Category Archives: Career Development

The TMMBA ROI Series: Part 2

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Admissions & Recruiting CoordinatorROI

Last week’s post addressed a few of the many ways that TMMBA students and alumni calculate the return on investment for their MBA experience. The discussion today centers around three additional consideration points- salary growth, career progression, and the lifelong resources of the TMMBA program.

Salary Growth

Compensation increase is often the focus of ROI conversations given that it’s easily quantified. While  sole emphasis should not be placed on an MBA’s monetary value, it is still an important piece to the ROI puzzle.

TMMBA graduates continue to see considerable return for their initial investments. As knowledge and skills grow from an MBA program, pay raises often follow as employers see the benefits of the education.  In fact, in a survey of TMMBA alumni two years post-graduation, 95% of respondents reported an increase in salary – with an average increase of over 20%.

Career Advancement

Oftentimes, career growth goes hand-in-hand with salary increases. Whether students are looking for promotions, functional changes, or to start their own companies, TMMBA helps to advance the timeline for these goals.

“When I think of the next levels I wanted to achieve in my career, TMMBA significantly accelerated my ability to achieve those milestones. In the classroom, I learned concepts that could take years to grasp on-the-job,” remarks alumnus Jeremy Hutton (TMMBA ’13).

With a relevant business curriculum incorporating technology, innovation, and professional development, TMMBA students find that their MBA is a competitive advantage in the market. For those looking to move up, an MBA opens to door to greater responsibility and management roles. Some TMMBA students are hoping to change functions or industries – and upon graduation are more qualified to pursue outside opportunities. Entrepreneurs can also improve future success when equipped with knowledge and resources from the program.

Lifelong Resources

Speaking of resources, it’s important to note that the benefits of the TMMBA program don’t end upon graduation. TMMBA alumni still have access to workshops, guest speakers, networking events, career coaching – even classes. Whether it’s a new course that’s been added or a subject that needs refreshing, many alums take advantage of class audits and lifetime learning.

TMMBA Career Services adds notable value for both students and alumni. From resume workshops and panel discussions to 1:1 coaching and Career Mixers, there are plenty of ways to leverage TMMBA career resources.

Given these potential value propositions of an MBA, it’s still up to students to leverage their education and capitalize on growth. As Jeremy can attest, “It’s never going to be less expensive to get an MBA than today. The return starts immediately – as soon as you learn the concepts in class and start applying them. Take advantage of the opportunity.”

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Missed a post? Catch up!  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

EQ │Personal Branding │Your Career

Successful business careers evolve from a combination of IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence quotient).  So, why is high EQ important?  Here are a few points:

An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: Influence, Team Leadership, Organizational Awareness, self-confidence, Achievement Drive, and Leadership (Spencer, L. M., Jr., 1997).

According to Dr. Patsi Krakoff, research by the Center for Creative Leadership found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence. Specifically, these executives have difficulty handling change, working well in teams, and interpersonal relationships.

Further, Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said:

a leader’s intelligence has to have a strong emotional component. He has to have high levels of self-awareness, maturity and self-control. She must be able to withstand the heat, handle setbacks and when those lucky moments arise, enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility. No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.”

Developing Both Your IQ and EQ in TMMBA

The TMMBA Program recognizes the importance of cultivating both your “book smarts” and your EQ.  A comprehensive business management curriculum is balanced with EQ reflection & action: a better understanding of who you are, what you are learning & where it’s being applied, what you have to offer (contributions), and where you are going.  The effort in answering these questions among other experiences compliments your MBA experience and assists with your leadership development (and career trajectory).

In the last month, two TMMBA Career Services events were designed around the EQ element of self-awareness through personal branding.  The end goal was an improved ability to concisely introduce oneself (via resume, LinkedIn, pitch, etc.) with a story that makes sense, builds emotional connections, and inspires dialogue.

1.  WHY MATTERS: SWOT #personalbranding Workshop:

Brand Strategist Kevin Susman taught participants how to use a personal SWOT, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats, to improve a pitch to others.  He began with defining the difference between products (selling specific features) and the more powerful brands that are fueled by emotion & trust.

This SWOT analysis framework was used:

Internal to achieving career objectives

Know your STRENGTHS to build connection

Need to be relevant to market/customer

Create high-level 3-sentence statement that answers:

  • What you offer (particular need to be filled)
  • How you help customers achieve goals? (single statement of benefit)
  • Who you are (positive personality trait)
Admit to WEAKNESSES

Understand them and be able to turn into strengths.

Answer these questions in 3-6 words per bullet.

  • The flaw in your offering
  • How you hold yourself back
  • Who you are: negative

External to achieving career objectives

Know your OPPORTUNITIES 

Examples:

  • Current professional network
  • “You” as defined by strengths and weaknesses
Understand THREATS (risks)

Examples:

  • Professional network fatigue
  • Perceptions of you

2. TMMBA Career Boot Camp:

This four-hour session outlined new ways to think about and share a personal brand and authentic voice in promotion to organizations.  It included creating a comfortable elevator speech and resume & LinkedIn profile to stand out from the competition.

Two LinkedIn takeaways: 

  • Create a Professional Headline on LinkedIn.  Be aware that the headline words are “weighted” 40% more than the rest of your profile.  This weighting helps recruiters find you – amidst your competition.A headline is the place to sum up your professional identity in 120 characters or less (15-20 words). Focus on who you are + what you do (your expertise/value) and audience you serve.  It does not have to be your current job title.Consider using a brand tagline or personal title but ensure that it helps people understand what you do. If you are in the job market (passively or actively), use keywords that reflect the titles or expertise you are seeking.
  • More keywords aren’t always better.  Our advice would be to only include the keywords (including repeated keywords) in your Profile that best reflect your expertise and experience.  If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your Profile, you are likely showing up in a high number of searches.  The question you need to ask yourself, however, is whether members consider your Profile relevant to their search.  If not, their behavior as a collective group may be influencing the algorithm used to rank you in search results.

Students visit Amazon and Tableau Software on inaugural TMMBA Tech Trek

The inaugural TMMBA Tech Trek launched Friday, August 16th.  A terrific group of 23 current TMMBA students ventured to Tableau Software and Amazon to build knowledge around product innovations and strategy while getting a first-hand glimpse of the work environment & culture. The Trek also provided a chance to mingle with company leaders and fellow classmates.

TMMBA loves dataamazon1

Here are a few words from two attendees:

Kulkarni, ArvindAnother fantastic opportunity called TMMBA TECH TREK was presented to us in our third quarter.  We were able to visit two great companies in Seattle’s backyard and experience their work culture by interacting with employees in a casual environment.

First, we visited fast-growing Tableau Software, which just went public with their IPO in May 2013. They really love data!  The software demo and the Q&A sessions with Thierry, Ellie and Neelesh followed by a mixer with other employees was very insightful.  I was able to hear more about their future growth and hiring plans and learn that I need not be a software geek to work there!  We need to watch out for this company as it has great potential to grow.

The second company we visited was Amazon.  We already experienced the enthusiasm of Amazonians in second quarter when they visited the Eastside Executive Center, and I didn’t notice any drop in the levels when we went onsite.  We all enjoyed a warm welcome from Dina, Stephanie, Michael, and Bill and got to know more about their roles and work life balance in Amazon. Reading about Amazon in newspapers and then hearing some of their current projects makes me think that they are really on a mission to sell everything everywhere and to everyone under the sun one day.  Bill Burkland’s short presentation gave me a behind the scenes snapshot of B2B operations as I have been using their services to save on purchases in alternate sourcing at my workplace.  Thank you all for a warm welcome and opportunity to learn more about your organizations!  - Arvind Kulkarni, TMMBA Class of 2014

Pongracz, JuditThe inaugural Tech Trek was an excellent example how the TMMBA Program and staff come up with new and inventive ways to enrich student experience. The event gave us an opportunity to peek behind the curtains at two sizzling hot technology companies and do some serious, targeted networking. The level of enthusiasm was clearly palpable and no questions went unanswered at either of the hosts. My only question now is: When can we go next? - Judit Pongracz, TMMBA Class of 2014

Students and Alumni Make Key Connections with Employers at TMMBA Career Mixer

Last month the Technology Management MBA Program held its first-ever Career Mixer.  You might be familiar with the traditional career or job fair, but this event was different by design to provide an event rich in connections.

A traditional career fair or job fair is structured around employers with a list of open positions and prospective employees passing out a one-size-fits-all resume.  Since networking is the number one way to find a great job, there is tremendous benefit in connecting with peers and hiring managers. The TMMBA Mixer was designed to help student and alumni make these key connections with regional employers.

The event was a huge success with a great turnout of students and alumni and a diverse mix of 19 companies.  We invited three individuals from each company: a TMMBA alumnus, an HR or Recruiting leader, and another individual from the management/leadership team.

Attendees interested in working for one of the companies now have new connections to reach out to for a conversation and additional information. This tailored approach is highly recommended and focuses on relationship-building.

For those that were not currently looking for a job or change in company, the Mixer was an opportunity to practice introducing themselves to many individuals and build out their professional networks, so it’s ready when they need it.

There are many other career services provided to TMMBA students, including coaching and workshops. Learn more on our website.

LinkedIn Alumni offers powerful tool to leverage your alumni networks

Sara Jones, TMMBA Associate Director and 2012 alumnus

According to John Hill, 85% of job opportunities will come through someone that’s a 2nd level connection on LinkedIn. John is LinkedIn’s Higher Education Evangelist and last week he came to the Foster School to share tips and strategies for getting the most out of LinkedIn.  Although it wasn’t all new to me, John was a great presenter who could really tell a story and make his message stick.

The three big points of the night were:

  1. Build a network before you need it.
  2. Build a quality network not a quantity network.
  3. Dream big.

The rest of the talk was on how to use LinkedIn to manage relationships and help accomplish these big points. He shared several great tips, but I want to highlight one feature that you might not be as familiar with: LinkedIn Alumni.

Here’s a screenshot:

linkedIn alumni

If a fellow TMMBA or Foster alum reached out to me, I’m likely to take the call. Why? Because we have something in common. With LinkedIn Alumni, you can now find fellow alums of your university or b-school AND you can filter by where they live, work, what they do, skills, and several others.

For example, if I was looking at relocating to the Bay area and interested in Google, I can drill down and see that I have 19 fellow Foster alums that graduated in the past 5 years.  Or maybe you’re sick of the Seattle rain and ready to move to the islands.  In my case, I have 87 fellow alums that I could reach out to in Hawaii.

That’s a pretty powerful tool to help you leverage your alumni networks. Check it out and let me know what you think.

TMMBA Acts: Taking Immersion Week Ethics to Heart

Sarah McCaffrey, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

I have an ethical dilemma.

By pure chance, I subscribed to a Facebook page for a student veterans group that recently shared a link to an upcoming event. This link took me to an announcement of an enticing opportunity, an all-expense-paid weekend summit with one of the most sought-after technology employers in the United States. During this summit, the company will celebrate core military values, offering a small group of undergraduate and graduate business student veterans a chance to network and learn about their company culture.

As a Marine veteran and TMMBA student, I want to attend this summit. Every business student veteran reading this post wants to attend this summit, and every non-business non-veteran student reading this post wishes they met the criteria so they could attend this summit. I want it so much that I can feel the temptation to become secretive.

top secretImage via handpickedcollection.com

Several other veterans attend the TMMBA program; countless others study at the Foster School of Business. If they apply, how will that affect my (already slim) chances? Why should they benefit from my Facebook group subscription diligence? Am I under any obligation to share this information?

Fortunately, we took an Ethics seminar with Dr. Scott Reynolds during Immersion Week. I have the tools to resolve this dilemma.

If every person in the world withheld information to suit their goals, would that be a good thing? If every veteran withheld information to suit their goals, would we find that admirable? Would I personally benefit from such a standard?

Lost in thoughts

Image via 123rf.com

Which choice would add more value to the world as a whole? At its simplest, to withhold the announcement of a veterans summit, I gain the value of reduced competition, while each veteran who does not hear about the opportunity loses the value of a chance to apply. To share the news, I lose the value of better odds, while many more veterans gain the value of a chance at being selected. Lastly, the tech company, Google, gains the value of a diverse, competitive group from which to select their summit participants.

I hope every eligible person bookmarks this link to the Google Student Veterans Summit; applications open in the spring of 2013 with the summit to follow in July. If any University of Washington student finds a place in this select group, I will celebrate with justifiable pride in our entire veteran community. Good luck to all of you – just not too good.

Your Resume is a Reflection of Your Personal Brand

By Susie Buysse, TMMBA Associate Director, Career Services

Students enter the TMMBA Program with diverse career goals.  We recommend outlining plans in the first quarter followed by subsequent milestones and actions to realize this change upon graduation.

Often, the best place to begin is ensuring that your resume is contemporary and easy-to-read while capturing your best relevant strengths.  Two benefits of this:

  • As a TMMBA student, you will expand your network and a great fit opportunity may surface without an active job search.
  • Your resume can be tuned-up before a career focus is set, and it can certainly be further tailored at a later date.

In November, the TMMBA Program delivered two workshops on crafting a polished resume.  These articles highlight the importance of including your accomplishments (impact) in order to stand out from the crowd and get noticed:

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)

Sage Advice about Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are an important part of the job search process, but many people shy away from them or feel uncomfortable reaching out.  Here are 4 good points to remember about informational interviews,  from Jennifer Vancil in her post “The Informational Interview: It’s Just About Having Coffee”.

  1. It sounds a lot like asking for a job interview and it certainly feels like a big thing to ask.  Asking for a meeting with someone you barely know (or don’t know), when you don’t know if a job exists, or whether you would be a good fit for an available position, is enough to send most job-seekers back to the online job boards to continue sending resumes into the void.
  2. An informational interview is not a sales call or an interview.  Bringing a resume to an informational interview is like bringing a wedding ring on a first date.  It puts too much pressure on that first meeting.The goal is to have a conversation that leads to finding a great job in a field you are excited about.   It’s simply “I’m interested in learning more about you and your company.  Would you be   willing to meet with me for 20 minutes?”  You don’t talk marriage before you’ve gotten to know each other and it’s the same in an informational interview.  You’re not at the commitment stage yet.
  3. You should be genuinely interested in the other person and the discussion should center on asking questions, not your needs and trying to “sell” yourself.Someone who asks good questions is considered engaging and interesting – just the kind of person they would like to work with.  Someone who is genuinely curious about them and open to advice would make a wonderful colleague.
  4. Often an informational interview will lead to a great referral and insider information about the company or upcoming projects or positions.  This is a great outcome of lowering the stakes and removing the pressure of a first meeting.

The SWOT analysis essay and the four questions we are (really) asking – Tracy Gojdics, Director & Class of 2007

SWOT image

One of the application essay questions asks applicants to analyze their career using the SWOT technique.   As a student you’ll become quite comfortable with SWOT analyses, but as an applicant it can be a bit confusing.  The information below is provided to help you as you think about to write for this required essay question.   We’ve taken the S, W, O and T and translated them to the four questions we are really asking.   I hope this helps as you contemplate your essay.   Upon completion you’ll not only feel better about having the essay done, but you’ll have a great career analysis to boot!

 

 

1.    S = your strengths.   Your strengths = what are your competitive advantages?

You will want to convey what you think your 3-5 competitive advantages/strengths are in thinking about your career and where it is today.  Be sure to explain each.

Ex:  I am a skillful negotiator.  I have negotiated numerous important contracts for my organization, which have resulted in lower costs and increased services from our vendor partners.   While negotiating contracts is part of my job, it is also something I enjoy doing and have mentored others in my organization through the negotiating process.

2.   W = your weaknesses.  Your weaknesses = What do you need to improve?

The admissions committee isn’t looking at your “weaknesses” so much as they are looking for whether or not you know what you need to improve as it relates to your career.   You should discuss 3-5 areas for improvement.

Ex:   I’m not a strong public speaker.   Giving presentations is something that I have been working on for the past year as I am sometimes asked to give presentations to various groups.  I get very nervous and am not super comfortable presenting, but recognizing this I have enrolled in a corporate class on giving better presentations.  

3.  O = Opportunities.    Your opportunities = how can you enhance or advance your career?

Unlike strengths or weaknesses, opportunities come from your external environment. You might think that “getting an MBA” is the answer we are looking for, but you’d be wrong.  Advancing your career means being proactive.  How are you being proactive with your career?  Discuss 3-5 things you are doing or could do to enhance or advance your career.

Ex:  Attend targeted association meetings.   Because I am interested in Product Management I have attended several speaker events and workshops through the Product Management Consortium.  Attending these events has also broadened my professional network.  

4.  T = Threats.   Threats = what could derail your career?

Just as with opportunities, threats come from your external environment.   The economy may always be a threat, but how is it a threat?  What else might be a threat?  Think about your product or service, your competitors, your customers, the global landscape or your industry as a whole.  These are just a few ideas to help get you started.  List and discuss 3-5 things that have or could derail your career.

Ex:   Our customers decide to go with another provider.  As budgets get tighter and margins begin to shrink, many of our corporate customers are talking with multiple vendors and are no longer willing to stay with our company just because that is what they have been doing.   The competition is fierce and losing customers would mean deep cuts to our organization and my unit in particular.