Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Mitch Platman, University of Washington (Foster)

Mitch Platman 

University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business

“I’m a Pacific Northwest native who is equal parts tech junkie and outdoor enthusiast.”

Hometown: Portland, OR

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to cook and would like to think that I was a chef in a previous life.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy, Environmental Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: US Army, Armor Officer

What makes Seattle such a great place to earn an MBA? Seattle has “Big City” career opportunities with an almost “Small-Town” feel. It’s a city that appeals to any outdoor fanatic while also offering a unique nightlife, sporting culture, and an array of family-friendly attractions. Everyone in Seattle is proud to belong to the city there is a real sense of community togetherness.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I wanted to go into tech after transitioning out of the military and I felt like the relationship that Foster has with the Seattle tech community made it the best place for me to jumpstart my new career. I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to work on real-world problems with companies like Amazon and Microsoft during Applied Strategy Projects.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? Learning to mountaineer and summit Mt. Rainier has been a goal of mine since moving to Washington five years ago. I’m really excited that I’ll be able to achieve this goal as one of the team building events with my Foster classmates.  

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my biggest accomplishments was serving as the Operations Officer of my unit while deployed to Kuwait. It was challenging because it was a position well above my rank and I had to learn the job on the fly. I not only had to develop and oversee the execution of our unit training progression in Kuwait, but also manage numerous assets my unit had spread out across the Middle East. I valued this experience immensely because it taught me how to think and manage organizations at a more strategic level and provided me an opportunity to impact the overall direction of the Squadron.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? While I truly value my time in the military, there were other passions I want to pursue and obtaining my MBA will allow me to achieve these goals. I’m excited to learn from my professors and classmates about the private sector and start my new career.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Why an MBA and why now” was a question that I didn’t just expect to be asked in admissions interviews. It was one that I continually asked myself throughout the admissions process. I was on the fence about going straight to business school after getting out of the military or working in the private sector first. Being able to stop and really think about my own motivations for wanting to pursue MBA helped focus me on my goals and helped me decide to pursue the path I’m currently on.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? A collaborative culture was the most important aspect I was looking for in an MBA program. During my visit to Foster, it was very clear that the small class size contributed to an environment where every student cared about the development of their peers. The second factor was how attending this institution would support my career goals. I’m interested in pursuing tech product management after graduation and Foster’s reputation as the place to go for tech solidified Foster as the program that was right for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I had a lot of anxiety about getting out of the military and whether I would be able to apply what I learned in uniform to the private sector. I had the opportunity to participate in the Career Skills Program internship for transitioning service members where I got to work as a product manager for a tech startup. I would say doing customer prototype demos on a new product I had overseen the development of was the most defining moment for me. This internship made me realize that while I may not have any experience in the tech sector, the leadership and team-building skills I developed in the military were incredibly applicable and helped me be successful in this new role. It helped prepare me for business school because it soothed my anxiety about transitioning and gave me the confidence I needed to be successful in pursuit of my future career goals in tech.

What special ingredient do you see yourself bringing to the Class of 2022? How will that enrich the MBA experience? While I don’t want to just be that former “Army Guy” in my class, I do think that the experiences I had while serving provide me with a sense of calm that will be beneficial to my classmates. Top MBA programs naturally attract a lot of Type A personalities (I would consider myself Type A) and I’ve seen how those personality types interact in some stressful situations. I want to assist in keeping everybody level-headed and focused on the end goal when academics or career recruiting becomes stressful.