Category Archives: Student Life

Consultant from India builds bridge to tech marketing career

Meet Shekhar Singh, Full-time MBA Class of 2012

Shekhar Singh grew up in India, where he earned a degree in civil engineering but later moved into software and built a career as a consultant with tech giant Infosys. When he set his sights on a new career in marketing, he looked for a U.S. school where he would have freedom to experiment, build a new skill set, and bridge cultural barriers. The first in his family to live outside India, Shekhar found a home at the Foster School of Business, where he has won case competitions, started a club that connects MBA students to leading technology companies, and helped other international MBA students meet the same challenges he faced when he arrived. Along the way, he has made some new friends.

Watch other Full-time MBA Faces of Foster videos.

MBA Challenge for Charity: game on

Music and mountains. Pursuits that quicken pulses around the Pacific Northwest. So, too, at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

Check out this video of Foster’s MBA house band—Death Spiral—laying down a thumping soundtrack to images of the inaugural MBA team charity climb of Mount Rainier in 2011. Both efforts were conceived and driven by students in Foster’s Full-Time and Evening MBA Programs. And both were components of the school’s year-long campaign in the MBA Challenge for Charity (C4C).



C4C is the annual competition among nine west coast business schools to raise the most money and work the most volunteer hours for local service organizations. The Foster School has won the C4C “Golden Briefcase” seven of the past 11 years, raising over $1 million and volunteering more than 15,000 hours for Special Olympics Washington and the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County.

Last year’s Rainier push landed 11 MBA mountaineers on the summit of Washington’s highest peak. The climbers also raised $7,000 for C4C charities. The MBA band rocked the C4C competition weekend at Stanford University, part of a growing tradition of sonic boom at the Foster School.

Mountains and music are a go for 2012, too.

This year’s Mount Rainier climb is scheduled for August and training has already begun. Organizer Scott Heinz and first-year MBA Jack Hogin hope to guide as many as 24 MBAs up two different routes. And Death Spiral, led by Nick Wilson (bass) and Mike Warady (drums), is back and amped for another epic concert at Stanford in May (not to mention numerous events in the run-up).

The primary C4C fundraiser is Foster School’s annual MBA Challenge For Charity auction, which takes place on February 25 from 5:30-11 p.m. at the Seattle Sheraton. Mardi Gras is the theme. You get the picture—a good time for a good cause.

MBA transforms economist into business strategist

Meet Natalia Perez, Full-time MBA Class of 2012

Leaving behind a job as a government economist in Washington, D.C., Natalia Perez moved to Seattle with her family and decided to enroll in an MBA program as a way to transition to a new career in business. The Foster School’s supportive, collaborative culture and close connections with Seattle’s vibrant business community have helped with these major life changes. Exposure to guest speakers from the area’s major employers at club meetings gave her insight into the job market. An internship at premier retailer Nordstrom offered a chance to apply what she was learning in the classroom, and brought her career goals into focus. She’s eager to put her experience and her developing skills as a strategist to work after graduation, and sees ample opportunity in Seattle to pursue her new vocation.

Watch other Full-time MBA Faces of Foster videos.

Asia native finds new home, plans career in Seattle

Meet Joana Tou, Full-time MBA Class of 2012

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Macao, Joana Tou’s undergraduate studies started in San Francisco and ended at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After starting her career in consulting, she and her husband, who was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, decided to return to the West Coast and landed in Seattle. Looking for a new career where she could build on her previous experience, Joana chose the Full-time MBA Program at the Michael G. Foster School of Business as a way to broaden and deepen her background in business and connect with the thriving local business community. She’s closing in on her goals.

Watch other Full-time MBA Faces of Foster videos.

MBA candidate plans to do well by doing good

Meet Laura McCurry, Full-time MBA Class of 2012

Seattle native Laura McCurry places a high value on community and collaboration, and found a “perfect fit” for these values at the Foster School of Business. She parlayed an undergraduate degree in business into a five-year stint in Quito, Ecuador, helping fair trade producers improve their business practices and market to customers worldwide. After returning to Seattle, she decided to take her career to the next level by seeking an MBA. At the Foster School, she has found ample opportunities to pursue her passion, whether sharing her experience with new MBA students as a Leadership Fellow, serving on a non-profit board as a Board Fellow, or raising funds and networking with alumni for Challenge for Charity. And Foster’s connections in the business community have given her an opportunity to explore post-MBA employment that will have a positive impact on society as well as the bottom line.

Watch other Full-time MBA Faces of Foster videos.

MBA/MHA candidate plans healthcare management career

Meet Dan Bush, Full-time MBA Class of 2012

After managing medical education projects in Chicago for two years, Dan Bush set his sights on a career in healthcare management. Graduate education was a logical next step, but Dan wanted more specialized industry knowledge than an MBA alone could offer. The University of Washington’s concurrent program leading to a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Health Administration (MBA/MHA) was an ideal solution. In his MBA program at the Foster School, he has built a foundation of business knowledge across the disciplines and tailored his elective courses to his specific career goals. He also found opportunities to personalize his Foster MBA through club activities, a business plan competition and an internship relevant to his interests. Balancing two nationally-ranked graduate degree programs at the same time is no mean feat, but Dan relishes the challenge.

Watch other Full-time MBA Faces of Foster videos.

Study abroad photo contest winners 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words. Every year University of Washington Foster School of Business undergraduate and MBA students study and work abroad as part of their business degree and sometimes the best way to convey the value of those experience is through a photo. The UW Global Business Center held a competition for the best student photos of 2011 travels. Here are the 1st and 2nd place winners in two categories – titles, captions, descriptions written by students:

  1. Foster Abroad: Photo that inspires others to study abroad or makes a statement about the student experience abroad
  2. My Global Lens: Views uniquely accessible to students living abroad – social issues, cultural interactions, city scapes, landscapes, etc.

Foster Abroad – 1st Place (tie): Olivia Arguinchona, undergraduate 
India

Good morning India!
This picture was taken at the Taj Mahal at around 6 AM in the morning. I don’t think there is any other place where I could have been so awake at this hour in the morning.

Experience abroad: This exploration seminar focused on women leadership and entrepreneurship in a country where women are commonly oppressed. Looking back on all I experienced, India has become a symbol of resilience for me. I met so many women who had found a way to lift themselves and their family out of desperate poverty, or who were, in poverty, surviving and planning for the future of their children. Our group delved into the topic of microfinance, something I know hope to pursue once receiving a degree.

Foster Abroad – 1st Place (tie): Olga Kachook, undergraduate
Johannesburg, South Africa

Shadows of Us
Biking through Soweto, one of South Africa’s most culturally rich and diverse townships.

Experience abroad: Life abroad beats to a different drum- restaurants serve food at a snail’s pace, transportation is a chaotic adventure, and many things are lost in translation. Sometimes these changes were exhilarating, and sometimes they were frustrating, but most of the time they just made you stop and question things you take at face value back home. The differences between places and cultures are what usually stand out, but ultimately studying abroad shows you both sides of the coin- not just differences but similarities too. Discovering our similarities to people half way across the world is what makes travel exciting.

Foster Abroad – 2nd Place: Stephan Chung, undergraduate
Cork, Ireland

Reppin’ the DUBYA after win #1
The first of many. UW’s Ireland Exploration Seminar representing the dawg pack in Ireland following our season opening win against the Eastern Eagles. Photo location: Kinsale Harbour

Experience abroad: I decided to go on this business summer exploration to Ireland after hearing raving reviews from everyone I ever talked to who went on the trip. We spent an amazing three weeks visiting large national business and touring Ireland’s cities, towns, and beautiful natural landscape. The Charles’ Fort at Kinsale Harbour where this picture was taken offered breathtaking views of the coast and an interesting piece of Irish history.

My Global Lens – 1st Place: Amanda Hamilton, undergraduate
Ahmedabad, India

Who Runs the World? (Girls)
Empowering a girl empowers the world. Providing education and opportunities to girls around the world is the key to the future. Location: A small, rural village outside Ahmedabad

Experience abroad: Traveling to India was the biggest eye-opener ever. The culture shock and awe-inspiring experience was, at times, overwhelming, but left me thinking so much more deeply about the issues going on in this world. Seeing the stark contrast between the rich and poor and meeting all these amazing women who are taking what they were given and being empowered to be the change in their own lives and communities is so entirely humbling and inspiring. It was amazing to see the people and programs who are truly trying to make a difference by empowering these women and giving them opportunities to affect change around them. The woman in this picture was part of a case study where we went and met with a group of women in a village who had been given solar lanterns and clean cookstoves to improve their lives and daily work.

My Global Lens – 2nd Place: Siena Cairns, undergraduate
Valdivia, Chile

Trapped Miners: 33+
Crawling deep into the suffocating tunnels of Cerro de Potosí showed me there were more than 33 miners living in the dark. Location of photo: Potosí, Bolivia

Experience abroad: The week I arrived in Chile was the week that 33 miners became trapped in the north. Although this was significant international news, it was hardly the only cause for attention across the nation. At that same time, leaders of the indigenous minority, the Mapuche, were entering their second month of a hunger strike and protesters were gathering blocks away from my university. In the midst of national turmoil, Chile was approaching its 200 year celebration as a nation and an election year. I was swept into all of this, and slowly over meals with my host family, classroom discussions, and chats with local friends, my understanding of Chile’s political, social, and cultural history grew until I really began to understand the weight of these pressing issues around me.

Touring the mines and engaging with miners was one of these eye opening experiences. The miners taught me how life in the mines is so demanding that there comes a day when you know little else. In this sense, they become trapped in those deadly tunnels, unable to leave the only lifestyle they know. When I left home to learn Spanish, I never expected to return with such an understanding of this foreign culture too.

See all photos submitted for the contest. Judges included nearly 30 faculty and staff members. Learn more about MBA and undergraduate study and work abroad opportunities via the Global Business Center.

Foster MBAs place 3rd in national ethical leadership competition

A team of MBA students from the University of Washington Foster School of Business took third prize at the fifth-annual MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership at Baylor University November 18.

The competition challenges MBAs to demonstrate ethical leadership in a practical business dilemma. This year’s case was based on a recent, real-world, ethics scandal. Teams were charged with creating a path for News Corporation to rebound from its phone-hacking mess and reemerge as an ethical leader in the media industry.

The Foster team of second-year MBAs Krister Fardig, Jeremiah Marks, Jesse Robbins and Henry Vogler recognized that no cosmetic fix would do the job. To address the root problem—an organizational issue with ethics—they recommended that News Corp directors implement what they called the “audit and continuous improvement of ethics (ACE) model.” This external and internal auditing process enables increased accountability, increased visibility and better performance when it comes to managing ethical behavior.

Robbins, a veteran of three case competitions as an undergrad at the Foster School and five in his first year of the Full-Time MBA Program, said that the team was well prepared by the program’s rigorous core curriculum. He also credited Foster’s business ethics professor Scott Reynolds, who armed the team with an ethical framework that helped them identify the solution that hit closest to the sweet spot where technology, strategy and ethics intersect positively.

The Foster MBAs competed with teams from Auburn University, Baylor University, Iowa State University, Pepperdine University, Texas A&M University, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota and University of Texas. Illinois and Florida took first and second places.