All posts by Alanté Fields

Forty years of making a difference: Foster recognizes long-time supporter

Carol Batcheldor and Dean Jim Jiambalvo
Dean Jim Jiambalvo with Carol Batcheldor

This blog post was written by Alicia Fereday Hull, Philanthropy Officer for the Foster School. 

When Carol Batcheldor (BA 1955) gave her most recent gift to the Foster School of Business, she hit an incredible milestone. She has been giving to the Foster Difference Fund each year for the past 40 years. Beyond her commitment to business education at the university, Carol has served on the UW Foundation Board, is an active member of Alpha Phi and often travels abroad with the UWAA. On January 21st, Dean Jim Jiambalvo took a moment to recognize Carol for her generous support. Thank you Carol, for helping to advance the Foster School to where it is today.

Foster undergrads take 2nd place at National Diversity Case Competition

For the first time in UW history, Foster School students participated in the Kelley School of Business National Diversity Case Competition at Indiana University. Traditionally held during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Foster undergrads competed against students at Yale, Morehouse, and more to take the number 2 spot and win $5,000 in prize money.

Congratulations to Danielle McConnell, Tina Moore, Mayowa Laniran, and Joshua Banks for all of their hard work!

See photos from the competition below:

Diversity Case Competition
Students competed against Southern University, Yale, Morehouse and University of Arkansas to make it to the final round
Diversity Case Competition
Team Foster presenting in the final rounds to 10+ corporate judges and all universities
Diversity Case Competition
2nd Place Plaque!
 Diversity Case Competition
Final results
Diversity Case Competition
Team Foster all smiles after taking 2nd place! L-R: Tina Moore, Mayowa Laniran, Danielle McConnell and Joshua Banks

Inaugural Client of the Year Award

Craig Dawson This blog post was written by Michael Verchot, Director of the Consulting & Business Development Center.

For nearly 20 years the Consulting and Business Development Center has been providing student consulting services and business education programs for owners and managers of small businesses across Washington. For the first time ever, we recognized a business that has successfully used more than one of our programs to grow their profitability and their number of employees.

At our Minority Business Awards banquet earlier this month, we recognized Retail Lockbox as the inaugural recipient of our Client of the Year Award.

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of this company. What started as a simple lockbox company offering one service has grown into a firm offering lockbox, merchant services, and document management services. They have private sector, public sector, and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, telecommunications, utilities, insurance, and property management industries.

When they first connected with the center their revenues were slightly more than $2 million.

Three times in the last 12 years the company has worked with student teams from the Center to develop five-year strategic plans. The owners of the company credit these five-year plans with providing the framework they’ve needed to grow their sales to close to $6 million and add more than 50 employees. They’ve also used the Center’s week-long Minority Business Executive Program to improve the strategic decision making of their top executives.

Because of how Retail Lockbox has grown by leveraging resources from the Consulting and Business Development Center they’ve become one of the most vocal advocates for the center and they’ve encouraged other businesses to become engaged in their programs.

Checking in on YEOC: The November & December Sessions

November Session: Marketing and Branding
The scene: After a morning of guest lectures on the topic of marketing, a new client enlists your teams’ services in developing a marketing strategy for their business…and they want you to present it by the end of the day. For the students in YEOC, this is the November 2014 session. Led by YEOC Mentor Skyler Rodriguez, students were divided into groups and tasked with coming up with a marketing strategy for a unique animal café. Having just attended a lesson in developing a marketing plan from YEOC Mentor Midori Ng as well as a guest lecture from Razorfish Strategy Associate Chike Ume, the students were all set for the task.

See photos from the session below:

YEOC Students

 

 

 

Checking in on YEOC: The November & Decemeber Sessions
 

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
December Session: International Experience
With YEOC passports in tow, students traveled from classroom to classroom, learning all about the different study abroad options that Foster has to offer. When the activity ended, they all gathered in Shansby Auditorium to hear from EY Dallas Managing Partner Advisory Thear Suzuki. During her time at the podium, Suzuki discussed international experiences and the importance of having a “global mindset.” After the keynote, students participated in a cultural showcase complete with discussions on current events in Ferguson, Missouri the All Students Count Act and international dances.

See photos from the session below:
YEOC Session

 

 

 

o	Grupo Folkorico Guadalajara

Polynesian Student Alliance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jafra Dabke Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post is a part of a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.

Consulting and Business Development Center Presents Corporate Partner Award to Microsoft

minority business awardsThis post was written by Jennifer Bauermeister, Assistant Director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.

As we get ready to celebrate our center’s 20th anniversary we’ve reestablished a tradition that we started in the 1990s to recognize our corporate partners who have made a difference in our work.

We presented our 2014 Corporate Partner Award at our 2014 UW Minority Business Awards Banquet earlier this month to Microsoft.

Microsoft has been a key strategic partner in growing the Consulting and Business Development Center into a national center of excellence. As early as 2007 Fernando Hernandez, who is Microsoft’s director of supplier diversity, began helping us to develop the Minority Business Executive Program. This week-long executive education program is designed to accelerate the growth of minority-owned, women-owned, and other diverse businesses that are supply chain partners of major national and multinational corporations. Microsoft has sponsored 20 businesses to this program.

In 2008, Microsoft hosted the center’s 2nd national research conference that focused on diversity in business issues.

In 2011 Microsoft hosted the annual summit for the Billion Dollar Roundtable. The BDR is an association of 20 corporations that spend at least $1 billion annually with minority- and women-owned businesses. Fernando Hernandez, who by then was on the Center’s Board, invited me to speak at the summit.

Fast forward to this year, and we can see the results of this work as the Minority Business Executive Program drew 30 participants from seven states as well as the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. This program is just the second executive education program to be endorsed by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and is just the 3rd of its kind in the US.

Earlier this year the center became the official research partner for the Billion Dollar Roundtable where it provides data to grow the effectiveness of corporate supply chain efforts in diversity.

Microsoft has been an invaluable partner in helping us to become a national center of excellence in developing businesses in under-served communities and in advancing student careers.

Happy Holidays from the Foster School

With the holiday season officially upon us, what better way to celebrate than with a Foster re-telling of a Dr. Seuss holiday classic? Be sure to follow along with the lyrics (posted below) and don’t miss the special cameo from our very own Dean Jiambalvo.

Every student at Foster liked business a lot…
There’s time for much study, but suddenly there’s NOT!
For Winter is Coming and with it vacation,
But first survive finals with much caffeination.
Supply and demand curves a theorem by Bayes,
Four P’s and five forces, they’re all in a daze;
Then everything’s done thus a change in the mood–
Time for skiing and sleeping and much gratitude…

…For PACCAR and Dempsey halls, and our dear mentors,
B of A and Eastside Executive Centers
Our holiday wish for a brand new “Mackenzie”
Is only because of the Foster growth frenzy.
Our grads go to work at the best places really
From Amazon to PATH to Starbucks to Zulily!
Oh the places we study, research, teach, and work
Cast out ghosts of Balmer with a satisfied smirk.

Heading out we may chance upon Pete Dukes, the Prof
For whose kindness and wisdom we all say, “hats off!”
There’s teaching award maven Jennifer Koski
And Sefcik, Accounting’s own Big Lebowski,
Look: Ed Rice, Frank Hodge and Deborah Glassman!
Plus Xiao-Ping… Dawn Matsumoto… Thaddeus Spratlen;
Foster faculty’s A-plus for research AND for teaching
So we shoot for the stars—and we’re not overreaching

Our business community’s vibrant indeed;
Our students? Work ready and all set to lead.
And they’ll LEAD! And they’ll LEAD! And they’ll LEAD
LEAD! LEAD! LEAD!
Yet there’s still something for their advancement they’ll need.
A text, if you will, of no small erudition
Available now in a new fifth edition
For business success is not mere intuition!

They’ll come back next month. We shall help them succeed.
Then they’ll read, and they’ll read, and they’ll read
READ! READ! READ!

If our rhyme’s turned out badly, we ask your forgiveness,
With warm holiday wishes from the Foster School of Business.

Leading across boundaries: complexity

The Fall  2014 Leading Across Boundaries (L.A.B.) session focused on the topic of dealing with “complexity” in the workplace. In a recent global study, both CEOs and MBA students identified dealing with complexity as a major area of challenge in their work.  Bruce Avolio, Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership and Executive Director of the Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking (CLST) describes complexity as;

“1. When you have a lot of competing and difficult priorities to choose from and not all the information you need.
2. When you are trying to lead systems that have a lot of moving parts and you are trying to figure out how to integrate them to get things done.
3. When you have lots of competing priorities and have to determine how to get each done with limited resources.”

During the session, a panel of business leaders (Beth Schryer, Director 737 Business Operations for Boeing Commercial, Karen Clark Cole, CEO & Founder of Blink UX, and Nick Dykstra, Finance Director at Intellectual Ventures) sat with a group of ten MBA leaders to discuss the challenges they have with dealing with complexity in their current leadership roles. The panel then provided their strategies for dealing with complexity and responded to questions posed by the MBA leaders in attendance. Soleil Kelly, Foster’s MBA Association (MBAA) Leader and Bruce Avolio moderated the dialogue.

See photos of the event below:

FallLAB

 

 

 

FallLAB2

 

 

FallLAB3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L.A.B. sessions enable MBA students to discuss topics of interest with business and community leaders while  developing their own leadership skills. The sessions are sponsored by MBAA and CLST. Visit CLST’s website to learn more.

Insurance Ad Wars: Foster Teams Provide Liberty Mutual Insurance Recommendations for Market Positioning

MGMT 430 students
Winning Case Competition team

This post was written by Josina Garnham, Foster’s Experiential Learning Manager for the Undergraduate program.

What do a gecko, a caveman, and a charismatic woman named Flo all have in common? Each is trying to sell you home, car and life insurance. Liberty Mutual Insurance has not opted for this approach, despite industry research demonstrating them to be a “laggard brand.” Should Liberty Mutual adopt a new marketing scheme or are there better alternatives to position them in the market for long-term customer retention?

The Foster School of Business partnered with Liberty Mutual on the development of a customized business case as part of a capstone course for graduating seniors (Management 430). The case centered on how Liberty Mutual might attract new customers and how to maintain customer lifetime value (i.e. the longer the company can retain a customer the higher the profit margins.) On November 21st, twenty-seven teams provided formal presentations on their recommendations to these critical issues to professionals, including a number of loyal alumni, and senior leaders from the company.

Strategy Consultant for Liberty Mutual, Rory Barratt “was impressed by the depth of analysis the teams were able to deliver given the short turnaround time of three weeks and felt there were many actionable insights that Liberty Mutual could use to reassess their strategic positioning.”

The insurance ad wars began in earnest in 2006 with Liberty Mutual’s competitors spending an average of two-to-three times more on advertisements featuring quirky characters. Current target customers for Liberty Mutual tend to be the parents and grandparents of today’s college students. The student’s recommendations included how the company can expand market share with new products and new customer bases – including Gen Y. The winning team: Jagger Beato, Woo Chan Lee, Jose Pena-Rodriguez, Janet Yang and Michelle Zhou proposed that Liberty Mutual shift their marketing resources, look carefully at product bundling, and renew their focus on mobile and web traffic.

The Case Competition provides students with tremendous learning opportunities: applying analytical frameworks, teaming and leadership skills, and exemplary presentation skills. For Michelle Zhou, the biggest lesson from the competition was “that effective teamwork is not only about cooperating with the rest of the team, but also about challenging each other’s ideas to improve and innovate…All of the team members constantly played the ‘devil’s advocate’ to further challenge and improve upon our original ideas. This strategy prompted us to dive deep into our recommendations and prepare for ways to defend for our (ideas) during the final presentation.”

From Janet Yang’s perspective, “the biggest take-a-way from participating in the case competition is the importance of understanding a company’s values and culture…We were able to come up with our recommendations to align with the company’s needs.”

One of the key benefits for both students and companies who engage with the Foster School on the Strategy Development Case Competition is the opportunity to meet one another in a high-performance environment. Conversations over the informal networking lunch included discussions about career paths, learning about full time and internship opportunities at Liberty Mutual, and the buzz of anticipation surrounding the announcement of teams who would advance to the semi-finals and final rounds.

As a senior transitioning to the professional world, Woo Chan Lee believes “this experience will strengthen my ability to work in teams, especially in the areas of delegating tasks and communicating through-out a project… I’ve learned the process of conducting industry/market research and the importance of balancing (the) company’s interest with potential recommendations that I will be making in any professional setting.” Barratt amplified this point from a business perspective by saying “the presentations themselves were of high quality and the students should feel confident that the skills they have built as a part of this case competition will serve them well as they enter the world of work in the near future.”

After congratulating the winning team, Tom Troy, Executive Vice President of Regional Operations, West at Liberty Mutual was impressed by the “level of engagement we encountered. It exceeded our expectations and left us longing for more opportunity to hear and see the students engage with our business opportunities.   The energy level was fantastic and the insights into our business problem proved to be both authentic and inspirational.”

To learn more about undergraduate case competitions, visit the Foster School website.

A business by any other name: The transformation of Outerwall

Scott Di ValerioTwo years ago, Coinstar Inc., known for its eponymous coin conversion kiosks as well as the movie rental kiosks Redbox, found itself in stasis. Addressing a packed Anthony’s Forum during his Leaders to Legends talk, CEO Scott Di Valerio put it this way, “Think about a company that has two businesses that grew rapidly and then have hit a level of maturity, that’s where we were two years ago.” He knew it was time to shake things up—a process that included a name-change (Coinstar became Outerwall in 2013), renewed focus and vision, and leveraging customer data—all while maintaining their unique company culture. During his time at the podium, Di Valerio expanded upon the three latter aspects, explaining how each one plays a pivotal role in the story of Outerwall.

Know thy customer
When discussing Outerwall’s marketing strategy, Di Valerio made it clear that data is king. After the company name-change, Outerwall purchased a NASCAR truck and began regularly sponsoring banners in Seahawks and Sounders games. These decisions, Di Valerio revealed, are driven by data that indicate high brand loyalty among sports fans—a key factor when deciding who to market to. “When we took a look at where to push our product brands, and our demographic, and our consumers,” Di Valerio argued, “sports is the highest return area for us to go.” Outerwall also invested in a CRM system, enabling the company to begin sending targeted emails, track user behavior, and provide incentives for customers who haven’t used a Redbox kiosk in a while. Likewise, customer data can also be the reason to end a service. When answering a question on Outerwall’s decision to shut-down the short-lived streaming service Redbox Instant, Di Valerio points to the data that reveals Redbox customers to be transaction-based and more interested in new release movies—something subscription-based services cannot provide.

Focus
Every action Outerwall takes must fit within its four strategic pillars:

1) Lead in automated retail
2) Optimize core business
3) Grow business probability and
4) Invest in strategic platforms.

One such action is their investment in ecoATM, a kiosk that enables users to sell their old mobile devices (cell phones, mp3 players, and tablets) for cash. In support of the venture, Di Valerio points to other mobile buy-back programs like mail-in services, store credit offers, and online classified ad. All of which, Di Valerio argues, is not exactly customer-friendly, stating “the number one thing people want from their used electronics…is cash, not store credit or credit on their bill.” By deploying ecoATM, Outerwall will continue to leverage automated technology while delivering a service that no one else can provide.

Strong company culture
As CEO to a company with over 2500 employees, Di Valerio sees his role as chief “encourager” of sorts, promoting teamwork and removing roadblocks that impede innovation. To this end, he keeps his hiring philosophy pretty simple, stating “Hire people that can take your job and don’t be intimated by it.”
Outerwall also maintains an environment of giving, with over a third of Outerwall employees regularly volunteering at charitable organizations (the company matches employee volunteer hours and contributions). The company also donates 1 percent of its after-tax profits to non-profits, a move that Di Valerio says works double-time, creating a positive workplace while attracting a “different kind” of investor/shareholder.

While it may take several years to truly understand the implications of Outerwall’s transformation, it is clear that Di Valerio is very excited about the direction his company is taking and will continue to, in his own words, “find a better way for a better every day.”

Watch the full lecture here.

 

Checking in on YEOC: the October session

For most, a pep rally followed by a mentor meeting, a college-prep workshop, and a talk on the power of networking with the Email Marketing & Promotions Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks sounds like an action-packed day. For YEOC students, this is Saturday morning.

It’s the first official YEOC session of the year and things are in full swing. With “team building and networking” as the theme, students are introduced to the year’s first team activity: the Building Bridges Challenge. For this challenge, students are tasked with building a model bridge that stretches from Seattle to Mercer Island. However, there’s a catch—students can only use items found in their mystery bags. With a round of voting led by YEOC mentors Kainen Bell and Diana Lopez, the winners receive VIP Lunch access (first dibs in the lunch-line and a sit-down with keynote speakers), cupcakes courtesy of Trophy cupcakes, and bragging rights.

See a few pictures from the October session below.

YEOC pep rallyYEOC students

 

 

 

 

YEOC students

 

 

 

YEOC students

 

 

 

 

YEOCgroup2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This blog post is a part of a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.