Albers School of Business and Economics

Bridge MBA Blog

  • Just Be Yourself, Man

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 3/24/2015 02:59:12 PM

    I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks near the B11 gate, located all the way at the far end of the Seatac Airport. There are four television screens in view, all of them playing news or sports programs. There’s an international payphone with a pole that contains some universal sign for phone at the very top of it. There’s even a handwritten note informing me that Starbucks is, “Now Serving Coconut Milk Made From Sumatran Coconuts.” Everywhere there’s this push for product to be moved, for a potential customer’s attention. The rather interesting part is it all feels a little grosser in an airport. You’re trapped, you’ve got no choice but to engage with the ads and notices because you need to make calls, eat food, use rented movies to stave off that tipsy guy who wants to have a heart to heart on the flight. (Sorry, it’s probably me.) Essentially, we’re being bombarded by implemented market strategies, by customer engagement attempts that pull, pick, prod, and ultimately consume the wallet share of a diverse, traveling crowd.

    The problem that companies and people have is centered not in the job itself, but the authenticity of all these decisions and interactions. Yet here some of us will find ourselves, trudging through the world we hope to engage in. We know that now we may be the ones shifting supply chain over to Sumatran Coconuts, maybe we’ll move into managing news ad sales, we could be the ones hiring the designer to create the international symbol for “payphone,” we could even create a movie rental business partnered with an airport.

    A lot of us in the program are truly creative people, inspired to grow and spread their own consciousness out into the noise that you only really notice in a place like an airport. Now, halfway through graduate school with no projects to take up our own engagement, we must question the choices we’ve made to get here. These conversations are almost always relegated to bars and late night phone conversations, the tinny voice asking or answering, “What’s the point of all this?” 

    There is no doubt that we are not the only ones asking these questions or filling that blank space with answers. The program works in an interesting way here, and it’s situated in the fact that we don’t see it. It all starts when applications come before the desks of those talented, caring, and funny human beings who select the cohort. You have Susan Weihrich, David Carrithers, John Merle, and many others who work behind the scenes with a true passion for both learning and helping others. These initial decisions, on who ends up stuck together, crammed in classes day in and day out, that’s the spark to light the match. What you then find are a group of diverse people who want more than a 9 to 5, who’ve been inspired to first swim out into the world of art and creative vision, only to find that they need the business language and skills in order to flourish. In this way, we’re put together to do much more than the average group, we’re working together to heal, to learn, and to grow into the kinds of people who can be understood and are understanding.

    In those late night conversations, I see talented individuals who recognize a certain perceived sickness or wrongness within the world. They’ve always seen it, as most of us do, but they also see ways to fix it, and this program has taken on that lens for them. It’s about creating a better world, about taking a moment like high-fiving your teammates, or celebrating achievements with a significant other and using those to fuel a consciousness that engages with the other authentically and unapologetically.

    No matter the petty differences between us, at the end of the program we will walk away with knowledge accumulated over the year that has already pushed us to question our realities, futures, and ability to spread compassion inside and outside of the classroom. I can’t tell you if the program is the main factor that has built this inside of us, but I can tell you that this class will change the world.

    As always, if you have a question about the Bridge MBA program or want to chat in person, send an e-mail to any of us below.

    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA student):
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA student):


    The Real World: Internships and Business Plans

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 3/12/2015 11:55:49 AM

    The Real World: Internships and Business Plans

    We are now almost halfway through our experience with the Bridge MBA. As this milestone approaches, the cohort is in many different modes, though all of them relate back to planning.

    Our first and foremost goal comes down to answering an initial question that’s bounced around in our collective headspace for the past few months. Do we enter the Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition or should we go for an internship? It was not an easy decision, as we could choose either in order to complete the requirement for the program.

    However, for most of us, the opportunities and wide range of internships were our first priority. As always we were not on our own, as the program delivers another round of resume reviews, practice interviews, and one-on-one meetings with Justin Dolce, our new Graduate Student Career Advisor. There was a lot of work to be done, and all of us have learned that rejection is a big part of the game. Despite these struggles, the appealing nature of the internship option can be found in its broad range of promised experience (and pay). There’s an opportunity to enter into a field that has interested you. Maybe it’s a job you’ve wanted since childhood, or maybe it’s an interest that’s been triggered by one of the more recent MBA classes. Either way, the internships are akin to a test drive. Try navigating part of the real world, see if you perform well, then either find a new “car” or double down and try to find those fulltime jobs later in the year. For us, it’s just one of many real reassurances that we are developing skills that will cater to our future careers.

    For some, however, the entrepreneurship opportunities are too good to pass up. Two students in particular, Ryan Claypool and Kevin Klauer, have decided to go ahead and enter the competition. The business plan competition serves two distinct purposes. The first is to allow students who may not have a solid working background to engage in work that can help build a portfolio and show fulltime employers the skills and knowledge these students can bring to the table. The second is a chance to realize the dream of every entrepreneur, potential seed money and recognition of a personal vision. Ryan and Kevin fall into the second category, both of them excited about the chance to push forth their own ideas into a competition whose previous winners have gone on to raise 4 million in initial capital.

    Outside of these goals and future plans, many of us are making use of our free time to explore Seattle and plan trips for our upcoming break. In Seattle, roaming around with veterans and newbies alike, our cohort has been able to enjoy the broad range of eateries, bars, shopping, and more. Outside of the city, many of us are taking trips together, our newfound friendships blossoming into the kind of connections that will last many years down the line. For myself this translates into hosting two of my classmates in San Francisco, sharing a part of my life most of my undergraduate friends have been unable to experience. As always, options inside and outside of the classroom abound in the Bridge MBA and we are as grateful as ever to be a part of it.

    Check out some pictures of us exploring below:
    Blog 3: Picture 1

    Blog 3: Picture 2

    Blog 3: Picture 3

    Blog 3: Picture 4

    Blog 3: Picture 5
    Have a question about the Bridge MBA program? Want to chat in person? Feel free to send an e-mail to any of us below!
    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA student):
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA student):

    Student Interest Piece #2: Danielle (Dani) Hall

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 2/27/2015 03:40:37 PM

    Image: Dani

    From Washington to Utah and back again, Danielle’s journey has been filled with a search for meaning (and sushi). This search for meaning originally manifested itself in her undergraduate studies at Utah State, where she graduated in 2010 with a BS in Anthropology. After completing her studies, Danielle and her fiancé moved into the Central District in order to be close to Seattle University’s Law School. From here, it could be said that the Bridge MBA was a program of convenience for Danielle, but it is not the case.

    For Danielle, the program offers her a chance to take her degree in anthropology and apply it to the human condition within business practices. With her interest in Human Resources, the program has become the gateway to get a job that fulfills her interests, as is the case for all of us in the program. 

    More specifically, her favorite class (so far) has been Economics, taught by Erin Vernon. The information gleaned has helped Danielle in understanding supply and demand on both a micro and macro scale but it has also pushed her to question the relationships between the consumer and the economy. It is, ultimately, these theories that remind her that she loves both the personal and analytical, thus solidifying career interests that she has long held.

    Outside of classes, the program has also worked to bring fun and excitement into her daily life. In our interview, she noted that both the supportive students and the dedication of the faculty have been distinctively beneficial. Not only are the professors working to ensure their individual classes mesh in relevant and topical ways, but they work in tandem so critical assignments never put too much pressure on the cohort. This translates to all of us having time to engage with each other, both in relation to studying and blowing off steam.

    For Danielle, the program will bring her to the next step in her life story. With a marriage in the works and new job opportunities opening up, she’s set up for a life in which hard work is paying off.

    General Advice:
    Seattle: “Seattle is full of cool stuff, especially during summer. I love going to catch a Sounders game or exploring all of the different parks. Definitely get yourself out there and see what’s going on.”

    To Parents: “This is for the younger students’ parents. Don’t think that it will be easy just because it’s a one-year program and know that the program really does set someone up for the future.”

    To Prospective Students: “Take advantage of every opportunity even if you think it’s lame. Those opportunities give you so many chances to explore, learn, and potentially connect with someone or something that can guide your life. This program is all about growing your opportunities. Just do it!”

    Have a question about the Bridge MBA program? Want to chat in person? Feel free to send an e-mail to any of us below!
    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA Student)
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA Student)

    Showing and Telling: Balance in the Bridge MBA

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 2/19/2015 02:47:01 PM

     “Show, don’t tell.” It’s a common phrase you’ll hear in creative writing seminars. You’re supposed to immerse the reader in a world, crafting dialogue and other elements that bring them straight into the story. However, the “telling” portion of any story is still an important tool. It works to create shortcuts, to move a story along and ensure your average novel doesn’t get stuck in just one place.

    Unlike most authors, universities often employ a “tell” model. It’s a sort of necessary evil, in which educational institutions need to cover a plethora of topics and cannot place students in every environment where “showing” is an option. This is where the stress of graduation comes into play, and why internships are so heavily encouraged. You may learn about supply chain management in a classroom, but you won’t know if it’s the right job until you’ve been shown how such a topic functions in the real world.

    The Bridge MBA works to employ a hybrid of the show/tell model that emphasizes an education which helps students to find the jobs they’ll flourish in. For the cohort as a whole, this intersect can be found in Seattle University’s Executive Speaker Series and Mentor Program. The Executive Speaker Series, as the name suggests, is a string of events that bring CEO’s, CIO’s, CFO’s, and the like to Seattle University. With companies like PACCAR, Holland America Line, Blucora, and Columbia Bank, the Speaker Series engages in the best kind of telling. It gets students up close and personal with those who have gone down the path many of us are currently on.

    Enter Seattle University’s Mentor Program. Every student in the Bridge MBA is assigned a mentor based on a meet and greet event where both full-time professionals and students mingle. These mentors offer guidance in potential job fields and can even set up job shadows within their own industry. The combination of a one-on-one relationship with a mentor allows students to take the lecture-esque Speaker Series and get real advice from someone dedicated to helping them succeed.

    The professors within the Bridge MBA also realize the importance of a balanced dynamic between showing and telling. In Operations and Supply Chain Management, taught by Greg Magnan (syllabus here), we are encouraged and required to visit a company in the PNW in order to understand and grasp the reality of supply chain management. Thanks to Danielle Hall’s mentor, my group was able to set up a tour of PACCAR’s Kenworth facility in Renton. That same week the CEO of PACCAR, Ron Armstrong, spoke at an Executive Speaker Series and I found the opportunity to ask him about supply chain strategy. The combination helped our group to create deliverables and provided us with the opportunity to grow in our understanding of supply chain management.

     Image: PACCAR1

    Image: PACCAR2

    Image: PACCAR3

     Image: PACCAR 4


    Jay Lambe, who teaches Marketing Strategy, goes a step further. Not only has he set up a marketing project with a local PNW company, more on that in a post coming soon, but he regularly brings in members of the community who have been engaged in various marketing ventures. In the last month alone, we have been fortunate enough to have met and heard from Todd Olsen, Product Development Lead for Golazo and Robbie Bach, the former President of Entertainment & Devices at Microsoft. Both of these speakers spent over an hour presenting, answering questions, and giving us an inside look into how data utilization and creative thinking function in the world of marketing.

    Image: Golazo1
    Todd Olsen posing with some of the cohort.
    Photo Credit: Eric Madison.

    So, there you have it. All of these experiences bring us closer to an understanding that goes much further than skimming a textbook or taking a test and the Bridge MBA provides that solid network which keeps us on task academically while allowing us to veer off into whatever field seems to be calling our name.

    In the next post we will be discussing the internship process our cohort is going through, the Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition, and how some of our limited free time is spent in Seattle.

    Have a question about the Bridge MBA program? Want to chat in person? Feel free to send an e-mail to any of us below!
    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA student):
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA student):

    Student Interest Piece #1: Kourtnee Moore

    Posted by Liz Wick on 2/11/2015 10:35:55 AM

    Student interest pieces are designed to give you a glimpse into the wide array of people that are engaged in their yearlong journey with the Bridge MBA program. Each week I, Benjamin Porter, will interview a student and compile a profile that highlights who they are, what they’re all about, and what advice they have for parents and students alike.
    Image: Kourtnee Moore
    Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, Kourtnee Moore is our first student to be featured. She prefers dogs over cats, loves the color baby blue, and wholeheartedly misses Chicago “deep dish” pizza. In 2014, Kourtnee graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a B.A. in psychology. Kourtnee was attracted to Seattle University because of its “pacific northwest vibe” and proximity to a plethora of activities in Capitol Hill and other prominent neighborhoods. Additionally, she felt that the Bridge MBA delivered a platform for her to use her knowledge in psychology and apply it to business practices and projects.

    So far, Kourtnee’s favorite class has been Fall Quarter’s Organizational Behavior. Taught by Colette Hoption (syllabus here), the class focused on the study of the self and others in relation to team cohesion, the management of organizations, and emerging business development strategies implemented by companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. For Kourtnee, this class solidified something she had felt but not known. She found that she already held the knowledgeable capital needed in the business world, but could now apply it in quantifiable terms ready to be highlighted in a resume or explored in an interview. It is one of Kourtnee’s favorite parts of the program, that ability to unlock old information and apply it to relevant business structures.

    Within the cohort itself, Kourtnee’s emotional intelligence can be found in her quick wit and empathy towards students who are struggling with certain concepts or decisions. While her biggest hope is to find a company that invests in her as much as she invests in them, our cohort can say from experience that her attitude will lend itself quickly to those forward-thinking environments.

    General Advice:
    Seattle: “Seattle has so much going on, just get out there and explore. I love going out with people and studying or letting off steam in places like, Pike and Pine St., Café Vita, or the library on campus.”

    To Parents: “Take a load off. You wouldn’t believe how involved the Albers Placement Center is. The program also does mock interviews, resume reviews with companies like Geico, individual meetings with the program director, and more…”

    To Prospective Students: “Study hard on your own. We took classes online in order to prepare for the classes but you can really set yourself up to learn more and figure out what you love by seeing what sticks on its own. Also, learn to network!”

    Have a question about the Bridge MBA program? Want to chat in person? Feel free to send an e-mail to any of us below!

    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA student):
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA student):

    An Offer You Can't Refuse: An Overview of the Bridge MBA Benefits

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 2/9/2015 01:13:17 PM

     Welcome to “Bridging the Gap”, your number one source for everything related to Seattle University’s Bridge MBA program. Over the next few months, Eric and I will take you through the opportunities and adventures afforded to us through this program.
    Image: Ben & Eric
    In a nutshell, the Bridge MBA is a 12-month graduate program designed to give non-business majors the opportunity to explore and develop business acumen. It’s a broad program, one that will give you a breadth of knowledge to guide your future career decisions and provide an entrance into a sometimes complicated and confusing world.

    An unconventional example of that breadth of knowledge comes from the first day our cohort met each other. We were all dressed up, unsure of what to make of each other, and not at all sure what the day had in store for us. Within an hour, we were instructed to dive through hula hoops, perform trust falls, and generally goof around. These activities, while a little silly, broke down barriers between strangers and revealed the similarities and differences between us. That first day, we learned something businesses like Microsoft and Amazon pay a lot of money to learn, you have to be supported by a good team of people in order to accomplish even the simplest tasks.

    I’ll provide another example of the odd but necessary learning that has taken place for me over the last five months. When I got into this program, I couldn’t tie a tie. This is a confession that I will gladly put out onto the web because it illustrates an important point.

    The program offers almost 24/7 guidance on effective networking techniques, where to find tutors, and how to build a resume. The program does not offer a seminar on how to tie a tie. Enter Patrick Popovici, one of the many friends I’ve made in this program. He was my style savior. Having worked in a law firm for a few years before joining our cohort in the Bridge MBA, he had an extensive knowledge of corporate dress and the kindness to teach me that one minuscule but essential task of tying a tie. That’s the beautiful thing about this program. Your skills are developed and grown everywhere, whether that be in a classroom, a workshop, or in a bathroom mirror 10 minutes before an internship fair. It sets our program apart and makes the whole being a professional adult thing a lot easier.

    Image: Patrick 2
    As you’ll see in the student interest pieces we will go on to publish, the strength of this program comes from the diverse background of students all pursuing a common goal. There’s a constant convergence of knowledge, one that helps to inform students in the connection between supply chain management and informational technology, as well as the little things we often don’t think about while pursuing a degree.

    Next week we will dive into the academic benefits of the Bridge MBA program by covering Seattle University’s Mentor Program, the Executive Speaker Series, and a trip we took to PACCAR for our winter quarter class, Operations and Supply Chain Management. In the meantime, click HERE to get a bird’s-eye view of what the class of 2015 looks like.

    Have a question about the Bridge MBA program? Want to chat in person? Feel free to send an e-mail to any of us below!

    John Merle (Program Director):

    Ben Porter (Blog Coordinator, Bridge MBA Student): 
    Eric Madison (Photographer, Bridge MBA Student):

    Bridge Banter, September 30, 2014

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 10/8/2014 11:29:47 AM

    Welcome to our first issue of Bridge Banter. Rather than overwhelm you with lots of emails, I will try and keep that number down by sending you an update every two weeks with critical announcements, updates, and “gossip.” Bridge staff, faculty, and alums will also be kept updated on what is going on in the program. If you would like me to add anything to the newsletter, just email. I will also post to the Bridge Canvas page. (I just took a Canvas course, so I am eager to try all the tools!) 

    Mentor Fair

    One of the more important events this week is the Albers Mentor Fair on Friday, October 3. Please go to the Albers Placement Center webpage at There is important information about how to participate and a list of the mentors. You can filter to see which of the mentors have specifically requested Bridge MBA students. As of last week, there were 19 Bridge mentors from a diverse selection of industries and functional areas. 

    Business Communications Seminar

    Back by popular demand is Professor Bryan Ruppert. Next Tuesday and Thursday, October 7 & 9, Dr. Ruppert will be presenting the mandatory Fall quarter Business Communications Seminar. Employers tell us that communications is one of the most important skills that students should develop before they start their professional careers. The seminars are 10:30-noon. Tuesday is in CHDN 143, and Thursday is CHDN 144. Attendance is required at both sessions. We won’t be able to provide lunch, but you will have plenty of time to run over to the Student Center before your afternoon class. 

    EXCEL Certification

    Several students have asked about completing the EXCEL certification exam. It is a great resume addition. We are a certified testing center. You can find out more about the certification exam at It is on the undergraduate website because Albers requires that all Albers undergraduates be EXCEL certified before they graduate. Many graduate students also want this opportunity. 

    Meetings with Susan

    Don’t forget to email me at and set-up an appointment to discuss your experiences and any challenges you might be having in the program.

    See you Friday at the Albers Mentor Fair!


    Susan Weihrich
    Associate Dean and Bridge MBA Director