Category Archives: About TMMBA

TMMBA Week in the Life: Sarah McCaffrey, Day Four

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Today is my birthday.

Image courtesy Crafty Candles
Image courtesy Crafty Candles

After publishing this post, I will log off for the rest of the day. Front-loading TMMBA coursework ahead of special occasions has been surprisingly straightforward. Every now and then, a critical assignment or study session might conflict with personal time, but the pacing of the program doesn’t allow it to happen often. I haven’t missed a family birthday, wedding, or holiday yet. My sisters have picked up the habit of checking my Saturday class schedule before planning something major. Everyone supports educational goals, going out of their way to make the adaptation painless for me. It’s a side of them I love to see.

TMMBA Week in the Life: Sarah McCaffrey, Day Three

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Yesterday evening, my learning team and I had a Skype session to go over an upcoming group case write-up. We often prefer meeting in person for major team projects, especially while figuring out our first plan of attack; but Skype, Google hangouts, Facebook, and e-mail make our priorities much more flexible and manageable.

Incoming call.
Incoming call.

For example, we can put together some rough numbers and share the work on-screen during a group call.

So helpful. (Edited because this is an active assignment.)
So helpful. (Edited because this is an active assignment.)

We stayed online for about an hour, settled on an outline for the case write-up, and planned our next meeting. After hanging up, we were already in our own homes, free to keep working or shift focus as needed. Remote meetings are a little harder to navigate than face-to-face conversations, but they have their perks.

Today, I caught up on reading at the park near my house, one of my best habits for study-life balance. My kids appreciate it. Laptops and tablets were the inventions of the century — I think most of our TMMBA class would agree. I also had a Media Theory class with the University of Washington MCDM program. Some of my classmates give me a lot of credit for pursuing two degrees, but the momentum makes doubling up much easier than it sounds. Until last year, the military demanded most of my time. I appreciate how many hours I get to spend with my family now, though I do look forward to reading future “Weeks in the Life” from full-time working members of the cohort. I can’t imagine how they get it all done.

TMMBA Week in the Life: Sarah McCaffrey, Day Two

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

As I mentioned in day one’s blog post, I gave a persuasive presentation for Professional Communications yesterday evening. This particular class progresses in a unique format: a comprehensive seminar during immersion week followed by a longer-term self-paced schedule. We developed personal elevator speeches first, snapshots of who we are and what we hope to achieve condensed to the length of an elevator ride. I plan to maintain an up-to-date elevator speech for the rest of my professional career. Knowing exactly what to say in those moments is valuable.

Our most recent exercise was broader in focus, any topic with which we hope to persuade our classmates. Tactful persuasion is more complicated than it looks.

TMMBA Week in the Life: Sarah McCaffrey, Day One

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Welcome to the first installment of a new TMMBA series, “Week in the Life,” in which you can read about a typical week in the life of a TMMBA student. Today you’ll hear a little bit about me, Sarah McCaffrey, a former Marine Staff Sergeant currently in full-time pursuit of two degrees, the Technology Management MBA and the Master of Communication in Digital Media.

I’m writing this blog post during a break in the middle of our Macroeconomics class.

Classmates focusing intently on the CPI inflation of Japan.
Classmates focusing intently on the CPI inflation of Japan.

My TMMBA-related activities start early, checking my university e-mail account and a private Facebook group set up by my learning team over morning coffee, to see if we have any action items. Today I spent a little over two hours rehearsing my Professional Communications persuasive speech exercise. I was lucky enough to have an audience, however unenthusiastic they became after the first few run-throughs: my two daughters, aged three and five.

Daughters, plus a distant ostrich.
Daughters, plus a distant ostrich.

As a member of the Monday section, I headed to Macroeconomics for today’s session. Dinner is catered at 5:00 p.m., completely delicious and much appreciated in all of our busy schedules. I gave my persuasive speech at 6:00, which we can feature on the blog later this week. Several student presentations kicked off the class today, as well as introductions to today’s perspective student visitors.

A few of our lovely visitors with their student liaison.
A few of our lovely visitors with their student liaison.

I look forward to blogging daily this week, mixing it up with non-class activities and team meetings. Thanks for reading!

Summer Quarter Course Preview

Mikaela Houck, Manager of Academic & Student Services

With TMMBA Class 13 already one third of the way done with their 18-month program experience, the students are currently enjoying a short “break” between quarters. However, no rest for the weary, as they like to say. Even with some time off, the TMMBA Class 13 group has already kicked off preparations for their upcoming summer quarter classes.

Below is a sneak peek of what’s to come for the group:

Strategic Marketing Management

Strategic Marketing Management is the first of two marketing courses woven into the TMMBA curriculum. A blend of market analysis, strategy and implementation, this course is designed for students to explore the theory and applications of marketing concepts. Students will dive into the 5Cs and 4Ps and develop the skills needed to design a marketing strategy and its implementation plan.

About the Instructor: Natalie Mizik, Associate Professor of Marketing, is in her second year with the Foster School and TMMBA Program. In her short time with the program thus far, she’s already made her mark by receiving “Faculty of the Year” honors from the recent graduating class. Natalie’s specialties include branding, marketing strategy, myopic management, and pharmaceutical marketing. Read more about Natalie and her road to academia here.

Decision Modeling

Let’s do some quantitative analysis! This course teaches students to build and evaluate models and to understand the reasoning behind model-based analysis. Students delve into spreadsheet packages and master features that allow managers to perform sophisticated quantitative analysis in the comfortable and intuitive environment of the spreadsheet.

About the Instructor: A veteran to the Foster School and TMMBA, Mark Hillier, Associate Professor of Quantitative Methods, is about to embark on his 10th year of teaching with the TMMBA Program. Mark’s focuses include quantitative methods, operations management, and inventory control.  TMMBA students gain first-hand knowledge of Mark’s extensive research – he uses his own textbook “Introduction to Management Science: A Modeling and Case Studies Approach with Spreadsheets” in the classroom.

Domestic and International Economic Conditions

GDP, inflation, fiscal policies … oh my! Students are challenged to analyze global macroeconomic fluctuations on business and the challenges of macroeconomic policy-making in an interdependent world. Students come away with the tools to understand the key elements of economic growth, inflation, unemployment, business cycles, fiscal policy and monetary policy.  The global aspects are highlighted with consideration of national business systems, trade policy, the political economy of trade, and regional economic integration.

About the Instructor: Debra Glassman, Senior Lecturer in Business Economics, specializes in international finance, global macroeconomics, international trade policy and institutions, and European business. Debra has received past accolades as TMMBA Faculty of the Quarter and is currently researching home bias in international portfolio investment &  the World Trade Organization and international trade disputes.

Professional Communications: Persuasion

People become leaders because of their ability to persuade others to follow them.  In business, the art of selling your ideas is critical for personal success and for achieving the mission of any enterprise. Students will explore the elements of successfully persuading people and must deliver an in-class persuasive presentation.

About the Instructor: TMMBA Instructor, Lorraine Howell, is also a founder of Media Skills Training. As an award-winning broadcast media veteran, Lorraine has leveraged her expertise and worked with numerous TMMBA cohorts to hone students’ public speaking & presentation skills.


These courses offer a glimpse into the complete course offerings of the TMMBA Program. For a full list of the TMMBA curriculum, click here.

The TMMBA experience: A Q&A with current students and an alum

Sara Jones, Associate Director & 2012 alum

I recently hosted a live chat on Twitter with two current TMMBA students and an alum to talk about their experience going through the program. From why they chose the program to favorite classes and career impact, here’s a recap of what they had to say.

Eight TMMBA Highlights in 2012

    1. Students make it to the Final Four Round of the Business Plan Competition.

      Xylemed took the $10,000 second place prize and GroBox won $2,500 for the Best Consumer Product Idea. Read about the TMMBA teams that entered the competition and hear from Xylemed participants about their experience.

      TMMBA students at the 2012 UW Foster Business Plan Competition

    2. We admitted our 13th class into the TMMBA Program.

      The newest class is made up of 72 students representing 44 organizations from 13 countries averaging 12 years of work experience. They kicked off their journey in a packed 7-day Immersion Week in December. The immersion courses covered teamwork, negotiation, communications, and ethics. Students also got to practice their business etiquette at our annual Etiquette Dinner.

    3. TMMBA joined the WTIA.

      Through the Washington Technology Industry Association membership, students and alums now have access to a wide array of benefits. This is just one more opportunity for them to expand their network and get access to a great mix of events and continuing education opportunities.

    4. Alums hit the fields on second annual TMMBA Ultimate Frisbee team.

      We played against teams from Microsoft, Google, Tableau, Boeing, and many other local companies in the DiscNW summer league. There were 24 players representing the Classes of ’03, ’09, ’10, ’11, and ’12. Read highlights from season.

    5. TMMBA held its first local company visit in the fall.

      Students visited Boeing in Everett for a VIP tour of the factory floor. They got to see first-hand how one big company puts into practice the operations and supply chain strategies they were learning about in the classroom.

    6. Students visited Singapore and Beijing on the International Study Tour.

      From hot and humid to cold and snowy, Class of 2012 students ventured out to explore these cities, the local culture, and visit a mix of companies spanning healthcare, energy, telecom, luxury goods and many other industries. Students shared their takeaways in these blog posts.

      TMMBA Class of 2012 at Singapore Airlines

    7. TMMBA added two new courses into the curriculum.

      In Social Media for Managers, students were introduced to successful social media programs and took a broad look at social media – from tactics and tools to how to use social in their business strategy. The new Venture Capital Investment Practicum is a two-day course that synthesizes the TMMBA curricula with a refresher of marketing, finance, and management through the lens of venture capital investing. The output is an all-day competition where teams analyze two businesses and present their analysis and investment decision to a panel of entrepreneur judges.

    8. “TMMBA Contributes” turns five.

      Once a year for the past five years, TMMBA has invited students, alumni, and staff to take a break from their hectic lives and lend a helping hand in the community at our TMMBA Contributes event. Whether packing food at Food Lifeline, helping out at the Treehouse store, or pulling invasive weeds at the Seattle Youth Garden, we come together for a few hours of service. View photos from this year’s volunteer event at Food Lifeline.

New benefits for TMMBA students and alums!

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director

The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) is one of the largest statewide tech trade associations in North America, and we’re it’s newest member!  What does this mean for you? Through the TMMBA WTIA membership our students and alumni now have access to their wide mix of member benefits, including:

  • Free and discounted attendance at WTIA events
  • Access to the WTIA network (800 member companies and 100,000 tech workers statewide)
  • 13 community and special interest groups to join
  • Access to online WTIA Job Center
  • Discounts through WTIA Marketplace (health benefits, human resources, 401K, computer equipment, personal insurance, and more)

Work + TMMBA doesn’t mean you can’t still find time for fun!

Anuradha Raju joined TMMBA in January 2012 and is now halfway through the program. She has seven years of work experience and is currently a Design Verification Engineer 3 on the Microsoft Surface. We asked Anu how life has changed since joining the program and she shared this great graphic. It looks like Anu has really mastered the art of balance!

Life before and during the TMMBA Program

Monday Myths: Part I

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Program Coordinator
TMMBA Mythbusters

Who doesn’t love to start their Monday with a little myth de-bunking? At TMMBA, we want to help applicants get beyond the rumors and misconceptions to help them submit their best application. Over the next few Mondays, I will be posting some of the most frequent myths that we hear from applicants and prospective students, and in response-  the TMMBA truth.

 A perfect GMAT score guarantees I’m in.


Truth: Achieving the “holy grail” of an 800 (or even a 750-790) GMAT score doesn’t guarantee you anything, besides maybe bragging rights around your cubicle.  While the GMAT is a required portion of the application, the admissions team uses that number in conjunction with many other factors to determine if a student should be admitted. For TMMBA, we’re looking for more than just numbers and off-the-charts intellectual ability. It’s also important that you are well rounded both professionally and personally- showing the ability to interact with others, contribute to your class, and handle the rigors of the program.

Bottom Line: The GMAT is one component of the holistic selection process for TMMBA. A perfect score doesn’t give us any information about your interpersonal skills, leadership ability, or professional experience.


I have to wait until my entire application is completed online before hitting “submit”.


Truth: You can submit your application anytime that you have filled out your online profile, uploaded your resume and essays, and designated your recommenders. In fact, by submitting with an incomplete application, it helps us to keep in touch with you and get your application processed faster, once complete.

Bottom Line: If you’re waiting on your GMAT, recommendations, or an English proficiency test, click submit anyway! That way, we can get your file in order so it’s ready to be evaluated as soon as your final component is in.


Stay with us Mythbusters- next Monday we’ll tackle two more myths on our road to the TMMBA truth. In the meantime, let us know what questions you may have regarding TMMBA misconceptions. We’ll do our best to get the truth out there!