Bootstrap Entrepreneur Retools Her Business Skill Set at Ross

Shannon Beeman
June 14, 2016

Tamasin Ford, MBA ’10

Founder and CEO, Power Up Tech Academy

Passion, perseverance and personal skills powered entrepreneur Tamasin Ford, MBA ’10, through the nine years she ran her first start-up business, SharpCurve Solutions, a custom web development company in Calgary, Canada. On year 10 she hit a wall. “As I began expanding my company and hiring new people, I found I didn’t have the management skills I needed to oversee additional employees, and I lacked confidence in my ability to handle the administration, finances and accounting functions of the business,” Ford says. “I was ready for a change, but SharpCurve Solutions had not reached the point where it could run without me. So I made the difficult decision to wind it down.”

Ford enrolled in the Ross School’s MBA program to gain the broad-based skill set and hands-on experience she needed to manage and operate a future business more effectively. From the moment she stepped onto the Ann Arbor campus, Ford took the initiative to immerse herself in the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by joining student business clubs, participating in Ross conferences and entering intercollegiate case competitions. She also gravitated toward core business courses that would help fill the gaps in her management and operational background. “My Ross MBA was a trajectory changer for me and a major accelerator for my career,” says Ford, who was selected by her peers for the 2010 Distinguished Leadership Award. “I gained an understanding of the opportunities I could take and strengthened my ability to reach out and grab them.” 

After graduation, in 2010, Ford spent four years at the Chicago office of the Boston Consulting Group, where she consolidated her business-school learnings and began managing teams of employees. Her entrepreneurial ambition resurfaced in 2014 when she identified a market need to teach computer coding to elementary-school children and launched a start-up company, Power Up Tech Academy, to meet that need. “I was an entrepreneur before, but that experience only prepared me 10% for running my new company,” Ford observes. “I attribute my early success at Power Up Tech Academy to my two years at Ross and my four years in management consulting rather than to my nine years at SharpCurve Solutions.”