Category Archives: Why TMMBA?

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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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

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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:

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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.

The TMMBA ROI

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
RSVP

Panelists:
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 Forbes.com 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.

Perspectives from TMMBA

Author: Kengo Baba, TMMBA Class of 2013

TMMBA opened my eyes from the first month of school experience and every month has been a fresh learning opportunity although it can be tough and painful sometimes. We got exposed with a room full of energetic and experienced class mates to share their own perspectives and approaches to solve the problem or generate new idea.

We all knew to some level in our head that everyone sees the same object from different angles and have different opinions. But we do not often get to actually experience the formation of common team’s point of views from various view points from peers as we discuss wide range of business management subjects outside of work environment with a level of hierarchy structure.  Some discussions made us looked at other in disbelief of grossly different point of view. Who is right, who is wrong?

When our point of view significantly differs from others, the first reaction is to tie our own historical knowledge data point to justify your view to defend our point of view. But after exchanging and sharing various point of view and opinions from intelligent peers, each of us realize that other peers’ point of views also make sense and they are not necessary wrong.  The answer is not right  or wrong.  “It depends……”

Unlike engineering study where there is clear right or wrong answer, we learned soon learned that most  of MBA class answers are “It depends…..”.  Depends on what?  Well, it depends on so many things that one person cannot cover all angles. One individual may not effectively come up with the best answer from limited point of view of his or her knowledge from historical data point and intuition.  Realizing that there are so many ways of looking at the same thing and sharing various views would create refined collective team point of view which covers many more angles of dependencies.

Some of those lengthy and heated discussions that I recall were the greatest learning opportunities that I would remember for a long time, although I may not remember Modigliani and Miller Theorem. TMMBA provided me the practical learning lesson to effectively generate solutions and new ideas from peer’s different perspectives that I cannot possibly come up with by myself.

TMMBA – A Transformative Experience

Author: Ganesh, Editor-in-chief: Anu, TMMBA Class of 2013

I am passionate about building great technology products. After moving to the US in 2010, I started enquiring about b-schools in the area. TMMBA program stood out because it is fast-paced (18 month program) and the emphasis is on technology management. I signed up to visit couple of classes and after attending a Finance class and a Macroeconomics class, I decided this was the right program for me. However, I was really skeptical about my ability to manage the program and a highly demanding job at Amazon. It didn’t help when a few of the TMMBA alumni confirmed my skepticism. In order to convince myself that I could do it, I came up with a two week challenge for myself – getting a good score on GMAT with only two weeks of preparation. The fact that I am writing this post now might give you an idea whether I met my goal.

My wife, who works for Microsoft, shared similar career aspirations and felt TMMBA was the right program for her. After some thought we decided that it was smart to do the program together. Firstly, expectations were automatically set while we went through the same set of challenges together. One of us was not planning a vacation while the other crammed for an exam :-) Secondly, as the program progressed, we realized that learning was twice as much, mainly because we could discuss our points of view on topics ranging from personal finance to business strategy right at the dinner table. Some people might consider this extreme and they might be right. Our social life during the program was close to nil. Our close friends jokingly comment that we come out of our hibernation only once in 3 months (which is not completely untrue). However by doing the program together, we saved ourselves 18 more months of crazy hours. As our economics professor would put it, there is something to be said for opportunity cost of time.

Based on our first-hand experience, I would highly recommend TMMBA for couples who live and work in the Greater Seattle Area, and are brave enough to attempt it. Almost 17 months into the program, we think our decision to do TMMBA together was spot on. Although it was challenging to juggle personal, professional and student lives, career-wise, both of us are in a much better place.

The MBA program is so well structured that it has enabled me to build a mental map of approaching problems from various angles such as strategy, marketing, sales, accounting, finance, tax, legal and so on. At work, I am now able to contribute at a strategic level because my perspective has broadened significantly through interactions with amazing professors and smart classmates. In my opinion, TMMBA is creating a small but growing group of unique professionals who can analyze every article in the “Wall Street Journal”, talk “Blue Ocean Strategy” and at the same time create innovative technology products. The program has transformed my personal and professional lives forever in ways I never imagined possible!

Foster Means Business

Author: Kshitij Tambe, TMMBA Class of 2013

I have spent a large chunk of my professional career in engineering/technical roles so it was easy for me to think people in management/business careers as sitting on the ‘wrong’ side of the table. Spending 18 months in TMMBA changed this perspective. It has empowered me with the knowledge and tools needed to ‘cross the table’ and understand how and why particular decisions are made by the people sitting on ‘the now right side’ of the table.

When I decided to pursue my MBA, like any prospective candidate I was looking at several options in the Seattle area. What pulled me towards TMMBA were the following factors:

- Term: 18 months seemed perfect to remain focused while remaining employed.
- Reputation: Foster means business! The leading business school in the northwest meant a lot.
- Faculty: I had heard great reviews about the faculty from several of my friends and from alumni.
- Support Staff: TMMBA staff is amazing. They take care of registration, parking, provide dinners, lunch, breakfast (depending on the class day). All books are taken care of.
- Location: The classes being held on the east-side (close to work and home) meant no long commutes at rush hours.

None of the above would have made any impact if I did not have the support from my wife. As we keep saying at home ‘all of us in the family will graduate on June 3rd’.

Apart from the knowledge about several business topics like Marketing, Finance  Accounting, Strategy, Supply chain, Leadership & Economics TMMBA taught me to think like an Entrepreneur. It provided numerous opportunities to network with students from other Foster MBA programs, alumni, business executives and entrepreneurs. Class discussions were of high quality. How people with relatively similar professional background can come up with diverse business strategies was fascinating to learn. TMMBA taught me to look at solutions from perspective of a customer in addition to that of an engineer.

I can go on and on, but in short ‘TMMBA changed my life forever!’

Learning the Language of Business

Author: Dylan Rhoads, TMMBA Class of 2013

Growing up, I was fascinated by computers. Through school and as an undergraduate, I took every opportunity to learn about how to control and connect computers, eventually obtaining a degree in computer science. After learning the language of computers, I also became fascinated with foreign languages, eventually becoming proficient enough to obtain a certification in Japanese and combine it with with my technical skills to turn it into a career.
But even with these unique skills, there was a barrier in every company I joined; an invisible wall that held me back from fully participating in the leadership of the organization. This barrier was the language of business — just as subtle and nuanced as other languages, with its own culture and history, a powerful force driving the energies of the world. It was only by learning the language of business at TMMBA that I was able to break down this barrier and truly participate in conversations at my company and in partnerships and negotiations with others.
Combined with my other skills, I now know that the language of business will be with me always, assisting me in my career and in my exploration of the business world. I would recommend the TMMBA program without hesitation to anyone who feels limited in their organization and who would like to expand their global perspective. TMMBA is a truly life-changing experience.