Category Archives: Undergraduate

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Kiersa Sanders

Kiersa SandersName:  Kiersa Sanders

Major:  Accounting and Information Systems

Hometown:  Seattle, WA

Activities:  Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) Chief Events Officer, Young Executives of Color (YEOC) mentor, Consulting and Business Development Center student consultant, INROADS

Why Foster?:  I transferred to Foster from Seattle Central Community College because of its reputation. Foster is nationally recognized and the accounting program is consistently ranked among the best in the country. Additionally, I noticed that it had small class sizes, which would give me the opportunity to develop relationships with my professors.

Over Summer Break…  I was a rotational intern at Deloitte Seattle office. I had the opportunity to transition through the Audit, Tax, and Advisory practices. I also participated in Harvard Business School’s Summer Venture Management Program (SVMP) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Accounting Leadership workshop at Duke University.

After graduation…  I plan to obtain my CPA license, travel the world, and use accounting to help businesses improve.

Advice to future students:  Take the time to meet people! One of the best ways to do that is by getting involved. You can learn so much about job opportunities, classes, and professors by networking with your peers.  Your time at Foster will go by fast so try to build lasting relationships while you can.

Favorite place to study:  Savery is my go-to for after hours studying. When Savery is full, Odegaard’s 3rd floor quiet area is my favorite place because it’s always warm and bright.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:  Thanh Vi is the best place for quick and delicious Vietnamese sandwiches. When I am in the mood for Pho, I head across the street to Pho Tran. ​

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Katie Schneider

Name:  Katie Schneider

Major:  Entrepreneurship

Hometown:  Oak Harbor, WA

Activities:  Lavin Entrepreneurship Program.

Why Foster?:  The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship got me hooked on the school. After I first met with the directors, I knew that this school offered everything I was hoping for in order to advance my academic career. I was excited about the Center’s aid to students in their entrepreneurial pursuits. Since my enrollment, I have had nothing put positive, academically challenging experiences here.

Over Summer Break I…  worked at the front desk of the Undergraduate Programs Office at the Foster School of Business. I’m not from Seattle, so it was fun spending the summer in the city!

After graduation, I plan to…  backpack around South America with a good friend for a year and then go work for a start-up.

Favorite place to study:  I get a lot done in Savery Hall. If you go at night, you can take over a whole room to yourself.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:  Shalimar. I’m a huge Indian curry fan.​​

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Jasmine Reliford

Jasmine RelifordName:  Jasmine Reliford

Major:  Accounting and Human Resources

Hometown:  San Carlos, CA

Activities:  Association of Black Business Students VP, National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), Young Executives of Color (YEOC) mentor

Why Foster?:  Because of the Foster Community – Foster is a place where the people that shape of minds and our experience truly care about you as a student and as an individual. There is a culture of striving for success and mentoring those younger in order to help them achieve success as well.

Over Summer Break I… interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, DC working with government clients.

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

Advice to future students:  Don’t be afraid to go for what you want, if you want anything bad enough you will make it happen. Those that take the risk to try something new are the most successful.

Favorite place to study: In a Paccar study room with a group of friends that are all helping each other to succeed in that class.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: Banana Leaf (Thai Food).

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Evan Griffith

Evan GriffithName: Evan Griffith

Major: Finance and Informatics

Hometown: Bellevue, WA

Activities: Montlake Consulting Group, Case Competitions

Why Foster?: I knew from high school marketing competitions that I wanted to pursue a career in business, and Foster allowed me to get a top business education with excellent access to tech industry companies.

Over Summer Break I… worked as a strategy analyst intern with Microsoft’s Online Services Division in Bellevue. I worked on industry analysis while collaborating with engineering stakeholders in defining future versions of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

After graduation,  I plan to… find a job that allows me to continue learning and exposes me to a variety of functional areas related to finance and technology.

Advice to future students: Remember that, while classes are large, professors are almost always accessible outside of the classroom. Make sure to poke around the student organizations on campus, because they’re a great way to find friends and expand your learning.

Favorite place to study: The East Asia Library in Gowen Hall or the TE Lab in Mary Gates Hall.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: EJ Burger, 4510 University Way NE (between 45th St & 47th St)

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Doug Ta’a

Name:  Doug Ta’a

  Information Systems and Marketing

Minor: Diversity

Hometown:  Kent, WA

Activities: Treasurer of the Polynesian Student Alliance, YEOC Mentor, Student Ambassador for the Office of Minority Affairs, member of the Association of Black Business Students and student assistant for the Dean’s Office

Why Foster?:  Foster is one of the top-rated business schools in the nation! I knew that I would be receiving a great education and that I would be prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation. The professors and counselors at Foster truly care about you and want you to succeed not only in the classroom, but also in life. It is a very tight knit community. The people at Foster are like family!

Over Summer Break I… completed my second internship with The Boeing Company in Training & Flight Services for Test and Evaluation.

After graduation:  I hope to either work full time for The Boeing Company, or pursue a career in consulting. After gaining some experience in the corporate world I either want to open my own business or travel the world and provide microenterprise-consulting services for start-ups businesses in under-resourced countries.

Advice to future students:  Take advantage of every opportunity and have fun! UW and the Foster School of Business has so many opportunities that can contribute to your learning. It is important to take advantage of them and step outside your comfort zone. Get involved and be a leader in your community. Start to build your personal brand early. College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so take advantage of it!

Favorite place to study:  Even though I absolutely love Paccar Hall, Odegaard and Allen Library are probably my favorite places to study. For me, it’s relaxing, and refreshing to get out of the business school and study in a new environment.

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:  HAWAIIAN BBQ!

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Chandan Kaur

Chandan KaurName:  Chandan Kaur

Major:  Accounting and Finance

Hometown:  Kent, WA

Activities: Beta Alpha Psi, Association of Black Business Students, Global Business Center – Student Assistant

Why Foster?:  Foster is more than just a business school; it’s truly a community. You learn so much from others whether it’s your professor in lecture, classmates during team projects, or just learning on your own. I have had some of the best professors at Foster who really want to see me succeed. I know Foster is giving me the skills I need to have a competitive edge in the work force upon graduation.

Over Summer Break… I interned in Corporate Finance at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon.

After graduation…  I plan to get my CPA, get public accounting experience, and go back for my MBA.

Advice to future students: You are entering an awesome business school, so enjoy your time here and take advantage of all the opportunities.

Favorite place to study:  Allen library all day

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:  The Burger Place. They make some bomb burgers.​

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Anthony Li

Anthony LiName: Anthony Li

Major:  Finance and Information Systems

Hometown:  Kent, WA

Activities:  Association of Black Business Students VP; Husky Traders; Diversity in Business Case Competition. Personal hobbies include reading a good financial history book, swimming, and playing the piano.

Why Foster?:  The Foster School of Business education is a perfect concoction of academic coursework, professional exposure, and intellectual challenges. These reasons and many many more have allowed me to truly grow and mold myself as an individual, student, and Husky!

Over Summer Break I…  interned at Boeing up in Everett as a business analyst and will be interning this summer at Amazon as a financial analyst.

After graduation, I plan to…  It’s still in the works, but somewhere intellectually stimulating and always changing.

Advice to future students:  At the business school, we are extremely luck to have so many resources and support from both within and outside the school. Don’t be complacent with where you are, but instead strive to push yourself in making yourself better than you were yesterday.

Favorite place to study:  Gallagher Law Library – a recluse hideout from the world

Favorite place to eat on the Ave:  Banana Leaf Café​​

Undergraduate Student Ambassador: Alex Brechner

Alex BrechnerName: Alex Brechner

Major: Marketing and Finance

Hometown: Redmond, WA

Activities: From a work standpoint, I am the VP of External Affairs for the Undergraduate Business Council and a Product Specialist for Tesla Motors, Inc. In my down time, you can find me playing basketball at the IMA, watching ESPN, or searching for delicious food all around Seattle.

Why Foster?: Foster welcomed me through Freshman Direct and has become more of a home throughout my time on campus. I got involved with the mentorship program and realized that Foster is much more than a school to take classes from, but a community to build relationships and learn lessons that I’ll keep with me my whole life.

Over Summer Break I… worked with Kindering, the leading birth-to-three center for children with special needs, in their PR department. Kindering changed my little brother’s life, so this summer was a great opportunity to give back to the organization that has done so much for my family.

After graduation,  I plan to… pursue a career in marketing either with Tesla or with a local professional sports team; trying to bring joy and positive change to as many lives as possible!

Advice to future students: This school is exactly what you make of it. The more you get involved and devote your time and effort to Foster, the more it will give back to you. The people you meet here are the ones who will give you the advice and support you need to find the success you’ve come to UW to achieve.

Favorite place to study: Foster Library

Favorite place to eat on the Ave: Banana Leaf Café

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 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.