Sara Jones, Class of 2012 and TMMBA Assistant Director
This summer I played on the TMMBA Alumni Ultimate frisbee team in the DiscNW Summer Corporate League. This was my first time playing Ultimate and I captured my initial thoughts in this earlier post. The season wrapped up two weeks ago and it’s time for an update.
There were lots of opportunities during the season to improve my actual frisbee skills, but the game stretched me to grow in other areas as well. On the field you need to be adaptable, deal with ambiguity, and learn to read your own team members as well as the other team. Of course, communication with your teammates can make or break the game. These skills are important in the workplace and also as a student in the TMMBA program. It was great to work those muscles in a new setting!
That said, the best part of my experience this summer was the people. I got to know more of my fellow alums (post-game celebrations helped), their family members that came to cheer us on, and met some really cool folks from the other teams. We played teams from REI, Microsoft, Google, King County, Fred Hutch, Tableau Software, Apex Learning, and Boeing. The sidelines and post-game cheers were great opportunities for casual networking.
All-in-all it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to next season. We’re even talking about some TMMBA pick-up games this fall.
Last month I helped organize the launch of our 2nd annual TMMBA Ultimate team for the DiscNW Summer Corporate League. Along the way, I was convinced to sign up for the team and then thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”.
Let me explain. Although I had been involved in performing arts for the first 20 years of my life, I hadn’t played a team sport since I was about 5 or 6. Frisbee is not something I’m good at and I’ve seen the level of competitiveness and skill of some Ultimate players.
I went into our first game on June 6 nervous, anxious, and a little overwhelmed. I wanted to do well and not let the team down, but I also didn’t know a thing about Ultimate. I read up on the rules and watched video clips ahead of time, but I still didn’t feel very confident.
Tonight is our 4th game and we’re playing against Cotton Kills, the REI team. They have some talented players, but I’m actually looking forward to the game. So, what’s changed in the last month? Here’s my rundown of the first three games and what I learned along the way.
Game 1: We played Royal Flush and won, 15-14. We had a lot of beginners that night and spent pre-game time trying to get the basic rules. I ended up guarding a really good female player, felt stressed-out, and was trying to learn defense. I was so wrapped up in my own head that I don’t really remember seeing the frisbee more than once or twice the whole game. According to my teammates there was a strong back and forth battle throughout the game with some amazing plays by a few of our very skilled players. Here what I learned from this game:
There’s a lot more to the game than throwing a frisbee, and it’s a killer workout!
Be aware of your surroundings.
Keep your ears open – teammates on and off the field have a different view and can help coach you along the way.
Ultimate is guided by the “spirit of the game” – fair play, good sportsmanship, respect of others, and the joy of the game.
Game 2: We had a 15-10 win against the Tableau Tuple Tossers. We started off pre-game with a whiteboard and end zone drill. Although a simple exercise, I felt much more confident going into the game after seeing the objective drawn out and a few small successes during the drill. This game we had a pretty good mix of skill level in both genders and did well in both defense and offense. Afterwards, the team headed out for post-game food and drinks. A few takeaways:
Have fun – it’s just a game! Our closing cheer to the Tableau team was a great reminder of this and the spirit of the game: “Tableau, Tablooo, Yahoo, We Loved [Playing] You!”
Watch the other team’s players so you can assess their skill and match appropriately on defense.
A little organization goes a long way. We had a clear strategy for the game and it helped everyone perform their best, no matter their experience level.
Game 3: Our first loss was to Blue Screen, the Microsoft team (5-15). Last year they were the season champions, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. They played a strong game and used a different defensive strategy than previous teams. We had to adapt our offensive approach and many of us were learning on our feet. We had less players attend than previous games, so everyone had to play more. The women only had 1 substitute player! My thoughts post-game:
Relax and take your time on offense. It’s easy to feel rushed to throw the frisbee when you’re holding it, but you have ten seconds. That’s actually a lot of time to let your teammates get into place and help you out!
The post-game and sideline socializing with teammates makes a difference! It really started to feel like a team during this game. We were supportive, talked to each other on the field, had great sideline coaching, and recognized when teammates needed assistance. I attribute some of this to the off-field bonding.
I can do this! I walked away feeling like I did okay. And considering the skill level of the opponent, I feel much more confident that I do bring value to the team even though I’m a beginner. I even had a few good laughs on the field during the game!
We have several more games to go this summer and I look forward to seeing my own personal progress and the progress of our team as we continue to work together. Go TMMBA!
Here are a few photos that I took during down-time in Game 2:
Before we delve into another 3-day workshop in few weeks, I thought of taking a retrospective look at our very first Orientation Program we had in December (12/3 through 12/6). It was INTENSE and really helped me to set the expectation for the next 18 months (I literally slept ~ 4 hours each day during the 4 day workshop). It was a great experience to meet all those amazingly sharp people with diverse backgrounds and from many different industry segments. The level of intellectual discussions during case studies and group discussions were simply outstanding. This is exactly what you can expect from one of the top business schools in the world. I am really glad that I made the right decision by joining TMMBA program and I am proud to be part of such an elite family.
A quick summary of the classes we took during December Orientation Program -
Ethical Leadership (TMMBA 528): What an amazing class it was ! Before going to this class, I thought I knew exactly what to do in those case-studies we did. Boy, I was wrong. The program really helped me to understand what ethics means in business and how to look at them from different perspectives. Professor Scott Reynolds was simply brilliant and did an extremely great job in explaining those complex philosophy of Kant and Mill and then gave us the most powerful tool in the world – The Four Corners. His charismatic personality and the collection of the world class case-studies kept the entire class thoroughly engaged during his lecture.
The course materials, including additional readings, are now available on our UW Black Board (accessible to TMMBA Class 10 only).
Key Terms: Mill, Kant, Four Corners, primary and secondary stake holders, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Building Effective Work Teams (TMMBA 500): How many of you really know the difference between a working group and a team ? In this class, Professor Gregory A. Bigley explained in details how a team is different from a work group. He taught us some key points like open communication, feed-forwarding etc. which can be used to build an effective team. The discussion on managing virtual teams was also very appropriate as most of us in the room deal with virtual teams at our work. I also enjoyed the case studies on how to deal with under-performer in your team and how to resolve issues if there is a conflict between two strong and influential team members in your team. I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and more importantly, was able to utilize the knowledge from Day 1 at my job.
Key Terms: team synergy, feed-forward, open communication, team goal, meeting management, virtual teams
Effective Presentation: How many of you would really rather die than give a talk in public ? If you are really afraid of public speaking then this is the class for you. In this class, Laura Schildkraut discussed various key steps to make an effective presentation , e.g., purpose of presentation, your audience, prepare for the Q&A, use visuals, rehearse and Be Yourself and finally, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Key Terms: practice
I found the class material was enough to start working towards making better presentation, but, if you are looking for some extra readings, here are my personal favorites – 1) Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and 2) The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs by Carmine Gallo – they really helped me in thinking outside PowerPoint and use more visuals, rather than bullet points, for effective communication. (note – these books are my personal recommendations only). And, if you are tired of PowerPoint and KeyNote or just want to try out something different, take a look at this really slick tool – Prezi. I am playing with it now and it is so COOL !!!
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- 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.