Category Archives: Events

3…2…1…Take Off!

Sara Jones, TMMBA Class of 2012 & Assistant Director

I’m sitting in a lounge at SeaTac airport and can’t believe it’s finally here – the TMMBA International Study Tour!  The past week has been a crazy whirlwind of final exams and a business plan project.  I haven’t slept much lately and am actually looking forward to the long flight to catch up.

I signed up for the trip last October. That feels like such a long time ago! We’re heading to Singapore and Beijing where we’ll spend several days meeting with executives during company visits and also get some free time along the way. This is my first trip to Asia and I’m really excited to explore. I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare, but luckily TMMBA gave us a few small travel guides so I can read up on the plane and hit the ground running.

I’ll be writing along the way, but here’s a quick run-down of the itinerary:

Day 1: Singapore tour & group dinner in Clark Quay

Day 2: Visits to Johnson & Johnson and Singapore Airlines

Day 3: Visits to Exploit Technologies (A*Star) and GE Singapore Water Technology Center

Day 4: Some cultural outings and free time

Day 5: Fly to Beijing & free time

Day 6: Visits to US China Business Council and Amazon Fulfillment Center

Day 7: It’s the weekend! Visit the Great Wall and Gaoliying Market

Day 8: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and free time

Day 9: Bullet train to Tianjin. Visits to Damco, TEDA, Port of Tianjin & DP World Terminal Operators

Day 10: Visit to Motorola and fly home just in time to start prepping for spring quarter.

 

Whew!  It’s going to be jam packed, but I can’t wait to get there and take it all in.

 

Highlights from 2011

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director and Class of 2012

2011 was a busy and exciting year for TMMBA. As we embark on a new year and welcome the Class of 2013, I wanted to take a moment and share a few highlights, happenings and milestones from 2011:

  • We celebrated our 10th anniversary!  It’s hard to believe how much has changed over the past 10 years.  From curriculum improvements to increased networking opportunities and enhanced alumni continuing education and support, the TMMBA team is always focused on how to make this the best program possible and provide a great experience for our students and alumni.
  • TMMBA expanded the career resources available.  We added new and fresh content to the career resources that we provide to better help our students navigate the career development process. This includes new written materials, workshops on topics such as crafting an effective resume and LinkedIn, and content customized to the unique needs of the various career paths that students are pursuing. Here’s a LinkedIn tip sheet with a few takeaways.  In 2012 we will continue to offer new career workshops topics and individual coaching sessions for our students.
  • Students traveled to Munich & Istanbul on the International Study Tour.  There was record student participation in the 2011 International Study Tour.  Students spent 10 days in Munich and Instanbul  learning about international business through company visits and the exploring the rich culture in these two cities. You can read a brief summary of the study tour here and information about the various companies that were visited here.
  • One of our beloved professors joined the Libyan revolutionary government as Minister of Finance and Oil.  Ali Tarhouni had taught in the TMMBA Program for several years. His class was fun, engaging, and a favorite of many students. This past spring, he took leave from the Foster School to join the Libyan revolution. Students have continued to follow and discuss his journey through news stories of the revolution. One student shares his account of Professor Tarhouni’s last class session here.  He has now taken a role as special envoy to the US and returned briefly this month to spend time with him family and thank the US government for its support of the revolution. You can watch a video of his recent press conference and Q&A session held at UW this week and read about his experience as Finance Minister in this Seattle Times article.
  • TMMBA launched a Professional Communications course. Presentation and communication skills are essential for business leaders today. TMMBA recognizes this and has created a Professional Communications course to address this need. The class runs the entire duration of the TMMBA program with a different topic of focus each quarter. The course series kicks off during Orientation with an Etiquette Dinner and a class on the Elevator Pitch. Instructor Lorraine Howell shares her perspective on the importance of communication skills in this post.
  • Study teams switched it up at the half way point.  TMMBA modified the team structure so that groups changed after the 3rd quarter. Students get to practice their teaming skills with a new group, expand their perspectives, and make closer connections with more of their classmates. Learn more and meet a few teams.
  • Alumni tossed a disc on our first Ultimate Frisbee team. TMMBA expanded our athletic adventures beyond golf and created an Alumni Ultimate Frisbee Team last summer to compete in a local corporate league.  It was a great way for our alums to show their school spirit, make friends, and stay fit! I hope we continue to find new and exciting ways for our alums to stay connected and have fun in 2012.

These are just a few of my memories at TMMBA from 2011.  I’m looking forward to the year ahead – onward and upward!

The Power of the TMMBA Alumni Network

Photo of Tim CookeTim Cooke, TMMBA Class of 2005

What are the top reasons professionals return to school to earn an MBA?  I’ll speculate that the top two reasons are to help foster a career change and for acquisition of knowledge.  Whether you’re considering an MBA or have already graduated from the TMMBA program, I propose that you add a third reason for attaining your MBA: access to a powerful and growing network of networked professionals.

Rather than give you the top five reasons for considering your alumni network as a powerful resource, allow me to appeal to you through a simple story.

The TMMBA program sponsors many opportunities for graduates to connect including an event called Technology at the Top which features a technology executive from a local company sharing their perspective on a current topic or sharing insights and lessons learned from their own professional journey.

Like many of you, I mark evening events on my calendar weeks in advance with great intentions of attending, but as the evening draws close, many competing interest seem to rear their needy heads. Technology at the Top was no exception. I had both business and personal interests competing for that small 60 minute investment I intended to make. I did have a loose personal connection to that evening’s speaker, so rather than miss the opportunity to make add a network connection, I dragged myself to the meeting at the Eastside Executive Center.

Being in business development for twenty years has taught me that passive participation in events will not yield the return necessary to keep you coming back, so I listened intently to that evening’s guest, ready to pounce on any opportunity to engage. Forty minutes into the session, that opportunity came in the form a statistical presentation of where the company’s leads come from. My hand shot up and I let fly my sortie in the form of a deep probing question into how the company is tapping into their knowledge that peer influence is the number one entry point into their sales cycle. My reward was that familiar wrinkling of the brow and cock of the head to the side as the speaker thought for a moment and said, that’s a great question and a challenge we’re actively engaged with. Target acquired.

While the hook was set, the fish was not yet in the boat. At the end of the session I sprang to the occasion and stood in line for my turn to thank our guest. I mentioned the one common friend we both had that would forever bond us, then I started to reel by reminding him of the question I asked and letting him know more about R2integrated’s Influencer and Communities of Interest practice that seeks to identify top influencers and communities and then activate them. Whether he was genuinely interested or just wanted to get rid of me I’ll never know, but he immediately offered to introduce me to their Chief Marketing Officer.

By morning, the fish was in the boat in the form of a flattering email introduction to the CMO. I’ll cut the story short here to conclude with a few facts. We kicked off our first project with this client exactly one month after the email introduction. I don’t know about your industry, but for mine, that’s an incredibly short sales cycle. The first project has opened up the desire for a second phase and a project unrelated to the first. The initial value of the engagement was modest in the tens of thousands, but brought us a new local client whose CLV should reach into the millions as we help them to grow.

Would I have been able to close this customer without TMMBA? We’ll never know, but I do know that with the connections TMMBA affords me as an alum, my access to resources is much greater than without. 

So what is it for you? Are you looking for that next great career move? Are you looking for a business partner to join you on the exciting journey of a startup? Just looking for some new friends to discuss current business issues? Whatever your desire, I encourage you to resist the temptation to skip that next networking meeting. Jump in. You’ll never know the outcome if you don’t participate!

Takeaways from Pitch, Don’t Spin: How to Create Buzz Around your Start-up

Rae Wang, TMMBA Class of 2003

TMMBA sponsored an MIT Enterprise Forum Northwest entrepreneur meet up last night, the topic was Pitch Don’t Spin.  I was very excited that the TMMBA program reached out to the community to connect with other tech enthusiasts, meanwhile making such events available us, the alums, to attend.  I have a two years old startup and customer acquisition through new media is always on my marketing agenda, so this topic caught my interest right away.

The panel consisted of the co-founder of GeekWire, Founder of Newsvine, editor of Seattle Business Magazine, Seattle Times Technology Columnist, and the senior editor of Xconomy.  They gave us a wide range of opinions on how to approach media in this new media age. General challenges in the tech media today are:

  • Too much information is flowing around
  • A lot of people are writing
  • New media and old media provide a lot of choices for entrepreneurs, it can get overwhelming

The panel presented very interesting points and suggestions on how tech entrepreneurs can effectively tackle these challenges:

  • Be authentic, be honest, and be yourself
  • Sell your true story not your credentials
  • Have a story: just because you have an app, it does not mean you have an interesting story
  • Explain your technology in layman terms
  • Get the reporters interested in you
  • Know your audience and use the correct channel to pitch: no need to do Twitter etc if nobody reads it
  • Get your interesting nuggets of news prepared ahead of time before meeting the press
  • Rethink press release and don’t be afraid to use new media, such as emails

If you would like to learn more about this event, my fellow note taker over at fireundereverybutt.com posted a visual note from the event. Check it out at http://fireundereverybutt.com/visual-note-taking/.

TMMBA Class 11 Orientation – Ready, Set, Go!

Adarsh Khare, TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

It was the middle of November 2010 in a Woodinville winery, where my Foster School experience started with meeting a group of wonderful people in a reception event of TMMBA Class 11. Four people (Kundan, Bruce, Glen, and Keka) from that group were definitely special to me. These four folks were my study group – Blue Team – in this course. It was a great combination, with people having experience from accounting, customer management, quality assurance, and IT administration with my own experience in software development. At the end of the event, Tracy reminded all of us to pick a heavy binder at the exit, which contained reading material for our first classroom sessions for the December Orientation Program.

Until a week before Orientation, I couldn’t get a chance to open my binder. Then suddenly I realized that I had to read more than 100 pages of HBR articles and cases with a little book on elevator speech in less than 7 days. We would be learning about professional communications, ethical leadership, and team building. I was wondering how someone could teach leadership and team building in a classroom environment. But in the classroom when Scott started unveiling all the tools required digging deep into analyzing ethical issues and making right choices, I felt empowered. I felt that it was more than a simple classroom setting. It was a dynamic environment, where we were looking into issues from various angles and the whole class was participating in the decision‐making process. Next was team building from Greg; he arranged a good set of exercises in breakout rooms at PACCAR Hall. These exercises were real hands‐on experience in teams. Team is not about putting star performers in a group or making a unanimous decision all the time. It is about putting together a right combination of skills and applying those skills together in marching towards a common goal. The last exercise for building a team contract for a study group was a good learning exercise, where we can observe our results during the course too.

I heard several times in my professional experience, when people say “Let’s talk about it over a dinner?” After going through Arden’s presentation about dinner etiquette in middle of Orientation in a formal dinner setting, now I guess I am better in continuing conversation without worrying too much about my dinner plate and drink.

Overall those three days were jam packed with a nice warm up for the upcoming six quarters. I would definitely continue sharing my learning experiences here and also on my regular blog.

Three and a half days

Bhaskar Dutt, TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

Class 11 is almost halfway through the first quarter! Many of us have been out of school for a decade or more (drat, now I’ve made myself feel old), so getting into the groove of attending classes took some work. It’s been an exhausting but exciting ride so far and I’m really looking forward to the rest of it!

Since this is my first TMMBA blog entry, it probably makes sense for me to talk a bit about our first taste of it – the orientation experience. We had an intensive three and a half day orientation session in December, after which we got about a month off before classes started in earnest early in January. Those three and a half days served as a great springboard into the TMMBA program. Even prior to orientation, we had been assigned study teams. Meeting our study teams and getting to know them a bit even before classes started was fantastic. We had also been assigned daunting stacks of reading material for two classes that we would be taking as part of orientation, Ethical Leadership and Building Effective Teams.

I was very impressed with the content of both those classes. I had never really thought ethics in business would be a particularly interesting or complex subject, but Scott Reynold’s class showed me how naive that view was. The animated and thoroughly entertaining discussions in this class brought home to us how multi-dimensional a question as simple as “What is the right thing to do here?” can be. By the end of our short crash course in business ethics, Scott had provided us with an appreciation for this complexity and a framework for evaluating such questions that I have little doubt I will be revisiting at some point in the course of my career.

The reading we were assigned for Building Effective Teams resonated strongly with me. My own interests lie in the direction of team-building and process engineering (I currently serve as the scrum-master for my team at work), and so as I read about practices adopted by various successful teams, I thought frequently about how I could apply them at work. Here again Greg Bigley’s thoroughly entertaining teaching style brought the material to life. Various in-class exercises helped us get a feel for the concepts we were learning about while simultaneously forcing us to get to know our new classmates better. I came away from this class with a new appreciation for how important good team dynamics and norms can be to the success of the team. I’m going to keep all the reading material we were given for this class – I am certain I will want to refer back to it soon.

Another high point of our whirlwind orientation was the business etiquette dinner. Held at the swanky Bellevue Club, this event was designed to give us the basics of etiquette in business meals while simultaneously allowing us to get to know each other a little better in a fun setting. There was a great deal I learned here, from how to hold a wine glass, napkin, and small plate in one hand to where to seat guests relative to hosts. The food was delicious, the setting was beautiful, and the company was delightful! This was the first time the TMMBA program has organized such an event and I consider it an unequivocal success.

There were also numerous informative presentations from TMMBA staff about the various services the program offers as well as the beginning of an ongoing class in professional communications that looks like it is going to be invaluable to our careers. At the end of the three and a half days I returned home, exhausted but also thrilled about my new experiences. What a great introduction to the program!

-Bhaskar.

TMMBA Orientation, December 2010.

Hamed Ahmadi – TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

I remember the excitement I had before starting elementary school. I could not sleep well for a few nights before the first day of school. I was dreaming about all the new things that were coming up: the new friends I was going to make, new nice and colorful books, and most importantly, I could finally read the labels on the ice-cream packs.  

The history repeated itself after twenty years. When I got the orientation schedule and course packs, I felt exactly the same way. Of course, reading the label on an ice-cream pack would not make me excited anymore, but being able to read into a business certainly does. I was so ready to start my new journey.

There was a fair amount of reading in the orientation packet and we had about a month to prepare. It was a great adapting period for me to get myself into the “school mode” again.

The orientation was very compact; it started on Thursday evening and finished on Sunday evening. Honestly, I felt like I was running very fast on a treadmill after being out of shape for a long time (I felt that once when I restarted playing soccer after a year of preparing for college entry exams ;) ). There was a lot of interesting content being covered in a short amount of time and I wish we had more time for topics like effective teams and ethical leadership. Our team enjoyed the ethical leadership class so much that picked “Corporate Social Responsibilities” for the Microeconomics course paper this quarter, so we get a chance to read more about this topic. After the orientation, I went over the materials again and tried to summarize what I learned. That helped me to digest the content better.

So, get in shape before the orientation by reading extra papers and analyzing the cases before discussing them in class.

Like all other fun times, it flew by very fast, but left a good memory.

Conversing like a pro at a business meal

Guest Blogger: Arden Clise, Clise Etiquette

Clise_ArdenOn December 3, I had the pleasure of giving a dining etiquette presentation to the new UW TMMBA students. I covered everything from how to juggle a drink and a plate of food at a reception to how to conduct yourself at dinner at the bosses house to the difference between Continental and American styles of eating. It was a wonderful diverse group who seemed very interested in the topic and asked great questions. 

I thought I’d offer a tip related to one of the questions. The question was, “how do I bring up business topics over a meal without sounding pushy?” 

There is a flow to business meal conversation. When you sit down at the table, start by having casual, non-business related talk. Avoid talking about anything personal or controversial such as politics, your diet, your health or religion. Instead, find out what your guests are interested in. When you ask good questions and show a true interest in others you will be seen as a great conversationalist.

 If you were to host a business meal meeting this week, an obvious topic of conversation would be the Super Bowl game.  Whether you’re a football fan or not there are many areas you could take the conversation – the game itself, the commercials, how empty the shelves were at the supermarket when you went grocery shopping, the halftime show, American’s love of football.  You get the idea. Once you have placed the order you may move into talking about business.

 A side note here; when conducting business over a meal, it’s important to order something that is easy to eat and not messy. The focus should be on the conversation, not the food. Also, take small bites so that you can chew quickly and continue talking.

 Once coffee and/or dessert are served, assuming your guest wants coffee or dessert, move the conversation back to small talk if you are finished talking business. You want to end the meal on a light note.

 If you practice this conversation flow you will not have to worry about coming across pushy and you’ll have more success with the business at hand.  I hope this helps you feel more comfortable and better able to enjoy the meeting.

Arden Clise, President of Clise Etiquette, is a business etiquette consultant, radio show host and columnist for the Puget Sound Business Journal. As a speaker and corporate trainer, Arden is an expert in the field of business etiquette. She can be reached at 206-708-1670 or arden@cliseetiquette.com. If you would like to get etiquette tips please “Like” the Clise Etiquette Facebook page. 

Can you please pass the salt?

Mikaela Houck, Program Coordinator

As part of the new student orientation in early December, Class 11 participated in a formal four-course Etiquette Dinner event held at the Bellevue Club. The evening was a great success –not only was it a good occasion for students to get to know each other outside of the classroom, but it was also a unique opportunity for students to learn tips that will improve their professionalism, enhance their networking skills, and help them take the next steps in their career. Plus, “a-ha” moments were shared when the age-old question was answered – “What exactly does business professional attire mean?” And no, the answer is NOT the Seattle standard of jeans and a polo shirt :).Etiquette Dinner

Here are just a few tips that were shared, compliments of our etiquette consultant, Arden Clise:

1.  To ensure that your name tag is easy to read, you should place it below your right shoulder.

2.  At a business lunch, you can begin talking business once everyone has placed their order and exchanged pleasantries.  

3. When someone toasts you at a business meal, you should say thank you and take a sip of your drink.

While the students may not claim to be etiquette experts, they will certainly feel that much more poised and confident as they embark on their next business meal. Couple proper etiquette with a Foster TMMBA education – can’t beat it!

TMMBA Halloween Poker Night

lindafinal contestantsdilipnhitmmb poker nightincredible hand - 4 aces, the crowd goes wild

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nhi Huong Huynh – Fiscal Specialist

TMMBA students and spouses and significant others had a lot of fun at “The Halloween Poker Night” on Saturday, October 30th from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Everyone showed up with costumes to play poker tournament and enjoyed drinks and food. Corey and Mike gave a brief a tutorial on how to play poker and then we start with a buy-in of $15. Some people were serious on playing poker, but others were friendly. After the first half, we took 15 minutes breaks for drinks and food. Most everyone got a re-buy of $15 for the second half of the tournament. A lot excited hands got to the last round. Finally, the tournament ended exactly at 9:00PM. Almost forgot about the important part here, half of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Hospital of Seattle and other half were prizes for last 5 players of the tournament.