2023 MBA To Watch: Mike Bagian, Ohio State (Fisher)

Mike Bagian

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“An outgoing problem-solver always up for an adventure with his family and friends.”

Hometown: Northville, Michigan

Fun fact about yourself: I have a skydiving license and a SCUBA diving license.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of San Diego – B.A., B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Design Engineer at Solar Turbines, A Caterpillar Company

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? McKinsey & Company, Cleveland Office

Where will you be working after graduation? McKinsey & Company (D.C. Office) as an Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Member of the Fisher Consulting and Strategy Club, Founding Member of University of San Diego School of Engineering Alumni Council

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? A few MBA classmates and I assembled an intramural team (the Net Prophets) and won the university intramural volleyball league championship. It was fun sharing this experience with classmates and proving that even though we were 10 years older than our competition, we could still keep up with the undergrads.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of the hard work that I put in to create and publish a design verification tool at Solar Turbines. After witnessing significant redundant work in the design process, I noticed the opportunity to improve efficiency. I created a tool that streamlined the process, significantly reduced errors, and is now used across the organization as part of standard operating procedure.

Why did you choose this business school? The cohort size at OSU was very attractive to me. I went to a small undergraduate university and really enjoyed the student to professor ratio, and Fisher offered a similar experience to which I was eager to return.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Roger Bailey – his passion for teaching is very apparent, and his energy makes each class interesting. It’s great chatting with him in one-on-ones or at his bi-weekly coffee chats as well.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? MBA 6243 – Organizations, Markets, and Management. Coming from an engineering background, this course provided a solid foundation in business, and the professor presented it in a digestible manner that made it easy to grasp. It helped me learn the language of business and contributed to my success in future courses and my work at McKinsey.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I really enjoyed the Fisher tailgate for an OSU football game. It was refreshing to see faculty in a different setting and served as a good forum to have candid discussions about the MBA program and potential improvements. I felt like my opinions and suggestions were heard and considered, and it exemplified how receptive the Fisher leadership is and how they strive for excellence and continual improvement.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I were to do this experience over, I would coordinate more social events with classmates outside of my immediate friend group, to help build cohesion among the entire cohort and get to know everyone better outside of class. I enjoy getting to know people and building friendships; this makes class more enjoyable and encourages positive communication and interactions both inside and outside of class.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that having a small cohort limits employment opportunities after graduation. The small cohort may have reduced our network size, but it has strengthened our relationships, and having such a large undergraduate population helps attract employers despite the rather small cohort.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Coming from a family of University of Michigan alumni, Ohio had to overcome a strong bias to convince me to root for the Buckeyes. I was pleasantly surprised by how much Columbus grew on me, and I really enjoyed my time in this city. There is always something to do, I enjoy the atmosphere of the Short North, and the snow is much more manageable than in Michigan.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was most surprised by the diversity of professional backgrounds in my cohort; from engineers, to veterans, to a baker, to an Olympic athlete – each field provided a unique perspective on how to approach a problem and provided me with countless opportunities to learn.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I knew I wanted to go to business school at some point. Since I was still happy with my current employment, I did not feel rushed to return to school. This took some pressure off of the application process and allowed me to feel more relaxed during the interview, which I believe helped me show my true personality and make personal connections with the interviewers.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate, Mariam Siradeghyan. At the beginning of the first year, she reached out to connect with me since she recognized the ‘ian’ ending in my last name and was happy to have another Armenian in her cohort. Mariam moved from Armenia to Ohio for the program without ever stepping foot in the United States prior to this. As adventurous as I am, I would find it extremely difficult to uproot my life in the pursuit of growth across the world at the cost of leaving all friends and family – she truly exhibits immense courage and bravery for doing so.

During the program, Armenia was attacked by Azerbaijan resulting in ongoing political unrest. Mariam’s family was affected by this instability, and it added an extra stressor on top of the stresses of an MBA program. Mariam has contemplated moving back to Armenia and delaying her MBA ambitions to be with her loved ones. With their support, she has shown absolute resolve and continued learning and growing in this program despite the challenges back home. Mariam was rather shy when she began the program, but in her time here she has gained confidence, found her voice, and is self-assured that she can do anything she sets her mind to. I truly admire her adventurous spirit, her stout resolve, and her determination to excel.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I was raised to do my best at whatever I was doing, whether in sports, school, a minimum wage job, or corporate consulting. Therefore, my biggest bucket list item is to establish a reputation as someone who is dependable and a hard worker, regardless of my position or company. Additionally, through my work, I would like to help improve the healthcare system in the United States to make it more patient friendly. I have experienced the shortcomings of our current healthcare system firsthand and how difficult it is for a layman to navigate the system and get appropriate care, and it is a bucket list item of mine to improve that system and the patient experience.

What made Mike Bagian such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Mike is a stand-out student for his leadership inside and outside of the classroom. Sharing some comments from the FTMBA faculty and staff: “Mike has supported and encouraged his peers, led student groups and programs, and excelled academically”; “Mike has shown excellent dedication from the beginning of his time at Fisher”; and “Mike is uniquely capable of building relationships across a diverse array of his peers and bringing them together to collaborate.” In my own experience, Mike has been one of the most engaged students in recent history, not only building connections between students but also seeking to serve as a bridge between students, staff, faculty, and college leadership.”

Dr. Roger Bailey
Academic Director, FTMBA program


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