Fisher working to serve those who served their country
Fisher working to serve those who served their country
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Fisher College of Business has long celebrated the unique perspectives, insights and skills of its military students and veterans and has remained committed to providing a transformational educational experience to students of all backgrounds.
This dedication and the value placed on veterans’ experiences at Fisher has been recognized as among the best in the country, as determined by the Military Times. Since the publication launched its annual Best for Vet rankings in 2013, Fisher has been recognized among the top-10 business schools in three out of four years. The Military Times has consistently spotlighted Fisher’s efforts to engage veterans and provide them with comprehensive academic, mentoring and networking opportunities for post-military careers.
“As a faculty member and a fellow veteran, I see how the programs, curriculum and organizations at Fisher are preparing our military veterans for success in business,” said Peter Ward, senior associate dean for academics. “I am proud of our college’s efforts to advance and elevate the educational experiences of current and future students and to continue to provide critical professional development support and opportunities to our valued alumni.”
Fisher provides prospective MBA students who have military experience a number of benefits throughout the application process, including:
- A waived application fee and support in exploring financial aid opportunities as part of Fisher’s participation in the GMAC Military Friendly School program.
- In-state tuition under the Ohio G.I. Promise
- Support from the Fisher Veterans Association, a student organization created by veterans and current military members of all branches to support one another during the pursuit of an MBA degree.
Currently, there are 158 military veterans and military associated students enrolled at Fisher as undergraduate, graduate and PhD students. The Fisher Veterans Association actively connects students with business leaders and opportunities for development. Its students annually attend a national MBA conference and career fair, which is subsidized by the college.
Fisher also provides military students and veterans with a wealth of career management tools and workshops, including résumé review sessions conducted by company recruiters who are veterans, and the Fisher Veterans Speaker Series, which connects military students with C-suite executives who have built successful businesses using their service experience.
"We take seriously our commitment to our military veterans and students, and appreciate the support we receive in these efforts from organizations such as Fisher's Center for International Business Education and Research, which sponsors the Fisher Veterans Speaker Series," said David Greenberger, associate dean for staff, human resources and administration and coordinator of many of the college's veterans outreach efforts. "I look forward to increasing the impact of our outreach efforts in the education and professional development of our military students."
Recent participants in the speaker series have included:
- Tony Flood, vice president, human resources, DHL
- Todd Miller, deputy director and dean of students, The Georgia Military College
- Sam Rosenfeld, chairman, The Densus Group
“Our military students and veterans possess unique skillsets and experiences that enhance not only their Fisher experience but that of their classmates and our faculty and staff as well,” said Steffanie Wilk, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “We continue to look for ways to build on our strong foundation as a military-friendly school and provide these students with the skills necessary to succeed as business professionals.”
Fisher's Military Faces
PhD - Kevin Smyth
Third-year PhD Student
For Capt. Kevin Smyth, an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force, his decision to serve was influenced by several factors, most notably a family pedigree. His paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and his maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. His father served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and flew F-4 and F-16 fighter jets.
Smyth’s experience as a military officer has provided him with management and organizational experience to draw from during his studies at Fisher, and he’s found the unique combination of military experience and business studies to be applicable across an array of management situations.
Smyth said that despite not having a large military community in the central Ohio area, Fisher—and Ohio State as a whole—is friendly to members of the armed services and responsive to the needs of veteran students. The university also boasts an active veteran community and an availability of undergraduate and graduate veterans services.
“Fisher helps to provide a number of different perspectives on a variety of management subjects and situations,” Smyth said. “My experience is in the relatively narrow context of the military. Learning from professors and students who have backgrounds working in a wide variety of industries has exposed me to new ways of thinking, which I believe will likely have application in my continuing military career.”
Smyth, who’s pursuing his PhD and a long-term career in academia, said his military career has influenced his research interests. His research focuses on topics with applications in both profit-motivated and nonprofit-motivated management settings. His current research interests include forecasting, inventory policy, supply chain risk and security, sustainable supply chain management and military logistics.
“I have a passion for teaching and am eager to conduct meaningful research to advance the state of the art in logistics management education,” he said.
Executive MBA - Chad Layne
Sgt. 1st Class, Ohio Army National Guard
As a second-year student in Fisher’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program, Sgt. 1st Class Chad Layne considers his military background to be an asset within the EMBA program.
Layne thrives in the EMBA environment, which emphasizes teamwork, a familiar concept to veterans and military personnel who are accustomed to working in small-team environments and making leadership decisions.
He appreciates the program’s format of three to four consecutive sessions once per month because it promotes better time management away from his work assignments. Layne’s Army training, particularly his understanding of time management and operations and logistics, are skills that have made him an asset to his team in the EMBA program.
“The Army doesn’t allow for wasting time during meetings,” Layne said. “If you're having a meeting, you better have a reason to meet, an agenda and an end state. My team will attest that I fully support that management style for our team meetings, and we rarely meet for a full hour.”
Layne, a second-year student in Fisher’s EMBA program, serves as an active guard and reserve (AGR) soldier supporting the traditional Ohio National Guard force. Layne, whose father served in the U.S Army for 22 years on active duty, said the duty to serve was ingrained in him from an early age.
Layne runs the Joint Operations Center for the Ohio National Guard and has been working with James Hill, associate professor of management sciences and associate director of Fisher’s Center for Operational Excellence, to develop new strategies for managing the Joint Operations Center’s personnel.
Layne’s goal during the EMBA’s Operations Management module is to implement lean management skills around the scheduling of operators who support civilian first-responder organizations.
Graduate Alumna - Kimberly Tapia
Kimberly Tapia (MBOE '16)
Principal, The Polanko Group
Kimberly Tapia, a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army Reserve, remembers her initial impression of Fisher as a prospective graduate student. From her first interaction with the faculty and staff, Tapia knew she’d found a place where her unique skills would be valued, which differentiated Fisher from other business colleges. And, she found that the culture at Fisher aligned with her values.
“As a veteran and service member, there is no greater feeling than being associated with an institution that values its community, students and staff,” Tapia said. “The Office of Military and Veterans Services is extremely effective in providing support throughout all phases of enrollment.”
Tapia graduated in 2016 from Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program and has combined her military experience and graduate studies to excel in the corporate sector. She currently works as the principal for The Polanko Group, a firm she founded that specializes in problem-solving for small- to medium-sized businesses.
“There is risk in everything we do, whether you own the business or work for it,” Tapia said. “As a Fisher MBOE student, the core value-add to my company is the overall concept of continuous improvement. Establishing a culture of continuous improvement is the ultimate risk reducer.”
Prior to her graduate studies and consulting work, Tapia served on active duty in the U.S Army. Her decision to enlist stemmed from the need to pay for college, but she found much more in the Army. She eventually re-enlisted and followed her passion for leading soldiers.
Tapia’s military experience benefitted her at Fisher, as the Army’s development programs prepared her to excel in the areas of project and program management, policy development, leadership and communication. As a student, Tapia found that Fisher enhanced her military experience in operational excellence.
“As a senior non-commissioned officer and the Equal Opportunity Advisor within my brigade, I am entrusted to provide comprehensive guidance on organizational strategy, soldier development and command culture,” Tapia said. “The curriculum at Fisher advanced my ability to cultivate data, analyze, and formulate substantive solutions.”
Faculty - Charles Buchanan
Charles Buchanan (EMBA '16)
Senior Lecturer, Management & Human Resources
Maj. Charles Buchanan served in the U.S. Army and continues his service in the Ohio National Guard. Buchanan’s decision to serve arose from a strong sense of duty toward his country and the desire for a good start to his career following his undergraduate studies.
As a lecturer at Fisher, Buchanan strives to deliver to his students the same top-notch leadership training he received in the Army.
“The Army taught me to take advantage of opportunities when they make themselves available, and I look at every class as an opportunity to help my students be better leaders,” said Buchanan, a 2016 alumnus of Fisher’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program. “Leadership is the Army’s competitive advantage, and I hope to help my students develop that same advantage in their careers.”
As an EMBA student, Buchanan was impressed by Fisher’s challenging environment, the quality and professionalism of the faculty and staff, and the caliber of his classmates. It was a powerful combination that motived him to pursue a career in higher education.
“Fisher is an excellent place to transition from military service to a civilian career,” Buchanan said. “The prospects for networking create new opportunities that are often hard for current military to establish.”
He credits Fisher’s world-class faculty with helping him take 16 years of military experience and package it into material that can be taught in the classroom. Buchanan, who has deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo, said that each deployment taught him something new about leadership and about himself.
“I am actively using simulations to teach leadership and have seen some great results,” Buchanan said. “The students really benefit from the active learning environment. This provides them the opportunity to experiment with leadership styles and techniques in ways that they never could in a lecture.”
Staff - David Harrison
Senior Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach
Following in the footsteps of relatives and friends, David Harrison served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985 to 1993, where most of his service was spent as a reservist. His military police reserve unit, based in Dayton, was mobilized to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm during the campaigns from 1990-91.
“I desired to challenge myself physically and mentally to go the extra mile,” Harrison said. “I wanted to protect and serve our country, and I wanted to be trained in and by the world’s finest organization.”
Throughout his youth and continuing into early adulthood, Harrison learned the value of discipline. As the son of a single father, it began early in his childhood and continued into high school, where Harrison rose to the position of captain of very competitive football and wrestling teams. Then in college, Harrison competed on the wrestling team for three years.
Harrison values the experience he gained as a Marine. The lessons he learned continue to benefit him today in his role as senior director of Fisher’s dedicated Office of Diversity and Inclusion Services and Corporate and Community Outreach.
In addition to the Marine Corps training that taught him to manage time at a higher level, he credits the military with teaching him to value his team and the importance of preparing mind and body for assignments.
“The military provided an opportunity for me to continue to exercise the discipline instilled in me first by my father and then sharpened by my athletic coaches,” Harrison said. “Whether working in a cool, clean office or in a hot, dirty field, the military enhanced that discipline and equipped me with the determination to complete any challenge or mission.”
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