I *heart* September

Aaron Lykken, Program Manager

The end of Summer quarter is arguably one of the most significant, if not THE largest, milestone in the TMMBA program. There is really no way to sugar-coat the fact that the 18-month curriculum is demanding, mentally and physically. If schoolwork wasn’t already enough, the vast majority of the students have their professional life and family life to tend to as well. I can’t help but to sense that many of the students are close to edge of complete exhaustion by the time Summer quarter wraps up. This is why the September break is so famous among students/alumni. Think of it like half-time, the students finish the first half strong, jog into the locker-room, rest/retool their game plan, and then come out refreshed and ready to finish the game. In my discussions with students on the closing class days of Summer quarter, their time off from school encompassed everything from leaving for a couple of weeks to travel in Thailand to taking a week or two off from work “to just do nothing”. Regardless of the use of the break it’s a rejuvenating experience and is certainly well earned by our hardworking students.

Despite the absence of classes, the TMMBA program office remains busy during this time due to the final admissions deadline occurring in early September. It does give the staff a chance to take a break from the weekly logistics/planning that occurs throughout each quarter, in addition to valuable time to gear-up for the incoming class in the Winter. One of my favorite things about my position is that I get to interact with the students a lot, and now, I’ll stay in contact even after graduation. I’ve been working increasingly with our alumni population as I have been planning Continuing Education, networking, and social events. Most recently the program has offered an alumni reunion at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. This was a lot of fun as I was able to see a lot alumni I haven’t seen in awhile in addition to meeting their families.

Also occurring during the Summer is one of my favorite events, the TMMBA Alumni Scramble, which is second only to the Bettin Cup, another great golf event named after our Leadership Professor, Pat Bettin. Since I’ve joined the TMMBA team, I’ve watched these events go from often poorly attended outings to easily the most popular alumni/student activities TMMBA offers. In fact, the Alumni Scramble just happened this past Sunday at Washington National Golf Course in Auburn, WA. I could not have asked for a better day of golf. The weather was absolutely perfect (High of 78) with only a slight wind, we doubled our attendance from last year, and the course was in great shape. I felt these conditions were warranted, considering we’ve had a string of bad luck with adverse weather at previous tournaments. For instance, at our student tournament in the Spring we had heavy snowfall at Trilogy Golf Club in Redmond….in mid-April! Despite the snow, it turned out to be the most memorable golfing experience we’ve ever had. The Alumni Scramble is just plain awesome, as a lot of times you’re on a team with someone from a completely different class (that’s my doing as I assign teams). Current students were mixed with incoming students and alumni, how neat is that! Besides the obvious implications of networking, it’s also very social and fun, which is really the major purpose of the event to begin with, community. With the program continuing to grow each year and with our alumni base is now over 500 and increasing rapidly (larger cohort sizes due to there being two sections), I can’t think of a better time than right now to build a stronger sense of community around the TMMBA program.