Hunter Interviews Mike Hand

Hunter discusses the MBA Program with Mike Hand PhD, Dean of Atkinson Graduate School of Management. They discuss the history of this MBA program, expected changes for the future of the program, MBA for Life, and much more.

Full Interview

Don’t have 40 minutes, here’s shortcuts to specific topics

Some history of the MBA program

Note from Mike to Hunter’s cohort

Any Changes to MBA for life expected in the future?


Chairs in the Portland classrooms

The Portland Campus

Carla asks, how do students change over course of MBA program

Value Proposition of Business attached to Liberal Arts Education

Business advisory board

New Data Science Program

Finding the Calm in the Storm

Austin Phillips, (MBA 2020) knows a little bit about stress. In addition to being in the Willamette MBA class of 2020, he also has a Master’s in Public Health from Oregon Health and Science University (2013). Dang!! Read below for his tips to combat the craziness that is #WillametteMBA. Included as well: pictures of his new baby – Bullwinkle

If I had to describe the last year of my life (and my first year in Willamette University’s MBA for Professionals) program, I would describe it as “living inside a tornado.” Between working at least forty hours a week, spending eight hours a week in class, doing homework, sleeping, and everything else that is necessary for survival, I have felt like there are not enough hours in the day. This resulted in multiple meltdowns and needing help being talked off the ledge. And perhaps I’m going out on the ledge by saying this, but based on what I’ve heard and seen, I’m not the only MBA student who has felt like this. But what I’ve learned over the last year (besides how to read financial statements, negotiate, and engage employees) is that freaking out isn’t a magic spell that can make the mountain of work get smaller. So, I had to find new, more constructive tactics for managing everything and being a happier, less anxious student.

Work Activity into Your Daily Life

According to science, getting regular activity is important for staying physically healthy. Some recent studies have also shown that even a little bit of physical activity can lead to happiness. However, it can be challenging on some days to carve out time to go running or go to the gym. The solution: find ways to squeeze activity into your daily routine! Do you have a dog? If so, take your dog for a walk. They get 15 minutes of exercise and you get 15 minutes of exercise! (Unless your dog is like my French Bulldog, Bullwinkle, and opts to sit down or take a nap two minutes into a walk.)

Are you fortunate enough to live within 5-10 miles of work? Then walk or bike to work. You get some activity AND you save on gas for your car! You can also laugh at the traffic as you fly by all of the cars that are barely moving.

Automate Your Life

I’m sure you’re reading this and thinking, “I know we’ve made some great technological advances, but I’m still not a machine. How can I make my life automated?” I’m so glad you asked! Do you have a checking account with online bill pay? If so, set up recurring payments for your bills. Or if you’re like me and pay for 95% of your expenses with a credit card to get travel points, most merchants (such as Netflix) will let you schedule recurring payments where they charge your credit card (and then you can get your points, and use them for a big post-graduation vacation). What a time we live in.

Another tactic I use (which Lacie covered previously) is to meal prep at the beginning of the week. In any given week, I’ll make the same breakfast and same lunch. I’m sure I sound incredibly boring right now, but making only two different things means I’m not spending several hours of my weekend doing food prep. More importantly, having the same thing means I don’t have to spend 30 minutes every day pondering what I want for lunch, and then spend another 15 minutes and $10-15 trying to procure it. I’ve recently started preparing giant batches of cold brew coffee as part of my food prep, because in about five minutes (of active time), I can make coffee for an entire week!

Build Your Tribe

No man is an island. And as The Beatles taught us, “We get by with a little help from our friends.” So get out there and find some (at least five) people who inspire you to live your best life. Your classmates in the program will be dealing with the same things as you (as far as balancing work, school, and family). Lean on them, and I am sure they will need to lean on you occasionally. Having a good support crew at home is also critical to staying grounded. My significant other listens to me vent about my daily stressors, and has been willing to take on more of the household chores so I can have more time to focus on class reading and studying. Bullwinkle tries to be a great sounding board too, but he usually just responds with grunting or snoring.

With a few Jedi tricks (i.e., minor tweaks) to my routine (and no anti-anxiety meds), I’ve been able to stay calmer and thrive in school and life. So go take a couple of deep breaths, remind yourself that you’re awesome, and then apply some of these tricks to your life. You got this!

Better Food, Better Mood

Don’t get hangry… Get cooking!

As part of our busy lives as MBA-P students, it is easy to fall into the fast food trap. You know the one. The “I-just-got-off-work-but-have-hours-of-reading” situation. Never fear! Lacie Walker (MBA 2020) has put together her Top Five Go-To recipes to share with the busy professional student.

Lacie, who works full-time at a busy investment firm, is known for prepping her meals on the weekends. She even preps meals for her husband, Thomas, to eat on the nights that she has class! When not working, studying, or food prepping, she enjoys traveling around Oregon, or just spending time at home with Thomas, their two dogs (Bentley and Dakota) and two cats (Fatty and Peter). She uses her meal prepping as a way to destress and relax on the weekends.

Lacie Walker (MBA 2020) and her husband, Thomas

1. No prep – Beef and Broccoli Teriyaki


  • 1 lb. thinly sliced steak (I buy mine pre-sliced to save time) 
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (or liquid amino) 
  • 4 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen


  1. Add sliced steak + cornstarch into gallon-sized freezer bag. Shake bag until all sides of steak pieces are coated. Seal bag, removing air.
  2. In a quart sized bag, combine soy sauce or amino, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.
  3. Label a new gallon-sized freezer bag. Add to labeled bag the sealed steak with cornstarch bag, sealed sauce bag, and add in broccoli florets on top. Seal bags together and freeze.
  4. QUICK THAW: Thaw steak and sauce packets quickly by running under warm water until you can break the packets up. Or place the whole kit in the fridge first thing in the morning so the meat will be thawed by dinner time.
  5. COOK IN WOK OR LARGE SKILLET: Add 3-4 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil over high heat. Pour steak into wok, stir-fry, separating the pieces, about 3-4 minutes. Add broccoli, cook 1-2minutes. Add sauce, and cook, stirring for 1 minute until sauce thickens. Serve with boil in bag rice or with butter lettuce for a low carb option.

2. Comfort Food – Irish Beef Stew w/ Mashed Potatoes


Irish Beef Stew:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 lb. stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves) 
  • 1 onion, diced 
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced 
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste 
  • 1 cup beef broth 
  • 1 cup red wine 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves 
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (or use Yukon golds for a creamier texture)
  • 4 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 cup half and half 
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter 
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. To make the garlic mashed potatoes, place potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes; drain and return to the pot.
  2. Stir in half and half and butter. Using a potato masher, mash until smooth and creamy; set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  4. Add garlic, onion, leek and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until combined.
  5. Whisk in beef broth, wine, thyme, and beef; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until the beef is tender, about 90 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, combine butter and flour. Add mixture to the pot until thickened, about 2- 3 minutes. Stir in frozen peas until heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Place the stew and potatoes in separate freezer bags. Label and store for up to 3 months.
  8. When it is time to eat, put beef and potatoes in separate pots on medium heat.

3. The Classic – Best Meatballs


  • 1 lb. ground beef (85/15 is best) 
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 4 slices of white bread 
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
  • 4 tablespoon parmesan 
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • pinch of black pepper 
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Soak the bread in cold water for about five minutes, ringing out the excess water and pulling the bread apart with your fingers. (If you are like me, make someone else do it)
  2. Combine the meat, eggs, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the bread. Then add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic salt, and salt.
  3. Use a cookie scoop to portion the meatballs and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Let the meatballs cool and put in a freezer bag.
  5. When it is time to eat, Place frozen meatballs in your favorite store-bought spaghetti sauce and boil noodles.

4. Vegetarian – Chickpea Gyros


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • Kosher salt 
  • fresh cracked pepper


  1. Dry chickpeas thoroughly on a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add chickpeas to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook, stirring frequently for 8 minutes.
  5. Add cumin, oregano, paprika, garlic powder and another pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Toss to coat the chickpeas evenly.
  7. Then cook for another minute or two until the chickpeas are crispy but not burned.
  8. Serve with fresh pita bread, tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, red onion, fresh dill and crumbled feta.

5. Breakfast – Mason Jar Omlette


  • 1/2 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed or 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins (such as shredded cheese, chopped veggies, chopped ham and/or shredded chicken) 
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Lightly coat a pint jar with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add egg product (or 2 eggs) and mix-ins to the jar.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Cover with a lid and chill overnight.
  5. When ready to eat, shake jar contents until thoroughly mixed.
  6. Remove lid and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high about 2 minutes or until eggs are fully cooked. Serve immediately.