Category Archives: Classes

The Semiahmoo Experience

Lucas Perin, TMMBA Student

The MBA kicks off with an intensive orientation week. Ours was to the Semiahmoo resort. We had our first classes on Team Buiding, Accounting, Microeconomy, Statistics and “Presentation Techniques”, and, most importantly, we got to hang out with each other.

I was very impressed with how great the professors were. I had high expectations, and my expectations were exceeded by far. I really learned a lot in the first week, but we barely get to see the resort – the schedule is packed. When we were not having classes, we were studying for the next class. Well, most of the time. My group was pretty good at hitting the bar at night and we got to know each other way better. And it helped a lot.

On the last evening, we had an impromptu Karaoke “competition” – it was not part of the program. We had a rather large number of people (mostly engineers) trying to hook up a computer to the Semiahmoo bar sound system, while another rather large group of people (again, mostly engineers) was trying to find a way of getting free karaoke songs on YouTube. It worked. One of the other bloggers (don’t know if I can tell who it was) sang “Landslide” beautifully. And a Microsoft colleague sang a song from the Phantom of The Opera quite professionally.

All in all, a good end for such a good start.

Before the first class…

Lucas Perin, TMMBA student

Make no mistake: the TMMBA starts at the welcome reception. Before the reception we had to fill some questionnaires that would help sort us into groups. At the reception, we had our picture taken for the yearbook, and then the program director and a former student tried to tell us how hard the program was. And we got a bag quite full of books and pre-read materials.

In summary, the TMMBA depends very much on the pre-reads. It is a good program that covers a lot of material. It is well-recognized. And it is short. The catch is that you will have to read a lot of material before the classes, between quarters and even before the program starts.

We got assigned to read the whole material of the “Team Building” class (some HBR articles), an entire book and a couple chapters from another book for “Financial Reporting & Analysis” (fancy name for accounting), some material for Microeconomics, the “Blue Ocean Strategy” book and some chapters for Statistics. To do that, we had about six weeks.

We then got to meet our groups. We are assigned to a group of about five students for the whole length of the program. Apparently the questionnaire works – my group is a very good fit for me.

After the reception, time to get started. Most people will tell you that doing the pre-reads (in particular, the Accounting pre-read) helps tremendously on being successful in the program. I did. Time will tell.

The TMMBA and I

Amit Ghosh, TMMBA Student

I am about 7 weeks into to TMMBA program at the UW. So far, its been a very eye opening if hectic journey. Life has been a blur of Accounting, Strategy, Microeconomics and Statistics. Throw in student presentations, midterms and a 9 month old baby (in my case) and you have the makings of a perfect storm.

Despite all that, I absolutely enjoy the fact that I have already started looking at business and financial news with a new kind of understanding. For instance, now that I know that for a business, Revenues are not the same as Cash Flow. I understand what VCs and financial experts mean when they ask startups to focus on Cash Flow to stay alive in this downturn. On that note, check out this very interesting presentation that a VC firm, Sequoia Capital, gave at a mandatory meeting to 100 CEOs. http://slideshow.com/presentations/244-sequoia_outlookpdf

The basic program itself has been structured to cater to busy professionals, so the program staff does a phenomenal job in taking care of things you would not want to spend your time on. Your books and case studies are ordered and delivered to you before the quarter begins. Food is catered in during class times, so you do not have to rush out to grab a bite. You really appreciate these thoughtful timesaving touches as you try to balance your student, professional and personal lives. One of my classmates even created a blog about the food served at the TMMBA at http://tmmbafoodie.blogspot.com

Will keep writing as more interesting things keep happening..

I WAS RUDE!!!

Kalpesh Shah, TMMBA Student

In the early 1990s, I was taking courses in software development. After the first quarter, the instructor asked the class to give feedback on each student, with 3 areas of strength and 1 area of improvement for each student.

This was not done by secret ballot. Students would stand up one by one, and the class would voice their opinions for everyone to hear. When it was my turn, the majority of the class thought that I was intelligent, good at spotting problems and solving them and very helpful. When it came to the liabilities side of the balance sheet, the class was unanimous: I was rude. Of course, this was shocking to know. When I was pointing out their mistakes, I thought I was helping my classmates. I did not realize that I was perceived as being rude.

A big part of a manager’s is to get things done through other people. Being rude will not make things easy. Therefore, I have looked to improve my people management skills ever since. After attending the TMMBA program, I certainly feel that I am a better manager than before. Specifically, “Managing People in Technology Companies” and “Negotiations” are two subjects that have helped me along the way. I also attended a 12-week seminar from Dale Carnegie that helped me be a better person.

Remember: “Perception is reality in the mind of the beholder”.

Looking back over the past year: Winter Quarter 2008

Tom Mackey, TMMBA Student

The TMMBA class 09 has begun their journey, and our class is into our 5th of the six quarters in the program.

I’d like to share some thoughts, some memorable moments, and some tips.

The Residential was both intense and enjoyable. We left with a draft team charter, and the start of a good team working relationship. I understand that this year’s residential lasted an extra day and took place right before classes started. Our’s was the first week of December, then we had the stats workshop sessions, Christmas break, and then our classes started. I’m not sure which I like better.

Stats Workshop:

Speaking of the stats workshop, ours was given by Russ Fish, and he gave me permission to share the web site he maintains.

Russ Fish home page: http://faculty.washington.edu/rfish/
Stats workshop: http://faculty.washington.edu/rfish/tmmba_stats/

In the tmmba_stats page, near the top, you will find a tips and tricks link, and a keyboard shortcut link. There is a lot of good info there and I thank Russ for making my everyday computer work much easier. If you haven’t loaded and started using stat pad yet, do so now. I find that I use it regularly in my job, and even for personal use such as tracking and graphing blood pressure readings (More on that in my next post).

Statistics:

Martha is a great stats instructor and I am grateful for her efforts and help. I downloaded all her notes from blackboard and refer to them fairly often.

In general, take advantage of everything that the instructors post on blackboard. Some of the text books come with a CD or a web site where you can download extra information. Again, if you load the info on your laptop, you can appear a lot smarter than you are in meetings and so forth… Ask me how I know

Hint: In both Stats and Micro Econ you might find yourself needing to write complex equations in MSWord. Here is a link that explains how to add the Equation Editor toolbar into MSWord, and use it to make techie looking output. Sweet!!

http://www.ele.uri.edu/Courses/ele343/tutorials/word.equations/wordequations.html

Micro Econ (and Strategy)

Micro Econ is an interesting class, and much more math-intensive than I had expected. Since I like math, that was a good thing. But since I was a bit rusty on derivatives, especially partial derivatives, I made sure I attended all the Thursday study sessions. Hint: Micro Econ concepts form the basis of Business Strategy — but we didn’t hear that directly until this quarter in Global Strategy. It makes sense, and I think it would have helped in both classes if I had started to make that connection earlier.

Memorable moment with Ali: The morning he came in after taking his wife out for their anniversary dinner, and then going out for a night cap after — he made some mention of his indifference curve going higher and higher — until they decided to take a taxi home!
More fun with Ali: try counting how many times he uses pizzas as examples in class

Financial Accounting:

I’m not an accountant, nor based on my grades in this and the later Managerial Accounting class, will I ever be one! That said, I really enjoyed the class. Frank does a great job of trying to cram his vast experience into our heads in a short amount of time. The course is a lot of work. It is the first time that many of us experienced the time warp that occurs while taking an accounting exam. What warp is that you ask? Well, when Frank and his TA say that the exam should take you 6 hours, plan on a lot longer than that in real time. A lot longer. It will be interesting to hear what Frank has to say about the planned demise of GAAP in light of the recent scandals here and abroad. I know he has championed GAAP, and according to what I read last fall, IFRS is the coming thing. Web search GAAP vs. IFRS if you are interested in seeing lots of people argue about the differences. Hint: Pay special attention to the discussion on WIP. I came away not really understanding how to handle WIP and paid dearly on my exam…

Well, except for Teamwork, which I more or less covered in an earlier post, that wraps up my first quarter of the program.