My path to the TMMBA

Jared McInelly – TMMBA Student (Class  of 2012)

Getting an MBA was not a decision I took lightly.  It actually turned out to be a journey of almost 3 years for me.  Where you get an MBA has a lot of implications on the rest of your career.  I chose carefully and ended up at the Foster School of Business in the TMMBA program.  Here’s how I got there.

I always knew I wanted to get an MBA.  After graduating with an engineering degree I decided to take a break from school and get some relevant work experience before heading back for an MBA.  Well, one year turned into 8 years , a mortgage and 4 kids.  When I finally decided it was time to go back I first looked at schools that didn’t require the GMAT.  I was intimidated by the thought of taking that test and I was afraid that I wouldn’t score very well.  I compared a couple of online programs with some local evening schools that didn’t require the GMAT.  All of the programs were expensive and online didn’t seem like a good way to really learn from other classmates.  Finally I though “if I’m going to spend the time, money and energy getting an MBA, why not do it right and go to a good school?”

So the pendulum swung the other way for me and I decided to study hard, ace the GMAT and go to school full time.  I studied for a long time and took the GMAT and eventually got the score I needed to get into a good school.

But did I really want to quit a good job and move my family to go full-time?

My wife certainly wasn’t excited about the idea of me going to school full-time.  And the more I thought about it the more it made sense to stay in the Seattle area.  I loved technology and Seattle has good technology companies and isn’t nearly as expensive as somewhere like Silicon Valley.

One day a blurb came on the radio about a “Technology Management MBA from the University of Washington, THE degree for technology professionals…”  It really peaked my interest.  I thought, “hey, I’m a tech geek.  This sounds like a good fit.”  Soon after I attended an info session and was impressed with the stats of the program; 1.5 years, one night a week and every other Saturday.  It sounded intense but doable.  I did some research online and talked to a few people about the program.  I was impressed with a few other things.

1)        The program is officially part of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.  So the same professors who teach on campus teach the TMMBA courses.  The full-time MBA at the Foster School of Business is ranked #33 nationally.  I’ve since heard that many of the business school professors prefer teaching the TMMBA classes because of the level of work experience and seriousness of the students.

2)       The program is a lock-step, cohort based program.  All of your classes are set, your books are purchased for you and even your food on class days is provided (and, oh my goodness, is the food ever good).  It’s such a relief to have all of these details taken care of by the administrators.  I can’t imagine figuring out when I would have time to travel to campus, park, and walk around the campus bookstore trying to find the right books for each quarter.

3)       I sat in on a class and the students were just like me.  I was worried that going to a full-time program would mean I’d be in class with a bunch of kids just out of college with a year or two of experience and a high GMAT score giving them unearned confidence. The average years of work experience in the TMMBA program is ten.

So, I decided to apply and I got accepted into the program.  So far I have been extremely impressed with the program.  The professors have been incredible and class time seems to fly by.  My group is great and the class is so diverse, with each student bringing such differing backgrounds and experiences.  So far I love it.  Even though the work load can seem all consuming at times, I still love it.

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