Thank god is Friday! And thank god tomorrow is a no-school Saturday. However that doesn’t mean complete chill-out as I still have stuff to do. The Stats exam is already published, but I haven’t download it yet as we have a time limit of 7 hours until we’ll have to upload our answers. Hence I am saving a full 7 hours window starting tomorrow morning, bright and early.
Meanwhile, I am frying my brains trying to solve a sample exam we got. Trust me, it ain’t pretty, but somehow I’ll make it through. Practice makes perfect, I know, but I ‘m not even close.
Today was really sunny – something that we haven’t seen in the past couple of weeks here in Seattle. So I rushed home after work to get a few hours out in the yard. We recently bought a house – first time buyers, hence we’re really excited about the new outdoor opportunities. I spent an hour or so doing yard work and planting a fruit tree and now I am back indoor spending some time on stats. Later tonight, I planned an evening out with my wife as tomorrow is woman’s day (March 8th). Shh, don’t tell her, it needs to be a surprise. She still thinks I need the entire evening to study.
Regarding the rest of the exams, I am pretty confident with Micro but I am still catching up on Accounting. It’s going to be a long weekend, but at least it’s the last “hop” for this quarter. Okay, I am going back to study now, as the clock is ticking and time is flying. See you tomorrow.
Hi and welcome to the 4th day of the week. Hang on in there, we’re making progress. If you reached so far and you’re still reading, it means you’re really interested in this program! So stay tuned, you’ll learn a lot from this blog. I’ve read it myself before finally deciding to make the step.
Thursday is the review session day. Every week, from 6 to 8, two teacher assistants will have a one hour session each to go through the last class’ topics. I can’t tell you how useful these are when you’re struggling with the concepts and need some help. You can either join in person, at East Side Executive Center or online. I usually prefer the online session as I have enough of EEC 2.5 times a week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice facility but home is nicer :). The downside of participating online is that you can’t ask questions. But we’re smart, creative people and we find workarounds, like texting or emailing your question to somebody who is there in person.
I need to tell you how amazing some of these classes are and how they make you change you perspective on the things around you. You might think that you’re old or that you graduated in a different era. Well, while that might be true, don’t think that you can’t do it and can’t absorb any more knowledge. This quarter Microeconomics was my favorite class. Even though I already had a micro course in my undergrad, it was no match to this one. The cases and the real-world applications of the concepts were eye-opening for me, I had a great time studying.
In the last two chapters, for example, we did Game Theory and Price Discrimination techniques. Now I understand what’s the deal with price matching or sale price guarantees. I always wondered what’s the incentive for big stores to do it as it seemed to be too nice of them to do that only for the sake of making a customer happy. While that is also a reason, these are actually tricks which facilitate price cooperation between competitors in oligopoly markets.
Ok, enough microeconomics for tonight. One more day and the weekend comes. Should I be happy? Well, it depends whether I have a class on Saturday or not :). Thank you for your attention and have a good night.
Wednesday is usually the team meeting day for our study group. Not today though, as we skipped it due to tomorrow’s deadline for Micro homework. There’s a strategy in choosing this day of the week – we meet at the East Side Executive Center and we can take advantage of the leftovers from Wednesday’s session 😀 No, I’m kidding, that was not the main reason. The main reason is that Wednesday is conveniently placed after self-study day on Tuesdays and so we can all bring knowledge to the table. Moreover, we can also socialize a bit more with the Wednesday section folks, as we only see them every other Saturday.
The study group is a really cool experience and the TMMBA staff is very careful when assigning the teams. They want to make sure each group is diverse and brings a unique set of skills to the table and the program is centered around building strong relationships between individuals. During the Immersion week, back in December, we had the Building Effective Work Teams class in which we learned a whole lot about forming a successful team and being part of one. It’s amazing how much more effective people can be when solving a problem as part of a team, as opposed to doing it on their own. We actually had a test that we took individually and then as a team. It was quite impressive to see that with brainstorming within a team we scored more than the sum of individual scores. Simply amazing.
But coming back to the student schedule, Wednesday mornings are no different than any other day of the week. I wake up at 7, I snooze a bit until it’s too late and I’m already late and then I jump in the car to beat the traffic and reach the office a bit after 8. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t like that before. By all means, I am not a morning person. Usually my UI thread is unresponsive before 9 am so I developed a survival skill to be able to drive, work and even talk to people without moving more then 5 muscles on my face. Then, at about 9, the coffee kicks in (thank god they discovered coffee) and I really wake up and come to life.
But I had to shift my schedule. This way I get some decent two hours of silence in the morning to be able to get stuff done until 10 when everybody comes in and all hell breaks loose. Thing is, this schedule allows me to leave the office earlier and beat the traffic (again) so I can maximize my study time at home, in the evenings.
Back to today, I’m now getting ready to finish the last Micro chapter and I am already done with my homework. Can’t believe I finally finished it – the last homework of the quarter! Three more exams and I’ll be done! That being said, wish me luck for those exams next week, I have a feeling I’ll need it.
Traffic Tuesdays. Does anyone know why traffic is worse on Tuesdays? What makes people wake up in sync and hit the road all at the same time, only on Tuesdays?! Never mind, I don’t think I want to find that out anyway.
8:30, finally got to work. During the day I had a Skype call with the Professional Communication teacher for a personal coaching session on my presentation skills. She watched the recording of my 3 minute presentation in front of the class and she provided very good and constructive feedback. If you think that having a one hour presentation can be challenging, you should try a 3 minute one in which you have to talk about yourself and your work experience, in a manner that engages the audience and captivates their attention. And you have to do that in only 3 minutes, with no slides.
There’s one great thing about Tuesdays – it’s one of the few days in the week in which I don’t have a to be somewhere to do something after work (like classes, review sessions, study group meetings). Sure, I have to study, no doubt about that. But at least I can go straight home after work and focus on it. It’s 5:00 pm already, so I am getting ready to head out. My manager already knows I’m doing this so she understands when I hit the door at 5:15.
At 6 o’clock I am already at home so I grab dinner and rest for about 30 minutes. That’s all I have until I’ll have to start writing this blog post and then focus on studying. I’m going to be honest with you, the week I chose for this exercise is by far not one of the easier ones. In the weekend we had a deadline for two assignments (Statistics and Microeconomics) and now I have another one at Micro due for Thursday. On Friday we’ll have our final Stat exam published and due on Sunday when the Micro exam will be published. What a week! Sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into?
Well, if it sounds like a lot, I should tell you that it’s not that bad. Once you’ve already started, it’s easier than it seems, because when you’re outside, analyzing it, you feel like you’re already fully booked. Well, my friends, here’s a piece of advice: time can stretch. You’ll never know how much you can accommodate in your schedule until you actually have to do it. If you feel like there’s no room for anything else, you’re wrong. Something can still be squeezed in. If you sit and do the math, the number of hours you have to invest in the program is decent. However, it is very hard to catch-up in case you fall behind on readings, so don’t procrastinate!
Ok, enough for today. With the awful Seattle weather fully present tonight, I am going to light up the fire in the fireplace, grab the micro book and a cup of tea and spend the evening trying to figure out the Pricing Techniques chapter. I know that after I’ll be done with the MBA, I’ll miss evenings like this.
My name is Radu and I am a TMMBA student here at Foster School of Business. For the next 7 posts I’ll be your host, trying to bring insights into a week of a TMMBA student. Hopefully this will answer at least some of your questions about what it really means to be a part time MBA student, while dealing with a full time job. I am in class 14, with an expected graduation date of June ’15., which means that I basically just started. To be precise, I started exactly two months ago, so you’ll get a pretty fresh perspective on the topic. Sure, there was Immersion Week in December but that was so fun that it doesn’t count as studying.
However, let’s not diverge too much and get back to our topic. So how does a week in the life of a TMMBA student go? Let me tell you. Today is Monday, I love Mondays. Actually, I used to love Mondays, now I am not that sure anymore. Monday is my school day, so I wake up at 8 am and go to work. I work fast, as I can’t really afford the luxury of doing overtime – yes, in case you didn’t know, working overtime can become a luxury when time is your most important asset. I figured these things out in the first couple of weeks in the program.
Don’t get me wrong. The time management and workload is all according to expectations. When you make a decision to do this kind of thing, you do your due diligence and chat with as many people as you can, in order to get an insight into what’s it going to be like – read blog posts, talk to alumni, visit a class, ask questions to staff members and so forth. If it doesn’t surprise you, it’s quite manageable. What you need to do is to get some time management best practices in place to help you optimize your schedule.
Coming back to our topic, it’s 4:30 pm already, so I am getting ready to head out. Today I’ll head down there earlier than usual as we have a great talk scheduled from 5 to 6. It’s the Tech @ The Top series, and today we’ll have Mr. Michael Schutzler, Chief Executive Officer at the Washington Technology Industry Association to share his stories as an Internet entrepreneur and angel investor – I wouldn’t want to miss that!
Six o’clock comes, so we all get ready for a new class. Today we have Accounting, or Financial Reporting and Analysis on its fancy name. But before that, we got some student presentations going on for about 15 minutes, for the Professional Communication class. It’s a good opportunity to improve your communication and presentation skills as you get peer feedback and a personal coaching session with the teacher, so we all pay close attention to tonight’s speakers. 6 15, class starts. I am already feeling a bit tired but luckily, in anticipation of tonight’s class, I already had a second coffee at about 4 so I’m hanging in pretty good. The Accounting teacher is great but my mind starts slipping towards the free ice cream that I’ll get at break time. Ok, back to the slides, how are we doing those T-accounts again?
Finally 7 45, break time. Ice cream, more chit chat. We laugh, we laugh good. There’s a general feeling of sympathy for the folks who struggle next to you. We make fun of our energy… or lack of it. 15 minutes later, back to class with fresh energy for the next 90 minutes. At 9 30 we’re done and I reach home at about 10. What’s left of the evening is my night off. Tonight I won’t study, won’t worry and won’t stress. Tonight I accomplished my duties and is now time to relax. I grab my wife and watch a movie. Tonight is all good. More, tomorrow.
Congrats to TMMBA Class 13 student, Pritam Das, for excelling at the Science and Technology Showcase in early February. The annual showcase (co-hosted by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and SEBA) is a tradeshow type event where student pitch their ideas and innovations to a panel judges consisting of Seattle area entrepreneurs and investors.
“During the showcase, we were challenged by the judges that ranged from local venture capitalists to scientists from NASA, from every angle of a robust business model. We used the experts’ challenges as an invaluable tool to hone our business models for future commercialization of our product,” shared Pritam.
Pritam and his teammates from the Chemical Engineering Department at UW placed 2nd overall and were also awarded Best Marketing Strategy. Their idea, Electrometal Solutions, is a unique approach of putting metals onto surfaces using advanced electrochemical techniques. The applications of this advanced technology can range from security applications to the decorative market. Currently, their application is targeted towards the semiconductor industry.
Earlier this month, TMMBA Class 13 & 14 joined forces during the annual holiday drive for Food Lifeline to raise a combined (unofficial) total of 1370 lbs of food donations! We’re pleased to share that this impressive contribution marks an unparalleled effort to that of any past TMMBA holiday food drive and certainly sets the bar high for future holiday drives to come. What’s even more notable is that the food drive took place during an extremely busy period for both cohorts, and yet the students still made this holiday food drive a shining success. A true testament to the strength of the TMMBA community!
In addition to our annual holiday drive, each year TMMBA also partners with Food Lifeline for a volunteer day at their Shoreline Distribution Center. Our TMMBA group spent last Saturday afternoon repacking over 2800 lbs of wheat flour. Over the years, TMMBA students, alums, faculty, staff and family members have volunteered to repack over 12,000 lbs of food that has contributed to countless meals over the greater Western Washington region. The volunteer day serves as a great opportunity for the TMMBA community to connect with each other and support the tremendous need to end hunger in Western Washington. In 2012, Food Lifeline distributed more than 36 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 30 million meals, to feed hungry people throughout Western Washington.
A look @ the numbers:
30 million: number of meals provided by Food Lifeline in 2012.
Over 12,000 lbs: total amount of food repacked by TMMBA volunteers @ Food Lifeline over the years. View past event photos
Today we had a problem set due for Operations & Supply Chain Management. This one is a team submission and my team decided to all take a stab at it and then compare our work over a conference call in the afternoon a few hours before it’s due. I hadn’t really felt certain that I was getting some of the concepts, so working through the problems and talking though it with the team was really helpful. It turns out I understood more than I thought, and my answers aligned with what we decided were the correct answers.
We decided t meet again tomorrow to discuss the upcoming “Beer Game” and “Littlefield Simulation for the same class. For some reason we’ve ended up having class 2 Saturdays in a row this month so we’ve got class next weekend as well, which isn’t helpful for those of us who’ve got kids and schedules that must be kept to, but at least the quarter is nearly over.
Sunday night after we got our work submitted I headed up to my brother & sister-in-law’s to celebrate my dad’s 81st birthday. Was good to have a few waking hours away from studying finally, though the time went to quickly and before I knew it the day was over.
And with that my Week in the Life draws to a close. It’s been fun but I’ll be glad to have this time back, and just in time for another midterm and then finals. Thanks for reading!
Woke up this morning to a gorgeous blue sky, a very welcome change from the last few days.
I slept a bit longer than I should have so I left a bit late, and sped over the bridge, through Seattle, and across the lake to the EEC, missing breakfast for only the 2nd time since the program began. I did manage to grab a bowl of yogurt and granola and get into class less than 10 minutes after it started, and I think the extra sleep was worth it because it will help me stay focused better throughout the day. Our first class this morning is Managerial Accounting, and unfortinatley we’re not going over the midterm today. We are, however, reviewing the two case studies that were due before class started this morning. We just went over the solution for the first case and I got it almost entirely right, even catching some of the ‘gotchas’ hidden in the case. This bodes well for our next exam, which will cover this material. Accounting has probably been the biggest surprise for me – I dreaded Financial Accounting last winter quarter and it ended up being my favorite class that highly quantitative quarter, and this time Managerial Accounting is a close second to the Leadership Development during our Leadership Immersion at the beginning of this quarter. Not that I’m going to suddenly shift direction and go into accounting, but I’ve ended up enjoying both subjects and have done reasonably well in them.
During our morning break I talked to a couple students from the Monday section who told me that our Operations & Supply Chain Management professor told their class this morning that up until now it’s been easy and we should expect it to become more difficult from today on and to take much more of our time. Awesome, because I’ve been looking for things to do with all that spare time I’m spending sleeping 5 hours per night!
Lunch was delicious…today I was a bad vegetarian and had the beef vegetable stir-fry. I don’t regret it (the cow might, but that’s a question for a philosophy class). For the afternoon section we had five visitors. Visitors come periodically, sometimes prospective students, sometimes former students. It’s rare to have so many at once but always nice have visitors, especially when they engage in the discussions. This group was from next year’s class, and I think the first half of class scared them off because none of them came back after break (this is probably just as well, because after break came the most difficult and technical lecture of the entire course). By mid-afternoon I needed another cup of coffee. Caffeine is your friend in a full-time graduate program designed for working professionals. I like to call it liquid sleep.
Do not be alarmed…
It looks like the rest of the quarter will be pretty intense: the midterm for this class gets released Thursday, immediately after that’s due the final for our Strategic a Management of Technological Innovation is released, and once that’s done we have the finals for this class and Managerial Accounting. Winter break has never looked so good!
This morning I met with our CMO to engage marketing in an initiative I’m working on, and this afternoon we had a department outing to The Garage where I bowled solidly in the 80s. Ok so maybe I don’t have a career in professional bowling ahead but we had a good time and nobody took it too seriously. All but my team are moving to a new office down the street and their things were being moved as we bowled, another sign of a rapidly growing company.
Today it finally feels like November again and it was raining at lunchtime. Luckily there are plenty of loaner umbrellas available at the office.
After The Garage I met a group of old friends for happy hour, a rare occurance with such a busy schedule which made it all the more enjoyable. Tonight will be an early night, we have breakfast at the EEC early tomorrow morning before class starts at 8:30. It was good to have a little down time, it’ll help refresh me for tomorrow’s seminars
This quarter seems to be flying by, I can’t believe we’re halfway through it already. Class 14 had their welcome reception recently. I remember ours last November…in a way it seems so long ago now because we’ve learned so much and gotten to know each other quite well, but in another way it’s hard to believe it’s already been a year. We’ll be graduating in June and that’ll be here before we know it.
On that note, goodnight!
– Students, staff and a few alumni blog about the experience of earning an MBA via the University of Washington Foster School of Business Technology Management MBA Program, covering events, learning-in-action, life after graduation, networking opportunities, and so much more.