Category Archives: Networking

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 If you would like to get etiquette tips please “Like” the Clise Etiquette Facebook page. 

The TMMBA Network – A Lifetime of Connections

Tina Bassir, TMMBA Associate Director

When you join the TMMBA Program, you become part of the accomplished TMMBA community: a powerful network of nearly 800 professionals, including entrepreneurs, CIOs, senior managers, and directors.

As an alum, the TMMBA program continues to provide opportunities to learn and to stay connected to this network of top technology leaders. By staying connected and involved, alums continue to gain the networking and educational benefits. A variety of events happen throughout the year ranging from continuing education and networking, to family fun and recreation.

“In today’s economy, a vibrant network is even more critical than normal.  Thanks to the TMMBA program and all the alumni events it supports, I’m able to easily stay in touch with my fellow classmates.” 
–Steve Montgomery,    TMMBA Class of 2008

Continuing Education:

TMMBA alumni are invited to audit classes with current students as a refresher to particular topics, and they have access to a variety of continuing education courses each year. (In fact, a course on Selling Professional Services is happening this week.) These courses provide a chance to connect with fellow alumni and Foster School faculty while returning to the classroom.

Additionally, the TMMBA Alumni Book Group has been meeting quarterly for over two years, spanning topics from strategy, leadership, ethics and finance. The book group is a great opportunity for alums to dig into a business topic then gather to discuss the book in an academic setting. Book groups are facilitated by Foster School faculty members.

“The TMMBA book groups help me maintain a connection with the program while keeping me up to date on current topics.  I’ve been able to apply the books we’ve discussed to my current work.”
— Tamaira Ross, TMMBA Class of 2008


While a great deal of networking happens at the education events, there are also events focused on reconnecting with classmates and meeting other members of the TMMBA alumni network. From speed networking night to happy hour, alums are able to meet fellow graduates from practically any local company or functional area. If someone isn’t currently working there, chances are good that someone has at some point in their past. 

Graduates from TMMBA also become part of the Foster School of Business alumni network of nearly 48,000 graduates. Each year, the Foster School welcomes all MBA graduates.  The Foster MBA Reunion held in Oct 2010 brought together all MBA programs at the Foster School from Classes of 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2005. 

“To me, the value of the alumni network has been mainly of social value.  It feels good to be connected with good, smart people.”
 –Sumant Hattikudur, TMMBA Class of 2005

The TMMBA Alumni Network truly provides a lifetime of connections and a lifetime of learning!

Dashing to Success: Foster MEANS Business on race day

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services & Technologies

TMMBA staff and students laced up their running shoes with other Foster MBA programs to raise money for University of Washington student scholarships by participating in the 2010 Dawg Dash.  Little did we know that epic sheets of rain and gusty wind would greet us on a chilly and grey Seattle Sunday morning (we’re talking the type of day where you curl up with a book or movie next to the fire place and drink a hot cup of coffee).  Instead I found myself shaking my head and grumbling as I pulled together my race gear.  On my way to Husky stadium I remember at least 4 distinct times when I almost aborted on the race and sought refuge from the elements back at my house.  The guilt of abandoning my teammates brought me back to focus each time and soon I was parked and deciding when I was ready to fling open the car door.  Through the waves of water running down my windshield I saw a teammate and decided that it was time.  Stepping into this kind of rain meant being wet and cold instantly and set the tone for the rest of the morning until the “Purple Wave (10k)” was called to the starting line.  The scarcity of covered areas was apparent as I observed runners hiding in every stadium tunnel    To the amazement of the runners, the rain ceased as we lined up and executed some last minute stretching, leg shaking, and jumping in hopes of staying loose and warm.  And then the gun popped…

Come race time the Foster runners shook off the rain and cold and found racing success in both the 10k and 5k flavors of the race, with finishers in the top 15% of their division.  The race spans the length of the UW Seattle campus from Husky Stadium in the south to running up the hilly campus past the Foster business school campus in the far north.  It was a painful race but certainly one with an intense feeling of accomplishment at the finish due to the inclement weather.  2010 was the 25th anniversary of the Dawg Dash tradition which raised more than $10,000 last year.  Record attendance last year was beaten by more than 800 registrants this year.

Go Huskies!

Lights, camera, action! A look inside the UW Business Plan Competition

Sara Jones, Assistant Director

Last quarter, 12 TMMBA students successfully made it into the Investment Round of the UW Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) Business Plan Competition.  This is no small feat since only 36 out of 92 teams were accepted.  During the Investment Round, 230 judges each had $1,000 CIE dollars to “invest” in the teams.  The 16 teams with the highest investment advanced to the Sweet Sixteen Round.  I really enjoyed attending the event this year. There was a lot of excitement in the room and it was fun to see our students pitching their business ideas to local venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and investors.  This year TMMBA had 7 students on 3 different teams make it to the Sweet Sixteen Round!

Here is a short video from the Investment Round to give you a feel for the competition.

UW Business Plan Competition – 2010 Investment Round from Foster School of Business on Vimeo.

The Value of the TMMBA Network

In the TMMBA Program, we combine relevant knowledge you can use right from the start with a powerful network of technology professionals. This powerful network is composed of more than 650 alumni and students who represent over 150 companies in the Puget Sound region. In this video, Class of 2009 Alumna Cortney Jacobsen shares her view on the value of the TMMBA Network.

Would you like to talk with a student or alum who works in your company or industry? Contact us  –  we are happy to connect you.

Ready, Set, Network!

Mikaela Houck, Program Assistant

Greetings! My name is Mikaela Houck, and I am one of the newest members of the TMMBA team. I began as Program Assistant just over one month ago, and I work to provide student, faculty and staff support for the program. Now that class is back in full swing, the students’ return has brought a special energy to our Eastside Campus. I have enjoyed getting to know the students and faculty, and last night at our Class 9 Speed Networking Event, I met for the first time members of the incoming class that will start in January of next year.

The Class 9 Speed Networking Night provided students with a great opportunity to meet fellow classmates, exchange stories, and trade business cards. Although the cohort does not officially begin until January 2009, this get-together fostered some great connections and sparked enthusiasm for the year and a half to come. To the benefit of the students, the networking doesn’t end here. TMMBA students have the opportunity to participate in Speed Networking with other students and alumni each quarter. Another event is just around the corner!