“The building bridges program’s primary goal is to assimilate prospective workers into a more international cultural body, and to succinctly mend the gap between differing generations of workers. This program will not only expand the worker’s knowledge of various cultures, but will also elevate their opportunity to grow through art and culture, to allow for a more well-rounded workforce.”
The quote above is the mission statement of Building Bridges, a social program aimed to engage millennials in the workplace. On their website, interested clients can find more information regarding future activities, daily reads and program benefits. Here’s the thing: Building Bridges does not exist… at least not yet. The organization is the winning creation of a team of YEOC students participating in the YEOC Case Competition Challenge. With Amazon Kindle Fires at stake, the competing student teams (18 in total) were tasked with developing a one page proposal describing their millennial workplace engagement plan and presenting for 10 minutes in front of a panel of business and community leaders. After successfully wowing the judges with their carefully designed website, brochure and presentation, Building Bridges was declared victorious at the YEOC End of Year Celebration in the HUB Ballroom. The announcement was just one of the many highpoints of the evening.
At the celebration, five $2,000 YEOC Senior Scholarships were awarded to students attending UW in the fall. Attendees also heard remarks from Keynote speaker Carlos Gutierrez, partner at EY, and student speaker (and future Foster student) Ashlyn Thomas.
Since YEOC is a college-prep program, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention what a few of the YEOC seniors have in store after graduation. Some highlights:
50 of the 79 seniors who applied to UW were accepted for a 63% acceptance rate –higher than the UW’s acceptance rate of 55%
Eight YEOC seniors were admitted to the Foster Freshman Direct program
Schools that YEOC seniors will be attending include: University of Washington, Washington State University, Evergreen College, Babson College, Northeastern University, Hawaii Pacific University, University of Southern California and the University of Oregon
With stats like these, YEOC students are a true testament that anything is possible. Take part in the celebration by watching the end of the year compilation video and checking out some of the photos below:
Imagine going into a McDonald’s and learning that all of the beef used in their hamburgers was sustainably sourced. Not only that, but the restaurants were using less energy, recycling more and adding more fruits and vegetables to their menu. Seem far-fetched? Not when you learn that the company, famous for its fast, low-cost food items, has been developing sustainability initiatives for the past three years. Enter Bob Langert, McDonald’s Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and keynote speaker at Foster’s Fourth Annual Idea Lab. Speaking to an audience full of MBA students and Puget-sound area business leaders, Langert talked about supply chain, consumer buy-in, and championing sustainable beef at the home of the Big Mac.
Having labeled McDonald’s as a company in transition, Langert hopes that their involvement in the sustainability movement– which he thinks is “too small [and] too niche”– will jumpstart supplier and consumer buy-in. McDonald’s has developed a plan, dubbed “Our Journey Together. For Good”, to make their menu both healthier and sustainable. The plan’s goals include:
To begin serving sustainably sourced beef by 2016
Add more fruits and vegetables by 2020
Reduce fat, sugar and overall calories in their food
Provide 100 percent sustainably sourced coffee
Reduce restaurant energy consumption by 20 percent
Increase in-restaurant recycling by 50 percent.
To achieve these goals, McDonald’s first priority is to address the supply chain—which Langer believes accounts for 80 percent of the corporation’s environmental impact. While aggressive, this certainly isn’t the first time the Golden Arches has addressed food sourcing.
Dressed in chicken suits, Greenpeace activists staged protests in European McDonald’s restaurants with the hopes of raising awareness of deforestation in Brazil due to soya production in the Amazon. As it turned out, Amazonian soya was a major source of soy for McDonald’s food products. Surprising cynics (and probably a few Greenpeace protestors), Langert met with the activists, even traveling to the Amazon with them to get a first-hand picture of the devastation. Within three months, Langert says, McDonald’s was able to negotiate a moratorium on Amazon soya. Reflecting on the experience, Langert said, “[I’m] proud of the work, not proud that it came through a crisis.” The soya-based deforestation problem was a watershed moment for McDonald’s, driving the company’s other environmental initiatives like responsibly sourcing their coffee and their fish—100 percent of which comes from sustainable fisheries. With a focus now placed squarely on their beef suppliers, McDonald’s hopes to do the same for the millions of hamburgers they sell each day.
From enlisting the consulting expertise of famed animal science doctor and autistic activist Dr. Temple Grandin to honing in on their message, McDonald’s approach to the beef industry has been multi-pronged. Recalling his keynote speech at the first annual Ranch Sustainability Forum earlier this year, Langert reiterated the importance of coming together as a community to be more environmentally responsible and forward-thinking. “I kept saying we’re on the same page. We want sustainable beef to sell more beef.” However, Langert knows that sustainability isn’t limited to suppliers. Pointing to the trouble their European restaurants are having convincing their customers to recycle (crew members are manually separating garbage from recycling), Langert acknowledges there’s still a long way to go. When asked if it’s possible that customers are fatigued by sustainability messaging, Langert half agreed, stating that while McDonald’s Chief Brand Officer is coming up with “disruptive ways to reach consumers” he knows that what they’re doing right now is not enough. He added, “The plan right now is not consumer-centric. Our time now is being spent within the supply chain.” That’s not for nothing. Langert said that he continues to be astounded by the progress made on the supply side, stating that “suppliers discussing sustainability is a big deal.”
There’s no doubt for Langert that McDonald’s has a challenging road ahead to achieve total supplier and consumer buy-in, stating, “When you try to develop something bold, there’s a lot of resistance.” However, Langert maintains that the folks at the Golden Arches are committed to taking sustainability beyond the “small and niche.” Within a few short years, McDonald’s may evolve in to paragon of environmental stewardship in the business world and possibly beyond. We’ll all just have to wait and see.
This event was co-sponsored by Foster’s Net Impact MBA club. Net Impact is a new generation of leaders who use their careers to tackle the world’s toughest problems. They put their business skills to work for good throughout every sector. By doing so, they show the world that it’s possible to make a net impact that benefits not just the bottom line, but people and planet too. Learn more about the club here.
March: International Experiences In an ever-connected world, with the lines that divide nations, ethnicities and philosophies becoming blurrier with each passing year, cultural competency will be (if it is not already) key when it comes to professional success. With the theme “International Experiences,” YEOC students are once again proving themselves to be ahead of the curve. The day began with college prep workshops in cultural awareness and leadership, preparing them for the month’s activity. In an event dubbed Global Student Experiences and Around the World Lunch, students rotated between three themed rooms (China, India and Brazil) where they ate lunch (also themed) and listened to a panel of students who had visited that particular country. Afterward, parents joined the students to watch the highly anticipated annual YEOC Cultural Showcase. Performers included UW’s African Student Association, Perlas Mestiza, Jamela Mohammed, Myanmar Student Association, Khmer Student Association and Seattle Karen Don Dance group. Be sure to watch the video for snippets of the showcase and to see the YEOC Flash Mob!
Just in time for tax season, this month’s theme was “Accounting.” Students kicked things off with a mentor lecture on accounting and a workshop on dining etiquette. Led by Pamela Lacson (Foster’s Associate Director of Diversity & Recruitment), the workshop included the 3 “D’s” of etiquette: Demeanor, Dining and Don’ts. Students also learned the importance of first impressions, voice, eye contact, appropriate attire, handshakes and elevator pitches. Afterward, Beth Lambert, senior manager of EY Fraud Investigative Dispute Services, joined students for this month’s YEOC Talk on Forensic Accounting. Fans of the popular Crime TV genre may be familiar with the term “forensic” as a scientific means to solving grisly crimes. As it turns out, those same skills (gathering and analyzing evidence) can be used to solve white-collar financial crimes like embezzlement, bankruptcy or fraud. Not many high school students can say they spent the day learning the ins and outs of a crucial specialty practice area of accounting. Near the end of the session, students were introduced to their last YEOC activity of the 2013-2014 school year—the case competition. Students will present their findings to a panel of Seattle-area professionals during the May session.
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.
Imagine going to a meeting and finding out that you and your team must write, film and produce a commercial for a client within a few hours. How do you think you’d do? This is exactly what Young Executives of Color (YEOC) students were tasked with during their January session. Upon arriving to campus, students were separated into groups, paired with a mentor and presented with iCreate. According to Korrie Miller, YEOC Program Manager, “iCreate allows students to create their own commercial for a client that follows their branding, strategy and business goals.” The client in this case was APLUS Youth, a non-profit based in Washington state that focuses on character development and education through sports. “APLUS Youth is launching a new running program and asked the YEOC students to act as consultants and create not only commercials (on our YouTube Channel), but also fresh ideas for their program,” says Miller. Watch the session video below:
February: Information Systems This session’s business activity was inspired by the ABC Show “Shark Tank.” When describing the project, Miller says, “On the show, investors called “sharks” consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking investments for their business or product. At YEOC, students decided on a problem they wanted to solve and came up with creative solutions involving technology. Each team presented their product in front of the sharks, who were professionals from EY (YEOC sponsors).” Students also heard lectures on social image and online correspondence and information systems. Watch the session video below (and don’t miss the Seahawks gear!):
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.
This event was hosted by Neal Dempsey, the Foster School’s visiting 2013-2014 Edward V. Fritzky Chair in Leadership.
You’ve probably seen the headline; “Major company goes public.” Perhaps you’ve even heard the breathless analysis that follows when said company’s stock prices decrease. What you’re probably less likely to hear or read in the news are the debates between CEOs and investment bankers, the strategy CEOs use to discuss going public with their employees, and how bankers negotiate stock price. These are the exact conversations current Fritzky Chair Neal Dempsey had in mind when he invited Vice Chair of JP Morgan Chase Cristina Morgan, former Eloqua CEO Joe Payne, Guidewire CEO Marcus Ryu and Head of Capital Markets at JP Morgan Chase Mike Millman to participate in a panel discussion on the IPO and M&A process. Moderated by Foster Professor Jennifer Koski, the panelists gave what is probably the most inside view possible of going public. Below are a few of the questions they tackled:
How do companies decide they’re ready to go public?
All of the panelists agreed that there are several things you must take in to consideration before making a final decision. For Ryu, it is asking one’s self, “Why do you want to go public?” Payne agreed, adding “Going public as a sole goal is an empty goal.” When preparing to take Eloqua public, Payne said that he and his colleagues spent a lot of time thinking about their customers and how they would feel about the move. Speaking from the investment bank perspective, Morgan argued that “the worst thing you can do is take a company public before they’re ready.” Furthering this point, Millman said that companies must consider three points before they go public; 1) Currency 2) Branding and 3) Capitol.
How do you maintain enthusiasm among your employees during the IPO process?
Ryu believes it is important for companies to operate with a long-term outlook. Since the stock market isn’t exactly the most steadfast entity, he came up with a two-pronged strategy for communicating with his employees about the IPO process: 1) Talk down the IPO and 2) Get everyone to understand the fickleness of the stock market. Having survived the dot com bubble of the 90s, when CEOs gained —and lost— millions of dollars in a matter of months, Payne had a similar revelation. “The issue of stock prices and IPO is only as important as you make it,” he stated in agreement with Ryu. In fact, Payne and Ryu said that they both designated a few minutes during staff meetings to answer questions about the IPO.
What is the biggest source of contention when going public?
When discussing the relationship between investment bankers and entrepreneurs, Morgan said “We’re [the investment bankers] representing the buyers as well as the sellers” and that all involved parties act as each other’s “checks and balances.” Adding, “[There’s a] natural suspicion that the investment bank is slightly more in league with the other side than with the company.” Simply put, bankers are predisposed to believe that the company is trying to get the stock prices higher while the company believes investment bankers are trying to get the price lower.
For Millman, there are three sources of contention:
1) Evaluation- It’s difficult to educate the company’s board on the IPO.
2) Employee selling- It can be very confusing for employees to know when and if they should sell.
3) Fees- Banks will argue with each other on the best way to “divide the pie.”
Speaking to Morgan’s “natural suspicion” comment, Ryu admitted that he was initially skeptical of investment bankers. However, having gone through the IPO process, he now understands the importance of the work they do. Looking to Millman, whom he worked with when Guidewire went public, Ryu stated “I can say emphatically that the fee is well-earned.”
“A key part of leading is deciding. Deciding with imperfect data. Deciding when there isn’t always a path that’s clear.”
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene says she came to this particularly astute conclusion while working as a youth football referee. Like her positions at Microsoft and Drugstore.com (she served as vice-president) it provided her with two essential lessons; 1) the importance of decision making when there are still unknowns and 2) a leader must always provide a vision and a path forward. Further qualifying this belief, the congresswoman stated, “With any organization, people are most effective when they have that vision going forward and they know where they’re heading and they know why they’re heading in that direction.”
A Foster MBA Alum, Congresswoman DelBene says she was inspired to run for Congress during her time at Global Partnerships, a micro-finance non-profit that provides loans to small business owners in Latin America and the Caribbean. After her first run for Congress in 2010 (in which she was unsuccessful) she was appointed by then governor Christine Gregoire to serve as the Director of Washington state’s Department of Treasury. In 2012, she successfully ran for a congressional seat in the newly drawn 1st district. Sitting on the House Judiciary and House Agriculture Committees, DelBene now deals with issues such as copyright laws, biotechnology and more.
Using terminology such as ROI (return on investment), the congresswoman routinely uses her business experience when approaching policy-making. Pointing to the seemingly unending federal budget debate, DelBene believes that too many of her colleagues are plagued by short-term thinking. She argues that Congress should approach budgeting concerns like successful CEOS, focusing on investment and long-term strategy. She points to the indelible benefits and returns from federal programs that invest in early learning, unemployment insurance, research and infrastructure as examples.
During her time at the podium, the congresswoman also stressed the importance of being good stewards of policy and citizen engagement, urging audience members to work in conjunction with business and community leaders to pressure Congress in to action.
Watch some highlights below:
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene was one of UW Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo’s guest speakers at the annual Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, which include notable leaders in an array of industries from greater Seattle and around the country.
For one Saturday a month, 145 high school students from across Washington State converge on the UW campus for their monthly YEOC session. YEOC, which stands for Young Executives of Color, is a nine month long college-prep program for sophomore, junior and senior high school students. With an average GPA of 3.47, this group of high-achieving students aims to increase the visibility of an under-served and under-represented population—themselves— in the college and business worlds. The program provides participants with networking opportunities and a lecture series dubbed YEOC Talks and engages them in business activities.
Each session focuses on a different aspect of business. For the month of November, the session focus was on branding and marketing. YEOC activities consisted of super-hero team skits, a dress for success fashion show and a battle of the brands debate. The sophomore college prep session centered on leadership while the juniors focused on college fit and the seniors reviewed their college applications and essays. The students also heard from YEOC alumna/current mentor Jordan Faralan and Microsoft Product Marketing Manager Leona Locke. Check out some highlights in the student-made video below:
Finance was the well-timed focus for December. YEOC activities included honing their public speaking skills and a financial freedom game with YEOC mentors and community volunteers. The sophomore college prep session was devoted to paying for college while juniors gained insights into scholarships and seniors worked on scholarship essays. Students also attended a mentor lecture on personal finance with UW student Paulos Shiferaw and a YEOC Talk with Wesley Burns, a Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor. Watch some highlights below:
This blog post is first in a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.
During his introduction at the November Leaders to Legends Breakfast Series, Dean Jiambalvo jokingly referred to Mark Britton as having “the most dangerous job in the world.” Mark Britton is the founder and CEO of Avvo, a lawyer rating and legal Q&A forum website founded in 2006.
A lawyer with the firm Preston Gates & Ellis, Britton began working with major area clients like Microsoft and its then budding travel spinoff, Expedia. After experiencing what he dubbed the “meteoric growth” of Expedia while serving as their executive vice president of Worldwide Corporate Affairs, Britton decided the travel associated with the position was too much and moved to Italy with his family to teach finance for his undergrad alma matter, Gonzaga. Interestingly, he found that even though he was no longer practicing law, friends and family were still calling him for legal advice. It made him wonder, “Why are all of these smart people lost when it comes to the legal system?” At that time, Britton notes, there was no “Expedia like resource where people could go to get their questions answered.” Thus, Avvo–short for avoocato, the Italian word for lawyer–was born.
Like EBay, Amazon and TripAdvisor, Avvo is rooted in an internet culture where the “expectation has been built where you can converse with your friends [online] about a product and rate it.” And with the advent of Google, Britton adds, we have become accustomed to asking for, receiving and discussing information with zero cost to the consumer. A practice Avvo continues, providing their rating system and Q&A forum to customers for free.
Besides ratings and forums, Avvo provides advertising for lawyers. During his presentation, Britton referred to the “yellow page mode” of advertising. He found that even as recently as nine years ago, lawyers were spending $1 billion dollars in outdated phone book advertising. And to add insult to injury, the advertisements themselves were not good. To the amusement of the audience, Britton included some of the worst offenders, including ads that featured scantily-clad women, men in cheaply made gorilla suits and tricked out cars straight from a ‘Pimp my Ride’ rerun. Jokes aside, Avvo definitely hasn’t gone without controversy.
Towards the end of the lecture, Britton touched on some of the challenges Avvo has faced, including a lawsuit filed against Britton and Avvo a mere nine days after the company launch. Although it was later thrown out, the suit, paired with a year-long stagnation in online traffic and negative press, took a toll on the young CEO. However, Britton believes that the uphill battles built mental fortitude, stating, “The risk of failure, when you’re trying to cut something out of nothing, is approximate.” He also reiterated the importance of self-assurance and steadfastness, saying, “You need to believe and that’s the key. You have to be obsessed with something.”
Avvo currently has six million monthly visits, 160,000 lawyers listed, 10,000 advertisers and 117 employees. When asked about Avvo’s future, Britton stated, “We have a company trying to buy us but we’re not spending a lot time thinking about it…we know we can double our business.”
Mark Britton was one of UW Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo’s guest speakers at the annual Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, which include notable leaders in an array of industries from greater Seattle and around the country.
Hayden Krall (BA 2013) is the youngest salesman at Barrier Audi in Bellevue. He’s also one of the best, consistently exceeding his sales goal by several vehicles. Under the title of brand specialist, Hayden is in charge of new sales for Audi, which means his job consists mostly of face to face interaction and building relationships with his clientele, most of whom are a generation or two older. When asked if the age difference between himself and his clients is a hindrance, Hayden takes it in stride saying, “It’s about using what you learn. I feel prepared.”
When it was time to pick an academic focus, Hayden was drawn to what he refers as the “tangible” outcomes of the Sales Program. “Getting placed at a job, as a junior [in college], that’s all you want.” When asked about his success, Hayden points to his professors and time spent role-playing in the Sales Program, stating, “[in sales] you hit the ground running.”
Although, he’s already achieved so much as a brand specialist, Hayden’s goal is to one day start his own business. For prospective sales students, Hayden advises them to “Take it seriously [and] have fun.” He also notes the prestige that comes with completion of the Sales Program, stating “Employers look at you and can tell that you’re ahead.”
Find out more about the Sales Program at the Foster School of Business here.
GSEC 2013 welcomes 14 semi-finalist teams – representing 9 countries and 12 universities – to Seattle for this year’s high-powered GSEC from February 25 – March 1. Teams were selected from an applicant pool of 91 applicants from 67 Universities in 29 countries.
All 14 teams competed in semi-finals – congratulations to the six finalist teams: BreatheSuite, Coffee Promo Co., Eco-Chula, Jorsey Ashbel Farms, LifeChair and Social Cops. You can watch the video of six finalist teams’ presentations here and read more about the winners here.
AquaFiltro – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
AquaFiltro provides household drinking water treatment techniques in Ghana by developing two types of water treatment products, a basic model ceramic filter and a deluxe model ceramic filter. The filters consist of plastic containers and ceramic filter element. The deluxe model differentiates by user-friendliness, aesthetics, and durability. Both filters are effective at helping household water meet the drinking water standard.
BreatheSuite uses two different technologies, SpiroSmart and CoughSense, to measure lung function and cough frequency, respectively. The company will partner with a number of for-profit and non-profit organizations to magnify the technology’s impact and reach people in both developed and developing markets. View their final presentation. Coffee Promo Co. - National University of Rwanda, Rwanda
Our objectives are promoting sustainable coffee farming in rural areas, as well as making Rwanda coffee producers earn more and be less affected by price fluctuations. The idea of building a coffee washing station and training coffee growers aims to increase the added value on coffee for sale to the developed world. View their final presentation.
Disease Diagnostic Group uses the low-cost Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device to provide a handheld diagnosis for malaria in one minute by taking a drop of blood from a fingertip. The RAM device has potential to become the universal method of malaria diagnosis and eventually lead the way to the eradication of the disease.
Indoor air pollution is the single largest environmental risk factor for female mortality in the developing world. Eco-Chula uses an integrated approach to combat this problem by providing an affordable, efficient cooking solution powered by compressed bio-gas. The venture raises awareness among people, trains them, creates job opportunities, and offers cash discounts and installment payment on product purchase. View their final presentation.
Eccolizer seeks to solve the food insecurity of 64 million extremely poor people residing in Bangladesh by augmenting agricultural yields and providing employment opportunity with the help of an economically cheap & ecologically friendly bio-fertilizer that can also be used as insecticide and pesticide.
FastTrack House is an initiative to bring innovation in the housing infrastructure sector through a low cost & fast track housing solution, thereby improving the lives of slum-dwellers & disaster-affected people. They have developed a technology for making aggregates out of demolition waste or debris to form interlocking concrete blocks to construct a low cost, quality, eco-friendly house in only 7 days.
FreedomLens - Florida International University, United States
FreedomLens is an innovative, affordable pair of eye glasses that allow people with severe vision impairment or blindness to hear the text in books, newspapers, menus, product packages and signs in a multitude of languages. Using proprietary and open source technology, FreedomLens, enables blind people to acquire knowledge, navigate directions and earn a living. FreedomLens will provide the blind with access to resources and opportunities, gain independence to ultimately improve their quality of life.
Jorsey Ashbel Farms (JAF) - National Open University of Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
Jorsey Ashbel Farm (JAF) tells of how an unconventional livestock farm is pioneering a ground-breaking approach to tackling the poverty problem of Protein-Energy Malnutrition affecting millions of disadvantaged children and women. JAF produces Nigeria’s Cheapest Livestock Products using a new, scientifically-proven low-cost livestock feeds production technique combined with an innovative deployment strategy.
LifeChair – University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
LifeChair offers a cheaper, bamboo based wheelchair with greater features than a traditional wheelchair to give medical mobility aid for physically disabled and financial challenged people residing in Bangladesh. LifeChair aims to increase affordability, accessibility, and awareness within the target population. View their final presentation.
Saral KONNECT is an impact leveraging unit that levers the efforts of social enterprises and other mission driven set ups to help them scale and sustain as they approach relatively ‘foreign’ rural landscape and to create measurable impact by offering them project sites, primary field research, HR and operational support.
Shwari Biofuel Solutions Limited shall endeavor to produce eco-friendly biofuel to home owners and institutions in rural areas and slums, by providing the best products and services and continuously improving on the technology, tools and techniques employed.
Social Cops – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Social Cops is an open web & mobile Platform where citizens, councils, NGOs & corporations come together to solve civic issues ranging from uncleared garbage, potholes on the road, leaking drainages & dangerous electric poles. SocialCops@Citizens allows citizens to easily report their civic issues via the Internet and Smart Phones. SocialCops@Councils is a customizable dashboard that allows the relevant administrative authorities to track and monitor complaints raised by citizens. View their final presentation.
Vendi is a social venture that aims to eliminate the intermediaries and sell vegetables at a reasonable price after procuring them directly from farmers. The organization addresses multiple social problems such as exploitation of vegetable farmers and consumers; deteriorating quality of vegetables through the addition of excessive pesticides, high wastage due to lack of proper care, and lack of access to high nutrition food for the urban people.
Watch the slideshow below for pictures from the event.
*This post has been updated with information regarding the winners and a photo slideshow*
- Faculty perspectives, alumni happenings, student experiences, Seattle and Pacific Northwest community connections, and a taste of life around the Foster School.