Fostering Community & Access for Future MBAs

Foster students at T-mobileIt had been a year since I had run the MBA Admissions event circuit, attending events at top MBA programs across the country. This time, as a first-year at Foster, it was my turn to be on the welcoming end during Foster’s annual FOSTERing MBA Access, a 2-day visit for prospective MBA students, drawing underrepresented candidates from all over the country. In my experience, these events played a significant role in shaping my impression of MBA programs, and we were eager to show these prospective students ‘why Foster.’

We kicked the event off on a crisp, fall Seattle morning, with 37 participants coming from 16 states. On day one, participants headed into a day with current-student panels, admissions advice, a “Branding Yourself” session from career services, and a session on salary negotiations with Cristina Fong. From beginning to end, attendees networked and learned. It was a day designed to emulate a day-in-the-life of a Foster MBA student, so that attendees could get a real taste of the MBA experience.

On day two, I was excited to showcase Seattle’s vibrant industry landscape during our Corporate Trek. We piled into a bus and headed downtown to Nordstrom, where we were welcomed with a tour of their flagship store and a panel by current staff. It was particularly fun to be met by Foster alums (including Houston Gossett, class of 2018), working in various functions at Nordstrom to hear their perspectives on how their Foster MBA had set them up for success.

Foster students at AtlasFrom Nordstrom, we headed to Atlas Workbase, a coworking space in South Lake Union, and were able to get a glimpse into Seattle’s booming start-up industry. I hosted a panel with start-up leaders Jeffrey Roh of Intuitive X, Allen Fong of Monster Squad Games, Ken DeMaria of Atlas Workbase, and Minda Brusse, and Independent Start-up Consultant.  During this conversation we dove into the risks, challenges, and rewards in start-up entrepreneurship. Finally, we closed the day at T-Mobile in Bellevue, where the magenta popped and energy boomed. Again, greeted by a wide variety of leaders, T-Mobile staff shared the details of a results-driven company culture that embraces diversity and inclusion.

One attendee commented, “I loved the corporate visits! It was a unique experience and fueled some great conversations with my family about why I see myself in Seattle. I especially enjoyed the variety of business we visited (Retail, Entrepreneurship, Tech).”

While this event is about showcasing ‘why Foster,’ it’s also about building community for prospective students. Attendees left exchanging phone numbers and forming a LinkedIn group to stay connected through a rigorous admissions process. One attendee commented that this event “was intimate and really felt like I made friends and connects with the others that attended . . . The experience all together made Foster my number-one school.”

With feedback like this, I’m ready for the next FOSTERing MBA Access! If you’re a prospective student, be sure to attend this fall – because this is one you won’t want to miss.

Guest post by Natalie Sullivan, MBA class of 2020
Forté Fellow | Dean’s Merit Fellow