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.  


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.”


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.


 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:

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!

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:

Other relevant events at:

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 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 or via phone at 206-616-2610.

EQ │Personal Branding │Your Career

Successful business careers evolve from a combination of IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence quotient).  So, why is high EQ important?  Here are a few points:

An analysis of more than 300 top-level executives from fifteen global companies showed that six emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: Influence, Team Leadership, Organizational Awareness, self-confidence, Achievement Drive, and Leadership (Spencer, L. M., Jr., 1997).

According to Dr. Patsi Krakoff, research by the Center for Creative Leadership found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence. Specifically, these executives have difficulty handling change, working well in teams, and interpersonal relationships.

Further, Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, said:

a leader’s intelligence has to have a strong emotional component. He has to have high levels of self-awareness, maturity and self-control. She must be able to withstand the heat, handle setbacks and when those lucky moments arise, enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility. No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.”

Developing Both Your IQ and EQ in TMMBA

The TMMBA Program recognizes the importance of cultivating both your “book smarts” and your EQ.  A comprehensive business management curriculum is balanced with EQ reflection & action: a better understanding of who you are, what you are learning & where it’s being applied, what you have to offer (contributions), and where you are going.  The effort in answering these questions among other experiences compliments your MBA experience and assists with your leadership development (and career trajectory).

In the last month, two TMMBA Career Services events were designed around the EQ element of self-awareness through personal branding.  The end goal was an improved ability to concisely introduce oneself (via resume, LinkedIn, pitch, etc.) with a story that makes sense, builds emotional connections, and inspires dialogue.

1.  WHY MATTERS: SWOT #personalbranding Workshop:

Brand Strategist Kevin Susman taught participants how to use a personal SWOT, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats, to improve a pitch to others.  He began with defining the difference between products (selling specific features) and the more powerful brands that are fueled by emotion & trust.

This SWOT analysis framework was used:

Internal to achieving career objectives

Know your STRENGTHS to build connection

Need to be relevant to market/customer

Create high-level 3-sentence statement that answers:

  • What you offer (particular need to be filled)
  • How you help customers achieve goals? (single statement of benefit)
  • Who you are (positive personality trait)

Understand them and be able to turn into strengths.

Answer these questions in 3-6 words per bullet.

  • The flaw in your offering
  • How you hold yourself back
  • Who you are: negative

External to achieving career objectives



  • Current professional network
  • “You” as defined by strengths and weaknesses
Understand THREATS (risks)


  • Professional network fatigue
  • Perceptions of you

2. TMMBA Career Boot Camp:

This four-hour session outlined new ways to think about and share a personal brand and authentic voice in promotion to organizations.  It included creating a comfortable elevator speech and resume & LinkedIn profile to stand out from the competition.

Two LinkedIn takeaways: 

  • Create a Professional Headline on LinkedIn.  Be aware that the headline words are “weighted” 40% more than the rest of your profile.  This weighting helps recruiters find you – amidst your competition.A headline is the place to sum up your professional identity in 120 characters or less (15-20 words). Focus on who you are + what you do (your expertise/value) and audience you serve.  It does not have to be your current job title.Consider using a brand tagline or personal title but ensure that it helps people understand what you do. If you are in the job market (passively or actively), use keywords that reflect the titles or expertise you are seeking.
  • More keywords aren’t always better.  Our advice would be to only include the keywords (including repeated keywords) in your Profile that best reflect your expertise and experience.  If you integrate an extended list of keywords into your Profile, you are likely showing up in a high number of searches.  The question you need to ask yourself, however, is whether members consider your Profile relevant to their search.  If not, their behavior as a collective group may be influencing the algorithm used to rank you in search results.

Lessons from the Desert – A Look Back on the 2013 International Study Tour

In March, a group of 22 students, alumni, staff, and faculty landed in Dubai for the beginning of the TMMBA International Study Tour.  We spent 10 days in the United Arab Emirates and had the opportunity to visit 11 companies and government agencies and to take in the local sites and culture.

Photo of company visit to e-Home Automation
Meeting with Founder & CEO of e-Home Automation in Dubai

This year an overarching theme for the trip was examining our “global mindset” regarding the way we live, and how we and our organizations do business in comparison to the geographical and cultural context of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  Two definitions of global mindset shared by Bruce Avolio, our faculty for the trip, were:

“An expansive way of seeing and thinking that grasps the individual, team, and organizational challenges and opportunities triggered by operating in a complex global business environment.”

“The cognitive capabilities of senior managers in multinational companies”
– Source: What We Talk About When We Talk About “Global Mindset”: Managerial Cognition in Multinational Corporations

We explored this concept before we departed for the UAE through several reading assignments, videos, and an individual assessment that gave insight into our own abilities that contribute to the development of a global mindset.  We were asked to consider and explore a few questions during the trip and used our time on the bus between company visits to delve in more deeply. For example:

  • What are the challenges of working in a global cross-cultural context and in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi?
  • What are the best companies doing to manage and lead in a global context?
  • How might technology facilitate or hinder working in a complex, global context?
  • What constitutes one’s global mindset and how is it developed?
  • How does one’s global mindset relate to leading and managing across different cultural contexts?
  • What are the implications of having a global mindset for performance?

There were great discussions during our time in the UAE and one student who went on the trip put together this video on the experience.

Interested in learning more about our takeaways from International Study Tour? Check out this blog post from student Anne-Marie Scollay and these final thoughts on Leadership in the Middle East from our faculty, Bruce Avolio.

In March 2014 TMMBA will take a group to visit another part of the world, Vietnam. Learn more about that trip and stay tuned for their takeaways from the experience abroad.

TMMBA Week in the Life: David Ginsberg, Day 7

David Ginsberg, TMMBA Student, Class of 2014

Today we had a problem set due for Operations & Supply Chain Management. This one is a team submission and my team decided to all take a stab at it and then compare our work over a conference call in the afternoon a few hours before it’s due. I hadn’t really felt certain that I was getting some of the concepts, so working through the problems and talking though it with the team was really helpful. It turns out I understood more than I thought, and my answers aligned with what we decided were the correct answers.

We decided t meet again tomorrow to discuss the upcoming “Beer Game” and “Littlefield Simulation for the same class. For some reason we’ve ended up having class 2 Saturdays in a row this month so we’ve got class next weekend as well, which isn’t helpful for those of us who’ve got kids and schedules that must be kept to, but at least the quarter is nearly over.

Sunday night after we got our work submitted I headed up to my brother & sister-in-law’s to celebrate my dad’s 81st birthday. Was good to have a few waking hours away from studying finally, though the time went to quickly and before I knew it the day was over.


And with that my Week in the Life draws to a close. It’s been fun but I’ll be glad to have this time back, and just in time for another midterm and then finals. Thanks for reading!

– 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.