Category Archives: Undergraduate

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

MGMT 430 students
Winning Case Competition team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STUDY ABROAD PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS 2014

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.

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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!”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

Foster School students win 2nd place at BYU Business Language Case Competition

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Saya Kashiwamura, Janet Yang, and Gail Letrondo represent the University of Washington at the 2014 Brigham Young University Business Language Case Competition in Provo, Utah.

Although belated, the Global Business Center would like to extend an enormous congratulations to Janet Yang, Gail Letrondo, and Saya Kashiwamura who won 2nd place in the Chinese track of the BYU Business Language Case Competition on November 7th.

The Brigham Young University Business Language Case Competition is a unique opportunity for students to showcase their business acumen and foreign language skills by analyzing a real-life global business problem, and presenting their solution to a panel of judges made up of international business professionals in a non-native language.

These three young women competed against teams from prestigious universities across the country. They did an outstanding job analyzing the case and presenting their solution – in Mandarin Chinese! Judges were impressed by the insightful and innovative problem solving and detailed financial reports presented by the University of Washington team.

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.

Foster’s Professional Sales Team takes 1st in national competition

Professional Sales Team
From left to right: Geyliah Hara Salzberg, Alex Crane, Rick Carter (faculty), Meredith Barrett, and Natalie Jerome.

On October 15, Geyliah Hara Salzberg, Alex Crane, Meredith Barrett and Natalie Jerome represented the Foster Professional Sales Program at the National Team Selling Competition (NTSC) hosted by Indiana University at the Kelley School of Business. The NTSC attracts 21 universities across the nation. Teams participate in a two-sales-call process in front of judges from sponsoring corporations 3M and Altria. Teams compete in three divisions with the top competitor in each division advancing to the finals. The University of Washington took top division honors and advanced to the finals, ultimately achieving a 1st place victory.

The 2014 National Team Selling competition demanded a large upfront time commitment by our students as they learned the complexities of selling, team work, presentation skills, and overcoming objections. Students learned how to digest the challenges and opportunities of a case and then, trusting the strengths of each team member, present the rollout of a private label product line. Numerous hours of training, rehearsing, and strategizing on this case took place prior to the trip to Indiana. Jack Rhodes, Director of the Foster School of Professional Sales, assembled a team of four seniors to represent Foster. Soon after, Jack engaged a study team joined by Foster’s Professional Sales Program Assistant Director Rick Carter, Joe Vandehey of Altria, Jeff Lehman of Mentor Press, and graduates from prior year’s competition spent many hours preparing the students for this remarkable competition. When asked what the best part of the competition was—besides winning—students agreed that it was the team experience and confidence gained in the preparation. Alex Crane received the MVP of our division and remarked, “of all of the training I’ve had in school, this experience was the best practical learning experience in preparation for the real world.”

About the Foster Professional Sales Program

The Foster Professional Sales Program provides students with the knowledge and real-world experience necessary to be successful in sales. This nationally ranked program teaches how to sell, manage, and lead. These skills can be used not only for your future career, but for your lifetime in business. Given a job placement rate of over 90%, this combination of interning and curriculum has proven to be invaluable for students as they graduate and enter the job market.

The Carletti Expedition–Prologue

Guest post by Wilson Carletti, recipient of the Bonderman Travel Fellowship (read more about the fellowship and Carletti’s backstory here).

Wil Carletti I do not think there is necessarily a definitive “line,” that we cross and magically become adults; however, as I look around, I watch my best friends, acquaintances, family, co-workers (real, intelligent human beings) crossover from being merely faces in the crowd to the ones standing onstage. Better yet, they’re not just standing, they are dancing, celebrating, creating beautiful art, expressing themselves. They’re winning PAC-12 championships (and IMA championships), creating clothing lines, moving to faraway places, building companies, designing products, and literally saving lives. They are starting non-profit organizations, they’re becoming doctors, lawyers; they’re pushing their limits, as well as those around them. As I stared out the airplane window—the sun had just set behind Managua—I began to think about just how far I was about to push my own limits.

After landing and standing in line at customs, I found the shuttle that would take me to Granada. At this point, darkness made it difficult to take in much of the scenery, so I chatted with the driver a bit. While it seems as though Nicaragua takes the lines on the road a little more seriously than drivers did in China (I participated in an Exploration Seminar there), it took me awhile to get used to. I kept noticing buses with bright, blinking, colorful lights all over the front end – I asked the driver what that was for. Apparently it’s legal in Nicaragua, so why not? “You should see this place during Christmas time – the entire road looks like a Christmas tree,” he exclaimed.

We made it safely to the hotel, and, as I sat there, about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, I decided I would write to reflect on what was. I would write to grow, as I explore what will be. And I would write to inspire others to pursue what could be.

Of all the paths I described above, none is more worthy than the other; you do not have to be an astronaut or rock star (or go on an 8-month long adventure for that matter) to make a positive difference in this world. Find something that you are passionate about and share it with those around you. Find your stage.

I felt excited to try to find my stage over these next eight months. While I definitely felt nervous, I was pleasantly surprised by how calm I was. I have been thinking about this for months now, and finally, I was ready.

The next day, when I awoke in my warm, humid hotel room in Granada, I felt like I had woken up from a long dream. I was a bit anxious – I knew no one and I was far away from home. Finally I strode confidently out onto the cobblestone street.

Adapted for the Foster Blog with the help of Wilson Carletti. More episodes to come. Follow his unabridged journey here.

Checking in on YEOC: The October Session

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

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

See a few pictures from the October session below.

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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.

Meet the 2014-2015 YEOC Mentors

This year’s crop of YEOC mentors and mentors-in-training share their majors, heritage, and more.

mcconnell-danielle Danielle McConnell, Junior
Major: Information Systems & Marketing
High School: Kentwood
Heritage: African American & Japanese
Activities: VP Of Information Systems for Association of Black Business Students (ABBS)
lopez-diana Diana Lopez, Junior
Major: Communications
High School: Wapato
Heritage: Hispanic
Activities: Boeing Internship and traveled to Ecuador last summer
Emmeline Vu Emmeline Vu, Junior
Major: Information Systems and Marketing
High School: Inglemoor
Heritage: Vietnamese
Activities: ASUW Board of Directors, TedxUofW, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Campus Tour Guide, Concur Technologies Intern)
Irah Dizon Irah Dizon, Junior
Major: Human Resources & Operation & Supply Chain Management
High School: Mount Tahoma
Heritage: Filipino
Activities: Intern at Seattle City Light, Former Resident Advisor, Former Dream Project High School Lead
jeremy santos Jeremy Santos, Senior
Major: Finance
High School: Kentridge
Heritage: Filipino
Activities: Montlake Consulting Group, Foster Student Ambassador, Peer Coach
Jordan Faralan Jordan Faralan, Senior
Major: Marketing & Entrepreneurship with a Diversity Minor
High School: Oak Harbor
Heritage: Filipino
Activities: President of UW Hip Hop Student Association, Program Manager for ASUW Arts, Foster Student Ambassador
Joshua Banks Joshua Banks, Junior
Major: Finance and Accounting
High School: Washougal
Heritage: African American & Korean
Activities: Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
Kainen Bell Kainen Bell, Senior
Major: Information Systems, Social Welfare
High School: Stadium
Heritage: African American
Activities: Director of
Service & Partnerships for
ASUW, UW Salsa Club,OMAD Ambassador, Intern at KPMG, Interned in Brazil
Karla Belmonte Karla Belmonte, Senior
Major: Accounting
High School: Highline
Heritage: Mexican
Activities: Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), intern at INROADS
garcia-maria Maria Garcia, Junior
Major: Finance & International Business with a Spanish minor
High School: Royal
Heritage: Hispanic
Activities: Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), intramural softball and soccer
Midori Ng Midori Ng, Junior
Major: Information Systems & Marketing with a Diversity minor
High School: Eastlake
Heritage: Chinese & Japanese
Activities: UW Relay for Life, Campus Tour Guide, Foster School Ambassador, Peer Coach, Intramural Volleyball, Case competitions
Nura Marouf Nura Marouf, Senior
Major: Supply Chain & Operation Management
High School: Shorewood
Heritage: Middle Eastern
Activities: Foster Ambassador, Fashion intern at Jahleh, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Case competitions
rodriguez-skyler Skyler Rodriguez, Senior
Major: Interaction Design IxD
High School: Inglemoor
Heritage: Filipino
Activities: IxDA spreading awareness of the importance of design and uncovering the importance of a collaborative learning environment
atafua-taupule Taupule Atafua, Senior
Major: Human Resource Management with a Diversity minor
High School: Auburn Riverside
Heritage: Pacific Islander
Activities: VP of UW Polynesian Student Alliance Organization, Student Resource Coordinator Lead at ECC, OMAD Ambassador, Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity
tina moore Tina Moore, Senior
Major: Accounting & Information Systems with a Diversity minor
High School: Henry Foss
Heritage: African American & Korean
Activities: Association of Black Business Students (ABBS) President, Foster Student Ambassador

2014-2015 Mentors-in-Training

Dre Fariñas Dre Fariñas , Senior
Major: Accounting & Information Systems
High School: Kentridge
Heritage: Asian American & Haida American Indian
Activities: Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), OMAD Mentor, Intramural Football & basketball
Fabio Pena Fabio Pena, Junior
Major: Finance
High School: East Valley
Heritage: Hispanic/Mexican
Activities: Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA), Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Husky Leadership Initiative
Jo Yee Yap Jo Yee Yap, Sophomore
Major: Business Administration
High School: Interlake
Heritage: Chinese Malaysian
Activities: Dream Project, Resident Advisor, Ascend
lee-lander Lander Lee, Sophomore
Major: Accounting
High School: Inglemoor
Heritage: Chinese & Filipino
Activities: Sigma Nu Fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity, Foster School of Business Ambassador
Vipo Bun Vipo Bun, Sophomore
Major: Accounting
High School: Renton
Heritage: Cambodian
Activities: National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Association of Black Business Students (ABBS)

Learn more about the YEOC program here.

Why a career in consulting is for me

Megan Sevigny (BA 2015) reflects on her experience as a summer student consultant with the UW Consulting & Business Development Center.

At the beginning of this summer I had a small panic attack, which I am told is fairly common among incoming college seniors: I was certain I was making all the wrong life choices, and that I would be floundering helplessly after graduation. Fortunately, I didn’t have much time to wallow in my panic because I almost immediately started as a summer student consultant with the Consulting & Business Development Center. Luckily for me, my internship was the perfect tranquilizer for my panic attack because it led me to realize that not only do I want to pursue a career in consulting after college graduation, but I am being well prepared to pursue that goal with confidence.

Megan Sevigny
Student consultant Megan Sevigny (BA 2015) with Justin Christensen from RE Powell after presenting her final recommendations to the company.

In June, I contracted with a convenience store chain, an athletic club, and a distillery all from the lower Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities to perform consulting projects through the center. My clients could not have been more different, but this diversity was what made my work so exciting, educational, and enriching. I grew up in the Yakima Valley and it was especially meaningful to me to work so close to home and to see local business owners bringing their ideas and passion for what they do to the community.

I can’t even begin to explain everything I learned about financial statements, liquor manufacturing, survey design, and athletic club member personas this summer. My family and friends are just about done with me explaining to them the inner workings of convenience stores and no one wants to come grocery shopping with me anymore because I spend far too long examining different products and what branding techniques they use. I have also developed a habit of interrogating any small business owners I happen across, about their career stories, passions for what they do, and their current business inner workings.

However, all these side effects, while not the healthiest for my social life, have proven to me that consulting is absolutely the direction I want to head after graduation. Furthermore, working and learning in the real world have shown me many of my own strengths and weaknesses and have served as a guide for which areas I want to focus my attention in my final year at school. My time working with the center has been incredibly valuable to me in so many ways. I made wonderful connections, learned so much about myself and my capabilities, and found some amazing support through the center and the business owners I worked with. I am eager to continue to build on my education and experiences and to move forward towards a career in consulting.

Checking in on YEOC: A new year

As a new school year begins, so does Foster’s high school-to-college pipeline program Young Executives of Color, known to most as YEOC. The program, now in its eighth year, is more competitive than ever, receiving over 350 applications for 173 spots. With 44 percent of current YEOC students working towards being the first in their family to attend college, the stakes are high and the rewards are life-changing. There’s much to learn and discuss, which is why the program staff kicked things off with an all morning orientation for both students and parents. YEOC Program Manager Korrie Miller believes that it’s vital that families have time to ask questions and see what their students will be doing for the next nine months. “It sets the tone for the whole year,” she says.

After breakfast and a bit of networking, students reviewed the program expectations and policies concerning attendance (required), dress code (business casual), and bullying (zero tolerance). Afterward, the students met their assigned mentors. The mentors, juniors and seniors here at Foster (some of whom are also YEOC alums) are assigned several YEOC students to support both during and outside of the sessions. This support includes contacting the mentees to see how they’re coming along with school-work (the average GPA for a YEOC student is a 3.6) and what actions they’re taking to achieve their post-secondary goals. The students ended their session with a workshop hosted by admissions counselors and recruiters from UW’s Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity.

Meanwhile at the parent session, families were given the opportunity to hear from YEOC staff, program sponsors EY, former YEOC parents, and a former YEOC student and mentor. Like the students, they also ended the session with a college prep and admissions workshop.

See photos of the orientation below.

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YEOC mentors
2014-2015 YEOC Mentors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.