Category Archives: Why TMMBA?

Above & Beyond: TMMBA Students Participate in Recording-Breaking Holiday Drive for Food Lifeline

Mikaela Houck, Assistant Director

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
  • 1370 lbs: 2013 unofficial holiday food drive total.
  • 21: number of TMMBA volunteers @ 2013 volunteer event.

A look @ TMMBA in action:

photo 4

guys putting on aprons







Thanks to everyone at TMMBA who has volunteered or contributed to Food Lifeline over the years – we greatly appreciate your efforts and generosity!

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 6

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

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!

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 5

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

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!

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 4

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Today my schedule opened up a bit at work and I had chance to actually produce some work. I also found time in the morning to meet a daytime Foster MBA student for coffee and an informational interview. I also passed along resumes and glowing recommendations of 2 of my fellow TMMBA students to our recruiting department, helping to shepherd them through the screening gauntlet so they can secure an interview. The rest will be up to them – good luck guys!

On Thursdays we have review sessions, and the number of them varies from one to three depending on what’s going on in each of our courses that particular week. Next week, like last week we’ll have three reviews in a row which makes Thursday nearly as long as Wednesday, but this week we only had one: Operations and Supply Chain Management. I decided I couldn’t spare the extra hour on the road going to and from Kirkland and attended remotely (this is an option for the review sessions, and many students in our cohort choose this option each week, although I’ve only attended remotely once previously). Tonight we had numerous technical difficulties with the sound which reinforced my belief that its better to attend in person whenever possible. Technical difficulties aside the reason for the review is that we have a big problem set due this weekend and a midterm coming next week, and our TA did a good job of reviewing the concepts we’ve learned and walking us through the types of problems we’re likely to encounter on the midterm. As with all things new, practice and repetition are the keys to getting this stuff. Next week we’ll find out how well we got it.

Too much to do to write more tonight, thanks for checking in & I’ll be back tomorrow with the next installment.

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 3

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Today’s schedule makes the last 2 days look like a breeze. At work my calendar was filled with meetings for all but 30 minutes, including interviewing a new candidate for my team. Since this role will work closely with me I put some time and thought into devising a series of technical and behavioral questions to ascertain how the candidate might handle various likely scenarios and if there was a good cultural fit. I sent my analysis to my boss who said it was great feedback, very intuitive and in line with his own thoughts so I’m glad I’m able to add value to that process. I also had lunch with a former coworker who’s interested in Tableau. We went out for sushi & we had a chance to catch up, share experiences at our new companies and talk a bit about how he might fit in at Tableau. The buzz around my new employer is kind of blowing me away, I mean I knew I’d found a gem and made the right choice for me, but I have a fellow TMMBA classmate and former study group member who’s early in the process of interviewing for a role with us, another expressed interest tonight when I got to class and several others have also expressed interest. As I’ve become accustomed to at Tableau the day flew by and before I knew it I was on my way across the lake to the EEC.


Arrived at the EEC and tonight we had a Tech at the Top guest speaker from Concur speaking on Fostering Innovation, so I grabbed a plate of Mexican food and headed into classroom 3 for the talk. Class started a little late tonight at 6:15 due to the guest speaker during dinner, and tonight we had a record 3 guests from Monday section join us (we’ve had Monday students join us for the last 4 weeks straight, but only one per night until tonight). Some of my classmates suggested they’re sending spies but I suspect word is just getting out that the Wednesday section is more fun. (As you can see we have a healthy friendly rivalry between the sections…in truth the whole cohort is made up of wonderful, smart, committed people and I like every one of them).

Tonight at the start of class we broke into 6 groups and were assigned positions to defend on the group case we’d turned in before class started tonight. My group was assigned the opposite position from the one my study group chose and wrote our paper on last night, so I had a chance to argue for the other position. Here’s a picture I took of us after we wrapped up our arguments in favor:


I’m actually live-blogging (hear that CNN?) during class tonight, multi-tasking as we used to say in the 90s before everyone realized it was impossible due to the singular nature of attention. I better turn my attention back to the content of class…more in a bit.


Tonight I took advantage of our break to reach out to a hiring manager about my classmate’s interest & got that ball rolling. I also noticed they also put up lights at the EEC:


Class will end at 9:30 tonight, but I’m going to say goodnight now.

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 2

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Tuesday morning I was awakened by a furry friend at 4:30…this was the night I was hoping to get closer to 8 hours sleep. So much for that.


The workday again went quickly, and while I generally try to schedule my time so my studies don’t impinge on my time with my kids this week that’s been especially challenging. On Tuesdays they make dinner – they plan out the meal, we go to the store and get the items we don’t already have and then they prepare it. They’ve been doing this for nearly two years now and they’re getting pretty good at it. This week they chose comfort food: homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and Caesar salad. It really hit the spot and powered me through my individual case study for Strategic Management of Technological Innovation, which I completed about 20 minutes before my study group met via the UW’s new Lync service to flesh out our group case study for the same class, both of which are due before class starts Wednesday night. Only three of us were able to participate in the meeting, which is a little disappointing since it’s good to get everyone’s input, but the three of us worked together really well and quickly came to consensus on our solution and knocked it out together during the meeting. The learning teams are one of the most valuable parts of the TMMBA program, and we usually meet in person but when that doesn’t work out we’ll use Lync or Google Hangout to meet. Halfway through the program they mix us all up and we form new teams, and this was my new team’s first time meeting remotely. And for all of us it was our first time using the UW’s newly implemented Lync service. It worked pretty well…we had a few technical difficulties (my client crashed a couple of times, for example), but overall it worked pretty well.

Then the unthinkable happened…I was working on the document, sharing my screen and my computer completely froze. And for some inexplicable reason I hadn’t saved the changes I’d made to the document during the call. Fortunately the document was still visible on screen so I was able to take a picture of the screen and use that to recreate the document, but what a pain! I’m usually so good about frequently saving work, I can’t believe I did that. I’ll chalk it up to lack of sleep.


And speaking of sleep, I managed to get the case study completed and saved to the shared drive my study group uses for collaborating on these things and still get to bed at a decent hour, which is helpful since I’m in the Wednesday section and tomorrow is the longest day of my week. I have meetings scheduled all but 30 minutes of my day at work and then it’s off to the east side Executive Center for dinner with my classmates and Professor Boeker before class starts at 6PM.

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 1

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014


Hi, welcome to day one of A Week in the Life, which is designed to give a perspective on what it’s like to be a student in the University of Washington TMMBA Program. I suppose an introduction is in order: I’m David Ginsberg, I’m a member of Class 13 (which means I’m a member of the 13th class, we actually graduate in June 2014). I’m a single parent with 11 year-old twins, just started a new job at Tableau Software a month ago (through connections made at a TMMBA Career Mixer, how cool is that!?) and celebrated my 49th birthday at the end of October.

Monday started out beautiful, especially for November in Seattle. I started the day by taking a walk around the pond in my neighborhood as the sun rose:


The morning commute was especially light due to Veterans Day (thank you once again Veterans!), and I was at work before 7AM. The days go quickly at Tableau, I started with coffee with my boss, met with our Senior Director for a high-level whiteboard session for a new initiative I’m taking on. Before I knew it the work day was over & I was on my way home to my kids and schoolwork.

Speaking of schoolwork, this turns out to be the busiest week in the quarter. On our plates for this week: a midterm for Managerial Accounting (this took me about 9 hours this weekend), two case studies also for Managerial Accounting, an individual case study and a group case study for Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, a problem set for Operations & Supply Chain Management and oh some reading too – 5 textbook chapters and half a dozen articles from HBR and others sources.

So far I’ve completed the midterm and the 2 case studies for Managerial Accounting, and about half of the reading. Please stay tuned as we continue this experiment in sleep deprivation!

For dinner the kids and I went out to Chaco Canyon for some healthy food for busy people and then watched an episode of Once Upon a Time while I read a couple case studies.

Thanks for tuning in, more to come as the saga continues on Tuesday.


Sara Jones, Associate Director and 2012 alumna

Are you wondering if you’ll get enough return on your MBA investment to make the sacrifice worth it?  ROI can be measured in many ways—new career options, the value of the network, a sense of security, compensation and more.

So, what is the TMMBA ROI?

Last month we surveyed alumni who graduated from the program two years ago. The responses are still coming in, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the data so far:

  • 24 months after graduation, most respondents so far have said they made a career change
    • 38% changed functional disciplines
    • 48% moved up vertically
    • 5% started their own company
  • 100% are more confident in their business skills and abilities
  • 90% have increased their strategic business responsibilities
  • 67% have greater budget responsibility
  • Almost all respondents have seen an increase in salary, with an average increase over 20%

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for complete results of the alumni ROI survey. 

In the meantime, I encourage you to talk directly with our alums or attend tomorrow’s panel discussion on the TMMBA ROI.  The panel is made up of three alums and one student who will share more about their return on investment from the TMMBA Program.

The TMMBA ROI: a candid conversation with TMMBA alumni  & students

Thursday, August 8
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Eastside Executive Center, Kirkland

Ameya Bhatawdekar, Founder of Nuubuu
Kevin Croy, Partner at 9Mile Labs
Jeremy Hutton, Associate at Point B Consulting
Padmaja Vrudhula, Strategist at VMWare

The TMMBA experience: A Q&A with current students and an alum

Sara Jones, Associate Director & 2012 alum

I recently hosted a live chat on Twitter with two current TMMBA students and an alum to talk about their experience going through the program. From why they chose the program to favorite classes and career impact, here’s a recap of what they had to say.

An MBA… makes you happier?

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Program Coordinator

Despite taking a “Philosophy of Happiness” class in my undergraduate years, I definitely would not consider myself an expert on the subject (philosophy OR happiness). But a recent article on caught my attention, claiming that (gasp) happiness is the newest benefit of an MBA degree.

I know what you’re thinking- everyone expects salary raises, increased confidence, or a larger network post-MBA. But an increase in happiness? Not the end-result I imagined.

In the article describing the MBA Happiness Index 2013, the organization MBA50 asked 1,108 participants from business schools around the world to evaluate their happiness levels 12 months before their MBA, during their MBA, and post-MBA. Here are the results:

Though their survey may not be the most scientifically valid study conducted, it still brings to light some interesting data about MBA graduates. With happiness being such a relative term, you do have to take any data with a grain of salt. Beyond the numbers though, it’s intriguing to evaluate why MBA degree holders might report elevated levels of happiness. For this question, I agree with the survey’s authors. They cite that common studies on happiness have come to the consensus that ” ‘meaning’ (or values, or community, or empathy, or engagement with the public good) correlate strongly with peoples’ reported happiness”. So, consequently, people must be finding meaning during and after their MBA. Happiness is different for everyone, and therefore “meaning” is also different for everyone. Maybe one student finds meaning in the Ethics curriculum, and is able to effectively apply it to his/her job. Maybe one student finds meaning in being productive and accomplishing a goal, and receiving a diploma. Maybe another graduate finds meaning in the network and community that they’ve built over the course of their program.

For all you skeptics who say that happiness for MBA grads comes from the higher salary or finally an end to the nights of endless statistics problems, sure- I imagine there’s a bit of truth to that. But the same study also asked respondents which aspect of the MBA program made them happiest. Coming in at #1, was “Self-Development”, with 42.2% of the answers. “Financial Reward” on the other hand, only clocked in with 2.7%.

While I don’t plan on conducting a happiness survey of my own anytime soon, I think it’s definitely a topic worth bringing up in conversations with TMMBA Students. Granted- with less than one month to go til Graduation for the Class of 2013, I’m sure the responses may be a bit skewed….

In conclusion, I’ll close with a quote from my “Philosophy of Happiness” Class (Professor Alfino would be so proud…). Fittingly, it comes from Aristotle, who said “Happiness depends upon ourselves”. In that sense, I think connecting an MBA to a personal journey of self-fulfillment and happiness is quite fitting. Of course we’ll let our students and alums be the judges.