YEOC marks end of the year with competition and celebration

With summer break just on the horizon, students are preparing for a little down time before they transition to the next chapter in their lives. However, before the vacations and summer jobs begin, YEOC marked the occasion with the Annual Case Competition and End of the Year Celebration.

Inspired by the popular TV show Shark Tank, the entrepreneurial-themed case competition highlighted the students’ creativity, business insights, and teamwork skills. Prompted to “solve a problem that the world is facing today using technology” students worked together in groups to create their own innovative solutions. With thirty judges from the business and higher education communities in attendance, thirty YEOC student teams competed against one another for the top prize. After three rounds, it was the “Piezo board” that took first place. Described as a piezoelectric crystal floorboard that captures energy from the footsteps of passing pedestrians, the winning team received a check for $1,000 and a trip to the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Gala.

During the celebrations, EY took the time to showcase their commitment to the YEOC program. With a giant check in tow, the company renewed its pledge of support with $225,000 over the next three years. EY partners Glenn Carrington and Matthew Alexander also surprised the audience with personal donations of $1,000 each.

See photos of the celebration below:

YEOC students
A group of YEOC students
YEOC Mentors and MITs
YEOC Mentors and MITs
Winning team
Winning case competition team
sponsorship renewal
EY’s $225,000 sponsorship renewal for YEOC

Find out more about the YEOC program on the Foster website.

Foster Professional Sales Program 18th Annual Spring Business Partner Breakfast

Guest post by Rick Carter, assistant director, Foster Professional Sales Program Foster Professional Sales Program

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Celebrating the Foster Professional Sales Program 18th Annual Spring Business Partner Breakfast

On May 20, close to 500 guests celebrated the accomplishments of 125 students who have completed practicums with 66 business partners from the Puget Sound Area. The student-led celebration showcased the winners of the National Team Selling Competition, the National Collegiate Sales Competition, and the Husky Sales Club’s $18,000 gift to the program.

Conner Olsen of The Broderick Group, Hanna Klemm of Towers Watson, and Tyler McManigal of F-5–all alumni of the program–were interviewed by Dick Foley on their experiences as recent grads living out their education in real world application. “This program set me apart from my colleagues, giving me a quick start and advantage in my success and advancement.” All have experienced rapid growth and are very successful in their positions.

Congratulations to the Foster Professional Sales Program Class of 2015.

Colours By Design | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Patty Maggard Prediletto, owner of Colours By Design, an interior design firm based in Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered by the Consulting & Business Development Center. This program wrapped up this May with more than 100 graduates since January of 2015.

Patty_PhotoMy name is Patty Maggard Prediletto and my business is Colours By Design.  As a sole proprietor of a home-based interior design business, I was surprised when the Consulting & Business Development Center asked me to tell the story of my company.  My initial thought was that a larger firm, due to their higher number of employees, crews, and supervisors to manage would make a better story about the impact of this program.  Then I realized just how diverse the mix of my fellow classmates was in the Business Certificate Program.  These included owners of small businesses (like mine) as well as employees from large companies.  I’ve come to realize that although we have different perspectives on business, the tools that we learned can help us all in different ways.

I may not have a staff or a board of directors, but I do have clients and subcontractors that I work with; I make decisions with and for my clients on a daily basis; and I have to brainstorm how to approach a project and how to make snap decisions to keep jobs flowing.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.  We all work on the same principles, we are here to make a profit, and I’ve realized through the BCP that companies both big and small use the same tools to accomplish these goals.

BCP teaches three major subjects: marketing, management, and finance & accounting.  Here are my takeaways that I was able to bring back to Colours By Design.

Marketing: I know my name is long, but that is part of my brand.  I was Maggard for the first 20 years of my career and built up that name recognition.  When I remarried I knew I needed to keep that name as that is my brand and how I am known.  This class has helped me to put that into focus and helped me to better understand how important identity or branding is.  I knew that branding was important but BCP showed my why.

Management: When I am dealing with a couple, many times there are differences of opinions and tastes. It is my job to bring both sides together and come to a decision that everyone is happy with.  I joke that I have a marriage counseling degree!  With this course, I now have more tools in my toolbox to help me mediate the decision-making process.

Finance & Accounting: I have written a business plan and I readily admit that I am more creative than a financial whiz.  However, I know it is a very important part of any business to have an understanding of how money flows and how to adjust to changes.

I would like to thank Domex Superfresh Growers for bringing the UW Foster School of Business to our community.  I found the instructors were very engaging and entertaining.  The teamwork exercises were fun, creative, and really helped me understand the concepts.  It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this course is for all businesses, large or small like me.

2015 UDS graduation ceremony

On Saturday May 17th, students, families, Foster staff, and community members gathered in Anthony’s Forum to celebrate the Undergraduate Diversity Services (UDS) graduating class of 2015! The goal of UDS is to attract, recruit and retain diverse students here at the Foster School of Business. These UDS graduates have participated in the UDS pipeline programs (YEOC, B2, ALVA, BEOP) and diverse student organizations (ABBS, NABA, ALPFA). During the event, the soon-to-be Foster alums took to the stage to receive a custom UDS stole and a special message of congratulations from Undergraduate Assistant Dean Vikki Haag Day and former UDS Associate Director Jai-Anana Elliott. Attendees also heard from staff members Kate Merriwether (Assistant to Undergraduate Deans), Pamela Lacson (Associate Director of Diversity & Recruitment), and Korrie Miller (YEOC Program Manager).

See photos from the celebration below:

UDS_Graduation_2015-007-X2UDS_Graduation_2015-195-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-147-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-201-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-206-X2
Learn more about UDS on the Foster website.

2015 Undergraduate Consulting Challenge

Big Time Brewery owner Rick McLaughlin with winning student team from South Seattle Community College – Louise Bayona, Amber Jiang, Gosay Mohammed and Aliya Zhaxylykbayeva.
Gargoyles Statuary owner Gayle Nowicki with winning student team Jeremy Santos, Anthony Li, Emmeline Vu, and Jennifer Louie.
Panache206 owner Elizabeth Morris with colleagues and winning student team Ataur Rahman, John Tran, Alan Cai, and Anthony Shen.

On Friday, May 8, the Consulting and Business Development Center hosted the Undergraduate Consulting Challenge, pairing three local small businesses – Big Time Brewery,  Gargoyles Statuary, and Panache206 with teams of students who were given a week to create a plan that would aid in the growth and development of each client.

Approximately 60 students formed teams of three or four to research and analyze the companies in order to develop recommendations to present at the competition.  For the first time, the Consulting and Business Development Center extended the invitation to compete beyond UW to business students from community colleges throughout the state. South Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College each sent four students to compete in the challenge – with the South Seattle team winning first place for their recommendations to Big Time Brewery!

Each student team presented dynamic ideas and data to the business owners and panel of  judges from event sponsors Key Bank and Target as well as professionals from  Community Sourced Capital, Crown Moving, PaintBox Labs Media Group and Project Management Institute who volunteered their time and expertise. Following the presentations, all attendees gathered in Deloitte Commons for a celebratory lunch and networking opportunity for students, business owners and professionals. After lunch the winning teams for each business were announced and each winning team member received a $200 gift card prize.

Congratulations to all involved with the 2015 spring Undergraduate Consulting Challenge!

For information about the next Consulting Challenge email: Consult1@uw.edu

Thank you to James Dennis Professional Photography

Veterans way

A growing company of armed forces vets is choosing the Foster School to transition from military to corporate careers, and the benefits go both ways

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Dan Boirum

Dan Boirum was leading a search-and-destroy operation up the remote Arghandab River valley of Afghanistan when a 100-pound improvised bomb exploded under his armored vehicle, wounding four crewmen, one critically.

The blast knocked Boirum unconscious. But he recovered to resume command of his US Army Stryker platoon and its mission: stabilize this volatile region at the front lines of the war on terror—a task that required a precarious balancing of military might and cultural diplomacy that is perhaps unprecedented in wartime history.

Today, just a few years removed from the dust and dangers of Kandahar Province, Boirum is back in his home town of Seattle, learning to manage in a very different context at the Foster School of Business. His combat experience and leadership credentials aren’t exactly typical at Foster. But he’s hardly alone, either.

In the past few years, a growing cohort of veterans of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have come to Foster, looking to power their transition from military to corporate careers.

“I came to Foster hoping it would give me the ability to learn about the various aspects of business and then give me a path to a new career,” says Boirum, a first-year student in the Full-time MBA Program. “I didn’t come in with a plan. I came knowing that it would be a place where I could figure it out in a safe environment and with all the support I could possibly ask for.”

Back to school

Foster is part of a nationwide surge of military veterans flooding into colleges and universities to plot civilian careers. Recent troop withdrawals and military budget cuts are expected to send 1.5 million service members into the civilian workforce by 2019.

At the same time, the education benefits available to veterans and active duty military have never been better. The largest is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which covers tuition, books and housing costs.

“The GI Bill made all the difference to me,” adds Matthew Nutsch (TMMBA 2014), a recent graduate of Foster’s Technology Management MBA Program who served in the Navy as an electrician on a nuclear-powered submarine and is now a senior management systems analyst at Seattle City Light . “It’s an amazingly good deal and the TMMBA Program is so dynamic that it would feel wasteful not to take advantage. The education has changed my life.”

Tony Casement, lead counselor at the University of Washington Veterans Center, says that’s a common sentiment: “Instead of getting out and trying to go straight to work, many military vets are taking advantage of the benefits to advance their education and enter the workforce with a better job.”

A great place to restart

It happens that one of the best places to advance that education is the UW. U.S. News & World Report named the UW second nationally in its 2015 ranking of Best Colleges for Veterans.

Casement believes the reasons for the ranking begin with proximity to multiple military bases, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Whidbey Island, Kitsap and Everett Naval Bases. He also factors the university’s generous tuition waivers and other assistance for veterans; a proliferation of military student organizations; and a high-functioning Veterans Center that advises students, offers career counseling, and removes the pain of finding and applying benefits so veterans can focus on their studies.

The university’s sterling international reputation doesn’t hurt, either. “The UW is not only military friendly, but also a great name academically,” Casement adds. “It makes a lot of sense to go here.”

He says that more than 1,500 students at the Seattle campus are receiving some form of military benefit, which is transferrable to dependents. Of that number, around 700 are veterans or active duty service members. And nearly 80 of them are enrolled at the Foster School.

Finding Foster

Casement believes that business is a popular field of study for veterans because it opens doors to so many lines of civilian work, and because many of the management and leadership skills mastered in the military—especially by officers—are transferrable.

This may explain why the largest jump in military enrollment at Foster is occurring in the MBA programs. The Full-time MBA has seen a doubling of veterans and active duty officers in the past couple of years alone.

Why Foster? Start with its reputation and ranking in the upmost echelons of American b-schools. Add its personalized approach to teaching, advising and career services, plus its long tradition of assisting dramatic career transformations.

Foster_Veterans-096_retouched_webcrop
Norma Domingo and Chris Wigley

But the thing that seems to appeal most of all to military veterans is the school’s genuine culture of collaboration. “There is definitely a different culture at Foster,” says Chris Wigley, a second-year MBA who has compared notes with Army buddies studying in MBA programs across the country. “For me, the collaborative environment here has been enormously beneficial.”

It’s familiar territory for anyone who has served in any branch of the military where, as Boirum says, “everything is a collaboration.”

The full package

Collaboration goes both ways. And Foster veterans give as good as they get.

According to Dan Poston, assistant dean for masters programs at Foster, students with military backgrounds add immeasurably to the shared learning environment.

“We’re looking for classes with a diversity of perspectives,” he says. “Military students bring a facility with structure and organization to get things done. These are very positive traits to have in any team. Plus, they share their leadership training, both formally and informally.”

That training is the best in any business, according to Bruce Avolio, director of the Foster School’s Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking and author of multiple studies on military leadership.

“What you see in our military is what we expect from our leaders in business: authentic, ethical, adaptive, agile role models who focus on development and put collective interest above themselves,” Avolio says. “This comes from a program of training and development that exceeds any business organization in the US or likely on Earth.”

But leadership is not the only asset that veterans bring to the management classroom. Avolio adds that they offer wisdom from having dealt with the most difficult decisions in life. They are comfortable working in hostile environments and ambiguous situations. They have a deep sense of team and self-sacrifice. They appreciate the ultimate importance of ethics. And they bring a learning orientation that challenges others in a respectful way.

Brave new world

So why do they need a business degree? Part of the value is simply in the time and opportunity to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives—especially for people with little work experience or professional network outside of the service.

“It’s hard for military people to start over,” explains Norma Domingo, a former aircraft mechanic in the Navy now studying human resources management in Foster’s Undergraduate Program. “You’ve earned a rank and a name for yourself. But that doesn’t carry over to the civilian world. I’m the same as every other Foster undergrad. We’re all here to start something new.”

Beyond career discernment and the acquisition of technical knowledge in the business disciplines, many veterans use Foster to “demilitarize” themselves, as Ryan McCarthy puts it. “In the Army we wear our rank on our chest, so you always know a person’s level of authority,” says the former artillery officer now pursuing his Foster MBA. “Here in business school and in corporate America, you have to be persuasive without the rank.”

Transferring soft skills is only half the battle. The other half is translation. “Bragging about your accomplishments is frowned upon in the military,” says Wigley. “But when you interview with a company, that’s exactly what you have to do. When you’re not used to telling that story, it can come out raw and unrefined.”

Poston says that Foster’s program staffs and career services excel at helping veterans communicate the assets they bring to any organization: “We help with the meat and the message, framing their experience in a way that has relevance to a recruiter.”

Nested networks

Military and ex-military students at Foster report a kind of sixth sense (or is it radar?) for finding each other in class. Maybe it’s their age. Or something in the way they speak, or carry themselves. Whatever it is, the bond is inescapable, the product of a shared experience, whichever their flavor of military service.

Now Foster vets have a more formal place to find each other. The student-organized MBA Veterans Association is only a few years old, but it’s rapidly evolving from social club to network hub.

The current officers are working with undergraduate leaders to charter a BA chapter of the organization. They are advising prospective students, coordinating with the Husky United Military Veterans organization (HUMV) to create a mentor program, hosting career development and networking events, and connecting with military bases and area employers to develop a military-to-corporate pipeline.

“The MBA Program administrators talk about how we have a golden ticket as a student,” says Veterans Association president Wigley. “I think we have a second golden ticket as veterans. If you reach out to vets at all kinds of companies, they’re usually more than willing to help.”

An old habit that dies hard.

Dan Boirum describes the connection between veterans in familial terms. He recalls suiting up for an interview with Liberty Mutual when a couple of classmates stepped in to perform an informal class A uniform inspection—even swapping watches so he’d look sharper. “It was just an instinctive thing,” he says. “Your buddy is going into an important meeting, so we’ll look you over, straighten you up. There’s a definite brother/sisterhood here—all within the larger Foster family.”

Passion and purpose

That’s the ultimate expression of the Foster student experience.

Matt Pescador, an executive officer in his 20th year with the Navy, enrolled in Foster’s Executive MBA Program preparing for an eventual second career, ideally at a comparable level of seniority. What he’s found is the definition of a symbiotic relationship. And endless inspiration.

“I have deep experience in leadership, and the executives in my program bring a fast-paced technocracy that I’m not familiar with,” he says. “The relationship between what they learn from me and what I learn from them is exactly what the program is trying to foster.”

For Boirum, those relationships—with people from every background who share a genuine passion—are the keys to his transformation to a successful and meaningful civilian life.

“When you transition out of the military, one of the things you’re most concerned about is finding another place where you belong, where there is a shared sense of purpose to make the world a better place. I was afraid that I’d leave the Army and be lost,” he says. “But at the Foster School I’m surrounded by people who want to be part of something special together, something bigger than themselves. I never feel lost here.”

The version of this article that appears in the spring 2015 issue of Foster Business includes profiles of six additional Foster veterans.

$77,500 awarded to student-led startups

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Linda Derschang, 2015 UW BPC Awards Dinner Keynote Speaker

May 21, 2015 – “No matter how smart we are, or how smart we think we are, we all need advice,” said keynote speaker LInda Derschang, founder of The Derschang Group, GSBA 2015 Business Leader of the Year, and owner of some of Seattle’s favorite bars and restaurants, “But remember,” she continued, “advice is like a gift. Say thank you, but make sure it fits before you rip the tag off.”

Derschang spoke to a crowd of over 300 judges, mentors, and student entrepreneurs who were gathered at the Bell Harbor Conference Center Thursday evening to award a record number of prizes—14—and a record amount of seed funding—over $77,000—to participants of the 18th annual  UW Business Plan Competition.

The UW Business Plan Competition, run by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business , offers innovative and entrepreneurial students an opportunity to turn their ideas into compelling and viable startups. In the past 18 years 1,278 student teams from 16 colleges and universities around Washington State have participated in the competition, and the Buerk Center has awarded over $1.3 million in prize money/seed funding to 140 winning teams—over half of which are still in business.

While this year’s winning teams represent many industries, a significant number are innovating in the area of life sciences. Empreva, for example, has developed a new method of birth control and STI prevention, and vHAB’s technology helps stroke patients rehabilitate their fine motor skills.

The winners will use their prize money to turn their student teams into early-stage startups—some may apply to the Buerk Center’s Jones + Foster Accelerator, which provides mentoring and guidance through the decisive first six months of the startup process.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

$25,000 Grand Prize

sponsored by the Herbert B. Jones Foundation

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Vie Diagnostics with Michael Bauer, President of the Herbert B. Jones Foundation

Vie Diagnostics
(University of Washington)
A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.
Team members: Mark Borysiak, Charlie Corredor, Babak Modhadam


$10,000 Second Place Prize

sponsored by WRF Capital

Empreva_SecondPlace2015_900x534
Empreva with Buerk Center Advisory Board member Ron Howell, President and CEO of the Washington Research Foundation

Empreva
(University of Washington)
Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention.Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.
Team members: Anna Blakney, Matt Brady, Yonghou Jiang, Jonathan Kilpatrick, Tracy Lam-Hine, Renuka Ramanathan

$7,520.15 Finalist Prize

sponsored by the Friends of the BPC

Hook_Finalist2015_900x578
Hook with Buerk Center Advisory Board member Elizabeth Morgan, partner at IBM

Hook (University)
Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.
Team members: Anirudh Goel,  Rahil Jain, Paul Jeyasingh, Kashyap Kasturi Rangan, Robert Moehle, Saurin Shah, Eric Vera, Arthur Wang, Maxwell Wheeler

$5,000 Finalist Prize

sponsored by Fenwick & West

vHAB_Finalist2015_900x626vHAB (University of Washington)
vHAB is a virtual rehabilitation platform that helps patients regain fine motor skills to lead autonomous lives again. vHAB enables occupational therapists to customize patient treatment and accurately monitor progress through engaging and dynamic video games. System portability and precision metrics pose a competitive advantage for rehabilitation facilities, allowing delivery of quality treatment to patients – anywhere, anytime. vHAB saves rehabilitation facilities time and money. Most importantly, vHAB empowers patients to reclaim their independence.
Team members: Dimitrios Gklezakos Rita Jabbouri, Tyler Libey, Brian Mogen, Ellyce Shullman

 

$5,000 AARP Prize

Targeted for teams that best address the challenges faced by low-income seniors: affordable age-in-place housing; affordable healthy food; increased income; and the impact of isolation on physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Co OpticalCo Optical (Washington State University)
Co Optical specializes in lifestyle management technologies, with a flagship product that revolutionizes diabetes management by continuously and non-invasively monitoring blood glucose. This wearable device, structured as a pair of glasses, improves convenience and enhances the overall user experience allowing seamless integration of lifestyle management strategies into the everyday lives of people with diabetes.
Team members: Samuel Byrd, Zane Duke, Amber Graviet, Qassem Naim

 

$5,000 Wells Fargo Clean Tech Prize

Recognizes a venture with products, services, or processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, and cut or eliminate emissions and wastes.

NOVA TechnologiesNOVA Technologies (Western Washington University and University of Washington)
NOVA Technologies’ Smart Solar Window uses transparent nanotechnology to create clean, local electricity that can turn skyscrapers into giant solar arrays and reduce HVAC systems costs, an innovative link to a carbon neutral future.
Team members: Hannah Bouscher-Gage, Christian Erickson, James Kintzele, Ashley Loper, James Mayther, Sarah O’Sell, Adam Slater, Ryan Sumner


 

$2500 Best Idea Prizes

Best Technology Prize

sponsored by UIEvolution

Microsoft Word - UW_ES_1page.docxTriboTEX (Washington State University)
TriboTEX aims to extend the operational life-span of industrial machinery by improving efficiency where lubricated friction takes place. TriboTEX’s self-assembling nanostructured lubricious coating provides regenerative effects to frictional surface during normal operation.
Team members: Tom Gualtieri, Matt Hanley, Qassem Naim, Pavlo Rudenko

Best Marketplace Prize

sponsored by ebay Enterprise

Park A LotPark A Lot (University of Washington)
Park A Lot is a platform connecting private businesses who have unused parking spaces with customers looking for parking. Lot owners sign up on a hop-on, hop-off platform and their lots become available to the public, generating them revenue. Customers use Park A Lot’s website or app to purchase parking on a lot of their choice from their home or mobile device.
Team members: Diane Dettling, Bo Gao, Daniel Johnson, Justin Meith, Anna Nordstrom

Best Service/Retail Prize

sponsored by REI

SmartyPantsSmartyPants (University of Washington)
SmartyPants reinvents toilet training and mitigates adult incontinence issues to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills. It predicts impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet. The company’s innovative, first-of-its-kind, technology creates value for the consumers by saving on diaper purchases and the environment by reducing waste and biohazard from disposable diapers.
Team members: Caitlin Cramer, Christian Redd, Shon Schmidt, Vince Wu

Best Consumer Product Prize

sponsored by Accenture

HookHook (University of Washington)
Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.
Team members: Anirudh Goel,  Rahil Jain, Paul Jeyasingh, Kashyap Kasturi Rangan, Robert Moehle, Saurin Shah, Eric Vera, Arthur Wang, Maxwell Wheeler

Best Sustainable Advantage Prize

sponsored by Sensors In Motion

JikoPowerJikoPower (University of Washington)
JikoPower makes thermo-electric generators to turn ordinary cook stoves into personal charging stations for off-grid households that have small electronic devices in the developing world. JikoPower POWERS devices, but it EMPOWERS people.
Team members: Ryan Ahearn, Joe Koch, Aaron Owen, Daniel Parrish, Shubba Pratiwadibhayankar, Meghna Singla

Best Innovation Prize

sponsored by Perkins Coie

Vie DiagnosticsVie Diagnostics (University of Washington)
A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.
Team members: Mark Borysiak, Charlie Corredor, Babak Modhadam

Best Health/Healthcare Prize

sponsored by Cambia

EmprevaEmpreva (University of Washington)
Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention. Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.
Team members: Anna Blakney, Matt Brady, Yonghou Jiang, Jonathan Kilpatrick, Tracy Lam-Hine, Renuka Ramanathan

Best Idea for the Future Prize

sponsored by DLA Piper

PowerPoint PresentationmiPS (University of Washington)
miPS is the first consumer stem cell generation and cell banking service. miPS allows consumers to store their adult cells to prevent cellular aging, generate stem cell lines for research, and use banked cells for future stem cell therapies.
Team members: Alex Jiao, Jenna Strully, Ned Whalen

 

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Authentic international business experience at the Specialty Coffee Event

Guest post by Cristina Stefan, Foster undergraduate and Certificate of International Studies in Business student

Through the Certificate of International Studies in Business program (CISB), I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 27th edition of the Specialty Coffee Event, which took place April 9–12 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Josef Moreno and I volunteered to work with the honorary consulate of Peru, located in Seattle, to help translate and interpret for the coffee roasters that had come from all over Peru to show their merchandise and enter the international coffee market. For some it was their second or third time attending the event, but for others it was their first time outside of their home country. We did our best to support them and help them in their interactions with the consumers and retailers present at the trade show.

It was an unimaginable experience and a perfect way to put my Spanish language skills to use. While Joe helped with a private meeting among the Peruvian vendors, I interpreted for the coffee roasters–some of whom spoke a very distinct Spanish dialect specific to the region they had come from. I facilitated information exchanges and future travel arrangements between coffee growers, toasters, vendors, and buyers from all over the world who had come to the Peruvian booths to learn about the delicious coffee grown in Peru.

Being so closely involved not only enriched my vocabulary and stretched my thinking, but also opened my eyes to a new industry few people know the details of. Among the coffee types we tried were Geisha, Catuai, Caturra, Colombiana, Arusha, Kona, Java, and Pache. We discovered “cupping,” a very unique coffee tasting technique, using a spoon and very briskly sipping the coffee. Who knew being a coffee taster also requires a specific certification?

We were able to observe how coffee is toasted, bagged, and even roasted and prepared in the different machines and then served. We tried iced coffees, frappes, Italian sodas, and many other delicious coffee based products.

Above all, the cultural experience and the ability to interact and network with professionals in the coffee industry was invaluable. Observing the different negotiation techniques and all the cultural differences based on the country of origin of the attendees reminded me of all that I’ve learned about international business in my classes here at Foster. This was probably the most authentic international business setting I have participated in.

Historic MBA class gift seeds Foster’s first student-run investment fund

MBA-Investment-Fund3
Senior lecturer Lance Young and portfolio managers Brennen Ricks, Tristan Toomey, Aalok Shah and Brett Schulte.

Lance Young is not afraid to wield a sports metaphor when it’s warranted. And to describe the Foster School’s new MBA Investment Fund, his game of choice is baseball.

“It’s like AAA ball,” says the senior lecturer in finance who serves as faculty advisor for the nascent student-managed fund. “We play the game to the best of our ability the way it’s played by research and money management shops, applying all of the frameworks we learn here at Foster.”

That is to say, the school’s “minor league of investment management” is educational, but not academic. The fund is a serious venture led by portfolio managers and informed by research analysts, each following a disciplined and rigorous strategy.

And now, they have real money to invest.

Funding

That money originated with the Foster MBA Class of 2011 which dedicated its outgoing class gift toward creating a live investment fund for future students to manage as an indelible learning experience and a pipeline to the majors, so to speak.

“We wanted Foster to develop more opportunities for MBA students with an interest in finance, and also improve the competitive positioning of the school,” says ringleader Andrew Parcel (MBA 2011), now a vice president and private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs. “This seemed like an obvious way to add a tool for recruiting students and improving the chances of finding work in the investment community.”

Under the guidance of Thomas Gilbert, assistant professor of finance, leaders of the MBA Finance Society began drawing up structure, policy and procedures for the fund. The subsequent MBA Classes of 2012 and 2014 dedicated all or parts of their graduation gifts to the initiative. Dean Jiambalvo added to the account.

And late last spring, well ahead of expectation, the fund reached its trigger point of $100,000. Go time.

Founding

With Gilbert away this year as a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, Young stepped in. And Tristan Toomey stepped up.

Toomey, this year’s Finance Society president, recruited fellow second-year MBAs Aalok Shah, Brennen Ricks and Brett Schulte to serve with him as portfolio managers. They “hired” 13 first-year students as research analysts and commenced building a boutique investment fund from the ground up.

This has required discipline and patience. Before a cent of capital was invested, the team established a viable organizational and spent most of the academic year systematically populating a massive matrix of market data that will become a library for future MBA fund managers.

This analysis trickles down from economy to industry to firm. “In the next stage we’re looking at particular companies that present real alpha because they’re doing something innovative that can provide positive returns in the long term,” Toomey says.

Young adds that the experience has been a de facto capstone of the entire Foster MBA experience.

“If you want to find alpha, you have to understand a company’s business better than the rest of the market does,” he says. “That takes an analytical capability that comes from all the disciplines we teach at Foster. Every one of those checkmarks on the matrix is a framework applied.”

Future

This year’s portfolio managers have made their first investments of the fund—now over $300,000—just weeks before they graduate. “We knew that building continuity was the most important thing this year,” Toomey says.

The legacy will be both a working fund and a class outside the classroom—to be passed like a torch to future Foster MBAs of the finance persuasion.

“If we had done this in a theoretical setting, we could never achieve this level of reality and practical learning,” says Toomey.

“But because we have real money and report to real ‘shareholders,’ ” Young adds, “we have to follow a rock-solid investment thesis that makes sense and has the Foster brand on every trade.”

Dan Poston, assistant dean for graduate programs, notes that the fund, from concept to execution, is an exemplary collaboration between former, current and future Foster MBAs.

“As a sustainable, practical piece of the Foster education,” he says, “the way the fund mimics reality in its design and its management is a beautiful thing.”

Maybe even a grand slam.

Foster undergrads place eighth at National Collegiate Sales Competition

Guest post by Rick Carter, assistant director, Foster Professional Sales Program

Foster Professional Sales Program students Collin Lea, Amy Tachasirinugune, and Laurel Rice
Foster Professional Sales Program students Collin Lea, Amy Tachasirinugune, and Laurel Rice

Foster Professional Sales Program students Collin Lea, Amy Tachasirinugune, and Laurel Rice competed in the National Collegiate Sales Competition on April 8-10 at Kennesaw State University. They placed eighth out of 67 universities, sending one student to the quarter finals and one student to the semi-finals. Thirty-five corporate sponsors acted as judges and buyers for the twenty minute sales calls.

The NCSC undergraduate competition is a sales call skills challenge which is run as an elimination-style tournament. The goals of the competition are to promote the sales profession; provide an opportunity for corporate sponsors to interact with top collegiate prospects; furnish a venue for students to exhibit and enhance their selling skills; and provide a venue for students, professors, and sales executives to network.

Collin Lea said, “The competition is based on real situations, needs ID, product demos, and plenty of buyer objections. Knowing that any of us can go into a room and lead a sales call from beginning to end is invaluable. This is a skill set we are using right now as we seek our first career job.”

The competition is designed to be challenging, engaging, and rewarding. Laurel Rice said, “I had to go back into the wild card round and felt very discouraged, but I flipped my mindset and forced myself to smile, work hard, and stay in the competition. That evening the news came that I had made the quarter finals, and we were overwhelmed with excitement.”

Amy Tachasirinugune said, “This was an experience that was unforgettable and helped me build confidence to compete in the real world. I’m much more comfortable in high-pressure situations and have been more relaxed in recent job interviews.”

Congratulations to the 2015 National Collegiate Sales Competition UW Team!

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