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Willamette | MBA | Atkinson Graduate School of Management

October 2011
administrative news
Message from the Dean

Dear Willamette MBA Community,

I'm delighted to announce another outstanding ranking for the Willamette University MBA program. 

The Aspen Institute's "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" survey has again recognized the Willamette MBA program among the best in the world for ethics, corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship. The Willamette MBA was ranked #23 in the world – up from #47 in 2009 and #58 in 2007.

Willamette was among the top ten schools in the world for the "business impact" provided by our MBA programs – specifically, the coursework that integrates social responsibility with for-profit business.  It also received high marks for student exposure to socially responsible management education and the availability of courses on sustainability, ethics and stewardship.

The Aspen Institute's ranking is exciting – especially because it recognizes the core mission of Willamette's MBA program: to teach students that the core principles of management cross functional lines and sectors.

To read more about the Aspen Institute's survey, please visit our website.  While you're online, check out the Atkinson School's refreshed web presence, reflecting Willamette University's new online branding.

Best Wishes,


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

alumni news
Family Additions
Heather (Buxton) Roberts MBA'06 and her husband Chris welcomed their second son home on September 7th! Coen Kwasi Roberts was born in Ghana, West Africa July 31, 2010. Heather traveled to Ghana three times this past year throughout the adoption process and she and her husband have become involved in charitable works in the country as well. "Coen is adjusting great and big brother, Carter, just 13 months older, loves having him home," says  Heather. "It's as if he has been here all along!"

John Powell JD/MBA'09 married Abby Nelson JD'08 on October 8, 2011 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Portland, OR. A reception followed at Waverley Country Club.
On Saturday July 30, 2011, Kirsten Changstrom MBA'06 married Adam Eades at the Beaver Creek Chapel in CO.
In August 2011, Dan Olson MBA'06 left Gallup Consulting to accept a position at Apple as Operations Product Manager in the iPod division. He will be extensively involved in the product development cycle, working with the international manufacturing locations to ensure product delivery and quality.
Camille Mercier MBA'10 took a job with Ameristar Casino and Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa this past spring.  Camille worked at Spirit Mountain Casino in Oregon for nearly 15 years and moved to Nebraska to work as Ameristar's Human Resources Director.  The career move will allow her to gain additional experience in the gaming industry for a corporate casino property.  Ameristar owns and operates 7 casino's in 6 different states.
Sarah Miller '06, MBA'11 has been appointed Director of  Communications for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. Sarah previously served as Communications Specialist for Girl Scouts OSW while completing Willamette's MBA for Professionals program in Portland. Girl Scouts' mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012.
Amanda Durkee MM'97, a Partner at Zanthus, was named Marketing Research Emerging Leader by the American Marketing Association at the Annual Marketing Research Conference in Orlando in September. The "4 under 40" award, established by the AMA last year, recognizes and showcases contributions of the next generation of leaders in the market research industry. Specifically, the AMA award is given to a select few researchers who consistently demonstrate a commitment to their industry by serving as passionate collaborators—leading by example, mentoring, transferring knowledge, and taking risks to achieve a desired outcome. For the 2011 award, Amanda was the only woman, and the only American to win.
Geoffrey Winkler '03, JD'06, MBA'08, of The Grassmueck Group, will be recognized with a 2011 Turnaround of the Year and Transaction of the Year Award at the Turnaround Management Association's Annual Convention in San Diego in late October. The TMA Turnaround of the Year Award honors professionals who aid struggling companies by fortifying operations and leadership, improving cash flow and increasing production.

atkinson news
Willamette University MBA Earns International Rankings
Forbes' "The Best Business Schools 2011" and the Aspen Institute's "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" surveys have both recognized the Willamette University MBA program in their most recent rankings. The accolades follow a successful recruiting season, with all three of Willamette's MBA programs experiencing record enrollment. The announcement was picked up by the PRNewswire and appeared on the CNBC website on September 21st. View the feature here.
"Like" the New Willamette University MBA Page on Facebook
Catch the latest news, share information, network and read management articles at the Willamette University’s Facebook page.  "Like" us at facebook.com/WillametteMBA.  You can also follow us on Twitter (@WillametteMBA).

Upcoming Events
Prospective Students and Alumni Invited to Dean's Lunches Series
Connect with Debra Ringold, Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette MBA alumni, current and prospective students, and staff at a Willamette MBA for Professionals 'Real Connections' Luncheon. The luncheons are designed as small group discussions and networking opportunities with Willamette's close-knit MBA community.

Portland, The Arlington Club:
Wednesday, October 19 (Register Online)
Tuesday, November 1 (Register Online)
Wednesday, November 16 (Register Online)
Wednesday, December 14 (Register Online)

Oct 17
Seven Cities, One Night
Oct 18Director, MBA for Professionals Tina Alexander's Birthday
Oct 19
Dean's Lunches Series
Oct 21Career Close-up: Personalized Career Fair, Portland
Oct 22Director of Career Management Beth Ursin's Birthday
Oct 26EDC Director Anne Murray Allen's Birthday
Oct 27Director of Marketing Russell Yost's Birthday
Oct 29Professor Fred Thompson's Birthday
Nov 1
Dean's Lunches Series
Nov 2Power Lunch, Salem
Nov 3Recorder Karen Arthur's Birthday
Nov 5Professor Rob Wiltbank's Birthday
Nov 10Alumni Gathering, Portland, Bridgeport Brewery
Nov 11
Atkinson Alumni Conversations
Nov 16
Dean's Lunches Series
Nov 18Career Close-up: Mock Interviews
Nov 23Professor Nicole Thibodeau's Birthday
Nov 24-25Thanksgiving (University closed)
Nov 30Professor Steve Maser's Birthday
Nov 30Power Lunch, Salem
alumni events calendar
atkinson events calendar

career management
Update from the Career Management Team: Beth Ursin & Shelby Gold
Despite continued high unemployment rates in Oregon (9.6% in August 2011), 80.9% of the class of 2011 have secured jobs within 90 days of graduation, compared with only 72.9% of the class of 2010. 

Base salaries in the U.S. have increased slightly to $59,655 from $57,697 in 2010, with the range remaining the same for multiple years ($40,000 to $100,000). Signing bonuses ranged from $1500 to $10,000 which increased some U.S. based graduates first year total compensation by an average of $4450. However, when including salaries for graduates who returned to international locations, the average salary of all graduates combined remained flat at $56,252 compared to $55,106 in 2010. A return to employment rates above 80% and continued internship employment above 90% is reflective of the schools combined employer outreach efforts, an emphasis on researching large employers and posting more opportunities for students as well as the student’s commitment to start their search early and focus on networking. Although there were some employers who hired multiple students this year (Deloitte, Intel, Nike, Avanade, BPA, Ernst & Young, the State of Oregon and Sparkloft Media), the vast majority of hires were from organizations that only had the ability to hire one MBA in 2011 and some students were compelled to accepted post-grad internships and contract positions. With a continued emphasis on employer relations as the economy improves, it is expected that more hires will be permanent and more hires will come from larger employers which should continue to increase both the employment rate and combined base salaries.
A Career Success Story - By Atkinson Alumni

Atkinson alumni Andrew Ross '10, MBA'11, Jenée Bader MBA'10, Nabeel Ashour MBA'11 and Yameen Ali MBA'11 have been carrying the Willamette torch into the world of technology consulting since joining Avanade. Avanade is a billion dollar company formed as a joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture in March of 2000.

The four alumni were recruited by alumnus Steven Anderson '94, MM'95, during the past year. Anderson is an executive with Avanade and one of the original founders of the organization (leaving Accenture with several of his colleagues to form the joint venture with Microsoft).

Jenée Bader joined the technology consulting company as a market development associate while the others were hired as business analysts in the Americas Consulting Service Line for Microsoft Dynamics AX. Dynamics AX is a comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that enables companies to work effectively across borders, improves operational efficiency and enhances the ability of clients to compete on a global level. Bader began work at Avanade the day following graduation as a Health Solutions Consultant, developing markets and business in the healthcare industry. She works with a team of experts dedicated to expanding Microsoft solutions focused on the dynamic needs of the Healthcare Industry. As one of first employees hired in this position by Avanade, her role is evolving daily to meet the needs of the business. Bader believes that having flexibility, knowledge and initiative are key characteristics of this "intrapreneurial" position and her Atkinson experience provided the foundation of fundamentals necessary to excel at Avanade.

Andrew Ross began work at Avanade two weeks before graduation and was a member of the inaugural company Boot Camp, an intensive six week course that provides a consultant with insights into the entire life cycle of a project and teaches critical technical skills relating to the software platform. Following the Boot Camp, Ross was deployed onto a Microsoft Dynamics project in Indianapolis, IN. He was immediately assigned a leadership role as the lead consulting expert in the implementation of a unique solution that no one at Avanade was proficient in. Ross’ exceptional product demonstration to the customer resulted in a contract and recognition from both the client and Avanade leadership. Ross credits the many experiential projects at Willamette as the foundation of his advanced skills in working with clients, providing quality deliverables and conducting successful presentations to senior corporate executives. He has recently been invited to teach what he has learned in his first four months at Avanade to new employees in October.

Nabeel Ashour joined Avanade shortly after graduation and was part of the second company Boot Camp. His exceptional commitment led to four Microsoft certifications in the Dynamics AX software and a general certification as a Microsoft Certified IT Professional in Dynamics AX applications (Ashour achieved this in a five week period – something which normally takes two years for most consultants to complete). Ashour credits his success to the long hours of coursework, weekend exam preparation studies and mini-projects culminating in a condensed two week full scale project implementation experience. Since the Boot Camp, Ashour has been focusing on building his skill set in Dynamics AX 2012 financials so that he can help customers that require financial planning ERP support.  Ashour credits the Atkinson experience, specifically PaCE, Operations and Financial Reporting with providing a robust understanding of company operations, building the skills and confidence in presenting to corporate executives and making the onboarding experience with the Dynamics AX product much easier. 

Yameen Ali joined Avanade two weeks before graduation and was a member of the inaugural Boot Camp (he and Ross were cited by the course instructors for being the top two graduates from the training program). Ali’s first assignment was a business development role supporting a client presentation for a major healthcare organization. Since then he has worked on an educational account (one of the largest universities in the region) and a medical company account. Ali is currently working on a project for a major software corporation in the Redmond, Washington area. Ali credits his success to the incredible faculty, staff and students of Atkinson, and the positive learning environment that he experienced during his time there. Ali has also joined the ranks of Willamette’s Contributing Faculty and will be teaching a course at Atkinson in the Spring of 2012 called Enterprise Architecture Management (GSM-644). The course will focus on how to manage companies using the ERP platform Dynamics AX. For more information on the course Ali can be contacted at yali@willamette.edu 

Avanade Returns to Campus

At a time where unemployment is at 9%+, Avanade continues to grow and increase its business portfolio though its strategic vision of providing innovative solutions that optimize client business operations. Avanade’s Atkinson alumni are planning on visiting campus in October to begin the recruiting process for 2012 hires. There is great excitement at Avanade about the Willamette brand and recruiters within the company are looking forward to the continuation of hiring top talent from the incredible pool of Willamette MBAs.

executive development center
Sustainable Enterprise Certificate – Coordinated Action for Sustainability
Willamette University's Sustainable Enterprise Certificate (SEC) program takes a unique approach to understanding the interconnectedness of social, economic and environmental well-being.  The program helps you create a plan, engage stakeholders and add new value through becoming a leading sustainable enterprise.

Each session features instructors and guest lecturers that bring cutting edge thinking and practice.  They are expert researchers, practitioners and trainers offering actionable strategies to promote sustainability in your organization and community.

SESSION 1:  February 15-17, 2012 – Biomimicry System Dynamics
SESSION 2:  March 14-16, 2012 – Natural and Social Systems
SESSION 3:  April 11-13, 2012 – Moving Into Action.

WEBINARS   February 24  |  March 8  |  March 30
Three interactive webinars will complement the program content, presented by leaders in the field of climate change, sustainability leadership, and transformation.

Take Action! Register online for the entire SEC certificate program or for individual sessions at http://www.willamette.edu/mba/sustainability or call 503.370.6791.
Online and In Person - Atkinson Alumni Conversations
"Building Sustainable Communities in Today’s Increasingly Complex World"
The Willamette University Executive Development Center is pleased to present a new series of Atkinson Alumni Inspired Conversations, in-person and virtual events for alumni on cutting edge topics in management.

Join Willamette's sustainability experts for the first conversation of the 2011-2012 school year as they discuss how "sustainability" affects businesses, governments and communities.

Friday, November 11, 2011 – Noon-1:00pm (PDT)
Willamette University Campus (Hatfield Library) or Online from Anywhere!
Reception following the in-person discussion in Salem

RSVP through The Compass:  http://www.willamettealumni.com/edcconversations

faculty news
Professor Lisbeth Claus was honored with the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2011 by President Thorsett on September 21st. This award celebrates distinguished teaching and leadership by a faculty member.

Professor Lisbeth Claus gave a lecture on duty of care and  universities at Kansas State University's School of Business in Manhattan, KS in honor of Professor Emeritus William L. Richter, Department of Political Science, Kansas State University (Willamette University Graduate Class of 1961).

Professor Claus is the keynote speaker at NEI  Global Relocation on keeping a mobile global workforce safe in an unsafe world in San Jose, CA.
Professor Elliot Maltz has been invited to present a paper at the SME Network For Business Sustainability Conference in Montreal on October 20. The title of his presentation is: Maximizing the Shared Value of Social Initiatives: A 3 C’s Approach.
Professor Fred Thompson Named Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration
Fred Thompson, Grace and Elmer Goudy Professor of Public Management and Policy Analysis, has been named a Fellow to the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).  A leading scholar and researcher on public administration topics, Thompson has served nationally and internationally on research projects and has been published in leading public sector journals.

The National Association of Public Administration names Fellows after a rigorous review process.  Fellows bring a tremendous amount of expertise and experience to the organization, which in turn provides guidance to public sector mangers on emerging issues and challenges to government organizations.

Thompson will be formally inducted as a NAPA Fellow at their annual meeting in November. He is the first Oregonian to be elected to NAPA.

Learn more about NAPA online:  http://www.napawash.org/about/

staff news
Director of Recruitment Aimee Akimoff was honored as one of Salem's 20 Under 40 by Statesman Journal's Media. The awards recognize Salem-area residents under age 40 who are doing magical things in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Read the article here.


student news
The Atkinson Finance Association will kick off the year with a panel featuring women in finance. The panel includes three Atkinson community members who will share their experiences in the financial services industry.

AFA Career Panel with Lunch
Friday, October 14th, 2011
Atkinson Mudd Building - Room 201

Courtney Ranstrom MBA'05 - Ranstrom Financial Planning Services
Kristin Bauer MBA'05 - Umpqua Bank
Amy Vukovich, MBA Candidate - Intel

"Again and again, the impossible problem is solved when we see that the problem is only a tough decision waiting to be made."
Robert H. Schuller

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 aakimoff@willamette.edu 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: Russell Yost, Heather Roberts, John Powell, Kirsten Changstrom, Dan Olsen, Camille Mercier, Sarah Miller, Amanda Durkee, Geoff Winkler, Andrew Ross, Jenée Bader, Nabeel Ashour, Yameen Ali, Lisbeth Claus, Elliot Maltz, Fred Thompson, and Devin Rottiers.

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 aakimoff@willamette.edu. 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

Willamette UniversityWillamette MBA (Atkinson School)