All posts by tmmba

From the Marine Corp to TMMBA to Disney ABC

Military leadership training and a technology-focused MBA were the perfect combination for Sarah McCaffrey to transition from her military career to her current position at Disney.

After 8 years in the Marine Corps, Sarah joined the Technology Management MBA program to supplement her military background with solid business fundamentals. After earning her MBA in 2014, she currently works at Disney ABC Television Group as an Online Advertising Analyst. As a parent of two young children, the Post-9/11 GI Bill made it possible for Sarah to continue her education to gain the necessary skills to take her career to the next level.

Over 30 people from all branches of the military have graduated from the TMMBA Program. It is a perfect way to supplement military training with strategic business skills. Additionally, students who have served in the military are able to add a diverse perspective to the discussion that takes place in the classroom. Each TMMBA student has a unique perspective to offer which is sure to expand your way of thinking and change your approach to solving problems.  

Watch this video to hear directly from Sarah McCaffrey:

How to Choose a Startup Company to Join

This guest post is from Daniel Stein who graduated from the UW TMMBA program in 2014 and is a product manager at Smartsheet.  Prior to Smartsheet, he worked at Microsoft for four years as a program manager for Office.com and Excel.  In his free time, he performs as a professionally trained classical flutist and appreciates the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Many of us enrolled in an MBA program with a desire to transition to a smaller company, where we could have a broader role with more challenge, growth, and responsibility.  But it isn’t obvious how to identify the startup that best aligns with our career goals.  In making the transition from program management at Microsoft to product management at Smartsheet, I found it useful to evaluate opportunities in terms of three criteria: role, product, and people.

Your role should be indispensable to the company

It isn’t enough for a company to have the role you are looking for; the company should consider your role to be critical to the business.  I was looking for a product management role where I could work broadly across the company to ship great software that would delight customers and grow the business.  But I knew that I would only be successful at a company that understood product management and valued it as part of the core culture.  At Smartsheet, there are posters on each floor with the names and faces of the product managers, to ensure that everyone in the company knows where to direct product feedback.  Smartsheet’s CEO Mark Mader personally interviews prospective product managers because of the high-profile nature of the role.  Through these signs and others, I could tell that Smartsheet realizes that their product needs to be great for the company to succeed.  This in turn makes it a good place to make an impact as a product manager.  If your company truly understands and values your role, both you and the company will be set up for success.

The product should benefit from your unique expertise

People often talk about working on a product you are passionate about.  Ideally, the product you work on should also use your unique knowledge and experience.  In making a career transition, it’s important to balance what you change versus what you keep constant from your prior job.  Among the factors of role, company size, and product area: shift the factors where you want to grow, and keep some factors constant to hit the ground running and offer a competitive advantage versus other candidates.  In my transition, I shifted role (program management to product management) and company size ( >100k to <200) to gain the experience I wanted.  In choosing Smartsheet, I kept good alignment with my past product experience to make the transition successful.  At Microsoft, I had worked on Office, so I felt right at home at Smartsheet, which focuses on business productivity and also includes a spreadsheet interface.

If you are considering two companies that both have the role and team you are looking for, favor the one where you can offer unique expertise.  It will serve as your bridge to get the job in the first place and be successful once you are there.

The team should be the right size, with the best people you can find

Choosing the right team is the single most important factor in choosing a company.  It goes without saying that you should work with the best people you can possibly find. You should be excited to learn from and work long hours with everyone you meet in your interview loop.

It’s also important to choose a company whose stage matches the experience you want to gain.  This depends on how much “learning through doing” vs. “learning through others” you would like to have.  If you join a very early stage company, you’ll likely be the only person in your role, so most of your growth will be through experience.  If you choose a more established company, there will be at least several others who are experienced in your role.  If the company is too large, you may have less breadth and responsibility than you would like.  I was looking for a company between 100-300 people so that I could work on a small team of strong product managers and still have broad responsibility.  I found this stage to have a good balance of “learning through doing” and “learning through others.”

Of course, financial risk is also an important aspect of choosing a company size.  A smaller company will have greater risk in both compensation and job stability, but it can be worth it if you love the product and team, and you want experience of building a company from scratch.  It’s never a good idea to join a company with the primary expectation of a large financial upside.  That sort of thing is very difficult to predict, so optimize for what you can control: loving the team and the product.  If you consistently choose great people and optimize for your own learning, you’ll do well over the long term of your career.

Getting started: Identifying candidate companies

Once you know your framework for choosing a startup, it’s time to create a specific list of companies to explore.  Many great startup companies are not yet widely known, so it takes some research to identify them.

One of the best ways to identify companies is through the portfolios of top venture capital firms.  Companies that have received funding (especially repeat funding) from well-respected VC firms have already undergone vigorous vetting and have access to resources that will help them to succeed.  In Seattle, Madrona is the largest VC firm, so it is worth researching their portfolio to find companies that meet your size and product criteria.  Some of the Bay area VC firms have also invested in Seattle companies.

Apart from VC firms, it’s also worth following local industry news & networking organizations.  Geekwire is a primary source for tech news in Seattle, and they maintain a list of startup companies on their site.  Local meetups like New Tech Seattle and New Tech Eastside are also great ways to connect with local startups.

Finally, your own network is a good way to identify candidate companies and also the single best way to get your foot in the door at any company.  Once you have identified a startup company of interest, use LinkedIn to see if you have any connections at that company.  Regardless of what department they are in, ask them to meet up for coffee to learn more about the company culture.  If you are intrigued, ask them if they would feel comfortable introducing you to someone in your target role.  It doesn’t matter whether the company currently has openings in your department, because if they are successful, then they will soon!  It’s all about making the connections and keeping in touch.

Happy startup hunting, and I look forward to hearing about what you learn.

Hooked on Entrepreneurship

When Robert Moehle (Class of 2015) decided to apply to the TMMBA Program, he knew he wanted to attend the nationally ranked Foster School of Business and gain access to a strong alumni network to help him accelerate his career. What Robert didn’t know at that time was that the TMMBA Program would introduce him to a new passion – entrepreneurship – and open up an unexpected and entirely new career path for him.

Robert started the TMMBA Program in January 2014 and decided from the get-go to fully immerse himself in his coursework and opportunities that the Program provided. With a technical role in the aerospace industry, he soon saw an increased confidence in his ability to “speak the language” of the business world as he applied his classroom learnings at work.

“TMMBA provided me with the context for how companies operate and why certain business decisions are made.”

He also found himself drawn to the courses and opportunities that extended beyond his current aerospace role – in particular, those in the realm of entrepreneurship.

Midway through the TMMBA Program, Robert made the decision to leave his corporate job to pursue his new-found passion for entrepreneurship. He directed his efforts to the annual UW Business Plan Competition (BPC) where he became a student representative for the TMMBA Program and an active participant in the planning committee. Through the process, he made invaluable connections with various start-ups and ultimately partnered with Hook – a smart home hub that makes inexpensive remote controlled outlets and bulb sockets “smart” to enable home automation on a budget.

BPC
Team Hook celebrates their 3rd place victory at the 2015 BPC

Hook saw great success at the UW BPC, placing 3rd overall in the 2015 competition (out of 139 teams) and claiming the “Best Consumer Product Idea” prize. They also  won 2nd place at the UW Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge earlier in the year. The BPC acted as a powerful catalyst for the company’s early success.

“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.”

After the BPC, Hook’s momentum continued as they were accepted  as part of the 2015 cohort to the exclusive Foster+Jones Accelerator Program. The Program provides six-months of mentoring from Seattle entrepreneurs and investors, a framework for defining measurable milestones, guidance in achieving those milestones, and the opportunity to earn up to $25,000 in follow-on funding.

Robert has proved to be an integral team member of Hook – both during the BPC and well beyond the competition. He’s leveraged his business skills and knowledge gained in the TMMBA Program to complement the technical skills of his other teammates.

“I negotiated the seed round of investment for our company using the frameworks of Entrepreneurial Finance, managed the company’s accounts using principles from Accounting, and have proper context for our team’s Marketing discussions as a result of my academic knowledge. “

What’s next for Robert? In addition to his continued work with Hook, he recently accepted a business development role at MVP.Aero –  an aerospace company aimed at designing and building the world’s most versatile aircraft.

“I found it remarkable that with my bachelors/masters in aerospace engineering, commercial pilot certification, seaplane rating, and Boeing engineering background, it was the Foster TMMBA that impressed the (MVP.Aero) president the most.”

Undoubtedly, a bright future lies ahead of Robert with new business challenges, entrepreneurial endeavors and opportunities to put his skills and knowledge acquired in the TMMBA Program to the test.

Annual TMMBA Holiday Happy Hour 2015!

Last Tuesday evening, TMMBA students, alumni and staff gathered for the annual TMMBA Holiday Happy Hour at Vino at the Landing, a vibrant wine bar in Renton founded by TMMBA Class 5 alum, Rick McMaster.

Happy Hour 2015-3Happy Hour 2015-1Although students were in between finals, the TMMBA Holiday Happy hour provided a great opportunity for both class 15 and class 16 students to switch gears for an evening. Alums and students really enjoyed the opportunity to get updates from their classmates and connect with new members of the TMMBA network. All attendees also walked out with a new pair of cozy TMMBA socks to keep them warm for the winter months.

The Holiday Happy Hour event is an opportunity to relax, connect, and celebrate their accomplishments with their classmates and alumni.

Tactics to Transform Your Resume

TMMBA students and alumni find many opportunities to network with each other as well as employers and individuals from other Foster MBA programs.  This can naturally lead to career conversations and job opportunities.

As a first step in readying for potential career transitions or advancement, TMMBA Career Management hosted a resume workshop for new TMMBA students in November.  A student said,

“The workshop made me realize that updating my resume was a top priority and motivated me to begin this process almost instantly.  The session provided practical tips, valuable resources and best practices that I can successfully use while updating my resume.  It was a great idea to introduce to participants early in the program.”

Elaine Newtson, MBA Career Coach, shared these tactics and expectations to give an MBA resume a distinctive advantage and resonate with recruiters, interviewers, and decision makers:

  • Add a specific and targeted Summary under your heading.  This should highlight key skills and abilities that are relevant to the kind of work you’re seeking.  It tells the reader what you want to do, creates a personal brand, and is your best argument as to why they should hire you.  Know your audience.  Use relevant keywords that show your leadership experience, broad technical skills, and business competencies.  Eliminate an objective that describes the type of position desired.
  • Include a few results-oriented accomplishment bullets (1-2 sentences each) for every position.  Clearly describe how your actions contributed to the team, department, or long-term impact of the company.  Include quantitative metrics and numerical support (#, $, %).
  • Make your resume easy to read quickly.  Eliminate groups of words that can be said in a single word.  Avoid large paragraphs jammed with text.  Remove “References Available upon Request” at the bottom of your resume.  Trends: hyperlinked testimonials, call-out boxes and breakaway text.  More 2015 trends: http://www.careerealism.com/top-resume-trends-2015/.
  • Optimize for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS).  Use keywords from industry-specific competencies, job postings, and company websites.  (Two resources: https://www.vmock.com/ and https://www.jobscan.co/.)  Use different document formats for system compatibility, a PDF resume when possible and a txt version when inputting data into specific application fields.

Minimum expectations for an MBA resume:

  • Refined and polished
  • Strategic and accomplishment-based
  • Clearly showcases long-term business impact that you made
  • Appropriate density and smooth contemporary formatting

Welcome TMMBA Class 16!

Class 16 students showing their UW pride
Class 16 students showing their UW pride

Last Thursday evening marked TMMBA Class 16’s first official gathering as a cohort for the Welcome Reception at the UW Burke Museum.  Excitement was in the air as students mixed, mingled and met TMMBA faculty and staff who they’ll be working with over the course of their 18-month journey. The “grand reveal” of the TMMBA study groups was a major highlight of the evening – students learned which five other students they’ll partner with for the first three quarters of studies for projects, case discussions and countless hours of studying. A powerful bonding experience to say the least!

The students also heard words of encouragement from TMMBA Program Director, Tracy Gojdics, and TMMBA Professor of Management, Bruce Avolio, as well as some sage advice from current student, Brian Ames, a Senior Manager at the Boeing Company. One year ago (nearly to the date) Brian stood in the same spot as the new students found themselves in – ready to embark on an educational experience of a lifetime. He’s now just over two quarters away from graduation. He broke his advice down into 12 important (yet simple!) takeaways for students to tuck in their back pocket to help them navigate the TMMBA Program:

School:

  1. Get to know your study group on a personal level – invest heavily in this early as you will be spending a lot of time together
  2. Go to all of the social events – take any opportunity you can to get to know the people outside of your study groups and section
  3. Go on the tours career services lines up – you don’t get these opportunities in normal life
  4. Take advantage of all the University has to offer – free bus, cheap football tickets, driving range

Class:

  1. Pay attention in class – sometimes it’s hard after a long day of work but the professors are excellent and then you will have less to do outside of class
  2. Stay organized – exams are typically open-book, open-note and that format rewards those who are organized so create your system early
  3. Do as much as you can and play your own game – don’t feel bad if you have different study habits than your classmates, do what works for you
  4. Take a day off of work every once in a while to get ahead – set that expectation early with your manager and co-workers and don’t feel bad about it!

Personal Life:

  1.  Cut a hobby that takes a significant amount of time – like golfing, pick it back up after you graduate
  2. Take at least one night off of school work per week – try consolidating your work into a few evenings so you have time to spend with your family and friends
  3. Find a good daily stress reliever – exercise and clear your mind
  4. Take advantage of your time off – take time off of work during school breaks and take a vacation

So, who are the students that make up Class 16? We have a diverse and experienced group of professionals that we’re excited to introduce to the TMMBA community …

Looking sharp!

61 Students

  • 70% Male, 30 % Female
  • 35 Companies Represented (Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Ericsson and many more!)
  • 6 Countries Represented (US, India, China, Thailand, Ukraine, Turkey)
  • Average GMAT Score = 590
  • 21% with advanced degrees (masters, doctoral)

These 61 students are now one milestone down. The next milestone awaits just after the Thanksgiving holiday – the TMMBA Program Immersion. The Immersion is a 7-day orientation/immersive experience that will surely help the cohort get back into the student groove. More to come!

Students learn about global business through travel

The Technology Management MBA (TMMBA) International Study Tour gives second year students an experience to see how people live and work in another culture.  Through company visits with executives and managers and cultural excursions, it adds valuable context to learn about and understand the increasingly global economy.  A few previous tours include Vietnam (2014), Dubai and Abu Dhabi (2013) and China (2012).

Students recognize how this trip relates to professional development.  Viveka Raol said “Multinational companies are looking to hire leaders beyond the average MBA, instead they want leaders who have no problem working with cross-cultural teams and are able to adapt to different kinds of settings.  I need to be able to fully comprehend consumer perceptions and preferences across the globe.”

From March 15-21, 2015, fifteen students traveled with faculty member Bruce Avolio and TMMBA staff to the vibrant developing country of Peru.  Before departing, students studied the country and companies and set personal learning goals.  They also reflected on how this trip would contribute to their development as a leader and influence future interactions with classmates.

I was most surprised by the strongly developed and lively metropolis that is Lima. When I thought of Peru before the trip, I thought of the less-developed indigenous tribes of the highlands and jungle.  I expected Peru to be a mixture of my experiences from remote areas of Mexico and India.  I found Lima to be more like Spain – modern and with its own unique culture and flair for life.  I was surprised to find so many foreigners in the capital city, and found the climate for business much more favorable than I had expected.” (John Koehnen)
“I was most surprised by the strongly developed and lively metropolis that is Lima. When I thought of Peru before the trip, I thought of the less-developed indigenous tribes of the highlands and jungle. I expected Peru to be a mixture of my experiences from remote areas of Mexico and India. I found Lima to be more like Spain – modern and with its own unique culture and flair for life. I was surprised to find so many foreigners in the capital city, and found the climate for business much more favorable than I had expected.” (John Koehnen)

For John Koehnen, his goal was to experience and embrace another culture and discover how life and business fit together in South America.  He said “In preparation for the trip, I studied some of the recent macroeconomic trends of Peru and other countries in South America.  This helped frame my expectations, understand what would be important to the people of the region, and ask better questions to uncover nuggets of information that I couldn’t get from a business journal.”

Viveka wanted to learn how the United States is perceived in Peru and practice her intercultural communication skills.  She said “Simple gestures such as direct eye contact, and smiling broadly which are commonplace in the United States can be interpreted very differently in different countries and have the potential to harm business relationships.”

On our first day of company visits, we left the cool comfort of the hotel and boarded a tour bus.  While the driver navigated Lima traffic, three pairs of students balanced in the aisle and presented interesting facts, figures, and stories about each company on the day’s agenda.

Our first presentation was the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) of Peru that promotes and fosters trade, investment, and exchange between Peru and the United States. Chief Economist Rodrigo Acha explained macroeconomic indicators, the business environment, and U.S. relations with Peru.  We learned about the fading of traditional class divisions, growing middle class, and trade balances.  The #1 destination for exports in 2013 was China (U.S. #2) and Peru imports more U.S. goods than other countries.

“It was great to see my classmates outside of the classroom context.  Interacting during, before and after class, it is easy to see everyone only as serious and focused on studies, but the trip provided an opportunity to see the goofy and relaxed side of them.” (Phil Ramey)
“It was great to see my classmates outside of the classroom context. Interacting during, before and after class, it is easy to see everyone only as serious and focused on studies, but the trip provided an opportunity to see the goofy and relaxed side of them.” (Phill Ramey)

I found my classmates to be incredibly engaged and dynamic” said Phill Ramey.  “They asked intelligent and informed questions that drove the collective learning forward during all of our company visits.”

We met and learned about seven more companies over the next few days.

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Zhifeng Wang and Philip Xie with leaders from Ofertop.

Ofertop is a fast growing e-commerce startup who sells discounted deals.  “They are a vivid illustration of TMMBA global strategy concepts and a great story of how a business can flourish by adapting to its local environment” noted Zhifeng Wang.  “Unlike Groupon, Ofertop does not focus on mobile users due to low mobile penetration.  Instead email is a primary channel.  And since a large part of the Peruvian population still relies on cash transitions, they invented a cash payment option to make their business model feasible.”

Marga, a 50-employee textile producer and exporter, sells exquisite Alpaca knitwear. We entered the factory floor, with whirring machines and work tables, and squished into a showroom where Gonzalo Diaz, the new General Manager, explained their manufacturing steps, business markets, and expansion strategy for seven retail stores in Lima.

MargaMarga 2

A student presentation started our last full day in Lima.  Maureen Nash fearlessly sung these lyrics to the tune of “Come Together” by the Beatles:

Hey pay attention, Alicorp sells pasta, milk, and trades
Value to their custo-
– Mers to make them happy
Keeping business money
Founded 1956, going public 1980
Pay attention, right now, Alicorp!

Alicorp is a leading consumer goods company with 160 brands, operations in six Latin America countries, and 39% income from outside Peru.  With 33 bakery brands, we were struck by their marketing strategies.  They don’t market to children.

After visiting Lima, we traveled to the ancient city of Cusco, Peru, located at 11,200 feet in the Andes Mountains.  Motorbikes roared through cobblestone streets while llamas grazed freely on the mountainside.  We took a 2-hour drive through the rolling hills, green valleys, and jagged peaks.  Another 2-hour train ride brought us to the village of Aguas Calientes, where we boarded a bus and ascended to the entrance of Macchu Pichu.

Many adjectives describe a first glimpse of looking down on the lost city of the Incas, 200 ancient stone buildings perched between four mountains.  One student said “I’m speechless.”

After a group photo, we hiked for 2-3 hours to reach the Sun Gate, the official end of the Inca Trail.  Viveka reflected on her experience:

“I felt a sense of humility as I connected with the 'Pacha mama' (mother earth) as Peruvians would call it. The vastness of the Andes Mountains and the openness of the sky reminded me that life is transient and that we need to make the most of our life journey.”  (Viveka Raol)
“I felt a sense of humility as I connected with the ‘Pacha mama’ (mother earth) as Peruvians would call it. The vastness of the Andes Mountains and the openness of the sky reminded me that life is transient and that we need to make the most of our life journey.”

“Peruvians are selfless people who seem to put others before themselves. My most vivid memory was the long hike to the Sun Gate in Machu Picchu.

The high altitude, congested sinuses, and sleepless nights culminated in a long and treacherous hike for me. Our tour guide was patient, empathic, and encouraged me every step of the way. I can still hear his soothing voice in my head, sharing stories of the Inca and their architectural prowess. His storytelling and kind persona helped alleviate my pain and at one point he even offered to carry my bag and heavy jacket to help lighten my load.

My learning from this is to make sure that I do my very best to develop and intellectually engage my direct reports.  Only if there is a pure cooperative dynamic, between employee and employer, will there be a desire to perform optimally.”

We traveled home to Seattle the next day and fondly remember the people and learning beyond the classroom walls of the Technology Management MBA program.  If you’re a future or current student considering the international trip, John advises “Just go.  Sign up.  Explore.  Take a chance.  It is life-shaping and a real-life case study of all TMMBA learnings to-date.”

Photos courtesy of Paul Jeyasingh.

Bruce Avolio: Traveling Globally, Inspiring Locally

Our tour bus glided through snarled Lima traffic while Bruce Avolio kneeled in his seat to face 17 members of the TMMBA International Study Tour (IST) in March 2015.  We had just finished visiting Ofertop, an e-commerce startup, and Graña y Montero, a group of 26 engineering and infrastructure service companies.

Bruce recapped our visits with these local and multinational companies.  We had learned about the dynamic economic, political, and cultural landscapes of their businesses, asked questions during the presentation, and informally talked with leaders.

He announced “How did we today, on a scale of one to five?”  The group laughed yet listened closely.   “I’ll give you a 4.8.”  It was a high score yet with a gap to improve to 5.0.  I replay this exchange when I think about our trip, as his motivating and engaging style contributed significantly to our memorable week in Peru.

Bruce also joined a study tour to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2014.  All student travelers completed his course International Business & Cultural Immersion.

Bruce Avolio, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (CLST) at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.  Appointed as the inaugural Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership in 2013, he is widely recognized for his outstanding research, consulting, and graduate-level teaching on transformational and authentic leadership.  He has authored more than 150 published articles and 11 books.

In this interview, Bruce shares his perspectives on the distinctive value of a TMMBA International Study Tour and his path to the Foster Business School and TMMBA.

Q.  What stands out to you as rewarding and meaningful in a TMMBA IST?

A.  Two things come to mind.  Number one is the group.  The group came together so quickly and supportively in Peru.  I keep reflecting on how much they did for each other.  They were fun to be with and conscientious and focused on what we needed to do.  They were present.  On the company visits, they were told several times, “that if you keep asking questions, we won’t be able to get through everything.”  The number of questions was terrific, informative, engaging, and reflected well on all of us.

The group in Dubai and Abu Dhabi needed time to acclimate because it’s quite different ─ particularly for women as it’s a very different experience ─ but they came together as a group and achieved everything I hoped they would.  First, that they would be great brand representatives of Foster and the TMMBA, and second, that they would help each other in every sense and leave no one behind.  They exceeded both goals in terms of my expectations.

I also think the pre-trip preparation was valuable to get everyone in the mindset of what they would learn through this experience: what would expand in your knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs and how to set goals and prep for this so you come back with something that has a tangible effect.

A lot of people talk about the first time they went to a different place – could be Paris, NYC, or Cambodia.  In our daily lives, you kind of know the place ─ and even though there are probably many things to learn – you may not be thinking about what you’ll learn.   When you go away, I think there is a greater sense of awareness that something there that can be extracted.  You’re ready to learn and your motivation level is higher.

Q.  You describe a trigger moment in development as a little tiny intellectual nugget that drops in and affects your thinking for a long time. What was a trigger moment or experience that stood out on the trips?

A.  Early on the Peru trip, it struck me when someone said I’ve come to know people in my class better in the last three days than I did in the last 15 months.  I told the new TMMBA class that the trip is a great chance to expand your knowledge and also get to know each other, but I hope you get to know each other earlier.  This is your future network and networks really build the success of programs.

Another was meeting an entrepreneur in Dubai who was getting his company off the ground.  He was so enthusiastic on the prospects and bounced around his small office that we all tried to fit in.  But he also talked a lot about how hard it is to find people like him.  And then we met a similar entrepreneur in Lima and it felt like you could be in SoHo New York or Palo Alto, California.  He was very quiet and watched his COO talk about the business.  But then he got up and threw energy and passion into his talk.  Here are two entrepreneurial leaders where it would be so cool to have a global entrepreneurial meeting of people who come from very different cultures and similar motivations to create something to make a difference.  One comes from wealth and probably doesn’t need to do it and the other has to create opportunities.  They were so similar in their enthusiasm and interests, yet they may never meet.

In Peru, I noticed how gracious people were and their sense of community and family.  People take time and we don’t take time like you see in other cultures, and I think we’re missing this and it’s always reinforced when I go to cultures like Peru.

Q.  You describe global mindset as how an individual and organizations do business in the geographical and cultural context of another country.  A core purpose of the IST is to expand global mindset.  How does global mindset affect leadership strengths and performance?

A.  I see global mindset applying to their leadership in the TMMBA program, how students work with each other and how they come to understand each other.

From a leadership perspective, it’s thinking about the different cultures that are part of your experience and how you look and relate.  They are global ambassadors.  They are going to run companies and divisions of companies, and could have a lot of challenges with respect to global mindset.

It’s thinking about how to grow your business in different cultures.  Our markets are saturated in the U.S. and North America and we’re all looking for places to grow business in other places in the world.  For example, we don’t think a lot about Africa.  It’s a billion person market and we’re starting to see some things happen there that point to positive growth in markets.  If you don’t have a global mindset, you’re never going to think of those markets.

Even within a TMMBA class it’s really important.  This is poignant for me because I really respect Narayana Murthy, the Co-founder of Infosys.  I have a case study in technology, and it’s about this leader.  I’ve had several students come up since I started using the case and say thank you so much for bringing him into the program.

I do it because I want them to know it’s not just teaching about some of our CEOs in the U.S.  We want to look at the world.

Q.  What life lessons or surprise takeaways have you heard from students after the Peru trip?

A.  A lot of it is preconceptions they had going in and how they really changed through the experience.  It turned out to be a much more in-depth experience and even for people who have traveled a lot.

We had some people who hadn’t traveled so it was the preconception and then the adjustment, which I would say is global mindset.  We all learned through observing how we interacted with different cultures or just simple things like meeting and interacting with people on the street.

Q.  What advice would you give a student considering the trip?

A.  This is a unique experience that you will carry forward in your life that you probably won’t replicate in your career.  When you look at your entire life, there is not a lot of time for this.  You may want to travel and relax and sit on the beach.

When we go on these trips, the task is learning.  This is a time when you can take a week or ten days and just heads down learn.  You have opportunities to show what you’ve learned.  You have an opportunity to connect with people that could sustain relationships with the program and their networks.  And you have an opportunity to add to your global mindset.  Why wouldn’t you do it if you could afford it?  Why wouldn’t you do it if you could manage it with your family and job?

There is something rich about this experience because it’s not a requirement.

Q.  Before TMMBA study tours, you decided to move from the University of Nebraska to the Foster Business School. Tell me about a key factor behind your decision.

A.  The interest in leadership was central to my decision.  I also grew up on public education and the vision to be the best public business school was energizing.  I felt it was really important to demonstrate that we could be as good as any other university and business school in the public domain.

As an explorer, I wanted to try a different place.  I had only been here once or twice – never out of downtown ─ so I didn’t even know there were mountains here.

Q.  How did you start with TMMBA and what do you most enjoy?

A.  It was really serendipitous. There was an opportunity to be involved in the program and teach a leadership class in summer 2009.

What I like about TMMBA is being in a bunch of different worlds every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, since students come from different parts of the world. They have a really strong interest in learning and there is a cohort-feel, which you don’t necessarily feel in other programs.

I really enjoy them as a group. I like the diversity. I like the cohort. I like the way technologists think systematically and I like being able to challenge them, when I get the chance, to think a different way.

And there is the staff.  This is unique as the staff are all present when you walk in to the Eastside Executive Center so you have different feeling here than in other programs.

Q.  What did you want to be when you grew up?

A.  First, I’m making the assumption that I haven’t grown up yet.  I’m still working toward that.  Grow old but never grow up!

Every boy I knew growing up in New York wanted to play for the New York Yankees.  And I did.  On a summer evening with friends, I was playing Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris and thinking someday I would put on the blue pin-stripe suit and play for the Yankees.

I also really remember being very interested in archeology.  I don’t know the origin of this.  I thought and actually still do love history and seeing the layers of how things are built.  When we were in Peru, I was interested in Inca everything.

Q.  How did you become interested in Industrial Psychology?

A.  In college, I found a lot of things interesting and I declared my major in psychology in my senior year.

I was really interested in the area of criminology but then I took a course in Industrial Psychology.  I thought my interests in applying psychology to organizations may be broader than just correctional institutions.  I thought about what to do with that.  My girlfriend broke up with me so I decided to leave NY and that’s when I left for Ohio and started my graduate work.  It turned out to be one of the best Industrial Psychology programs at the time.

Bruce recalled a wise observation by Renee, our tour guide at Machu Picchu, “This is a way of thinking not a way of necessarily walking on stones.  Don’t look at the physical structure – this is a place of learning that students and their mentors would come to.”
Bruce recalled a wise observation by Renee, our tour guide at Machu Picchu, “This is a way of thinking not a way of necessarily walking on stones. Don’t look at the physical structure – this is a place of learning that students and their mentors would come to.”

 

 

Team Hook On A Roll

Following Entrepreneurship courses in the Winter quarter, Class 14 was abuzz with new business ideas. This was evident by the TMMBA program having the strongest turnout in its history for the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition (BPC).

One new venture with close ties to the TMMBA program is Hook, led by Class 14 student Robert Moehle. Hook won 2nd place at the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge, and is currently in the Sweet 16 of the BPC.

The team, whose members met through an event hosted by the Buerk Center, has set out to make smart home technology accessible to everyone by offering “home automation on a budget.” One Hook device in the home offers control of anything electric from the user’s smartphone. This allows for energy savings, improved home safety, and convenience.

Hook is currently taking pre-orders on Kickstarter, with a little under two weeks left to reach their funding goal of $25,000 for an initial production run.

“I’ve been able to apply the concepts learned from my TMMBA classes directly and almost instantly,” remarked Moehle. “I am thankful for the program and opportunities offered by Foster, which have given me the chance to pursue my entrepreneurial desires. The TMMBA faculty and staff have been incredibly supportive in every way.”

Please support Hook on Kickstarter, and share their project with your friends and followers!

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Hola from Peru!

Traveling 4961 miles from Seattle, our group of 18 began the 2015 TMMBA International Study Tour today in Peru. The country is approximately the size of Alaska and has 28 different climates.

Our first visit is Lima, the capital city of nearly 10 million people and 43 neighborhoods. It’s the industrial and financial center of Peru.

We boarded a tour bus and enjoyed an afternoon city tour. Our first stop was Huaca Hullamarca, an ancient pyramid from AD 200 to 500. We were greeted by a Peruvian Hairless dog and saw a preserved mummy.

We then traveled to Lima’s historic center. The San Francisco Convent, rebuilt in 1672, was a highlight.

Part of our group in front of the San Francisco Church
Part of our group in front of the San Francisco Church

It’s a working monastery with 26 monks living there. We cooled off next to a lovely courtyard with walls decorated in colorful Spanish tiles, before we continued underground to the eerie catacombs of hundreds of bones and skulls.

We finished the day with a welcome dinner at the spectacular ruins of Huaca Pucllana.

Group Welcome Dinner
Group Welcome Dinner

Over the next few days, we’ll visit several companies ranging from one of the largest Peruvian consumer goods company to an e-commerce leader and the #1 startup in Peru. We’ll then fly to the city of Cusco and Machu Picchu, an ancient city in the Andes mountain range, the 2nd tallest in the world.

 

This will surely be a memorable week of meeting new people and developing a deeper understanding of how Peruvians live and conduct business.

The International Study Tour is an optional tour that takes place in the second year of the TMMBA Program. Students who participate broaden their business knowledge base and immerse in a different culture. This includes visiting companies, touring manufacturing facilities, and meeting business leaders and government officials.IMG_3023