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.

Ivette Aguilera with Bill Low
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.

CISB student profile: Robby Ryan

Robby Ryan is a senior at the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business, pursuing an option in finance and a minor in Spanish. He is also taking the Certificate of International Studies in Business, Spanish Track.

Robby began studying Spanish during his freshman year at Juanita High School in Kirkland, Washington, and always had the goal of gaining fluency in the language. Upon arriving at the UW, he decided to combine his passion for language, travel and business by joining the Certificate of International Studies in Business Program. After completing second-year Spanish courses, he studied abroad in Santiago, Chile in 2012 as a participant in the semester-long direct exchange program at the business school of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. His study abroad experience gave him the opportunity to immerse himself in the Spanish language and Latin American culture, make friends from all over the world and gain first-hand international business experience.

Last summer, Robby worked as a bilingual intern in the Regulatory Affairs Department at Starbucks Coffee Company, where he focused on product registration and labeling in Latin America. Robby credits the CISB program with giving him the language skills and cross-cultural experience he needed to be successful in his internship.

Robby will graduate in the spring of 2014. After graduation, he plans to return to South America to see the World Cup, visit friends and travel as much as he can. In August, he will return to Starbucks, where he has been hired as a quality assurance specialist.

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Vanessa Garcia

Vanessa GarciaName: Vanessa Garcia

Major: Finance and American Ethnic Studies

Hometown: Everett, WA

Activities: I am currently VP of Operations of the Association of Black Business Students, a mentor for the Young Executives of Color program, and an intern for La Raza Commission. I love traveling! So far I’ve been to Europe, Mexico, India and Brazil. My next stop is the Dominican Republic.

Why Foster?: Foster provides amazing resources, support and opportunities for growth as professionals and individuals.

Over Summer Break I… will be taking summer classes and interning with a local company.

After graduation,  I plan on… traveling and then beginning my career in the Seattle area.

Advice to future students: Get organized! Buy an agenda or use Google calendars to plan out your study schedule ahead of time. Trust me, it helps.

Favorite place to study: Any study room in the Michael G Foster School of Business

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: Yummy Bites! They have the best teriyaki.

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Tina Moore

Tina MooreName: Tina Moore

Major: Accounting

Minor: Diversity

Hometown: Tacoma, WA

Activities: VP of Alumni Relations for the Association of Black Business Students (ABBS), PwC Intern

Why Foster?: Being a part of Foster means being a part of a close knit community of professors, advisers, and students who are nothing short of inspirational. Both inside and outside the classroom, there are ample opportunities for personal and professional development and, with all the amazing people you’ll meet, you’re bound to make great friends along the way.

Over Summer Break I… completed my second internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers in downtown Seattle and they flew me out to New York for the final round of a case competition!

After graduation,  I plan to… start preparations for the CPA exam.

Advice to future students: Step out of your comfort zone—you may dislike the idea now, but you will thank yourself later!

Favorite place to study: The Foster Library

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: Ruzhen Grill

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Tasha Tieu

Tasha TieuName: Tasha Tieu

Major:  Accounting

Hometown:  Shoreline, WA

Activities:  Undergraduate Business Council, Beta Alpha Psi, Foster Mentorship Program, Becker Campus Ambassador, Foster UCS Peer Coach, case competitions (PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte)

Why Foster?:   Foster runs in the family – both my mom and cousin graduated from the accounting program here. I love the Pacific Northwest, and Foster has a very distinct presence in this area. Employers that I’ve met all agree that Foster graduates stand out because the programs that this school offers develops such high quality, innovative, and cooperative students. The resources that Foster offers to its students, both through the knowledge of our faculty and the opportunities available to network with professionals, are unparalleled in this area.

Over summer break I…  interned at a private investment manager and attended summer leadership conferences with the Big 4. I also traveled to Anaheim for the National Beta Alpha Psi conference, and to eastern Canada for vacation.

After graduation, I plan to…
go back to school! I plan on getting my Masters of Public Accounting (MPAcc) at Foster. I would also love to travel more before starting full-time with an accounting firm.

Advice to future students:  There is so much more to college than just academic success. Explore different clubs, whether it’s within Foster or not. Be responsible, but don’t forget that your freshman year is about having fun and new experiences. College years fly by much more quickly than you may know. Live in the moment because you will never get these years back.

Favorite place to study:  Orin’s on Sundays – it’s surprisingly quiet. Otherwise, Foster Library.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:   You can never go wrong with Chipotle.​

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Ryan Cranke

Ryan CrankeName: Ryan Cranke

Major: Accounting and Finance

Minor: Mathematics

Hometown: Battle Ground, WA

Activities: Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) Vice President of Service, Foster Mentorship Program, Past Vice President of Business Ethics Association (BEA), Student Assistant at the University of Washington Department of Neurological Surgery

Why Foster?: UW was the first campus I ever toured, and after that I never found another school that compared. I felt like this was where I belonged. When I came up in the spring to tour Foster, I just knew deep down that this was the right place for me. While I can’t really describe what made me choose Foster, I can say with certainty that I’ve never regretted my decision to come here!

Over Summer Break I… worked and took a few classes. I also had the opportunity to travel a bit, including to Boston when the Finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs were ending there. I’m a huge hockey fan, so being in the city where the final game of the playoffs was being played was an amazing experience!

After graduation,  I plan to… get my CPA and then pursue a career in public accounting. I’ll also be getting a Golden Retriever as soon as my living arrangements will allow it.

Advice to future students: Explore. Go to different club events, info sessions, or events. That is the best way to find what interests you and to meet people who share those same interests. UW and particularly Foster have so many great opportunities, but only if you are willing to go after them. Step outside of your comfort zone. We only grow when we push ourselves; take a leadership role, do a case competition, or start a brand new club about whatever you’re passionate about.

Favorite place to study: Foster Student Organization Room

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: Wing Central