I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio and like most, grew up a fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes and a sworn enemy of "that school up north.” I spent 14 years away from Ohio but always did my best to catch the best game in college football each year, the Ohio State-Michigan game, to cheer on the Buckeyes. Coming back home to Ohio in 2006 with my wife and three young children has given me an opportunity to raise my children as Buckeyes, and to continue my education as a Buckeye.
As a student in the Fisher EMBA program, I am able to work and learn alongside those who are on the same track to executive leadership, and with those who are currently in an executive leadership role today.
Living in the Greater Cleveland area gives me flexibility in my arrival for the on-campus sessions of the program which begin on Thursday mornings. I can drive in on Thursday morning just before class begins or Wednesday nights. I like to catch up over a drink and dinner with teammates and classmates so I usually come in on Wednesday. On a few occasions we have been able to get in early enough on Wednesday to get in a round of golf at the Ohio State Golf Club.
Thursday – Day One
Thursday morning breakfasts are a reflection of the closeness of our cohort. The breakfast area is filled with laughter and camaraderie as people catch up on the events of the previous four weeks and discuss the challenging aspects of the current classes. Classes begin at 8:00am, and as we start the first day, we take our seats promptly to receive updates from Mara and Jenni, the program staff. They keep us up to date on university and Fisher information and I for one, would be lost without their help!
Each on-campus session consists of three courses and each course has two lectures per on-campus period in four hour blocks of time. At first this seemed like a lot of lecture time to me, and to many of my friends outside of the program, it still does but the reality is that the time flies by! Our professors are leading experts in their fields of study who relate the information of the lecture in a practical and applicable way, and draw on the experiences of the Cohort which leads to a very interactive lecture and very little "from the lectern."
It seems before we know we are through the first course and on our way to the Blackwell for lunch. I usually take a few moments during this time to catch up on emails and return calls. The afternoon session closely resembles the morning with lively conversations surrounding the topics, and, as the afternoon draws to a close, usually a few quips offered in jest as well. Following each Thursday class session the class convenes for the Thursday Evening Guest Speaker where we have the opportunity to listen and engage with thought leaders on a variety of topics that range from new media to business management. After the guest speaker a few of us will usually grab a bite to eat before heading off to finish some more emails and prepare for the following day’s lessons.
Friday - Day Two
It’s Friday! But for us, it’s Wednesday. The Cohort is in a rhythm now and everyone is fully engaged. It seems the day flies by as the morning session wraps up and it’s time for lunch again. There are a variety of offerings that await us at lunch and we may be joined by current, past, and future professors. Before heading back to class, I usually return A few emails and returned calls and it’s back to class for the afternoon session. After the afternoon session is over a few of us take a moment to share a beer and few laughs in the Blackwell lobby bar before heading to the Friday evening social activity.
Our Cohort has three very talented ‘cruise directors’ who set up some great class social functions. The cruise directors are very familiar with the Columbus area and all that it has to offer. Some of our Friday night activities have included a tour of a local Budweiser plant, attending a Columbus Clippers game, to gathering in Polaris at The Pub for dinner and drinks.
Saturday – Day Three (Already?)
Time sure does fly when you are having fun! Saturday morning breakfast is not unlike Thursday’s and Friday’s. No time to waste though as we head in for the morning session and take advantage of the time we have with our professors to ask questions, receive clarification, and set expectations about papers, quizzes and case studies.
The case studies discussions have been some of the most vibrant in our class; who knew that an Aluminum Smelter discussion could have so much energy to it? Being able to explore alternative solutions and review different points of view about a case over a meal is great. Today’s lunchtime calls are to my family and a promise to be home before bedtime.
Before we know it we are at the end of the weekend. It is hard to believe that three days have passed so quickly, but more so how much we have learned from our professors, and from each other. While it is great to be finished with intense schedule of the previous three days, I will miss seeing my Fisher family until our next session.
But for me, it will only be two days before I talk with my team again on our Monday night team meeting. By the time I get home from my three hour drive, a quick look at Facebook shows a number posts from Cohort 10 about how much fun it was seeing everyone again.