Creating opportunities and promoting inclusion: Q&A with Ty Seyoum, MBA 2021

Why did you choose the Evening MBA program at the UW Foster School of Business?

Ty SeyoumSimply put, the school was a perfect match for what I was looking for. I didn’t want to give up working to earn my MBA because I felt like that was too much of a sacrifice for me personally. I was looking for an evening MBA program and after doing some research and talking to my coworkers, all signs pointed me to the UW Foster Evening MBA program. They had excellent faculty, access to a vast network of fellow students and alumni working in the Seattle area, and a terrific MBA program. I was set on coming here.

Student Experience

How do you balance work, family/friends and school?

This was definitely an adjustment at first but it’s all about finding your tempo. My friends and family have been really supportive and although they do complain about seeing me less, they understand it’s for a good reason. I’m lucky enough to have a job that is pretty flexible and I can reliably work 40 hours on most weeks. It may feel like a lot at first but after some time, you get adjusted to this lifestyle where you always have something lined up in your schedule.

Are you a member of any student organizations?

This coming year I am on the evening MBAA board as the VP of Diversity & Inclusion. So far, I am one month into the role but it seems like it will be a great opportunity. My primary goal in this position is to create opportunities to increase cultural awareness. I believe that increasing awareness of people from different backgrounds is of one of the most effective ways to progress and promote inclusion. I hope to provide unconscious bias training opportunities as well as working with the other diversity leaders in the program.

Curriculum

What class has been the most useful or interesting to you?

The most useful class to me is a toss-up between Accounting and Finance. Both fundamental business skills that I didn’t have coming into the program with my engineering background. I will probably give Finance the slight edge since I did find the topic to be slightly more interesting. Both taught by great professors who did a terrific job at keeping the class engaged on weekday nights.

What is the classroom environment like?

Thought provoking. I’d say the majority of professors do not purely lecture at you like an undergraduate class. Since the classrooms typically have 60 or so people, there is a lot of opportunity to have classroom discussions and ask questions. There will be moments when the professor is talking about a topic in theory and there is a student whose role at work is to deal with that specific type of problem. These are special moments since you hear the topic from a theoretical perspective as well as the practical perspective.

Have you participated in any experiential learning opportunities?

I did a study abroad trip in my first year. We spent the first week in Colombia splitting time between Bogota and Medellin and the second week in Panama. This was my first time in South America and I was really curious of what the culture was like over there. In addition to being a great cultural awareness opportunity, it was a great global business perspective as well. It gave me an opportunity to see how business operated differently in countries outside the U.S.

Faculty

What are your impressions of the faculty?

The faculty have been my favorite part of the program. They are incredibly brilliant professors that challenge you to think and to think hard. They welcome alternative viewpoints and they do an excellent job showing you their points rather than telling you. They are passionate about what they’re teaching and are probably more excited to be in that classroom than anyone else.

Career Impact

How has your MBA experience enabled you to see your career differently?

The MBA experience has definitely enabled more opportunities for me. Especially in the direction that I wanted to pivot my career towards. In particular, I was working as a sales support engineer. This was a technical position and I was hoping to move career towards a more business-oriented field. Halfway through the program, I joined the marketing department at my company as a product analyst. This role was a major promotion for me and I suspect that the MBA played a sizable role in landing the position.

Work / Life / School Balance

What strategies do you use to balance the various demands of the MBA experience as well as your life outside of the program?

I do my best at making all the routine activities in my life as efficient and as time effective as possible. I even changed the routine of my gym workouts so that they’re higher intensity and I can get out of there with a good workout within 45 minutes. I cook ahead for the week, so I only create a pile of dishes once. Little things like this but they add up.

Is there anything else you want to tell prospective students about this program?

The last thing I will say is that this program is all about how you make it for yourself. It will provide you with an abundance of opportunities for speaker engagements, clubs, mock interviews, etc. You simply can’t do everything. Focus on what you want to get out of this program and prioritize your time on that.