Category Archives: Undergraduate

Sten Karlholm combines his passions for Swedish and sports

Guest post by Sten Karlholm, Foster senior and Certificate of International Studies in Business student

SwedenSportsInternBlogMy education seems to have taken the scenic tour, as my passion for traveling combined with my studies opened up opportunities and happily postponed my graduation. The journey all began while finishing my third year at UW, which I spent as an exchange student in Uppsala, Sweden as part of the Certificate of International Studies in Business Program (CISB). I had accomplished many of the requirements during this study abroad year, but there was one last challenge I was looking to complete during the summer: the International Business Practicum. It was mid-June and I had been applying and seeking out internships in Sweden for the past two months to no avail. As the long days of the Swedish summer began to come into full effect, there was a sense of anxiousness and uncertainty. I began preparing for the expectation of autumn quarter and flight back to Seattle. I had applied to one job on a whim, with the tag line “Passion for sports.” I had emphasized my passion for the game of basketball and my affinity with golf in my cover letter. After a telephone interview and my first ever sit down interview conducted in Swedish, I was offered a job as part of the opening team for a new Nike Factory Store in Stockholm.

I accepted this opportunity to further my proficiency of the Swedish language and master the fundamentals of Nike in the retail setting. I was dedicated to showing a high level of commitment on the job, tackling the unfamiliar terms of shoe specifics in Swedish while giving the best customer support. Recognition came my way as I took over further responsibilities like closing the store, accounting and submitting daily sales reports.

Nearly a year had gone by and it was time to continue my studies at the Michael G. Foster School of Business. This period away gave me the time to reflect on what I wanted to aim for within a future career, and influenced and ignited my passion for fashion and sports. With this goal in mind, it motivated me to keep looking for opportunities and ultimately led me to where I am today as the product management intern for Club and Balls within Nike Golf at the European Headquarters in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Keeping up the pursuit of acquiring an international internship paid off as I have now spent seven months learning the ins and outs of Nike and the European marketplace. Every day I am conducting competitor analysis of the club and ball market for various regions and currencies in Europe. I’ve also been an integral part of updating pricing and catalogs for our recently released Covert 2.0 and upcoming RZN golf ball. I was even presented the chance to assist in the set up and lead the tear down at the Nordic Golf Trade show in Sweden due to my language proficiency. Not only was this a phenomenal experience as an intern, but as a result of my abilities I was selected to help out during our go-to-market sales meeting in Spain.

I had finally achieved the goal of receiving an international internship, but the experience is so much more than ticking a box for completion. The lessons learned and experience gained will be invaluable as I continue to pursue a career within international business. I am truly grateful for the opportunities that I’ve received and the support from my peers and colleagues along the way.

Living your academia: marketing/management 445 class for undergraduates

Senior Ivette Aguilera reflects on her experience in the Marketing/Management 445 Class and Student Consulting Program.

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Ivette Aguilera, BA 2014, with Bill Low, her Rotary Business Mentor at the Rotary Club of Seattle luncheon.

Throughout my time in Foster, I have lived through so many incredible experiences, including two study abroad opportunities to China and India, where I was able to see and experience major business practices that were very different when compared to the United States. I have also interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Four accounting firms worldwide, and this coming summer will be my third summer internship with them.

Growing up, I first wanted to be a doctor.  I pictured myself analyzing patients, checking their symptoms, figuring out the root of their problems, and of course finding their cure. After watching shows like Grey’s Anatomy, House, and other medical television shows I realized that the concept of helping others was fantastic, but the idea of having physical contact with my patients was not so much—yet I still wanted to become a doctor and that is when consulting became a true interest of mine. My patients would not be human beings, but companies; I would not be checking for common colds or flus but for holes in company’s’ operation systems and pitch marketing plans to execute. I would be the doctor for businesses, Dr. Aguilera; which I believe has a nice ring to it.

Unfortunately, after multiple conversations with consultants, I soon realized that in order to be a great consultant you really need experience. It isn’t something you can’t pick up from a book; it is a learning process.  The Consulting and Business Development Center offers students the Marketing/Management 445 class that is specifically designed to help students develop the essential business skills by having them be consultants for a real life company. It is an opportunity to get real hands-on exposure and live your academia, instead of just reading about it.

Through this process I have learned how to interact with my client, how to manage a successful meeting, and I have gotten to know the resources of the University of Washington both on and off campus. One of our most valued resources being the Rotary Mentor assigned to each group. My team has the privilege of having Bill Low as our mentor, and I actually would like to take this opportunity to thank Bill for his mentorship. Just last week we were preparing a survey for our client’s customers.  Our team thought our survey had well thought out questions, but when we showed it to Bill he opened our eyes to see that the questions were way too broad.  In order to understand the client’s problems we had to develop much more specific survey questions. Let’s just say that from now on our team is thinking a lot more about the specific details for EVERY assignment.

As I said before, this coming summer I’ll be an intern with PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ Advisory Line of Service. At the end of the summer my performance review will determine if I get a full time offer starting January 2015. However, thanks to the Marketing/Management 445 class, I feel much more confident and prepared with what I am doing. What I’m learning this quarter will definitely give me a head start on my work this summer.

This class continues to challenge me in ways that significantly improve my consulting skills set. It has given me a chance to network with professionals who have passed down their wisdom, and more importantly it has allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them along the way. So thank you to the professors, the Consulting and Business Development Center, the mentors, and the Rotary Club of Seattle for allowing us, (the students) to make mistakes yet continue to learn from them.

Undergrads meet alumni at networking night

The Foster Alumni Relations team hosted a networking night as a way for alumni and current undergraduates to connect. Twenty-five alumni and 100 students attended. The event allowed young alumni to contribute to the Foster community by connecting with students and sharing their stories, while also building their professional network with other Foster alumni. As for the students, Zak Sheerazi, Assistant Director of Career Development at the Foster School, said, “This event gives them better insight into different careers as they move forward from Foster. But the ultimate goal is to connect current students with past student in order to help them navigate the transition from academics to the world of work. And potentially down the road have a mentor.”

Check out our photo blog of the event below.

Undergrads meet alumni at networking night

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$120,000 awarded to student-led startups

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Z Girls co-presidents Libby Ludlow and Jilyne Higgins present their progress to a panel of judges

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship’s Jones + Foster Accelerator is a TechStars-like program that helps student-led startups get off the ground.

This year, five teams completed the six-month accelerator program, identifying and meeting milestones with the guidance of top entrepreneurs, lawyers and investors from Seattle’s entrepreneurial community.  From July 2013 to February 2014 they worked to build their teams, develop their services or technologies, get their products to market, and raise early-stage funding.

On February 4, the five teams made final presentations to a panel of judges and were awarded up to $25,000 in follow-on funding to pursue their next set of milestones.

  • PolyDropPolyDrop manufactures additives that transform regular coatings (think paint) into conductive coatings that dissipate static electricity and prevent interference caused by electric current flow.  PolyDrop has been awarded a Commercialization Gap Fund grant of $50,000 and a National Science Foundation STTR grant of $225,000, providing the funds necessary for 2014 operations and develop a prototype proving the viability of their product.
  • PureBluePure Blue Technologies, a water treatment technology company that provides visible light photo disinfection and desalination technology, is currently finalizing a license with the UW Center for Commercialization. The company has negotiated lab space with Ondine biomedical and has a term sheet for up to $1.5 million in equity funding, which will give them 18 months of runway to cover additional research and development and get them to the pilot stage.
  • ZGirlsZ Girls educates female athletes ages 11-14 on the mental and emotional skills important in sports and life. The company has received a $100,000 convertible note, raised $50,000 to provide scholarships for girls who demonstrate need, and hired 27 program leaders (all college or pro-level female athletes). In the last six months 182 girls have gone through Z Girls’ Seattle-based programs. (Check out Z Girls’ promotional videos on their website!)
  • StudentRNDStudentRND runs programs aimed at educating students (middle-school through college) about programming and engineering.  The nonprofit has created an advisory board, raised over $135,000 in sponsorships, and put together an operations plan that includes hosting 20 Code Days in Spring 2014.
  • LuckyStepsLuckySteps, a wellness program for companies and their employees, has raised $30,000 in the past six months. The company is working with a UW Human Centered Design and Engineering group on a usability study and has run beta tests with four prospective clients in order to prove its business model and pricing structure. Lucky Steps plans to wow the judges in this year’s UW Business Plan Competition.

YEOC students take on inequity in higher ed and business: The November and December sessions

For one Saturday a month, 145 high school students from across Washington State converge on the UW campus for their monthly YEOC session. YEOC, which stands for Young Executives of Color, is a nine month long college-prep program for sophomore, junior and senior high school students. With an average GPA of 3.47, this group of high-achieving students aims to increase the visibility of an under-served and under-represented population—themselves­— in the college and business worlds. The program provides participants with networking opportunities and a lecture series dubbed YEOC Talks and engages them in business activities.

Each session focuses on a different aspect of business. For the month of November, the session focus was on branding and marketing. YEOC activities consisted of super-hero team skits, a dress for success fashion show and a battle of the brands debate. The sophomore college prep session centered on leadership while the juniors focused on college fit and the seniors reviewed their college applications and essays. The students also heard from YEOC alumna/current mentor Jordan Faralan and Microsoft Product Marketing Manager Leona Locke. Check out some highlights in the student-made video below:

Finance was the well-timed focus for December. YEOC activities included honing their public speaking skills and a financial freedom game with YEOC mentors and community volunteers. The sophomore college prep session was devoted to paying for college while juniors gained insights into scholarships and seniors worked on scholarship essays. Students also attended a mentor lecture on personal finance with UW student Paulos Shiferaw and a YEOC Talk with Wesley Burns, a Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Advisor. Watch some highlights below:

This blog post is first in a series focusing on monthly YEOC student activities. Visit the YEOC page to learn more about the program.

Investing in life

Gary Furukawa (BA 1981) is the chief investment officer for Freestone Capital Management, a wealth management firm. Recently, he spoke at the Foster School about his career path, gave an overview of the financial markets and shared his personal insights on a range of topics, including what Freestone looks for in potential employees, books to help you develop your own investing framework and more.

Furukawa started his career with Deloitte & Touche in Seattle as a Certified Public Accountant. In 1982, he joined Smith Barney as a financial consultant, eventually rising to senior vice president. In 1999, he founded Freestone. He has been a highly successful investor along the way, investing in a wide variety of asset classes: distressed real estate (1980s and again after 2008 crisis), private equity (early 1990s) and thrift conversions (1988-present). He was also an original angel investor in Amazon.com and aQuantive.

Top insights from Furukawa’s talk:

  • Most useful courses he took at the University of Washington: English/writing courses, sociology and psychology courses and behavioral finance courses. Furukawa said, “Learning about the flaws in the way you think is very powerful and will help you make better decisions.”
  • Your life = the sum of your decisions.
  • Through your education, you should try different things until you find something you really like. It should be something you have the potential to be good at.
  • Self-knowledge, obtained through reading, thinking and life, is the most important knowledge. Learning really starts after you graduate from college.
  • Wealth is primarily created three ways (in the U.S.): owning a business or owning stock in a successful business, owning real estate for a long time or inheriting money.
  • Your pay check funds your lifestyle, but in order to build wealth you have to save and invest your money.

Watch video highlights, which include his ideal employee traits, investment lessons, recommended reading and life insights.

Gary Furukawa was one of UW Foster School of Business Dean Jim Jiambalvo’s guest speakers at the annual Leaders to Legends Breakfast Lecture Series, which include notable leaders in an array of industries from greater Seattle and around the country.

Students take 3rd place in BYU’s Business Spanish Competition

BYU Spanish TeamThis November, the Foster School of Business sent a team of students to compete in the Brigham Young University (BYU) Business Language Case Competition. What is unique about the competition is that it is conducted entirely in a foreign language. Student teams, consisting of non-native speakers, read and analyze a business case written in Spanish, and then present their solutions and answer questions in Spanish.

The Foster School team won third place this year and five hundred dollars. Team members Amanda Baker, Josh Twaddle, and Brandon Upton all studied or interned abroad in Spain, which greatly improved their language skills and gave them the confidence to tackle this case challenge.

The business case they worked on focused on the current market for organic foods. The team was to determine if there is a role for Walmart in this market segment. Brandon shared that their analysis “noted two main problems facing Walmart – first, Walmart has weak brand equity, and second, Walmart lacks an urban presence, which is where most consumption of organic food occurs. However, Walmart had strengths in its supply chain.”

Based on their analysis, the team recommended that “Walmart should launch an entire new line of organic stores that are stocked with products from local farms. By leveraging its supply chain, it could centralize foodstuffs from those farms in a distribution center, and then redistribute to city stores. These new stores would only be in leading urban areas in the U.S., including San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C. This ties Corporate Social Responsibility (empowering local farmers with urban demand) to generating new revenue streams from a premium market for Walmart.”

The BYU judges said that the Foster School team took a very innovative approach, and they really appreciated that the team even produced some of their own market research.

Photo: Foster School Faculty Coach, Bob Dawson, with student team members Brandon Upton, Amanda Baker, and Josh Twaddle.

Study abroad photo contest winners for 2013

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:

  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, landscapes, etc.

1st Place Foster Abroad: Kurt RiRicketts_India_FAcketts, Undergraduate; India Business Exploration Seminar

Namaste: What I didn’t expect was that by the end of my visit, India would have me in her grip, refuse to let go, and in exchange for my experience, instill a drive in me that would demand a call to action.

Experience abroad: What an experience. You expect to be challenged, but you don’t expect to be awakened.

 

 

bell_brazil_FA2nd Place Foster Abroad: Kainen Bell, Undergraduate; Brazil Business Exploration Seminar

A Dream Come True: This moment was surreal because ever since high school my dream was to travel to Brazil, but I didn’t think it was possible because no one in my family or community had ever done so. Despite my circumstances I heavily pursued my dream and was accepted in the Brazil program,  received scholarships to pay for it, and was the first in my family to study abroad and now I am a living proof that dreams really do come true, but you can’t be afraid to pursue them.

Experience abroad: My Study Abroad Experience in Brazil was life changing. During the trip my perspective was changed. I saw how essential it was for the Brazilian to learn other languages to and know about global news, while I just knew English and a little Spanish. It made me value different languages and cultures more.  Meeting with Brazilian students was a great experience and cultural exchange – even though we were from different parts of the world, we could still relate to each other and have fun. Overall, I was inspired by this trip and mind blown.

Marks_Argentina_GL1st Place My Global Lens: Kate Marks, Undergraduate; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Convergence: Argentina struggles to reconcile their “dirty” past of military dictatorship with the hopeful future the election of Pope Francisco brings to the country. Taken March 24, 2013, the day of national remembrance of the “disappeared persons”, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Experience abroad: Living and studying in Argentina gave me an unparalleled perspective of what it is like to live with an unstable government and economy. Populism is still alive and well in Argentina, well after the fall of many other Latin American military dictatorships. I spoke with and befriended many young people who see a different future for their country–which now seems possible with the election of the first ever South American (specifically, Argentine) pope. The convergence of Argentina’s violent and unstable recent history with the new movement towards democracy and change created a dynamic and complicated environment in which to live and observe.

Bozeman_Spain_MGL2nd Place My Global Lens: Ashley Bozeman, Undergraduate; Leon, Spain

Las Medulas: An unexpected gold mine in Northern Spain.

Experience abroad: I had a wonderful experience abroad with my 12 amigas from UW, our loving and caring host families, and awesome Spanish teachers at the UW Leon Center in Leon, Spain. These were some of the most rewarding and fun three months of my college career and I would encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad during their time at the UW.

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.

2013 Holland America Line Competition: Students tackle global HR issues in 48 hours

Winning TeamThe Global Business Center is proud to announce that the 2013 Holland America Line Global Case Competition was a great success! The 24 teams made up of over 95 Foster School undergraduates presented in a preliminary round to corporate, alumni, and faculty judges on Saturday, November 16th. The top four teams were selected to move on to the final round of competition.

The judges all agreed that the case this year was particularly challenging as it dealt with global human resource management issues for Maersk. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Maersk is a global conglomerate with large shipping and oil and gas businesses. As Maersk’s businesses become ever more international, the company wants to increase the geographic diversity of its work force. Our competing student teams played the role of Maersk managers who were tasked with the following:
• Setting geographic diversity goals
• Recommending recruitment and retention strategies designed to achieve the goals
• Developing measures of progress towards these goals (key performance indicators)
• Estimating the costs of the recommended strategies

Of the four outstanding finalist presentations, Team 3 made up of Tara Ghassemikia, Sam Tanner, and Demetra Xenos took home the gold, winning the Holland America Line Global Case Competition and $1000. The winning team’s solution recommended that Maersk recruit in strategic growth markets for shipping and trade including Brazil, Russia, India, and other Latin American countries. Their three-tiered strategy was to “recruit, recognize, and retain.” They also recommended an annual international event to develop and recognize leaders called the “Maersk Reunion.”

For the second time this year, we also had teams of Foster School Freshmen Direct students compete in their own track to win the Freshman Direct Champion title and $500. Seven freshman teams competed, and the winning Freshman Direct Track team was Jessica Gilmore, Adam Kinkley, Ashley Kuhn, and Joseph Rebagliati. We are excited to see these students getting involved so early in their Foster careers!

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.

Japan update: opportunities for 2014 and beyond

Guest post by Ashley Bozeman, senior studying international business and marketing

7C5A3151On Thursday, October 17, I and other students and faculty from the University of Washington had the privilege of enjoying the “Japan Update: Opportunities for 2014 and Beyond” discussion with Koichi Hamada, Tuntex Professor of Economics, Yale University, and Joseph A. Massey, Professor Emeritus, Dartmouth College. Both are esteemed professors with years of international business and economic policy experience. Needless to say, I think many of us Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) students were a bit intimidated. I am happy to report that they were far from intimidating; they had everyone laughing throughout and left all of us inspired and optimistic for the future of Japan.

This event was a great eye-opener to some of the problems Japan is currently facing. We had the opportunity to learn from Professor Hamada, Advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Abe, and Professor Massey about possible solutions for strengthening the Japanese economy. Professor Hamada shared that one of the major challenges in Japan today is its aging population. Japan has the oldest population in the world. Consequently, the workforce is declining. Professor Massey stated that the solution should not be an attempt to make up for the decreasing population, but rather an increase in productivity and an adjustment of Japanese cultural norms. Both of our guests touched on better utilizing well-educated women in the work force and working until an older age. Both of which can be done, but will take time and challenge current cultural norms.

Our speakers also discussed business opportunities in Japan due to these demographic changes. The two main opportunities were health care and child care. The population is aging, so health care will be a hugely important and growing sector. In order for more women to pursue higher education and enter the workforce, it is necessary to have more child care opportunities so they are able to work outside the home.

I was impressed by Professor Hamada and Professor Massey’s optimism and their proposed solutions and opportunities for Japan in the coming years. I now have a greater awareness of the Japanese economy and culture and am looking forward to keeping up with the country’s progress in the future.