2023 MBA To Watch: Michelle Weingartner, Ohio State (Fisher)

Michelle Weingartner

Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“Brand enthusiast, mother, trailblazer, optimist, connector, creative problem solver. Fearless, out-of-the-box problem-solver, connector.”

Hometown: Findlay, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself:

  • I have three young boys
  • I have fed lions
  • I have started to play tennis and learned it can teach you a lot about business strategy

Undergraduate School and Degree: The Ohio State University, Bachelor in Science in Business Administration.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Chamberlain College of Nursing

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022?

JP Morgan Chase CAP Intern in Columbus, Ohio

Where will you be working after graduation? This Summer I am very excited to start my career at JP Morgan Chase. I am working in the Chase Associate Program which is a management development program that allows associates to gain a breadth of experience in different consumer businesses while learning from senior leaders.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Forte Fellow
  • Vice President of Brand for AMP
  • Forte Fellow Ambassador 2021-22
  • Fisher Inclusion Champion
  • Wellington Parent Connector
  • Beehive Alliance – Sponsorship Committee
  • Brand Audit Challenge winner

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? When I decided to pursue my MBA, I knew I would have to do it differently. As a mom to three young boys, I had to complete my work in the early mornings and afternoons, so I could pick them up from school and take them to activities. I started my days at 4:00 am during my first year so that I could study and accomplish all of the assignments. There was a particularly rough day, I still remember vividly, when my kids woke me up several times, so I decided to get up at 2:00 am; later that same day, I had a three-hour interview and two exams after. I was awake for almost 24 hours. Luckily, during year two, I could sleep in until 5:30 am. I am also proud of figuring out how to do more with less time, which is one of the benefits of pursuing an MBA when you are older.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of my proudest accomplishments was not an award I won or a promotion I received; it was when I improved a fractured relationship. I was a new employee, and my manager told me on my first day that I needed to figure out how to improve our relationship with a company we had hired to fulfill a contract. There was an urgency to get them to complete the work quickly. She gave me the contact’s phone number and told me it was my job over the next few months to repair the relationship and motivate her to produce results to fulfill the obligations. There was no corporate manual or business class to prepare me to navigate this situation. So I picked up the phone and called her. Over several weeks, I developed a relationship with her; she would call me while getting her haircut or dropping her kids off at school. Throughout my time in the position, she started to trust me, and we worked together to fulfill the contract and achieve the goals – for both companies.

Why did you choose this business school? Fisher develops world-class leaders. You do not have to look far to see the remarkable ways the OSU alums are transforming business and giving back to the community. I knew I needed a program to challenge me to grow as a leader and manager. Ohio State’s MBA program has allowed me to cultivate my cross-functional leadership skills. I also chose Ohio State because of the people. Having attended here for undergrad, I knew how special the students and professors are. My cohort proved to be unique and talented. We have a former thespian, pig farmer, professional chef, and many others whose careers I will be reading about for years.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Choosing just one favorite professor is like choosing your favorite child. Impossible. There are many who deserve this title.

One of my favorites professors is Dr. John Schaffner. He teaches High Performing Teams, Coaching and Leadership Project. His unique style of teaching forces students to embrace ambiguity and become comfortable with not knowing all the answers. There are many concepts and themes he teaches that encourage growth both professionally and personally, especially when it comes to leadership. His classes are entertaining, interesting and authentic.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course was Professional Development, taught by Dr. Stephanie Wapner. This course provides students with the opportunity to improve their public speaking and presentation style using a variety of methods. You also learn how to give speeches in challenging climates, lead effective meetings, and fire someone, a vital skill most business leaders will need. This class will help me for years to come; often, people have fantastic ideas and knowledge to convey, but their message is lost when it is not delivered effectively.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition at Ohio State was during orientation. We had a private tour of the Shoe (OSU’s football stadium). It was a unique opportunity to have dinner, run on the football field, view the press box, and bond as a cohort. It was and continues to be an extraordinary way to welcome new buckeyes to the program. I have a picture from that day. I am on the football field with three other MBA students I just met, and we have our hands up spelling out O-H-I-O. Several of the students in the picture became wonderful friends.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Our program offers many opportunities to travel abroad and gain global experience. Unfortunately, I could not take advantage of these opportunities due to the pandemic and family commitments. Global Applied Projects (GAP) is a fantastic opportunity for students to work directly with multinational corporations, nonprofits, or government agencies and help them navigate and solve business challenges. Students can then go abroad at the end of the semester to meet with these entities in person to gain a global business perspective.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth may be the perception that the school and student population are large (like in the undergraduate program). Those who put in the research will quickly realize the MBA program is small and very personalized, while still offering students all the valuable resources of a large institution. The other myth is that all we care about is football. Buckeyes are indeed very passionate about their football team, but there are so many different interests and hobbies our student population has.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was amazed at how many opportunities we had to work with fortune 500 companies. These experiences were invaluable and allowed me to learn from some of the top business leaders in the community. One of my favorite projects was one my team completed for Bath and Body Works. It was intense, but gave me experience in data mapping, DEI initiatives, retail, benefits, and digital marketing, all on the same project. These consulting-based projects also allow students to build relationships and push them to partner with clients and team members with different work styles and points of view, which is critically important for future success.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? The most important thing I did was research. I spent a lot of time speaking to current students, professors, alums, and business leaders in the community about the program. This research helped me understand the program’s values and if they matched mine. That is the best advice I can give potential students contemplating an MBA: spend the time determining fit for any school you are considering. You will have a better chance to get in and enjoy the program more when there is strong alignment.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is Atiqur Rahman. Atiqur is an impressive individual who persevered through many challenges to earn his MBA. Atiqur came to Columbus from Bangladesh. As with many of our international students, there is a steep learning curve and many additional hurdles to jump through. Atiqur had to leave his wife and son in Bangladesh for a year-and-a-half while studying in the states. He had to go through the stressful lottery process to see if he could move here permanently after he graduated. Atiqur balanced all this while pursuing a STEM MBA, working, attending class, and studying for the level two CFA examination. He is one of the more soft-spoken students in our class, but those who have taken the time to get to know him immediately see his resilience, grit, and wisdom.

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

  • I want to start an organization that encourages young girls to start learning the skills necessary to pursue a career in business.
  • Be a leader who challenges employees to take risks and helps to draw out the courage and confidence inside of others.

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

“Michelle’s leadership, and her dedication to improving the experience of those around her, have had a significant impact. To share a few quotes from the FTMBA faculty: “Michelle exemplifies giving 100% to every assignment and has undertaken several initiatives to benefit the college”; “Michelle was not only a high performer in class, but also a fierce advocate for improving the outcomes of her cohort on the job market; and “Michelle works hard to allow other people to shine, but isn’t afraid to take charge and lead. Solid, top performer across the MBA skill set.” I could not agree more with my colleagues, as Michelle has a well-earned reputation for excellence.”

Dr. Roger Bailey
Academic Director, FTMBA program


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