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A view of Japan from the Top: Event with Former US Ambassador to Japan, John Roos

Guest post  by Nick Dwyer, Foster MBA Candidate, 2016

Before enrolling in the full-time MBA program at the Foster School this fall, I often heard full-time business students characterized as “day students”. But with the vast number of engaging presentations, speakers’ series, networking opportunities and other evening events at our disposal, I now realize this was a misnomer. While I’m not currently taking any evening classes, my on-campus education rarely ceases before 6PM.  Perhaps my most notable example is the evening of November 20th, when I had the opportunity to hear from the former US ambassador to Japan, John Roos.

Ambassador Roos came to the Foster School as part of the Tateuchi Foundation Asian Business Distinguished Speaker Lecture, a series of annual speeches by business leaders focused on presenting US-Japan business opportunities.

By partnering with the Tateuchi Foundation, we can honor the legacy of Mr. Tateuchi’s business success and further the Foundation’s goals of promoting international understanding, knowledge, and relations.

The event is made possible by the Tateuchi Foundation, a family foundation charged with building bridges of understanding between the United States and Japan. Given this mission, its unlikely there is a more fitting presenter than John Roos, who served in his role as ambassador to Japan from 2009 to 2013.

One of the most interesting points of Ambassador Roos’ presentation was his atypical professional background for an ambassador. Unlike most American ambassadors to Japan, John Roos never held a significant public office before his ambassadorship and was not a political figure in Washington, DC.  Before Japan, Roos was a lawyer in Silicon Valley, where as CEO he led a premier technology law firm.

He explained that he was such an outsider that his wife quipped that he “didn’t have a chance in hell” before formally receiving his nomination for the post. But his less than common background was appealing to President Obama, who appreciated his experience in technology and innovation and his understanding of Asia-Pacific business. “But most of all, it was just a matter of trust” Roos confirmed.

tateuchi_2014-roos-120As someone who has always been interested with the economy of Japan, I particularly enjoyed watching Ambassador Roos interact with Japanese students in the Q&A part of the evening. What emerged was a major difference of opinion between the state and potential future of Japan. Several students commented they felt pessimistic about the future of Japan, given the weak economy, the high population loss, and the high national debt. Ambassador Roos reminded them that Japan is still the third largest economy in the world and that 90% of the world would trade places with them. When asked what is the best characteristic of Japanese business, Roos stated that “quality and attention to detail permeate the whole society” and there is a very high level of service, which can continue to drive the Japanese business.  He also sees the Japanese business culture beginning to address its lack of entrepreneurial thinkers and businesses, which will be key for future economic growth.

While Japanese business was a major conversation point for the evening, Roos also discussed a number of geopolitical issues, including the thorny relationship between Okinawa and the United States, the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, and North Korean threat to Japan. He also described the biggest challenge of his ambassadorship; the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. The link between national security and economic wellbeing was not lost on the ambassador, as he frequently pivoted between both topics.

In all, Ambassador Roos painted a complex yet optimistic picture of Japan and Japanese businesses. His belief in the country is illustrated by his current position on the board of directors at Japan’s largest electronics company, Sony. While Japan has to overcome it’s shrinking population and stiff competition, his ambassadorship allowed him to see up close what makes Japan so dynamic.

While I certainly don’t wish to underestimate my daytime classes and activities, Ambassador Roos certainly demonstrated that learning about global business doesn’t necessarily slow when the sun sets at Paccar Hall.



Over 300 University of Washington Foster School of Business undergraduate and MBA students studied or interned abroad last year.  These photos and short descriptions are a small taste of the transformative educational experiences these students have each year.  The UW Global Business Center held a competition for the best student photos in two categories: Foster Abroad and My Global Lens.


1st Place Foster Abroad: Hitchhiking in George Town

Experience abroad: Jeremy Santos, Foster School Exchange Program at the National University of Singapore.  Studying and living abroad gave me the opportunity to see, hear, and taste new things. The experience knocked me off my feet!”


2nd Place Foster Abroad: Dawg Pack in Prague - Our program contributed to the Lennon Wall in Prague by spray painting a W and showing our Husky spirit abroad.

Experience abroad: Jessica Gardner, UW CHID Program in Prague.  “I spent 10 weeks studying abroad in Prague and visiting surrounding areas learning about how different groups and countries learn about history and how this represents who they are today. I immersed myself in Eastern Europe culture and felt that I gained a greater appreciation for different cultures and discovered how I want my business career to be internationally focused.”


1st Place My Global Lens - The Last Potter: This man was the last potter in his village, as his only son pursued a different career. I love how his grin shows how proud he is of his work!

Experience abroad: Alexandra McCarthy, Foster School Exploration Seminar in India.  “Studying abroad in India was nothing short of amazing. I absolutely fell in love with the people and the culture. From their colorful clothing to breathtaking temples, India is by far one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to.”


2nd Place My Global Lens – A Man and His Dog: It’s not every day that you get to wander through the mountains of Northern Spain. Even more rare is meeting this man who has lived in a stone hut in the mountains his whole life, swapping stories over the cheese he makes from the cows that roam nearby, using smiles to convey what my broken Spanish could not.

Experience abroad: Bonnie Beam, Foster School Exchange Program at the University of Navarra in Spain.  “My time abroad has been challenging, awkward, hilarious, embarrassing and most importantly, has opened my eyes to things I would have not seen otherwise. I have been humbled by how much I have to learn and am extremely grateful for every single person who has taken the time out to teach me something new; from teaching me a simple phrase to showing me how to play pádel to divulging the secret to making the perfect roscillas, I am a better person because of it all and I owe it to the lovely citizens of Pamplona. I have realized that I will never stop learning as long as I continue in humility and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way.”

See all photos submitted for the contest. Judges included over 40 faculty and staff members. Learn more about MBA and undergraduate study abroad opportunities at the Foster School.

Student teams develop innovative solutions to increase profitability of the world’s largest festival

Photo of Winning Team
2014 Winning Team members Michelle Hara, Zach Bickel, Erica Cheng, and Crystal Wang with Larry Calkins of Holland America Line

Did you know that during the 16 day Munich Oktoberfest an average tent with 7,500 seats sells over 4 million euros worth of beer?

This weekend at the  2014 Holland America Line Global Case Competition, over 100 Foster School undergraduates grappled with how to increase the profitability and global reach of Oktoberfest, the world’s largest festival. The Global Business Center is pleased to announce that this year’s competition was a great success!

Teams played the role of outside consultants hired by the Munich Oktoberfest Organizing Committee to develop a strategy recommendation to increase profitability of Munich Oktoberfest. Teams spent 48 hours developing their background analysis, and on Saturday November 15th presented their recommendations to panels of community member judges. The top four teams were selected to move on to the final round.

After watching the final round teams present, the panel of six finalist judges determined a winner. This year’s deliberation was particularly challenging because each of the finalist teams had an insightful and innovative recommendation.

Team 2 members Zach Bickel, Erica Cheng, Michelle Hara, and Crystal Wang, were named the 2014 Holland America Line Global Case Competition Champion, and awarded $1,000. Their recommendation to increase profitability of Oktoberfest was to replicate the festival abroad, specifically in Munich’s Sister City, Sapporo, Japan. Their team determined through detailed analytics that a Sapporo Oktoberfest would prove successful due to existing infrastructure, socioeconomic factors and a strong cultural identity.

This year we had seven outstanding freshman teams participate in the ‘Freshman Direct Track’ of the competition, where only teams of Foster School freshman compete against one another. Judges were blown away by the extraordinary recommendations the freshman teams developed.  The title of Freshman Winning Team and an award of $500 was achieved by Christopher Cave, Carly Knight, Jennifer Louie, and Molly Mackinnon.  We are excited to see these students getting involved so early in their Foster careers!

The Holland America Line Global Case Competition is an introductory case competition and an exceptional learning experience for Foster School students. It provides an opportunity for students who have never competed in a case competition to ‘get their feet wet’. This year learning opportunities included a ‘how to approach a case competition’ training session, taught by Foster School faculty member Leta Beard, and a coaching round which provided teams the opportunity to get feedback on their presentation from business community and faculty coaches before presenting in front of the judges panel. Thank you to all of our volunteers who made the event possible!

Visit our website to find out more and learn how to get involved next year.

The Global Business Center would like to thank Holland America Line for their generous support of this unique educational event for Foster School of Business students. Holland America Line is a leader in the cruising industry and a longtime supporter of the Foster School of Business.

UW Global Business Center retains elite status as CIBER

The University of Washington’s Global Business Center is pleased to announce its selection as one of only 17 Centers for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.

The CIBERs were created by Congress in 1988 to increase and promote the nation’s capacity for international understanding and competitiveness. The Global Business Center, housed at the Michael G. Foster School of Business, has been a grant recipient since 1990.  The competition this year was fierce as the pool of available grants had been reduced from 33 to just 17.

Securing the CIBER grant enhances the Global Business Center’s capacity to develop business leaders with the knowledge, skill and vision needed to collaborate and compete across the globe.  “Global Business education is critical to the future success of our students and to U.S. competitiveness,” said Dean Jiambalvo. “Creating learning opportunities that build global business expertise is a top priority of the Foster School of Business. We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Education in supporting this priority.”

The Global Business Center will leverage this grant funding to draw on the strengths of the UW in implementing thirty-six new initiatives over the next four years with a focus on: (1) understanding Asia-Pacific markets; (2) the role of supply chains in global trade and investment; and (3) experiential learning for career-readiness.

  • Some of these new initiatives include:
    Career-focused study abroad and global experiential learning opportunities for students.
  • Programs that support faculty research and teaching related to the business, economic and cultural environments of Asia.
  • Education for the business and academic communities about new Arctic trade routes.
  • Global Career Pathways Programs that prepare community college graduates for careers in international trade, supply chain management, and cybersecurity.

The four-year CIBER grant will also allow the Global Business Center to build on its core competency of delivering outstanding student programs such as MBA Global Business Study Tours, the nationally ranked undergraduate Certificate of International Studies in Business, and the Global Business Case Competition.

“This award reinforces the strengths of the Foster School’s top ranked international business specialty programs,” explains Debra Glassman, Faculty Director of the Global Business Center. “We are honored to remain a part of the national CIBER network and look forward to producing more innovative global opportunities for students, faculty and the community.”

Putting together this winning proposal and rolling out these new initiatives would not be possible without the immense support that the Global Business Center receives from numerous individuals, community and corporate partners, and the University of Washington.  Thank you to all of our supporters!

Merci * спасибо *  Gracias  * 감사드립니다 *  Danke * 謝謝 * Ngyabonga
ありがとう* Grazie * 謝謝各位 * Spasibo * σας ευχαριστώ * THANK YOU!

Meet the 2012-2013 Fritzky Leadership Fellows

Get to know the 2012-2013 Fritzky Leadership Fellows below.

Chris Fryday
  chris frydayLinkedIn Icon Chris Fryday is a second year MBA candidate at the Foster School of Business. He is focusing on entrepreneurship and general management within the MBA program, as well as pursuing an Environmental Management Certificate in the UW Program on the Environment. He completed his internship providing financial modeling and budget forecasting for the NPS in Yellowstone National Park. Chris’s prior leadership experience included working as a Branch Manager for a major bank in San Francisco and later as a co-founder of a small business. He is honored for the opportunity to be a Fritzky Leadership Fellow to further develop his leadership skills and to mentor first year teams as they navigate their first year at Foster.
Yuki Igarashi
 Yuki Igarashi LinkedIn Icon Yuki chose to become a Leadership Fellow to further develop her leadership skills specifically in the business environment. Her previous formal leadership experience includes captaining her NCAA division I gymnastics team and performing in a leadership position on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee during her undergraduate athletic career. She is continuing to develop her leadership skills in the athletic arena in her second season as the volunteer assistant coach for the University of Washington women’s gymnastics team. Originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, Yuki attended Oregon State University for her undergraduate studies, where she majored in business administration. Prior to starting the MBA program at Foster, she worked in Seattle as a management consultant for a mid-sized consulting firm. This summer, Yuki completed her internship at Starbucks Coffee Company, where she supported the Americas Retail Single Serve team in a product management role, assessing international expansion opportunities for the VIA product line.
Vinay Sayala
vinay_thumb.pngLinkedIn Icon Vinay Sayala has a Master’s degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering. He worked mostly as a consultant for seventeen years in various industries that include telecommunication, energy and insurance. He worked as a software development/analyst for eight years and then moved to project management roles leading several teams. Before joining Foster, he worked for a small reinsurance company in New York. His main role there was to improve their operational efficiency by strategically redesigning and rebuilding their critical applications. His main focus at Foster is to improve his overall leadership skills and explore corporate finance. Vinay lives with his wife and two kids in Kenmore, WA.As a Leadership Fellow, Vinay would like to be a resource for first year Foster MBA students and to develop and encourage their leadership skills. He would also like to take this opportunity to enhance his leadership skills particularly in the areas of coaching skills and conflict resolution.
Ed Chinevere
Ed ChinevereLinkedIn Icon Ed Chinevere worked for a Detroit-area credit union prior to coming to Foster, where he applied his background in accounting and economics to identify and advocate for opportunities for service improvement. At Foster, he focuses on marketing and strategy and has had the opportunity to apply himself to that end via an internship working on a business plan, product design, and go-to-market strategy for a start-up in the field of evidence-based medicine. In the roller coaster of the first year of the program, he experienced for the first time the full extent to which a team of diverse individuals can pull together to generate innovative, creative, and high-quality work the likes of which none could do alone. His teams were greatly aided in this by their two Leadership Fellows, leading Ed to pay it forward by applying himself as a Fritzky Leadership Fellow for his second year in the program. Fun fact: he hopes to find time to work on his web comic where he draws pictures of birds suffering from unfortunate economic circumstances called “Birds in Hard Times.”
Genevieve Cohen
Genevieve CohenLinkedIn Icon Genevieve Cohen is a former teacher who is focusing on marketing and strategy at Foster. She studied psychology and early childhood education at Duke University, and was awarded a fellowship to teach for a year in Brussels, Belgium after college. After returning to her home town of Boston, Genevieve spent some time working at a public relations firm before returning to the world of education at Tufts University, where she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching. This degree led to teaching stints in public and private schools in Boston and San Diego.Genevieve’s favorite memory is of her solo cross-country trip which led her to the West Coast. She fell in love with the beach lifestyle and stayed in San Diego for six years before moving to Seattle. It was the constant urge to change schools for the better that finally pushed her to apply to business school. Genevieve realized her propensity for leadership and wanted to equip herself with the tools to be a successful agent of change. She hopes to be in a management position one day, where she can help her employees feel fulfilled and valued as members of a team. Genevieve sees the Leadership Fellows program as the perfect opportunity to test her wings and grow as a leader. When she is not hanging out in Paccar Hall, Genevieve enjoys running, exploring the city, hiking, and just generally being outdoors.
Galen Smith
galen smithLinkedIn Icon Prior to the Foster MBA Program, Galen spent 5 years in the lumber industry. His role for the first 2 years was Production Supervisor, fulfilling duties such as personnel management, policy enforcement, and process improvement. He then transferred to a new start-up mill to become the Quality Control Supervisor. There he implemented a new QC system, created and maintained spreadsheet databases, tracked key performance indicators, and trained and held employees to high quality standards. At Foster Galen is focusing on Finance and Operations to improve his capability in future production management opportunities.He chose to become a Fritzky Leadership Fellow to give back to Foster by providing incoming students the same support that he received as a first-year. He looks forward to using this opportunity to practice and develop his own abilities as a leader of people and organizations.
Matt Van Osdol
matt van osdolLinkedIn Icon Before Foster, Matt spent seven years living and working in China. Most recently he worked in the Beijing office of the US-China Business Council, a non-profit industry association, where he advised US companies on China business and regulatory matters including industrial policy, intellectual property rights, and government relations.As a second year student in the MBA program, Matt is focusing on marketing. He chose to participate in the Fritzky Leadership Fellows program in order to give back to the Foster School by helping first-year students navigate what he found to be an important, challenging, and formative period of time in the program. He is particularly interested in furthering his own leadership development as well as identifying and encouraging leadership qualities in others.Matt currently lives in Seattle with his wife Wang Ting. After graduation he will join PwC’s Consulting practice in Seattle.
Sarah Jeglum
Sarah JeglumLinkedIn Icon Sarah Jeglum is a second-year MBA student at the Foster School of Business. Prior to joining Foster, Sarah finished her seventh season as a wildland firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service, where she was part of the management team on a Type II fire crew. Sarah graduated from the University of Washington in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is pursuing her MBA with the hopes of either returning to the journalism industry or entering the field of sustainability. As a Leadership Fellow, Sarah hopes to provide support to other MBA students as they navigate their first year at Foster, as well as to learn, grow and be challenged in her personal leadership.
Ryan Loren
ryan lorenLinkedIn Icon Ryan comes to us having worked in Tokyo, Japan for seven years at Citibank Japan and the law offices of Allen & Overy LLP. Here at Foster he has several leadership roles including the President of the Global Business Association and is actively involved with the International Affairs Committee, in charge of career development.He is excited to be a Fritzky Leadership Fellow and hopes that this program will allow yet another opportunity to make an impact on others’ lives within the class of 2014.  Ryan is looking to apply what he learns in a setting that is conducive for trial-and-error, feedback, and to continue to adjust his leadership style that is most effective for him and the teams in which he has been chosen to lead.
J. Sloan DuRoss
j sloan durossLinkedIn Icon Before enrolling in the Foster MBA program, J. Sloan DuRoss spent three years as an economic consultant for SH Brooks Co. helping private educational institutions with their enrollment and revenue prediction needs through econometric modeling and financial forecasting. Prior to that, Sloan spent eight years competing for the United States Olympic Rowing team including representing his country at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also served as an athlete representative and worked with winter sports athletes at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He is looking to combine the quantitative and problem solving skills learned in his ScB. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and the knowledge gained at Foster to pursue a career in Operations, Logistics, and Management.During his first year in the Foster MBA program Sloan was a leader of the Operations Club, made the national finals of the NetImpact Case Competition, won 2nd place and made the final in the Environmental Innovation Challenge and the Washington Business Plan Competition, respectively, and made the Dean’s list. He spent his summer as a Business Manager Intern at During his second year of the program he is a member of the Honor Council, MBAA VP of Academic Affairs, Student Ambassador, Coordinator of the Foster Cup, and a Fritzky Leadership Fellow.He’s looking forward to making the most of this year, imparting the first years with his knowledge, and traveling in Europe before starting his new career.
Ryan Scott
ryan scottLinkedIn Icon

Ryan Scott earned a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, and a Masters of Science in Acoustics from the Pennsylvania State University. Ryan worked as a design engineer in the hearing-aid and headphone industry, bringing products from the concept phase to full-scale production. Ryan is also the co-founder and Director of Operations of Barrels of Hope, a non-profit that has developed a safe, affordable, and sustainable home for deployment in post-disaster zones and developing countries. After graduating from the Foster School of Business, he plans to work in product development and marketing as a bridge between customers and engineers.
Kris Weum
kris weumLinkedIn Icon

Kris Weum is a second-year MBA student at the Foster School of Business. Prior to joining Foster, Kris spent several years in the non-profit industry and a few more years in the financial industry. Kris earned a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Gettysburg College and currently pursuing an MBA with a focus on marketing and operations. Kris is very honored to be a Leadership Fellow. He is excited to be a resource to other first year MBA students and looking forward to learning from them as well as helping them develop their own leadership skills.

Learn more about the Leadership Fellows program here.