Category Archives: Events

Experience, Explore, Entertain

By Pritam Das, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Experience,
Explore,
Entertain

That’s the Tagline of Novelty Hill Januik Winery.

We surely did experience the bottled poetry called wine from one of the world’s ten “Masters of Merlot”,
We surely did get entertained by the award winning building design of the Novelty hill that rhythms with the geometry of linear rows of grapes in vineyard, and
We surely did explore the perfect food with local, sustainable ingredients, including organic fruits and vegetables.

But that’s not all. The two hour holiday social organized by the TMMBA staff on 18th of Dec, 2012 at the Novelty Hill Januik Winery exposed us to a ton of opportunities these networking events hold.

Within a frame of two hours, I was able to explore what it takes as an entrepreneur to launch a radio station in Seattle, debate over a supply chain issue of recycled raw materials for a manufacturing company, discuss the possibility of a future HBR case study exploring the famous delay in the delivery of the 787 airplanes, find out how a doors and windows manufacturing company have a lot in common in launching a new product when compared to that of a multinational software company…. The list is endless.

I used to think that who would match the variety of our class 13 that has 72 students from 13 different countries with an average 12 year of work experience from 44 different companies. But after meeting TMMBA seniors and alumni at the social, I was just mind blown with the brain power, diversity, and breadth the UW’s TMMBA program has to offer us.

Last but not the least; it was great getting advice from seniors and alumni who have gone through the same intense MBA program (probably the most rigorous in the state of WA) in the past.

Ending with a famous quote from Robert Kiyosaki -

“If you want to go somewhere, it is best to find someone who has already been there.”

My experience at the Kirkland Startup Weekend

By Sreenath Pudukudi, TMMBA Alum, Class of 2012

I got my ticket and was thrilled to go to Startup Weekend. Little did I know this would be one of the great opportunities in my life. For those who don’t know about Startup Weekend, you can see the details here http://startupweekend.org/about/. The idea is to form teams at the Startup Weekend event and create a startup over the weekend. At the end of the event, the best startup would be judged and rewarded.

And then the long-awaited day arrives. Friday, as I entered the event, I could feel the positive energy in the room. There were lots of people passionately talking about their ideas. During the event, you have a minute to present the idea. There were around 40 people who pitched their ideas. Wow, that was 40 ideas in 40 minutes. Each person gets 3 voting cards and could vote for the top 3 ideas they liked. The ideas that received the most number of votes could build their teams for the weekend.

Developing the startup

I voted for the idea of building a platform for matching fashion stylist to consumers. I always wanted a personal stylist but was never ready to spend big dollars. The idea resonated with me very well and I thought people would be ready to pick a personal stylist if the cost of the stylist is reasonably low.

The team Eliza was formed and we had a nice blend of diverse skill sets. We started off by creating a work plan for the next 2 days.

It was Saturday morning. We delegated the tasks to focus on the following areas:

  1. Business Model Generation
  2. Customer Validation
  3. Marketing Plan
  4. Competitive Analysis
  5. Developing the website

The team synched up every 2 hours to gauge the progress. Time was running fast. By Saturday evening, we were successful in,

  1. Reaching out to 3500 customers for validating customer pain points.
  2. Building the business model, identifying the customer segment.
  3. Creating the Cost & Revenue Model.
  4. Creating Marketing Plan and competitive analysis.
  5. Signing up 2 Stylist and 4 customers.
  6. Building a working website with the basic features.

I was pleasantly surprised with the progress a team can make just 1 day.

Pitching the business

It was Sunday morning. Most of us were focused on finishing the last bits and pieces of our work to get the final product in shape for the presentation. A few of us were focused on how to get our final pitch in front of close to 100 people. We practiced our final pitch over and over again.

And the time arrives. Clock ticks 5:30pm and the teams started giving their final pitches. It was our turn. We confidently presented our pitch as a story focusing on the need for the product, the value add it brings to the customers and how we build it into a great business. After our presentation there were a few questions from the judges and we were done.

All the teams presented and the wait to find the best startup begins.

The outcome

Out of the 12 teams in the competition, our team made it to the first position. We WON!!! It was indeed a great feeling and one of the most productive weekends I had. It was worth the effort.

Over the last two days, I learned a lot of new stuff, met great minds, built good networks and realized that it’s “The Team” that matters the most. I learned this again and again in my TMMBA classes. The lessons I learned during TMMBA made a difference in the way I think and I must say, I love TMMBA.

For all the entrepreneur enthusiasts out there, I would just say “attend one of the Startup Weekends and start your journey of building your own startup”. :-)

Welcome to the newest class – TMMBA Class 13!

 

  • Take the GMAT –
  • Submit application to TMMBA, UW Foster School  –
  • Sign acceptance paperwork –
  • Meet my new classmates and study group (TMMBA Welcome Reception) – 
  • Begin classes!! – Nov 26

Earlier this week, a group of 72 students came together to meet each for the first time. This is the beginning of a journey that will include 18 months of classes and continue with a lifetime of relationships, resources and new knowledge for solving business problems. The Welcome Reception is the first event for the new class; followed by TMMBA Immersion Week starting on Nov 26. After this intense week of classes and program information, students will pick up classes again with the regular schedule in January. (one evening per week and every other Saturday)

Students in the new class (Class 13) represent a diverse range of work experience, backgrounds and companies (listed below).

Accenture Airbiquity, Inc.
Amazon.com BE Aerospace
Best Buy Buildingi
Canyon Creek Cepheid
Classmates Online, Inc. Clearwire
Cray, Inc. EMC Corporation
Ericsson Corporation Expedia
FedEx Gagenau
Genie Industries HTC Corporation
IBM Corporation Kessler CPA & Consulting
Labinal, Inc. Microsoft Corporation
Milgard Manufacturing Moxie Software
NAES Corporation NCSoft Corporation
Nokia Paccar Inc
Profusa RealNetworks Player
Robinson Construction Co Stoller Consulting
Terex The Boeing Company
The Walt Disney Company ThyssenKrupp Aerospace
T-Mobile USA University of Washington
US Marine Corps UTC Aerospace Systems
Varolii Corporation Vertafore
VMWare Corporation Woodinville Fire & Rescue

TMMBA + Seattle 2.0 Startup Day = winning combination for entrepreneurs!

Written by:  Tracy Gojdics, Director & 2007 TMMBA alumnus

The UW Foster Technology Management MBA Program (TMMBA) is a premier sponsor for the 2012 Seattle 2.0 Startup Day on September 22 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue.  In fact, this is the third year we will have a presence at this one-of-kind conference designed to inspire, inform and bring together budding entrepreneurs as well as veteran entrepreneurs.

Why do we like to sponsor this event? 

  • We have a growing student and alumni network full of entrepreneurs.
  • 50+% of  TMMBA applicants want to start their own company.
  • Aligns with our mission to educate, inspire and support the aspirations of our TMMBA community.
  • We are fans of Geekwire!

I often get asked, “Does an entrepreneur really need an MBA?”   The answer is “it depends.”  It depends on business knowledge and experience, the kinds of issues and business problems one has been exposed to (and tried to solve!) and how deeply one understands strategy, microeconomic and macroeconomic factors, finance and market risk.  For some they will have a solid understanding of all of these areas, but the vast majority of people do not – this is when a well-rounded MBA experience is an asset worth having.  The time and investment of an MBA is small when compared to the great ROI with the ability to achieve a dream – strategically and intelligently!

TMMBA has the honor introducing the following speakers at the conference:

Adam Tratt – CEO, Giant Thinkwell / HaikuDeck (10am)
Brenda Spoonemore, Co-founder and CEO Dwellable  (3:25pm)

Here is a complete list of speakers and activities for the 2012 Seattle 2.0 Startup Day.  We will have a booth there as well – stop by to say hi to Ally and Tina. As always, we look forward to seeing TMMBA students and alumni at the event and meeting new and interesting people!

Networking on the Ultimate Field

Sara Jones, Class of 2012 and TMMBA Assistant Director

This summer I played on the TMMBA Alumni Ultimate frisbee team in the DiscNW Summer Corporate League. This was my first time playing Ultimate and I captured my initial thoughts in this earlier post.  The season wrapped up two weeks ago and it’s time for an update.

There were lots of opportunities during the season to improve my actual frisbee skills, but the game stretched me to grow in other areas as well. On the field you need to be adaptable, deal with ambiguity, and learn to read your own team members as well as the other team. Of course, communication with your teammates can make or break the game. These skills are important in the workplace and also as a student in the TMMBA program.  It was great to work those muscles in a new setting!

That said, the best part of my experience this summer was the people.  I got to know more of my fellow alums (post-game celebrations helped), their family members that came to cheer us on, and met some really cool folks from the other teams. We played teams from REI, Microsoft, Google, King County, Fred Hutch, Tableau Software, Apex Learning, and Boeing. The sidelines and post-game cheers were great opportunities for casual networking.

All-in-all it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to next season. We’re even talking about some TMMBA pick-up games this fall.

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

Dinner and discussion and classes… oh my!

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Program Coordinator

Last Tuesday’s “Taste of TMMBA” was a busy night for prospective students here at the Eastside Executive Center in Kirkland.  With an agenda that mimicked a typical class night, prospective students were able to try their hand as a TMMBA student for an evening. Their “test-drive” of TMMBA included:

Prof. Lance Young

Dinner and Discussion: In the dining hall, both current and prospective students could be found enjoying a dinner conversation that was animated and boisterous. We hope it was also informative- we encourage those thinking about TMMBA to speak with students and alums. Their wealth of expertise and TMMBA experiences is invaluable for those making a decision about the program.

Class 1: Taste of TMMBA attendees were treated to a crash-course in Finance with Professor Lance Young. Using an example involving Google stock, prospective students learned about Valuation, Net Present Value, and more.

Class 2: Perennial faculty favorite Pat Bettin whetted students’ appetites for “Enhancing Leadership Effectiveness.” Speaking about transformational leadership and the correlation between job performance and job satisfaction, Pat presented thought provoking material with many great take-aways.

Prof. Pat Bettin

Opportunity to meet other prospective students: Taste of TMMBA welcomed not only prospective applicants, but also a handful of newly admitted TMMBA students. Handshakes and business cards were exchanged as some students met their classmates for the next 18 months. Especially for those still considering the program, it was a chance to see who they would be interacting with if they became part of next year’s cohort.

If you’re looking to get a similar “taste” of TMMBA, I encourage you to visit a class, where you will be paired with a student host for the night. You still get to enjoy dinner, sit in a class, and interact with current students. Dates are available through August.

Thanks to all who participated in Taste of TMMBA on Tuesday. Current students, prospective students, faculty and staff- you all helped to make it a fun and informative event!

The spirit of the game

Sara Jones, Assistant Director, Class of 2012

Last month I helped organize the launch of our 2nd annual TMMBA Ultimate team for the DiscNW Summer Corporate League. Along the way, I was convinced to sign up for the team and then thought,  “What have I gotten myself into?”.

Let me explain. Although I had been involved in performing arts for the first 20 years of my life, I hadn’t played a team sport since I was about 5 or 6. Frisbee is not something I’m good at and I’ve seen the level of competitiveness and skill of some Ultimate players.

I went into our first game on June 6 nervous, anxious, and a little overwhelmed. I wanted to do well and not let the team down, but I also didn’t know a thing about Ultimate. I read up on the rules and watched video clips ahead of time, but I still didn’t feel very confident.

Tonight is our 4th game and we’re playing against Cotton Kills, the REI team. They have some talented players, but I’m actually looking forward to the game.  So, what’s changed in the last month? Here’s my rundown of the first three games and what I learned along the way.

Game 1: We played Royal Flush and won, 15-14. We had a lot of beginners that night and spent pre-game time trying to get the basic rules.  I ended up guarding a really good female player, felt stressed-out, and was trying to learn defense.  I was so wrapped up in my own head that I don’t really remember seeing the frisbee more than once or twice the whole game. According to my teammates there was a strong back and forth battle throughout the game with some amazing plays by a few of our very skilled players. Here what I learned from this game:

  • There’s a lot more to the game than throwing a frisbee, and it’s a killer workout!
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep your ears open – teammates on and off the field have a different view and can help coach you along the way.
  • Ultimate is guided by the  “spirit of the game” – fair play, good sportsmanship, respect of others, and the joy of the game.

Game 2: We had a 15-10 win against the Tableau Tuple Tossers.  We started off pre-game with a whiteboard and end zone drill.  Although a simple exercise, I felt much more confident going into the game after seeing the objective drawn out and a few small successes during the drill.  This game we had a pretty good mix of skill level in both genders and did well in both defense and offense. Afterwards, the team headed out for post-game food and drinks. A few takeaways:

  • Have fun – it’s just a game! Our closing cheer to the Tableau team was a great reminder of this and the spirit of the game: “Tableau, Tablooo, Yahoo, We Loved [Playing] You!”
  • Watch the other team’s players so you can assess their skill and match appropriately on defense.
  • A little organization goes a long way. We had a clear strategy for the game and it helped everyone perform their best, no matter their experience level.

Game 3: Our first loss was to Blue Screen, the Microsoft team (5-15). Last year they were the season champions, so I didn’t feel too bad about it.  They played a strong game and used a different defensive strategy than previous teams. We had to adapt our offensive approach and many of us were learning on our feet. We had less players attend than previous games, so everyone had to play more. The women only had 1 substitute player! My thoughts post-game:

  • Relax and take your time on offense. It’s easy to feel rushed to throw the frisbee when you’re holding it, but you have ten seconds. That’s actually a lot of time to let your teammates get into place and help you out!
  • The post-game and sideline socializing with teammates makes a difference! It really started to feel like a team during this game. We were supportive, talked to each other on the field, had great sideline coaching, and recognized when teammates needed assistance. I attribute some of this to the off-field bonding.
  • I can do this! I walked away feeling like I did okay. And considering the skill level of the opponent, I feel much more confident that I do bring value to the team even though I’m a beginner.  I even had a few good laughs on the field during the game!

We have several more games to go this summer and I look forward to seeing my own personal progress and the progress of our team as we continue to work together. Go TMMBA!

Here are a few photos that I took during down-time in Game 2:

       

TMMBA a force to reckon with at Business Plan Competition

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012

TMMBA students at the 2012 UW Foster Business Plan Competition5 TMMBA teams of over 20 students from the Class of 2012 participated in yesterday’s Investment Round at the UW Foster School’s annual Business Plan Competition. We even had a 2010 alum in the competition!

In total there were 101 entries into the competition and 36 teams were selected for the Investment Round. The ideas were more diverse than I remember in the past – from food and technology products to healthcare solutions, products for social good, and an innovative pocketed bra. There was something for everyone!

During the Investment Round, teams had 4 hours to pitch their ideas to judges from the Seattle entrepreneurial community.  At the end of the day the judges invested $1000 CIE dollars in the teams that they found the most intriguing.  The 16 teams with the highest investments were selected to advance to the Sweet 16 Round. I’m proud to say that 3 TMMBA teams made it through – GroBox, Xylemed, and Highlight Hunters.

Teams now have one crazy month ahead to refine their pitches and improve their business plans before the Sweet 16 Round. All of the TMMBA teams in the competition worked hard and did a great job. Way to go!

The TMMBA Teams:

GroBox - @Grospaces | http://grospaces.com/
Aims to make it super easy to grow your own fruits and vegetables in a small amount of space.

Highlight Hunters@highlighthunter | http://www.highlighthunter.com/
Highlight Hunter’s software saves camera owners time by finding the highlights in their videos. It works with any digital camera and can be downloaded free on Mac and PC.

Mynu - @mynu2go | http://mynu2go.wordpress.com/
A mobile app where customers can pre-order menu items from food trucks, save their favorites, and share via their other social media outlets.

Splitpen@splitpeninc | http://splitpen.com/
A creative online outlet for everyday people of all abilities to come together and co-write stories with multiple plot lines, sub-plots and endings.

Viva Aguas Frescas – (TMMBA alum) @vivaaugasfrescas
A non-carbonated beverage company committed to producing Aguas Frescas beverages that embody the always fresh, all natural and HEALTHY Aguas Frescas.

Xylemedhttp://xylemed.com/
Xylemed Ember is a cloud-based electronic patient tracking and operations management system that leverages existing information systems to manage hospital workflows—improving communication and safety, while reducing expenses.

GroBox  SplitBen  Team Xylemed  Highlight HuntersTeam Mynu

Is entrepreneurship for you?

Jeff Levy
Jeff Levy at the TMMBA & EMBA spring networking night

By Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director & Class of 2012 Candidate

We recently had a networking night for students and alumni of the TMMBA and Executive MBA programs. Our speaker for the evening was Jeff Levy, an entrepreneur, coach, and mentor who has helped hundreds of individuals open their own franchise or small business. He’s also the co-author of Making the Jump into Small Business Ownernship (read an excerpt in this GeekWire post).

Jeff shared his entrepreneurial journey and views on what it takes to achieve small business ownership. He highlighted his personal challenges and achievements and the who, what, when, where, and why of entrepreneurship.  We followed-up with Jeff after the event with a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:

What is your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?

There have been many times in my career where I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment.  These usually came after achieving something that no one thought possible. Probably,  the most significant moment was when my partners and I put together a $35million package to buy the three division from Flow International to form Safeworks, LLC.  No one, including ourselves, during the process, knew how it would exactly come together. We never gave up on our dream and made it happen.

It’s not easy to take a leap from being employed (and the primary earner) to being an entrepreneur.  When is the right time to start my own business?  Is there a strategy that would provide the least impact to my family?

You are very right that it is not easy to leave the comfort of a regular paycheck. However,  workers today function in what is called the “new career economy.” A paycheck is not necessarily a synonym for security. At the executive level it is not uncommon to be in a different job, or in career transition every 3-4 years. What you want to avoid is having to start a business when not working as a result of a layoff. That is a lot of pressure unless you have a good severance and possibly Self Employed Assistance Plan benefits provided by the State of Washington.  I think the best strategy is to work on the planning part of your business while you have the comfort of the regular check.  Give particular thought to the capital side of the business. Do you have enough money set aside to meet your living expenses for up to a year (or more) in addition to the capital requirements for investing in the business. Once funding is secure it still takes the difficult task of balancing your dreams versus your fears. My family has always been supportive of my entrepreneurial pursuits.  They believed that my early career success working for others would be transferable to my own venture. As my wife said. In her wisdom, you have made money for others, it is time that you do it for yourself.

With the dramatic changes in technology and impending talent war, what are the pros and cons of being a full-time employee versus self-employed?

I think that there will be a talent war. It actually exists today for certain software engineers and programmers.  I do believe the jobs of the future will be “newer and fewer”. No matter what the demand may be for talent in a salaried environment, I don’t think it competes with the benefits of being your own boss.  Clearly, I have a bias in this regard. Workers tend to get comfortable living at the level of their W-2 income and don’t do enough to create real wealth or to control the most valuable thing they have, their time.  I also believe that technology will create many more opportunities for self-employment.

What is the number one personality trait you see in successful entrepreneurs?

I think the # one personality trait is optimism. The ability to look for the opportunity no matter what the difficulty or the challenge may be.  There are certainly other very important traits but you asked for one. If you are a pessimist trying to go into business, game over!

What is the single biggest obstacle encountered by aspiring entrepreneurs?

Here I need the latitude to give a few obstacles.  You might think it is the lack of capital, but I don’t believe that is what holds entrepreneurs back although it might delay entry or slow down the ramping up of the business. My story is a good example of working the plan until you make it happen.  Raising $35m looked like climbing Mt. Everest. The two biggest obstacles are being close minded and not having developed mastery of basic business management skills.