Dean’s Blog

John McAdam

Posted by Liz Wick on February 8, 2013 at 5:02 PM PST

John McAdam, President and CEO of F5 Networks, was featured in the Albers Executive Speaker Series on February 7th. F5 is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world, an application delivery provider whose products most of us use but don't realize!

 

McAdam has served as President and CEO of F5 Networks since 2000. He took the company through the turbulent post-dot-com era, positioning it to grow from annual revenue of $108 million to more than $1.3 billion today. He has overseen numerous successful acquisitions, guiding F5 into new markets that enhance the company's Application Delivery Networking solution offerings. Under his leadership, F5 was added to the S&P 500, and Fortune Magazine named F5 to its 2011 and 2012 lists of 100 Fastest Growing Companies worldwide.

 

When McAdam took over F5, their main offering was around load balancing and most of their customers were dot-com companies. Starting in 2004, they were able to offer traffic management systems and successfully target Fortune 500 firms. Making that bet was one that worked for F5! Through the years they have been able to expand their services to other areas such as data security. The rise of mobile data and the movement to the cloud have expanded their market considerably.

 

In discussing the success of F5, McAdam emphasized the importance of culture, noting that employees need to be respected and respectful of one another. Other aspects of the F5 culture include innovation, integrity, metric-driven, and global mindset.

 

Regarding the latter, most of F5's business is outside the US, and customers are requiring the same product. There is little difference in what they sell across markets, but the size of transactions is much bigger in North America.

 

When it comes to his leadership style, McAdam said the most important thing is that people trust you. People at F5 clearly trust McAdam, and his humble persona definitely helps with that. Also critical, he said, is to surround yourself with good people - exactly what you would expect a leader with humility to say!

 

McAdam had other important insights to share with the audience. One was that he is a great believer in paranoia when it comes to business - "only the paranoid survive," he said! It's clear that he will never let F5 get complacent.

 

He also noted that a successful CEO must have a supportive board of directors. If he had not had that at F5, particularly when he first arrived, he would no doubt have left long ago.

 

Technology is changing our lives and our society in ways we don't yet fully understand. With the rise of mobile devices and the cloud, F5 is right in the middle of many of these changes. McAdam noted there are significant growth opportunities for F5, and growth is necessary for F5 to remain an independent company. His visit to campus was an excellent opportunity to hear about some of the key trends in the tech industry, but also about successful leadership in a rapidly changing environment.

The Cost of Higher Education

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on February 7, 2013 at 8:02 AM PST

Seattle University Magazine asked me to write an article on changes taking place in higher education.  It was published in the Winter, 2013 edition under the title, "The Cost of Higher Education."  If you have not read the magazine, the article is printed below.  I even received some nice emails from alumni on the article!

 

Compared to other sectors of our economy, higher education has not changed that much.  How we do things is not all that different now than it was thirty years ago when I started my career in higher education.  We have continuously refined and improved upon what we do, but the basic framework has persisted.  That seems like it is about to change. 

 

Two forces are coming together to force our hand.  One is the continuing improvement in technology that facilitates on-line instruction.  On-line instruction is not new.  It has been around for several decades, but what is different is that it is getting better.

 

The second force is the high cost of higher education, whether it is private or public.  Private universities have been consistently raising tuition faster than the rate of inflation.  That is not sustainable.  Public higher education, perhaps underpriced at one time, has increased sharply in cost due to financial pressures experienced by state governments.  This story is familiar to every family trying to send their children off to college.

 

Clayton Christensen, a management professor at Harvard, has made a name for himself with his research on "Disruptive Innovation," a model he uses to explain why companies at the top of many sectors have found themselves all the sudden struggling to survive.   Whether it is explaining the demise of Blockbuster, Kodak, Digital, or Borders, each was the victim of a disruptive innovation.  Sometimes it is the development of a new technology or process.  Sometimes it is the development of a new product that overtakes an existing product. 

 

Christensen has finally applied his insights to his own industry, higher education, which is presented in his co-authored book, The Innovative University.  Christensen argues that universities will need to re-engineer themselves to assure on-going relevance.

 

Across our programs in the Albers School, we expect these trends to appear in different ways.  Perhaps the slowest to be impacted is our undergraduate business degree, which by its nature has a strong formative character to it.  Where we think it is showing up first is in our MBA program.  Our program is strong and highly rated, but tuition and fees are high for the average student.  And while we have always prided ourselves on the flexibility of our program and the ability to accommodate working professionals, it still takes a lot of time and requires many visits to campus.  Overlaying all of that is a steady drumbeat of commentaries critical of the value of the MBA.  Of course, we don't agree with that, but that talk is on the street.

 

To keep our program relevant, we need to reign in the financial cost and increase accessibility.  That means identifying what is really needed in an MBA and delivering that in an even more convenient format.  We need to design different ways for students to complete prerequisites, cut some of the coursework, and move to "hybrid" models of teaching, where lectures seldom take place when classes meet.  Instead, lectures are reviewed by students outside of class and class time is used for higher order activities.  To the extent that students (and employers, perhaps) question the value of the MBA, they may have more interest in certificate programs.

 

There is no way to know for certain how "Disruptive Innovation" will impact higher education, but it would be foolish to assume it will not.  New developments are taking place very quickly and we must stay alert and ready to respond.

Steve Davis

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on January 30, 2013 at 12:01 PM PST

Steve Davis, CEO of PATH, was the latest speaker in the Albers Executive Speaker Series on January 15th.  The theme of his presentation was, "Innovation for Social Good," a topic he is well positioned to address.  His address explored the importance of cross-sector partnerships (business, non-profit, and government) in fostering innovation to solve societal problems.

 

Davis has taken an interesting path to get to PATH.  Most recently he was at McKinsey as global director of social innovation, focusing on cross-sector work in global health and development.  Prior to that he was CEO of Corbis, the digital media firm, and also served as interim CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute.  He has also served on the boards of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Global Partnerships, and the Council of Foreign Relations.

 

To illustrate his point about innovation and the importance of cross-sector partnerships, Davis gave the example of the Meningitis Vaccine Project, which PATH has been working on with the Gates Foundation, WHO, and others.  It began in 2001 and eventually achieved the breakthroughs needed to be at the point today where over 112 million people have been vaccinated.  One of the guiding principles of the project was that the price of a dose needed to be kept under 50 cents.

 

To achieve that price point required significant innovation.  Ultimately, it meant PATH was working with a Dutch technology firm, an Indian manufacturer, African political leaders, and many others.  Key lessons learned from this and other innovative ventures include:

 

1. You need to be clear about what you want to do.

2. Partnerships are critical to success.

3. You need to think of innovation globally.  It does not just happen in the US.

4. It takes leadership to make it happen and it is hard work.

 

Davis said there has been a notable shift in where innovation happens and where power sits in global health and development.  In-country capabilities have improved and countries are taking more ownership of the process.  In particular, the process has become much less patriarchal and much less dominated by global powers such as the US.

 

When asked what advice he would give to students wanting to work in the global development field, he said:

 

1. Trust your instincts.

2. Be comfortable taking risks.

3. Develop a specific skill.  Organizations do not hire many generalists.

 

As someone who has gone back and forth between the for-profit and non-profit organizations, Davis was asked to reflect on differences between the two sectors.  He noted they had more similarities than differences and we need to "bust some myths" that non-profits are inefficient and business is greedy.  Business can be inefficient and on-profits can be greedy.  He also thought that non-profits are harder to manage since there are fewer financial tools and metrics are harder to come by.

 

There was a large turnout for the event, with over 250 in attendance.  It was clear that students from across campus were present, not just business students.  It's an indication that Davis' message was well received and many are eager to learn more about the power of cross-sector collaboration.

 

 

 

Bridge MBA

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on December 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM PST

The Bridge MBA is the newest program in the Albers School and will welcome its first class in September, 2013.  The program is targeted at recent college graduates who lack significant work experience and who do not have an undergraduate degree in business.  It is designed to prepare these students for a solid entry into the job market and, ultimately, a leadership role in their industry.

 

The Bridge MBA is a full-time, one year program.  Students will take 12 credits a quarter for four quarters over a 12 month period.  There are many curricular and co-curricular activities designed to make up for the lack of work experience.  For example, students are required to do a consulting project, take on an internship, participate in the Albers Mentor Program, and attend Albers Speaker Series events.  These are "nice to have" activities in our other graduate programs, but they are not required in those programs.  Similarly, this is a full-time cohort program, whereas most of our other graduate programs are flexible part-time programs giving students many options in terms of when to begin and how fast to proceed.

 

 

We are very excited about the Bridge MBA.  It will address a real need in the current marketplace as many recent college graduates struggle to enter the labor market and begin their professional career.  We get to design an integrated curriculum from scratch.  Courses will fit together and reinforce each other much better than happens in traditional programs.  Finally, it is a graduate program with many co-curricular requirements integrated into the student experience.  This is something new for us, because historically we have focused on courses to meet program learning goals.

 

If anyone can deliver a quality fast-track and intense program like this, it is Seattle University.  We are very student focused, and the Bridge MBA will require a lot of support for the students in the program.  The Albers Placement Center is highly regarded by employers and will be able to identify internships for the students, and jobs upon graduation.  The Albers Mentor Program has been up and running for over two decades, so we know this is a fantastic opportunity for the students in the program.  Through the Projects Center, we have a strong track record of successful work with businesses on student consulting projects.  The Albers Executive Speaker Series has a ten year record of bringing top business leaders to campus.  In other words, we are well positioned to deliver on the distinguishing features of the program.

 

I am very proud of how our faculty and staff were able to move the program from concept to reality.  A group of faculty and staff began work on this project in July.  Working over the summer (when faculty do not normally work on committees!), they were able to design a program proposal for the full Albers faculty to consider at the beginning of the fall quarter.  Responding to feedback, the task force fine tuned the program design, which was formally approved by the faculty in mid-October.  We then took it to Seattle University's Academic Assembly for its approval in early November.  Finally, the Seattle University Board of Trustees gave formal approval to the new degree program at its meeting on November 29th.

 

To design and gain approval for a new degree program in less than five months is moving really, really fast!  Only at Seattle University can something like this happen!  It takes a lot of collegiality and campus wide support to do something like this! :}

 

We will start marketing the Bridge MBA in January, but already we are receiving a number of inquiries as word spreads about the new program.  That is very exciting.

 

When we first announced the program, students in our existing MBA program, which we are now branding as the Professional MBA program, wondered what this meant for their program.  For example, some were concerned that it somehow undercut the value of their degree.

 

First of all, it is important to understand there are many versions of an MBA degree and a number of schools have as many as six or seven different MBA degrees.  Even locally, schools have a variety of MBA degrees.  For example, the main campus at the University of Washington has a Full-time MBA, a Part-time MBA, and a Technology MBA.  They are all legitimate MBA degrees and one does not detract from the other.  Like us, they also offer an Executive MBA degree, which is yet another version of an MBA. 

 

What most distinguishes them is the audience they are designed for, and this is definitely true for our Bridge MBA and Professional MBA.  The Bridge MBA is designed for students lacking work experience.  The Professional MBA is designed for students who have significant work experience.  We know from past experience that those two groups should not be mixed, because students with work experience have a strong desire to learn from other students with professional experience.  They do not like students in the classroom who do not "bring something to the table" for class discussions.

 

Over the years, we have always been clear about the need for students to have work experience in order to enter our Professional MBA program.  Still, we would always have a number of students applying to the program who lacked that experience, and we, of course, would deny them admission to the program.  Now, we have a program for those students, and seeing all those applications over the years is one reason we are optimistic about the prospects for this program.

 

The required co-curricular activities for the Bridge MBA are an important distinguishing feature when comparing the program to the Professional MBA.  The Professional MBA relies much more on classes (and credit hours) to achieve outcomes.  The Bridge MBA relies much less on credit hours, instead supplementing classroom activity with co-curricular requirements.  In fact, we are now reviewing the Professional MBA to determine how it needs to be restructured to remain up-to-date and relevant in the market.  For example, it could come back with fewer required credit hours and new co-curricular requirements, borrowing to some extent from the Bridge MBA.

 

We are excited about the opportunity to offer the Bridge MBA.  We think it will prove to be a very good program for a number of students.  We look forward to welcoming a strong cohort in Fall, 2013.  In the meantime, if you know of anyone who is interested in learning more about the program, have them contact Jeff Millard at millardj@seattleu.edu.

 

 

 

Mary Carpenter

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on November 29, 2012 at 9:11 AM PST

Mary Carpenter, who had been serving as Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs, retired from Seattle University on October 31st.  Mary first joined Seattle University in 1988, first working in the Dean's Office and then transitioning to graduate programs.  To recognize nearly 25 years of outstanding service to the university and Albers, we hosted a dinner in Mary's honor on November 26th.

 

Fr. Steve Sundborg was able to attend and presented Mary with the "Honored Retiree" Award from the university.  The award is presented to exceptional staff upon their retirement from the university, and Mary is certainly deserving of the award (which includes privileges such as SU email, library access, and Connolly Center access).  Fr. Steve recalled that when he first started as President, they wanted to have a staff representative on the SU Executive Committee.  Mary filled that roll for two terms, which says something about the respect people have for Mary.  There was never any doubt that she would ably represent staff and not be afraid to speak up!

 

I first met Mary before I arrived at SU in 2001.  Jebnet is a group of Jesuit business graduate program directors that meets twice each year, and Mary was representing SU while I was representing Creighton.  Mary was well established with the group and one of the key leaders by the time I started attending meetings in 1997.  She welcomed me aboard and showed me the ropes.  When I applied for the dean's job at SU, I was happy to see that Mary was on the search committee.  Of course, I don't know what that did for me, and have never wanted to ask! :}

 

I have always been impressed with Mary's attention to the needs of students.  "Students First!" could have been her personal tag line.  Her dedication to students no doubt rubbed off on other Albers faculty and staff over the years.  Mary was also always one to pitch in and help with any project that we happened to be working on.  You could always count on her to be a team player.  Of course, you would also get her opinion on how the project needed to be done, whether it corresponded with your own or not!

 

A number of faculty and staff stood up to share their favorite memories of Mary.  Several faculty spoke of her invaluable assistance in helping them in their role overseeing one of our graduate degree programs.  Several staff mentioned some personal difficulties they had experienced and how Mary had been so supportive of them at a critical time.

 

Mary got to tell a few stories, as well.  One was that former Albers dean Jerry Viscione used to call her "The Flasher," because she was always leaving budget documents in plain sight on her desk!

 

Great universities are built by the efforts of people like Mary Carpenter.  Thank you, Mary, for everything you have done for SU and its students!  You have created quite a legacy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Marra

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on November 21, 2012 at 5:11 PM PST

Tom Marra, President and CEO of Symetra, was our latest speaker in the Albers Executive Speaker Series, visiting on November 19th.  Symetra is headquartered in Bellevue and provides employee benefit, annuity, and life insurance products.  Marra has served as CEO since 2010.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry, beginning his career at The Hartford Group, which he left after serving as president and chief operating officer.

 

Marra explained the origin of Symetra, which at one time was the life insurance division of Safeco Insurance.  Safeco sold the division to White Mountain Insurance Holdings in 2004, which included other investors such as Berkshire Hathaway.  The current ownership structure is 20% White Mountain, 20% Berkshire Hathaway, and 60% publicly traded.

 

The title of Marra's talk was, "Respect the Cash Cow."  To explain that, he shared a simple tool that he uses to make good decisions about different business units in a company, what he called the "Boston Matrix."  On one axis is the growth prospects for the business - high or low??  On the other axis is market share - high or low??  A business can be classified into one of four quadrants: high growth and market share("Stars"), high growth and low market share (??s), low growth and high market share ("Cash Cows"), and low growth and low market share ("Dogs").

Stars

??

Cash Cow

Dogs

The goal should be to become a "Cash Cow" for the business.  "Stars" may not be sustainable.  Competition will be attracted into the market and profitability will be challenged.  Or, they may become cash cows.  A Question Mark (??) is unproven but has potential.  The problem is it is not making money, it is burning cash.  The Cash Cow may help fund the Question Mark, but you don't want to do that for too long.  A "Dog" is losing money, but can prove hard to get rid of.  It may have been the first line of business and so people want to hold on to it for too long.

 

When asked about the "Fiscal Cliff," he noted that their business tracks with the economy.  They do well when family income is rising.  Symetra wants to see a strong economy.  He is hopeful that a bi-partisan effort will succeed in avoiding the Fiscal Cliff.  He noted that higher personal income taxes should help Symetra's tax saving product line.

 

Marra also explained how the low interest rate environment created by the Federal Reserve is a drag on their performance.  The low rates depress the performance of Symetra's investment portfolio and ultimately force them to raise insurance rates.

 

When asked for one piece of advice he wished he had received upon entering the job market after college, he said he wished someone had told him that he had more control over his career progress than he realized.  He noted that if you network and find a mentor, it can help you take charge of your career and make moves that you didn't realize you could make.  Another plug for the Mentor Program and networking!

 

One panelist asked Marra if it was problematic to be an insurance company headquartered in a town known for technology.  He said the problem had more to do with Seattle not being an insurance town, because it will be more difficult to network with others in your industry, and networking is very important.  If you are in Hartford, which is such a hub of insurance activity, you can network at your children's soccer game because there are sure to be half a dozen other parents working in the industry.  Not going to happen in Seattle.  As a result, he tells his employees to get out and join industry groups, attend conferences, and visit customers more frequently.  Another challenge is you are not as near the customer.  The Northwest does not have the same population density that other parts of the nation have.  It means longer, more time consuming trips to see the customer.

 

When asked about the comment by previous speaker Jim Sinegal, former CEO of Costco Wholesale and now Executive in Residence for Albers, that culture is the most important thing about an organization, he said he could not agree more.  He described the Symetra culture as one of teamwork, mutual support, and respect.  People support each other.  Leadership is necessary to provide direction, but everyone is important and valued.  It is important to remember the competition is out there, not in the organization!

 

It was another great opportunity for our students to hear from a respected business leader, in this case one representing the insurance industry, Tom Marra from Symetra.

 

 

 

Dean's Office Heats Up

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 31, 2012 at 3:10 PM PDT

On October 26th we discovered that the Dean's Office had no heat, as in the thermostat did not work!  It turns out that the thermostat has not worked since the building was remodeled in 1996!  The system was set up so that an adjoining office (Ilona's current office) controlled the heat for all the offices along the corridor!  Now the Dean's Office has its own thermostat, so is no longer a hostage to climate conditions somewhere else.

 

Now this probably explains many of those instances when you wondered what the Dean was thinking!  It can now be attributed to "brain freeze," at least during the winter months. This does not just include me, but also past luminaries such as Jerry Viscione, Fred DeKay, Jan Duggar, and David Arnesen.

 

It also has impacted the work of Mary Carpenter, Ilona Legesse, and Jennifer Horne.  Imagine what they have had to overcome to maintain their high level of operational effectiveness!

 

The challenge for me is I no longer have that excuse and we are entering the winter months!

Jesuit Business Deans

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 26, 2012 at 9:10 AM PDT

October 21 to 23 I attended the American Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Business School Deans meeting.  Creighton University was the host, so of course it was fun to return to the campus and see so many people that I used to work with!  For example, I saw my first soccer game at Michael G. Morrison, S.J. Stadium, which is one of the best college soccer venues in the nation. [Creighton beat Bradley 1-0 on an early penalty kick, and the Jays were the better team.]

 

Fr. Morrison was President of Creighton for 18 of my 19 years there.  I recall that when I visited Creighton as a job candidate, my schedule included a meeting with Fr. Morrison.  Can you imagine -- the university President meeting with some last-minute 25 year old job candidate??  It was April, and the only reason I was there is because they had made an offer to someone earlier in the year and he had accepted and then changed his mind, forcing them to scramble back into the market!

 

This meeting was different in that it included associate deans and marketing directors.  Susan Weihrich also attended the meeting, but Barb Hauke did not (could not find out what the meeting agenda was).  Deans from 13 Jesuit business schools were there, and there were an additional six schools represented by an associate dean.  So, 19 of the 28 Jesuit universities participated (four Jesuit schools do not have business schools, so would not be expected to attend).  Some parts of the meeting included everyone, some broke us up into the three groups.

 

Much of the meeting was devoted to technology and how higher education is changing.  I am a firm believer that going forward there will be a need for much more collaboration between institutions so that we can leverage what we do best.  Our Jesuit network, both in the US and around the world, gives us an advantage in forging partnerships with other institutions.  The deans talked about ways that our schools might collaborate.  For example, if St. Joe's has a Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing MBA (they do), perhaps some of their online specialty courses could be offered to our students.  Or, perhaps there is a way to partner across several schools to deliver our Health Leadership EMBA program.  Such collaboration would require us to move much deeper into online course delivery than we currently do.

 

Our group has long wrestled with whether we want to do a joint branding campaign.  We have experimented with this, but no one has ever been satisfied with the effort.  At this meeting, we finally concluded that we don't have the resources or shared goals necessary to make this successful.  Going forward, we will make sure to keep our website, Jesuit Business Schools (http://www.jesuitbusinessschools.net/), up to date, and do some search engine optimization for it, but not much else beyond occasionally sponsoring an AACSB event.  We will also work on developing some common language to explain Jesuit business education and develop a logo that we can use for mutual benefit.

 

This meeting was in the Midwest, so it is time for the group to come to the West Coast!  In October, 2013, the deans will meet at Seattle University!  Let's pray for a little unseasonably dry October weather!

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Vadon

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM PDT

The Albers Executive Speaker Series kicked off the 2012-13 year with Mark Vadon, co-founder of two successful Internet startups - Blue Nile and zulily.  Mark co-founded Blue Nile in 1999 and zulily in 2009.  Blue Nile sells diamonds and fine jewelry.  Zulily offers daily deals on clothing and accessories for moms and children.  Both companies were inspired by Mark's experience as a consumer - trying to buy an engagement ring sparked the idea for Blue Nile.  Having to gear up for his first child led to applying the flash sale concept to children's clothing.

 

In discussing Blue Nile, Mark took us back to the Internet frenzy of the late 1990's.  Jewelry was one of the few verticals that someone was not trying to dominate, but the experts were saying that jewelry would not work on the Internet because price points were high and people needed to touch the product. Despite the Internet crash with the resulting hit to capital access and the steep drop in consumer demand after 9-11, Blue Nile was able to survive and ultimately thrive.

 

Zulily has been a big success and is growing rapidly.  The company just moved into the British market and has plans to expand to other global markets.   At one point, Mark did a "compare and contrast" of the two businesses.  Blue Nile is focused on male customers, zulily is focused on females.  Blue Nile does not lend itself to impulse shopping, zulily does.  Broad market advertising such as display ads do not make sense for Blue Nile - targeted advertising such as paid search works better for finding the customer about to get engaged.  Zulily can cast a wide net because there are so many more potential customers out there - moms with young children!

 

What are some lessons Mark has learned in founding Blue Nile and zulily?  Get something out there and up and running.  Don't take three years to plan it.  Start collecting data and see what is working and not working and respond accordingly.  Execution is critical for success, so do not underestimate that.  Surround yourself with good people, and make sure they are not like you.  They need different skills and a different perspective.

 

Mark recently joined the board of Home Depot and was asked how that fit with his interests and experience.  He responded that Internet sales are increasingly important to Home Depot and he brings his experience and understanding of Internet retail to the board.  He noted that both his businesses and Home Depot are customer focused, and he has spent his time competing against brick and mortar retail, so being on the board allows him to see the market from that side.  He is also amazed at the number of zeros in the financial report - he is used to seeing smaller numbers!

 

Mark noted that mobile devices are creating a sea change in commerce and how customers shop.  Retailers now must be ready to serve customers across multiple platforms, with desktops, tablets, and phones all requiring something different.  Mobile is a plus for impulse shopping (think zulily), but not so much for more deliberative purchases (think Blue Nile).

 

Mark Vadon provided a great start to the Speaker Series for 2012-13.  He spoke candidly and gave our students excellent advice, while also providing many keen insights on web-based commerce.  Thanks, Mark!

 

 

Mentor Program

Posted by Joseph Phillips, Jr. on October 1, 2012 at 11:10 AM PDT

On Friday, September 28th we kicked off the 23rd year of our Mentor Program with the Albers Mentor Fair.  Over 300 students, mentors, faculty, and staff gathered in PACCAR Atrium to start us off.  PACCAR also happens to be this year's sponsor of the Mentor Program!

 

The Mentor Program allows students to benefit from the insights and wisdom of professionals from the Seattle business community.  Students participating in the program often report it is one of the highlights of their time at Albers.  Groups of 2 to 3 students are paired with a mentor, who works with them throughout the academic year.  Students often stay in touch with their mentor long after the year is over. 

 

The Mentor Program is available to graduate students as well as undergraduate seniors.  Accounting mentors are available to accounting majors who are juniors.  This year we expect over 160 mentors to be working with 250 to 300 students.

 

Since the program began in 1990, we estimate that over 4100 students have benefited from the advice and council of over 1000 mentors.  That is quite a legacy!  We have one mentor who has participated every year of the program - Jesse Tam.  Another, Willie Aikens, started in 1990 and has been a mentor in every year of the program but one.  We are very grateful for their long standing support of the program!

 

The Mentor Fair is a very high energy event.  It is a bit like speed dating.  Mentors are scattered throughout the classrooms in the Pigott Building.  Students scan the list of mentors and then go interview mentors in order to help form their preferences.  Students submit their list of preferred mentors and staff attempt to match students and mentors.

 

Our staff members do a terrific job of organizing this event and the entire program.  As one mentor told me on Friday night, "They have this on complete lockdown!"  Hats off to Mary Lou Moffat, Megan Spaulding, Hannah Garcia, and Paula Boos Fitzgerald for their excellent work on the program!

 

For more information on the Mentor Program, go to: http://www.seattleu.edu/albers/mentorprogram/.