Currently I am Deputy Director of Government Relations for State Auto Insurance Companies. My job is to work with elected officials at the state and federal level on all issues related to the insurance industry and State Auto in particular. I also work with state and federal insurance trade associations as well as the State Insurance Departments since they are the regulatory body of this industry.
A full breakfast with a wide selection of caffeinated beverages (this is important) is available during breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. I usually race in 10 minutes before class, grab a quick bite to eat and take my seat immediately before class begins. My class is used to this by now.
The morning session begins after a warm welcome and a few program announcements. Each session is broken into four hours each with two sessions per day and plenty of breaks throughout to stretch and rejuvenate. Lunch follows from noon – 1 p.m. Occasionally, the class is able to enjoy lunch on the patio which is a nice break from being in doors all morning. Students use the time to check work e-mails and make necessary phone calls that were put on hold during class. Then back to the afternoon session to discuss a current case.
Thursday evenings are reserved for special lectures from exceptionally talented executives who are able to share their success in the business world with the class. It is an interactive session and we are able to ask questions and comment on the topics we are taking in. The lecture lasts about an hour and a half which allows time to disperse into groups for a quick dinner and a few drinks to loosen up from a long day. Dinner gives us a chance to discuss the events of the day, expand on subjects discussed in class, and build better relationships with our teams.
Team Spirit and Classmate Collegiality
During orientation, you are assigned to a permanent team for the remainder of the program. The program staff does a great job of matching up the teams and each team is uniquely formed to balance each other out. My team is terrific. We have a weekly conference call and may add calls depending on if an assignment is due soon.
We push and challenge each other as best we can. Not only do we collaborate on cases within our group, we also discuss the cases in class and get a chance to hear the viewpoints of our classmates.
Friday’s Race to the Finish
Friday is a repeat of Thursday but with an exciting twist. After a second eight hour day of intense lecture and discussions/debates, a Friday social event is planned and is available to anyone who wants to attend. Including me, our class has three cruise directors, who collaborate on ideas for fun activities that we think everyone will enjoy.
One of my recent favorite social events was hosted by a Professor. Each event is unique and completely optional. We have held a Pub Crawl, toured a brewery, and went bowling just to name a few activities. We usually encourage family and friends to join the fun so that we get a chance to meet everyone’s loved ones.
Each classmate has exceptional talents and experiences that differ from yours and this is one of my favorite aspects of the program. To be able to learn from other executives’ experiences, successes and failures provides an insight that cannot be learned from reading books or going to lectures. The stimulating class sessions invite intense discussions where many viewpoints are touched and different interpretations are encouraged. The professors are world-renowned and bring a passion to the classroom. The knowledge each student takes from the Fisher EMBA program is phenomenal.
By Saturday afternoon everyone is mentally exhausted and ready to return home to their families and friends. Once the clock strikes 5 p.m. the room is quickly emptied. After three days, everyone rushes out to get back to their daily lives and to begin the large amount of work required before the next on campus visit.