By Diane Harman-Hoog (MBA ’83)
What a fateful day it was when I walked into business school at the University of Colorado Boulder to talk to an advisor. I had wanted to get a second bachelor’s degree in computer science, but the CU advisor I had spoken to said that they were not accepting people looking for a second bachelor’s degree and that I would have to get a master’s degree. He suggested the MBA program.
At the age of 40, this was a very intimidating option. I talked to the advisor at the Leeds School and decided to take the admission test. Reviewing advanced algebra was the first hurdle! I had four children, ages 6 to 15 years old at the time, and the middle of the night became my study time and I learned to survive on four hours. My mantra was that “You can do what you have to do.”
(Another important note was that I met my future husband, Carl Hoog, in Dr. Bernthal’s management class. It was over 10 years before we married, but we almost immediately became good friends.)
Diane Harman-Hoog (MBA ’83), manager with Boeing, Novell and Microsoft, and her husband, Carl Hoog (MBA ’83), financial analyst with Boeing, both now retired. They met at CU in 1981.
I received my MBA with an emphasis in information systems and in finance in 1983. The job market was very poor at that time, but after many months of a job search, the call came from an employer. My oldest son, Tony, and I hugged each other and danced around the room.
I must say that my education at CU was fairly theoretical and there was a giant leap to installing a computer system for a small Colorado company. PCs had just come out and I had to climb into the ceiling to do the wiring, program the system and train the employees. None of them had ever worked on a computer before. Since it was a small company, I also worked as a financial administrator for them. My education at CU had given me the confidence to successfully accomplish this task, if not the direct skills.
When I took my first classes at CU, we were still key punching data into card decks to be processed and you would have to wait a number of hours for the results to come back to see whether or not you made an error. For me, it usually took several tries before I could even hope to see any results. The computer room had key punch machines as well as teletypes. In the very back room, there were a couple of Tandy computers. When I first got my computer assignments, I would go down to the computer room and stare at all the machines because I could not figure out how to turn them on. It took a while before I caught someone reaching BEHIND a machine for the on switch. I have used this example many times in teaching new students to use computers. I want them to understand that I know where they are coming from. At least hardware designers finally put the switches on the front!
While I was at CU, my oldest daughter, Lisa Harman (now Welch), joined me in the business school as an undergraduate. Two years later, her brother Tony also started at the business school. We are now definitely a CU family: Lisa and Tony have degrees from the business school, my husband and I have MBAs, and now we have a third CU generation as my grandson, Tyler, is an undergraduate. With nine other grandchildren, perhaps the CU group will continue to grow.
Tony Harman, Tyler Harman, and Trey Harman
I often think back on the lessons I learned at CU. My ethics classes and other classes provided me with important tools for my future business career and also for my rather challenging life as a single mother of four. I had a teacher in high school who taught me the most important lesson of all. After I completed his class, he stopped to talk to me in the hall and asked me how I liked my new class. I replied that I did not find it very interesting. He said “What have you done to make it more interesting?” I have applied that lesson throughout the rest of my life. At CU, I delved into extra material and projects to add meaning to classes and in my life. I have continually gone further than required to make life more interesting.
Diane’s four adult children (l-r):
Tony Harman, Lisa Harman Welch, Terry Harman, and Melissa Harman-Krivanek
I return to Colorado often. My two sons, Tony and Terry Harman, both chose to raise their families in Colorado. Tony was featured in recent Portfolio article for his career in electronic gaming. Terry owns his own Colorado company, terryharman.com, where he provides marketing and retail materials designs. My daughter Lisa, received an MBA from USC where she worked after graduating from CU. She joined me in Washington and worked as an in-house trainer at Boeing; she has turned her considerable skills and energy toward raising her two daughters, both of whom are fine students and athletes. My youngest daughter, Melissa Harman Krivanek, is the mother of four children and a director with Volt Information Services. I am hoping that we will have more CU graduates in the future.
I went on to work at Boeing, Novell, and Microsoft before retiring. My husband worked at Boeing as a financial analyst until he retired. We travel some but working on computers is my true passion so I always have to get internet access. I try to visit during basketball season so that I can attend a few games, but there is nothing like the rush of Ralphie running around the field. When I am sitting there, it seems like I am still a part of this great university.
I am very grateful for the skills and attitudes that my family and I got through our Leeds College Education. It has opened numerous doors for us and allowed us to live useful and productive lives. We are sending the next generation on in the hope that they will be as fortunate as we have been.
Read about Diane’s volunteer work as a search angel, helping adoptees find their birth families in the Spring 2011 issue of Portfolio, the alumni magazine of the Leeds School of Business.