Category Archives: Alumni

Dashing to Success: Foster MEANS Business on race day

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services & Technologies

TMMBA staff and students laced up their running shoes with other Foster MBA programs to raise money for University of Washington student scholarships by participating in the 2010 Dawg Dash.  Little did we know that epic sheets of rain and gusty wind would greet us on a chilly and grey Seattle Sunday morning (we’re talking the type of day where you curl up with a book or movie next to the fire place and drink a hot cup of coffee).  Instead I found myself shaking my head and grumbling as I pulled together my race gear.  On my way to Husky stadium I remember at least 4 distinct times when I almost aborted on the race and sought refuge from the elements back at my house.  The guilt of abandoning my teammates brought me back to focus each time and soon I was parked and deciding when I was ready to fling open the car door.  Through the waves of water running down my windshield I saw a teammate and decided that it was time.  Stepping into this kind of rain meant being wet and cold instantly and set the tone for the rest of the morning until the “Purple Wave (10k)” was called to the starting line.  The scarcity of covered areas was apparent as I observed runners hiding in every stadium tunnel    To the amazement of the runners, the rain ceased as we lined up and executed some last minute stretching, leg shaking, and jumping in hopes of staying loose and warm.  And then the gun popped…

Come race time the Foster runners shook off the rain and cold and found racing success in both the 10k and 5k flavors of the race, with finishers in the top 15% of their division.  The race spans the length of the UW Seattle campus from Husky Stadium in the south to running up the hilly campus past the Foster business school campus in the far north.  It was a painful race but certainly one with an intense feeling of accomplishment at the finish due to the inclement weather.  2010 was the 25th anniversary of the Dawg Dash tradition which raised more than $10,000 last year.  Record attendance last year was beaten by more than 800 registrants this year.

Go Huskies!

The TMMBA Alumni Book Group

(Tina Bassir, Associate Director)

The TMMBA alumni book group has been meeting quarterly for over two years, spanning topics from strategy, leadership, ethics and finance. The book group is a great opportunity for alums to dig into a business topic then gather to discuss the book in an academic setting. The events are a chance for alums to reunite with their classmates and to meet people from other TMMBA classes. In addition to connecting with classmates, they are able to reconnect with faculty. Each book group is facilitated by a Foster School faculty member. The next book group is on Sept 14 and we have selected a marketing book: “The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times” by Scott D. Anthony. The discussion will be guided by marketing lecturer Joe Dodson.

Are you wondering what books have been discussed at past book group meetings? Here’s the list:

  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
  • Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition
  • How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living
  • In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic
  • The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

The TMMBA Alumni Book Group is just one of the many opportunities for alums to stay connected and continue learning.

Putting a cap on the capstone

Scott Hannah, TMMBA Student (Class of 2010)

Sitting here basking in the relief and exciting that comes from having been part of a successful capstone presentation, I’m amazed at how fast these 18 months have been.    So much has been packed in this past year-and-a-half it seems almost a blur.  This truly has been a wonderful adventure, with it’s share of excitement and drama.    When I initially started this program I was somewhat uncertain as to how management of technology would be brought out the course.  What I discovered was that it was less about the technology and more about the contacts and shared experiences with professionals in the fields of technology.  One of the key benefits of this program is the exposure you get to diverse backgrounds and experiences over the 18 months we’re together, and the contacts we make now will benefit us in years to come.

Having just had the course, I can liken my experience to Leading Organizational Change.  There was some resistance along the way, but the TMMBA program has been successful in transforming our organization (the student body) into MBA graduates.  And to paraphrase the leading organizational change course, there are some things I will miss (learning something new, the shared comraderie of classmates, the pampering of the TMMBA staff, and more), there are some things I won’t miss (16-hr exams, late study nights, too much coffee, having no free time), and things that I missed out on (hanging out at the Keg after classes).

As I sit here relieved  and excited to be done, I cannot stress enough how rewarding an experience this has been.  Eighteen months go by quickly, and to sit here and feel what I feel cannot be missed.

Go on, take the leap, and enroll in the TMMBA program.  You won’t regret it!

From Student to Alum

Tina Bassir, TMMBA Associate Director

For TMMBA Class 9, there are only 6 days until graduation. While class sessions and weekly deliverables are coming to an end, a new opportunity is about to begin–class 9 is becoming part of the TMMBA Alumni Network. After next week, there will be over 580 graduates representing a wide range of diverse companies and functions.

As students are counting down the days, I’m putting together some resources that will help the students transition to the alumni network. As an alum, there are many ways to stay connected to the program and to each other. One way to stay connected is by participating in the many events we host throughout the year–ranging from continuing education and networking to family fun and recreation. A few examples of events include the quarterly book group (a chance for alums to come back in the classroom with a faculty member  for an engaging discussion of a business book), speed networking night (a fast-paced evening with the opportunity to meet new connections and expand your network), and the annual global economic update (this popular evening features Karma Hadjimichalakis as she provides an update on the global economic scene).

TMMBA alums are also invited to participate in events with the Foster School of Business and are welcome to join the University of Washington Alumni Association (UWAA).

The Value of the TMMBA Network

In the TMMBA Program, we combine relevant knowledge you can use right from the start with a powerful network of technology professionals. This powerful network is composed of more than 650 alumni and students who represent over 150 companies in the Puget Sound region. In this video, Class of 2009 Alumna Cortney Jacobsen shares her view on the value of the TMMBA Network.

Would you like to talk with a student or alum who works in your company or industry? Contact us  –  we are happy to connect you.

Have alumni advanced their careers?

Tracy Gojdics, Director

Basically students want to do one of three things when they are in the program or after they graduate:  move up in what they are doing, move out of what they are doing – or change functions – or start their own business. I tell our students that the critical things they learn in the TMMBA Program is only one part of the equation in advancing their careers, the other part of the equation is being able to put the things they learn into practice and always look for ways to contribute at a higher level, communicate more effectively and to be determined. 

So have students and alumni advanced their careers?  We’ve done alumni surveys to help us determine this, but what I find to be a better indicator is what I’m seeing in my LinkedIn network. Of the 450 or so alumni I have tracked via my LinkedIn network approximately 75% have changed positions and 65% have changed companies.  I’m finding many are in senior-level and even C-level roles and that those that had been in more specialized technical positions have moved to general management, marketing or product management roles.  It is also great to see the number of entrepreneurs we have in the alumni network as well.

Alumni Book Group Discusses Ethics

Tina Bassir, Associate Director

good choicesWe all face tough decisions at one time or another. But which choice is the “right” choice? Last week, TMMBA alums came together for the quarterly Alumni Book Group. Attendees read the book “How Good People Make Tough Choices” by Rushworth Kidder and the evening’s discussion was led by Scott Reynolds, Associate Professor of Business Ethics. The discussion was very thought-provoking and engaging. From religion to role models and public media to core values, many topics were discussed. Is our population more or less ethical than past generations? Is it ok to lie? What is your ethical fitness? Thank you to all the alums who participated in the book group and thanks to Scott for facilitating.

The Alumni Book Group is one of the continuing education events offered to graduates of TMMBA. Alums engage in a great discussion on a business topic as well as reconnect with classmates and meet alums from other classes. Previous books discussed at the Book Group include Made to Stick, Leading at the Edge, and Blue Ocean Strategy.

TMMBA Speed Networking

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services and Technologies

Earlier this month we brought together the entire TMMBA network (alumni, current students, and incoming students) for TMMBA Speed Networking.  The event is exactly how it sounds, we take TMMBA alumni/students from various professional backgrounds and randomly mix them across tables.  Tables have 5-6 participants and each are allowed about 3-4 minutes to give a brief introduction of themselves and what they do.  At the end of the round a bell is rung and participants rotate to another randomly assigned table, placing them with an entirely new group of professionals to interact with.

The beauty of the event is that it puts a fun spin on the old concept of networking events which typically includes beverages and snacks while you mingle across pods of people…BORING!  With Speed Networking you can gracefully bow out of an unproductive conversation by literally being “saved by the bell” and most importantly it makes your conversations more efficient as you are sure to connect with practically everyone in attendance!  Just like in real world interactions, you often have limited time to make that critical first impression and to convey important information to other parties.

We had strong attendance and look forward to connecting more people later in the year.


TMMBA Alumni Golf Classic is a hit ;)

Aaron Lykken, Program Manager – Student Services

*Sigh* another Alumni golf tournament for the ages has come and gone, now I must wait until Spring for the next golf outing.  TMMBA has two golf tournaments during the year, the Bettin Cup in the Spring and the Alumni Golf Classic in the late Summer.  These are easily my favorite student/alumni events during the year, I especially enjoy the alumni tournament as it gives me an opportunity to hang out with a range of people from Alumni, recent graduates, and even current students.  I’ve been with the TMMBA program for over 3 years now and my alumni base has grown quite a bit, especially with the more recent graduates (Classes 6-8), so it’s a real hoot seeing everyone again over some golf and enjoying lots of laughs.

The tournament this year was held at Washington National Golf Club in Auburn, WA as it has been for the past 4+ years that I’m aware of.  I struggled getting up at 5:00 AM, but it was necessary so that I had time to stop by the office for a few things, pick up coffee and doughnuts, and get to Auburn early to setup.  At my arrival I was met with some fairly serious fog in the area where the course is located but certainly still playable.  The forecast was extremely favorable for the day (high in upper 70s) so I was confident that it would eventually burn off.  I looked around the parking lot and was surprised to see about 7 alumni who arrived earlier than me!  They helped me setup the registration table and we caught up as the others started to rapidly show.  It was neat to see that a lot of former classmates carpooled together.  One of the alumni agreed to watch the table while I zipped down to the driving range with one of our faculty to join a number of others warming up and trying to get those golf balls flying straight…ish.  The call finally came from the clubhouse to gather for the group photo and to receive instructions for the tournament.  With that we were on our way!

My team consisted of alumni from classes 1 and 3 (our fourth ended up being a no-show).  We had a pretty nice blend of talent so that our team didn’t ended up getting into too much trouble.  Personally I’m not that avid of a golfer, but I certainly do enjoy being on the course from time to time.  I had a good time learning from my teammates and chuckling at the many ways that the game of golf can be so cruel and yet so rewarding.  Since we were short one player we had a very easy time staying ahead of the 4.5 hr pace the club set for us for 18-holes.  The fog held on for most of the morning but by the time we turned the corner on the 9th hole you could feel the temperature rising quickly and the visibility increase significantly.  Typically I only play 9 holes or executive courses (par 3 only), so my golfing stamina was pretty low by around the 13th hole, but found a second wind late in the round.  After we finished on hole 18 we all shook hands having produced an honorable finish of 2 shots above par as a team.  As we walked off the green I couldn’t help but think about how golf should be a team game rather than individual, as most find it very difficult to play well.  The tournaments that I organize are all in a scramble format so that even those who have little experience playing can join in on the fun.

Once off the course I find it interesting to watch the “leader board” in the pavilion as teams submit their scorecard to the clubhouse.  For the most part, the lump of the team scores were fairly close to each other, however the winning team did post a score 3 strokes under 70 for the win.  As everyone was enjoying a much anticipated post-event BBQ lunch I went to the front with a couple of the alumni who helped me create the event this year.  We gave prizes for the standard Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, and 1st Place, however this year we had a fun time introducing a funny competition amongst new golfers called the “Best Beginner Back-swing” contest.  All of those participating had to have 4 or less years/seasons of playing golf and had to line up and demonstrate their golf swing for the group.  Evaluation was based on audience noise and the finals produced a winner from Class 8, a graduate from the program last Spring.  It was very goofy but I think everyone had a good laugh from it.

After the awards I finished lunch and made my rounds to the tables in an effort to catch-up on what everyone is up to recently.  Many of our golfers lingered 30-60 minutes following the event, involved in conversations, either catching up with old classmates or sharing their experiences in the program with current students.  We all said our goodbyes and went forth to enjoy the remainder of a fabulous Sunday.  As usual, I am looking forward to the Spring when current students will play together in the TMMBA Bettin Cup, a tournament named after a faculty member who is an avid golfer and plays with the group each year.

Note: I hope to add photos taken by our photographer to the TMMBA Flickr account in a week or two, so keep your eyes peeled for shots of the action…or maybe a lot of heartache, anger, tossing of clubs/bags, etc. haha 😉