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What’s the Most Integral Component of the Fisher MBA?

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Fridays from the Frontline

According to Rajat Gugnani, a first-year MBA student at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business, everything comes back to your core team. So, if you’ve got the Fisher MBA program in your sites, you’d do well to familiarize yourself with core teams—what they are and the importance they play at the school. Fortunately, with Gugnani as this week’s Fridays from the Frontline contributor, he breaks down core teams and lets prospective applicants know exactly what to expect. As he shares below, his core team was the “one thing that kept him going” through the first five months of his Fisher MBA experience, which provided to be both rigorous and fast paced. But beyond camaraderie through the challenging parts, his core team, Team #3, shared in lots and lots of fun. Read on to truly understand why core teams are such a big deal at Fisher. Our thanks to Gugnani and Fisher for letting us share his perspective with the Clear Admit audience.

Fisher MBA Core Teams: An Integral Element of the Experience

By Rajat Gugnani, MBA ’19

As I reflect through the past five months of my Fisher MBA experience, one thing that kept me going through this rigorous and fast-paced program was my core team. Yes, you heard that right—my core team! Go, Team #3!

Fisher heavily emphasizes the concept of team. Just before you officially start your MBA, you go through a three-week pre-MBA term. At the end, you find out who’s on your core team, the team you will be working with throughout the first year of your program. Just to offer a glimpse of how a pre-MBA term looks, this is where you get to know about the program structure, professors, resources at Fisher and Ohio State. At the same time, you get to attend executive lunches, seminars, career roundtables, and speaker series.

core teams at Fisher MBA
Gugnani with his core team at a Summit Vision

The whole entering class is divided into teams of four to five, with people not only coming from different backgrounds but also from different parts of the world. The diverse nature and vivid experiences that every individual brings to a team make you appreciate the power of such a setting. We, as a core team, faced our first challenge on the very first day we got introduced to each other. As a part of Fisher Challenge, we had to present a case analysis on one of the budding organizations in Columbus and propose an innovative way to help increase the firm’s profits. This was the first group exercise with my team and to date, we’ve delivered on many such assignments. We ended our pre-MBA term with an experiential learning program with all core teams at a location little outside of Columbus (called “Summit Vision”). This was absolutely one of the experiences that I’ll add to my special memories from Fisher for the rest of my life.

Fisher MBA core teams
Fisher first-year MBA students visit the Columbus Zoo

Over time, as I’ve progressed through the MBA program, these are the people who’ve become a big part of my Fisher family. It’s not just the assignments inside class, but the other experiences. Recently, we all planned a day out at the Columbus Zoo. It was definitely a stress-reliever after the end of our first term and simultaneously gave us the time to know each other better in a setting outside of the class.

Overall, working in a team setting has not only helped me in learning the art of coming together as a team to solve a problem but to also appreciate different leadership styles operating within the same team. It, in a true sense, gives you the flavor of how your post-MBA corporate life would be.