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Albers School of Business and Economics

Bridge MBA Blog

Meet Mint: An International Perspective

Posted by Samantha Garrard on January 6, 2017 at 12:01 PM PST

When asked to be the first Bridge Blog student interview of the year, Mint was taken aback. Her first question was, why me?! But in reality, Mint is the perfect student to kick off our student interview series. Mint is incredibly humble, yet fearless. Her journey to the Bridge program reveals the courage it takes to accomplish big goals!

I had the privilege to interview Mint on an unusually snowy afternoon at a local Capitol Hill coffee shop. After ordering a hot chocolate, Mint explained to me how a girl working within Thailand’s fashion industry ended up at business school in Seattle.

Why “Mint”?

Now was my chance, I had to ask how one goes from the name Patamon to Mint. Mint explained, “Everyone in Thailand has a nickname” and “Mint” is actually quite common.

Why the Bridge Program?

After graduating from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University with a Communications degree, Mint began her early career in marketing in Thailand’s high-end fashion industry.  

Although she enjoys fashion and appreciates the industry, Mint’s ultimate goal is to run her family’s medical business in Thailand. Aspirations are one thing, actions are another. Mint believes to effectively run her family’s business she must be able to speak meaningfully about any facet of the business.

Thus Mint’s hunt for the perfect business program began. After searching business programs in the U.S., Mint came across the Bridge program and thought it was a perfect fit! She loved the small class sizes, fun Capitol Hill neighborhood, and the ample resources available to her. 

Transitioning from Thailand to Seattle

Since we happened to be conducting the interview on a snowy Seattle day, I wondered how difficult it had been transitioning from Thailand to the U.S.  Mint said, “It was a bit difficult to adjust as I came from a country that is very hot all year round, but I do enjoy the cold.  I don't enjoy so much of the rain.” 

Another adjustment for Mint so far has been transitioning into the American classroom environment. Mint explained, “Thailand has a traditional style of education. Students are often encouraged to think within the boundary of classrooms and textbooks.” Whereas, Mint believes the U.S. provides more “hands on” opportunities to learn the subjects being taught.  Now that Mint has adjusted to the different learning styles, she hopes to speak up more in class (we all look forward to this)! 

So it should be no surprise why Mint is our first student interview. She has taught us that to achieve big goals sometimes we need to adapt to new challenges. Mint seems to be the master of this!


First Quarter Reflections and Future Projections

Posted by Ian Bedell and Samantha Garrard on December 16, 2016 at 10:12 PM PST

Our first quarter as Bridge MBA students has gone by faster than we could have ever expected. The moment we started this program back in September we hit the ground running and we have not stopped! It has been amazing watching our cohort grow into the group it is now. We started out as complete and utter strangers with a common desire to get an MBA. That all changed in the first three days. The weekend retreat at Bastyr University brought twenty-seven strangers together at lightning speed.

We had met each other probably no more than five times before we were told we were spending a weekend on a ropes course, (several of us are terrified of heights…). The goal of the retreat was to bring us all together to work as a team. We got to know each other pretty well just on the bus ride to the university, but bonding really began when we played the so called “silly games”. These games taught us that we have a Tae Kwon Do master, and a student that had been in the US for only two weeks before the program began! The silly games were the easy part. The ropes courses were where our group really started to solidify.

Although there was relatively little danger associated with the ropes course, the thought of moving from obstacle to obstacle forty feet in the air while hanging from a string can be scary for some. To our credit, we learned a lot. Nearly every one of us pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zone. The Tyrolean traverse helped several push through their fear of heights. Some only climbed the rope ladder, then glued themselves to the tree… Still though, they did more than they expected. The rope course got everyone excited and really opened everyone up, so when it came time for the “deep chill” at the end of the evening we were quite familiar with each other. The “deep chill” consisted of drinks, card games and lots of laughs. We had a blast.  By the end of the retreat, we were all exhausted. Little did we know that the ropes course was only the beginning.

Class started a few days after our return from Bastyr, and we literally threw ourselves into it. As an introduction to the language of business, our first-quarter courses consisted of Business Economics, Accounting, Project Management and Organizational Behavior. Throughout the quarter we learned to manage multiple group projects, study for weekly quizzes, and what probably amounted to reading thousands of pages.  Scheduling two to three different team meetings a week, setting up and executing our deliverables for the different projects forced us to develop time management skills in a hurry. To which, we did pretty well! The benefit of a cohort model is we are in constant communication with one another.  We could easily ask, “Hey did we have anything due in this class? Is there anything we’re missing? Why do I still feel like I am on top of my work load?!” The short answer is, we didn’t realize it at the time, but all twenty-seven of us became a team that was more than just the sum of its parts.

In ten weeks, we’ve gotten to know a group of individuals that come from incredibly different places, that we otherwise would have never known. We have built friendships (and a ridiculous amount of inside jokes) and working relationships faster than any of could have expected. We have worked as a team to balance tough exams, multiple group projects, and the transition from an undergraduate to a graduate education.  In short, in ten weeks, you as a BMBA student will learn that as long as you put in effort, your team is going to be there to support you whether you are forty feet in the air or buried in homework. The is going to be a great year!


Class of 2016 Profiles: Amanda Preston

Posted by David Chavey-Reynaud on April 13, 2016 at 2:04 PM PDT

Amanda has always been one to set high standards for herself. Before hitting her teenage-years she wanted to be a doctor. But as she grew and realized her talent with numbers (and that blood made her squirm), her target career shifted. After completing her undergraduate in Mathematics at Walla Walla University Amanda set her sights on the Bridge MBA program at Seattle University. For Amanda the Bridge degree offers a broad knowledge and understanding of business as well as much more focused skills attributed to various departments, including finance, accounting, and analytics. "I have a strong background in data and I like the combination of business and math” she describes. “I didn’t want to do something purely theoretical, I wanted it to be applicable." 

Raised in Palm Springs, California, Amanda developed very strong family bonds with her parents, siblings, and extended family. These bonds developed values that played a role in her decision to attend Alber’s, as she looked for smaller class sizes and community values as she picked a school. Her favorite aspect of the program is the cohort experience, in which she and 23 other students learn and grow as they take classes and complete their degree together. “For me I really like it. It helps you learn to work with other people more effectively, because you get to learn who they are over a longer period of time rather than just a quarter.” Amanda looks forward to carrying the connections and friendships she’s developed with her peers into her professional career.

When she isn’t studying for class, attending MBA socials, or giving award-winning marketing presentations to Microsoft, Amanda is often working out or playing sports. While volleyball is her favorite, she also enjoys basketball, soccer, and many other athletic activities. Blending her education with her hobbies, Amanda keeps busy as a Business Operations Intern with Seattle Storm, Seattle’s local WNBA team. She is also very excited for September, when on top of having graduated with an MBA from Seattle U, she’ll be marrying her fiancé, Mitchell.

Amanda plans to use her to degree to find a career as a financial analyst, while also hinting that she may be interested in a position as a CFO in the future.  


  • About Seattle: Get out and explore the city! Seattle has a ton of great food and events. Try to meet new people.
  • For Parents: One of the reasons I like Seattle University is that is focuses on the individual. The school expects high moral standards from its students and educates attendees not only academically but to be whole people.
  • For Students: Prepare to be put in several different groups tasked to complete a variety of projects. Expect to be exposed to new environments and unexpected situations.

Class of 2016 Profiles: Siddharth KP

Posted by Erick Borst on April 7, 2016 at 2:04 PM PDT

Keeping the Seattle University Bridge MBA program tradition going strong, this year’s Bridge MBA cohort is full of diversity, encompassing students from all around the world. We interviewed two of our follow classmates and learned what about the Bridge MBA interested them and what they have enjoyed the most so far.

Siddharth (who goes by Sid) was born in Kerala, India and lived in Chennai for most of his life. Sid graduated from BS Abdur Rahman University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and planned to earn a graduate management degree as a next step in his career. While conducting research on school options, Sid discovered Seattle University’s Alber’s School of Business Bridge MBA and liked that the program was tailored towards non-business college students with less than two years work experience. Sid had also wanted to move to the US and Seattle was an ideal location for him with the various large employers in the area. Once in the program, he found our Business Economics class in the fall quarter very enjoyable, stating that the class gave him "a broad outlook on fundamental economic principles which pretty much run the world".

When not studying, Sid has enjoyed playing intra-mural soccer with his fellow Bridge MBA classmates and exploring the Pacific Northwest region. After Sid graduates, he hopes to use the program knowledge to leverage himself for roles where he can contribute effectively as well as advance his career. Having Sid, and many other international students, in our classes this year has given the cohort an ever more important global perspective, adding much value to the class discussions and learning.

Jose Gaona

Posted by Barbara Hauke on May 15, 2015 at 5:05 PM PDT

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 May 11, 2015 at 11:05 AM PDT

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 Ben Porter, Eric Madison on May 4, 2015 at 4:05 PM PDT

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.

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.

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 April 13, 2015 at 3:04 PM PDT


 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 April 9, 2015 at 11:04 AM PDT


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!”


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 March 30, 2015 at 11:03 AM PDT

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.

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):