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Willamette | MBA | Atkinson Graduate School of Management Willamette University Willamette MBA (Atkinson School)

May 2011

Administrative News


Message from the Dean

PhotoDear Atkinson Community,

At the end of this week I will share in the excitement of the Early Career MBA/MBA for Career Change Commencement ceremony.  The Atkinson School will recognize 104 graduates during Sunday's event, along with the presentation of the Glenn L. Jackson Leadership Award to Chris Anderson, Publisher of The Oregonian.  During the past year we also awarded 53 degrees to students in the MBA for Professionals program.  It has been a very successful year for the Atkinson School, indeed.

Though classes in the Early Career/Career Change programs may be winding down, the MBA for Professionals May term just started this week.  We look forward to welcoming two new cohorts in Salem and Portland this September.  Students interested in applying for the MBA for Professionals program in either location are encouraged to contact the admission office to discuss the application process or arrange a class visit. 

Summer is also a busy time for admission into the Early Career MBA/MBA for Career Change programs.  We are still accepting applications on a space available basis through the summer.

I look forward to updating you in the fall edition of ATKINSONews on exciting new additions to our faculty.  Until then, I hope you will join us at our two summer gathering events in Portland and Salem.  You will find details on both of these events in this newsletter.

Best Wishes,

PhotoDebra J. Ringold, Dean and JELD-WEN Professor of Free Enterprise




Alumni News


In Memoriam

Karen Lynn Culley MBA'91 of Klamath Falls, passed away in Portland, on March 13, 2011, after a tough battle with cancer. Born and raised in Klamath Falls, she was known by many. As a child she was a bluebird and campfire girl and then before long she was a KU and OIT grad, a Marylhurst college grad (BA) and Willamette grad. Karen will be sorely missed ... a beautiful spirit and soul, with a loving smile and a gentle warm touch, Karen was a very special sister, daughter and friend. At Karen's request, her upcoming celebration of life service will be scheduled for a day this spring when the weather is good, our flowers are in bloom and a typical spring day that Karen so loved ... so all can attend."


Family Additions

PhotoAudrey (Pederson) McGeeney '05, MBA'07 and Kyle McGeeney '05, MBA'10 welcomed a new baby girl, Samantha Jean McGeeney, who was born on March 25th, 2011. She weighed in at 7lbs 8.6 oz and measured 21.5 inches long. "The whole family is doing great!" writes Audrey.

Michael Eber MBA'97 and his wife Julie added a new member in February. Matthew joins his older brother Andrew. The family lives in Denver, Colorado.

David Anzur MBA'08 and his wife Frieda are the proud to announce the birth of their first child, a daughter, Matilda Louise Anzur. She was born on March 14th at 1:22am. She was 7lbs 13oz and 20 inches, born at Salem Hospital.

PhotoAnnabelle (Brown) Henry JD/MBA'08, and her husband, Brian, are proud to announce the arrival of their second child, Ethan DiGrandi Henry, on February 8, 2011. "Ethan was 8.0 lbs and 21 inches long when he was born," writes Annabelle, "but already seems determined to catch up with his big sister, Lauren, (who is about 14 months older than him) as soon as possible."



Punit Renjen MM'87 has been elected to the position of chairman of the board of Deloitte LLP. As chairman and chief executive officer of Deloitte Consulting LLP, Renjen has led the significant growth of the consulting practice - enhancing its market position despite the recession and helping Deloitte Consulting become one of the largest consulting services providers in the U.S. By fostering greater collaboration across Deloitte's subsidiaries and industry practices, Renjen also helped Deloitte become a leader in key, high-growth markets such as sustainability, business analytics, heath care and the U.S. federal government. He was also recognized as one of Consulting magazine's top consultants in 2007. Renjen is an active speaker on college campuses and is a member of the board of trustees of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where he earned his master's degree in management with honors. Read the full press release here.



Atkinson News


MBA Students Dedicated to Serving their Communities and Beyond

PhotoJustin Hanseth has been busy during his first year in Willamette's MBA program. Not only is he working on his MBA in the full-time program, but he is also working extensively with his previous organization, Village Health Works in Burundi, Africa, continuing to hire, fund raise, problem solve, and participate in weekly conference calls for the organization. Justin has also been featured as a keynote speaker at several fundraisers in the Pacific Northwest, including a recent Photoappearance at the All People Be Happy Foundation. He has raised about $80,000 for various projects in Africa since fall semester started. "It has been an honor and a tremendous learning experience working with these NGO's in Africa (most notably, Village Health Works, in Burundi). In my experience, there is no better way to learn than on your feet in the real world. Atkinson has been very helpful in fine-tuning and expanding my skill-base to aid me moving forward." Pictured left: Justin presenting on a food security panel in Ethiopia, right: Justin and the children with which he worked in Burundi.

PhotoEven in his local community, Justin is just as involved. He has implemented several community gardens at local elementary schools, including McKinley, located in South Salem. Justin was involved in the planting of an edible landscape at Hood River Middle School a couple months ago, and is using some of the same principles at McKinley. "Working with the students, Photofaculty, and parents at McKinley Elementary has been really fun. Though a small project initially, I have high hopes that other schools will continue jumping on board and enable their students to learn through hands-on garden education."

In addition to his extensive community service, Justin also serves on the Willamette University Sustainability Council, where he planned and co-hosted the school's sustainability retreat in the fall, Sustainability Day, as well as Earth Day activities on campus. "Working with the WU Sustainability Council has been a privilege. I am extremely excited about this school's commitment to sustainability; there are big things coming down the pipeline!"

Justin, the avid volunteer, remains modest about his extracurricular projects noting, "an MBA program can keep a guy pretty busy."


PhotoAt the beginning of April, current MBA student Ezra Nigussie had the honor of attending the 2011 Clinton Global Initiatives Universities Conference at the University of California, San Diego. Ezra was selected amongst many applicants for his "commitment." Ezra (pictured on far right) and his partners at Luther College, Iowa were given a Certificate of Recognition for their work with a farming community in Ethiopia and their efforts to establish a not-for-profit organization. I-ImpactNOW's mission is to use innovative and collaborative efforts to help communities attain self-reliance and empowerment.


Integrated Marketing Students Serve Non-Profits in Re-Branding Effort

Student teams in the Integrated Marketing Communications course research, develop, write and present integrated marketing plans for non-profit clients.  During the students' final presentations, judging panels composed of local marketing leaders and client representatives critique the teams and determine which teams they would "hire" to carry out their marketing efforts.  This year five teams worked for Northwest Family Services, a local non-profit organization focused on counseling, job placement and programming to support singles, couples and families.  All teams delivered fantastic presentations, with the "winning team" receiving a special plaque from the student-led Atkinson Marketing Association Photo(AMA).  The judging panel recognized the team composed of students Stephen Collins, Cassie Truax, Sara Barnes, Katie Bertel, Trevor Gamache, and Cassie Graves (pictured with NWFS staff) as delivering the most comprehensive plan based on the organization's objectives.




Upcoming Events

Alumni Event – You’re Doing What With Your Degree?

Please join us May 19 for networking and celebration of a group of Willamette alumni who are applying their degrees in inspiring, noteworthy (and surprising and funny and odd) ways.

A Willamette favorite, "You're Doing What With Your Degree?" will be hosted in part by Dave Thomas '71, senior primate keeper at the zoo. If you've never been to this event before, it's a good year to start.

Cost is $5 for alumni, $10 for guests; includes appetizers and the first drink.
Location:  The Oregon Zoo


Explore other Willamette Alumni Events/Activities:


Willamette MBA Sponsors Successful GMAT Strategy Sessions

The MBA for Professionals program is sponsoring a 3-Session series to expose MBA applicants to useful strategies for preparing and taking the GMAT.  The GMAT Strategies Sessions, led by a Kaplan Instructor, includes an overview, strategies for preparing for and taking the GMAT, and sample questions.

The first session was very well received by potential applicants to help them better understand the format of the test.  Though the Portland sessions have already filled, space is available in the next two Salem sessions.  Plans are also underway to add additional sessions of this popular series.  Please feel free to share this link with colleagues who may be interested – details will be updated as new dates are added.

For more information or to RSVP:
Salem – May 10, 17, 24
Portland – May 12, 19, 26 (Currently full)


Oregon Ethics in Business Award Banquet

PhotoPhotoJoin us to celebrate the business ethics of today and build a foundation for strong business ethics in the future!

Oregon Ethics in Business (OEIB) is a partnership between Rotary Club of Portland and Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University, with the goal of celebrating organizations and individuals who demonstrate ethical behavior beyond the expected. For-profit businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals are nominated annually by community members across the state. Eleven Finalists will be honored at the Awards Banquet on June 15. A recipient in each of the three categories will be selected to receive the award.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Governor Hotel at 614 SW 11th Avenue in downtown Portland

For more information, visit


Save the Date: Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ



Share in the food, fun and good company of prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty and staff. The Willamette MBA Mid-Summer Gatherings are an annual tradition to get together and enjoy Oregon’s beautiful summer evenings while connecting with members of the Willamette MBA community. Events will be held in Portland or on the Salem Campus this summer. Join us for one event, or both!

Portland Summer Gathering
Date: Thursday, June 23, 2011
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) Architects, 1223 SW Washington Street, Suite 200 - Portland, Oregon

RSVP Online

Mid-Summer Gathering and BBQ in Salem
Date: Friday, July 15, 2011
Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm
Location: Atkinson Graduate School Patio (Mudd Building) - Willamette University Campus - Salem, Oregon

RSVP Online



May 12 Honors and Awards Reception
May 13 EDC Program Coordinator Judy Hampe's Birthday
May 15 Commencement
May 30 Memorial Day Holiday
Jun 15 Oregon Ethics in Business Awards
Jun 16 Associate Dean and Director of Admission Judy O'Neill's Birthday
Jun 20 Admission Counselor/Recruiter Desiree Vorhees' Birthday
Jun 23 Portland Summer Gathering
Jun 27 Professor Michael Dothan's Birthday
Jul 4 Independence Day Holiday
Jul 13 Summer Lunch and Learn Series (Portland)
Jul 15 Mid-Summer Gathering (Salem)

alumni events calendar
atkinson events calendar




Career Management


Update from the Career Management Team: Beth Ursin & Shelby Gould

Atkinson students are in the thick of interviewing for internships and jobs. I want to thank each of you for continuing to send openings our way and for continuing to do informational interviews with our students. Our alumni and friends have been a major presence in helping our students through the double-digit employment of the last couple of years. We at Willamette have a community that most other schools would be jealous of! Shelby and I counted 269 volunteers this school year who participated in our career related events on and off-campus. Thank you – it means a lot for our students to have the connections that we do. Here’s what we did in April:

Student Organization Leadership Retreat – On April 1, all our student volunteer leaders descended on Beth’s mother's home for an off-campus leadership retreat. Not only did the students learn something about their own leadership style, but they bonded with each other and set strong goals for next year.

Career Close-up Portland Trek - April 8th. We kicked off the Portland trek with a visit from Webtrends at the Portland Campus.  Human Resources and Training staff gave an overview of the organization and talked about the future of web analytics. From there, we headed over to Providence Health Services central distribution center where the supply chain staff including alum, Mark Ursin MBA'85 gave an overview of Providence, and a great introduction to what it takes to manage supplies for a large health care provider. Late afternoon we took a tour of the Widmer Brewery and then met with the marketing staff of Craft Brewers. It was amazing for students to learn about branding from a consumer products perspective. Should your organization be interested in hosting a trek, please let us know! It's great to have a wide variety of organizations to visit.

Mentorship Reception – On the evening of April 8th, our students gathered to thank the 2010-2011 mentors for their year of service. Over 50 professionals attended this year, including alumni and friends who helped coach our students one-on-one. This program is always the highest rated by students as it means so much to them to have professionals coach them. If you want to recommend someone as a mentor for next year, please let us know.

CIA Information Session – April 4th. The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States visited Willamette from Washington DC to recruit students from the Law school, MBA program and the College of Liberal Arts. For the most part, they talked about clandestine service, but the CIA also recruits tons of analysts for DC-based positions.

Avanade Information Session – April 18th. Alumni Steve Anderson '94, MM'95 and Jenee Bader '98, MBA'10 came on campus to recruit students to work for Avanade (Accenture / Microsoft Joint Venture) as Business Analysts. On Monday, they talked about the organization and answered questions. Wednesday, they brought a colleague to interview multiple 2011 graduates on campus.

Blackstone Inc Speaker - "Why Most Marketing Fails & What You Can Do About It"  April 18th. Len Blackstone was invited by our student Consulting Association to speak on campus to a large group of students. The presentation was very well received.

Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum Internship and Job Fair – April 20th. Willamette MBA Career Services joined as a not-for-profit partner based on our students' strong interest in working in entrepreneurial settings.  We sent a van of students up to Portland to interview with start-ups who were recruiting MBA's to work full-time and for projects.

Dean Debra Ringold’s CEO Chat – April 13th. Twice a year, Debra shares with students what she learns from her visits with CEO's and top executives. This is a great event for students to learn what employers are looking for in candidates and get a pulse on what’s happening in the economy.

Student Focus Groups – Twice per year, the Career Management Team holds multiple focus groups with students to learn what’s working, what’s not working and gather ideas from students on how to improve our career programming. The five held this month served as a great feedback loop to improve for 2011-2012.

PACE Presentations – Every April as part of Larry Ettner's PACE class, first year students give two sets of professional presentations to a panel of judges. First, they present the value they added to our Not-for-Profit partners. Second, they present their business venture idea developed over the spring term into a formal business plan. Winners this year included the student team working with the City of Albany as a public/not-for-profit client. The two winners of the New Venture presentations were Edge Consulting and Power One Consulting. Congratulations to the three teams who won!

Brownwater – As always, the season ends with alumni, faculty and students descending on Mill Creek with inner tubes to float through campus. Crowds watch and sometimes pour water or throw water balloons. This year was no different. Events included: a Golf Scramble, Choate's Run, 80's Night, Casino Night, Mill Creek Float, Duck Float, and a BBQ to celebrate the end of the academic year and the ongoing Brownwater tradition at Atkinson Graduate School of Management.




Executive Development Center


Career Management and Coaching Program – Join us for Upcoming Sessions

The Career Management and Coaching Certificate is designed for the professional ready to explore opportunities and challenges critical to achieving career and organizational success. Energize and reinvent yourself through a process of reflection and personal development.

Presented at Willamette University – Salem Campus (AGSM Mudd Building Room 204)
Sessions start at 8:30am (with an 8:00am continental breakfast) and conclude at 4:30pm.

May 13 - Developing Others Through Mentoring and Coaching:  Develop your awareness and skills as a capable coach and mentor to others.

Jun 3 - Creating a Career Action Plan:  Create and present your personal action plan for success and increased contribution to an organization including interim measures that will help you evaluate your success and adapt to changing circumstances.

Jun 10 - Coaching Forum:  Learn from the experts and boost your mentoring and coaching relationships. The objective of this session is to practice coaching with executives and faculty members.

Cost:  $249 per session, special alumni rate of $199 available.

Read more about upcoming sessions.


Utility Management Certificate Program – Presented in September and October 2011

The Executive Development Center's popular "Utility Management Certificate" program will be presented this fall.  Two weeks in length, the session applies key management principles to the utility industry.

September 19-23 and October 17-21, 2011 (this is a two week program, with Session 1 in September and Session 2 in October). Students must attend both sessions to complete the certification requirements.

Willamette University Portland Center
1120 NW Couch Street, Suite 450
Portland, OR (lodging discounts available for those traveling from out of town)

Space is limited and interested applicants should contact the EDC as soon as possible to register for this year's program.





Faculty News

Willamette MBA faculty are excellent teachers as well as recognized scholars in their respective disciplines. Their research, consulting work and management experience helps them apply the knowledge they teach to the real word. Read about recent accomplishments/accolades of Willamette MBA faculty members on the Faculty Accomplishments webpage.


PhotoFred Thompson participated in an SSHRC funded Workshop on Crisis Management last week at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, where he spoke on Managing before and Managing after the Crisis: Learning from Success.



PhotoProfessor Lisbeth Claus will be the keynote speaker at the Savannah Area Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management in Savannah, Georgia on May 17. She will talk about the role of global HR in protecting employees working in dangerous locations around the world.

International SOS, the world's leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare, and security service commissioned a Global Benchmarking Study on Duty of Care Best Practices. Professor Claus designed, implemented and completed the final report. The results of the Global Benchmarking Study are being presented on May 27 at The Roof Garden in Kensington, London. The final published report will be released in the U.S. in August.

A research note entitled, "Global Performance management in MNCs," authored by Professor Lisbeth Claus was published in the European Journal of International Management (Vol. l5, No. 2, 2011).


PhotoDr. Mark Ahn co-authored "Towards a high performance bioeconomy: Determining cluster priorities and capabilities in New Zealand" published in International Journal of Commerce and Management has been chosen as an Outstanding Paper Award Winner at the Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2011.


PhotoIn June, Steven Maser will present a paper, co-authored with Fred Thompson and Vladimir Subbotin MBA'10, at the 2011 meeting of the International Society for New Institutional Economics at Stanford University. The paper is entitled: The Gao's Bid-protest Mechanism: Effectiveness and Fairness in Defense Acquisitions?


Arizona State University professor (and former AGSM visiting professor and scholar) Greg Daneke co-edited a recent special issue of the Journal of Business Venturing on Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship [Volume 25, Issue 5, Pages 439-540]. Professor Rob Wiltbank is a member of the journal's editorial board.



Student News


Student Organization Celebrates First Year of Service

PhotoThe Atkinson Public Administration Association (APAA) recently celebrated its inaugural year. The mission of the new student group is to grow interest of public service within the AGSM community. In the 2010-11 school year, the APAA held eight events. These included hosting a career panel of city managers, meeting with NY Times columnist David Brooks, and touring the State Capitol. The APAA board would like to thank all the outside professionals that made this year possible. The association is looking forward to an even more ambitious schedule next year.

PhotoAtkinson student Bobby Powers recently launched a review website for notable business books. Current reviews include books such as Buyology by Martin Lindstrom and Moneyball by Michael Lewis. More reviews will be posted in the coming weeks. Bobby hopes that business students will benefit from the chance to read a short synopsis and commentary on books before spending hours to read them, as many students simply do not have the time to read a large number of books outside of class. Check out the blog at:


"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."

John Quincy Adams

This email newsletter was sent to members of the Willamette/Atkinson community and subscribers from the Atkinson Graduate School. If you wish to unsubscribe to ATKINSONews, simply reply or email with your request.

ATKINSONews is a monthly newsletter from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. It is distributed to the current Atkinson community, subscribed alumni and University administrators via email each month during the academic year.

Mission: As an effort to foster one of Atkinson's significant purposes — to establish a close community — ATKINSONews's mission is to provide an accurate and timely forum for disseminating current news and events involving the school and its current and former community members.

Acknowledgements: I thank the following contributors for this month's issue: Russ Yost, Debra Ringold, Shelby Gould, Audrey McGeeney, Michael Eber, David Anzur, Annabelle Henry, Justin Hanseth, Ezra Nigussie, Beth Usin, Lisbeth Claus, Fred Thompson, Mark Ahn, Steve Maser, Will Norris and Bobby Powers.

Subscriptions: Recipients wishing to unsubscribe — excluding current community members — must do so by submitting your request to unsubscribe. Current Atkinson community members (faculty, staff and students) cannot unsubscribe but can instruct their email software to purge or block the newsletter via Message Filters (Netscape) or Message Rules (Microsoft) applications. And last, please update your email address with us when your email address changes.

Comments/Corrections/Suggestions: I encourage and appreciate that you send your thoughts, comments, criticisms, corrections or suggestions about ATKINSONews to Corrections will be addressed in the following issue and all your comments or suggestions will be thoughtfully considered.

Submissions: You may submit any news item pertaining to your academic life or significant personal milestones including (but not limited to) promotions, awards, accolades, engagements, marriages and babies. Also, if you know of a near future event you think might be of interest to the Atkinson community, submit that item as well. I will try to include all appropriate submissions as time and space allow. The deadline for submissions is Wednesday noon, the week before publication. Please send your submissions electronically to ATKINSONews.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the Atkinson Graduate School Administration or Willamette University.

Newsletter Archives: Past editions of ATKINSONews are located online.

Thanks for reading. Aimee Akimoff, Compiler/Editor