Monday, November 18, 2013
A few weeks ago, I went on a 3 day retreat as part of MBA 510, Leadership Skills and Team Development, a course that is required for all new MBA and MPAC students. The retreat was an outdoor, experiential learning experience that took place on Bastyr University's beautiful campus and surrounding forest.
Over those 3 days, I was in constant, close contact with a group of 28 people I had just met a few weeks earlier. We bonded through team challenges involving everything from hiking to climbing, many of which were physically demanding and mentally draining.
I learned numerous lessons out there including the importance of positivity, the formation of effective leadership, and the power of need. Each challenge required the full support and cooperation of every team member in the group and when one person was incongruent, morale sank and success became elusive. Leadership was demonstrated in various ways, from bold ideas to supportive words but all included listening to one another. When people were needed, they rose up and tackled the most daunting tasks and achieved something they didn't think they could.
It was difficult to come back to the "real world" after this experience. The level of comradery, positivity, and support was almost unreal. One of the most difficult things for me was maintaining that momentum and applying it in my own daily life. It is easy to escape for a few days and act like a different person, but it is much more difficult to permanently become that person afterwards.
From the silly games to the heartfelt class discussions to the eye-opening retreat experience, this course exceeded my expectations and I am grateful for meeting so many good, thoughtful, and inspirational people. Going forward, I am hopeful that we will all become not only more effective leaders but also more conscientious and supportive people.
To my friends in the Fall 2013 MBA 510 Thursday evening class,
What an amazing adventure. From the bottom of my heart, thank you everyone for such an unforgettable journey. Every one of you has a warm heart and I can confidently say that I learned something from each one of you. You guys were the best group of people any one could have asked for and I truly hope I see you all again in future courses, parties, and beyond.
To Bill, Hartley, and Carly, thank you for being such excellent role models and facilitators. I hope someday I can be as positive and inspirational as you all are.
Loc Nguyen, MBA candidate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
So far, I have had several incredible experiences at Albers and the Mentor Fair was another one. It is an evening that brings out the Business Professional in you. There are so many things about the Mentor Fair that makes it a valuable event. How often do you get a chance to meet top professionals from all the industries in your area under one roof? How often can you walk up to an executive and ask questions? How often do you get a chance to learn soft skills by observing top notch professionals? The list is endless.
It is an evening where you talk to the people from your favorite companies or your favorite job profiles and sip some wine along with tempting appetizers (yes, I am a big foodie). I was nervous. To select just a few out of a list of almost 200 experts is a tedious task. I wanted to talk to everybody. They all have rich experience and a lot of wisdom to share. But that was not possible, so I focused on their work descriptions. Was there something I would like to know about their jobs? Was there job something I would like to do in the future? Even that got me an impossible list of some 20-30 mentors. Ultimately, I had to apply more and more filters to get my final 6 preferred mentors.
Finally, I got to meet some of the people I had chosen at the Mentor Fair. Their mannerisms taught me a lot. In the end, I was wondering if by just spending an evening with some of these executives could motivate me so much, how having a mentor for a year would make a whole lot of a difference. I have been assigned my mentor along with a fellow mentee. I am looking forward to our first meeting and will keep you all updated about it. I am very excited.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Last night was my first meeting of Leadership Skills and Team
Development (MBA 510) with Bill Weis and I have to say it was awkward, weird,
uncomfortable, challenging, and wonderful.
I can tell that this class will shatter my notions of what a graduate
course should be.
Let me preface by saying that I spent my undergraduate years
in a school where you simply show up, listen and take notes, and then go home
with little to no interaction between students.
In Bill's class, by the end of the first hour, I met 30 new people and
memorized all of their names. By the end
of the second hour, I learned where they were born and raised, where they went
to school, where they work, what they love to eat, what physical activities they prefer, what they do for recreation,
what program they're in, and a unique fact about them. In between that, there was twirling, dangerous games of
tag, sqeaky hammers, hula hoops, stop watches, animal noises, and plenty of
Many people have said this will be the most rewarding class
in the MBA program so it has a lot of hype to live up to. Our 3-day class retreat is only 2 weeks away
and I look forward to seeing what Bill has in store for us!
Loc Nguyen, email@example.com
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
year ago, sitting behind a desk in a mostly empty 15 story building in
stodgy San Antonio, I made the decision
that led me to Albers. I took a hard
look at what I had accomplished so far... a paltry Psychology Degree from the
local university and an uninspiring 9 to 5 job at a local radio station. Sure, it paid the bills and I was grateful
for the opportunity to learn from one of the founders of Clear Channel
Communications, but it was merely sufficient.
I realized that I had become complacent and asked myself, where was my
ambition? Around me were too many young
and often single parent families scrambling from paycheck to paycheck and knew I
had to escape. But to do what and where?
degree just didn't provide enough practical skills that most employers were
looking for. After some research and reading
endless articles about the value of a graduate business degree, I decided to go
back to school. The next big question
has done research on b schools knows just how difficult it can be to narrow them
down so instead, I decided on a city. Seattle
had always been on my radar because of its liberal views and location in the
beautiful Pacific North West but it was just too far away so I set the idea
aside. Now Austin, 90 miles north of San
Antonio seemed perfect; most of my friends had already migrated there and McCombs was highly ranked. As I worked on my McCombs
application, the idea of moving to Seattle kept poking at me until I stopped and
decided to look up some schools there. A
simple Google search of "business schools in Seattle" quickly found Albers. As I scrutinized the Seattle University
website, I discovered the school mission: "Seattle University is dedicated
to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering
leaders for a just and humane world."
I had never seen a school preach social responsibility before and it
definitely caught my attention. I
resumed my McCombs application but I couldn't concentrate and decided to look
up The University of Texas mission statement to compare and it was something
along the lines of: "to achieve excellence in all areas...” Not nearly as inspiring. Albers offered a more intimate education
experience, far different from my undergraduate experience. But perhaps the most appealing thing of all,
Albers offered the means to better our world through more conscientious business. After combing through the MBA
program curriculum and thoroughly reading the student blogs, I applied and was
accepted a month later.
months ago, I made the biggest, scariest and riskiest decision of my life and
drove nearly 2,500 miles from San Antonio to Seattle. My ambition has led me to Albers and I can't
tell you how excited and nervous I am to be back in school and to meet new
My sister journeyed with me and here we are at Four Corners (AZ, NM, CO, & UT).
Loc Nguyen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Summer quarter is definitely a difficult one. Just eight weeks of classes and each class three and a half hours long. But all the hard work is worth it since you get almost a month long break once it is over. I missed my post last month because during the first half I was busy with my finals and during the second half I was recuperating from summer quarter. Good to be back. This post is exclusively dedicated to MBA 510 and Dr. Bill Weis.
Once you enroll in this course, you start a journey that is a sure shot promise of rich experience. From the very first class you know it is way too different from any of the courses you have taken. It is not a classroom course (I was lucky to take it in summer but I am sure it would be even more interesting in any other quarter as well), it is not a course where you learn certain principals and are tested on them, it is not a course where you are told how ideally you have to be in order to succeed. It is a course in which you discover your own unique strengths. You discover how easy it is to build relationships and how easy it is to nourish them. Here is a glimpse of what you get to do in this course:
The MBA 510 Experience
Dr.Bill Weis is not a teacher or professor, he is somebody you want to be, he is filled with so much positive energy that you start questioning all your negativity. Inspiration is not the right word, he is beyond that, he involves you in every task and just brings about that desired/required change in your attitude. I feel blessed that I had a chance to do this course with him. This is an unconventional course and it may seem fun to just play games all the time. But the depth that’s hidden underneath these activities and the learning is precious.
I was also lucky in terms of whom I did this course with. I had a great bunch of class-mates (now friends). Different personalities, different people and different cultures. It’s just amazing how you become close to a bunch of strangers in this short duration. You make some of the strongest bonds in this class, people who you would love to see in every course you take in the rest of the program (unfortunately that may not always happen). But once you start taking this course you love to go to Albers since you would have somebody smiling and waving at you from some corner of the campus every day.
The thing I loved most about this course was that it made me feel like I was part of something, not a stranger standing in the crowd. No matter how different I am or anybody else is, I love to smile back and wave back and that smile comes so naturally ( I am happy to see you my friend or rather I am happy to have you as my new friend). I also loved the retreat and the community service part. It gave me a whole new perspective.
The most important aspect of the MBA program is networking. MBA 510, along with Dr.Bill Weis, would teach you how it is more about human relationships not just robotic networks. Human interaction is more about that smile that automatically comes on your face when you see the other person, whether they are a client or boss or co-worker. The idea may sound utopian but it is not, once you take this course you will understand what I am talking about.
Friday, July 12, 2013
I recently visited Eastern Washington. So here is a picture blog of the places that took my breath away.
Have you ever been mesmerized by enormity of Niagara Falls? Here is an ice age water fall ten times the size of Niagara. The largest water fall that ever existed in the history but has dried now. “The dry falls” is part of Sun Lakes State Park.
To add to it were fascinating views along the drive.
Driving east we went to Steptoe Butte State park. This park had stark, dramatic beauty with the panoramic view of surrounding farmlands, the Blue Mountains, and other neighboring ranges and peaks. From the top of the butte, the eye can see 200 miles, 360 degree.
Next on our itinerary was Palouse Falls State Park. Palouse Falls is among the most beautiful water falls Washington State has.
Charming town of Walla Walla was our stop after this. Farmer’s market, BMX track, winery and exquisite restaurants Walla Walla has a lot to offer.
Surrounded by magnificent wheat fields and adding to the sight are giant windmills.
Time flew quickly and now that I think about it I want to spend much more time at each of these places. No camera can do justice to the grandiose of Eastern Washington.
By Vaishali Agarwal, email@example.com
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Albers is a very busy place these
days. We had a career fair, business ethics week, Morgan Stanley career day,
Marcus & Millichap career night, business
career in technology seminar, Microsoft
MBA recruiting mixer, Tableau student career night and many more. Albers
is keeping everybody busy be it day or night (career day/career night). We also
had a wine and cheese event for grad students of Seattle U and ice-cream social.
Amongst all this I was busy with my assignments, group projects and
mid-terms. An important lesson I have learned is - if you are a full time
student, taking classes in the main campus is a better option. You get to attend
more events, though east side has its own advantages such as shorter travel (if
you live on east side), classes get over a little early (generally), and
it interesting location. But still main campus is main campus.
Next couple of weeks are going to be hectic and thrilling. Final
presentations, exams and final grades. I had great teams to work with, the
outcome is absolutely astonishing. At no point it felt like work, I think
that’s most exciting aspect of MBA. Assignments and projects are based on how
you apply your knowledge. It’s fun to solve problems. In many of my classes we
had great discussions on unique cases, it always gave me a chance to appreciate
the different opinions people have.
Assignment by assignment, week by
week we are almost through our spring quarter. I am really excited and looking
forward to summer quarter for 2 reasons. Firstly, I am taking leadership class,
so I will be able to go on a weekend trip with my classmates and secondly I am
taking my very first elective. It may sound crazy but I am so looking forward
to it. This summer Albers is introducing new certificate courses and
specialization, one of them is Business Analytics and that is the one for
me. So let’s see where it’ll take me.
By Vaishali Agarwal, firstname.lastname@example.org