Category Archives: Admissions

That’s a wrap!

Mikaela Houck, TMMBA Program Assistant

Our September 1st final application deadline has recently passed, and we’re in the final stages of evaluating a strong and diverse group of applicants. Congrats to all TMMBA Class 10 applicants for completing the very involved process of essay writing, GMAT prepping, and interviewing.

Class 10 students will meet each other for the first time at the Welcome Reception on Tuesday, November 17th – Looking forward to a great event!

GMAT Anxiety

Tracy Gojdics, Director

I have been meeting with many applicants and prospective students lately to discuss their GMAT scores and want to share with you my thoughts on this test that causes folks a lot of anxiety…

– The GMAT is just one component of the application. When we say that the admissions process is a holistic process we mean it. The GMAT score does not tell an applicant’s whole story.

– We accept a students with a range of GMAT scores. Typically the average is around 630 for a class, but the range can be quite vast. Because we get to know most of the applicants and have had a conversation with them about their work history, aspirations and educational background, should a “low” (to quote applicants) GMAT doesn’t override what we know about you.

– Believe it or not there have been times when applicants with 700+ GMAT scores have not been offered admission. It comes down to fit, ability to contribute, motivation and interpersonal and team skills. Scoring high in these areas are what count.

Is there a “minimum” score required? It depends. If you are unsure of whether you should retake the GMAT please come see me or call me.

Apply online – Easy as 1,2,3

Mikaela Houck, Program Assistant

For your convenience, TMMBA has moved to an online application this year. We’ve made it easier and more efficient for you to submit your application materials, and here are three reasons why:

1. Easy document upload – You can upload or enter your resume and essay questions online. Once you have created your profile, you can save your work and come back to it at a later date.

2. Online recommendation submittal – You can designate your recommenders online. After you enter your recommenders’ contact information, they will receive an email with direct access to the recommendation form and can then submit their recommendation electronically.

3. Track your materials – After you have submitted the online portion of your application, you can access your profile to track the progress of your application. You can follow along as the TMMBA office receives your official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Our final deadline is September 1st, so get started today! Click here to access the application.

When should I apply to the TMMBA Program?

Tina Bassir, Program Manager

Are you thinking about applying to the TMMBA Program this year? Did you know we have a rolling admissions process? As soon as you submit all required materials, the admissions committee will begin reviewing your file. Therefore, the earlier you apply, the sooner you’ll receive a decision from us (generally one month after submitting your application materials).

The application process for TMMBA Class 10 (beginning in January 2010) is already in full swing. While the final deadline is Sept 1, we have an early deadline on June 1. Applying by the early deadline has some added benefits such as choosing between the Monday section or Wednesday section and participating in program events before classes begin.

We are more than happy to answer your questions about the application process (or about the program in general). If you are thinking about applying to the TMMBA Program this year, I hope you will join us at an upcoming Information Session or Application Workshop to learn more. View dates and RSVP

Get the Inside Scoop – Visit a TMMBA Class

Mikaela Houck, Program Assistant

Are you trying to figure out if the TMMBA Program is the right fit for you? If so, I’d recommend visiting a TMMBA class. This is a unique way to meet current students and faculty and experience the dynamic and “real life” classroom environment.

Class visits are offered at the Eastside Executive Center on Monday and Wednesday evenings and some Saturdays throughout the year. Visitors are paired with a host and invited to dine with the students prior to the start of class. This upcoming quarter, visitors can choose from an variety of classes: Economics, Corporate Finance, Organizational Change, and Global Management.

Although there are many opportunities to learn more about our program, visiting a TMMBA class really provides you with an exclusive look at the program. For one night, prospective students can dive into the world of academia and test the waters!

I coordinate the TMMBA class visits, so if you would like more information on how to attend an upcoming class, feel free to contact me at

“I did it myyyyy way”

Tom Mackey, TMMBA Student

I called the program late;
And almost missed the final end day,
One week, to GMAT take,
I did it myyyyy way.

(With apologies to Frank Sinatra)

…but maybe not the best way.

So how is it to get revved up and into an MBA program at an age that not long ago would have been considered “over the hill”? And what if you’re up against a deadline? A quick aside, first.

I was five, and my sister just born when my family took a vacation to Florida to visit former neighbors who had just moved down there, and to visit some of the places that my dad had seen while stationed there with the army sixteen or so years earlier. The year was 1958, and my dad would have been just a few months shy of 40. It was my first visit to the South and even to my young eyes, there were signs of racial discrimination everywhere. Florida was still pretty much unspoiled, not the sea of mobile home parks and strip malls it is today. There were still quiet little fishing towns on the coast and I remember my dad and his friend going out for a day charter. I recently ran across a tourism magazine and a picture he had from his army days, and I remember the coast looking pretty close to this image:


I had a great time — it was my first exposure to Southern cooking and I really took to the hush puppies, scallops, grits, and other tasty treats. My mother was miserable. It was hot, humid, and she was struggling with caring for a new-born while on the road. I remember arriving back home after a few weeks and seeing the yellow envelope on the door. Now in those days, if you had a message that you had to get to someone, and know they got it, you used the Western Union Telegraph company. When the Western Union man came knocking on your door, it was rarely good news. I imagine the message went something like this:


My dad had been laid off while we were on vacation.

For two years he struggled to find another job. He took a series of odd jobs, but none paid very well — he even worked on the road crews for awhile, literally, digging ditches. With a shovel. He took me out a few times to help light the smudge pots alongside the construction sites. No one wanted to hire someone who was over 40. In the end, it was Southern California that providing him a chance to reinvent himself — he was hired by a company supplying precision gyros and other electro-mechanical devices to the aerospace industry, perfectly fitting his expertise in complex electro-mechanical devices filled with tiny parts.

These days, we have it much easier, since the passage of various anti-discrimination laws. And, generally, we are in much better health today. Even after nine months of the siren call of the ice cream freezer in TMMBA HQ, I still regularly hoof it nearly a mile from my front door to catch my preferred bus downtown, then make the two-and-a-half block dash to the bus tunnel for a connection down to SeaTac. And, having spent a good part of my career in various SW development roles involving applied mathematics and logic, I figured I could keep up with the academic challenges.

By the way, I found that one of Google’s StreetView cams recently caught the same scene shown above. Sixty-five years can certainly change the look of a place… Check out the aerial view showing the area from the water side!



For an entire summer I watched the buses with the TMMBA ads and wondered if I could hack it. Then, with a boot from a co-worker who got interested in going for his MBA, I decided to call the program to find out what it would take to apply. I sure cut it close. My completed application, and a late fee, with transcripts from my undergrad degree, a written “personal statement”, and a passing grade in something called a “GMAT” test, had to be received at the TMMBA HQ the following Monday. Well, having nothing to lose, I decided to go for it.

A visit to the Western Washington University web site, with credit card in hand, got my transcript on its way and an extra small fee ensured that it would be sent out that day. Then off to to register for a GMAT test. That would take three business days, meaning I could not download the practice material until Thursday at the earliest, nor register for the test. I did a little web surfing to find out what I could about this “GMAT” test and started writing my personal statement.

As soon as I had a sign-on to, I downloaded the practice test and started registering for a test. Hmmm….. No test spots available in Seattle for several weeks out. Not good. Now what? OK. How about other cities? None in Western Washington. OK. How about Eastern Washington? Super! I snagged a spot first thing in the morning on Friday in Yakima. A call to the TMMBA HQ verified that as long as I took the test by Monday, the results would be accepted. This is Thursday afternoon. I can do this! I have a few hours to look at the practice test, see what kind of math I need to review, and bone up on my written work, hit the road at oh-dark-thirty and be in Yakima in time for the test at 0900.

So let’s take a look at the sample test. The essay part I figured would be easy — long ago I learned to write an acceptable 5-paragraph paper, you know — introduce 3 topics, write a good paragraph on each, conclude by tying the three topics together. So what about the language usage and comprehensive parts? Yikes! I would have blown those questions. They are way-tricky and I will need to pay very close attention to parts of speech, punctuation, verb conjugation, and such. Sure glad I took a look before I got there.

Now the math part. First crack open my old calculus text. Let’s see… 2-D geometry is pretty cake. 3-D not too much harder. Heck, I’ve written graphics sub-systems so once the synapses start firing again, should be no problem. Now areas and volumes. Pi-D, 1/2 base*height, pies are square, Pythagoras Theorem, factoring polynomials, FOIL, Cramer’s rule, oh dear… What have I gotten myself in to??? Let’s try some sample problems. First three, pretty easy. Then number 4 takes 10 minutes, then number 5 stumps me. I’m tired. I have to get some sleep so I don’t fall asleep driving over the pass. Worst case, I fail the GMAT and try next year.

I’m probably not the only one who has ever crammed math by dawn’s early light while watching for wayward deer and elk driving over the pass at 70 mph; I am reasonably certain, however, that the club is rather exclusive!

The essay part was first. They give you what is essentially a little white board to use for notes and I scribbled an outline, then started writing. I didn’t leave myself quite enough time and the system cut me off about 3 1/2 words from the end. Would it at least take what I had typed? I can’t let that question bother me. On to the next section. When I came to the math part, I was pretty wiped emotionally, but I was also revved up mentally. Then, about 1/2 way in, I came to a problem on which I spent way too much time. I had to really move if I was going to finish the test. With 5 minutes to go I still had 10 problems. Now on the GMAT, and other adaptive tests, if you miss a problem, the next one is easier, and if you get one correct, the next one is harder. If you guess, and get it wrong, the test will magnify that error by leading you back to easier problems. I also knew that some of the problems, up to four, if I remember correctly, are “candidate” problems, meaning that they are not counted. Weighing my options, I decided that to get a score high enough to get into the TMMBA program, I would need to finish the math portion as best I could. So, I eyeballed each of the last problems and if I couldn’t solve it within 30 seconds, I took my best guess — hoping if I guessed wrong, it would be a candidate problem. The clock ran out and the last two problems went unanswered. Completely drained, I filled out the list of programs to which I wanted my score reported, retrieved my belongings taken during the pat-down search, and took my time driving home. I still had to write my personal statement; that is a story I told earlier.

In the end, I scored 600, which is at the high end of the dome of the bell curve. That is, 2/3 of the test takers score between 400 and 600 out of the 800 possible. It still irks me that I did worse in math than language, but I can live with that. Several weeks later, I received my acceptance letter. I was in the program!!!

What do you mean, “Juvenile”?

Tom Mackey, TMMBA Student

One of the things that must be included in your admissions packet is a personal statement explaining why you want to enter the TMMBA program. There are a number of questions that you need to respond to, and a page limit — I won’t get more specific than that. Now I fancy myself as being pretty good with prose, so I figured that this would be a no-brainer.

By the time I was done, I would prove my preceding opinion wrong — twice over…

I wrote the essay and showed it to Marilyn. She wanted to see the requirements. I showed them to her. She tossed my paper back to me and said, “It’s juvenile — if you want to be rejected, go ahead and turn it in like that.” Ouch. Oh, my ego. Juvenile? But look how clever I was in weaving the information they wanted throughout my paper! I had written what I thought was a nice “hook” that would be a compelling reason to read the paper. “What about the hook?” I asked. “The hook is fine. But the rest is garbage. Do you really think that someone reading a hundred papers for the information they want is going to be willing to look all over your paper for what they need? If I were reading the papers, I’d want to see each response in a concise paragraph, in the order in which they were presented. Yours I would reject after one glance!”

Yikes. The application packet is due the next day. The next day is the absolute last day I can submit it (more on that later….) and now I have to re-write the whole dang paper. Hours later, I ran it by Marilyn, again.

“Well, it’s better, but your points aren’t being made very clearly. If you want to get accepted, you’ll have to re-write it.”

I argued, I pleaded my case, and as you can imagine, this ended up with me shouting what it was I was trying to say.

“I need to go to my meeting now. Just write it like you were yelling at me. I’ve had it!”

Double Ouch!! — Well, at least she didn’t toss my sorry butt out of the house before she stomped off to her appointment. She had every right!

So I did another edit, then tightened it up even more, so it said what I wanted to say, directly, and stuffed it in the packet. The hook? That was the only part I didn’t have to re-write.

Key take-aways:

1: Show your personal statement to someone you trust to be objective, critical, and a stickler for details.
2: If you think you are done, edit it again. Be ruthless with the pruning, like you should be with roses.
3: Even with a tersely written paper, there is room to show your creativity.

Did it work? When I had my interview I was told that they enjoyed my paper and had passed it around the office. ’nuff said.