in Lancaster after a long and boring drive, with no voice. (The only thing I could do to entertain myself was sing to Pandora on my iPhone, if only I had recorded a bit for the blog…!) I guess that drive was my summer break.

I’m also glad to see the interns again as well as several of the international students, but I’m exhausted from the drive so I don’t stick around to socialize too much. First day of work tomorrow!

Thursday: I arrive at work bright and early the next day, our work day starts at 8 AM. I get my own cubicle, which seems quite large. I think I need some decorations, maybe a big OSU poster. The first day of work includes a lot of setup, but it goes rather smoothly. I meet with the IT coordinator, whom actually works for another company but helps serve our non profit to setup my computer and the network. I still… however, cannot get my printer to work, maybe I’ll try it again tomorrow. After getting my system setup I meet with my supervisor to go over the day’s agenda and expectations. He also reviews the summer goal list that we discussed during the orientation. The day goes rather quickly as I have administrative accounting recording to do and various HOPE staff stop by to say hi and reintroduce themselves. The culture here is amazing; people are extremely friendly and seem to genuinely want to get to know me. Five o’clock rolls around too soon, so I decide to stick around an extra hour or two to finish my task. I figure the more quickly I can finish administrative work, I’ll be given more responsibility and have a chance to make an even better impact. My supervisor stays late usually as well, so I don’t think I’m stretching the norm too much. However, I think some people at the office may be getting the idea I’m a workaholic, so I don’t stick around too long. This isn’t a culture that values face time.

I get home too late for dinner; our housing provides a communal dinner every evening but seems to serve it around 5 or 5:30… so I have to run to get some food. Well, that’s more incentive not to stay late! Off to finish unpacking… I think I brought too much stuff.

Friday: Interns are not usually required to work on Fridays unless a project has a pressing deadline. (The firm does this because we are not paid this summer besides most of our expenses being covered. They try to allow us time to find an alternative source of income to work on Fridays. I don’t think I’ll be working anywhere else, but who knows, maybe I will.) I head into work since I missed most of the work week, and feel guilty for coming in a day later than expected. It becomes a very productive day as most of the interns are not there and it’s easy to focus on work rather than take a break and socialize. I finish up some smaller duty tasks and leave a bit earlier than 5.
After work several of the interns and staff went downtown for First Friday which is similar to First Saturday gallery hop in Columbus. One of the staff took us to a pottery exhibit where we unsuccessfully tried to create our own jars… but it was still a great time and we were also able to witness some glass blowing.

Over the weekend several of the interns decide to head down to Baltimore which is less than an hour away. We visit the inner harbor for the day and grab some seafood. It’s nice how close we are to so many different cities. I feel like I’m bonding rather well with the other interns, can’t wait to see what else is on the travelling agenda!

Learning points: For those looking to learn about best practices during your internship, I will be posting a few points each week so that hopefully you will know what to do in your internship next year.

  • Seeking help from your supervisor: Whenever you have an issue with a project or task and you need immediate help from your supervisor, try hard to do it first on your own. Managers like that you show effort and if you can figure it out then it shows your determination. However, do know that there is a certain point at which it is better to ask your supervisor for help, the term is coined as “spinning your wheels.” Every instance will be defined by an appropriate time, but there is always the possibility of asking other interns or co-workers before reaching out to your supervisor. (Note: your supervisor’s job is not to only help you, and often times have much more pressing deadlines, so be patient and try to seek help only once or twice a day at most. Write your questions on a pad and try and touch base with them daily so your questions are consolidated)
  • Ask for deadlines when assigned a task: This will help you prioritize your work, hopefully setting a schedule of what needs to be finished when. I feel like many people make this mistake thinking a large project will set the highest priority, but often times small things may have deadlines prior in which case need to be finished first. If there is no set deadline, you will have to use your best judgment, but again don’t spin your wheels on something that has no immediate tangible results, unless you have no other deliverables.

Microfinance points: Last week I discussed several key points about why poverty is like an endless cycle in third world countries. This week I will discuss several ways these issues are solved by MFIs.

  • High interest rates: MFIs allow clients to have lower than market interest rates due to a transfer of liquidity between a developed country and the third world country. Most MFIs can achieve this for two reasons: (I) The MFI finds its financing from a developed country where the MFI usually is created or the founder has connections from (II) MFIs are established institutions created to give microloans, in other words it is their business model. Most local loan based are designed more for small business loans and feed off no competition towards microloans thus can charge exorbitant interest rates. They do not have the infrastructure to serve microlending and do not wish to either.
  • Savings: MFIs do not have the infrastructure or want the infrastructure to becoming a savings and deposit institution for lenders. Instead many MFIs including HOPE, teach clients how to create savings and credit associations. (I will refer to them as SCAs.) These act much like credit unions. In essence the MFis teach the clients the importance of savings and the controls needed to start one of these groups. The idea is each of these groups will designate a different person each week to collect an allotted savings portion from each of the groups’ members. This way money is dispersed throughout the group and is harder to access (use or lose). In addition the group can loan out these funds to their members at specified rates. (The lower the rate, the cheaper it is to borrow, but likewise the higher the rate, the more their funds grow.) This gives the clients much more access to capital as well as the ability to efficiently save money on a small scale.

Note to self: The work week flies by, literally…

[Pictures: Snapshot of my second week, people I work with, my desk, and ooh, cereal from the giveaway]

WHAT?! 20% of my internship is done, already?

This is how:

  • One of my projects for the summer is to make sure the warehouse we have for our raw materials is utilized in the best possible manner, for both the east and west plant at our location.  I am meeting with those who can guide me Monday morning after a week long discussion they were involved in detailing changes that will come about with the new Warehouse Management System that will go live before the end of the year.
  • Another project involved labeling ingredient locations.  I have toured the west plant ingredient planner on her audit to get an idea and have started talking to the material planners involved.  I plan to go out in the plant myself and make notes this upcoming week to take my work on this aspect forward.
  • The bulk receiving end for our East plant tracks incoming material manually.  I am in the process of building a worksheet that will ensure that this process is carried out electronically in the future.  I will review my progress and learn what else needs to be added so as to start using the document.
  • Discussion regarding metrics measured and Key Performing Indicators (KPIs) used to measure these at all plants across the country and the ability to standardize these is on in full swing with the logistics interns across the nation.  We will be presenting our deliverables on August 3rd at the headquarters in Minneapolis.

Besides the upkeep on these projects, we had the cereal giveaway at the plant so I have more cereal than I can consume in 8 weeks decorated in my apartment.  Grabbing lunch with employees at the plant is giving me a chance to get to know them better.  Networking to learn about all the different logistics roles one can take up in the future was also part of this last week for me, and I’ve been enjoying each second of it!

Oh, also, my roommate and I got LA Fitness memberships so we’re trying to keep up with that along with all the wonderful food we’re trying around here…

Marshal Getz in Jolly old England: Part 4

Hey hey mates!  Again, I am terribly sorry for the week and a half delay from my last post until now.  I have been extremely busy.  I started work a little over a week ago, and lemme tell you, Time has Absolutely Flown by!!!  I’ve been working from 9am-7:30pm about every night, and when I get off, I usually want to do some exploring since London is one treasure trove of a city.  In return, I have gotten behind on some things, namely: the

Fisher blog, personal journal, and working out.  Definitely not good to get behind on the latter of those.  Anyways, the last time I updated my viewers, I had yet to start my internship at MASECO Financial (Correctly pronounced ma-say-co ).  I feel that the best format for this blog would be to describe my first days at MASECO, and follow up with descriptions of the adventures I partook in during my second week in the UK.  img_28831

My first week at MASECO was quite a positive experience.  Tomorrow (Wed’s) will mark my seventh day at MASECO, and I feel that my knowledge of everything has tripled in this short time.  People are 100% correct when they say that College education will only get you so far.  What you need more than anything is experience.  The employees at MASECO are Josh and James (founded the company in 2007), Harriet (is my age), Rory, Emilia, Yann, and Alex.  They are all relatively young with the oldest probably being 35.  Their youth makes work such a fun and entertaining place, yet they bust their butt everyday for their clients.

From my first day at MASECO until now, I have been a part of the team, and they never let me forget that.  They laugh and joke with me as they do with anyone else, I help in making the afternoon tea for everyone, I am included in the meetings and have been asked to participate in brainstorming ideas for the quarterly information sheet given to MASECO’s clients, and most importantly, everyone keeps me busy with work.  I know that some people here on the EUSA trip that I have talked to say that that are “Half- assin” the internship mainly due to the fact that this internship is not paid.  I was kind of taken back when they said that.

I came to London knowing that I was not going to get paid for this inimg_2790ternship, however, the experience and critical thinking skills that I will gain from this internship are worth more to me than getting paid, not to mention the fact that working in London will look amazing on my CV (resume).  Everyday last week, I was one of the last people in the office at the end of the day, and on Thursday I didn’t leave the office until 9pm.  Although not getting paid really stinks, I chose to do this and I have a duty to MASECO to work my best for them, and to learn as much as I can.

Some of my tasks up to date have been to run through all of MASECO’s 200+ clients and make a list of the information that is provided for each client on the computer.   Any information not present for a client is noted, and will then be up to me to look through all of the clients physical copies of the documents and find the ones missing.  It is really quite easy, and was my job for the first couple days.  Things have really been starting to pile up for me though.  As of today, my “To Do List” has about fifteen items on it that were added just this Monday and Tuesday.  In all honesty, I’m nervous but glad that I have those many things to do.  Being able to manage all of those tasks will teach me valuable time management skills, and it will be good for me to feel the pressure of completing those tasks.

In a few weeks, I am going to be in charge of setting up a connection between a U.S. based company and one of our asset holders (Raymond James, Credit Suisse, etc) but I won’t disclose which one due to privacy concerns.  The point is that Josh, James, and everyone else at MASECO have really put some trust in me to complete the given tasks, and though some of the tasks that I am given now may not seem important; in all reality they really are.  It is all geared to help me learn the system, gain confidence in all that I am completing, and to work as an independent person so I will be able to complete the tougher tasks in the future.

With the start of work last week and the fact that I worked until 7:30pm every night, I did not get to accomplish as much as I has hoped for in terms of exploring the city.  The first two nights, I walked around a little by MASECO’s office on New Fetter Lane and on Fleet Street.  I have gotten to see some really cool church’s this past week.  I stumbled upon the Temple Church one night which is located near New Fetter Lane This is the Church that is featured in The DaVinci Code movie and is an absolutely sweet church.  It was built by the Knights Templar (which I think is AWESOME!) around 1100AD.  Two Sunday’s ago, I went to the Sung Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  This was my first time inside St Paul’s, and it was absolutely beautiful.  The ceiling inside is probably 200 feet high where the dome is, and it is all painted with stories of the life of the Apostle Paul.  This past Sunday, I went to the Evening Service at Westminster Abbey.  When I walked inside, I about fainted.  In Westminster Abbey, you are walking on top of and beside some of the greatest men and women in history.  Sir Isaac Newton, Queen Elizabeth I, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Alexander Pope, Shakespeare, and many more of the greatest authors, poets, and royals are buried in the Abbey.  Even if you only have the slightest interest in history, a trip to Westminster Abbey will surely “Wow” you.

Besides my trips to the holy sites, my friend Drew and I walked down Fleet Street one night and stopped at the “Old Bank of England”.  It was once the largest bank in the UK, but when it closed in the 1970’s, it was transformed into a pub.  However, although the pub was very Victorian and neat, what really got my attention was that the “Old Bank of England” pub sat directly on top of what was once Sweeney Todd’s Barbershop and Miss. Lovett’s pie shop.  Even more chilling was that the Vault for the bank was located in the basement which was the same place that Sweeney Todd put his victims before giving them to Miss Lovett for her DELICIOUS pies!  That was about all the excitement that I had for the work week, however, this past Saturday, which was also Independence Day, the Ohio State students here in London went to visit Windsor Castle.

Windsor Castle is located about 20 minutes outside London, and is the Largest inhabited castle in the world.  It is currently one of HM the Queen’s residences apart from Buckingham Palace.  In fact, Windsor is preferred over Buckingham Palace by the Queen because she spent so much of her time at Windsor Castle during the Second World War.  This love for Windsor Castle can also be seen by how the current monarch is called the “House of Windsor”.  Upon arriving to Windsor Castle, we happened across the “Changing of the Guard” which is supposedly better that Buckingham’s.   We then proceeded into the State Apartments of the castle which are where the Queen entertains her guests. These rooms are absolutely beautiful, and are decorated with finest furniture. Many of the ceilings are painted telling stories of Biblical characters, and tapestries hang from almost every wall. After viewing the State Apartments, I proceeded to visit St. George’s Chapel which is named after England’s Patron Saint. This chapel was built in 1348, and is the burial site for many of England’s famous monarchs. Buried here is possibly the most famous monarch to have ever ruled, King Henry VIII. Along with Henry, King George VI, the Queen Mother, the traitorous King Charles I, and Jane Seymour lay at rest in the chapel.

After our trip to Windsor Castle, my friend Andrew and I went to Battersea Park for an Independence Day celebration with other Americans in London. Though we arrived as the party was winding down, it was still a really good time being around other Americans on the most important date for our country.

My Sunday consisted of the Service at Westminster Abbey, watching Federer beat Roddick in an epic battle, exploring the Royal Parts of London, relaxing in St. James Park while listening to an Orchestra Band, and walking all the way down to the MI6 building!! Snooping around MI6 has been one of the biggest highlights for me. For any of you other James Bond fans out there, having the opportunity to walk around the outside of MI6 made me feel like James Bond for about a half hour. I highly recommend seeing it if you are a true Bond fan.

Another of my biggest highlights for the trip came today, as I went to the Harry PotterHarry Potter Premier and the Half Blood Prince World Premier in Leicester Square. It was so cool getting to see Harry (Dan Radcliffe), Hermione (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) up close. I’ve already received a bunch of hate mail from my friends back home expressing their jealousy of me, which I thought was kind of funny.

Anyways, It is 12:30am now, and I really need some sleep. I’m sorry that this blog ended up being so bloody long. I had the mindset coming in to writing this that I would take a half hour and nothing more, but ya, I’ve already been working on this for 2 hours tonight, so I missed my timeslot by a little. To all my readers out there, thank you so much for reading my blogs, and for all of the kind comments. They really mean a lot to me. Have a wonderful week, and I’ll pick back up right where I left off next week.

*P.S, Whats up BIG JOHN!! Miss you, B, and Tone!!

Michael, Marvel, and Milla

Read about my assignment with the New York Film Academy, anticipated time at Thor, and my random LA adventures from my first week!

Hi again! In my previous post I left off almost completely clueless. Well, I am happy to annouce that I am in LA and things are progressing well =)

hollywoodI arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday July 1st around 7:00 PM and headed to my apartment (I’ll post some pictures soon!) in Westwood, near UCLA. My roommate seemed very cool and we clicked right away! Thursday morning my rental car was delivered and I headed to the New York Film Academy (NYFA) in Universal City where I met with my boss, Dan, to discuss the details of my part-time internship. Basically, my job will be to maximize their direct marketing efforts across the Los Angeles area. Conveniently, my route begins with Westwood. I will be approaching various businesses, restaurants, shops, etc.  about leaving flyers / hanging posters in their spaces. I am committed to this job for 2-3 days of the week and I basically set (and must keep track of) my own hours and document my progress.

The rest of the work week I will be spending in Manhattan Beach where the film Thor is currently in pre-production. I headed down there this afternoon for the first time, met all of the people, and received all of my necessary badges/passes. Tomorrow will be my first full day! The Marvel studio lot is HUGE…Currently, Iron Man 2, 90210, and a couple of other projects are shooting there.

To hear more about my first week (and my plans to meet celebrities :p), tune into YouTube Video #2…

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P.S. We need to start a petition to bring Yogurtland to Columbus, Oh.

Dimitar @ NESTLE [Part 2]

After the last final on Thursday and an eventful Senior Crawl that night, I got on a flight early Friday morning to move to LA for the summer. This is my third week at Nestle.

The Move: Nestle took complete care of the move. They paid for a round-trip flight to LA, a furnished apartment (I pay 30% of the cost), and a rental car. I arrived in Burbank on Friday, got the car, and moved in. I’m staying at a large apartment complex nestled in the hills between Burbank and Hollywood. The location is pretty sweet with easy access to studios, highways, and malls. The best thing about the location is the million-dollar mountain view and the fact that its only 10 minutes away from work and 20-30 minutes away from beaches.

The Apartment
The Apartment

The Company: Nestle is the world’s largest food company. It’s world headquarters is located in Vevey, Switzerland – one of the prettiest places on earth. The company has been around since 1860 and grew notorious for its exceptional chocolate. Today, Nestle owns many brands outside of the chocolate and confections industry. These include everything from Frozen Foods such as Stoffers and Hot Pockets to Beverages including Juicy Juice and Nesquik. See a complete list of all Nestle brands. I don’t want to bore you with details on the complete structure of this pretty flat company (as oppose to a total corporate pyramid), I’ll just let you know that as an intern, I stand only 5 people away from the USA CEO – and that’s pretty cool and pretty different from other organizations.

My Projects: I will probably write a separate blog post in the future describing my projects in more detail. For now, I’ll just let you know that they seem to be relevant to material I learned at school in Operations 630 and Logistics 780. For example, the objective of one of my projects is to establish optimum inventory targets for specific beverage products. Having an understanding of what drives inventory, which I learned in both 780 and 630, has been very helpful for this. However, the concepts learned at school were at a very high level, whereas a much deeper understanding is required at work. Thus, one advice for people thinking of going into Logistics or Operations would be to take classes seriously as you will actually use everything (or at least most things) you learn in them.

Employee Dining Center
Employee Dining Center

Company Perks: I must say that there are a lot of perks at Nestle. The Nestle building itself is amazing. It is a 21 floor building that has been renovated and quite modernized. The elevators of each floor are neatly decorated with the logos of various Nestle brands – and every floor houses a different department and has unique characteristics. On the first floor, is a brand new (or renovated) dining center, decorated with modern furniture featuring many delicious food options. All food is subsidized by the company – a large meal (Chicken Breast, Rice, Vegetables, Drink) ranges from 4 to 5 dollars. On the second floor is a company gym, called “The Wing.” I believe the gym was opened last year. All the equipment is top-of-the-line to the point that its unnecessary. The sweetest part of the gym is the big lockers and fancy showers that allow for workouts during the work day. I can work out and sweat during my lunch break, bring a clean change of clothes, shower, and return to the office without anyone knowing that I just worked out.

For length purposes I will end my blog post here. On my next post I will talk about Being a Buckeye at Nestle, and some of the Challenges. I will also post a lot of pictures.