At the end of February, 30 UW Foster Hybrid MBA (HMBA) and Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) students trekked to the Portland area for a packed two days of networking and company visits to some of the premier organizations in the region. Students connected with senior leaders to learn about the diverse company cultures, see the work environments, and leverage the application of theories they are currently learning in the classroom. Participants enjoyed a mix of experiential learning, bonding with other Foster students and some tasty food too (Voodoo Doughnut anyone?).
Portland Trek Highlights
- An exclusive tour of KEEN’s manufacturing plant and HQ office. Plus, a presentation from some of the company’s senior leaders including Kate Sweeney (COO), Andrew Duffle, (Director of Global Optimization & Analytics), and Rob Langstaff (VP of International Business)
- Nike World HQ tour
- Candid panel discussion with product line managers at Intel on personal stories of career growth and how an MBA degree is relevant at Intel. Students also received a special product demo in the Intel virtual reality lab.
- Breakfast conversation with Rick Turoczy, Cofounder and General Manager of the Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE)
- Interactive panel discussion and Q&A with consultants at Propeller Consulting
- Engaging talk and tour at Uncorked Studios with Marcelino Alvarez (Founder/CEO) and John Furukawa (COO)
- Blount International plant tour + presentation with senior leaders including Josh Collins (CEO) and current HMBA student, Nathan Chapel (Manager of Design to Value).
Not only did the Portland Trek company line-up represent a diverse set of industries (tech, retail, manufacturing, consulting, etc), but the theme of each visit ran the gamut – from a sustainability focus at KEEN, to an innovation emphasis at Uncorked Studios and continuous improvement at Blount International. This diversity gave students a holistic picture of the business ecosystem in the greater Portland area.
TMMBA student Shijavi Nagarajan (Microsoft, Technical Program Manager) shared, “The Portland Trek not only gave me the opportunity to understand companies outside of Seattle and but also learn about industries outside of my core areas of expertise.”
The Trek also highlighted the value of the Foster network. Students had ample time to connect each other outside of the regular classroom environment – whether over a common interest at one of the company visits or over an evening beer at Deschutes Brewery.
“The Trek has added a lot of value to my MBA experience. I met so many people from both HMBA and TMMBA, and we got to expand our network in this awesome city.” noted Jenna D’Amico, (United Healthcare, Senior Business Analyst), HMBA student.
While the two days in Portland went far too quickly, students left with new applied learnings from their MBA program experience as well as invaluable networking connections. Until next time Portland – we’ll be back!