Albers School of Business and Economics
Bridge MBA

Bridge MBA Blog

  • Summer Classes? No Problem

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 6/26/2014 02:11:38 PM

    In my entire academic career (this includes everything prior to grad school) I have never had to take summer classes. This has changed since the start of my summer quarter in the Bridge MBA program. With this quarter being all that stands in the way of me obtaining my master of business administration degree, I can honestly say I have no problem spending my summer inside the classroom for the first time. This will be the last quarter I will spend with my classmates, which makes me a little sad as I have grown close to these people over the course of the year. This is not to say I am not also excited to complete the quarter as it is the final stretch before I cross the finish line. I am sure when August 16th comes and I will be graduating, it will be quite the bittersweet moment.

    Often summer classes have a stigma to them which can be negative. People usually take them to make up for credits, or because they have to in order to graduate on time. The last thing someone wants to be doing over summer break is to be taking more classes. For me, this is not true this time. There is no place I would rather be than on campus learning from Seattle University’s amazing staff of business professors. Though there will be days when I look outside and wish I was outside, I will be happy in knowing that what I am learning is essential in my future success and to completing my degree which is less than two months away. This quarter I will be working with a group of four other students as we partake in our Capstone which is a consulting project for a startup. The Capstone focuses on strategy and Michael Porter’s five forces. I am looking forward to taking the knowledge I gain from this course and applying it to my future career one day.

    This quarter I expect my cohort to become closer with one another than we already are. With the end in sight, we know we won’t be spending as much time with one another and we are planning on hanging out much more outside of the classroom. The nice weather will make this easier. There is no more beautiful place to spend summer than in Seattle even if it will be inside for some of the time. Who knows, maybe we can convince some of our professors to lecture outside every once in awhile.

    By: Roger Pierce, 2014 Bridge MBA candidate

    Co-Curricular Activities: Executive Speaker Series

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 6/2/2014 01:21:00 PM

    Throughout the Bridge MBA program, students are required to partake in “co-curricular activities” which are business related activities that must be completed along with our courses in order to graduate. One of these co-curricular activities was an Executive Speaker Series put on by the Albers School of Business and Economics in which prominent figures of a company (most of the time the CEO) come and give a one hour lecture to a large audience. During winter quarter I wrote a blog reflecting on my experience at Ray Conner’s Executive Speaker Series who is the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. This past Tuesday marked the last of the Executive Speaker Series.  I wanted to use this blog to reflect on my positive experiences with the event and how I believe it has been a great asset to my Masters in Business Administration.

    Throughout the year, my classmates and I have attended seven lectures from prominent business figures in the Northwest. My personal favorite was hearing from Brad Tilden who is the CEO of Alaska Airlines. Not only did I enjoy listening to him because we graduated from the same high school (shout out to Highline High), but I also enjoyed how genuine and honest of a person he was. Now, I could write a great amount about each speaker, as they were all phenomenal, but I wanted to focus more on the benefits I have gained from attending this series. The first benefit is the exposure I have received from hearing about different industries and how they function. I will be honest, there were some lectures where I decided right then and there that industry was not for me, and I would not have known that had I not attended. Also, getting to see a CEO speak in person is pretty cool exposure too.  It is not every day you get the chance to listen to the head of a company in person.

    The second benefit I have gained is more specific to each lecture. Every speaker gave a piece of valuable advice that I know I will take with me as I enter my career.  Mr. Conner’s advice that I still hold with me is to “be nice to everyone you meet.” It is such a simple gesture; yet, so hard to do sometimes. The final benefit I have gained from this series was more time to get to know my classmates. The lecture series did not start until 5:30 which gave our cohort two hours to hang out, grab a drink if people wanted to, and talk about other things besides class.  It gave us more time to bond and grow closer. At the end of the summer when I reflect on my degree, the Executive Speaker Series will definitely be an aspect I’ll look at as one of the more influential.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA candidate 2014

    The Bridge to Mastering Excel

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 5/15/2014 03:21:41 PM

    Not the most exciting blog title, but there's something you must know about Microsoft Excel and how it relates to the Bridge MBA program. You use it, you learn it, and you will love it. Spring Quarter requires the completion of a Financial Modeling course in which many of the functions you probably never heard of are put to use. I have been greatly tested in this class and could not be more thankful.

    The course has required my classmates and I to take a word problem (of all kinds, but mostly financial) and implement the answer into a flexible and easy to use workbook. By flexible I mean our workbooks are able to have inputs manipulated but still produce similar outputs (similar in that the process the workbook uses is fixed, therefore inputs can be changed to give different outputs but are obtained in the same manner). Now, before you to sleep because I know this has not been my most exciting blog; I want to speak of the benefits this class has presented and will present in the future.

    Microsoft Excel is a vital tool used all across the business world that has become a necessity for companies and many of their job functions. Having experience with Microsoft Excel has become a requirement for many jobs available these days and this class has provided me with valuable experience with this tool many companies use quite regularly. Learning Microsoft Excel has been no walk in the park, but the challenge has been quite enjoyable. There have been many times when I do not know where to start when it comes to creating a workbook, but once I begin to apply the concepts I have learned in class it makes solving the problem at hand much easier. The advanced knowledge I continue to learn about Microsoft Excel will be a great asset to me in the future and I continue to enjoy learning more and more about it.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA candidate 2014

    Business Ethics within Seattle University

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 4/24/2014 12:40:59 PM

    Spring quarter in the Bridge MBA program has challenged me in a manner I have never been academically challenged before. Part of the quarter’s curriculum is a Business Ethics course where we learn about ethical philosophies in regards to business and attempt to understand these philosophies within specific case studies. The reason I find this course difficult is by no means the structure or the workload, but because of the ethical dilemmas present in the cases we read. At times I find myself defending a corporation whose business practices are very questionable because there is no written law or code that specifies the need to act differently and philosophy defends their conduct. I am then presented with another case where philosophy may defend the business' practices; however, I disagree completely with what the company is doing.

    Ethics is an extremely difficulty endeavor to tackle in the business world and this class is opening my eyes. Though I am forced to look at a difficult case, analyze it, and make a decision on the matter where no “right” answer exists, I am very happy I am being put into this situation in a theoretical sense. Seattle University is preparing me for these ethical dilemmas, which are more than likely to arise in my business career. Once I complete this class, I am confident I will be able to understand unethical behavior, know the root cause, and present realistic solutions. I am discovering through this class that there are certain practices I will not stand for in a company and if a company engages in these practices I know I do not want to work there. The hardest part about this course is having your eyes opened to the unjust and terrible things that happen in the world. That is why I am happy Seattle University values an ethically driven business curricula. They are training future business leaders in a manner that will hopefully encourage just and ethical conduct.

    I enjoy the challenge of learning about business ethics, because though it can be hard at times, I understand its necessity. I understand that these difficult issues are not going to go away unless students like myself take our ethically driven education and put it to use. This is not to say students like myself will be the ones defining what is right and wrong; however, it is to say we will be the ones who are able to identify what is clearly wrong and what can be done to make it right.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA candidate 2014

     

    A Mid-Program Reflection

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 4/10/2014 02:21:03 PM

    Spring break has come and gone and I find myself in the midst of my third quarter of the Bridge MBA program. I am half way to my degree and I could not be any more excited about it!  These past quarters have been challenging, but very rewarding. I am more than happy with my decision of pursuing my MBA at Seattle University and I could not be more proud of my accomplishments, thus far.   

    Winter quarter ended the same way it started, busy. Many of my classmates and I have discussed how last quarter was one of the more challenging and time consuming quarters we have faced in our academic careers. In my opinion, it was challenging in a different way than one might think. In my previous blog, I spoke about the art of group projects inevitably found in all business curriculums. It is within these projects where I think most of the challenges arose. Coordinating schedules and devoting much of your outside class time to projects can be (and was) hard work. This is not to discourage you from wanting to apply to the Bridge MBA program, as I am happy that I obtained these experiences prior to entering my future career. Winter quarter was a valuable quarter as it prepared me for the workload that will, more than likely, be similar to my job one day. As thankful as I am that winter quarter is over, I am just as thankful for the hard work I had to put in. Without this hard work, I don’t believe I would have grown as much as I did. 

    This is not to knock on fall quarter at all as that quarter presented challenges and learning opportunities, as well. However, I am a little biased as I did discover through winter quarter that supply chain management is the field I want to go into one day. This has changed drastically from two years ago when I believed that I wanted to be an Audiologist. I majored in Speech and Hearing Sciences at my beloved alma mater, the University of Washington, and was challenged academically there, as well. People always ask me what the differences are between the two schools and I always find it hard to answer. For one, undergraduate studies and graduate studies are different in their own right. That fact alone skews my understanding of their differences so I really cannot give a justified answer. And two, business presents different challenges than a science degree and vice versa. There are some things I think were hard from my undergraduate studies like neuroanatomy, but there are also things that I think are hard from my graduate studies like accounting. Yes, accounting is just as difficult for me as understanding neuroanatomy. I actually got a better grade in my neuroanatomy course than I did my accounting course.  

    But I digress. The real reason I am writing this blog is because I want to let you know that it has been a long journey in higher education. I didn’t have to pursue my MBA at Seattle University. I’m sure most of you are having difficulty deciding whether or not you should even apply. I hope this blog can put to rest some of the fears and doubts you may be having. I absolutely questioned whether or not this program was worth my time and my money while I was applying. And I’ll be honest with you; I even had my doubts at the start of the program when classes had already begun. Was this worth it? Will it pay out? But doubts and questions are natural, especially early on. But with two quarters under my belt and two more left until my graduation, my doubts cease to exist. Seattle University has an amazing curriculum, amazing professors, and an astounding amount of business connections. I cannot tell you specifically where this degree will take me down the road; all I know is that I’m happy with the route it’s taking.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA candidate 2014

    Business School and the Art of Group Projects

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 3/6/2014 02:50:02 PM

    As winter quarter draws to an end, I find myself in the midst of completing four group projects for four different courses. Add this number to the three group projects from the previous quarter and my grand total is seven group projects in six months. You can pretty much call me a group project master at this point. Okay maybe not a master, but you see the trend. The Bridge MBA program provides many opportunities for group work in the form of reports, presentations, and analyses. My classmates and I have grown accustomed to this style of work, helping us to prepare for our future careers.

    Each quarter my classmates and I are divided into different study groups (4-5 members in size), giving us the opportunity to work alongside different people. These study groups are then the same groups used by our professors for group projects, which makes it easier to juggle the many different projects going on at one time during the quarter. This is nice because it gives us the ability to work on different projects at one time (in some cases) and not have to worry about meeting with different people at different times. Schedules conflict enough as it is at times, so it is nice to only have to schedule around 3 or 4 other people’s schedules for four projects, instead of many other people’s schedules for separate projects.

     As you can imagine with four projects, my group has had to meet many times during the quarter. Often times we meet before class once or twice a week and occasionally after class to touch base and possibly work on other aspects of a project. As the due dates for these projects become closer, we have scheduled a couple of weekends in advance to meet and spend a few hours dedicated to organizing, outlining, and practicing presentations. This group time is great because it gives us all a chance to bounce ideas off of one another, makes us feel productive in our completion of project milestones, and allows us to rely on one another for aspects of the course we might not grasp as well as another group member. This is not to say we meet for every aspect of each project. Both of my groups from each quarter have been good about delegating different aspects of the group work that can be completed individually. Often times it does not make sense to meet to work on something we could all be working on separately. 

    The biggest thing I have learned from this group work is selflessness. I will not lie to you, there are times where I am so exhausted from class that the last thing I want to do is meet with my group about a project. I am probably not the only person in my group who feels that way. However, in those moments I suck it up and remember that the meeting is important to more people than just me. Everyone in my group is sacrificing something in order to complete our project; time that can be spent elsewhere (with family, friends, doing homework, etc.) or energy that can also be spent doing something else. At the end of the day, each student knows we are all in these projects together and sacrificing something in order to meet. This aspect makes group work much easier and much more enjoyable.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA candidate 2014 

     

     

    What is a Cohort Anyway?

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 2/20/2014 12:19:49 PM

    I remember when I first discovered that the Bridge MBA program operated in a cohort style and thinking to myself, “I’m pretty sure I know what a cohort is, but let’s look it up just to be sure.” So I looked it up and lo and behold, I was correct in my thinking and thus a genius. Okay not actually… but my gut matched the definition of: people banded together or treated as a group. This in an academic setting implies a group of students who follow the exact same curriculum (attending the same lectures and registering for the same courses each quarter) through the entire completion of their degrees. This also implies a smaller class setting ranging anywhere from three to thirty students depending on the size of the cohort. These implications and more have come to fruition through my time in the Bridge MBA program and I am here to tell you that cohorts—specifically this cohort—is awesome. 

    The 2013-2014 Bridge MBA cohort consists of 17 students who all know each other, and know each other well. This is one of my favorite experiences thus far in the program. I have mentioned in earlier blogs about the pre-program retreat where the cohort got a chance to break the ice and get to know one another over the course of a weekend. I must say, it has been about five months since that retreat, and it is remarkable how well we know each other and get along with one another. Many of us have developed friendships which extend beyond the classroom and have even networked with each other to obtain work/internship opportunities. In my opinion, the best part about us getting along so well together is how it affects the classroom experience.

    This quarter it was fun to see our professors first react when they saw how comfortable we are with one another. We’re not afraid to speak in class, when it comes to class participation, and we are also not afraid to make the occasional joke (okay, I shouldn’t speak on behalf of everybody, but some of us do enjoy making everyone smile). It makes for a great class environment in which laughing is a consistent occurrence that inevitably enhances our enjoyment in class.

    So what is a cohort anyway? Originally I thought it was simply small class sizes where every student takes the same classes. However, a cohort is much more than that. A cohort is a family. A family with the same goal who works together to achieve these same goals, which in this case, is to graduate with a master’s degree in Business Administration from one of the most prestigious schools in Washington. Getting to know my classmates has been one of the most enriching experiences about this program. I will be forever networked with these individuals, and, much like I can rely on them now, I know I will be able to rely on them in the future. I now know truly what a cohort is in academia and, I must say, I have an amazing family.

    By: Roger Pierce, 2014 Bridge MBA candidate