Albers School of Business and Economics

Bridge MBA Blog

  • Jose Gaona

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 5/15/2015 05:11:49 PM

    Image: Jose Gaona

    Jose, born in Hidalgo, Mexico, has been in Washington since the age of six. That is to say, he’s like many people in the program, who have deep roots both here and abroad. For him, Seattle University and the Bridge MBA program offered a chance, as a nonbusiness major, to engage in business while also being a part of the Jesuit tradition.

    For Jose, the program offers the administrative skills that are essential in any career. With these skills, and the degree to match, he plans to start a career in the business sector of healthcare where decision-making can impact entire communities. The longterm goal, within this field, is to run a chain of nonprofit health centers that provide various health services, especially in Eastern Washington, where the population mirrors the one he grew up with. It should be obvious then, that the program appeals to his passions, and comes as no surprise to us based on his own conversational contributions in our more Socratically-geared seminars. Madhu Rao’s Information Systems in Digital Technology, in which the class was forced to address large-scale decision making, has also allowed Jose to practice and define his value systems. This dynamic ties into the vitality of decision making and the overall current of our program, netting us an understanding of what we believe in and what kind of change we want to engineer.

    Jose’s favorite part of the program, however, resides in larger opportunities the program provides. The mentor program, Jose has said, “is a phenomenal tool for networking in the [Seattle] area” and he has been fortunate enough to have “a great advisor for the career [he] wants to develop.” Additionally, the cohort itself works towards Jose’s goals, introducing him to decision making tactics, concepts of thought, and the holistic system in which we are forced to confront the other, and live authentically after having done so. 

    So, when Jose isn’t relaxing, playing FIFA (a game that allows him to enjoy soccer in the off season), or out at a local bar, he’ll be brewing up new ideas to help implement change in the world. We all wish him the best of luck in his next venture, and will be sure to give him feedback in the meantime.
    General Advice:

    Seattle: “Although it’s been a rather dry winter, keep in mind that the PNW is home to some of the most beautiful mountain sceneries; so be prepared to catch a ski/snowboard session in the winter, some hiking in the spring, and some boating in the summer.”

    To Parents: “The value of Albers Business School; the fact that this program is housed in one of the PNW’s best business schools is a step in the right direction.”

    To Students: “The cohort experience is just as described. Many professors have commented that Bridge students excel in their learning because of the strong knowledge everyone brings and the interaction with one another; the cohort brings us together in times of struggle and is a key to success in this program.”

    Follow us on Instagram here:

    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)

    May Ma

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 5/11/2015 11:58:57 AM

    Image: May Ma

    For May, an international student from Hong Kong, coming to Seattle University was a decision that came with many different benefits. The first, and one that is echoed by other students I’ve talked to, is in the ability to attend a school with small class sizes. Similar to the classmates who grew up in Washington, one of May’s other reasons for picking the Bridge MBA is its proximity to her home, as she has lived in Seattle for five years.

    May’s passion, and general talent, when it comes to baking and cooking make her a favorite in the cohort. It comes as no surprise, based on her ability to problem solve tiramisu recipes, that her favorite class has been Financial Management with David Carrithers. The combination speaks to her ability to engage with precise measurements that determine both long term profitability of projects and long term deliciousness of the birthday treats she constantly brings to class.

    Based on these interests, it makes sense that she wants to own her own practice focused on child clinical psychology. After all, the Bridge MBA is a stepping stone for all of us into the larger world and, for May, this world will include the study of medicine and psychological healing. The compassion she has, mixed with her drive to always learn more, speaks to her future success in such an industry.

    Despite her unique hobbies and unparalleled empathy, she shares the same sentiment that we all seem to feel. May said, “I get a lot of support from the cohort. No matter what we need to do and how difficult it is, we give support to each other and get over the difficulties.” That, there, is true for all of us, and we are grateful to have May as an integral part of our community.

    Overall, May is someone who embodies the spirit of the Bridge MBA program. She hopes to excel in a specialized profession that heals the world, and wants to do so in a way that benefits herself as well as others. As with everyone in the program, I have no doubt that May will go on to do great things!

    General Advice:

    Seattle: “Having a strong support system is very important in my life. Find communities that help you with that. It makes my life way easier, especially when I’m busy with work and am frustrated.”

    To Parents: “This program is such a great program! I learn something new everyday. No matter what class it is and whether I learned the material before or not, I still learn something, from day-to-day skills to professional skills that will help me in my future career.”

    To Students: “Although all the course work and requirements for graduation have kept me busy for the last two and a half quarters, I still enjoy every moment of my life at the Bridge MBA program. I feel like I’m way more mature than before, while also feeling like I’m truly OLD!”

    To International Students: “A little piece of advice for international students who would like to study in the Bridge MBA program is to be aware of the internship requirement. Start the process early, meaning you should look for a job as early as possible so that you can have the international student center process your application of CPT in order to get authorization for working in the states. Lots of the time people don’t know much about the process and wait until the last minute. This will make things more difficult. Also, do your own research about how to get CPT working. It’s better to have the knowledge yourself instead of relying on someone else who might not know exactly what you need.”

    Follow us on Instagram here:

    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)

    Court, Business Plans, & Brunch

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 5/4/2015 04:11:20 PM
    The sun is out, bar patios are open, and we are all now searching for the answer to the question, “Where’s my full-time job hiding?” Not many of us know the answer to this question, the exception being those who have already landed full-time employment. (Congrats to those hard-working and talented individuals.)

    In the meantime, during another transitional phase of life, we all turn back to our communities and networks of support. After all, there are still homework assignments in need of attention, business plans to be executed, and extra credit assignments to give us a protective cushion in the face of a missed class here or there.

    Enter Professor McLean, our personal guide into the world of law for Spring’s Business Law. Recently, he assigned us the task of finding a courthouse and following two current cases, an extra credit assignment designed to push us into the real world of what we’re all learning (a common theme throughout the program). The task, and I’ll be the first to admit it, is not always the most interesting or pressing when compared to those bar patios, but with the cohort we find a way to engage wholeheartedly with these sorts of opportunities.

    So, last week, at what seemed like the crack of dawn, twelve of us headed on down to observe criminal and civil court. The results were equal parts disturbing and delightfully absurd. Summed up: There are some things you can’t learn from a textbook. I was glad to have gone, not only for the extra credit, but because, as the cohort is wont to do, we made a day out of it.

    Not only did we cover everything we learned about, comparing notes and interpretive concepts of the law system, but we ended up making a whole brunch out of it. The brunch, in all its greatness, was equal parts helping each other prepare for the future and general schmoozing. Here we have another “textbook” example of how the cohort system is meant to function. It is not solely about the convenience of knowing who has the best notes, or who might be able to help with essay structure; it is about connecting and forming bonds that inform the rest of the school year’s activities.

    Image: Brunch 1

    Image: Brunch 2
    On top of all that, we help each other with the networking and quasi-financing of our cumulative hopes and dreams. Earlier in the month, around 20 of the 24 students in the program showed their support for Kevin Klauer and Ryan Claypool by attending the Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition. Not only did we have the pleasure of learning about TenderCure, their genius business concept meant to alleviate increasing health care costs (check the website HERE), but we were able to donate fake money to bolster their idea and praise the hard work they’ve put in.
    Image: Tender Cure

    Overall, as should be obvious after seeing this theme emerge in past blog posts, the cohort creates a community that strengthens our professional and personal life.

    Follow us on Instagram here:

    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)

    ExcelTalkers: Becoming Coders in 2015

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 4/13/2015 03:31:09 PM

     Image: ExcelTalkers

     There are classes in the Bridge MBA that many of us are already quasi-masters of. For Patrick Popovici, after having worked in a law firm for a number of years, Legal Aspects of Business is a breeze. For myself, Ethics in Business is just a form of lighthearted argumentative jogging. For others, Accounting and Economics was a fun puzzle you solve over Sunday brunch.

    Enter Financial Modeling. Taught by Carlos De Mello-e-Souza, the class was so initially inaccessible to us that it’s probably akin to watching a baby try to pan sear a steak. That is to say, it doesn’t look pretty and the final product isn’t what anyone ordered. Essentially, it breaks us down to our core, to the fight or flight panic that courses through humanity’s veins. For classes like this, we can’t fall back on one or two cohort members.

    These moments bring about a sort of strength that harkens back to the way in which communities are formed. The hunter-gatherer societies would fly away from an Excel programming landscape, if only to find low hanging fruit in a different forest. Yet, just as humanity transitioned into agrarian societies, we transitioned into a cohort emblematic of building something we are unable and unwilling to run from.

    So, while we may not always know what to do when it comes down to coding for VBA, we do know that the collective is stronger than the individual. After all, “Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” If I was to try and climb up alone, devoid of the advice of those under me, well I’d be lacking the substance that this group represents. In the context of programming, I can Google an issue while someone else may parse out what exactly our goal is, and all the while a third can play with code commands. By the end of the day we have something tangible, and something we’ve all come to understand through each other. This is just another example of how the cohort builds upon its own self, as we have the connections and understanding surrounding the benefits of teamwork that become necessary when tackling what seems to be an unsolvable problem.

    On top of that, it may help that Carlos champions our learning. That element, often going unspoken, is another important part of our cohort’s success over these past six months. We have had a great set of teachers who are willing to engage with a group that, at times, has the energy to topple conversations and lesson plans. So, as we charge through the rest of the year, we send a thank you to all of our professors.

    Follow us on Instagram here:

    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 #4: Marianne Stover

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 4/9/2015 11:04:19 AM

     Image: Marianne Stover

    Marianne is a Washington lifer. After growing up in Edmonds, she spent a brief period of time attending Gonzaga University before transferring to Seattle University to finish up a BA in International and Asian Studies. The degree itself is an inspired one, the whole of it representing Marianne’s passion for expansive empathy and connection to different cultures and places. 

    You could say Marianne is an enigma. She has a stylish and unique sense of fashion, owns one of the biggest vinyl collections you’ll ever have the pleasure of seeing, and is simultaneously quick witted but slow to divulge information. She’s a kind of intelligent lock box, one that takes time to figure out, but is well worth the treasure hunt.

    Her decision to join the Bridge MBA comes from a belief that you can take the best cultural and intellectual caveats of different civilizations and disciplines and integrate them into a holistic lifestyle that works towards a better, more informed planet. Her choices are akin to the Hebrew phrase “Tikkun olam”, that shared responsibility humanity has in repairing and connecting the world. For Marianne, this translates into focusing on interpersonal relationships and the belief that, “business is as personal as you make it.”

    So far, her two favorite classes have been Accounting and the Legal Aspects of Business. These classes have had such an impact because, “they take conventions of society and question them while constantly developing better standards.” It is here that both the program and Marianne flourish together, creating a vibrant learning environment that questions the standards of business and lead us towards discussions that invigorate and spur Socratic learning.

    Marianne’s other favorite part, unsurprisingly, is having met all of us in the program. It’s a twofold benefit as the friendships bring support and provide us with the networking that creates an entirely different support system. It even goes beyond the friendships for Marianne, as she loves the fact that Susan Weihrich knows her by face and name, and for her, “it’s a wonderful thing to have!”

     Image: Marianne Stover, SF

    So, when our favorite enigma isn’t listening to classic vinyl, writing music, and watching Boy Meets World with her brother Bobby, she’s probably connecting and repairing the world. Marianne truly reminds us all to be grateful for the collective whole that we represent, and there is no doubt that she will bring that greatness into business culture.

    General Advice:
    Seattle: “Seek out diversity. It leads to invigorating conversation and excitement around learning.”

    To Parents: “Business is the broadest degree you can get. You can do anything with it. I mean, it’s an MBA in one year, c’mon!”

    To Prospective Students: “It’s an opportunity that may not be well advertised right now, but it’s something you won’t regret. When you’re in class, learn for the long term, because if you don’t… hah!”

    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 #3: Amanda Sacknitz

    Posted by Barbara Hauke on 3/30/2015 11:35:32 AM

    Image: Amanda

    Amanda Sacknitz, lovingly called Snacknitz by those who know her penchant for class snacking, has lived in Washington for her entire life. Currently, she resides in her hometown of Duvall, in which she claims to have access to the beautiful starry night skies. This is her biggest victory over the rest of us city dwellers, access to a world without the glaring light pollution that makes Seattle seem a little grayer than it should be. In fact, her access to the stars may be the mystical element that has allowed her to have more clarity than most when it comes to her life goals and future plans.

    For her, Seattle University and the Bridge MBA program provide an opportunity to stay close to home, keep graduate school cost effective, and get it done, “quick and dirty.” The one-year window has kept Amanda on track and pushed her towards her ultimate goal, to move out of low-level sales and be the decision maker. It’s a concept that was brought up, time and time again, in last quarter’s Information Systems in the Digital Enterprise (taught by Madhu Rao). It’s the idea that our breadth of knowledge in this program will allow us the opportunity to make informed decisions within the business world. The focus of this decision making process falls into the informed logic that allows us to not only grow businesses, but also provide socially just perspectives that form companies worth working for and supporting.

    For her, Rao’s IT course has been the “hands down favorite.” It was not a hard choice for her to make, as the class challenged her conceptions of technology while focusing on case studies discussed in such a format that the classroom felt more like “a boardroom than anything else.” That, combined with Rao’s ability to foster debate and play devil’s advocate, created the type of environment in which Amanda could advocate for and spread change.

    Like many of us, Amanda came in with the goal to grab the degree and grow within the professional world. However, at the halfway mark, Amanda has found that her cohort has taken on a bigger part of her MBA experience than anticipated. Most recently, she took an excursion down to San Francisco with myself and Marianne Stover. The whole trip, it should be noted, occurred for no other reason than to blow off steam and see a new city. This experience, she admits, “was not something she expected to find.” Yet there it is, and here most of us find it. It is in the close quarters of growth that it is more challenging not to become close with one another, not to see each other as an integral part of this experience.

    Image: Amanda, SF

    Amanda’s greatest strength is in her openness to the Bridge MBA journey and all of the great opportunities that will surely come her way. She hopes her decision making skills, combined with her master’s degree, will allow her to facilitate growth and change in the woefully underfunded subject of women’s health. All in all, don’t be surprised if you see Amanda Sacknitz on a non-profit board, we certainly won’t.

    General Advice:
    Seattle: “Don’t exfoliate too much in the winter time. Seattle’s a little finicky with the weather … also, the Internet is a capable tool for a lot of research!”

    To Parents: “Let your kids flourish in the program. Grad school is a time to let go and a time for us to come together and become smart and gifted adults.”

    To Prospective Students: “Don’t expect to find an internship without putting in work. Life is all about connections and being in a new program is very exciting but sometimes challenging to navigate. Always speak your mind and see if you can help build something better. This program is all about decision-making and being an informed and beneficial part of a community.”

    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):

    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


    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

    The Super Bowl, Marketing Strategies, and Why Seattle is for You

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 2/6/2014 02:40:33 PM

    February 2nd 2014, was one of the happiest days of my life. My beloved Seahawks, the professional football team for the city of Seattle, won the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. The game was heavily one-sided. This made the game quite entertaining for a huge fan like myself, but not so much for the casual football fan (or a football fan whose allegiance so happened to not fall with the Seattle Seahawks or Denver Broncos). However, the Super Bowl is a time when many companies invest millions of dollars for commercial advertisements to be aired during the Super Bowl. These commercials tend to be creative, funny, heart-warming, and just down right entertaining. With this in mind, at least the casual viewer would have something to enjoy during the Super Bowl blowout right? The answer is unfortunately no. No they didn’t.

    Since starting my marketing course in the Bridge Program at Seattle University, I have found myself analyzing T.V. commercials more than I ever thought I would. The Super Bowl was no different. In between my excessively joyous screams and running around in excitement when the Super Bowl was airing (the Seahawks could not be stopped, it was great), I encouraged the twenty other people I viewed the game with to quiet down during the commercials. Though rowdy and excited, it was easy to quiet everyone down as everyone knew these commercials are (usually) quite special. They were disappointing to say the least. While analyzing the commercials, I had a hard time identifying many of their target markets and, for the most part, came to the conclusion that the majority of the companies only created a commercial to get brand recognition (or so it seemed). This, however, proved to be a strategic and very smart decision.

    The Seattle Seahawks versus the Denver Broncos ended up being the most watched television program in the history of television programming. The single fact that millions upon millions of people were exposed to your brand and/or product in a commercial that will get criticized by a small percentage of people who hold high expectations for Super Bowl commercials (i.e. myself), while others will simply not care and buy the product anyway because of the commercial alone is genius. So while I found myself criticizing a large handful of the commercials while they occurred, I found myself giving a tip-of-the-cap to the marketing teams the very next day. Something I would not have thought about had I not been pursuing my MBA.

    With that said, my studies thus far in the program have been remarkable. I cannot attest enough to the fabulous professors in the Albers School of Business and Economics and how well they teach my classmates and me.  I feel my curriculum is as applicable as it’s ever been and I love finding new ways of applying what I have learned.

    I would also like to end on this note; if you are interested in applying to the Bridge Program at Seattle University and are not from the Seattle area, please know that Seattle is an amazing city. It’s not very often that a city rallies around one team as much as Seattle has with the Seahawks. Everywhere you looked there seemed to be Seahawks’ colors and “Twelfth Man” flags waving. It was quite the spectacle. And if you’re not a sports fan at all, that is okay; Seattle is still a place for you. The people are friendly; the weather is beautiful on days when it doesn’t rain (and just to note, it doesn’t rain as much as people say it does); there are thousands of companies located in the area; and, lastly, it is one of the leading cities in knowledge and innovation. These reasons and many others amplify the richness that comes from a degree program such as the Bridge MBA. I couldn’t ask for a better city to call home.

    By: Roger Pierce, 2014 Bridge MBA candidate

    A Washington Company and a Washington Man

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 1/27/2014 05:08:29 PM

    Seattle University's Executive  Speaker Series this past week provided me with an experience I will never forget. Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, spoke to a packed audience about the successes and the shortcomings the company experienced in 2013. For me specifically, seeing him speak was an awesome experience because I feel like I can relate to him in a few ways. Mr. Conner was a genuine individual who was animate about the fact that a person will go as far as they want, as long as they are nice to everyone they meet along the way. This is something I believe whole-heartedly, as well, and it was nice to see someone as successful as Mr. Conner believe in the same thing.

    It was also exciting to see Mr. Conner speak given the attention The Boeing Company has received over the past few months. It was unknown until a few weeks ago where the 777x was going to be manufactured as machinists and The Boeing Company were in disagreement over the project's contract. An agreement was eventually made and Mr. Conner touched on the topic briefly, but emphatically. Mr. Conner explained that he has grown up in this state his whole life and that he couldn't be happier that the 777x is going to be built in the greater Seattle area. That comment was followed by a round of applause from the crowd that shared the same pride he felt. 

    By: Roger Pierce, 2014 Bridge MBA candidate


    A Challenging Quarter Boasts Great Opportunities

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 1/8/2014 05:05:58 PM

    The winter quarter courses of the Bridge MBA program, themed “Analytical Process,” offer a great challenge to me and my fellow Bridge Masters (a term we coined for ourselves at our retreat last September). The courses focus on processes that are vital to a company’s success and how all these processes intertwine. My professors have done an excellent job of communicating with one another so that they know the curriculum being taught in the other classes. This is great because it will help my classmates and I learn how these aspects intersect as our professors will integrate material from our other courses. This being said, I understand this will be a rigorous and challenging quarter as analytical processing is no walk in the park.  Personally, this challenge excites me as I enjoy learning new things and, as someone who is undecided about my career, the courses this quarter are extremely intriguing as they pose potential fields I might want to go into.  

    Information Systems, Finance, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management are all areas of business I am excited to learn about. I am also excited about the great opportunities our professors have in store for us. In Marketing, we will be presenting a consulting project with a company and its executive board. In Information Systems, we will get the opportunity to work in teams and share with the rest of the class a training module we create ourselves that teaches the class how to use an area of information systems technology. In Supply Chain Management, we will have the opportunity to go to a company and learn all about their operations. In Finance, not only will we be taught by our beloved director, David Carrithers, but we will also get the opportunity to study a finance case and apply our knowledge from the class and share these findings in a presentation.

    All in all, I am extremely excited for all of the great opportunities and the challenges that await us. What I am most excited for though is the opportunity to learn new material in courses that potentially will have a direct influence on my future career. It’s going to be a fun quarter.

    By: Roger Pierce, Bridge MBA Candidate 2014


    Cohorts Add Fun to Graduate School

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 12/4/2013 02:22:56 PM

    Finals week is just around the corner and I am currently in the midst of finishing what has been an awesome quarter in the Bridge MBA program. From analyzing international economies, to learning the differences between financial and managerial accounting, I have developed a great amount of knowledge in a ten week span. Let’s just say, graduate school has proven to be everything it is cracked up to be.

    Fun, challenging, engaging, and collaborative; these are only a few of the words that come to mind when defining the first quarter of graduate school. Fun may come off as a cliché word to describe the first quarter of an inaugural graduate school program, but I am being honest when I say this quarter has been fun and enjoyable. Following the retreat in mid-September, where my classmates and I got a head start on getting to know one another, class has been a comfortable environment where learning is enhanced by everyone’s willingness to contribute.

    Also, coming to class early has been fun. Yes that is not a typo—coming to class early has in fact been fun. Gone are the days where I found myself five minutes early to class waiting in silence while fellow classmates filled the seats only to not talk to one another. These days, my classmates and I show up thirty minutes early, engage in conversations, eat lunch together, and continue our conversations after class by grabbing a drink somewhere. The relationships I have developed with my classmates have been an unexpected part of the Bridge MBA program, but something I am very thankful for. In addition to being fun, the quarter has also been challenging as learning business principles is no easy task.  Having an entire class there to support one another is unbeatable. We help each other when help is needed and we remind each other of due dates when they approach.

    There are many concepts I have learned this quarter in regards to business. One of these concepts is that cohesive teams are the most productive teams. With this concept in mind and finals week fast approaching, one can expect a lot of productivity from the Bridge MBA cohort.

    Happy Holidays!

    By: Roger Pierce


    Opportunities to Establish Business Connections in the Bridge

    Posted by Liz Wick on 11/21/2013 12:59:08 PM

    As the inaugural Bridge MBA cohort reaches the end of our first quarter together, we cannot help but feel excited for the future ahead and to develop the friendships we have created. The quarter has been fast paced with the acquisition of fundamental knowledge in Business Economics, Accounting, Project Management, and Organizational Behavior. The quarter has also been filled with excellent opportunities which have further enhanced our knowledge of business and provided us with moments to network with members of the business community. In late October, the Albers School of Business and Economics hosted a career fair where many of us met with employers from the Seattle area. Many of the employers we spoke to were impressed with our participation in a full-time MBA program. Those of us who submitted resumes to interested employers are looking forward to the opportunity of reconnecting with them in the future

    Recently our cohort was given the great privilege of having guest speakers in both our Business Accounting and Observational Behavior courses. In Business Accounting we had a guest lecture from Lisa Janicki, CFO of Janicki Industries. Ms. Janicki gave a phenomenal presentation that outlined a brief history of the company and described its growth and current product development, while also incorporating accounting concepts. The presentation was followed by a Q&A session where students were given the opportunity to ask Ms. Janicki any questions that they had.

    In our Observational Behavior course a guest panel spoke about the benefits of networking. Our panel consisted of Marlis Korber: President of SBI Management Services, Nadine Rosendin: Manager in the Workforce Development Organization at The Boing Company, and Greg Scully: Corporate Relations Manager in the Albers School of Business. Panelists spoke about the importance of networking within the business community and also gave us helpful tips on how to go about networking. A main point all of the panelists touched on was the idea that networking is not all about ourselves, but instead, it is about the people we are networking with. When networking, many people focus on what that person can do for them, as opposed to focusing on what they can do for that person. The panelists emphasized this point greatly, which is valuable advice as we begin our careers.

    Thus far, the Bridge MBA program has been fun, challenging, and filled with great opportunities. As finals week approaches we look forward to finishing the quarter strong and continuing to expand our business knowledge.

    By Roger Pierce

    Welcome to the Bridge MBA Blog!

    Posted by Autumn Johnson on 11/6/2013 01:56:55 PM

    A new blog for a new MBA program!

    Seattle University's Bridge MBA is a one year, intensive, cohort program for students with less than 2 years of professional business experience and an undergraduate degree in something other than business.  The Bridge's inaugural cohort started in fall of 2013.  This blog is a place for current Bridge MBA students to write about their experiences in the program, for the benefit of other current or prospective students.  You can expect posts at least every other week by our Bridge Graduate Student Ambassador, as well as other Bridge students.  You can also view the Bridge MBA program's website for more information about the program: