Category Archives: Student Services

The TMMBA ROI Series: Part 3

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Recruiting and Admissions Coordinator

In Posts 1 and 2, there’s already been ample discussion about the ways that TMMBA students and alums calculate their return on their investment. While we conclude today with three final categories to the TMMBA ROI, it’s safe to say there are still many components to add to this conversation:

Powerful Network

The TMMBA alumni network is truly one of the greatest assets of the program. With close to 800 TMMBA graduates, it is a diverse community that represents a variety of industries, functions, and companies. Additionally, the larger Foster School network connects more than 50,000 business professionals – creating a huge presence in the Puget Sound region and beyond.

 So how do TMMBA alums relate network to ROI? For many, the value comes from the exposure and access to new contacts, companies, and most importantly – opportunities. As alumnus Kevin Croy (TMMBA ’12) can attest, “The caliber of people on your team and the network you’re exposed to directly impacts your career.” Through an introduction from one of his TMMBA teammates, Kevin met his current business partner, leading to the development of 9MileLabs, a Seattle based high-tech accelerator.

 Another value of the TMMBA network is that it never stops growing. With each new cohort, the TMMBA community expands and provides access to more support, resources, and connections. “My network has exploded almost exponentially” remarks student Chris Zilich. “The connections I’ve made via my team and other classmates have been invaluable.”

 Personal Growth

Can you put a price on confidence? How about personal development and leadership skills? TMMBA alumnus Ameya Bhatawdekar (TMMBA ’10) explains that “it’s hard to put a dollar value on the measurement of ROI. But my most important indicator is knowing that I’m a different person today for having completed the program.”

 While the TMMBA program offers a comprehensive business curriculum, the learning in the program goes beyond business concepts, calculations, and frameworks. Emphasis on strategic decision making, effective leadership, and innovation challenge the individual and change their ways of thinking. 100% of recently surveyed TMMBA alumni cited an increase in confidence as a result of the program. Coupled with increased self-awareness, time management skills, and a sense of accomplishment, the return for the individual is unparalleled.


While it’s not a typical return, the convenience, support and services that the TMMBA program provides helps some students substantiate part of their investment decision. Many alums point to the convenient Eastside location- there’s less time and money spent commuting to class (especially in comparison to other non-local MBA programs). The 18-month program and work-compatible schedule also allow students to continue their current careers – without having to forfeit years of income and career experience to pursue their degree.

By providing textbooks, electronic course materials, registration services and more, students can focus on homework or family time, not worrying about the logistics of classes. Similarly, catered meals on class days allow students to come  from work and network with classmates over dinner – or finish up on last minute homework. As alums have noted– everything about the program is designed to make students as successful as possible.


With the variety of topics that we’ve covered in these last few posts, it’s obvious that the ROI for TMMBA students is multifaceted. From network to rankings, salary increases to personal growth, every TMMBA student and alum calculates their return in their own way.  We’ve started the discussion – now how will you calculate the ROI for your own MBA?

Missed a post? Catch up!  Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

TMMBA Student Resources 101

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Program Coordinator

Today, TMMBA Class 13 students (who began at the beginning of January) have their first Saturday of class at Paccar Hall. TMMBA typically hosts one class per quarter on the Seattle Campus, which gives students an opportunity to see the other Foster Facilities and experience the campus environment. All morning, I’ve been listening to students ooh and ahh over Paccar Hall. “It’s like I’m back in my undergraduate days…” is a common comment from most.

Being on campus gives students a hands-on look at many other resources that TMMBA and the Foster School of Business provides for them.  Oftentimes, the 18 months of a TMMBA student go by so quickly that they forget to take a look around them and see what else is available outside of their classes.  I encourage all students to take advantage of these many benefits and resources:

  • Lounge for Foster MBA Students at Paccar
    Lounge for Foster MBA Students at Paccar

    Foster MBA Lounge and Access at Paccar Hall: With an activated Husky Card, students are able to access Paccar Hall, Dempsey Hall, and the MBA Lounge. Even when the Paccar Building is not open to the public, students are welcome to use the space for studying and group meetings. There’s even a dedicated space just for MBA students- the T-Mobile MBA Commons. This was a popular tour stop for our students today, and no- it does not come equipped with cigars and smoking jackets. It’s a study lounge- not to be confused with students other after-class haunts.

  • IMA (Intramurals Activity Building) – I was happy to hear today that a few students have already been working up a sweat at the IMA (only prompted in small part to the TMMBA ice cream cooler I’m sure). With a Husky Card, TMMBA students are allowed access to their fitness center and courts. UW Recreational Sports programs also provides the WAC (Waterfront Activities Center) where there are discounts available on canoe and rowboat rentals.

Husky Stadium

  • While we’re on the topic of fitness and sports, TMMBA students are always eligible for student tickets to Husky Athletic Events.  Some sporting events (baseball, volleyball, soccer) are free with a husky card, while others (men’s basketball, football) are subject to additional, discounted costs. Student tickets go fast for these events, so make sure to plan ahead for season or single-game tickets.
  •  UPass: Every UW student has a UPass which comes with their Husky Card. The U-PASS provides students with a variety of low-cost transportation options—from buses, commuter train service and light rail, to vanpooling and discounted carpooling. No activation required- once you get your Husky Card you’re ready to ride.
  • Foster Centers and Events:  The various Centers, including the Business and Economic Development Center, the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Global Business Center- all welcome involvement from TMMBA students. Foster also hosts events, like the Leaders to Legends Breakfast Series and Meet-the-Firms. For an updated list of events, take a look at the Foster Calendar.
  • Finally, one of the advantages of being a student at the University of Washington is the world-class library system available for use. Today, a representative from the Foster Business School library came to speak to students about the amenities at their location in Paccar Hall. Available to students are recent business publications, database access, librarian assistance and much more. Whether it’s the Foster Library or one of the many other University Libraries, these student resources are not to be forgotten.

Husky Card

As you can see- many of these resources require a student to have their Husky Card. Getting a Husky Card is free to students, and only requires a visit to the Husky Card Offices. Other Husky Card benefits include discounts from a variety of merchants, free admission to UW Museums, access to UW Zip Cars, and many more.

In writing this, I know that there are still many other UW/Foster/TMMBA resources that I am not mentioning. From business cards to MBA clubs, to TMMBA Career Services and sponsorship affiliations, there’s always more to get out of the TMMBA experience. Hopefully, sometime between classes and homework and team meetings, our students will find time to take advantage of them all! Because TMMBA students always need one more thing to add to the to-do list…

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)

Going back to school is FUN!

Wei Huang, TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

I never thought I being saying this but going back to school is fun.  Even when I come from work all tried and frustrated, I get re-energized when I come to class on Wednesdays.  I see my fellow students who are either studying up for the class ahead or just chatting away with each other.  And very often, I meet someone new and just chat away before dinner.

It is so nice to have dinner waiting for you.  I remember as an undergrad, I hate going hungry and I would always make a quick trip to buy food.  Here in the TMMBA program, food is just steps away.  We’ve had Chinese, Indian, Italian and American food.  All the food is served with veggies, fruit, and desert.  As you might already know, TMMBA has unlimited soda and ice cream.  If you are like me who works for company that provides free soda, you probably know how comforting it is to have that benefit.  Now just add the unlimited ice cream to that equation and it’s all that much better.  The ice creams and sodas are not just their to quench your thirst and appetite, it’s a great way to socialize.

When people ask me how I am doing in the TMMBA program, I get excited and tell them about the new things I learn.  The instructors and Teaching Assistants are great.  Although I’m not the best learner in the world, I always take something away from class that I can apply to real-world situations.

Another great aspect about the TMMBA program is the speakers who are brought in.  Most current was Kurt Shintaffer, who is the CFO from Appito.  It was great to hear how he got started in his company and it was even better to ask him questions.  I don’t know how often anybody gets to talk to someone in his position let alone ask questions openly.  It was a great experience.

We also had former students speak to us about their experience.  During our orientation, we had a speaker who was a student in 2005 speak about his experience at TMMBA.  What I got out of it was how he leveraged his MBA potentials in interviews to get to where he is at now.

So far the TMMBA program is a blast and I look forward to the many classes ahead.

Apptio – THE customer centric company.

Jared McInelly, TMMBA Student (Class of 2012)

I’ve heard the term “customer centric” from almost every company and at every executive speech.  So when we had the CFO of Apptio, Kurt Shintaffer, come and speak to or TMMBA class and tell us that they are “customer centric” I thought nothing of it.  But as he told us the story of the founding of Apptio, it quickly became apparent that these guys really mean it.  I’ve never seen a company as focused on their customers as these guys.

Kurt founded the company with his friend Sunny Gupta.  They had both just come off a nice exit from another start-up and they looked at each other and said “what now?”

“We knew a bunch of people in IT, so we started setting up meetings with them and asking them about what kinds of problems they faced as IT execs.”

From those discussions, a kind of theme started to form; everyone had issues with figuring out the ROI of their IT investments.  When they would have to justify budgets and costs to other groups, they had nothing solid to justify the need for their budgets.  As they met with more and more IT pros, they would ask questions and then tell them what they were planning to build.  These experienced, high level people could really tell them if they were on the right track.  Eventually they were ready to build a truly unique product that they knew at least 40 high level people needed.

Although Kurt and Sunny didn’t have IT backgrounds, their discussions led them directly to a problem that they decided they could solve.  They came up with a business plan which they then took to the Venture Capitalists.  Their pitch had enormous weight behind it because they could point to a big chart and say, “this Fortune 500 company has this problem. We know, we’ve talked to their CTO.”

Their previous successes at running a startup and providing a profitable exit for the VC’s made it easier for them to get funding.  They started Apptio with a couple of people, an idea, and a whole bunch of VC money.

These customer centric beginnings have continued in their company culture.  All of the executives meet regularly with customers.  They go on sales visits and follow up on the phone a week or so after to make sure the customer got what they needed.  Kurt also told us about a tough situation where they “over sold” the product to a big customer.  As a management team, they decided that it was more important to win this customer to their platform than to make money on the deal.  So they have embarked on an extensive project to design and build software for this customer.  And they are losing money doing it.

They continue to look to their customers for product validation.  As they build new tools or add functionality they can then go to other customers and say “we added such and such widget because Boeing really needed it, maybe you do too.”

According to Mark, “there is nothing better than peer selling.”

I found this customer centric style very interesting.  There are benefits here that are hard to measure in dollar amounts.  Apptio is providing products but really they are forming deep relationships with their customers.  I worry that at some point the company will get too big and the executives too busy to keep meeting with customers.  I think this is when product strategy seems to move away from what customers really want back to executive intuition and guessing.  So far though, these guys seem to have really hit on something that solves a serious problem in the IT world.  And they are doing it in an innovative-customer centric way.

Learn more about MBA education tax credit

Nhi Huong Huynh, Fiscal Specialist

You might missed attending the tax classes that Student Fiscal Services offered in March and April 2010, but still would like to know about it. Don’t worry, you still can get those information from either the IRS or UW link. And here are the links.
If you have any questions about this, please contact Li Chang at 206-221-2621 or email at

Changing of the Guard

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services & Technologies

TMMBA Class 9 graduated earlier in the month and now Class 10 takes the helm as the senior group of students.  Personally I consider them in their “Junior year” at this point as they are largely time management experts and widely knowledgeable about how the program runs, however I never feel that the group has 100% nailed down their study habits and figured out their team dynamic until Summer quarter is over.

With Class 9 gone, things have mellowed out a bit here from an operations standpoint at the Eastside Executive Center as we go from max student capacity during Winter through Spring to suddenly roughly half!  Everything seems to be affected, from quieter hallways, one less classroom used, fewer teams and students using study spaces, less coffee being consumed, reduced course materials ordered, et cetera.

One of the great benefits this opportunity affords is the chance to get to know the newer group of students that much more.  While Class 10 has been around for two full quarters, things can be quite chaotic at times with students relearning to be…well, students again, during the Winter (their first quarter) and Spring in addition to staff helping guide the veteran group to the finish line in the Spring.  Summer eases up a bit on the gas-pedal and I feel that both staff and students interact more and make stronger connections in this simplified environment.  I’m looking forward to some of the highlights the Summer quarter brings such as the leadership immersion (a student favorite) during the late Summer/early Autumn, the TMMBA Alumni Golf Classic (a very popular alumni/student event), and the legendary September break (also a student favorite – not pictured :) ).

As you can see, what’s not to like about the Summer?!

An alumni team comes up short on a birdie putt on hole 18 at Washington National
A team comes up short on hole 18 at Washington National during the Alumni Golf Classic
Students listen to instructions before a leadership simulation
Students listen to instructions before a leadership simulation at the Leadership Immersion

Campus Flashback

Aaron Lykken, Manager – Academic Services & Technologies

Once a quarter a Saturday class day is held on the UW Seattle campus.  The reason this is unique is that by default all class meetings are held at TMMBA’s Executive Education Center in Kirkland, WA.  This was started when it was realized that many of the students wanted a stronger connection with the University and a simple way of doing this was getting our TMMBA students exposed to life on the main campus in Seattle.

Last Saturday was Class 9’s final class day on the Seattle campus but they were treated to a sunny day and an interactive day of class with their Global Strategy course.  Holding classes on campus brings back many memories for myself and the students, when life was so much different as a undergraduate.  One of the neatest parts about the day is seeing the students from both sections (Monday and Wednesday sections) together in one place.  This offers an excellent opportunity to network as well as to mix with other classmates.  In addition, the classroom landscape becomes dramatically different with the experiences and knowledge from both sections fusing…and sometimes clashing, for some wonderful in-class dialogue.  Global Strategy was ideal for the day as the morning was spent out of lecture in conference rooms hashing out deals in a negotiations simulation with teams representing various parties and their interests.

A lunch break outside in the sun was the perfect recharge for students before they headed back into the classroom for the afternoon sessions.  Many chose to eat out near the fountain or on the grass while others took the opportunity to walk through campus or visit the bookstore.  The afternoon was occupied with discussion revolving around two cases: one a court case that went before the World Trade Organization; and the other centered around a company mulling the issue of choosing to manufacture in-house in the US or exporting to another country, or licensing the technology to one of its distributors and sit back and collect their royalties.  Decisions, decisions…

Class 10 Kindle vs. Hardcopy version for Spring 2010

Nhi Huynh, Fiscal Specialist

Class 10 students will need to choose either Kindle version or Hard-copy version for Spring Quarter 2010. I know some students already decided which version they would get, and some students have to stick with the hard-copy since they chose hard-copy last quarter. There are some of you haven’t make decision of choosing Kindle version again or switch to hard-copy. Knowing the courses that you will be taking in Spring can be impact your decision, so I would like to have those courses included here. Here are the following courses for class 10 Spring Quarter:
1. Finance
2. Macroeconomics
3. Management/Leadership across cultures
For those of you haven’t decided yet, now you can make decision and let one of TMMBA staffs know ASAP.

My TMMBA Year in Review

Sara Jones, Assistant Director

My top 10 TMMBA experiences in 2009:

  1. Meeting 160 more students. The people are the best part of my job!
  2. Learning about Czech and Hungarian business practices and culture on the International Study Tour.  My favorite company visits were Nav N Go and Czech National Bank.
  3. Watching ten TMMBA students compete in the ’09 CIE Business Plan Competition Investment Round.
  4. Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity as part of “TMMBA Contributes“.
  5. Golfing for the first time in the annual TMMBA Bettin Cup. Thankfully I had an understanding team!
  6. Seeing our 8th class graduate in June.
  7. Hearing about students’ leadership role models during the Autumn quarter Leadership Immersion.
  8. Excited that TMMBA rolled out new services and conveniences: a job search group for students and alums, Presentation Skills Workshops, online copies of course packs, participation in a Kindle pilot for textbooks, and coming soon…remote access to review sessions.
  9. Sitting in on Dan Turner’s Marketing class. It was great to hear student case discussions and see first-hand what all the hype is about his class.
  10. Working with an amazing team. I couldn’t ask for a better group of colleagues.