TMMBA Week in the Life: Radu Mocanita, Day 2

Radu Mocanita, TMMBA Student, Class of 2015

Hello and welcome back

Traffic Tuesdays. Does anyone know why traffic is worse on Tuesdays? What makes people wake up in sync and hit the road all at the same time, only on Tuesdays?! Never mind, I don’t think I want to find that out anyway.

8:30, finally got to work. During the day I had a Skype call with the Professional Communication teacher for a personal coaching session on my presentation skills. She watched the recording of my 3 minute presentation in front of the class and she provided very good and constructive feedback. If you think that having a one hour presentation can be challenging, you should try a 3 minute one in which you have to talk about yourself and your work experience, in a manner that engages the audience and captivates their attention. And you have to do that in only 3 minutes, with no slides.

MBA Rap jokes :)
MBA Rap jokes, on student whiteboard :)

There’s one great thing about Tuesdays – it’s one of the few days in the week in which I don’t have a to be somewhere to do something after work (like classes, review sessions, study group meetings). Sure, I have to study, no doubt about that. But at least I can go straight home after work and focus on it. It’s 5:00 pm already, so I am getting ready to head out. My manager already knows I’m doing this so she understands when I hit the door at 5:15.

At 6 o’clock I am already at home so I grab dinner and rest for about 30 minutes. That’s all I have until I’ll have to start writing this blog post and then focus on studying. I’m going to be honest with you, the week I chose for this exercise is by far not one of the easier ones. In the weekend we had a deadline for two assignments (Statistics and Microeconomics) and now I have another one at Micro due for Thursday. On Friday we’ll have our final Stat exam published and due on Sunday when the Micro exam will be published. What a week! Sometimes I wonder what I have gotten myself into? :)

Well, if it sounds like a lot, I should tell you that it’s not that bad. Once you’ve already started, it’s easier than it seems, because when you’re outside, analyzing it, you feel like you’re already fully booked. Well, my friends, here’s a piece of advice: time can stretch. You’ll never know how much you can accommodate in your schedule until you actually have to do it. If you feel like there’s no room for anything else, you’re wrong. Something can still be squeezed in. If you sit and do the math, the number of hours you have to invest in the program is decent. However, it is very hard to catch-up in case you fall behind on readings, so don’t procrastinate!

Ok, enough for today. With the awful Seattle weather fully present tonight, I am going to light up the fire in the fireplace, grab the micro book and a cup of tea and spend the evening trying to figure out the Pricing Techniques chapter. I know that after I’ll be done with the MBA, I’ll miss evenings like this.

Radu

TMMBA Week in the Life: Radu Mocanita, Day 1

 Radu Mocanita, TMMBA Student, Class of 2015

That's me. Hello
That’s me. Hello

Hello everyone

My name is Radu and I am a TMMBA student here at Foster School of Business. For the next 7 posts I’ll be your host, trying to bring insights into a week of a TMMBA student. Hopefully this will answer at least some of your questions about what it really means to be a part time MBA student, while dealing with a full time job. I am in class 14, with an expected graduation date of June ’15., which means that I basically just started. To be precise, I started exactly two months ago, so you’ll get a pretty fresh perspective on the topic. Sure, there was Immersion Week in December but that was so fun that it doesn’t count as studying.

However, let’s not diverge too much and get back to our topic. So how does a week in the life of a TMMBA student go? Let me tell you. Today is Monday, I love Mondays. Actually, I used to love Mondays, now I am not that sure anymore. Monday is my school day, so I wake up at 8 am and go to work. I work fast, as I can’t really afford the luxury of doing overtime – yes, in case you didn’t know, working overtime can become a luxury when time is your most important asset. I figured these things out in the first couple of weeks in the program.

Image courtesy or rentscouter.com

Don’t get me wrong. The time management and workload is all according to expectations. When you make a decision to do this kind of thing, you do your due diligence and chat with as many people as you can, in order to get an insight into what’s it going to be like - read blog posts, talk to alumni, visit a class, ask questions to staff members and so forth. If it doesn’t surprise you, it’s quite manageable. What you need to do is to get some time management best practices in place to help you optimize your schedule.

Coming back to our topic, it’s 4:30 pm already, so I am getting ready to head out. Today I’ll head down there earlier than usual as we have a great talk scheduled from 5 to 6. It’s the Tech @ The Top series, and today we’ll have Mr. Michael Schutzler, Chief Executive Officer at the Washington Technology Industry Association to share his stories as an Internet entrepreneur and angel investor – I wouldn’t want to miss that!

Six o’clock comes, so we all get ready for a new class. Today we have Accounting, or Financial Reporting and Analysis on its fancy name. But before that, we got some student presentations going on for about 15 minutes, for the Professional Communication class. It’s a good opportunity to improve your communication and presentation skills as you get peer feedback and a personal coaching session with the teacher, so we all pay close attention to tonight’s speakers. 6 15, class starts. I am already feeling a bit tired but luckily, in anticipation of tonight’s class, I already had a second coffee at about 4 so I’m hanging in pretty good. The Accounting teacher is great but my mind starts slipping towards the free ice cream that I’ll get at break time. Ok, back to the slides, how are we doing those T-accounts again?

Finally 7 45, break time. Ice cream, more chit chat. We laugh, we laugh good. There’s a general feeling of sympathy for the folks who struggle next to you. We make fun of our energy… or lack of it. 15 minutes later, back to class with fresh energy for the next 90 minutes. At 9 30 we’re done and I reach home at about 10. What’s left of the evening is my night off. Tonight I won’t study, won’t worry and won’t stress. Tonight I accomplished my duties and is now time to relax. I grab my wife and watch a movie. Tonight is all good. More, tomorrow.

Radu

The TMMBA ROI Series: Part 3

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Recruiting and Admissions Coordinator
ROI

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.

 Convenience

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.

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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 Prevails at Science & Technology Showcase

Congrats to TMMBA Class 13 student, Pritam Das, for excelling at the Science and Technology Showcase in early February. The annual showcase (co-hosted by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and SEBA) is a tradeshow type event where student pitch their ideas and innovations to a panel judges consisting of Seattle area entrepreneurs and investors.

“During the showcase, we were challenged by the judges that ranged from local venture capitalists to scientists from NASA, from every angle of a robust business model. We used the experts’ challenges as an invaluable tool to hone our business models for future commercialization of our product,” shared Pritam.  

IMG_4188_updated

Pritam and his teammates from the Chemical Engineering Department at UW placed 2nd overall and were also awarded Best Marketing Strategy. Their idea, Electrometal Solutions, is a unique approach of putting metals onto surfaces using advanced electrochemical techniques.  The applications of this advanced technology can range from security applications to the decorative market. Currently, their application is targeted towards the semiconductor industry.

We’re excited to see what’s in store for Pritam and his team.
Next stop – the Buerk Center Environmental Innovation Challenge. Best of luck!

The TMMBA ROI Series: Part 2

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Admissions & Recruiting CoordinatorROI

Last week’s post addressed a few of the many ways that TMMBA students and alumni calculate the return on investment for their MBA experience. The discussion today centers around three additional consideration points- salary growth, career progression, and the lifelong resources of the TMMBA program.

Salary Growth

Compensation increase is often the focus of ROI conversations given that it’s easily quantified. While  sole emphasis should not be placed on an MBA’s monetary value, it is still an important piece to the ROI puzzle.

TMMBA graduates continue to see considerable return for their initial investments. As knowledge and skills grow from an MBA program, pay raises often follow as employers see the benefits of the education.  In fact, in a survey of TMMBA alumni two years post-graduation, 95% of respondents reported an increase in salary – with an average increase of over 20%.

Career Advancement

Oftentimes, career growth goes hand-in-hand with salary increases. Whether students are looking for promotions, functional changes, or to start their own companies, TMMBA helps to advance the timeline for these goals.

“When I think of the next levels I wanted to achieve in my career, TMMBA significantly accelerated my ability to achieve those milestones. In the classroom, I learned concepts that could take years to grasp on-the-job,” remarks alumnus Jeremy Hutton (TMMBA ’13).

With a relevant business curriculum incorporating technology, innovation, and professional development, TMMBA students find that their MBA is a competitive advantage in the market. For those looking to move up, an MBA opens to door to greater responsibility and management roles. Some TMMBA students are hoping to change functions or industries – and upon graduation are more qualified to pursue outside opportunities. Entrepreneurs can also improve future success when equipped with knowledge and resources from the program.

Lifelong Resources

Speaking of resources, it’s important to note that the benefits of the TMMBA program don’t end upon graduation. TMMBA alumni still have access to workshops, guest speakers, networking events, career coaching – even classes. Whether it’s a new course that’s been added or a subject that needs refreshing, many alums take advantage of class audits and lifetime learning.

TMMBA Career Services adds notable value for both students and alumni. From resume workshops and panel discussions to 1:1 coaching and Career Mixers, there are plenty of ways to leverage TMMBA career resources.

Given these potential value propositions of an MBA, it’s still up to students to leverage their education and capitalize on growth. As Jeremy can attest, “It’s never going to be less expensive to get an MBA than today. The return starts immediately – as soon as you learn the concepts in class and start applying them. Take advantage of the opportunity.”

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

The TMMBA ROI Series: Part 1

Ally Wewers, TMMBA Admissions & Recruiting CoordinatorROI

Return on Investment (ROI) for an MBA degree is a common topic when talking with TMMBA students and alumni. Whether they measure their return in dollars or more intangible assets, it’s clear that the UW Foster TMMBA program provides substantial value for graduates.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll look at some of the various benefits that TMMBA students and alumni use when measuring the value of their Foster MBA degree. As you’ll see, there are many elements to consider in this calculation.

Immediate Value

From day one of Immersion Week to the last Capstone course, TMMBA students experience the real-time ROI of their newly gained business knowledge.

“My ROI becomes visible as I begin to apply my learning directly to my work,” remarks Padmaja Vrudhula, who will graduate in June 2014. For Padmaja, the immediate relevance of TMMBA’s curriculum was clear when she was exposed to different cost comparison concepts from TMMBA professor Lance Young. When she applied these concepts at work, the change in approach to valuations saved her client roughly twenty million dollars.

Like Padmaja, the majority of TMMBA students work full time, and they are encouraged to bring workplace experiences and examples into the classroom. Students are then prepared to apply solutions at work the next day – earning immediate dividends the moment they begin classes.

A Highly Respected MBA

Ranking institutions (including U.S. News & World Report, Businessweek, and Forbes) consistently recognize The UW Foster School for the strength of its graduate programs and success as a school. While rankings don’t always complete the picture, our alumni acknowledge that it does sometimes play a factor in their MBA investment decision.

Kevin Croy (TMMBA 2012) explains “We are so fortunate to have such a prestigious and well-respected research university in our backyard. I’m proud to be associated with the UW and the Foster School of Business.”

With brand recognition across the U.S. and beyond, an MBA from the Foster School of Business ensures that your credentials will hold value and be well-recognized. TMMBA students realize the benefit of being able to attend a top-tier institution without leaving their hometown.  In addition, the TMMBA program itself has developed a strong reputation since admitting its first class 13 years ago.

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 Our next post (Part 2) features alumni perspectives on how career and salary growth factor into TMMBA ROI calculations. Also, take a look at these videos from TMMBA ROI panel discussions.

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

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:

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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!

Admissions Advice: rethinking the GMAT

Tina Bassir, TMMBA Associate Director, recently answered a question on the GMAT Ask the Expert video Q&A series. Watch the video below to hear some tips on how to think about the GMAT (and hopefully ease some of the anxiety of taking the exam). For information about all of the TMMBA application requirements, take a look at the TMMBA Application Process page for details. And join us on January 22 for the first Application Workshop of 2014.  (other dates are available too)

 

The Number One Obstacle Students Face During the Admissions Process:

Don’t be a Paper MBA

By David Lam, TMMBA Alumnus, Class of 2013

Don’t be a Paper MBA: Attend a Tech @The Top, career networking, or professional development event

Do you want to be a stronger business leader or is your choice to be a Paper MBA?  The TMMBA program has nearly monthly events that can help you stay relevant and are often invaluable opportunities to get connected to recognized business leaders.

Get Connected

Whether you are still in the classroom or have since graduated, opportunities to connect to recognized successful business leaders are invaluable. Interested in an insider’s account of established internationally recognized companies or perhaps prefer hearing about the local startup scene? The TMMBA program has an excellent variety across that spectrum from Walt Disney and Yahoo to WetPaint and LiquidPlanner. Thinking about partnering or career opportunities with a local company or subsidiary? Attending these events can really boost your network beyond what would normally be available to you. Cold-calling the CEO is very different to following up an earlier exchange at a recent TMMBA event.

Stay Relevant

I worked in Japan for a decade and had to be especially wary of ‘paper drivers’, particularly as a motorcycle was my primary way of commuting. This is a well-known phenomenon in Japan and refers to those who have received a license to drive but, since becoming certified, either had not or have very rarely actually gotten behind the wheel. My personal experience of passing the practical driving test in Japan was specific to a motorcycle license but it was an extremely grueling not to mention expensive process. Despite passing this very difficult practical driving test however, those who did not practice their new-found skills were really certified drivers on paper only. On the rare occasion when they do drive (and often long after passing the practical exams), these paper drivers were a danger to both themselves and others around them.

MBA graduates (and current students) have a similar risk.  Granted, the risk to life and limb for MBA graduates who do not continue to develop themselves is less than that of a paper driver, but the hard-won skills learnt in the classroom can also quickly deteriorate.  Graduating with an MBA is a grueling process that begins even before entering the classroom. From the GMAT and overall application process thru to the many, many months of countdown towards that blessed graduation date. It is clearly a significant investment in time and money. In choosing to undertake an MBA, is your goal to become certified on paper only and go no further to develop as a stronger business leader?

Attending the TMMBA events or workshops are an opportunity to learn from current and real-world applicable lessons. Often the talks are surprisingly open with many insights that can be gained, and are never dry case studies.

Avoid the risk of becoming a Paper MBA; continue to develop your business skills, stay relevant and get connected. Subscribe to the calendar at: http://www.foster.washington.edu/academic/tmmba/Pages/Tech-at-the-Top.aspx.

Other relevant events at: http://www.foster.washington.edu/academic/tmmba/pages/cal.aspx

Hope to see you at the next Tech @the Top or career networking night!

Capping the TMMBA experience

blog cap

The goal of any MBA capstone is to measure students’ ability to synthesize and demonstrate their understanding of key business and managerial frameworks, concepts and insights taught through the MBA coursework.  The capstone experience varies from program- to- program.  In researching and talking with my MBA and EMBA colleagues from around the U.S. it seems that capstones fall into three main categories:  case competitions, integrated or consulting projects and business plan competitions.

Remember your TMMBA capstone course or competition?

The TMMBA capstone experience has included case competitions (2002-2007), technology commercialization course and competition (2008-2010) and most recently a Venture Capital Investment course and competition (2011-2012).  To varying degrees, each of these capstones met the goals of a capstone and we appreciate all our various stakeholders for making each one a success.

As you reflect on your experience what comes to mind? 

I’m looking to our TMMBA community for constructive input, suggestions and ideas to move this experience forward.  I’m a firm believer that none of us are as smart as all of us – and while there may not be a “silver bullet” for the capstone experience, I’m certain with your help we can get very close!

There is always room to improve, innovate and evolve.

In the next monthly alumni TMMBA email we’ll announce the date for an early January dinner meeting – we’ll catch up and talk capstone!

I hope you will consider helping.

 

Tracy

Tracy Gojdics is the Director of the TMMBA Program and an alumna from the Class of 2007. Outside of the office you might find Tracy out hiking, running, reading, or spending quality time with her family. Tracy can be contacted at tracylt@uw.edu or via phone at 206-616-2610.

- 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.