Q&A with Robert Moehle, TMMBA alumnus

Robert MoehleRobert Moehle (TMMBA 2015), cross-functional team leader in engineering at AeroTEC, shares his experiences in the UW Foster School’s Technology Management MBA program.

Why did you choose the Technology Management MBA program at the Foster School?
I wanted to attend Foster for the high academic standards and strong alumni network. The 18-month TMMBA is ideal—graduation always feels within reach. It’s intense, but I prefer the fast pace. In addition, the program is in Kirkland where I live, so the convenience of not worrying about traffic and parking was appealing.

How has the TMMBA experience impacted your career since graduation?
My career has been impacted in innumerable ways. During the TMMBA I left my corporate job and helped start a few companies through the entrepreneurship program. One, Hook, got funded and is now in the Jones+Foster Accelerator. The TMMBA has helped me pivot from a technical aerospace career to one with broader business roles. In fact, despite having a master’s in engineering and other advanced certifications, it’s the MBA that earns me interviews and networking opportunities.

What key skills and/or mindset did you acquire during the TMMBA program?
I’ve been fortunate to directly apply the skills learned in the TMMBA in a startup environment. I negotiated the seed round of investment for our company using the frameworks of entrepreneurial finance, manage the company’s accounts using principles from accounting, and have proper context for our team’s marketing discussions as a result of academic knowledge. I think the most important skill the MBA provides is the ability to “speak the language” of the business world.

Can you expand on your way of thinking before the program and how you use those skills acquired today?
I believe I was destined to branch into a more business-minded career. The TMMBA has provided context for how companies operate and why business decisions were made that didn’t make sense to me before. When I first applied, I simply wanted to have the credential on my resume. During the program, I realized the knowledge gained, goals accomplished with small study groups, and the Foster network are far more valuable than just a title.

What impact did the Business Plan Competition have on your career goals and way of thinking?
After gaining the courage to leave my corporate job to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, the Business Plan Competition was where I directed my efforts. Our team, Hook, won third place. Each stage was exciting, fun-filled, and a ton of work, but we were growing closer as a team and learning a great deal. The BPC gained us exposure to well-respected members of the entrepreneurship community to tap for advice and to grow our customer base when we launched.

Did you participate in a Study Tour?
Yes, I went to Peru, and it was an eye-opening experience to become immersed in the culture and commerce of a different country. The trip was toward the end of the program so we had a great deal of academic knowledge which we could use to ask our hosts questions and process everything that was happening.

What career support did you use during the TMMBA program?
The career coaching was most beneficial. I was able to improve my resume with 1-on-1 coaching and work on my interview skills to gain confidence when applying for jobs. The career workshops and networking events have also been top-notch, offering little nuggets of information or building new connections.