Immediate relevance and connections: Q&A with Marc Phillips, MBA 2018

Marc Phillips

Why Foster?

I chose the Evening MBA program at the UW Foster School of Business because I knew the program would be academically challenging, and would connect me with some of the most talented young professionals based near Seattle.

Student experience

What has been the highlight of your Foster MBA experience so far?

Through two years of participation in the Foster MBA, there have been many highlights of the program.  Perhaps the #1 highlight of my MBA experience has been connecting with such a diverse group of young professionals that, as a whole, are incredibly smart, motivated and well balanced individuals.

How do you balance work, family/friends and school?

The UW Foster Evening MBA program is rigorous, and requires all participants to “buy in” to the program.  As a new husband and a new homeowner, and with a job that requires quite a bit of international travel, incorporating the Foster MBA program into my schedule is challenging.  I found that there are two keys to achieving some sort of balance these past two years: (i) better learning which personal, professional and MBA commitments to prioritize; and (ii) recognizing when it is necessary to ask for additional support from family, friends, classmates and colleagues.

Curriculum

What class has been the most useful or interesting to you?

I am impressed by the quality of coursework at the UW Foster Evening MBA program.  So far, the most useful and interesting class has been David Sirmon’s course on Leadership and Strategy.  What stood about this class was the quality of business cases that David selected, the relevance of the strategic models that David discussed, and the energy that David brought to the classroom.  This was one of many great courses offered by the Foster MBA program.

What is the classroom environment like?

For my undergraduate degree, I attended the University of Puget Sound where class sizes varied from 15-25 students.  When I joined the Foster MBA program, an underlying concern was that the larger class sizes (60-70 students) would detract from the classroom environment.  This is not the case at all—the environment for the majority of classes is collaborative, engaging and dynamic.

Faculty

What are your impressions of the faculty?

The faculty at the UW Foster School of Business is top notch.  As a whole, what makes the faculty so strong is the diversity among it.  There are professors with both: (i) extensive and still early academic careers; (ii) research focus areas that are qualitative and quantitative based; and (iii) local and global business career experiences to share and incorporate into classroom discussions.

Career impact

Are you planning on changing industries or job functions? If so, how has the MBA program equipped you for the career change?

While I do not plan on changing my career to align with a different industry or company, I recently changed my job function at Boeing.  When I joined the Foster MBA program two years ago, my hope was that the MBA program would serve as an important step in my career progression.  This has certainly been the case, as the Foster MBA program cemented my understanding of core business skills (for example: accounting, finance and economic concepts) while also providing a new set of leadership skills (for example: strategic planning, communication and a better awareness of ethical implications of business decisions).  The Foster MBA program has better prepared me for my current leadership position, and has positioned me for even greater responsibility and leadership opportunities at Boeing.

Final advice

What’s your #1 tip for someone considering an MBA?

My #1 tip for someone considering a MBA from the Foster School of Business is to meet with current and/or former students in order to ensure that the program is a good fit for you.  The MBA program requires a tremendous amount of time, focus and commitment.  Prior to applying to the Foster MBA program, I highly recommend having multiple conversations with program participants in order to get a sense for program expectations.

Is there anything else you want to tell prospective students about this program?

My expectations for the UW Foster MBA program were high when I enrolled in the program and—two years later—even my high expectations have been exceeded.