2018 MBAs To Watch: Paul Sobecki, Ohio State (Fisher)

Paul Sobecki

Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University

“Proud dad and husband driven to help others realize their life and career goals.”

Age: 29

Hometown: Centerville, OH

Fun fact about yourself: My wife and I welcomed our first child into the world 4 days before my MBA program started and we are expecting our second child 14 days after graduation…and we met at the Kentucky Derby.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Fisher College of Business, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? General Mills, Inc., Supply Chain Specialist

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Deloitte Consulting LLP – Cleveland, Ohio

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting LLP, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  1. President, Full-Time MBA Council – As an elected position, the MBA council represented the MBA students’ feedback to faculty and staff, hosted multiple student events, and eliminated the major requirement for MBAs.
  2. Founder & President, Fisher Partners Club – Created an organization to provide a supporting environment for the significant others of full-time MBA students.
  3. Case Coach – Hosted numerous sessions to advance the case interviewing abilities of students seeking consulting internships.
  4. Co-Contributor/Organizer of the Crisis Leadership Case for Undergraduate Honors Cohort Program – Gives undergraduates a hands-on experience working through a mock business crisis as an executive team.
  5. Graduate Assistant – Each semester I led recitations for 120 undergraduate students covering presentation skills, job search and interviewing approaches, ethics, corporate social responsibility, and other key business topics. I taught in both online and in-person learning environments.
  6. Co-Founding Member of Fisher Swishers – MBAs started playing pickup basketball weekly. The goals are to try to have fun, stay in decent shape, and not get hurt. No prior basketball experience required.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Starting the Fisher Partners Club (FPC) student organization, which provides a community for the significant others of the Fisher College of Business students. The club is designed to connect spouses, fiancés, boyfriends, girlfriends, and families in the Fisher community. We recognize that pursuing a full-time MBA impacts the lives of partners as much as it does the students, and our hope is to assist in this challenging transition by providing support to partners through this acclimation process.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Leading the design of a newly created cross-functional team at General Mills Canada to optimize promotional in-store event execution was a unique challenge to overcome. Not only did this new team exceed initial volume and customer service levels, we were able to begin the process of pushing the boundaries on promotional event lifecycles. I am thankful to the people that provided me with this experience and even more grateful for the Canadian team that made the role an incredible growing experience.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? John Schaffner – He teaches courses that are based around making people’s work lives more fulfilling through a coaching culture, which can result in making their personal lives better, too. He quickly creates an atmosphere of trust, openness, and vulnerability, which you do not typically associate with an MBA classroom. Professor Schaffner has given me an understanding and appreciation for the various channels of developing others (i.e. mentoring, consulting, and coaching). Most importantly, he inspired me to pursue my passions and to help others discover new ways to make their lives more fulfilling.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Mergers, Acquisitions, and Corporate Development – taught by Jay Anand. This course focused on the strategic and operational aspects of M&A activity rather than financial considerations. This course was my favorite because it challenged me to analyze the ways in which M&A activity can create and destroy value. The class also brought light to the intricacies of the integration and implementation processes, which is where the true value is realized.   

Why did you choose this business school? It was overwhelming to think about leaving a job I enjoyed, starting an MBA program, and helping my wife to raise our new born baby. Because Fisher had done so much for me both personally and professionally during my undergraduate years, I knew it would be a place of support for this next chapter of my life. It was also comforting knowing I had connections to the city, family and friends in town who my family could lean on during this 2-year program. Beyond being a good fit for my family, I felt a genuine connection to the students, faculty, and staff I met throughout the recruiting process. I enjoyed the idea of a small program and the Fisher family culture that is a product of that. Lastly, Fisher embodies the Midwest mindset and whether you’re are born a Buckeye or not, you always leave Fisher a Buckeye for life.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I wrote earlier about the Midwest mindset. In having conversations with current students and staff, press them on how this mindset differs from what they have experienced in other parts of the country and world. In such a small program, cultural fit is going to be the critical component. Be confident you can demonstrate your cultural fit through demonstrated actions and experiences in your life. Additionally, do not overlook the importance of your GMAT score, application essays, and recommenders. Each of these components are crucial to the evaluation and selection of diverse students who will enhance Fisher’s program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Fisher has a small program that cannot offer a variety of experiences and job opportunities. Fisher MBAs find the opposite when coming to Ohio State. Because the overall university is so large, any experience or opportunity you can dream up is possible if you know where to look. Fisher specifically offers international project opportunities, global business expeditions, countless student organizations, and one-on-one attention for your job search.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I did not make more time to spend with my classmates outside of the classroom. A leading benefit of business school is creating relationships with your classmates that will lead you well into the future. Being married and having a young child, I was not able to attend as many social events or after class drinks at the local watering hole as I would have hoped. However, I have attempted to maximize the times I do have with my classmates, and I am grateful for the many friendships I have with classmates that will continue to develop for a lifetime.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Daniel Dixon is one of my classmates that I most admire for a variety of reasons. Dan comes from a Special Forces military background of over 10 years. I admire his courage to make the transition to b-school and doing it rather seamlessly. Secondly, Dan welcomed his first child into the world during business school, which is no easy task, while maintaining strong relationships with numerous classmates. Most importantly, I admire Dan for his selflessness and continued service for our country. Dan was recently promoted and is now deployed overseas. Dan will be graduating with the Class of 2019 upon returning from his deployment.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Jeff Dickman and Brent Leaman. Jeff and Brent were instrumental in my personal and professional development during my time with General Mills. Interestingly, Jeff has his MBA and Brent does not so they were each able to provide me with unique perspectives and thoughts on obtaining my MBA. It is because of their guidance and thought-provoking conversations that I am at Fisher loving what I am doing.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…leading a supply chain team at a General Mills manufacturing site (hopefully abroad).”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? Having only one day would be challenging to make a change at any school. However, I would strive to implement a partnership between the graduate and undergraduate programs at Fisher. I would like to design a program that enables Fisher MBAs to coach and manage an undergraduate team project that relates to crisis management. The undergrad Honors Cohort Program started a phenomenal Crisis Leadership event. This would be mutually beneficial, as MBAs would get hands-on experience managing a team and undergrads would have the opportunity to work through a simulated crisis event that a company could experience (i.e. product recall).

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Both are sports-related – Attend a Duke vs. UNC Men’s basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium (preferably seats behind the Duke bench), and attend green jacket Sunday at the Masters Golf Tournament.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as an easy-going, supportive, and inspiring leader who always puts others first.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happyness – from this movie, I learned that you can be successful in business and life if you work hard, play by the rules, and be nice to people.

What would your theme song be? “Dancing in the Dark” – Bruce Springsteen

Favorite vacation spot: Turks and Caicos Islands

Hobbies? I love spending time at home cooking with my wife and daughter, hanging out time with friends and family, traveling, and playing a variety of sports.

What made Paul Sobecki such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Paul brought a unique perspective to our class discussions on how organizational leaders can demonstrate value to their stakeholders that go beyond the traditional financial measures. I truly enjoyed having Paul in my core operations class!”

Aravind Chandrasekaran

Associate Professor of Operations & Associate Director – The Center for Operational Excellence





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