Category Archives: Classes

TMMBA Student Resources 101

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Program Coordinator

Today, TMMBA Class 13 students (who began at the beginning of January) have their first Saturday of class at Paccar Hall. TMMBA typically hosts one class per quarter on the Seattle Campus, which gives students an opportunity to see the other Foster Facilities and experience the campus environment. All morning, I’ve been listening to students ooh and ahh over Paccar Hall. “It’s like I’m back in my undergraduate days…” is a common comment from most.

Being on campus gives students a hands-on look at many other resources that TMMBA and the Foster School of Business provides for them.  Oftentimes, the 18 months of a TMMBA student go by so quickly that they forget to take a look around them and see what else is available outside of their classes.  I encourage all students to take advantage of these many benefits and resources:

  • Lounge for Foster MBA Students at Paccar
    Lounge for Foster MBA Students at Paccar

    Foster MBA Lounge and Access at Paccar Hall: With an activated Husky Card, students are able to access Paccar Hall, Dempsey Hall, and the MBA Lounge. Even when the Paccar Building is not open to the public, students are welcome to use the space for studying and group meetings. There’s even a dedicated space just for MBA students- the T-Mobile MBA Commons. This was a popular tour stop for our students today, and no- it does not come equipped with cigars and smoking jackets. It’s a study lounge- not to be confused with students other after-class haunts.

  • IMA (Intramurals Activity Building) – I was happy to hear today that a few students have already been working up a sweat at the IMA (only prompted in small part to the TMMBA ice cream cooler I’m sure). With a Husky Card, TMMBA students are allowed access to their fitness center and courts. UW Recreational Sports programs also provides the WAC (Waterfront Activities Center) where there are discounts available on canoe and rowboat rentals.

Husky Stadium

  • While we’re on the topic of fitness and sports, TMMBA students are always eligible for student tickets to Husky Athletic Events.  Some sporting events (baseball, volleyball, soccer) are free with a husky card, while others (men’s basketball, football) are subject to additional, discounted costs. Student tickets go fast for these events, so make sure to plan ahead for season or single-game tickets.
  •  UPass: Every UW student has a UPass which comes with their Husky Card. The U-PASS provides students with a variety of low-cost transportation options—from buses, commuter train service and light rail, to vanpooling and discounted carpooling. No activation required- once you get your Husky Card you’re ready to ride.
  • Foster Centers and Events:  The various Centers, including the Business and Economic Development Center, the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Global Business Center- all welcome involvement from TMMBA students. Foster also hosts events, like the Leaders to Legends Breakfast Series and Meet-the-Firms. For an updated list of events, take a look at the Foster Calendar.
  • Finally, one of the advantages of being a student at the University of Washington is the world-class library system available for use. Today, a representative from the Foster Business School library came to speak to students about the amenities at their location in Paccar Hall. Available to students are recent business publications, database access, librarian assistance and much more. Whether it’s the Foster Library or one of the many other University Libraries, these student resources are not to be forgotten.

Husky Card

As you can see- many of these resources require a student to have their Husky Card. Getting a Husky Card is free to students, and only requires a visit to the Husky Card Offices. Other Husky Card benefits include discounts from a variety of merchants, free admission to UW Museums, access to UW Zip Cars, and many more.

In writing this, I know that there are still many other UW/Foster/TMMBA resources that I am not mentioning. From business cards to MBA clubs, to TMMBA Career Services and sponsorship affiliations, there’s always more to get out of the TMMBA experience. Hopefully, sometime between classes and homework and team meetings, our students will find time to take advantage of them all! Because TMMBA students always need one more thing to add to the to-do list…

The predicted end of the world has passed, now what?

Alden Erickson, TMMBA Student, Class 13

According to the Mayan calendar, the world was to have ended two days ago. As we are still here, it is fairly safe to say that their theory was incorrect. This is the latest in a series of reminders for me that our paradigms can be wrong. It took 5,125 years to disprove the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Fortunately, feedback in business is more rapid but still we can subscribe to theories for years without knowing if a better way exists. There are of course many ways to challenge one’s paradigms but I would suggest replacing them with new ones through TMMBA.

When I arrived home from immersion week, I was dog tired. My exhaustion was due in part to the intense schedule and late nights reading, but there was more. Over the week I had been exposed to a number of new ideas and my mind was swimming with the possibilities of how to integrate them into my work and life. I thought of the Team Performance Model and how to utilize the concepts of the Intangible Resource Base, Value-Related Processes, and Team Performance Context. I considered viewing my future negotiations through the lenses of Interests, Power, and Relationships. I pondered ethics and Edward Freeman’s Stakeholder Theory for Organizational Management. Yes, I was tired, but I was also happy as I stumbled through the door after a busy immersion week.

I have not fully absorbed these ideas yet. If anything, I have more questions now than when I started. In the next 18 months of the TMMBA program, I expect that countless more theories will be introduced and I welcome every one of them. It will take time to form new paradigms. However, as the end of the world does not appear to be imminent, my fellow classmates and I have time!

Sneak Preview: TMMBA Leadership Immersion

Mikaela Houck, Manager of Academic & Student Services

What’s your role as a leader? How do you grow and motivate your team? How do you lead in different situations?

TMMBA students will evaluate these questions (and more!) at the TMMBA Leadership Immersion, which kicks off this weekend at the Eastside Executive Center. The Leadership Immersion marks the start of the 2nd half of the TMMBA Program experience and is a 3-day intensive course that examines the obligations and responsibilities of effective leadership. Led by Foster School Senior Lecturer, Pat Bettin, the Leadership Immersion is one of the most impactful courses in the TMMBA Program as it challenges students to reflect on and grow their own leadership style as well as explore the dynamic leadership issues facing today’s complex organizations.

 “(After the course) I began to understand how I can change and grow my personal leadership style. The decision making and collaboration aspects of the leadership classes were invaluable. It was helpful to learn other ways and different styles of decision making as well as how to evolve ones style of decision making. I’ve begun to use these key learnings immediately in the workplace.”
– Kathy Alexion, TMMBA Class of 2011

Get a sneak peek of Pat Bettin sharing his insights on leadership effectiveness and teaching in the TMMBA Program in this video:

Hats off to Class 12 for completing the 1st half of the Program and onwards to the 2nd!

Building Effective Teams

Professor Greg Bigley has taught in the TMMBA Program since its inception in 2001. He teaches Building Effective Work Teams at the start of the program and Leading Organization Change during the fifth quarter.  Bigley is a high-energy instructor and his classes are fast-paced, challenging, and extremely relevant. As a result, he has been recognized by students several times for his excellence in teaching.

In his classes, Bigley focuses on the relationship of people, structure, and culture on organizational and team performance. In this short video, he shares more about building effective teams.


A look inside the TMMBA Venture Capital Investment Competition

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012

This past spring our graduating students wrapped up their TMMBA experience with a new course in the curriculum – the Venture Capital Investment Practicum.

This two-day course is taught by Foster alum and GeekWire Chief Business Officer, Rebecca Lovell. It is designed to pull together all of the TMMBA coursework viewed through the lens of venture capital investing.  Working in teams, students dove into one tech startup in detail, evaluating its potential for investment.  Classes featured guest speakers and involved practical application of the concepts.

The course ended with all-day competition. Acting as VCs, students evaluated business plans of two local startups and selected one to invest in. Leading up to the competition teams reviewed the executive summaries, put together an initial analysis, and drafted questions for the entrepreneurs.

The day of the competition was a flurry of activity. Each entrepreneur pitched their business to the class and then teams held mini “due diligence” sessions with the entrepreneurs throughout the morning. Teams had only an hour and a half during a working lunch to make their final investment decision, develop an executive summary, and put together their presentation slides.  During the afternoon teams presented and defended their decisions to a panel of judges from the startup community.

At the end of the day, there were two winning teams. Here’s what a few of their members had to say about the experience:

“The real world doesn’t lay everything out for you, and neither did the VCIC. It really challenged us to apply the concepts we learned in a so-this-is-what-it’s-really-like kind of a way.”  – Amy Klehm, Team Honeybadgers

“I really didn’t know what to expect, except to give it my all. I didn’t expect for our team to win, even after my teammate Krishnan cheered us on. The experience altogether was intense, fast-paced, and very rewarding. Now I know how to be on the other side of the table when it comes to entrepreneurship. While playing the VC role, I definitely learned how to ask the necessary questions in order to determine what is a significant and promising investment.”  – Roann Lubang, Team Sporks

“The TMMBA Venture Captital course/competition was a great way to gain a glimpse into and to experience the VC process. It was also an excellent way to network with some of the most active members in the Seattle Startup community.”  – Krishnan Ananthanarayanan, Team Sporks

Team Sporks, TMMBA Class of 2012
Team Honeybadgers, TMMBA Class of 2012

Don’t wait for the right moment

By Marcelo Alcantara, TMMBA Class of 2013

Earlier this year I decided to leave my job and start a new venture. It wasn’t an easy decision. I was well employed in a prominent role at my previous company. I helped them grow from an unknown Brazilian start-up to a global leader in the enterprise mobile application space. I was in the comfort zone. On top of that, I had just started the TMMBA program. Any time I had left to invest on parallel projects or leisure was gone. Definitely not the right moment to start a time-consuming and money-draining entrepreneurial venture.

But entrepreneurs do not wait for the right moment. As a matter of fact, if you wait for the right moment it may never come. This is one of situations where you need to trust your gut and go for it. And so I did. I left my job and I co-founded Qoiza.

Qoiza is my third entrepreneurial experience, but it is the first one in the US. We are privileged to live in a region that is known as one of the main tech hubs in the world. Seattle has a great ecosystem that makes life easier to any startup: large talent pool, specialized lawyers and accountants,  well established VC firms, and a large and active angel investment community. Everything you need to be successful is right here.

So far it has been a very rewarding and life-changing experience.  The indescribable feeling of creating something out of napkin notes into an usable product. The multiple pivots on which direction should we go. The long hours executing and developing the product. The pitches to VCs and angels. These are experiences that help you develop as a professional and as a leader no matter where your start-up will end up.

It has also been a great real-life opportunity to apply the concepts and theory we are learning in the TMMBA program. Some examples include setting up T-accounts and the first set of financial reporting documents (Accounting); create term sheets, define valuation and risk beta (Corp Finance); set the product value proposition and go-to-market strategy (Strategic Marketing).

Taking the first step is always the hardest part. For those of you who are thinking about starting a new venture, don’t wait for the right moment. Do it. You will not regret.

TMMBA welcomes 6 new faculty

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012

In the past year we have seen the addition of six faculty to the TMMBA teaching team.  Many of them have been repeat recipients of teaching awards and have published well-renowned research in their fields.  We’re very excited to have them as part of the TMMBA experience!  Here’s a little bit on each of our new faculty members and the courses they teach.

Jeff Barden, Assistant Professor of Management

Jeff BardenWhy do some organizations succeed while others fail?  One fundamental answer is strategy.  Students address this question during their second quarter in Competitive Strategy. Starting this year the course is taught by Jeff Barden, who has been at the Foster School since 2005.  Barden leads students through an examination of how managerial action can reinvent competition within existing industries and how the creation and implementation of strategy drives the success of business.  Check out this article for highlights from his paper on the impact of corporate acquisitions on technology adoption.

Edward Rice, Associate Professor of Finance & Business EconomicsEd Rice

Students dive into microeconomic issues their first quarter in TMMBA. Ed Rice began teaching the TMMBA Microeconomics course last quarter. He sees the course as dual purpose. First, it explains the fundamental principles of microeconomics, a theory of how agents interact in individual markets. Second, it shows students how these principles are applied to managerial decisions and firm optimization. Rice has won numerous teaching awards from his students at Foster.

Lance Young, Assistant Professor

Lance YoungLance Young takes students into the world of finance in the TMMBA Corporate Financial Strategy course. Finance deals with how individuals make consumption and saving decisions and how firms make investment and financing decisions. Through his course, Young shares interesting and useful frameworks and techniques that help students develop a competitive advantage over their peers as they progress in their careers. In 2011, Young won the PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Debra Glassman, Senior Lecturer in Business Economics

Debra GlassmanDebra Glassman helps students understand the complex global macroeconomic environment in her TMMBA course, Domestic and International Economic Conditions.  Students discuss economic growth, inflation, unemployment, business cycles, fiscal policy and monetary policy. They also get a global perspective through exploration of national business systems, trade policy, the political economy of trade, and regional economic integration.  After just one quarter teaching in TMMBA, Glassman was recognized by students with the Faculty of the Quarter award.

Rebecca Lovell

Rebecca LovellLovell is a Foster alum, Chief Business Officer at GeekWire, and also teaches TMMBA’s new Venture Capital Investment Practicum. This two-day course 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.

Andy Boyer

Andy BoyerAndy Boyer is also a Foster alum and co-founder of Social3i, a social media and online marketing consulting firm.  This quarter he taught a new Social Media for Managers course in TMMBA. The course familiarized students with 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.  Boyer had students contribute to a blog to share what they were learning and the progress of their class projects.

Sporks + Social Media = Help for students in India

Guest post by Kevin Croy, TMMBA Class of 2012

I’m posting on behalf of my TMMBA team: the Sporks (class of 2012).  One of our classes this sixth (and final!) quarter presented us with an opportunity to use social media to raise awareness for a cause that is important to us.

MAI SchoolWe had many ideas about which cause to support, but the MAI School in India resonated with the team.  Our teammate, Krishnan, told us about the non-profit school his grandfather founded in India over 60 years ago.

Over the years, the school has done a lot with very little.  They provide a 1st-10th grade education to hundreds of children per year, despite their constrained resources.  The regional educational authorities pay teachers’ salaries, but not any other expenses like furniture or facility maintenance.

Krishnan’s grandfather is almost 100 years old, so Krishnan’s mother currently handles the day-to-day operations of the school.  When we asked her how we could help, she told us that the benches and desks were about fifty years old and needed to be replaced.

The estimated cost to replace the benches and desks is approximately $5,000 USD.  We knew it would be challenging, but we made it our goal to use social media to raise enough money to replace the benches and desks for the students at MAI.

So far, we’ve raised $1,172 of our $5,000 goal!  If you’d like to help us reach our goal by making a donation, you can donate through our FundRAZR account:

Donating money is not the only way to help.  You can help us raise awareness by following us on Twitter at @maischool and liking us on Facebook

This project has been a very rewarding experience.  We’ve learned a lot about managing social media campaigns and we’ve received touching thank you notes from the students and staff of the MAI School.

How TMMBA curriculum ties into the International Study Tour

Guest post by Roann Lubang, Class of 2012

The following courses came to mind during my visit at both Singapore and Beijing (in no particular order of priority):

Global Strategy

Because I had no real background knowledge of Singapore, I was extremely amazed with the westernization and development of the country. I remember glancing at the hotel newspaper and reading that Singapore is 3rd most competitive city in the world (New York being #1 and London being #2).

Geographically, Singapore was definitely in a perfect location to serve as the “Asian Hub” to globalize any business in the Asian countries nearby. As we’ve learned in Global Strategy class, when it comes to selecting a centralized location for a company’s headquarters, geographic location is key, especially when exporting/importing goods into easily accessible ports.

Professional Communications (Nonverbal)

Unlike in Singapore, our interactions with the local people in Beijing were more challenging because not everyone spoke English. Often times, we had to rely on body language and other nonverbal cues to understand what someone was trying to communicate.

When we were trying to negotiate with vendors at the Great Wall of China and/or other local markets, I sure was glad that numbers are quite universal. It was easy for both us and the vendors to write and or enter in the calculator the price we were willing to pay for their goods.


Though we haven’t taken this specific class until this spring quarter, I’d say we experienced a lot of negotiating with the street vendors at both Singapore and Beijing. Negotiating is all about making a collective decision on something, such as a price for a good.

As we’ve learned from our pre-meeting trip regarding shopping at Beijing, vendors actually enjoy negotiating with their buyers. If you don’t like their price and walk away, the vendors will actually follow you and ask, “Okay, how much then?” to get a feel for how much you are actually willing to pay and then there could be a bit of back and forth or meeting in the middle or else you can try walking away again to see if they really aren’t willing to budge on their price. I thought this experience was quite exciting too, but it sure does become costly once all the little things start adding up.

Operations and Supply Chain Management/Statistics

I’d say the airport experience to and from Asia reminded me so much of both Kamran and Martha’s classes. Because I was traveling to and from different countries, there were multiple lines I had to line up through: getting off and on the airplane, security screening, customs/declaration, etc. I couldn’t help and joke around with my classmates about M/M/1 lines and M/M/C lines and “jocking” for the what-seemed-like shorter and faster lines.

And because I personally have this paranoia about checking in my luggage, I couldn’t help but wonder the probability of the airlines losing my luggage. Come to find out, by the time we arrived in Singapore, both Tom and Tsun’s luggages were lost somewhere between Washington, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Singapore. I didn’t think that 2 out of 22 people (almost 10%) were that likely to experience such frustration – especially when we had company meetings the next days where we had to be dressed in business suits.

Strategic Marketing Management

I think that the last company we visited in China was the most interesting and fascinating. We visited Motorola and were expecting to hear about supply chain management, but instead heard a presentation on marketing in China.
I learned that working in marketing in China involves three parties: the government, the people, and the media. Unlike the United States where we are blessed with the freedom of speech, everyone involved in media experience a lot more pressure from both the government and the people. It sounds like both Chinese businesses and external businesses in other countries have to be extra careful how they portray the key players in the Chinese government and its people. Otherwise, they’ll have to be prepared to apologize publicly and find a way to re-establish a harmonious relationship with the Chinese.

Other classes that came to mind during our trip to Asia included the following, but my blog would get too long in explaining how they were all relevant:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leading Organizational Change
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Domestic and International Economic Conditions

Global Expansion: Godiva and Amazon

Guest post by Dina Vaccari and Kevin Croy, Class of 2012

TMMBA students Kevin & Dina with Godiva presenter
Kevin & Dina with Meagan Dietz of Godiva

It was amazing how relevant our TMMBA courses were during our visits to Singapore and Beijing, both during cultural tours and company visits.  The Global Strategy course taught by Kevin Steensma was particularly relevant, especially during our visit to China.  Many of the companies we met with spoke to the entry strategy options along with key points to consider when entering a new global marketplace; class discussions had previously exposed us to many of these factors.   A trip to an Amazon fulfillment center located in China gave us unique insight into the company’s  operations in addition to their global  expansion strategy.

The representative from Godiva Chocolates discussed their decision making process and considerations regarding joint venture, direct investment, or partnership entrance strategy.  Godiva benchmarked their entry against other luxury brand entries, such as Coach and Haagen Dazs, companies that had already entered the China market successfully.  They studied these brands’ entry experience and weighed the pros and cons of each to determine which strategy would be the best for them.  In the end, they determined that the challenges they anticipated with their supply chain, particularly associated with the proper refrigeration of their products during transport, would merit a direct investment and owning their supply chain throughout the whole process to ensure quality and reduce shrinkage.

In addition to Godiva, we also visited Amazon, which brought our Macroeconomics and Operations Management classes to mind.  The population of China is urbanizing and becoming a more consumer-oriented culture, so companies are adapting to leverage this growing segment of potential customers.  Our visit to an Amazon fulfillment center (FC) in China helped illustrate this point because the massive FC we visited primarily handled orders destined for Chinese consumers.  Clearly, Amazon understands the potential of the Chinese market and has positioned themselves to capitalize on this trend.  Operations at the FC were very efficient.  Our tour began at the loading dock on one side of the warehouse where inventory entered the system.  Items were catalogued and routed to holding locations.  As orders were placed, pickers pulled inventory to assemble the appropriate products and prepare them for packaging.  Once packaged, the orders proceeded to an area with workers who labeled them for shipping.  Finally, orders were routed to holding areas until outbound shippers could collect them.  The streamlined process was well choreographed and reminded us of the risk-pooling and queuing concepts we learned about in Operations Class.

Every company we visited or street vendor we encountered  gave us  a new opportunity to  look at things through our new TMMBA lenses.  It was an amazing trip!