When considering an MBA program, it is important to consider your return on investment (ROI) since you will be investing a significant amount of time and money. Read Part 2 of our TMMBA ROI Blog Series; in this post, our alumni panelists explain how they have been able to leverage the network gained through the TMMBA Program.
Post #1: Meet the Panelists
Amitai: I took the plunge about a year and some ago, went out into the startup life. The network was phenomenal, including the instructors that we had. Parts of the classes were taught by people from VCs and from people who organize startup events in Seattle. They helped me out right off the bat and then obviously the other students and alumni. One alum runs an accelerator, a B2B accelerator here in Seattle. So I talked to him, got a lot of advice and mentorship and ended up consulting for some of his companies and then actually participating with one of my own companies to his accelerator. And so that was really great just to be able to help those people.
Todd: For me, you meet a group of people that are in your same position, so you can talk to them about what their career goals. More recently, we’ve leveraged from a recruiting perspective as well, both at TMMBA and the other MBA programs. So I think the network is…it’s amazing. It’s an immediate 30 people that you can just connect to on LinkedIn and expand your network pretty quickly.
Viveka: I’m in the process of career transitioning. I reached out to a lot of alum and they’ve been so fantastic and patient and accommodating with the help and I appreciate that very much.
Bhaskar: My experience has been very similar. There’s not just your cohort, but everyone from the entire history of the program. They are available to talk to and develop a mentoring relationship with or just discuss opportunities. But one thing I’d like to touch on a little bit, in my 10 years at Microsoft, Microsoft became like a world in itself. After a while, it becomes like your entire world and that’s the position I was in. And so coming to this program and interacting with people from different backgrounds was very, very stimulating. For example, one of the guys in my first study group was a Navy officer who worked on a nuclear submarine, completely different world from mine. There were people who worked in medical technology and legal, there were folks with their startups, who were actually doing startups right then. All of this was very different from what I had done before. It was like opening a door and just letting light flood in because I didn’t even realize that my world was as limited as it was. And so that aspect of the network was something I had not predicted. It was eye opening.
Todd: I agree. Within your cohort, you can talk about your business problems with other people in other companies. You can talk to, “Hey how are you tracking, how are you solving this problem at Expedia, how are you solving this problem in Starbucks?” So you get all those backgrounds that you can learn from them.
Mike: And I think for me, I’ll separate it into personal and professional. One of my friends from the first study group recently got married. We’ve stayed in touch and when I got to the wedding, so many people from our class were at his wedding and we reconnected. That was so meaningful and I think those friendships are going to last a lifetime. That’s the personal element that I didn’t expect to get out of an MBA.
And then on the professional side, there’s tons of value from a networking and mentoring perspective. There are sort of this multiple degrees of separation thing that happens. There’s a Tech at the Top event that the program hosts. It has leaders from the business community come in and share their experience. In one case, I met with one of the speakers and he introduced me to his friend. His friend ended up mentoring and coaching me. He’s the CEO of a local startup.
Recruiting is another big one. I hired one guy from the program who still works for me today and I know exactly what he knows. I think there’s a lot of things that you can get out of the program that will further your career if you’re open to investing the time and energy to do it.
Todd: Also, they host many events that you can come in and interact with the existing students and alumni. You’ll get out what you’ve put into it. You know, if you sit back in the corner and let people try to come to you, you probably won’t get as much out of it unless you’re being directive on it.
Bhaskar: One thing that distinguishes this program from others is the cohort. The cohort takes each class together, and goes through the entire program together. With this program you go through a lot of very hard classes, very interesting experiences together, and it’s with the same set of folks, so you tend to develop a lot of deep connections with the 60 to 90 people who you graduated with, and 60 to 90 actually sounds large on paper but by the end of the program, you know all of them, you know them well, you stay in touch with them. That’s not something you get with a program which is much larger in terms of numbers or a program where there is no kind of defined cohort. That’s one of the things that I hadn’t expected going in, but coming out of it, the fact that the cohort is so tight, that’s something that really distinguishes this program from others.
Interested in hearing more? You’re invited to attend our next TMMBA ROI Roundtable event on Tuesday, July 19. Click here for event details and to register.
For our next blog post, our alums address the knowledge gained through the TMMBA Program – more to come!