All posts by Sarah Massey

In Beijing, an internship worth yakking about

Guest post by Joyce Tang, Foster undergraduate and Certificate of International Studies in Business student

Joyce TangAt a recent Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) Alumni Panel, I heard a woman say she wished she had spent more time during her study abroad experience building a professional network, rather than only engaging with other students. I couldn’t agree more because I personally benefited from this decision while I was an exchange student at Peking University, the most prestigious higher learning institute in China.

After a meaningful summer internship in Shanghai, I knew I wanted to have more work experience while I was studying abroad. My resolve led me to find and accept an internship at a social enterprise called Khunu. This company produces premium yak wool apparel, while supporting the yak herders from whom the wool is sourced. With a great passion for social entrepreneurship and fashion, this was the perfect opportunity for me. Three days a week, I took a 45 minute commute—if I was lucky enough to squish my way onto the first subway that came during rush hour—to work and 45 minutes back to school.

During those three months, I learned things that turned my assumptions about China upside down. For example, I assumed most luxury fashion brands produced their products domestically to maintain quality and workmanship, but found out the factory we produced our apparel in was also used by a big name luxury label. It was also a lot smaller than I expected, as the picture in my head was of an enormous factory designed for mass production. Many people immediately think low quality when they hear the words manufacturing and China in the same sentence. However, this is not always the case. Khunu is one fashion label that is trying to redefine the “Made in China” tag.

What I learned at Khunu was reinforced at a panel discussion I recently attended on ethical sourcing, which was sponsored and organized by CISB and AIESEC. The vice presidents of global sourcing from Costco and Brooks Running Company spoke about the manufacturing, supplying, and operations practices of their respective companies. They emphasized the importance of setting a new market standard where businesses create value chains at every step of the process, rather than just supply chains. To accomplish this, the players at each stage of the chain—from cotton farmer to spinner to business to consumer—must demand and be provided fair compensation for the part they play. As I pursue a concentration and future career in operations and supply chain management, my experiences in CISB have played an invaluable part in helping me understand sustainable supply chains from both sides of the Pacific: Seattle and Beijing.

Foster students brew up delivery solutions for Starbucks

Guest post by Josina Garnham, experiential learning manager

Starbucks winning teamThe warm chocolatey-caramel notes swirling through the air is what you notice first–often times before you even open the door. When you do enter the storefront, you are enveloped by the sound of well-selected jazz, the buzz of the espresso machine and the friendly baristas calling out the names of customers and their made-to-order beverages.

Starbucks, a ubiquitous brand globally and especially here in Seattle, is seeking to extend this experience from their stores to meet its customers’ just-in-time demands. Graduating seniors from the Foster School were invited to join Starbucks in developing solutions on how to deliver fresh beverages without compromising on quality and maintaining the company’s value of “delivering our very best in all we do.”

Each quarter the Foster School partners with a Seattle-based company to develop a customized business case as part of a required capstone course (MGMT430) for all graduating seniors. The case, written by Anna Fung, Foster PhD student, and overseen by Rick McPherson, course coordinator, presents an urgent business issue in a condensed format. The Foster Strategy Development Case Competition is one of the largest single-day case competitions in the world. This winter’s competition with Starbucks featured 54 teams comprised of over 225 students.

For Dave Twehues, director of Global Corporate Strategy, the decision to partner with the Foster School was an easy one: “I think the value of the case competition from Starbucks is twofold. First, the participation of our partners as judges is a great way for Starbucks to connect with future business leaders and second, the exposure to the creative solutions delivered by the student teams brings fresh perspectives to really difficult business problems.”

To develop a winning solution, the students focused on Starbucks’s mission and values: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” Madeline Sykes, a senior finance major, noted, “it is important to do research on the company’s values and we knew Starbucks values its customers very highly. We started off our presentation by presenting a story about a target customer and the customer’s needs.”

Student teams have three weeks to research the issue and prepare presentations summarizing their recommendations to business leaders—both Foster alumni and Starbucks employees who serve as judges. For Matt Hansen, an accounting major, “the Q&A section…is the hardest part to prepare for. This is one area that our team spent a lot of time focusing on because it is where groups can differentiate themselves by their ability to think on their feet and shows how confident they are in their business proposal/strategy.”

The winning team of Renee Chiang, Allison Gaylor, Matt Hansen, Rebecca Ruh, Kamal Sohal, and Madeline Sykes proposed meeting the challenge of delivering Starbucks beverages with the solution of creating smaller satellite “stores” which would focus on preparing drinks for delivery exclusively. Current stores maintain a brisk business with customers walking in the doors. The student’s research—including frequenting area Starbucks cafes—led them to hypothesize that increasing demands on these storefronts for delivery orders would slow service in both areas. From these small-scale, delivery-focused beverage outlets, bike messengers would be deployed to deliver both hot and cold drinks in specially designed temperature controlled bags.

Beyond understanding the company’s values, having a strong situation analysis, well-justified idea, and presenting their solution in a clear and compelling way, what really differentiates teams are their interpersonal dynamics. Ruh said, “Our success in the case competition was rooted in the relaxed, yet focused environment we created. Our vision developed alongside our team synergy. Taking this experience into the future, the strengths of lightheartedness and creativity, are key components that will define future teamwork endeavors, essential in today’s business world.”

“What I learned about teamwork and team dynamics I will definitely…take with me to my future career” said Renee Chiang. “This was my first time participating in a case competition and it taught me to be confident with myself and my ideas. That confidence would definitely be something I hope to apply to my career—from negotiation to pitching my ideas.”

On March 18, 2015 Starbucks announced the launch of delivery services in Seattle and New York City. Foster School of Business students will be amongst the first to be delighted by having a perfectly prepared, hand-delivered cup of coffee to fuel their last quarter of studies before graduating in June.

To learn more about previous Strategy Development Case Competitions please see our competition webpage and the following Foster Unplugged posts: Alaska Airlines and
Seattle City Light

Foster “pays it forward” with over 1,500 volunteer hours

Guest post by Nella Kwan (BA 2017)

Foster's Week of ServiceAt the Foster School of Business, students are not only focused on excelling in their coursework and extracurricular activities, but are also using their skills and talents to give back to the community. Each year the Foster School hosts a Week of Service and encourages Foster student organizations to participate by hosting a philanthropic event for a charitable cause of their choosing. This year, our theme was “Pay It Forward” and the hard work and dedication of Foster student organizations resulted in over 1,500 volunteer hours devoted to aiding a variety of charitable causes and organizations throughout the community.

We would like to sincerely thank our generous sponsor, UPS, and everyone who participated to make a difference and make this year’s Week of Service our most successful one yet. We hope to continue the Week of Service for years to come and cannot wait to witness the amazing impact Foster students will continue to make on the community.

Below are highlights from this year’s service week.

American Marketing Association teamed up with Ad Club to fundraise for the Fight For Air Climb hosted by the American Lung Association. Their efforts allowed them to fundraise over $250 to the event.

Business Information Technology Society (BITS) organized a pizza fundraiser throughout the Week of Service, raising both funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and donated over $300.

Beta Alpha Psi and Foster Finance Association volunteered at an Earthcorp event and helped remove invasive plants and blackberries around the community.

Business Leaders in Healthcare partnered up with Operations Supply Chain Management to create care packages to send to our troops.

Undergraduate Women in Business and Business Ethics Association co-hosted a Week of Service Mocktail Party that allowed attendees to not only mingle with fun drinks, but to also participate in an interactive workshop on cocktail party etiquette. Their proceeds were donated to support the YWCA Dress for Success Program.

Alpha Kappa Psi got together with Husky Sales Club, ALPFA, and UW Society for Human Resource Management to clean up The Ave.

Business Impact Group and Undergraduate Management Consulting Association took a trip to a local Boys & Girls Club to shed some knowledge about career opportunities.

Out for Business partnered with the Chicken Soup Brigade to help package nutritional meals for those dealing with chronic conditions and hunger.

AIESEC and CISB (Certificate of International Studies in Business) collaborated to collect item donations that were then donated to StandUp For Kids in order to help homeless youth in our community.

The Association of Black Business Students and National Association of Black Accountants volunteered at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club and helped with organizing and cleaning up.

ASCEND and Asian Business Student Association passed out information and promoted UW Red Cross.

Start Up UW, Montlake Consulting Group, and Husky Traders hosted an event to promote VenturePolicitics, a startup focused on lobbying for immigration reform at the White House.

Undergrads trek to San Francisco to network with employers

Guest post by Zak Sheerazi, assistant director of career development, Undergraduate Career Services

On August 26 and 27, Foster Undergraduate Career Services took a group of students to San Francisco to visit seven companies. This group of Foster students consisted of finance/accounting majors  interested in working in the Bay Area after they graduate.

Each company visit entailed an overview of the company and provided students the opportunity to network with company representatives. During this two-day trek we also had a San Francisco alumni networking night. Roughly 60 Foster alumni from the San Francisco area met up to network with each other and our current students.

Amy Li, accounting/finance major, had this to say about her experience on the trek, “It was a great opportunity that enabled students to have direct interaction with employers and to learn about their jobs from different perspectives. Communication is an essential skill in career development, thus through this form of networking event, we not only explored the diverse career paths we could choose from but also had the chance to build and present our personal brand.”

We would like to send a special thanks to the employers who participated in the SF Trek: Deloitte, EY, KPMG, Piper Jaffray, Prudential Capital, PwC, and Vaquero Capital.

San Francisco Trek
Photos from the company visits and networking night on the San Francisco Trek.

CISB alumni updates 2014

Andy Aparico (BA 1997) is CTO/CIO of Tele-Post in Greenland.

Fulbright alumna Monica Barrett (BA 2009) is taking the MPA at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a research assistant at Innovations for Poverty Action this summer, and last summer was a Deloitte Summer Associate in Emerging Markets. While at Deloitte, she was deployed to the West Bank to support USAID in generating $75M in increased revenue or decreased costs of trade. Monica was formerly a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Monica holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Heather Brewer (BA 1997) is a Consulting Director for Matisia Consultants. She is currently serving as Senior Program Manager for Spain and European Launch for Costco Spain, the first country for Costco in Continental Europe.

Adam-Taras Brunets (BA 2006) is Global Trade Controls Specialist/Lead for Russia, Ukraine & CIS at The Boeing Company.

Brittany Glant (BA 2008) is a Product Specialist at buuteeq.

Katie Gray (BA 2011) is Customer Marketing Manager at Microsoft in Santiago, Chile. See her Foster blog post here.

Meghann Halfmoon (BA 2001) is owner and designer of her label and small business, Halfmoon, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. From 2008 to 2013 she was a Resource Mobilization officer for Plan Nederland, where she successfully let the EU grant proposal development process with Plan country offices.

Kenny La (BA 2000) is Operations Manager, North Region, Starbucks Coffee Vietnam.

Megan Haley Nelson (BA 1999) is the Director of Community Relations for Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

Amela Mesak (BA 2007) is Director, NPG Business Integration at Nordstrom.

Foreign Service Officer Aysa Miller (BA 2004) is the Economic and Deputy Commercial officer in Khartoum, Sudan, in the political/economic section, working mostly on petroleum, agriculture, banking, trade, gum arabic, sanctions, debt relief and environmental issues.

Dina Phinney (BA 2004), is the Marketing Manager at Brown Pear Solutions.

Samantha Rayner (BA 2009), co-founder of Lumana, joined a new startup in San Francisco called HandUp, an online platform for giving directly to homeless people and neighbors in need. She is leading operations and business development.

Megan Linder Richards (BA 2007) is Marketing Strategy Manager at Nordstrom.

Johnny Sbrizzi (BA 2009) is an Italian Sales Rep for US distributors/brokers of aerospace components. He said that he “holds a middleman function between Italian aerospace customers, primarily Alenia Aermacchi (a large Boeing partner) and US suppliers.”

Jenepher Schulte (BA 2010) is taking both the law and MBA degrees at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Anh Tran (BA 2005) is a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Anh is an MBA alum of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the Joseph H. Wharton Fellowship.

Monica Trantow (BA 2008) wrote, “I accepted a role with Amazon Web Services in Luxembourg to be on the EMEA Headquarter Marketing Team, performing everything from metrics analysis to events to digital and in-person campaigns. I know that my time with CISB and involvement with GBCC won my interviewees over, as well as all the experience that CISB mandated during college. My post is for between 9-18 months minimum but I’d love to give back and talk about my experiences, and what it took to get the role. I owe a lot to CISB and I finally feel that I am getting the chance to use my education!”

Nolan Wadland (BA 2002) is Controller & Site Transportation Manager, Alcoa, in Houston, Texas.

Taking the plunge and moving to Chile

Guest post by Katie Gray (BA 2011)

Katie GrayI graduated from the Foster School in 2011, having studied marketing and Spanish and earning a Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB). Last year I decided to take the plunge and move to Chile, where I had studied abroad four years prior. Although I didn’t have a job lined up, my plan was to immediately begin networking with my U.S. and Chilean contacts as soon as I arrived in Santiago. I began to email everyone I knew back in the U.S. to let them know I had moved in the off-chance that someone might have a connection in Chile. Luckily my plan worked, and a contact from Microsoft put me in touch with the man who is now my boss here at Microsoft Chile. I applied for and was offered the position of customer marketing manager for the Small and Medium Business segment.

As a marketing manager for a sales team, I manage and execute Microsoft’s direct-to-consumer marketing campaigns and activities throughout Chile for companies below 250 PCs. Although it is challenging to work in a fast-paced environment in a foreign language, I recognize this job has provided significantly more responsibility and room for growth than an entry-level position I would have had in the U.S. I am very grateful to Foster and the CISB Program for the foreign language and networking skills they helped me develop, and I cannot recommend the experience of working abroad highly enough. To anyone considering a move abroad after graduation who would like to know more about my experience, please feel free to contact me at kemilygray at gmail dot com.

International business students present to Lululemon execs

Guest post by Kelci Zile, Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) student

Kelci Zile and Erin Hollingshead
Kelci Zile and Erin Hollingshead at Lululemon headquarters
Erin Hollingshead and I, Kelsi Zile, were fortunate enough to visit the Lululemon headquarters in Vancouver, BC as a prize for our team winning the Certificate of International Studies in Business Foreign Market Strategy Project Competition held on February 13, 2014. The trip included a presentation of our proposal to the foreign expansion board at Lululemon consisting of Jessica Reigle, international specialist; Mary Pittman, international e-commerce manager; Tina Sarazin, brand creative & translation manager; Brooke Harley, international business development director; Sairah Hearn, global social media manager; and Mila Rusimovich, international community. Erin and I were very thankful we came prepared and were able to successfully answer the multitude of in-depth questions they had.

After our presentation we asked the board about their positions, biggest challenges and what they predict for the future. Not only was this an incredible learning experience, it was great to see how a board like this functions as a team. After the presentation we were given a tour of the facility by CISB alumna Nancy Richardson. One of our favorite parts of the tour was seeing their massive HR department, or what they call the people potential department. Their department is 500% larger than the average HR department. Lululemon truly understands the value of human capital. This is a progressing trend in business, and both Erin and I were glad to see that Lululemon has seen great success with this management style.

Following the tour we took a yoga class with Nancy and then had dinner with the rest of the board. At dinner Erin and I had a chance to ask real-life questions. The group was inspiring and pushed Erin and me to follow our hearts in everything we do. They understand that following your passion is the only true way to find happiness in a career. Erin and I returned to Seattle with increased drive, vision and enhanced presentation skills. This was an amazing trip and we are extremely grateful to not only have gained these business skills, but to also have met a group of inspiring people.

The Certificate of International Studies in Business is a rigorous, integrative academic supplement to the Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Through study abroad, foreign language immersion and area studies coursework, CISB students are equipped to meet the challenges facing business leaders in today’s global economy.

Lessons for student entrepreneurs

Dan Price
Dan Price speaking at the Business Plan Competition Dinner and Awards Ceremony

As a student at Seattle Pacific University, Dan Price won second place in the 2007 UW Business Plan Competition for Gravity Payments. This year he was the keynote speaker at the UW Business Plan Competition Awards Dinner on May 22. Price shared his personal story and the lessons he learned while building Gravity Payments into one the fastest growing credit card processing companies. His advice for student entrepreneurs:

Dive in. One important lesson for all entrepreneurs is to learn how to dive in and get things done—even when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Price shared what happened to him in 2008 when the financial collapse hit. First, 20% of his revenue evaporated overnight. Next, two of his major clients filed for bankruptcy leaving him with the prospect of losing $1.3 million, which would have left him with just $200K in the bank. But instead of panicking, he started learning everything he could about bankruptcy law and was appointed to the official committee for unsecured creditors for both bankruptcy cases. In the end, Gravity Payments didn’t lose the entire $1.3 million.

Make incremental progress. He also made the point that building a company is about making incremental progress each day. Instead of focusing on everything that needs to be done, do what you can see today.

Be open to change. You’re not going to follow your business plan exactly like you think you are. He said, “You’re going to shred it. You’re going to redo it.” It’s important to be flexible and open to change to meet demands. He said, “We’re doing things in our business I never imagined we would do.”

Support successful people traits. He concluded with a challenge to the audience. He showed an image depicting successful people versus unsuccessful people. Successful people share information, keep a journal, want others to be successful, while unsuccessful people fear change, secretly hope others fail and criticize others. Price challenged everyone to create a world where the successful people traits thrive.

He also shared his life philosophy that we should enjoy our time on earth as much as possible and be as happy as possible, and have that, not money, represent true happiness. You can also read GeekWire’s coverage of Price’s talk here.

Foster student receives Bonderman Travel Fellowship

Wilson Carletti in Hong Kong while on the China Exploration Seminar
Wilson Carletti in Hong Kong while on the China Exploration Seminar

Foster undergraduate student Wilson Carletti was recently awarded a Bonderman Travel Fellowship which will enable him to travel solo for eight months and visit at least two regions and six countries around the world. Carletti was one of fourteen UW students to receive the fellowship worth $20,000.

Carletti grew up in Seattle and is preparing to graduate in June with an undergraduate degree in finance from the Foster School. He plans to leave for his eight-month adventure sometime in September or early October and will travel to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Antarctica, Argentina and South Africa. He first heard about the fellowship as a freshman through the Honors Program. After studying abroad in Italy and Spain for a summer and participating in an Exploration Seminar to China, he knew he wanted to travel more.

His travel objectives are to appreciate the natural beauty of these places, engage in dialogue with local communities, and participate in sports to learn to understand their role in the lives of other peoples and cultures of South America and South Africa. He is also interested in improving his Spanish while he’s in South America. And he’s visiting Antarctica because he has always wanted to visit all seven continents. He said, “I also want to use the opportunity to focus on one of my passions: writing. I want to write about my experiences, as a mode of self-reflection and documentation for others, and to hone my art of storytelling.” He said he started his blog before his first study abroad trip and found it helped him view his experiences differently, especially as he documented them for others.

He expects the most challenging aspect of this trip to be the long periods of solitude. Venturing out of the Puget Sound for eight months will also be an adjustment, but it’s one he’s looking forward to.

When Carletti returns, he’ll pursue a master’s degree in human centered design at UW. His ultimate goal is to combine his business education with startups and writing. His advice to current students, “Study abroad if you can. Seek out those opportunities that expose you to other parts of the world.”

The Bonderman Travel Fellows were established in 1995. The aim is to expose students to the intrinsic, often life-changing benefits of international travel. While traveling, students may not pursue academic study, projects or research. UW graduate students, professional students and undergraduate students are eligible to apply. In total, 207 UW students—127 undergraduate and 80 graduate and professional students—have been named Bonderman Fellows, including the 2014 fellows. Look for future blog posts from Carletti next year as he shares his journey with us on the Foster Blog.

Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum opens

Fred Canady and John F. Robinson
Fred Canady and John F. Robinson

On May 13 the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum was unveiled at the UW Foster School of Business Center for Consulting and Business Development. The Hall of Fame, founded in 2004 by the National Minority Business Council and the Minority Business News USA, recognizes trailblazers who have built minority-owned businesses across the U.S. Since its inception, more than 50 people have been inducted.

In 2013 the Hall of Fame board approached the Foster School and Professor and Dean Emeritus William Bradford, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013, with a request to collaborate on the exhibit. Fast forward to almost a year later, a partnership between the Hall of Fame and the Foster School has been established. The exhibit is housed on campus in Mackenzie Hall and was developed in partnership with the Center for Consulting and Business Development, which has been helping minority-owned businesses succeed for the past 19 years.

Provost Ana Mari Cauce
Provost Ana Mari Cauce

At the grand opening of the Hall of Fame, Foster School Dean Jim Jiambalvo said he was very pleased the Foster School and the Center for Consulting and Business Development were able to form this partnership with the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum. UW Provost Ana Mari Cauce said the Hall of Fame, along with the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity, the UW Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center and the Intellectual House, scheduled to open in March 2015, represents the UW is committed to building a diverse community open to everyone. Washington State Representative and Foster alumna Cindy Ryu (MBA 1983) said the Hall of Fame signaled there are opportunities for everyone. She also cited the Washington State Dream Act (REAL Hope Act) as one of the most important pieces of legislation to pass because it makes college possible for people who are not legal citizens and creates a more diverse learning environment at higher education institutions in Washington.

John F. Robinson, founding board chair of the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum, said that for the past nine years they have always wanted to find a home for the Hall of Fame and he was pleased it was able to be here at the Foster School. Then Fred Canady, chair of the Hall of Fame, introduced the newest inductees. Two of the five 2014 inductees are from the Seattle area: Firoz Lalji, co-founder of Zones, an IT company, and the founders of Liberty Bank, which was started in the Central District of Seattle in 1967 by business leaders who wanted to make more banking services available to minorities. The other inductees are Charles Timothy Haffey, former VP of corporate purchasing for Pfizer; Don McKneely, founder, chairman and CEO for MBN USA and Business News Group and co-founder of Billion Dollar Roundtable; and Margaret Z. Richardson-Wiley, former executive director of National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Yonas Seifu
Yonas Seifu

The grand opening concluded with Foster MBA student Yonas Seifu. He shared how mentoring and seeing African Americans in the engineering field, the career path he pursued as a high school and college student, shaped his career. He ended the talk by referencing the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And he said, “The Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum is now part of the Foster School of Business village.”