Q&A with Terrell Ormson, TMMBA student

Terrell Ormson, Associate Professor of Military Science, Aviation Officer and Major in the US Army Reserve, shares his experience in the Technology Management MBA program.

Why did you choose the Technology Management MBA program at the Foster School?

The technology focus was the first and primary aspect that attracted me to this program. I was impressed by the professionalism and expertise of alumni and professors that I met. When I applied to the program, I was in the process of a career transition following ten years of active duty service in the Army. I was looking for a program that would help me gain new skills as well as leverage my previous experience to aid in a transition to a tech-driven professional business career.

What classes have been the most useful or interesting to you so far?

My two favorite classes so far have been Managerial Accounting with Paige Patrick and Entrepreneurship with Ben Hallen. In Managerial Accounting we learned numerous ways to aid in decision making within a company. We explored a large toolset to help align incentives of employees, partners, and other involved parties, and how to allocate fixed costs throughout a large organization.

The Entrepreneurship class focused on the process of building a startup. Each team chose a concept that they developed into a full business plan by the end of the quarter. Other classes throughout the quarter supported this project, including Entrepreneurial Finance, where we learned about funding from a variety of sources, and Entrepreneurial Influence and the Pitch, where we pitched our business idea to multiple local Venture Capitalists, CEOs, and business professionals.

Could you describe the classroom environment?

The classroom is an active and collaborative environment. By being a cohort-driven program, students get to know each other well over the course of 18 months and feel very comfortable contributing to classroom discussions.  We have students from a large variety of companies and industries, which enhances learning from multiple perspectives and increases our professional network.  Classes are engaging and generally focus on real-life business cases.

Outside of classes, which TMMBA programming have you participated in? Please describe…

This spring we formed a team to compete in the Target Product Localization Consulting Challenge hosted by the University of Washington. We were paired with a local vendor and formed a pitch of their product that we delivered to a board of executives, with the goal of getting their product on Target store shelves. It was a great experience where I was able to work with a team to develop a marketing strategy, deliver a pitch, and receive feedback from executives. Our team ended up winning the graduate level competition!

Has the TMMBA program had an impact on your job/career?

The TMMBA program has aided in both learning about business from a 360 perspective and building my professional and personal network. My career opportunities and interests have expanded far greater than I imagined. I now have the confidence and skills to excel in a corporate environment or startup. Finally, I have gained access to an excellent professional network and have developed many great friendships.

What strategies do you use to balance work, life and the TMMBA program?

My wife and I had our first child four months before the program started.  In order to maintain a healthy balance, we discussed our priorities and plans before the program began, and were able to come up with a solution that maintained the family as the top priority.  I transitioned out of the Army, joined the Army Reserve, and focused on quality time raising our son as a full-time stay-at-home dad, while my wife continued her professional career.  Some hobbies have had to take a backseat for the majority of the program.  Although this is a work-compatible program, I knew the reality was that time would have to be shifted from somewhere to make time for school.  My main strategy to balance work, life, and the TMMBA program is to focus on school work in the evenings, set aside one day a week to completely focus on big projects/tests, and dedicate one day completely towards family/leisure time.

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