MBA Newsletter Spring Quarter 2015

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Milgard School of Business MBA Newsletter Spring 2015 Vol V(III)

In this issue:

Greetings from the MBA Director, Dr. Eugene Sivadas
MBA Alumni Profile: Becky Thompson, '04
Meet the MBA Graduates 2014-2015
MBA Faculty Profile: Dr. Margo Bergman
Spring Quarter Executive Speaker Series: Brett Lowry
Milgard School Updates

Message from the MBA Director

Dear Alumni and Students,

Hope this finds you in the best of spirits.  The MBA program is doing well. Keeping with tradition, in this Spring issue I am proud to present our graduating students who will join the alumni ranks soon.  They are indeed an accomplished group.  We are accepting applications through July 10th for our purple cohort admits.  Your recommendations and referrals are greatly appreciated. 

The school has initiated a career management event for our current students and alumni.  The inaugural event will be held on June 20th and will be conducted by executive coach Marcy Porus-Gottlieb (click here for registration details). The MBA Association is thriving and we hope that you will participate in their events when your schedule allows for it.  Please do join us for our revitalized quarterly executive speaker series (we host a reception prior to that event) and for the TGIFs.  Please join in me in congratulating Professor Jill Purdy for being voted faculty of the year by the MBA Class of 2015 and Professor Tripathy for earning his tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  We bid farewell to Professor Perryman and celebrate MBA Advisor Aubree Steffens' promotion.  Please update us with any recent news on promotions, job changes, or additions to the family.

Eugene Sivadas

MBA Alumni Profile: Becky Thompson, '04

Becky Thompson earned her MBA in 2004, a member of the Milgard School’s second cohort. Becky was not immediately convinced that a master’s degree in business was for her; however, the discovery of the newly created evening MBA program at the Milgard School changed her mind with its promise of daytime flexibility. Becky focused her studies on change management because, she notes with a smile, “the only thing constant in life is change.”

One of Becky’s early undertakings as a student was to join the committee tasked with establishing and soliciting funds for a class gift. The goal of creating a scholarship fund to reduce the financial barriers to education for future MBA students motivated her because her career has shown her firsthand the positive impact financial aid has on students’ access to education. Generous gifts from her classmates made the endowed class gift a reality, and it was announced at the MBA Class of 2004 hooding. Becky has maintained her connections with the UW Tacoma alumni community and last year helped coordinate and participated in the class’ 10th reunion.

Today Becky is Director of Student Financial Aid Services at the Washington Student Achievement Council. Her MBA paid off just three months after graduation when she came up for a promotion requiring a master’s degree. She continues to use the knowledge and skills gained during her degree on a daily basis. She says that the most lasting benefit of her experience, however, is the personal connections she made with her classmates. Those lifelong friendships have allowed her to grow personally and professionally.

Outside of her office, Becky enjoys the simple things in life: family and friends, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors. When asked what advice she would give to a new MBA student, she responded, “you will have to work harder than you probably realize but it will go quickly and it will be one of the best investments in yourself that you can make.” Becky continues to be profoundly grateful to her Milgard faculty and classmates for their support, encouragement, and friendship.



Meet the Graduates 2014-2015

You may download a pdf version of the profiles here.



MBA Faculty Profile-Dr. Margo Bergman

Dr. Margo Bergman joined the Milgard School as a senior lecturer in August 2014. She’s a behavioral economist whose research interests lie in public health, genetics, agent-based modeling and decision theory. She earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Houston and her master of public health from the University of Washington.

Before coming to UW Tacoma, Dr. Bergman taught at Penn State Worthington Scranton, the University of Houston, and the University of Washington Seattle, as well as online at Baker College. Her very first job was selling personalized keychains at a kiosk in a mall. She is satisfied in her choice of academia as a career, the market for personalized keychains having dried up in the past 20 years.

Dr. Bergman is teaching a wide variety of courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. MBA students will recognize her from Microeconomics for Managers, and an elective in the Health Policy track. She is also associated with a handful of organizations, including the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association International, and the American Public Health Association.

Some of her most rewarding moments have come when a student struggling with a concept experiences the flash of understanding. Dr. Bergman particularly enjoys teaching at our urban-serving campus because of the unique challenges faced by our students. She says, “I find that people who are juggling careers and families bring a compelling combination of drive and curiosity.” Her advice to all MBA students: “Never ask what you want to do, ask what you want to do next!”

Outside of teaching, Margo Bergman spends her time baking, crafting, gardening, and playing with her children. She is training for a triathlon in August, about which she says, “I’ve never swum outside here before, hope I don’t turn into a Popsicle!”


Spring Quarter Executive Speaker Series: Brett Lowry, Senior Vice President, Controller & Treasurer at Avanade, Financial Management & Business Technology

On the evening of May 4th, Brett Lowry shared his experiences and thoughts regarding technology in the business world. He is Senior Vice President, Controller and Treasurer at Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture which began in 2000 and has grown into a 2 billion dollar company. Avanade is a technology consulting business on the Microsoft platform. They have a large off-shore presence and occupy 70 locations in 20 countries. One of the exciting projects that Lowry shared is Avanade’s sponsorship relationship with Williams Formula 1 racing. Through this partnership Avanade has helped Williams Formula 1 digitally optimize performance on and off the track. Lowry admits that this partnership has created a myriad of business technology expressions, namely “High Performance Business”.

The first section Lowry’s talk covered core competencies he described as necessary to maintain a strong financial position and maintain the business’ success. First of all, Avanade aims to close their books in 5 business days or less. This efficient timelines allows the company to focus on decision making and analysis. Another key component, Lowry explained how strong internal control leads to resilient processes, accuracy, and more efficient decision making. Lastly, in order for a company to be successful at the basic level, all key players need to understand the current goals of the company and the vision for what is ahead. In business, it is pivotal to find the most profitable customers for the organization. Lowry stressed the importance of transparency and recommends avoiding a model where employees’ under-promise and over-deliver this leads to missed opportunities for the organization.

Brett Lowry then transitioned to a more theoretical discussion on the future of technology and business. To begin, he stated that in order for a company to be successful and forward-looking, innovation is imperative. The lifecycle for a company that does not modernize is exceedingly short. Lowry suggests organizations undertake the challenge of unlearning and become “digitally disruptive”. With that, as well as using big data as currency and taking advantage of complete digital transparency, the role technology plays in the future is pivotal. To conclude, Brett Lowry stressed that even though technology is taking off in routes that we may not be able to forecast, there is still a place in the business world for gifted people – the necessary talent will simply look different. Lowry believes that the innovators and the high-achievers, such as those in the Milgard MBA program, will adjust and continue to be prosperous.


Events and Keeping in Touch

MBA Career Management Workshops
Workshops will be presented and facilitated by Executive Coach and Career Transition Specialist Marcy Porus-Gottlieb. Marcy earned her MBA from the Haas School at UC Berkeley and held marketing and operations positions in a variety of industries for over 20 years. From 2004-2011, Marcy coached MBA students at UW’s Foster School of Business Career Center along with running her own private consulting practice, and in 2012 helped establish a Career Management Program at UW Bothell.

Saturday, June 20th
Dougan 280

Session 1: Defining your Personal Brand (9:00-12:00 pm)

This workshop will focus on Personal Brand, the foundational building block critical to setting clear professional direction and achieving a successful (and satisfying!) career. This workshop will include conducting a self-assessment (defining values, skills and interests/passion), goal setting, creating a written personal brand statement and elevator pitch, and laying the groundwork for an effective brand campaign targeted to desired organizations and audiences. 

Session 2: Communicating You: Impactful Resume/LinkedIn (1:00-4:00 pm)

A strong resume remains the foundational piece of a multifaceted personal marketing strategy. This workshop will teach participants how to create a results-oriented, future-focused, market-driven resume whether they are moving up within their organizations or changing careers entirely. Participants will learn how to repurpose resume content to create a compelling and powerful Linkedin profile to clearly communicate skills and personal brand.

Support UWT student scholarships and join the Milgard School Faculty and Staff this August 7th at Paint the Park Purple.


If you haven't already done so, join the Milgard MBA group on LinkedIn and connect with the MBA Association (MBAA) on Facebook

If you have pictures or updates to share in the next version of the Milgard MBA Newsletter please email your submissions to Aubree Steffens.


Milgard School Updates

Good bye and good luck to Dr. Lex Perryman who has been teaching the MBA strategy course for the last 3 years. Best wishes on your new adventures.

Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Barsness on her election as the next Vice Chair of the UW Faculty Senate.

Congratulations to Jill Purdy for being nominated MBA Faculty Member of the Year by the 2014-2015 graduating class.

Congratulations to Aubree Steffens, MBA program advisor on her promotion to Senior Academic Counselor.

The MBA program would like to thank Sadiah Barber, BABA Milgard Scholar who has helped interview and write profiles of our students, faculty and alumni during the 2014-2015 school year.



The Milgard School of Business at the University of Washington, Tacoma is accredited by the AACSB and the MBA program is ranked by US News.  The school offers undergraduate, MBA, Master of Accounting, and Master of Cybersecurity & Leadership (in collaboration with the Institute of Technology) programs.