Starting your own MBA club

I just got back to my home in Green Lake after attending Portfolio, Inc.’s inaugural event honoring the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.  The 40 Under 40, in a nutshell, is a group of honorees named by the journal to be the 40 most influential business people in the Puget Sound area under 40 years of age.  The event, held in the Douglas Forum in the Bank of America Center for Executive Education, turned out to be a resounding success, allowing current students to network with current and past honorees, listen to a panel discussion (moderated by Eddie Pasatiempo, immediate past UW Alumni Association President and current MBA Mentor) and eat good food and drink wine.  Portfolio, Inc. was also privileged to partner with the UW Business and Economic Development Center and Northwest Next in the event.

Creating a new club was no easy endeavor.  I entered the full time MBA program knowing that there was a dearth of a diversity-focused club in the program.  As a GLBT student, I felt it necessary for the program to have a club devoted to both including and appreciating the differences of students representing under-represented groups, whether they be based on race, sexual orientation or otherwise.  During my first quarter, I networked among my fellow students to find comrades who shared in my passion for developing such a club, and thus the idea for Portfolio, Inc. was born.

The process for starting a new club, while rigorous, was incredibly rewarding.  It helped to identify and solidify the mission and values both my colleagues in the endeavor and I sought to express in the new club.  Over the course of countless meetings in the windowless Foster Business Library meeting rooms (now practically obsolete due to the open, light-filled breakout rooms in Paccar Hall) we were able to develop the purpose and mission of our club.  Finally, at the end of the year, while the MBAA’s (MBA Association) budgets and plans were being finalized for the 2010-2011 academic year, we pitched our club to our newly elected MBAA officials and classmates.  Our club was approved for inclusion under the umbrella organization that is the MBAA, and we were on our way!

Our first major event, focusing on networking with a diverse (both industry and otherwise) cross-section of local business professionals not only brought both greater numbers of student attendees than expected, but also allowed club leadership to form lasting relationships with said business leaders who will likely maintain a presence in future Portfolio, Inc. endeavors.  Creating and molding our club to what it is at this moment is, without a doubt, the most concrete proof of one of the Foster MBA’s core values: a person with a single profound idea can mobilize similar thinking people, and make an active change.  It is this idea that makes me proud to be a Foster MBA.

— Guest blogger, Nick Myers, FT