Milgard School of Business MBA Newsletter Winter 2017 Vol VII(II)

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In this Issue:

Updates from the MBA Director, Dr. Eugene Sivadas
MBA Student Profile: Jed Tan
MBA Student Profile: Brion Baker
MBA Alumni Profile: Liz Lamb-Ferro
MBA Faculty Profile: Dr. Marion Eberly
MBA Association News & Events
MBA Program Events
Milgard MBA Faculty, Student and Alumni Updates

MBA Director Updates:  

Greetings. I hope this finds you well. I would like to extend an invitation to our Career Services Events run by an executive coach, Marcy Porus-Gottlieb. Prior attendees have found these sessions very useful. So, if you are looking to enhance marketability, please note the event dates and RSVP. There is no charge to take advantage of these events. 

I also hope you can make it to the MBAA Spring Event. The school partially funds these events and they are much grander than the TGIF’s the school has been hosting over the past many years.  Please also take advantage of our executive speaker series. We will send you announcements once dates are confirmed. We welcome your suggestions and recommendations for an Executive Speaker and would very much like to tap into your connections.  We prefer someone from the C-Suite for mid-sized and smaller companies and VP/SVP’s from larger corporations.  If you know someone interesting who would be interested, please do get in touch with me at Please read the newsletter to get to know a little bit about program activities.  As previously noted, we can now reach you through text messages as well, but you have to opt-in (details in the newsletter).  Have a wonderful Spring.


Student Profile: Jedidiah Tan, MBA candidate ‘17

Jed attended Virginia Military Institute, a private military college, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2006. In high school, he always had an interest in history, however, he was also good at math and science. He states that his father’s influence had a lot to do with his choice to study Engineering. Jed is thankful he followed that path. He feels that Engineering teaches you a certain way to think about the world and problem solve.

Jed decided to return for his MBA after working for several years. He aspires to move into an administrative leadership role and felt furthering his education would afford him the knowledge to move in that career direction. While exploring different options for graduate school, he narrowed options to the MBA because it seemed broad enough to apply to a variety of opportunities in the public and private sector.

Jed is a patrol officer for the city of Federal Way. He enforces traffic laws and is also on the regional SWAT team. His job can be stressful at times, but it can be fun as well. Even though there is a difference between public administration and the private section, the MBA will help him get promoted. Many of the skills taught in the program crossover with his current position such as communication, economics, accounting, finance, and soft skills. Jed has found that many of the soft skills taught and reinforced in the program are applicable for his current position (such as team dynamics). Being part of the SWAT team is what he enjoys most about his job, not only for driving around with big guns in an armored vehicle, but because “you don’t just get into the SWAT world for being a slacker, you have to work hard. It is nice to be around other people who are motivated and hardworking.” He also enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his career and bringing solutions to citizen’s lives. His job can be a challenge, but it is rewarding.

Jed has been pleasantly surprised by the soft skills aspect of the MBA program. Going into the program he anticipated that it would be a lot of technical business skills that he was unfamiliar with, but eagerly anticipated the challenge. Once enrolled in the program, he discovered the curriculum offers technical business skills, but also a balance of soft skills that have been relevant and applicable in his career and life. When asked if there were classes that left more of an impression on him than others, Jed mentioned Dr. Merchant’s marketing class—not only because the professor was engaging, but because the marketing mindset is applicable across everything.

In his spare time, Jed spends a lot of time with his wife and son. He shared they are also eagerly preparing for the birth of their second child. He also enjoys duck hunting and finding new recipes to try, “I’ve made a lot of duck stock from my hunts.”

His advice for students contemplating the MBA program is that although it can be overwhelming at times, don’t lose your focus. He states that you get out of the program what you put in. If you give it your all, you will find you will have a set of skills that will pay off in your future.


Student Profile: Brion Baker, MBA Candidate '18

Brion grew up in Tacoma and chose to attend Arizona State University for his undergraduate experience. Two and half years into his time at ASU, he transferred to the University of Washington Tacoma and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science. After graduation, Brion was hired at Boeing in the Supplier Quality unit as a Field Representative.

In his current position, Brion often travels to suppliers where he checks on their quality management system. He ensures that suppliers keep up with their regulatory requirements. He also confirms if suppliers have quality ratings and an absence of non-conformance. Brion enjoys that his current position offers him the opportunity to work with different clients each day and travel around the Pacific Northwest; working with different clients keeps the work fresh and interesting. He also stated that he is allowed a bit of flexibility and freedom to “run his business as he sees fit” which appeals to him.

With the help of several mentors at Boeing, Brion realized that he wanted a more well-rounded education. He observed others at Boeing, reflected on the type of work he was doing, and decided that a better understanding of business would be helpful in making important decisions and dealing with clients. He explored education options and realized the MBA at UW Tacoma would be a good fit-a strong business education resulting in knowledge and a credential that will offer him a competitive advantage if he decides to pursue a leadership or management role one day.

Coming from an undergraduate education in science and working in industry, Brion was excited to discover the MBA program offers practical knowledge that he could immediately apply in his profession. Close to finishing his second quarter of the program, he appreciates how the program has been structured for working professionals and he sees the logic in how the courses have been sequenced so far. Brion mentioned that Dr. Nelson’s business communications course has left the largest impression on him, it challenged him and his classmates to work effectively with each other towards a common goal.

For those interested in pursuing the MBA, Brion suggests making sure they are committed to the educational opportunity and that they have a strong support system of understanding family and friends in place. He stated that the program can be demanding and takes up a lot of free time, it helps to keep in mind that the time spent in the MBA program is short, the sacrifices made in the short term will benefit you in the long term.


Alumni Profile, Liz Lamb-Ferro, MBA '14: 

Liz graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University. She then returned to the University of Washington in 2012 to earn her Master’s degree. She was attracted to Milgard in particular due to the easy commute and close proximity to her home. Liz valued a high-quality education that was different from the private school experience and liked the cohort model at the University of Washington Tacoma. Liz also liked that the school offered a smaller classroom setting where professors have the chance to get to know the students. Furthermore, the flexibility of the school (which allowed her to take courses at the other campuses if necessary) and the night courses offered allowed her to continue to work was a large deciding factor.

In response to what surprised her about the Master’s Program, Liz stated that she was surprised that the faculty actually cared about their students. She was also surprised to find that everyone in the program was there with a goal in mind to either enhance their current careers or change the path they were on, which was refreshing. In her undergraduate experience, a lot of the students continued on to college because it's what's expected after you graduate from high school, even though they often were unsure of their goals and plans for their future. Liz admired the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. She stated that every time you go to class, you are sharpening your current skills. Coming from a liberal arts undergraduate experience at PLU, the shift into the business field was a nice change and applicable to her working life.

Liz is currently employed by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, where she is a global brand manager for Magic the Gathering. She works on marketing campaigns to determine which brands to take to market, how to communicate that to their customers, what products to offer and how to get people interested in “a table top game in a very digital world.” She states that Hasbro is the “geek chic” of the Seattle area. She enjoys the opportunity to travel internationally as well as the ability to have an impact on the public’s leisure time. When asked what she enjoys the most about her position she stated, “What we do in our spare time defines us. I think the fact that I am working on a product that soldiers in Afghanistan play in their downtime as a stress relief; or [a game] for thirteen-year-olds who are still having trouble academically [can use it] as gateway for easing their social anxieties; or even hearing about parents in their 30’s teaching their children the games they loved when they were young, is a pretty powerful feeling.” She continues to state that she used to work in the non-profit field with breast cancer survivors. “Breast cancer survivors are some of the most passionate, mobilized group that you will ever see. I would say the second group is probably Magic fans. They care about the game like a cause. It is really incredible to see someone have that much of an emotional connection to a consumer brand, but it makes you realize that what you are doing has more legs to it than just selling a booster pack of cards. It actually has an emotional heart to it. It has lifelong meanings for customers and takes brand loyalty to a whole other realm.”

Liz feels that her MBA has tremendously impacted her career. She stated that for marketers, there is a lot of work done on instinct. Her MBA allowed her to see the logic behind marketing and help her confirm or deny her gut feelings. Her MBA has made her more of a “conscious competent,” where she knows why and what she is doing. It helps her with team leadership as well as structuring a plan for her actions, rather than entering into a project blindly. When asked where she sees herself in ten years, she says that she will probably still be in the entertainment field. Liz would like to lead larger teams and work on innovative products on the cutting edge of digital games.

The greatest benefit of the credential of her MBA is that it allowed her as a young woman in a gaming industry, to be taken seriously. It also gives her a sense of security to fall back on her education and reassure herself that she knows what she is doing, especially in a male dominated industry. She stated that her MBA has given her the confidence to take leadership and responsibility in the decisions that she makes every day.

Her word of advice for MBA students is “don’t be surprised if you come out different on the other side.” Liz said that she went into the program not being bad at her finances, but came out of the program being a “spreadsheet queen.” The program honed in on aspects of her personal and professional life that she did not expect. For example, she is better at communicating with family members. She stated that it makes you more purposeful in your life. “That first fight with your spouse where you realize you are pulling techniques from a negations class, that is when you realize that your degree has taken a deeper effect on you than you realized.”


MBA Faculty Profile: An interview with Dr. Marion Eberly 

1. Please tell us about your education. What schools did you attend? What did you study as an undergraduate? Did you know what you wanted to study when you started college or did you try out different things? Why did you choose to pursue a PhD?

“I was born and raised in Germany and went to school there through my undergraduate education. Business was always on my horizon. I attended a high school program that specialized in business. After graduation, I was accepted into a dual education program at a leading global manufacturer of agricultural equipment, Claas. The dual program called for completing an apprenticeship program in business while simultaneously completing a bachelor of arts in business. During this program, I worked at Claas half of the time rotating through all major departments like accounting, marketing, sales, human resources, finance, and even manufacturing planning and R&D. This was like completing an internship in all of these areas. The other half of the time, I attended college upper division business courses. After receiving my degree, I transferred to a Claas subsidiary in Omaha, NE to work in Human Resources. I ultimately pursued my MBA degree in a part-time evening program at the University of Nebraska, Omaha – a program similar in structure to the one we offer here at UWT.

After working at Claas in Omaha for five years, I decided to pursue my Ph.D. I was motivated to pursue my Ph.D. primarily for two reasons. First, my work experience up until that point left me curious about understanding leadership and topics such as motivation and cross-cultural teamwork more in-depth. The subsidiary of Claas I worked for in Omaha faced some significant management challenges and I simply wanted to understand the dynamics better and work with others to help prevent these dynamics in today’s workplaces. Second, in my experience working in Human Resources I was always particularly excited to be working with young adults like apprentices, interns or trainees and getting their career started. In an academic career, I saw the opportunity to combine both passions.”

2. Please tell us about your career history. How did you get into the teaching? Where did you work prior to UW Tacoma, and what positions have you held that you feel will aid you in your position in the MBA program? 

“I have described previously how I got my start at Claas.  During my time there, I was involved in a range of HR functions - first as a Senior HR Analyst and then as the HR Manager. In those positions, due to the smaller size of the organization (about 100 employees), I was involved in a range of HR functions including payroll administration, training & development, recruiting, policy development and writing, internship management, international HR issues, orientation, etc. The management problems this company experienced motivated me to explore them in more depth and to get involved in higher education to teach students how to be authentic, humble, and evidence-based managers so that the very avoidable problems I observed in my own career do not derail a vital business. I believe my HR work adds value to my teaching as it has provided me with a broader perspective of what management-employee relations entail and the common misperceptions that often exist of each other that can lead to reduced morale, high turnover and a de-energized workforce. I frequently use these personal examples in the classroom to illustrate both effective and ineffective management practices.”

3: What attracted you to the Milgard School in particular?

“I was particularly attracted to the Milgard School of Business due to its dual emphasis on teaching and research and its focus on use-inspired research. I always found myself most invigorated by my work when being in the classroom and engaging in research at the same time. The two aspects of this job in my case inform each other and give energy to each other. I also was excited to be serving the diverse student population the UWT campus attracts. Being in a classroom with students from a variety of different backgrounds and with many who have significant work experience is fantastic for everyone. The best learning occurs when students share experiences with each other. That is when the classroom really comes to life and teaching truly becomes a rewarding experience. I look forward to taking this to the next level in the MBA classroom and to learning from the vast and diverse experiences the MBA students bring to the classroom.”

4: How would you describe your teaching philosophy? How do you engage students? Do you have any special skills or experiences you feel will aid in the teaching process?

“From a broad perspective, my goal is to develop critical thinkers and continuous learners in the world of management. I want to pique student’s interest in the materials so that they continuously engage with them outside of the classroom, even beyond graduation. The field of management evolves – maybe not as quickly as technology does – but best practices for management do change over time, especially as the workplace becomes increasingly complex and diverse. It is very important for managers to understand where they can reliably seek out information about effective management practices. My classroom is a starting point for that and is designed to not only provide content (what we know today about effective management), but also process information with regards to how to assess the information, data, and evidence around us regarding management. Many well-intentioned people have management advice to offer – yet some of that advice is biased and best taken with a grain of salt. I hope my class makes students enthusiastic about the material so they continue to seek out best evidence and ultimately become evidence-based managers. I try to accomplish this with a healthy mix of methodologies (like readings, case studies, videos, in-class activities, team assignments, individual assignments, etc.) and by engaging students via experiential experiences, applied learning opportunities and significant classroom discussions.”

5: Do you have any advice for students that may be thinking about perusing a MBA or taking a class with you?  What is your advice to the students who are just getting started in the program?

“I encourage students to use my class [TBUS 507 Individual & Team Dynamics] as well as the program as an opportunity to critically reflect on their development and growth as managers. My class (and the program) offers a great opportunity to challenge yourself, to reflect on what has worked in the past, to try out new ideas and ways of doing things, to gather feedback and to take risks. This is a relatively low-risk environment where you want to challenge yourself and make mistakes to learn from them. Some of the best learning experiences come from making these mistakes (and some of my class activities are designed to have students make mistakes) – and in this program it is OK because your job is not on the line. Think about what you might be able to improve on and try it out! Maybe you have difficulties in providing constructive feedback to others? Challenge yourself to have these difficult conversations with your team members. Maybe you find yourself always being the most talkative in a group meeting? Challenge yourself to step back and encourage others’ voices. This is a fantastic environment to challenge yourself with limited risk, yet boundless benefits for your own development.”

6: Please tell us about things you enjoy to do in your spare time.

“My husband and I have two little ones, a 7-year old and a 3-year old. They certainly keep us very busy! We spend every minute we can with our kids and enjoy everything they enjoy doing. My oldest, for example, is getting into coding so I am learning along with her. My youngest is very interested in baseball, so I am learning about this sport along with him (baseball is not something I grew up with in Germany). I volunteer as much as I can at the kids’ school. Outside of that, I just started playing tennis last year and am having a blast with it. I also do some yoga and enjoy running. I am still very passionate about German soccer, following it closely every weekend during the soccer season. My Dad and I exchange emails every week where we both predict how all the games in the “Bundesliga” will end that weekend. The overall winner at the end of the season gets to grill for the other person when we come visit Germany in the summer (schnitzel + beer J). As a family, we also enjoy traveling to Europe and locally. My husband and I moved to the region in 2005, but there are still so many great places in the vicinity we have not checked out yet.”


MBA Association Updates

April 8, 2017 Pacific Northwest MBA Conference hosted by the UW Bothell MBAA - 3 students being sponsored to attend by MBAA

MBAA Earth Day Volunteer Event – Park clean up *stay tuned for details

May 2017: MBAA Leadership Elections

June 10, 2017 4-7pm: MBAA Annual Spring Social & End of year celebration


MBA Program Events & Text Message sign up

  • If you would like to receive text messages from the MBA program about events and links to our quarterly newsletter, click here to sign up.  We are using a text message service called Remind to send out these messages, this service is FERPA compliant.
  • Career Management Workshop Series 
    Executive Coach Marcy Porus-Gottlieb will offer two workshops during spring quarter-we welcome MBA students and alumni to register for these sessions, click here to register.

    Seeking a Great Opportunity- April 1st, 9:00-12:00 pm with lunch lab 12:30-1:30 pm, DOU 270
    This session explores the ways in which to seek and find new professional opportunities.  Whether looking for a new job, a new position within a current company, or trying to start or grow in an entrepreneurial venture, there are similar tactics to utilize: how to optimize your networks, maximize a networking event, find ad hoc projects within your company to create exposure and build skills and many more. Time will be spent on how to identify networks, how to leverage the power of the hidden job market, practice informational interviewing, and prepare participants to move onward and upward.

    Interviewing for Success- April 22nd, 9:00-12:00 pm with lunch lab 12:30-1:30 pm, DOU 270
    This seminar will focus on building the skills to create prepared and confident interviewees. Participants will learn how to craft an impactful opening statement, construct compelling answers to general and behavioral questions and learn how to crack a business case using specific case question methodology. Together we will practice asking and answering questions and provide and receive supportive, substantive feedback.

  • MBA Information Session, April 20th 6:00 PM.
    Do you know someone who would be great MBA student? Suggest they attend our next MBA Information Session on Thursday, April 20th. Click here for details.


Milgard MBA Faculty, Student and Alumni Updates

MBA student, Michael McDonald and his wife Jamie, welcomed daughter Millie on September 8, 2016.

Maggie Connors, MBA '14, was voted as one of the Top 3 Financial Advisors by The Olympian Best of South Sound.

Brian Bodah, MBA'16, was profiled in the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences newsletter.

Please send your updates to Aubree Steffens to be featured in the next newsletter.