SPU alumnus Ian Cook – From small-town Alaskan boy to Seattle’s Slalom Build GM

Seattle Pacific University alumnus Ian Cook has been the general manager of Slalom Build for eight years now and manages over 1,000 employees across North America with teams handling hundreds of engineering projects every year for some 400 clients. 

Slalom Build is a BaaS (Build as a Service) company that helps businesses develop wide-ranging software tools including point-of-sale software, mobile apps for shipping companies to communicate and manage shifts with their truck drivers and products for exercise companies to assist customers in tracking workouts that consolidate data from fitness tracking devices.

Ian completed two bachelor’s degrees – Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration – and graduated summa cum laude in Seattle Pacific University’s Class of 2000.

On overcoming hurdles

Born in a house with no indoor plumbing and electricity until his fourth grade, Ian grew up on a homestead in the wilds of Kenai, Alaska, a small town with about 7,800 people.

Ian enjoying time with family on Matia Island in Washington’s San Juan islands.

In his youth, Ian recalls hauling wood in wagons and pumping water. “That certainly had a motivating factor for me in progressing my career,” he says.

It was around this time that he envisioned himself coding and working on computers. He decided to study computer science when he got into university.

Upon graduating, he landed his first job as a program manager of eSettleNow for five months before working in a number of software engineering jobs. He worked as Software Engineer at iSolute.com Inc for almost a year, Analyst at eCharge.com Inc for three years and Senior Manager at Accenture for over 11 years before finally landing the position of GM at Slalom Build.

On achieving success

For someone who came from a lower middle class background, Ian has overcome his hurdles and accomplished a lot in his personal life and professional career. He still continues to draw lessons from his youth and core values he developed through the years and put them to good use particularly in determining his priorities in life.

As GM of Slalom Build, he no longer builds software directly but he still likes to stay current in engineering and software development by getting certified in new programming languages.

At work, he runs meetings quickly and efficiently by communicating the reason for the meeting and providing a brief summary of what’s required. “One of my pet peeves is when people send me calendar invites with a vague title or subject and no description of what the meeting is going to be about,” Ian points out. “I especially dislike it when a meeting is blocked over another meeting I already have on my calendar.”

His advice for managing everyday work and life? “The most important thing to me is having a firm handle on your core values and knowing that those are being lived out.” He adds that there are so many competing demands for time both at home and at work that he goes back to his core values to anchor him, one of which is family.

Ian shares, “While at home, one of the rules I follow is putting my phone down and basically considering it the property of the family; that helps me stay present. Typically, if I need to use my phone or dedicate my attention to non-family related things, I’ll clear it with my wife. I try to talk proactively and intentionally about when I can come back mentally and fully be there, as opposed to looking up and realising I haven’t been present.”

(Sources: LinkedIn, GeekWire, Seattle Pacific University)

31 Jan 2021 Read more
Duquesne’s Accounting program, internationally-certified

Duquesne University’s Accounting program is now considered among the 52 internationally-certified Accounting programs in the world and one of 30 in the United States by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).

The IIA, an international association that brings together internal auditors from all over the world to professionalise the practice, has accepted Duquesne University as an Internal Audit Foundation Program in its global Internal Auditing Education Partnership (IAEP). Duquesne University is now the only school in Pennsylvania to have an IIA-certified program focused on the practice of internal audit.  

Duquesne’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) Accounting program is one of the major concentrations under the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business which prepares students for a career in corporate, industrial, government, nonprofit or public accounting. Other majors include Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems Management, International Business, Marketing, Management and Supply Chain Management.

From co-op placement to professional career

As students are taught to develop critical thinking skills and learn to identify, analyse and recommend solutions for vital business issues, they also get an opportunity to participate in a co-op placement program and start their professional career upon graduating.

Duquesne’s BSBA-to-MAcc: Co-op to Career Program allows students to complete two degrees and qualify as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in just five years after completing their Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Accountancy programs. This also includes a paid co-op experience for one semester.

Students only pay tuition for 4½ years since they’re still considered full-time students while earning money at an accounting company in the second semester of their senior year. Once they have completed their 150-credit hour educational requirement, they can then sit for the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam and increase their chances of landing their dream job in a top Accounting firm or receive priority consideration for permanent positions at partner firms upon graduating.

Companies participating in Duquesne University’s Co-op Program include the following:

  • BKD
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst & Young
  • FedEx
  • Grant Thornton
  • Grossman Yanak & Ford
  • Hill, Barth & King
  • KPMG
  • PNC
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Schneider Downs

The Co-op Program is open to current freshmen or sophomores in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business who are able to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3 to remain eligible.

31 Jan 2021 Read more
Turning the spotlight on TU Dublin’s MSc in Energy Management ­

With a Master’s degree that integrates energy, environmental issues and management, graduates of the Master of Science in Energy Management are poised to have highly-esteemed, relevant careers in the next few years.

Intended for engineers, scientists and related multi-discipline professionals, students under the program will gain the knack for managing resources and technologies in the midst of challenging environmental and financial constraints as they will be equipped to understand European energy and environmental issues in relation to the laws, standards and technologies that govern them.

The Master’s degree includes units in business, specifically organisational behaviour, business law, financial decision-making, energy supply, energy conversion and use, energy management principles and practice, energy and environmental law and policy, sustainable building design, renewable energy technologies and financial management to name some.

Working towards sustainable societies

“The MSc in Energy Management is a very relevant degree program in today’s ever-changing global environment and volatile economies,” says Jacob Kestner, Senior Vice President of EduCo in Ireland. “This is particularly ideal for professionals who are in industry sectors that are directly linked to energy, health and the environment.”

Scientists, researchers and multi-discipline professionals such as environment health officers, architects and planning officers will be in the forefront of the dynamic global landscape as they design programs and projects that will address the issues affecting communities and disrupting people’s way of life. These professionals will be better prepared to efficiently use resources that will bring about a better quality of life for society in general.

Mr Kestner adds, “The challenge of integrating energy and environmental issues such as climate change and economic policy has been an all-too-pressing concern for decisionmakers. We would like our Master’s students and future graduates to be part of these exciting developments in the future.”

Program requirements

A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Honours) with at least 2.2 honours award is required for students to proceed directly into the MSc in Energy Management program. Their IELTS should also be at least 6.5 overall with no band less than 6.0 for each component.

For those who do not meet this standard requirement, they should hold the equivalent of a combination of qualifications and relevant work experience, subject to evaluation by Technological University Dublin.

For scholarships and other entry requirements, education counsellors and students may check out the EduCo Course Finder or coordinate with the EduCo representative in their region.

31 Jan 2021 Read more
Survey says 79% of international students have a positive student experience

survey of the student experience of some 40,000 students in 27 Irish higher education institutions (HEIs) reveals that 78.6% of international students are generally positive about their teaching and learning experiences. Of this number, 25% say they have ‘excellent’ interactions with academic advisors in 2019.

The Irish Survey of Student Engagement National Report 2019 also highlights the 26.35% growth of international student participation in the survey over the last three years. The number has grown from 11,406 in 2016 to 14,412 in 2019. Those invited to participate in the student experience survey included first and final year students and taught postgraduate students.

Early this year, the European Migration Network has reported that Ireland grew its international students from non-EEA (non-European Economic Area) countries by 45% over a five-year period from 2013 to 2017. A growing number of international students are choosing to study in Ireland, a country renowned for its educational offering and its increasing number of employment opportunities. In another report released by the PIE Review Edition 22, enrolments rose to 23,127 in 2016-17 from 19,679 in the 2014-15 period, and international student figures have been steadily climbing up year after year.

This steady growth came about after the Department of Education and Skills launched the Irish Government’s International Education Strategy 2016-20 which aims to grow international student numbers for both higher education and English language studies. Ireland will soon become the only English-speaking country in the European Union after Brexit.

HEIs such as Maynooth UniversityTechnological University DublinIT Sligo and Dublin City University have also noted the positive feedback from their students. International students particularly those taking their graduate degree programs have indicated that they are satisfied with quality of engagement and support being extended to them in areas that matter most such as (1) career advice, (2) placement and internship and (3) training in entrepreneurship and innovation.

“The [survey] results show some very positive signs around international student engagement with the staff in institutions and services such as career guidance and this is welcome,” says Sarah Lennon, executive director of the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS).

She adds that international students are an important source of income for Irish universities, colleges and English language schools. “It is essential that we don’t just think about international students in terms of the economic impact but also their rights and welfare,” she points out. “We must also recognise that international students add to the richness of our educational institutions.”

31 Jan 2021 Read more
How DCU’s foundation programs benefit students

International students from Asia, Europe and the Middle East have extolled the benefits of Dublin City University’s International Foundation Programs (IFPs), pathway programs designed to prepare international students for entry into their bachelor’s or master’s degrees and hone their English proficiency as they interact with the university’s 16,000 students from 109 countries.

Hongtong Liu of China shares that the foundations course has been a good opportunity for her to organise her thoughts, think critically and express her ideas using the English language. She is now preparing for her master’s degree in finance which will start in September.

“Life in Dublin has been very good, within and outside the university campus. The Irish people are very friendly and very helpful. They’re lovely!” she gushed.

Fondly called Lola by her classmates and colleagues at her part-time job, Liu says that she has learned English not only in the classroom but also at work and she likes chatting with the locals for practice.

Her advice to international students: “Don’t be afraid to talk to people to improve your English. Be confident and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.” She explains further that even though some international students have no trouble reading, listening and writing in English, speaking the language is still very important.

DCU has partnered with EduCo whose local representatives in key countries worldwide have been assisting international students in their application to the foundation programs (application details below).

The university’s proud tradition of world-class academic excellence, research and innovation has placed them in QS’ Top 50 under 50 has made them International Student Barometer’s #1 university for work experience and careers advice. Students can avail of the world-class facilities and services on campus even while on the IFP. They can get the best of their education as many of the DCU degrees include either a work placement, consultancy or research project with an industry.

Academic entry requirements

Undegraduate (UG) Study IELTS score of 6.5, with no component less than 6.0 12 years of school equivalent to the Irish exam system e.g. A-levels, IB or equivalent

September 2018

Postgraduate (PG) Study

IELTS score of 6.5, with no component less than 6.0

4-year Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university with a score equivalent to 2.1 or 60%

September 2018

Foundation/English language entry requirements

The foundation program is open to UG and PG students who just fall short on the direct entry academic requirements.




One semester IELTS score of 6.0, with no component less than 5.5 or TOEFL score of 60-78 January or May 2019
Two semesters IELTS score of 5.5, with no component less than 5.0 or TOEFL score of 46-59 September 2018 or January 2019

How to apply

1.) Students should specify the bachelor’s or master’s degree program that they wish to study.

2.) They may then submit their application to info@educoglobal.com or their local EduCo repsentative and receive advice on the appropriate foundation program for them.

3.) Once their applications are assessed and approved, students will receive an offer to study in both the international foundation program and bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program.

4.) Students who successfully complete the IFP can then proceed to their bachelor’s or master’s degree studies.

31 Jan 2021 Read more
Arbutus College student testimonials demonstrate student satisfaction

Three students of Arbutus College share their Canadian study experience in the institution’s newly-released video on social media. Bruna Weber from Brazil, Dejana Djekic from Serbia and Shiela Tolentino from the Philippines talk about their study goals and the support extended by the College to help them realise their dreams of a future loaded with promising opportunities.

The three ladies express their appreciation for Arbutus
College, a truly multicultural
campus where diversity is celebrated and an inclusive culture is encouraged. Arbutus
College students come from all over the globe seeking to fulfil the experience
of a lifetime — seeing the world while studying and working for their Canadian

Weber, Brazil

“I always
thought that studying and working abroad was a distant dream for many reasons —
my fear of not being able to communicate in another language, of not having
enough money, of the unknown,”

Bruna relates.

Bruna says that
Canada has always been at the top of her bucket list.  She’s fascinated by the scenic views and
natural beauty of Vancouver. She fell in love with all that the city has to
offer when she first came and decided that it was time to find the best study
option. “That’s when I found Arbutus College in downtown Vancouver,” she
says. “The fear I had just disappeared. The school welcomed me and
understood what I needed,” she adds. “Today I have my study and work permit in
the country.”

Djekic, Serbia

“I came just
by myself — alone and missing the familiar surroundings of my home country, Serbia,”

confides Dejana. “Arbutus
helped me meet a lot of new people from different countries and that’s the most
exciting thing.”

Dejana is happy
with how her life and studies have turned out. She’s comfortable in her new
surroundings especially with the campus located in downtown Vancouver. Arbutus
College is very accessible by public transport like trains and buses. The
campus is also near shops and dining places, with lots of walking tracks and
parks for a leisurely walk with schoolmates.

Tolentino, Philippines

“It’s amazing being at Arbutus,” Shiela gushes. As she reflects on her journey, she says that she didn’t realise how big the world is until she actually travelled and sought the adventure of a lifetime. And what better way than to get an education abroad! “You don’t realise it until you’re actually here. The world is just so big and full of opportunities.”

Shiela feels at
home on campus. She likes her classes and lecturers as well as the facilities which
make learning more conducive. She is excited to complete her studies and move
on to the next phase of her life. Arbutus College is preparing her for the
global job market through the co-op placement.

campus full of happy faces

Patrick Liem,
Senior Educational Administrator of Arbutus College, points out that the campus
is not only conducive to learning but is also comprised of faculty and staff who
are supportive of international students’ needs. Students enjoy the facilities
and are happy with their lecturer. He says, “When you walk around campus,
you will see many happy faces. We have great instructors. Most of them have a master’s
degree and more than 10 years of teaching experience.”

College’s strong partnership with industry has ensured internships and
practical work experience for its students. It has tie-ups with the Canadian
Institute of Management, Forum of International Trade Training and the American
Hotel and Lodging Association.

Through the
years, it has grown its relationship with local businesses around Vancouver. Students
can expect quality co-op placements in many different types of companies and
gain access to the Canadian workplace. All students enrolled in the co-op
diploma programs can apply for a Canadian Work Permit.

Arbutus College has also established linkages with universities and other educational institutions such as Acsenda School of Management for students wanting to further their studies and pursue a bachelor’s degree.

The nearest intake will be on 31 March. Education agents and prospective students may refer to the intake dates the year. For other details, they may send their enquiries here or contact the local EduCo representative in their region.

next step

Students come
to Canada for the experience of a lifetime — see the world, take in a new culture,
hone their English language skills, seek career opportunities and further their
education in and outside of a campus environment.

For Bruna,
Dejana and Shiela, their student journey at Arbutus College is a step closer to
their dreams. They have chosen to study, work and live in a new country. They
are scared but undaunted at the same time. As Bruna explains it, “I want to
explore my potential here and Arbutus College helped me to take the next step –
access the job market. And the dream that seems so far has become true.
So it’s time to go and search for new challenges more and more.”

31 Jan 2021 Read more