Category Archives: ROI

New benefits for TMMBA students and alums!

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director

The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) is one of the largest statewide tech trade associations in North America, and we’re it’s newest member!  What does this mean for you? Through the TMMBA WTIA membership our students and alumni now have access to their wide mix of member benefits, including:

  • Free and discounted attendance at WTIA events
  • Access to the WTIA network (800 member companies and 100,000 tech workers statewide)
  • 13 community and special interest groups to join
  • Access to online WTIA Job Center
  • Discounts through WTIA Marketplace (health benefits, human resources, 401K, computer equipment, personal insurance, and more)

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!

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 posted a visual note from the event. Check it out at

How do you keep up with technology and business events?

Jared McInelly, TMMBA Class 11

Everyone is very busy.  There are so many demands on our time, work, family, school, etc.  I’ve found that school has taken all of my leisurely browsing-the-web-to-keep-up-on-technology time.  So, I have to boil things down to a few key resources.  Here are the things I use to keep up on technology and business issues along with a short description of each.


I love podcasts.  By subscribing to them in iTunes, new updates are downloaded to my iPhone automatically.  I have an FM transmitter that allows me to listen to them on my car radio while driving around in the wonderful Seattle traffic.  Here are my favorites.  All of these can be subscribed to in iTunes by searching for them by name.  (Sorry Andriod users, I have not joined your secret society and so I don’t know how to help you get these).

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series.  Stanford University.  This is a weekly (during the school year) speaking event open to Stanford students.  They record it and post the talks online.  This is one of my favorite podcasts to listen to.  Because it’s Stanford, they get some of the best speakers from some of the most interesting companies in the world.

TWIT:  This week in technology.  Leo Laporte is the moderator with a panel that changes weekly.  They discuss the tech news of the week.  This is a great way to find out what is new and upcoming.  Plus, there are some great personalities in the group (and some consistently grumpy ones).

HBR IdeaCast.  This is a 20 minute interview with the author of one of the main articles for the week’s Harvard Business Review.  Very insightful and a quick and easy way to get the point of the article without having to read it.

Business Week – Behind This Week’s Cover Story.  Similar to the HBR IdeaCast, this is a short interview with the author of the latest Business Week cover story.

Manager Tools.  I don’t know where these guys came from but they are pretty good.  They discuss, sometimes in painstaking detail, specific, actionable tools you can use as managers.  My favorite Manager Tools podcast was the one that had 17 steps to remember for a perfect handshake.  I don’t bother trying to remember all of their items but I do find the overall point of each podcast very helpful.

RadioLab.  If you like science, even a little bit, you’ll love this podcast.  I look forward to a new episode of Radiolab like I look forward to Christmas.  Yes, I’m a geek.


Geekwire.  This is a site founded in Seattle to cover the tech beat in the Seattle area.  These guys are good.  They also have a podcast but it tends to be boring.

Google News:

I set up alerts on topics I care about and check it on occasion.  I include on this list all of the blogs that I like to read.  That way I get to see them all at once and it’s easy to tell if they have a new update.  Which is much better than checking them all individually.

I’m interested in what you have found helpful, please respond in the comments if you know of a good site, podcast, etc. that you use to keep up on the latest business ideas and technology.

TMMBA alum puts his degree to work

Sara Jones, TMMBA Assistant Director
TMMBA Alumnus, Andrew Zydel
Andrew Zydel, TMMBA Alumnus, Class of 2009

Alumnus Andrew Zydel and the Technology Management MBA Program were featured in a recent article in the Horizon Air Magazine about students in innovative degree programs in the Northwest. Andrew is a graduate from the TMMBA Class of 2009 and now manages a team of IT professionals at Swedish Medical Center in his role as Manager of Informatics. He leveraged his TMMBA education, informatics experience, and networking skills to make the switch to his current position.  Read the full article.

Graduation & Reflection

Hani Rachidi, TMMBA Student (Class of 2010)

A fantastic program coming to a fantastic ending. The TMMBA graduation is going to be held on Monday, June 7th alongside the Executive MBA program. With graduation comes a time of reflection on the program. What do I know now that I wish I knew before enrolling in the program? Top 3 priority order:

  1. Intensity of the program and time demands.We were informed that it would be a considerable time commitment but before actually experiencing it how would you understand. I thought, hey, two nights a week (class, review) would add five hours to my life. I even thought about outside reading and team meetings and said to myself oh that would add potentially five more hours to my week, ok. Then I thought about that every other Saturday the entire day was occupied, another 4hrs avg per week. So, okay that’s on average 14hrs additional work per work. Even if it was that low on some weeks, that’s a lot of time!!
  2. It’s about the People. The most important aspect of the program is the class mates and more specifically your 4 to 6 person team. This aspect of the program is a make or break. I am fortunate to have had a stellar team comprised of a diverse background from Liberal Arts, Business and Engineering. The diversity of perspectives is key. We also had complementary skills of which creative and analytical stand out. The faculty overall is extremely solid but there are  few professors that missed the mark and I know the administration is receptive to our feedback.
  3. Value.  While I have a high financial burden of paying for the program I do so considering the time, dollar investment against both qualitative and salary returns. What I know now is that I can knock on more doors and most of them will open. For example, my goal is to work on product marketing so as I approach leaders in the space I am confident that I can not only hold a conversation with them but also I can add value to their organizations. I’ll take a line from Dr. Lee Hartwell, the Nobel Laureate at Fred Hutchinson, who once related a story about his graduate work at MIT – “I asked a distinguished professor, why do you like to spend so much time with me, afterall you know so much and I am still learning so much. The professor replied, ‘Well I have the answers, but you son, have all the questions!’.  As a fresh MBA graduate I am a strong asset to any organization because  I have a lot of insightful questions and a high curiosity. The TMMBA program not only prepares you with the set of frameworks to make tough business decisions but also instills the inquisitiveness and curiosity to ask the critical questions of yourself as a leader and of your strategy as a business be it operational (supply chain), financial (accounting), organizational (management), or marketing.

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.

Have alumni advanced their careers?

Tracy Gojdics, Director

Basically students want to do one of three things when they are in the program or after they graduate:  move up in what they are doing, move out of what they are doing – or change functions – or start their own business. I tell our students that the critical things they learn in the TMMBA Program is only one part of the equation in advancing their careers, the other part of the equation is being able to put the things they learn into practice and always look for ways to contribute at a higher level, communicate more effectively and to be determined. 

So have students and alumni advanced their careers?  We’ve done alumni surveys to help us determine this, but what I find to be a better indicator is what I’m seeing in my LinkedIn network. Of the 450 or so alumni I have tracked via my LinkedIn network approximately 75% have changed positions and 65% have changed companies.  I’m finding many are in senior-level and even C-level roles and that those that had been in more specialized technical positions have moved to general management, marketing or product management roles.  It is also great to see the number of entrepreneurs we have in the alumni network as well.