When I look back ten or even five years ago, I never thought I would ever pursue an advanced degree to advance my career. Before June 2018 I didn’t even have my bachelor’s degree. Before going back to school to finish my degree, I spent the past fifteen years in jobs that I enjoyed for the most part, but I wasn’t advancing. I worked in the information technology, science, finance, and architectural industries and enjoyed what I did, but quickly got bored. I felt my experience qualified me to do more, but I didn’t have the education to back it up.
My resume begins in 2000 when I worked for Microsoft in Mountain View, California. I was the administrative support for WebTV Networks. Before that, I worked for a law firm in San Francisco, but I decided to leave that off my resume since I was no longer interested legal support at the time. In the years that followed, I had positions at companies that allowed me to learn about various industries, but I was stuck.
When I moved to Portland,
Oregon in 2009, my career prospects got smaller. I was no longer in an area
that afforded me a variety of cities and industries to work in. I quickly realized
that I needed to at least finish my bachelor’s degree if I want to get ahead.
In my next post, I will share with you the first steps I took to get to where I am now. Thank you for reading! -Carla Rose Allen
A buddy of mine recently mentioned a great business podcast series by Wondery called Business Wars. If you haven’t listened to it, it’s definitely worth a spin. In fact, my favorite series is Ferrari vs. Lamborghini.
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
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
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!
Before you read other posts by me, I think it’s important for you to know my upbringing and how much of it has influenced my personal and professional career choices.
I identify as a Filipino-American woman, deeply rooted in my culture and family. A culture of resiliency, hard work, and damn great cuisine! Family is always number one; friends are family; and strangers are never judged and always welcome to the next family party (fully equipped with karaoke and dancing).
I was taught to be resourceful and work with what you have. Earn your way to the top with grace, tact and always smile.
My story is about to get real intimate…
My Mother and Father | How My Life Experiences Influenced Me
In the 1960’s, my father seized the opportunity to enlist in the U.S. Army. This was his ticket to leave the life he was tired of living, in a small province in the Philippines. A typical dinner for him and his 5 siblings included a small 3.5 ounce can of sardines and white rice. Split between them. He barely finished high school. He had to find work when he could to buy rice for the family. “It was all about survival,” he’d say, “me and your mom want you to have what we couldn’t have. Finish school, work hard, travel the world and take care of your health.”
Flash forward to 2013 to a conversation with my mother after the deadliest typhoon, in modern time, hit the Philippines. “Mom, you don’t seem to be worried about this typhoon.” Her response, “Juliet, I have lived through many typhoons. They destroyed our home. We always prayed. Then we rebuilt our house and moved on. This happened often and we always rebuilt our home. Filipinos are strong independent people. We find joy in the very simple things in life because growing up, we didn’t have much. We had each other. We made things work with what we had and we never let anything or anyone take our joy away from us.” My mother grew up near Manila. Unlike my father, she graduated from college and went off to university.
What do they have in common? They are both the “anchor” for their families. They left the Philippines to find opportunity and renewal. Their happiness was a result of helping others. My motivations in life can be attributed to them; how they’ve educated me on my Filipino culture and how they’ve shaped my notion on life.
Family group FaceTime keeps us together since we are all located in different parts of the U.S.
Integrity and Friendship | A Pivotal Moment in my Career
During the 2008 Financial Crises and Presidential Primaries, I landed my first professional job. Start date was a week after graduation. The first part of dad’s advice to finish school, done. I also discovered in my early 20’s the power of integrity in the workplace and the influence of friendship in your personal life.
I was an eager, dedicated, ambitious, overachieving ex-musical theater major. My dreams of singing on Broadway were crushed after orientation when I sat between a prima ballerina and a formally trained opera singer. The competition was real. My claim to fame was being cast as the understudy for Mother Abbess in high school musical, The Sound of Music. Then my senior year, I was asked to sing the National Anthem at a televised science fair. I was on TV; it counts.
I worked hard to ensure that I could stay in Orange County and not return home after graduation. After 16 revisions of my resume, a stack of personalized business cards that read, “PR for HIRE,” with purple bubbles symbolizing my personality, I was offered a job with a right-wing public affairs firm as an account coordinator. I negotiated a salary that was $5,000 more than what I was offered and managed to live the ideal life of a young professional in Orange County.
Three months into the job, my values were tested. I was assigned Proposition 8, which argued that same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. This was against everything I believed in. Minutes after I was thrown this campaign, I called my best friend. Passed the verge of tears I explained to him that I was stuck and didn’t know what to do; I didn’t have an alternative plan. No other means of income. I needed this job to pay for bills. With an open heart and non-confrontational voice, he said, “Thank you for calling me and thank you for being honest. Stop crying. It’s okay. I will always be your friend no matter what happens. I know what you believe in and that’s what matters.” I finished off the season with enough saved in my bank account. I resigned from that position the morning after Election Day.
Then and Now | How It All Started
After three months of unemployment, my professional career in higher education began as an admissions assistant for a seven-year-old MBA program in San Diego, CA. The face of the admissions office. The “MBA Cheerleader” my boss at the time, called me. I was tasked to create and implement application processes. I quickly managed my way up to student affairs responsibilities. Advising adult students on why they are not enrolled in their one credit seminars. Planning orientation. Organizing their textbooks. I was a 24-year-old telling student (most are managers and business owners) what to do. It was a sort of, tough love type of relationship I had with the students, but at graduation, after their families thanked me for pushing them, students realized that it was all worth it.
After two promotions, I landed the most coveted role of a traveling recruitment professional. Second part of dad’s advice to travel the world, done. I strongly feel that cultural understanding can only, and truly happen after one visits and immerses them self. I traveled to India, Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia and Peru. I made every effort to experience these countries like a local. Wandering through neighborhoods. Shopping at local markets and grocery stores. Braving their public transportation. Learning phrases in their language that would gain their trust to help me find my way. My advice for aspiring world travelers: learn how to say, hello, goodbye, thank you and nice to meet you, in their language. And eat their food.
Quick plug: while you are reading this post, I’ll be in India! Look out for my posts documenting my second trip to this magical country filled colors, history and phenomenal food.
After approximately five years of recruitment travel, managing and coaching 8 student undergraduate workers, supervising over 15 student ambassadors, self-awareness started to kick-in. I was tired. My travels were no longer fulfilling. I needed a break. I needed to focus on renewal.
My Real Self: Renewal and Rediscovery
As part of the renewal process, I left California. When I moved to Oregon 4 years ago, I knew I’d be starting over again. New job. New friends. New everything. I was excited for this. I’ve found a place at Willamette University as a recruitment professional. My career at Willamette has been the catalyst for fostering my personal and professional growth. Since starting, I was a board member, joined professional committees, completed 2 leadership programs and getting my MBA.
Leadership Portland Class of 2017
Willamette MBA Orientation Happy Hour
My Ideal Self: The Mother, Wife, Friend, and Business Woman
When I think about living the Super Life, I think about my ideal self. My ideal self is me as a mother, wife, loyal friend and businesswoman; living in a house where the neighborhood kids want to hang out after school and on the weekends. I am the anchor in the family and my business; managing the culture and how it impacts everyone. My house is the central point for meetings and gatherings with friends and family.
A normal day will begin with an early morning workout (possibly meditation) and at least 2 hours of work before switching gears to mom and wife. My husband knows that I am high functioning in the morning and will allow me to manage most of my responsibilities in the morning. These responsibilities include: answering work emails, house chores, cleaning and meal preparation for the family. After my husband and kids are taken care of, I switch to businesswoman and check-in with my team.
Team check-in includes a simple conversation with managers for a report on their direct reports and how I can help them and their team in achieving their weekly goals. Once a week I treat my team to lunch. As the day ends, I switch from businesswoman to mom and wife. Kids return from school (and activities) then prepare for homework as I wind down from work. My husband knows that by the time the kids are done with homework, it’s his responsibility to check-in with the kids and prepare them for dinner, then evening prayer before bedtime.
When the kids are in bed, I switch to wife and check-in with my husband. We share our highs and lows for the day, how we can better support each other and we end the evening.
My ideal self pulls elements from my upbringing; what I’ve learned from my parents and my professional experiences. My family and my career are what make me.
I live life with high expectations in myself. It’s something that I struggle with: that all or nothing mentality. I’m in this pursuit to change that because the small wins matter the most. My awesome boss always reminds me, “Jules, this is a marathon, not a sprint.”
What are your current struggles and what are you doing to manage them?
You will seek to improve your career prospects and leadership skills by pursuing an MBA. So now what? I don’t have all the answers, but halfway through my MBA program, I’ve identified some helpful nuggets of advice I wish I had received before I started graduate school. My loss is now your gain!
Many MBA bound professionals are driven, highly motivated, with very full plates. You see, we all intuitively understand that time is limited and we must pursue our interests and goals in haste. But now you’re committed to getting your MBA, something must give.
Start by simplifying your schedule. Give up activities and hobbies of lesser value for the sake of your future success. I highly recommend you err on the side of caution on this one. Start by dropping the unproductive time-wasters, the mindless activities you may pursue for casual amusement to dismiss boredom. Think of the endless hours of excessive and nonessential video streaming, facebook scrolling, snapchatting, twittering, etc. Make your entertainment budget lean and meaningful, cut out the excess and keep those things that recharge you, bring you inspiration, and are important to you.
If you’ve leaned out your schedule and still don’t have time, think of compounding activities. Listen to your readings while you work out or mow your lawn. As I type this I’m sitting on the sidelines at my son’s soccer tournament waiting for game #2 of the day. Bits of time are everywhere, you just need to be prepared to seize the moment to squeeze in your study time.
2. Set Expectations
I strongly believe that one of life’s most important skill sets is managing expectations. My younger self was awful at this. I sought to impress and I would often overcommit and as a result disappoint. I’ve grown slightly wiser (at least on this front), and I now work on under-promising and over-delivering. I understand I’m busy, I know I can’t do it all today, so if I commit, I ensure I give myself enough time to deliver. Ironically, this method has improved my reputation for delivering and for being reliable.
It is essential you set expectations with your supervisor, work-team, and family before you start the program. Explain to each why you have decided to pursue your MBA, how this will benefit you in the long-run, how they may benefit indirectly, and how they can help you on the journey. Without my wife’s support, understanding, and patience, I would not be able to succeed in this program (or in life!). It is not a stretch to say that my entire family and social circle is working on getting my MBA.
3. Find your support circle
Great, you’ve leaned out your schedule and set expectations. Now it’s time to find your support circle. These are the individuals that are genuinely interested in your success. Spouses, mentors, supervisors, parents, children, fur babies, etc. These very special individuals will be your fountain of energy when frustrated, stressed, and exhausted. Remember their kindness and encouragement, as this will help you push through the long study nights, the tough exam, and the personal challenges that arise as a consequence of pursuing your MBA. Take advantage of the short session breaks to enjoy their company and express your gratitude. When taking a break, be present and give them your undivided attention. You will be making more social withdrawals than deposits during your MBA journey, so make sure you make every deposit of time and energy count.
Willamette University’s Atkinson School of business operates on a cohort model. I’ve found that this model promotes strong collaboration and social cohesion. Many of my current classmates have helped me with classwork, recommended resources, and have been an excellent sounding board for all sorts of ideas. It’s easy to fall into a competitive mode with your classmates, trust me I get it. However, you must remember that even though you may compete on some assignments, in the end, you’re all in it together.
4. Be grateful and enjoy the ride.
Finally, don’t forget that you’re part of an elite class of human beings working to improve yourself through graduate school. It won’t be easy, but if it was anyone could do it and it wouldn’t be as fulfilling. David Goggins, ex-Navy Seal and “Mr. Endurance,” talks about “embracing the suck”. Mr. Goggins recognizes that progress and change, especially of the dramatic variety, requires struggle. Be grateful for the opportunity you have to improve your life and enjoy the ride. Remember that the struggle is necessary. Embrace it for what it is and come to terms with it. Preparing yourself mentally for the struggle will give you a headstart and keep you sane and motivated when the balls your juggling start to drop.
How to Conquer Your Mind and Embrace The Suck | David Goggins | Goalcast
You have a Case Study due Monday in Finance, an extra assignment due Tuesday in Marketing, and a ton of reading you need to finish up this weekend. Not to mention you still need to shop for groceries, do some laundry, clean up around the house, etc… What’s that, oh yeah those are all things I actually need to get done,,, shoots.
Well, even sleep deprived hard-working grad students need to take a break every once in a while. The best researchers will say you can’t spend every waking moment studying, or maybe that was just my conscious. Anyhoo, what better way to take a time-out then by getting revved up for Shark week 2019! Yeah buddy, the “fintastic” adventures continue for “sharkaholics” around the world. Starting this Sunday July 28 Discovery Channel is set to unhook its 31st year of shark mania. There’s even going to be a feature-length film, Capsized: Blood in the Water.
So how can you spend a little time away from the to-do-list to recharge this week? Here’s 5 mind-numbingly “fincredible” ways to celebrate study breaks during Shark Week 2019. LETS GOOOOO!!!
Don’t be intimidated, by the large amount of shark content at your fingertips. Dive into the Shark Week schedule and research episodes that fire you up! I got you covered Sharkmaniacs: Shark Week starts on Sunday, July 28 and continues through Sunday, August 4th on the Discovery Channel. Live streaming can be seen on Discovery.com, the Discovery GO app, Amazon Prime, and Vudu.
SUNDAY, JULY 28
8/7c: Expedition Unknown: Megalodon
9/8c: Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum.
11/10c: Shark After Dark
MONDAY, JULY 29
8/7c: Sharks of the Badlands
9/8c: Legend of Deep Blue
10/9c: The Sharks of Headstone Hell
11/10c: Shark After Dark
TUESDAY, JULY 30
8/7c: Sharkwrecked: Crash Landing
9/8c: Laws of Jaws: Dangerous Waters
10/9c: Air Jaws Strikes Back
11/10c: Shark After Dark
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31
8/7c: Extinct or Alive: The Lost Shark
9/8c: Capsized: Blood in the Water
11/10c: Shark After Dark
THURSDAY, AUGUST 1
8/7c: Return to Shark Island
9/8c: Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe
10/9c: Monster Mako: Perfect Predator
11/10c: Shark After Dark
FRIDAY, AUGUST 2
8/7c: Isle of Jaws: Blood Brothers
9/8c: Andrew Mayne: Ghost Diver
10/9c: I Was Prey: Shark Week
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
9/8c: Sharks Gone Wild 2
10/9c: Shark Week Immersion
SUNDAY, AUGUST 4
Discovery is bringing viewers encores of some the week’s best shows.
Ease into Shark Week! Don’t just watch the full-length feature movie. Start off by watching 1 or 2 episodes. For those of you who get a little squeamish watching alpha-predators doing their thing in nature, don’t worry. After all it’s just a fish. A fish that swims as fast as a boat, has lots of teeth, a lower jaw that can push out and well, yeah, I guess if you’re squeamish, maybe just stick to kids Baby Shark videos. My 2-year-old loves singing Baby Shark! Otherwise, pace yourself. After all, it’s only a study break, not spring break.
Learn as You Go. Not all of us watch Shark Week just to see dominant sea creatures attack their prey without mercy (awesome as that may be). No, no, no my friends. After watching decades of Shark Week episodes I’ve found great respect for this beautiful beast. I try to pass that on to my kids by educating them about Sharks. You can find this great read; Hark a Shark All About Sharks for the littles and more at your local bookstore, or who am I kidding, we probably got it on Amazon.
Feed Your Inner Shark. Don’t forget to satisfy all your cravings by treating yourself to a few “sharkalicous” treats. Shark week is right around my second child’s birthday and the last couple of years he’s asked for a blue Shark cake. I’m not gonna lie, it’s awesome on so many levels! Gotta thank my wife for that!
Don’t Just Watch it, Live It! Take a field trip and get in touch with nature. If you have a somewhat accessible coastal aquarium (and you do if you’re a Willamette University MBA candidate) then head over and see what kind of fun shark exhibits they have. My family and I had a blast at the Oregon Coast Aquarium!
If you want my shark cake recipe, you’ll have to hit me up at email@example.com and don’t forget to check out my fun Shark Week promo video above.
Let’s look at the current automotive industry, which really has not changed the platform of the car or truck in decades. Yes, like people today cars and trucks come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, options and accessories. There are still four wheels, a steering wheel, and a driver. People who get the MBA are the latest greatest in features, efficiency, power, and fuel economy.
As a driver you tell the vehicle what to do and it responds to the instructions its given. The driver must be alert and ready for whatever lies ahead. Much like your current job and career path. You as the driver make the decisions that affect your future. You zigged when you should have zagged. When you drive, are you focused or are you easily distracted by music, phones, other people’s driving? These are questions you need to ask yourself. As a professional are you focused on your career path/ tradecraft or are you interested in more of the social interactions.
What makes you better than the other cars/ people, around you? What features/ traits do you have that make you the best choice? Are you looking at the short road or the long road?
If you are looking at the short road then a gas-powered vehicle is for you. It is consistent with proven technology and in comparison to vehicles from 30 years ago, still more efficient. Then you have the electric car. Electric cars are becoming more and more forward thinking, evolving at a much faster rate in efficiency and operation.
Much like the electric car by having your MBA you are forward thinking and continually evolving to be more efficient and leave less of a wake behind you. This is exactly what employers are looking for! They are looking for low maintenance and highly efficient people that can problem solve and have the ability to evolve to new technology.
Today as cars and trucks are reducing the number of cylinders and introducing the turbo charger, super charger or both in the power platform gas & diesel fueled engines, they are more powerful and efficient than ever. The cost is also on the rise for big power in a small package. But little progress has been made in true fuel economy and return on investment.
This is where the electric cars are making the biggest difference. The upfront cost is less with a conventional gas-powered car or truck but long term when you look at maintenance, like oil changes, transmission services, power steering and fuels system service, the costs add up. This is all delayed cost of ownership. Now, when we are all starting out with our first vehicle purchase, low cost is the goal. With an electric vehicle the upfront cost is much higher (like double), but the post cost of ownership is reduced and the energy (your fuel) consumption is smaller.
As you put mileage on your conventional gas-powered vehicle the value decreases and it becomes less desirable. It is proven that those with an MBA get paid more up front and hold their value. Employers get a better return on investment. Like an electric vehicle the energy/time in which the employer has to maintain and spend on managing you is minimal because like most electric vehicles, you self-program/ adapt to your driver’s habits.
We all have purchased a pre-owned or new vehicle. Or maybe you are saving for one. After you make that purchase, do you feel you got a good value for what you paid? In your mind you do, for a while anyway. The vehicle is your asset that loses value year over year and month over month. The cars and trucks today run longer and harder than ever before. By choosing to purchase electric you are making a choice for better return on investment (ROI). Electric cars hold their value because of the forward thought placed in the engineering, design and cost of ownership. This also applies to your career and life in general. Are the choices you are making to further yourself giving you an improved ROI? If not, then it’s time to consider a Willamette MBA or MBA for working professionals program. Your value will increase and continue to yield a high return for you, your peers, and your employers.
In hopes that I have sold you on earning your MBA, you’ll can make more money to purchase your electric car. Please stop by and see your friendly Austrian body builder salesman and Kick Gas.
In Full Discloser, I do work for big oil and this was satire =) for my MBA marketing class.