2021 MBAs To Watch: Ann Watercutter, Ohio State (Fisher)

Ann Watercutter

Ohio State, Fisher College of Business

An optimist to the core who gives my all in relationships, work, and life.”

Hometown: Piqua, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself: I like to write in my free time and have been writing poetry since I was in sixth grade. I’d love to write a book someday.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Ohio University, Bachelor of Science in Journalism

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Fahlgren Mortine, Senior Account Executive

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Ethicon, a medical device subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Cincinnati, Ohio

Where will you be working after graduation? Ethicon, Marketing Leadership Development Program Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Vice President, Member Engagement, Fisher Graduate Women in Business (FGWIB)

Forté Foundation Fellow

Member, Association of Marketing Professionals

Graduate Assistant, National Center for the Middle Market

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was planning a virtual celebration of women’s leadership event with my fellow FGWIB leaders because we pivoted from the traditional format to allow our classmates and community to recognize “100 Years of Power and Influence,” celebrating the century that took place since our fore sisters earned us the right to vote. I’m proud of the ingenuity we used to make the event effective, and it felt like the successful culmination of one of the goals I set for myself before going to business school – to lift up as many women as I could in the pursuit of gender equity. It is something I wrote about in my application to Fisher and a passion that I’ll take with me into every stage of my career.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? To date, I’m most proud of a nurse appreciation program I ran on behalf of one of my clients while I was at Fahlgren Mortine. The strategy I employed resulted in success for the program including target audience growth on our social channels, 35% improvement in the company’s net promoter score, and improved brand perception among those familiar with the program.

More than the success of the program, it was personally rewarding to help honor nurses who often receive little of the credit or thanks they deserve. My grandmother, mom, and two of my three sisters are all nurses, and the events of 2020 have only solidified how proud I am to have had the opportunity to work on something that recognized the incredible work nurses do. It was also one of the biggest periods of professional growth for me thus far. Managing this program was the first time I was challenged to own a budget, lead meetings with leadership from a Fortune 500 firm, and be ultimately responsible for a client relationship. It expanded my horizons and showed me the leadership I was capable of.

Why did you choose this business school? Fisher offered a competitive environment that matched the fire in me, with the compassion and fellowship that matched my altruistic pursuits. There was a real sense of collaboration over competition among the students, which was reflected in the Columbus, Ohio community as a whole. While it can be challenging to identify, this was one of the most important things I was looking for in a school. That’s because I knew that I would vastly enhance my education by connecting with and learning from my peers in addition to faculty or the real-world experiences that were available.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Roger Bailey was my favorite professor because he brought an energy and zeal to the classroom that was infectious. He taught our core Economics class and made a complex topic accessible by ensuring every theory, equation, and concept was made applicable to our future roles in business. I learned so much from him in a subject I was initially nervous about. This really grew my confidence in tackling future challenges in school and work. I ended up taking every elective he taught in the program.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of my favorite events was a high rope course the entire class did during our pre-term experience. It was a time when we were all able to be open and vulnerable with each other, really relying on one another to complete the tasks in front of us. It set tone for next two years and highlighted the communal and team-based nature of our class. We really began to identify with one another and express a compassion that is very reflective of Fisher.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have thrown myself into other extracurriculars and not be as focused on my grades. While I learned an incredible amount in the classroom and am proud of the academic excellence I demand of myself, I know there was so much to experience and learn in other places as well. In particular, I would have participated in additional case competitions.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the myths I asked about when applying to Fisher was its reputation as an MBA for those who wanted to get into operations. As someone who always intended to go into marketing, that was an initial concern that was quickly quelled. The quality of the marketing classes met my expectations, and there are many students in our class who have wide-ranging interests outside of operations.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by how much of the recruiting process is up to the students. Going to a school that isn’t an Ivy League institution, I knew I was going to have to put extra effort into networking and helping myself stand out in the application and interview process, but I’ve heard that even those in top programs do a lot more leg work than they used to. On campus interviewing was less common than I thought it’d be.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I spent a significant amount of time determining which schools I wanted to go to before I began applying and took a focused approach to the application process. This allowed me to meet the early deadline for every school on my list and network with admissions prior to or during the application process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Arianna Venkatesan. She’s younger than most of our class, but exudes confidence and is fearless in pursuing her own personal development. I’ve witnessed how much she’s gotten out of the business school experience by authentically connecting with the diversity of people in our class. She’s kind, incredibly smart, humble, and is going to do amazing things in her career and her life.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The transition itself was smooth, and professors quickly adjusted to our needs in this new learning environment. The most disruptive aspect was missing out on all the in-person interactions with our teams as we tackled classes or consulting projects, along with the loss of those in-between class learnings spent in conversation over lunch or on walks to our cars.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom most influenced my decision because she’s been a role model for continuing education throughout life. She got her Ph.D. while I was in high school, many years after she had completed her Master’s. I realized marketing was my passion during my undergraduate studies, but she inspired me to continue reaching to better myself with an MBA.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Mentor other women to achieve leadership roles beyond their initial expectations.
  2. Successfully lead a brand or business that truly improves the world’s environment and social fabric.

What made Ann such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“Ann is known to the faculty and staff as a pacesetter, earning the playful reputation of a “curve breaker” among her peers. A high-horsepower student with a fantastic work ethic, Ann has been consistently successful across business disciplines and experiential learning projects. Moreover, she has served as a resource to her fellow students, providing mentorship for coursework, interview preparation, and other career concerns. The cumulative impact of her time at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business has been impressive, and we have no doubt that her colleagues at Ethicon will be equally impressed.”

Roger Bailey
FTMBA Academic Director



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