A virtual tour highlights how new facilities have transformed and energized the Michael G. Foster School of Business School since it was renamed in 2007. PACCAR Hall (opened in 2010) and Dempsey Hall (opened in 2012) now form the nucleus of the school, which also includes the Bank of America Executive Education Center, Mackenzie Hall and the Foster Business Library on the University of Washington’s Seattle Campus and the Eastside Executive Center in Kirkland.
So you’ve started your career and you’ve landed a good job. Work is satisfying, but you know there are other opportunities out there and your options are limited by the scope of your job and the industry you’re working in. You know you’ll need to build your knowledge and skills to compete for those opportunities. Is it time to earn a part-time MBA? For Evening MBA students Tom Clendenin, Etta Mends and Olga Shapiro, the answer was “Yes!” They describe how they reached the decision to go back to school for an MBA while they continued working. Is it time to make your move?
Guest post by Claire Koerner, co-founder of nomON and Foster School class of 2014
nomON is a randomized food delivery app. Claire and the rest of the nomON team competed in the 2013 UW Business Plan Competition and made it into the Sweet 16 round. In this guest post, Claire reflects on the BPC experience and lessons learned.
nomON’s Business Plan Competition (BPC) journey drew to a close on May 23 at the Awards Dinner amid friends, mentors, and fans. After two months of hard work, we were all very eager to reach the culmination of the event, and be able to look back at all we have learned along the way. At the beginning of the BPC, we had a 7 page executive summary that was absolutely gorgeous (thanks to Tarryn!) but with some major holes. Our financials were complete estimates, we had yet to sort out credit card processing, and much of our plan was built upon assumptions. After advancing to the investment round, we had the chance to perfect our 2 minute pitches for judges, create nomON swag, and start raising hype about the brand. But it was when we advanced to the Sweet 16 (yay!!) that the learning really began: we met with multiple coaches and mentors – thank you Sanjay Kumar, Craig Sherman, Emer Dooley, Charles Seybold and several others along the way- who helped us find and fill the holes in our business. nomON went from being a quirky mobile app cobbled together at Startup Weekend to a real business with well thought out financial projections (you should see the spreadsheets), a solid partnership with ordr.in, and an entirely new user interface. What a roller coaster! Although we didn’t advance to the Final Four, nomON is now armed with a full 15 page business plan, an investor slide deck, and most of all, important insights and truths about our business. Thank you to the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and everyone who helped us during this process. We are excited to move forward with the business, continue learning and improving, and most of all…bring nomON to you soon!
Top 5 things we learned:
- Businesses are hard- the to do list keeps growing, no matter how many things you check off
- Pitch to everyone- you never know who is going to have a random genius insight
- All it takes to keep a designer happy is free-flowing white chocolate mochas with extra whip
- Practice makes perfect
- Businesses are fun- the deeper you go, the more you learn, and the more you love your team
The nomON team:
Claire Koerner – Business Administration (Marketing)
Stephanie Halamek – BA (Finance)
Tarryn Marcus – BA (Entrepreneurship)
Evan Cohen – Informatics
William Voit – Electrical Engineering
Tell us a bit about BoldIQ. How did it come about, and what is your role in the company?
Thomas Edison once said: “There’s a way to do it better – find it”. At BoldIQ we find it for our global customers every day. We are a developer and provider of software platforms enabling real-time, optimal and actionable solutions for resource utilization, operations management, and disruption recovery, in complex business environments. Using our proprietary technology, our customers experience net operating savings of 4% to 16% and an increase in revenue-generating capacity of ~10%. Beyond ongoing real-time optimized planning, our platform provides on-the-fly change management from an entire systems perspective.
We originally developed our robust operations management platform and our optimization engine to support an innovative new air carrier: DayJet Corporation. We worked for 5 years developing systems and algorithms to support the very complex world of air taxi – no fixed schedule; constantly changing customer demand and requirements; variable unpredictable working environment including changing weather; multiple resources required to deliver each service; and a multitude of legal and operating constraints. This required complex automation and significant optimization, solving a large problem in seconds, multiple times a day, every day.
As president & COO, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, our growth, and our business.
How did you become interested in global business?
My father worked for an international container shipping company and I spent my childhood in Asia watching him grow the business. We then returned to our homeland in Israel where I continued watching him grow the business throughout the world. I was intrigued and fascinated by his ability to talk to a political leader in China in the morning, solve an operational problem in Italy in the afternoon, and then contend with the daily business of ships and crews scattered across the seven seas, all in complete calm and as second nature. I was privileged to grow up in an environment where ‘global’ was simply the norm, and I was hooked.
You serve on 3 advisory boards. What do you like about advising, and what direction would you like to take the Global Business Advisory Board in now that you’re the chairman?
I have been fortunate to experience a lot from a global perspective, both as a youngster, and a business leader working for companies like Boeing and BoldIQ, and I now feel that it is my duty to share that experience and knowledge with others so that we, as a whole, can continue to get better. Moreover, I am finding that I am learning just as much as I am imparting, which is what this is all about- always learning and always getting better.
As chair of the board, I would like to see us, the business community, take a more active role in the global education of our next generation’s leaders. My plan as chair is to help drive that forward. Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have an abundance of global companies – leaders in their respective markets and industries. We have globally known brands like Starbucks, Boeing, Costco, Amazon, and Microsoft to name but a few. We also have an abundance of less known brands that are global leaders in their fields. We must take advantage of that to the best of our abilities and help shape what tomorrow’s leaders need to know and need to be able to do, to continue the legacy that we are creating for them today. It is not just about jobs and internships. It is about shaping the academic and experiential programs that our students should go through to prepare for the world of global business. I would like to see the board take a more active role in this influence, and see the school and professors take a more active role in seeking out that real-world guidance from us.
What would you tell students about the world of global business?
I would say that there is no longer such a thing as global business. I would say that today, the world of any business is global whether we like it, or plan it, or not. Be it on the supply side (parts, materials, goods, or software engineers); be it in the customer base; be it in sourcing support or services; or even in the hiring of our employees – everything today has some element of global in it. So I would say get ready for an amazing environment of business that is making the world smaller and smaller and with that driving the need for an expanded knowledge and understanding of the world and the people in it. Your time at university is an amazing opportunity to experience, experiment, learn and try new things that later you may not get a chance to. Use the time wisely and fully and enjoy the journey.
Stacy Nagata was one of the first participants in the Student Consulting Program (SCP) and experienced the start of what has become the BEDC’s signature program. As an undergraduate in the business school in 1999, Stacy had been president of the University Management Consulting Association and competed in a number of case competitions. She knew she wanted to go into consulting but didn’t have any experience. Participating in the Student Consulting Program (then known as the Business Assistance Program) gave her the real-world experience she needed to land her first consulting job at LEK.
From the start, Stacy felt that she was ahead of her colleagues: She had practical knowledge, tactical abilities and could see the big picture, skills she had learned through the Student Consulting Program.
Stacy also knew that the Internet was going to dramatically change business. She became fascinated with companies such as RealNetworks and Amazon that were just taking off when she graduated college in 1999. The power of technology in media and business became her passion and eventually led her to jobs in the entertainment industry, including West Coast Integration lead for the NBC Universal merger.
Key to her work at NBC/Universal was the question- how does technology impact the entertainment industry? Stacy worked to make content available digitally, helping launch the website Hulu, which involved creating an entirely new business model. Helping shape the future of entertainment was exciting, but Stacy decided that she missed Seattle and knew that a move back to her hometown would give her the chance to give back to the community.
Stacy returned to Seattle in 2012 to work for Xbox. Her new role will be to take interactive gaming to the next level, and as a former gamer, she thinks she’s up to the challenge. She also began to support several organizations that helped jumpstart her career. She is a board member of the Seafair Foundation, where she served as an ambassador in High School. She’s also serving as an Alumni Mentor for the BEDC’s Student Consulting Program, helping the next-generation of business leaders.
Through mentoring student teams Stacy has realized that she can make a big difference in students’ lives. And she learns from the students, noting that they have a much higher level of sophistication than students of 14 years ago. She has some advice for them too: “Just because you are young doesn’t mean you don’t have great ideas”.
And she is proud to see how much Foster has grown in 14 years. Programs such as SCP enable students to have experiential education and greatly enhance the classroom learning. “That’s the magic of Foster,” says Stacy. “There just isn’t enough time in the day for the many opportunities available.”
Looking for a challenge? How about trying to cut total emissions from the global commercial aviation fleet in half—even as it doubles from 20,000 to a projected 40,000 planes—by 2050.
That tall order is the very real pledge of the world’s aviation industry.
And leading the quixotic charge is the Boeing Company, whose Bill Glover provided the keynote for the 2013 Foster Idea Lab, a kind of high-level sustainability brainstorming session hosted by Net Impact at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.
Glover, the vice president of global business development and policy at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, offered a portal into his firm’s efforts to produce more efficient, lower-emitting aircraft through innovative on-board technologies, smarter materials and an all-out push to develop a jet-worthy renewable fuel.
He recounted Boeing’s catalytic effort to drive the first successful biofuel-powered commercial airplane flight, and its legacy in thousands of subsequent test, demonstration and commercial biofueled flights in the past few years.
“Now we need to industrialize it,” Glover said. “Make this work on an industry-wide scale to drive down the carbon footprint of aviation. That’s one of the great opportunities that we have. We’re at the beginning, and we have a long way to go.”
Facing the big challenges of sustainability was the theme of the Idea Lab. Some 40 senior sustainability officers from a wide range of companies huddled with each other and with Foster MBA students to cross-pollinate solutions to the challenges of their organizations to operate more sustainably. Among the organizations participating were Microsoft (the Idea Lab sponsor), Boeing, Starbucks, Amazon, T-Mobile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and many others.
The event was organized by the Foster School’s chapter of Net Impact, the international MBA organization devoted to inspiring a new generation to use their careers to tackle the world’s toughest social and environmental problems.
Foster MBAs won the national Net Impact Case Competition in 2011 and 2013, and reached the finals in 2012. At the Idea Lab, Gabe Jones, Ryan Scott and Chris Walker of the winning team reported on the school’s most recent victory this past February at the University of Colorado.
The case challenged student teams to navigate Newmont Mining’s efforts to begin mining gold in a fictional African nation. The Foster team’s winning solution was centered on the creation of a Trusted Partners Program—a kind of independent escrow account managed by Newmont executives, stakeholders from local and national government, and NGO partners—that would manage profit sharing to benefit both company shareholders and local residents in the areas of environmental, social and educational.
The plan was simple, feasible and implementable. Said Scott: “The question we kept asking ourselves was, what will the board do next week? After we finish our presentation, can the board actually act on this? I think that’s what earned us the win.”
Water, plastics, and dirty data
Foster Net Impact’s faculty advisor Elizabeth Stearns closed the event with a bracing reminder of our rampant overuse of water, plastics and “dirty” data.
The senior lecturer pointed out the tens of gallons of water it takes to produce a cup of coffee or glass of wine, the hundreds of gallons to produce a t-shirt or can of beer, and the thousands to produce a pair of blue jeans or a bar of chocolate.
And she challenged anyone who produces packaging to consider the effect of plastics—300 million tons produced annually, 90 percent of which can be recycled but only 10 percent that is recycled.
Stearns called for a new paradigm. “It’s not enough to recycle,” she said. “We should be focusing on upcycling—the cradle-to-cradle creation of something for the expressed purpose of later being reused, perhaps as something else.”
As for dirty data, Stearns reported that the computing industry and the “cloud” are consuming 623 billion kilowatts of energy and 5.5 billion gallons of water annually, producing 50 million tons of toxic e-waste, and emitting 680 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions—2-3 percent of the world’s total emissions.
“We have to start rethinking our business processes in every industry,” she said. “If we don’t, we won’t have a business.”
But Stearns also pointed out that there are “lots of wonderful solutions out there.” As exemplars, she cited Singapore’s successful gray-water-to-drinking-water company NEWater, the collapsible, upcyclable container used by Japan’s I LOHAS, and the comprehensively sustainable Belgium-based cleaning products company Ecover.
“When you work in sustainability, it’s easy to feel that there isn’t a way out, that the situation is hopeless,” Stearns said. “But the people in the room are already convinced that we have to do things more sustainably. We just have to know that we can do things more sustainably.
May 23, 2013 – Seattle’s Bell Harbor buzzed with energy as a record $68,220 in seed funding was awarded to winners of the 2013 UW Business Plan Competition.
Over 250 Judges, coaches, and team members gathered at the 16th annual Business Plan Competition Awards Dinner. After a celebration of Artie and Sue Buerk’s $5.2 million naming gift for the Center, Kabir Shahani, CEO of Appature, gave a funny and heartfelt keynote speech, offering these words of wisdom: “Entrepreneurship is a platform for your life, and that platform lets you do anything you want to do. If you want to change the world, you can do it. The only question is ‘how many times over?’”
Shahani’s words were taken to heart, especially by the winning teams, who will be using their seed funding to move their business a few steps closer to reality.
The UW Business Plan Competition is produced by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School of Business.
$25,000 Grand Prize – Pure Blue Technologies (UW)
Fossil fuel production generates 882 billion gallons of contaminated “produced water” per year in the US alone. On average, for every barrel of oil extracted in the US, 8 barrels of contaminated water are extracted to the surface. Pure Blue Technologies has developed a contaminated water treatment system that uses visible light photo disinfection technology to produce disinfected water for beneficial reuse.
Pure Blue Technologies won second place at this year’s UW Environmental Innovation Challenge.
Team:Jaffer Alali, MS Environmental Engineering; Adam Greenberg, BA Finance and Entrepreneurship; Michael Lee, MS Mechanical Engineering; Alan Luo, PhD Physics; Sep Makhous, PhD Electrical Engineering; Ryan Vogel, BA Finance and Entrepreneurship; Ian Tan, BA Finance; Nicholas Wang, BA Chemical Engineering
$13,220 Second Place Prize – Z Girls (UW)
Studies show that adolescent girls who participate in sports are more self-confident, get better grades, are less likely to engage in at-risk behaviors, and are more likely to go to college. Unfortunately, by age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. Z Girls has developed a sports-based curriculum that gives girls ages 11-14 the opportunity to develop skills like goal-setting, positive self-image, and healthy nutrition habits through team programs and summer camps.
Final Round Judge Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, remarked, “Z Girls is an inspiring business lead by some amazing founders that could be doing anything in life. Incredible.”
Team: Libby Ludlow, JD and Technology Entrepreneurship Certificate; Jacob Dudek; Jilyne Higgins
$5,000 Finalist Prize – Poly Drop (UW)
Conductive coating is used to move electrostatic charge across a surface (like the surface of an aircraft), so that it does not accumulate and interfere with electronic equipment or cause sparks that can lead to fire. PolyDrop has created a conductive polymer additive for paints, primers and coatings that is lighter, more affordable, longer lasting, and has better adhesion than other products on the market.
Team: Michele Chaffee, MBA; Olga Hrechka, BS Chemical Engineering; Heather Milligan, BS Chemical Engineering
$5,000 Finalist Prize – NIA Wheel (SPU)
NIA Wheel found that 5,596,000 people in the US are paralyzed. 360,000 of those are quadriplegic – confined to a wheelchair with very limited control over their mobility. The NIA (Neurological Impulse Actuator) wheelchair is activated and controlled by the brain function of the user, eliminating the disconnect between mental capability and physical disability of quadriplegics and others who have lost mobility.
Team: Sergey Kisel, BS Electrical Engineering; Clarence Rieu, BS Electrical Engineering; Aryn Schatz, BA Business Administration; Jessica Way, BA Economics
Best Idea Prizes
$2,500 Best Technology Idea – PolyDrop (UW)
PolyDrop offers conductive polymer additives for paints, primers and coatings with a significantly lower level of particle loading. Integration of PolyDrop into current production lines of existing formulations is simple and dramatically improves usage lifetime, adhesion and mechanical properties of your product. Team: Michele Chaffee, MBA; Olga Hrechka, BS Chemical Engineering; Heather Milligan, BS Chemical Engineering
$2,500 Best Service/Retail Idea – Z Girls (UW)
Z Girlsmeasurably improves girls’ participation rates in sports by teaching young female athletes skills like positive self-talk, goal-setting, and body image through coaching and camps. Team: Libby Ludlow, JD Law; Jacob Dudek; Jilyne Higgins
$2,500 Best Sustainable Advantage – Pure Blue Technologies (UW)
Pure Blue Technologiesis developing a novel industrial water treatment solution that’s more efficient at a lower cost. Team: Jaffer Alali, MS Environmental Engineering; Adam Greenberg, BA Finance and Entrepreneurship; Michael Lee, MS Mechanical Engineering; Alan Luo, PhD Physics; Sep Makhous, PhD Electrical Engineering; Ryan Vogel, BA Finance and Entrepreneurship; Ian Tan, BA Finance; Nicholas Wang, BA Chemical Engineering
$2,500 Best Innovation Idea – InsuLenz (UW)
InsuLenz is developing a “smart” polymer contact lens to provide a bio-responsive and needle-free insulin delivery platform for diabetics. Team: Nick Au, PhD Medicinal Chemistry; Karen Eaton, PhD Bioengineering; Caleb Gerig, MBA; Craig McNary, MBA; Mohammed Minhaj, MBA; Renuka Ramanathan, PhD Bioengineering
$2,500 Best Consumer Product Idea – iHome3D (UW)
iHome3Dis a mobile app that allows realtors to create a virtual tour and floor plan of a property, in minutes. Team: Nelson Haung, MBA; Aditya Sankar, PhD Computer Science/Engineering
$2,500 Best Cleantech Idea – Biomethane (BGI/WWU/UW)
Biomethanecreates greenhouse-gas-negative vehicle fuel from dairy waste. Team: Jessica Anundson, MBA; Branden Audet, MA Policy Studies; Kathlyn Kinney, MBA; Colby Ochsner, MBA
$5,000 AARP Prize for low-income senior service – NIA Wheel (SPU)
NIA Wheelproduces and sells a brain wave controlled power wheelchair.Team: Sergey Kisel, BS Electrical Engineering; Clarence Rieu, BS Electrical Engineering; Aryn Schatz, BA Business; Jessica Way, BA Economics
Over its nine year history, the Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition (GSEC) at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business has brought awareness of pressing global issues to thousands of people – student competitors; competition mentors, judges and coaches; university partners; student volunteers; friends, family and supporters. So far, the competition has engaged over 2000 students of diverse educational disciplines and levels from around the world in tackling complex global social problems with entrepreneurial spirit and innovative market-based solutions.
At the competition’s culmination, semi-finalist university student teams (30-60 students per year) from around the world travel to Seattle for a week to learn about social enterprise, receive professional guidance and connections, network with each other and compete for prizes.
GSEC’s cross-cultural exchange is highlighted at the Trade Show, where semi-finalist teams each give their “pitch” to sell their business ideas to Trade Show judges, who act as mock investors, as well as students and community members. They often have prototypes, photos, videos and stories to illustrate the challenges they are facing and the inspirational impacts of their solutions. As a result, these issues become real, even for those who have never experienced them firsthand. Judge Loretta Little explains: “I have always felt and try to teach my kids that we’re citizens of the world. You need to put yourself in other people’s shoes. What better way than to meet people from around the world who are willing to come forward and share problems with you and what they think might be solutions to those problems.”
Teams often use prize money and connections made during GSEC to help launch their business, which can create employment and have other positive social impacts back home. Archived and streaming video of competition events, media coverage locally and in the student competitors’ universities and communities, and even the competitors own blogs and social media extends the education still further – allowing even those who cannot take part in the competition to feel inspired by the innovations being proposed to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Trade Show judge David Parker summed up why he volunteers each year: “The new ideas that are emerging every year from young people – it’s just astounding – they’re already creating patents, engaging with partners for manufacturing new devices, they’ve been able to engage with experts in the geographies of high need that they hope to get their solutions to – I just love seeing that passion, energy and creativity and innovation emerge and I continue to be impressed year after year with the applicants, the competitors and their ideas.”
GSEC is open to currently enrolled degree-seeking students in any discipline, at any level of study, and at any higher education institution worldwide who submits a plan that uses business principles to create a sustainable solution to poverty, health and economic growth in the developing world. Applications for the 10th annual competition are due November 12, 2014. Learn more at http://www.foster.washington.edu/gsec/
The University of Washington Foster School of Business’ flagship international event, the Global Business Case Competition (GBCC), brings together undergraduate university students from the United States and 12 – 14 other countries to compete in a fast-paced and challenging business case study. While GBCC week culminates with team presentations to corporate and community judges, it also serves as a forum for cross-cultural learning, and engages the student competitors as mentors for local high school students.
In 2008, we launched a partnership with the national Academy of Finance (AOF) program, which offers high school students an opportunity to study business topics to prepare them for college and their future careers. Since then, over 500 high school students have come to campus to learn about global business strategy, presentation skills, study abroad, and international business and finance degree options and career opportunities.
This year’s AOF event brought students from three local high schools, Ballard High School, Chief Sealth High School, and Franklin High School, to the University of Washington campus for a full day workshop during GBCC week. During the workshop the AOF high school students were paired with undergraduate business students from around the world, and together they worked through several exercises focused on cultural understanding and developing global business strategy.
The university student participants mentored AOF students on how they approach difficult business cases, and what frameworks and tools they might use to breakdown an international business problem. The students spent part of the day working together on analyzing a case focused on The Boeing Company’s foreign market strategy, completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analyses of Boeing’s opportunities in both Latin America and Africa. The students were tasked with determining which market Boeing should spend more resources trying to cultivate business.
In years past, the AOF and GBCC students have studied cases ranging from how Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group should handle piracy issues to examining the competitive landscape of Coca-cola and Pepsi over 100 years of rivalry to determining a marketing plan for a Mattel toy brand.
This partnership has resulted in a unique event each year that brings together a diverse group of high school students with university students from all over the world. The AOF students have the opportunity to learn about different culture and what it might be like to study international business in college. An AOF Board member shared that “getting this opportunity … broadens their experiences and offers insight into higher education opportunities.”
To learn more about the Global Business Case Competition and the Academy of Finance program, visit: www.foster.washington.edu/gbcc.
Special thank you to Wells Fargo for their generous support of this program.
As a graduating senior I am often asked what the highlight of my business school career was. The response? The people I’ve met through the Michael G. Foster School of Business.
One of the most inspiring individuals I’ve met is William Saito. Internationally, he’s renowned for his work in encryption, authentication, and biometric technology. Today, he runs InTecur, a consultancy in Japan that helps companies identify and develop applications and markets for innovative technologies.
On May 9th, he came to the Foster School of Business to deliver a talk titled “Global Entrepreneurship: Rewards & Challenges.” I came expecting to learn just about starting a business, but Mr. Saito delivered that and beyond. He shared challenges in penetrating Japanese markets using American venture strategies and was humble in sharing what worked and what didn’t work, how he learned from his mistakes, and the importance of giving back once you are successful.
What I personally received from his talk is the drive to become an innovator during my internship in Tokyo, Japan. For those who are unfamiliar with the Japanese business culture, it is very uniform and male dominated, which is a challenging environment for a woman let alone a foreigner like me. Prior to meeting Mr. Saito, I felt pressured to conform to the Japanese norms. When I expressed my concerns about Japanese business culture to him one-on-one, he challenged me to break my own preconceived notions and be innovative by utilizing my unique background to help grow the company rather than work under it. I will never forget his words and will continue to think of them after graduation. I hope to one day inspire others to be innovative like Mr. Saito does.