Category Archives: Alumni

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 😉

I *heart* September

Aaron Lykken, Program Manager

The end of Summer quarter is arguably one of the most significant, if not THE largest, milestone in the TMMBA program. There is really no way to sugar-coat the fact that the 18-month curriculum is demanding, mentally and physically. If schoolwork wasn’t already enough, the vast majority of the students have their professional life and family life to tend to as well. I can’t help but to sense that many of the students are close to edge of complete exhaustion by the time Summer quarter wraps up. This is why the September break is so famous among students/alumni. Think of it like half-time, the students finish the first half strong, jog into the locker-room, rest/retool their game plan, and then come out refreshed and ready to finish the game. In my discussions with students on the closing class days of Summer quarter, their time off from school encompassed everything from leaving for a couple of weeks to travel in Thailand to taking a week or two off from work “to just do nothing”. Regardless of the use of the break it’s a rejuvenating experience and is certainly well earned by our hardworking students.

Despite the absence of classes, the TMMBA program office remains busy during this time due to the final admissions deadline occurring in early September. It does give the staff a chance to take a break from the weekly logistics/planning that occurs throughout each quarter, in addition to valuable time to gear-up for the incoming class in the Winter. One of my favorite things about my position is that I get to interact with the students a lot, and now, I’ll stay in contact even after graduation. I’ve been working increasingly with our alumni population as I have been planning Continuing Education, networking, and social events. Most recently the program has offered an alumni reunion at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. This was a lot of fun as I was able to see a lot alumni I haven’t seen in awhile in addition to meeting their families.

Also occurring during the Summer is one of my favorite events, the TMMBA Alumni Scramble, which is second only to the Bettin Cup, another great golf event named after our Leadership Professor, Pat Bettin. Since I’ve joined the TMMBA team, I’ve watched these events go from often poorly attended outings to easily the most popular alumni/student activities TMMBA offers. In fact, the Alumni Scramble just happened this past Sunday at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, WA. I could not have asked for a better day of golf. The weather was absolutely perfect (High of 78) with only a slight wind, we doubled our attendance from last year, and the course was in great shape. I felt these conditions were warranted, considering we’ve had a string of bad luck with adverse weather at previous tournaments. For instance, at our student tournament in the Spring we had heavy snowfall at Trilogy Golf Club in Redmond….in mid-April! Despite the snow, it turned out to be the most memorable golfing experience we’ve ever had. The Alumni Scramble is just plain awesome, as a lot of times you’re on a team with someone from a completely different class (that’s my doing as I assign teams). Current students were mixed with incoming students and alumni, how neat is that! Besides the obvious implications of networking, it’s also very social and fun, which is really the major purpose of the event to begin with, community. With the program continuing to grow each year and with our alumni base is now over 500 and increasing rapidly (larger cohort sizes due to there being two sections), I can’t think of a better time than right now to build a stronger sense of community around the TMMBA program.