Joe was interviewed by Dr. Sandeep Krishnamurthy, Dean, UW Bothell School of Business.
Sandeep: What do you do now?
Joe: I am humbled to lead the Operations and Fulfillment teams for Blue Nile in Seattle. Bain Capital bought Blue Nile in early 2017 and I was asked to join to help with the transformation of the business. Our business is the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry. A large part of our value proposition is build-to-order engagement rings for that special moment. Our team is 120 strong and I have six direct reports.
Since leaving the UW Bothell in 2007, my primary aspiration has remained consistent; to practice my craft in different industries with different products and customers. I am extremely lucky to have been part of unique and exciting teams at Philips, Amazon (Amazon Go) and now Blue Nile
Sandeep: What did you get most out of your MBA education?
Joe: There are two things, one personal and one professional. I was able to develop a close and personal friendship with a classmate and I now get to watch him grow his family. This has been special for me and my family. The second is the power of critical thinking in problem solving. When forty people in the class are all engaged in critical thinking, the variety of problem solving skills one can develop by listening and interacting is remarkable.
I like to think that I honed my critical thinking abilities with the generous help of my classmates and faculty to help me develop the organizations that I am a part of. For me, it is the organization that matters most. The people, how I interact, how they respond, how we prepare, and how well we do can all be traced back to my experience at UW Bothell.
Sandeep: Why is the UW Bothell MBA special?
Joe: The intimacy and camaraderie developed, in my travels, is unique to the site and to the program. I have had a continuous informal relationship with the UW Bothell and some of the faculty as well as interaction with classmates on a continuum. I am committed to the Don Whitney Memorial Scholarship; Don had a massive influence on me. Maybe someday I’ll be able to do the same for somebody else.
Sandeep: What do you remember from your MBA courses?
Joe: For me, it is simple. I found the group of people that made up the faculty to be as passionate as any group in any endeavor that I have experienced. That passion was contagious.
Sandeep: What is the biggest challenge you faced after graduation? How did you deal with it?
Joe: It is said that good luck is the intersection of opportunity and preparation. I say that I am lucky as I haven’t had any material challenge. However, if I’m honest about it, my UW Bothell experience really prepared me for any professional challenge that has come my way and allowed me to seize opportunities.
Sandeep: What advice do you have for future MBA students?
Joe: Your MBA is only a starting point, not an end point. Customize the tool set derived through the MBA experience and leverage those tools to help you become a better problem solver. Always look to add to the tool set. Work to stay current. Your UW Bothell MBA will not do anything for you by itself, but the sky is the limit with what you can do with your UW Bothell MBA.