While class was out of session during September the TMMBA program office made the most out of the empty office time to complete some facility improvement work. While most of them are relatively minor in scale, they all feed into a better student experience which pays huge dividends for our busy students. Some tweaks were made to increase comfort and others for maximizing the space we have, here are the highlights:
More outlets in the dining hall so that power is never too far away for a hungry laptop battery
Kitchenette added in place of a seldom used closet. This just became the most popular place to hang out, allows for a dedicated and organized area for coffee, microwave, utensils, etc.
Beverages and ice-cream consolidated into the catering area which allowed greater spacing in the dining hall for meals, studying, and team meetings
New conference room added in the back of the office. Just another study location option for teams seeking privacy.
Lounge and phone added to the front of the office space. A big reception desk used to sit up front but we decided that the area would better serve the students by offering additional sitting space to hang out or study.
Audio/Visual system added to the dining hall to accommodate guest speakers when speaking to larger groups.
Updated projectors added to one of the classrooms to keep the technology up to date.
September in the TMMBA office is the period I like to call “The calm before the storm”. While the rest of the staff is frantically busy processing, reviewing and making decisions on admissions for the incoming class starting Winter 2010, the academic services side calms down quite a bit as I largely support the students (away on break) and the faculty (courses for summer are over). Every year I take this time to focus my energies on the gathering “storm” that is Winter quarter. While it may seem that I’m getting ahead of myself by prepping a quarter in advance, that’s the nature of the business, always at least a quarter ahead, if not more. The extra time is especially valuable to have before the frenzy that defines Winter quarter, and when I think of it, doesn’t really end until Spring quarter is complete, eeeks! Winter is wild for these main reasons:
A new cohort of students starts the program, Class 10 (they’re trying to learn how to be a student again while finding zen with a full-time job and family)
New course material distribution medium (Class 10 is receiving Kindle DX’s to receive their textbooks at the start of the program, this is a pilot for the Foster School of Business)
The veteran group of students, Class 9, is starting their 2nd to the last quarter (this puts the total number of courses between the two cohorts at 8; a lot is going on)
Planning begins to wrap-up Class 9’s MBA career, including their Capstone event and graduation in the Spring
Hopefully this entry doesn’t come across as complaining, because I’m not. Winter and Spring quarters for all their work and stress end up being some of the most exciting and rewarding times in the program! In the Winter I get to meet a brand new group of eager students, which I find is one of the neatest parts of my job. Over the years I’ve worked here I have developed quite a network both professionally and socially which turns out to be one of the most significant perks for students too (not necessarily meeting me, but meeting people across industries/disciplines/cultures). After Winter exits Spring arrives and we see the veteran group of students finishing their MBA careers. This experience is always very special as the staff gets to know many of the students on a personal level so it’s pretty neat to see them reach their goals. So I’m buckling in and holding on, it’s sure to be another doozy!
Summer quarter is drawing to a close and very soon TMMBA Class 9 will be enjoying about 2-3 weeks off from school responsibilities. As with all breaks in the TMMBA program, the range is dependent on when students choose to start preparing for the next quarter. On the closing week of classes for each quarter I equip the students with all of the course materials they will need for the coming academic quarter. In general this equates to a binder per course (normally 3 classes a quarter) containing their course materials such as syllabi, readings, cases, etc. and any assigned textbooks. While this is met with some joking dislike by the students (understandably most don’t enjoy thinking about the next quarter until the one they are in finishes), this is an excellent example of one of the many services that TMMBA provides to keep our students focused on their studies. Instead of having to go to the University Bookstore or picking up your course packet from a copy center, students instead are provided with everything they need in advance so they can decide for themselves when they need to get to work. After finishing 3 busy quarters of the program (with 3 more until they graduate) I know many will be heading off for a much needed vacation, and I’m well aware that none of the books I gave them for the Autumn are exactly easy reads for the beach.
TMMBA students have lots of opportunities to practice and improve their presentation skills during their 18-month journey. Each quarter, students have the opportunity to practice at the Presentation Skills Workshops. Each workshop has an educational focus such as speech organization, catchy openings, or impromptu speeches. Students receive feedback and suggestions for improvement. In addition to these optional workshops, students get to practice their presentation skills in the classroom with team and individual presentations. As they say, practice makes perfect…
Students starting the program in 2010 will recieve their books and some course materials via a Kindle DX. New students will receive their Kindle’s during the Program Orientation Immersion December 4-6. This is a very exciting addition to the program and one that we think will benefit students. I recently announced this news to our current students and this is a bit of the feedback I received:
I can see it add value to us and we can have all our material (text books) in one place. Since it is digital, it is also very easy to look up information about a certain topic using keywords in a text book. There are many features that Kindle offers. I am a lot of people from Class 9 would love to have a Kindle.
I think this is an excellent idea and does fit very well into the TMMBA program. I will admit I’m quite jealous and now wish I was in class 10
P.S. I’m more than happy to stop receiving printed material if you want to give me a Kindle
This is brilliant. We are all making best use of spare moments to keep up with reading for class – waiting for the bus, at lunch, at little league games… Unless I plan my reading very carefully, I end up carrying a duffle full of books everywhere. I’m calling it my fitness program.
Putting the reading material on a kindle is incredibly practical (in addition to being pretty darn cool.)
The TMMBA program is the absolute best use case for the kindle. I’m excited for future students…
I would love it if we could introduce this as an option for Class 9 as well. I have always found the idea of lugging along heavy binders of paper not very appealing as well as not very environmentally friendly. Could we do something like make this available as an option, people who sign up would not receive printed version of the materials for the rest of the course? (I am even willing to pay something for the device since I have received 1/3 of the material as printouts). I realize this is more work for the program staff, but it would be totally awesome if we could do it.
The way I think about it, 3 years from now, if I want to look something we read/discussed in class, I am unlikely to go home and open up my large binder to locate the information.
Wow, that’s great news and I am very jealous. This totally changes the game on whether to get paper copies or their electronic versions.
I was one of those of opposed getting the material only from ereserves as I felt that would ne too much hassle downloading the material one at a time and storing on the computer. Also since I archive all UW material on my home computer instead of the work one, I would still end up printing most of the material to read while commuting.
But having a Kindle DX changes all that. So even though you mention that this is for class 10 onwards, I got to ask if we could also get it in lieu of getting paper copies of books and materials.
I am about 7 weeks into to TMMBA program at the UW. So far, its been a very eye opening if hectic journey. Life has been a blur of Accounting, Strategy, Microeconomics and Statistics. Throw in student presentations, midterms and a 9 month old baby (in my case) and you have the makings of a perfect storm.
Despite all that, I absolutely enjoy the fact that I have already started looking at business and financial news with a new kind of understanding. For instance, now that I know that for a business, Revenues are not the same as Cash Flow. I understand what VCs and financial experts mean when they ask startups to focus on Cash Flow to stay alive in this downturn. On that note, check out this very interesting presentation that a VC firm, Sequoia Capital, gave at a mandatory meeting to 100 CEOs. http://slideshow.com/presentations/244-sequoia_outlookpdf
The basic program itself has been structured to cater to busy professionals, so the program staff does a phenomenal job in taking care of things you would not want to spend your time on. Your books and case studies are ordered and delivered to you before the quarter begins. Food is catered in during class times, so you do not have to rush out to grab a bite. You really appreciate these thoughtful timesaving touches as you try to balance your student, professional and personal lives. One of my classmates even created a blog about the food served at the TMMBA at http://tmmbafoodie.blogspot.com
Will keep writing as more interesting things keep happening..
- 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.