Category Archives: Faculty

Professor Ali Tarhouni’s Last lecture- 2/26

Wei Huang, TMMBA Class 11

On Feb 26, 2011, Professor Ali Tarhouni taught the first of his two final Microeconomics classes.  The Wednesday section was the first class during the morning.  Prof. Ali started off stating the topics for the lectures: Monopoly, competitive markets and showing that competitive markets are the way to go instead of monopoly and the expression of monopoly power and price discrimination.

As any typical Prof. Ali lecture, he asks for microeconomics news.   He warned he was losing his voice.  A fellow student mentioned baseball salary was evaluated using marginal analysis, which Prof. Ali stated when he hears “marginal” his heart beats.  Moments later, he jokingly states everyone wants to talk about Libya.  He stated he spent a good part of his life trying to bring democracy to Libya and was sentenced to death from the Libya government and the FBI told him he was on a hit list in 1980-81.  He later states that it was great seeing the new movement striving for democracy and freedom.  He describes the current Libya government as being ruled by thugs for centuries whether it was by fear or by a King and the country was suppress and blundered and never reaching the country’s potential.  He describes Gadaffi as a ‘killer clown’ who doesn’t want to go peacefully and wants to take as many people down as he can.   He stated he was going back to Libya due to family.    Joy and sadness were described about the situation in Libya.  He stated never anticipated the people trying to overthrow the Libya government.  Later he states he was usually on TV and was asked about the which country was going to be overthrown by the people and he said Egypt was the only country not going to be overthrown.  Later he admits that he is not good a predicting major events.  During the first four days of the movement, Prof Ali assisted in sending the pictures to media.  He goes on answering why the movement has started and describes Gadaffi as a thug, dictator for 42 years and destroying the infrastructure and not providing any political expression to the country.  He goes on saying that there is not government budget and the oil money all goes the Gadaffi and his kids.

Prof Ali’s classes were always entertaining.  He had a love for frozen pizza as he used it in many of his examples.  He blended his experience to class material so students could better understand the material.  During the lectures, he would always seem to make the class laugh.  It was never a dull moment.  Hearing the news he would go back to Libya was shocking especially know he was on Gadaffi’s hit list.  I thought he was going back to visit family.  It was surprising to hear he was going back for bigger things as he was later become the transitional government’s finance minister.  It was an honor to being the last class Prof Ali would teach and it’s an amazing story I can tell my children that my professor at UW TMMBA program became the Finance minister of Libya.  Now I regret not getting his autograph.

Here’s to wishing Prof Ali the best in bring democracy to Libya.

Good luck Prof Ali!!

– Wei



There’s an equation for that?

Jared McInelly, TMMBA Class 11

That was my first thought when Prof. Karpoff first wrote the equation for NPV (Net Present Value) on the whiteboard.  I was fascinated that there, right in front of me, was a way to calculate the present value, in today’s dollars, of a project that would last in to the future.  There was even a way to include the risk!

Finance has been one of my favorite classes so for in the TMMBA program.  The case studies were challenging yet interesting.  And the final exam was actually fun.  Being able to value a company using information from their income statement and balance sheet is cool.

And forevermore, whenever I see one of those hats with a propeller on top I’m going to think “CAPM.”

Use It or Lose it! Speaking Skills in the Digital Universe

Guest Blogger: Lorraine Howell, TMMBA Instructor of Professional Communications

The more we are connected electronically, it seems the less we have to say to each other, at least in person! That’s my non-scientific observation, based on what I hear from people I work with and the people I meet in business settings. With so many communication tools available, people still struggle with their old fashioned verbal communication skills, whether it’s public speaking, networking, or other business conversations.

 However, after teaching TMMBA students during Winter Quarter I’m encouraged and very excited by how many of them wanted more opportunity to practice the skills and strategies they are learning in our new Professional Communications course. There will be more opportunities to practice and get feedback throughout the TMMBA Program.

There are other ways to work on your speaking skills. Consider looking for every opportunity to present at work or in any volunteer activities. Run meetings as often as possible. Ask for feedback from trusted colleagues or friends. As you build skills work on one or two elements at time, like strong opens and closes or gestures and body language. Changes in behavior take time and practice, so take it easy and break it down into smaller goals. Another low cost option is join a Toastmaster’s group. That’s a great way to get regular practice and supportive feedback.

There is no question that communication is a fundamental skill for success as a leader in business. In fact, your skill as leader is dependent on your ability to persuade people to follow you or embrace your ideas and vision. TMMBA students will be taking a deeper dive into the art of persuasion as part of the Professional Communications course.

For now, observe effective communications skills in others, make progress with slow and steady small changes. Developing speaking skills is like a fitness program…use it, or lose it!!!

Lorraine Howell is an instructor in the UW Foster School of Business. After a 12 year career in television production, she started her own communications coaching and consulting company called Media Skills Training. Her book, Give Your Elevator Speech a Lift! is a step-by-step guide through her prove process for eliminating the verbal clutter and creating and engaging and memorable “elevator speech.”

Fostering Leadership the Foster Way

Bruce Avolio, Professor of Management & Executive Director of Foster Center for Leadership

bavolio_smallA year ago, the Foster School decided to get into show business. In partnership with UW TV, we set out to produce a show that would inform viewers about the very best things we know about effective leadership, and to do so in a way that conveys rigor (what we say works, has been proven to work) and relevance (it really looks like something you can use).  Each of six pilot shows is broken down into nine 3 minute segments covering different topics, from different vantage points for different reasons. The people who we have included in the show range from entrepreneurs, to senior executives of Fortune 500 companies to faculty and our own MBA students and alum.Take a look at this new show produced by our Foster community for our Foster community.

By the way, over a million viewers have seen this show in its pilot season and it won out the gate the prestigious Telly Award!

Bruce Avolio is teaching Leadership Development with the TMMBA Program this Spring Quarter. The focus of this course is on understanding the dynamics of leaders and leadership ranging from self leadership through global strategic leadership. Bruce is one of the top scholars on transformational leadership and has devised evidence-based models and methods to accelerate the development of authentic, ethical and transformational leadership.

Government spending taken to the ultimate

Tom Mackey (TMMBA alumnus, Class of 2009)

I ran across this well done article telling the story of entire Chinese cities being built, just to “grow the economy”:

The video is about 15 minutes long, but well done.  In it, a Hong Kong housing expert estimates that there are 64 Million (and growing) empty apartments and homes in China.  They are asking prices roughly equivalent to what you would expect to see in the Seattle area, require a 50% down payment, and loans must be repaid in three years.  The draconian interest terms have so far prevented a hyperactive mortgage bubble, but they certainly have a glut of housing that no one can afford.  In addition, they are tearing down the places where people are actually living in order to build yet more apartment buildings — which is contributing to growing social unrest.  When you consider the relatively small amount government spending contributes to Aggregate Demand, it is obvious that the Chinese government is spending money by the boat load in order to prop up their economy.  When this housing construction bubble bursts, there is no telling what will happen.  Remember that C = Consumers propensity to spend, I = investments (Mostly in *our* treasuries, by the way), G = Government purchases (the ghost cities), and NX = Foreign exchange (Also huge for China).  What they do not have is much “C” — the thing that is required to really grow an economy (i.e., true creation of wealth where money is created out of thin air through the fruition of ideas into goods and services).

Interesting — if they sell our securities to continue the building, they will collapse our economy, leading to a sudden drop in their NX, which will collapse their economy.  Mutual Assured Destruction of the economic kind.  Yet, at some point, something has to give.  I saw a Twilight Zone episode one time where we had latched on to something in another dimension, and both sides were pulling so hard that neither side could release without destroying everything, or let up for fear of turning that dimension inside out — Tiger by the Tail, I think, was the name of it.  Pretty apt description of what we have with China.  Below, the Aggregate Demand vs. Y (Goods) chart from one of Karma’s lectures:







Tom Mackey, TMMBA Alum (’09)

Frank’s Slide

Jared McInelly,  TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

My mother grew up in tiny little town in Alberta, Canada.  Every year, no matter how far away we lived, we’d make the trek to Raymond.  One of the last markers to look for before we’d get there was Frank’s Slide.  In 1904, half of Turtle Mountain broke loose and came rumbling down the valley where it buried most of the town of Frank, Alberta with over 90 tons of limestone.  Over a hundred years later the path of destruction and debris pile are still easily visible.  The road through Crowsnest Pass takes you right through massive, two-story high, sun bleached boulders.  The first time I saw this as a kid I was amazed, even a little scared that such a thing could happen.  I’ve been fascinated by Frank’s slide ever since.

Two weeks into my first quarter in the TMMBA program I started hearing rumblings about “Frank’s exam.”  Peopled talked about it with an awe of respect mingled with a hint of fear.  Just like I felt the first time I saw Frank’s slide.  I began to wonder, “were T-accounts going to become two story boulders, smashing me into wondering why I decided to go back to school?”  Rumors were that the test took 15-17 hours to complete (so I planned on 22-25).  That’s a lot of time when you’re working and going to school.  My study group and I decided to work really hard to finish all of our other assignments before the week of Frank’s exam.  It was a good move.  By the time the week of the test came, I had nothing that had to be done except Frank’s test.  I was really nervous as I downloaded the test questions and the spreadsheet template.  It was my first official test in almost ten years.  As I opened the test I began to imagine Turtle Mountain as it started to rumble and shake.  I could see small boulders beginning to crash down the mountainside before the whole thing gave way.  As I read the first question the panic of being buried in a field of journal-entry dust began to creep up my spine.  I read the question again and sat back in my chair.  “Wait a minute, I know this” I thought to myself.  A few minutes later I was T-accounting with the best of them.  I felt great when, 15 hours over three days later, I was finally finished.

Looking back now, it was actually a pretty ‘fun’ exam.  I didn’t get the best score in the class but that’s not my goal in the program.  But I do have a good, fundamental understanding of how to interpret Income statements, cash-flow statements and balance sheets, something I’ve always wanted to know how to do.  And I’m glad that Frank’s exam didn’t become my own personal Frank’s slide.

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.

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.

How to avoid buying new pants…

Wei Huang, TMMBA (Class of 2012)

Before I start, I like to give a shout out to the TMMBA staff.

They brought an awesome TMMBA alumni as a guest speaker,  arranged a wonderful etiquette dinner, and created a nice warm and cozy environment when we were UW Seattle campus.

Kudos to the TMMBA staff for all their hard work during the orientation!

Class 11 has officially started!  The classes for the orientation included: Professional Communications, Ethical Leadership, Building Effective Teams, and an etiquette diner.

  • Professional Communications – Work on presentation skills and feedback along with individual professional help for the elevator speech!  How cool is that?
  • Ethical Leadership – Learned about applying ethic theory to assist in decision-making and to persuade…and more!
  • Building Effective Teams – Learned a lot about working in teams, and problems in decision-making …and more!
  • Etiquette dinner – Learn how to network during dinner and all the etiquette stuff involved with silverware placement…and more!

Overall Professor Reynolds for the Ethics class and Professor Bigley for the Building Effective Teams class were awesome!  I learned a bunch with both instructors!

Now back to avoiding buying new pants.

Most students are full-time employees and now full-time MBA students.

My prediction is being FT employees + FT students = Bigger waist.  Working out is hard with a FT job and now add in being a student!

Let me introduce to you the Tabata workout.  Believe it or not, this workout is only 4-5 minutes.  The Tabata workout is performing an exercise for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds for a good 8 sets.  The 20 seconds should be full 100% effort.  Its actually a version of High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.   It’s known for burning fat!

I did push-ups the other day using the Tabata method and after the third set, the lactic acid starts to build.   I was able to complete the 8 sets but it was challenging.  Another workout is doing body weight squats using the Tabata method.  I did the workout last Friday and today is Sunday and my thighs are still sore.  Keep in mind these were body weight squats.  Of course add in a good warm up and stretch as always!

To get started, I recommend doing 8 sets for 20 seconds with 30 seconds rest.  See how that goes and when you feel stronger, try cutting the rest time to 20 seconds, and after that gets easier, cut it down to 10 seconds rest.  Try it with push-ups, or body weight squats or both and remember to go 100% effort.  Yes, as you do more sets, the maximum effort will feel harder so don’t get discouraged.  The last set is hard, its just how the body works.  If you’re up for the challenge, you can do sprints using the Tabata method.

Remember Tabata workout is only 4-5 minutes.  Once you get stronger, try adding more and different exercises to your routine.

Here’s a Tabata timer:

Here’s info on Tabata if you want to read more about it:

Good luck!!!

What are the most significant cases of financial fraud?

Jon Karpoff teaches Corporate Finance in the TMMBA Program.  The following is an article posted recently to the “Faculty & Research” page of the Foster website.   Visit a TMMBA Class this spring and see Professor Karpoff in action.

Karpoff_Jonathan_pfJonathan Karpoff is no stranger to scandal. The University of Washington Foster School of Business professor of finance is one of the nation’s foremost experts in corporate crime and punishment, recently publishing landmark findings on the serious and unexpected cost to firms and executives for cooking the books. Here he weighs in on the worst corporate scandals of the past decade.   Read more.