With job secured, she helps other MBAs succeed

Xiaoou (Olivia) Wang knows  the value of opportunity, and how holding a door open for someone else can change a life.

As a high school junior in her native China, a teacher unexpectedly called Olivia into her office. The teacher told her she had an opportunity to attend college in the United States, and asked her if she would be interested.

“I had never thought about going to the United States for college,” she says. “But I thought, yeah, that sounds interesting.”

Olivia wound up at Marietta College in Ohio, and later transferred to USC, where she graduated with a degree in business administration. Over the next few years, she gained experience in marketing and public relations in the U.S. and China.

Olivia saw earning an MBA at the Foster School as an opportunity to dig deeper in the business disciplines she had studied as an undergraduate, build leadership and teamwork skills, and network her way into her next career in the U.S.

Learning how to prioritize effectively and manage her time was an unexpected bonus.

“I’ve had jobs where I had to work eighty hours a week to finish all my work,” she says. “But here at Foster there are so many things going on at the same time. You have classes, homework cases, and team meetings, but you also want to talk to employers, talk to other students, and go to networking events. I finally found it impossible to finish all the things I wanted to do. I realized that, here at Foster, I really needed to learn how to prioritize my tasks, what I wanted to do and how I wanted to use my time.”

The hunt for a summer internship and a job after graduation was never far from her mind. A career coach in the MBA Career Management office helped her focus her search and provided her with contacts for informational interviews. “

By talking to different people, getting to know their experience at different companies, what their roles were, and what their work was like day to day, I got a better picture of what I wanted to do,” she says. “I decided that Microsoft was one of the companies I wanted to pursue.”

With assistance from the career coaches and peer advisors – second year students who had been through the process of interviewing for internships – Olivia refined her résumé and honed her presentation skills in practice interviews. Finally, she landed her internship at Microsoft. The fit with the central marketing unit at the tech giant proved a good one, resulting in an offer of a permanent position after graduation. Olivia leapt on that opportunity.

She was so grateful for the help she had received in her job search that she took on a role as a peer advisor for first year students during her second year.

“I helped first year students get through the very difficult time of job hunting, internship searching and interviews,” she says. “Students came to me for general advice, help editing a résumé or cover letter, and tips for interview preparation. I wanted to guide them in seeking a job they would actually like after they graduated.”

Olivia sees this impulse to help others as part of the culture at Foster.

“People who come to Foster believe in the culture here, and they learn about it before they arrive,” she says. “We are a group of people who are warmhearted, who really want to help society but are also self-motivated in our own careers as well.”

Army vet leverages MBA for shift to consulting career

A commitment to service is rooted deep in Ryan McCarthy’s DNA.

Ryan’s father was in the Air Force, and was assigned all around the world while Ryan was growing up. The family relocated frequently, but finally settled in Spokane, where Ryan graduated from high school.

Attending college at the University of Portland, he majored in mechanical engineering and joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. Five years as an officer in the Army followed graduation. Assignments in air defense units took him to Korea and Qatar.

Next came a three-year stint with the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia, where he played a significant role in helping the Guard manage its 358,000 personnel. (He continues to serve as a reservist.)

By 2013, Ryan had married and started a family. Ryan decided it was time to leave military and government service and put his management expertise and problem-solving skills to work in the private sector. Acquiring business expertise was a first step toward his goal.

“In the military, there’s a lot of management and leadership training but nothing as far as finance or accounting or ways to help for-profit organizations,” he says.

Earning an MBA was a logical solution to this problem. Both Ryan and his wife had roots in the Pacific Northwest, so he concentrated his search for a program there and ultimately chose the Foster School.

As Ryan began filling in gaps in his knowledge of the core disciplines of business, he also learned to adapt his leadership style through working with teams in the MBA Program.

“Leadership is very different between the military and the corporate world,” he says. “In the military, a soldier or an officer can wear their rank on their chest. You know what kind of authority they have with that rank. Here in business school and in corporate America, it’s much different. You have to be convincing and persuasive without using that rank. You also have to be ready to lead not only subordinates but also your peers.”

Career search, which begins when MBA students first enter the program, was another area where Ryan knew he had to adapt.

“I think from the initial shock of leaving the military, where everything was very regimented, I had to demilitarize myself,” he says. “I had to change the way I talked about myself and my past. The MBA Career Management staff has helped me out immensely with that. They helped me communicate better with recruiters and companies.”

After earning his MBA, Ryan and his family want to stay in the Pacific Northwest. The Foster MBA Program has given Ryan a chance to explore career opportunities in Seattle and Portland.

“I’d like to be in the consulting industry,” he says. “I enjoy helping organizations out here. I’ve taken on several consulting internships to develop those skills. It has given me a perspective on how consultants with fifteen to twenty years of experience interact with their customers.”

Desire to lead and serve drives Foster MBA

Kelsey Ingram’s decision to apply to the Foster Full-time MBA Program was driven by a desire to explore new career opportunities in her hometown, Seattle.

“I’m originally from Seattle, and I really wanted to build my professional network in the Seattle area, so that was a huge reason for coming to Foster,” she says. “The relationships and the reputation that Foster has with the Seattle community just don’t compare with any other school.”

Kelsey’s route back to her old stomping ground took detours through South Bend, Indiana, where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Information Technology Management at Notre Dame, and San Francisco, where she started her career at a major accounting firm.

“My IT management degree was a great segue into my career with Ernst & Young,” she says. “After working there for a few years I felt a bit siloed into technology and decided that I want a broader foundation of business skills. That was the main driver for going back to get my MBA.”

The process of applying for admission at Foster led Kelsey to some surprising insights about what was really important to her in her future career.

“The application requires you to sit down and think about why you want to get an MBA and what you want to do here,” she says. “And while most people’s plans change between the time they apply and the time they graduate, I really was able to use that as a driver for what it was I wanted to focus on.”

Writing her application, Kelsey found that service and leadership emerged as important themes.

“In my application, I wrote about joining a non-profit organization eventually. When I came to Foster, I realized that was more of a passion and that it might not be a career path for me, but I was able to use that passion to focus my energy on the Challenge 4 Charity organization. Serving the community is something that I’m very passionate about and something that I was reminded of looking back at my application.”

“There were also parts of my application that related to leadership development, and that dovetailed into my involvement with the Fritzky Leadership Fellows Program,” she adds.

Kelsey’s post-MBA position with a consulting firm promises opportunities to combine her passions for service, leadership – and business. With help from Foster’s MBA Career Management office, she landed a summer internship that turned into a great job after graduation.

“In the summer between my first and second year I was lucky enough to work for Point B. It’s a management consulting firm with an office here in Seattle,” she says. “I was working on an IT project for a large family foundation in the area. It was a great learning experience, and I’m really excited to go back this coming August for my full-time position.”

Friendly, inclusive Foster MBA culture embraces international student

Jessica Green’s relaxed, approachable manner might lead you to think she’s a Seattle native. You might not guess that she was born in Great Britain and has lived much of her life in London, Tokyo and New York.

“My mother is Japanese and my father is British,” she explains. “I grew up in both England and Japan in my younger years. I came to the US originally for my undergraduate education. After graduating, I went back to Japan to work for a while before getting my MBA.”

Jessica worked for four years as an equity trader for Merrill Lynch before she moved on to a sales account management job for Expedia, also in Japan. But she began to see that her career prospects would be limited without more education and a change of scene.

“Being female and in Japan, it’s a fairly traditional culture,” she says. “I felt it was very difficult to move up in the ranks. I also felt that earning an MBA would help accelerate my career trajectory.”

Jessica’s search for the right MBA program led her back to the US, with a focus on the West Coast.

“I was looking around at West Coast schools and Seattle popped up to me as a location, and Foster eventually came to be my top choice,” she says, “mostly because of the smaller school fit. It was also a smaller community, a better environment for me.”

“Seattle was a big draw for me,” she continues. “I knew there were a lot of good tech companies in the area. That industry would be an option for me going forward. But what ultimately made my decision was when I visited and met students, faculty and some of the staff at Foster.”

At a “welcome weekend” event, she made an immediate connection with current Foster students.

“I felt like I had known them for a week or two already, though it was just the first day,” she recalls.

With her diverse background, Jessica wanted a school—and a community—that welcomed international students. Foster, and Seattle, turned out to be a good fit in that respect, too.

“Foster has a very diverse student body, especially in terms of international students,” she says. “There are communities within the international student body that offer you a home away from home, which keeps international students from missing their real homes too much.”

Visiting Seattle’s International District, where she saw street signs in Japanese, and discovering a great sushi restaurant, Sushi Kappo Tamura, in the nearby Eastlake neighborhood made her feel at ease in her new community.

While Jessica ranks students and courses at Foster among her favorite aspects of the MBA experience here, leadership development has been her biggest challenge.

“I haven’t managed people before,” she says. “In the MBA program, I’ve led more within teams, and in the various activities I’ve been involved in, than ever in my life.”

To develop leadership experience and give back to her fellow students, Jessica took on a leadership role as the voice of international students within the MBA Association and committed her second year to serving as a Fritzky Leadership Fellow.

In the classroom, Jessica developed an interest in marketing, and scored a marketing internship with Amazon.com during the summer between her first and second year. The internship led to an offer of employment after graduation.

She won’t be alone.

“As an intern, I helped organize a happy hour for Foster alumni and current Foster student interns,” she says. “Looking at the list of Foster alumni at Amazon, I just had to keep scrolling. I think that’s part of the reason why Amazon keeps coming to Foster to recruit. Foster grads stay and work and do great things there.”

For Foster MBA, practical experiences add real-world perspective

Nick Amland sees himself as a hands-on problem-solver, but he combines a practical approach to business with a streak of idealism.

Majoring in business administration and finance as an undergraduate at the University of Puget Sound, Nick developed an interest in microfinance. That led him into the social sector. After graduation, he worked for organizations involved in implementing global health programs, traveling to places like Mozambique and Tanzania. The experience opened his eyes.

“I’d never been to Africa before,” he recalls. “I’d never had any exposure to those cultures, or had the opportunity to work closely with people in those countries. That was super rewarding.”

“That motivated me to earn an MBA,” he says. “I was able to see where a broad MBA skill set could be applied, where knowing how to look at a complex problem and how to break it down could make a difference.”

Why did he choose the Foster MBA?

“One reason was that it has a very good reputation for being collaborative and entrepreneurial, especially in terms of social entrepreneurship,” he says. “I’m really passionate about that.”

“And secondly,” he continues,” the Foster program is known for having a strong network in Seattle. I grew up here, and that’s something I wanted to come back for.”

Nick especially values the opportunities to gain practical experience that a Foster MBA offers.

“You know, MBAs are ruthlessly practical,” he says. “It’s really nice to learn something in the classroom, but you really want to apply what you’re learning in a real-life setting. Foster provides lots of opportunities to do that.”

Nick lists the Applied Strategies course, the Net Impact Service Corps consulting program, and a research fellowship with the Global Business Center as practical experiences that have given him a chance to apply what he’s learning and test his skills.

“All three of those experiences put me in a consulting environment, where I’ve had to deliver results,” he says. “That has prepared me for what life is going to be like after school.”

From the beginning, Nick’s plan was to put his business knowledge and problem-solving skills to work in the consulting industry after graduation.

“I came into the Foster program really interested in consulting,” he says. “I thought that going into consulting, I could take advantage of the natural momentum that I had coming out of the program and hit on some of the skill sets that I really wanted to build.”

Nick achieved his goal, landing a job with Alvarez & Marsal, a prominent management consulting firm with offices in a number of cities, including Seattle. But he admits that he had a lot of help.

“I couldn’t have done it without support from MBA Career Management, other members of the Consulting Society who helped me with practice case interviews, and just the students around me,” he says.

Foster School recognizes exemplary faculty, staff achievement for 2014-15

The University of Washington Foster School of Business has issued its annual awards recognizing outstanding faculty and staff achievement for academic year 2014-15:

Faculty/Staff Excellence Awards

PACCAR Award for Excellence in Teaching – Jennifer Koski
Dan Siegel Award for Service – Jennifer Koski
Charles E. Summer Outstanding Teaching Award – Jennifer Koski
Ron Crockett Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching – Andy Siegel, Lance Young
Ron Crockett Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching – Leta Beard, Tom Phillips
Lex N. Gamble Family Award for Excellence in Case Development & Curriculum Innovation – Suresh Kotha
William A. & Helen I. Fowler Endowment for Special Achievement in Finance – Mark Westerfield
Andrew V. Smith Award for Excellence in Research – Stephan Siegel, Jake Thornock
Pacific Coast Banking School Dean’s Leadership Award – Stephan Bangs, Barby Pearson

Graduate Programs Recognitions

MBA Professors of the Year – Jennifer Koski (Class of 2015), Frank Hodge (Class of 2016)
MBA Professors of the Quarter (Autumn 2014) – Jennifer Koski (Class of 2015), Frank Hodge (Class of 2016)
MBA Professors of the Quarter (Winter 2015) – Jennifer Koski (Class of 2015), Foad Iravani (Class of 2016)
MBA Professors of the Quarter (Spring 2015) – Mark Hillier (Class of 2015), Judi Kalitzki (Class of 2016)

Evening MBA Elective Professor of the Year – Elizabeth Stearns
Evening MBA Core Professor of the Year (Class of 2016) – Ryan Fehr
Evening MBA Core Professor of the Year (Class of 2017) – Weili Ge
Staff Member of the Year – Sally Templeton

Robert M. Bowen EMBA Excellence in Teaching (Regional) – Bill Ayer, Andy Siegel
Robert M. Bowen EMBA Excellence in Teaching (North America) – Jonathan Karpoff, Andy Siegel

TMMBA Faculty of the Quarter (Summer 2014) – Natalie Mizik
TMMBA Faculty of the Quarter (Autumn 2014) – Pat Bettin, Scott Reynolds
TMMBA Faculty of the Quarter (Winter 2015) – Ben Hallen, Sarah McVay
TMMBA Faculty of the Quarter (Spring 2015) – Michael Johnson, Lance Young
TMMBA Excellence in Teaching (Monday Section) – Lance Young, Ben Hallen
TMMBA Excellence in Teaching (Wednesday Section) – Lance Young, Ben Hallen

EDP Excellence in Teaching – Pat Bettin

GEMBA Excellence in Teaching – Erich Studer-Ellis, Yong-Pin Zhou

PhD Outstanding Mentors – Dawn Matsumoto (Accounting), Stephan Siegel (Finance & International Business), Yong Tan (ISOM), Ryan Fehr (Management & Organization), Rob Palmatier (Marketing & International Business)

Undergraduate Program Recognitions

Undergraduate Faculty and Staff of the Year:
Marketing & International Business – Jack Whelan
Finance & Business Economics – Kathryn Dewenter
Management & Organization – Hugh Judd
Accounting – Thomas Phillips
Information Systems & Operations Management – Shaosong Ou
Staff member – Korrie Miller
Foster Commitment to Students – Pete Dukes

Undergraduate Faculty and Staff of the Autumn Quarter:
Marketing & International Business – Judith Kalitzky
Finance & Business Economics – Frances Maloy
Information Systems & Operations Management – Hamed Mamani
Accounting – Peter Demerjian
Management & Organization – Robert Dawson
Staff Member – Zak Sheerazi

Undergraduate Faculty and Staff of the Winter Quarter:
Marketing & International Business – Marty Matthews
Finance & Business Economics – Andrew Siegel
Information Systems & Operations Management – Apurva Jain
Accounting – Bill Resler
Management & Organization – Rick McPherson
Staff Member – Adam Shinn

Staff Excellence Awards 

Staff Excellence – Jessica Aceves, Ed Kromer, Sean McNeil, Gordon Neumiller, Francine Shafer

Emerging Leader – Megan Rasmussen

Faculty Promotions

Chris Barnes – Associate Professor of Management & Organization
Philip Bond – Professor of Finance and Business Economics
Hamed Mamani – Associate Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management
Sarah McVay – Professor of Accounting
Christina Fong – Principal Lecturer in Management & Organization

New Appointments to Professorships and Fellowships

Asher Curtis – Herbert O. Whitten Professorship
Ran Duchin – William A. Fowler Professorship
Michael Johnson – Boeing Company Professorship
Hamed Mamani – Premera Faculty Professorship
Dawn Matsumoto – Gerhard G. Mueller Professorship
Sarah McVay – Deloitte & Touche Professorship
Oliver Rutz – Marion B. Ingersol Professorship
Steve Sefcik – Durwood L. Alkire Professorship
Jake Thornock  – PWC Alumni Professorship
Michael Wagner – Neal & Jan Dempsey Fellowship

Faculty Recognitions Beyond Foster

Dave Burgstahler – President-elect, American Accounting Association
Tom Lee – Herbert Heneman Jr. Award for Career Achievement, Academy of Management
Robert Palmatier – 2015 Louis W. Stern Award, American Marketing Association
Leta Beard – Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Washington
Emily Cox Pahnke – Distinguished Teaching Award, University of Washington
Elizabeth Stearns –Husky Green Award, University of Washington
Yong Tan – Chang Jian Scholar, China Ministry of Education
Xiao-Ping Chen – Fellow, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Jonathan Karpoff – Outstanding Contributions to Research in Corporate Governance, Drexel Center for Corporate Governance

A new challenge for health innovators

Vie Diagnostics, a 10-minute DNA-based point of care test for contagious diseases, won the Grand Prize at the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition.

March 2016 will mark the advent of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship’s latest endeavor: the new University of Washington Health Innovation Challenge (HIC).

Healthcare has entered a period of unprecedented change. Throughout the world, innovators are developing creative solutions that increase the efficacy, efficiency, and accessibility of healthcare and transform the way we think about health. Many of these innovations are coming out of Washington state and the UW—both recognized leaders in health innovation. In the last year alone we’ve seen cutting-edge developments in genomic-based testing, telehealth, wearable devices, and other products and processes that will improve health and wellness worldwide.

“The healthcare ecosystem in Seattle is driving economic growth and innovations that affect our health and wellness,” says Connie Bourassa-Shaw, director of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the UW Foster School of Business. “The players include the University of Washington, private companies, global nonprofits, healthcare incubators and investors, research institutes, and social entrepreneurs.  With the Health Innovation Challenge, we are building on the strengths of the UW and the Seattle community to provide a platform for students with a passion for health and healthcare to further develop their ideas and gain visibility for their innovations.”

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship is partnering with various colleges, schools, and departments across campus to promote the challenge to a broad group of students, from multiple disciplines. “The exciting thing about health innovation,” says Bourassa-Shaw, “is that it’s not limited to students and researchers in medicine.” Health innovation takes many forms—data-driven discovery, new billing solutions and business models, new ways to monitor health, improvements in efficient healthcare delivery, etc. Students in the HIC could literally come from any discipline.

2015 UW Business Plan Competition Second Place Prize Winner Empreva has developed a new method of birth control and STI prevention.

The HIC will be structured much like the Buerk Center’s well-regarded Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge. Interdisciplinary student teams will develop new solutions to existing problems—new approaches to helping people live healthier lives, new opportunities for care and treatment, new products or services—and prove that their solutions could be viable in the health/healthcare market. Teams will pitch their ideas and demonstrate their innovations to a room of judges in late March 2016 for a chance to win $10,000 in seed funding for their venture. The Buerk Center has no doubt that UW students will embrace this new challenge—six of the eleven prize winning teams in the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition were health-related.

The HIC will launch with a new 2-credit class, ENTRE 579/490 Health Innovation Practicum, in fall 2015. Taught by Sam Browd (UW Medicine, Children’s Hospital, serial entrepreneur) and Emer Dooley (Foster School of Business), the class will teach the mechanics of taking a promising healthcare solution from inception to commercialization. Topics to be covered include big problem areas in both domestic and global health, the biodesign process, the health innovation pipeline (including intellectual property, company formation, and healthcare markets), and the medical regulatory process.

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Foster School ranks 2nd in the nation in management research productivity

management-and-organization-faculty-3369-L[1]The University of Washington Foster School of Business has the second most productive management research faculty in North America, according to a study out of Texas A&M University.

The annual “Management Department Productivity Ranking” tallies total contributions to the eight most influential scholarly journals in the discipline of management, and ranks business schools across the United States and Canada according to the number of those contributions attributed to their faculty members.

In the year 2014, faculty in the Foster School’s Department of Management & Organization published 16 papers in top management journals. This includes three in the Academy of Management Journal, four in the Journal of Applied Psychology, five in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, two in Organization Science, and two in Personnel Psychology.

The study’s authors note that this productivity ranking measures pure numbers of publications in top journals. There is no “per capita” adjustment for size of research faculty at a given school (putting midsized faculties, such as the Foster School’s, at a disadvantage to larger faculties). Only management departments are included in the ranking, and only one school affiliation per article is counted.

The eight management journals included in the ranking are: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, Strategic Management Journal.

In an aggregate of the past five years of Management Department Productivity Rankings, the Foster School is listed 11th in North America.

Top 11 in Management Research Productivity (2014)

1   University of Pennsylvania (20 publications)
2   University of Washington (16)
   Penn State University (16)
4   New York University (15)
4   University of Michigan (15)
6   Arizona State University (14)
7   Harvard University (11)
7   Michigan State University (11)
7   Temple University (11)
7   University of Minnesota (11)
7   University of Toronto (11)

Something special every day: Foster students provide solutions to zulily

zulily, the darling e-commerce flash-sale company based in Seattle has had exceptional growth since emerging on the market in 2010. “zulily has grown substantially, exhibiting astronomical growth over the last five years. zulily reported fourth quarter and full year 2014 net sales at $1.2 billion, up a staggering 72 percent year-over-year.”¹

They have cornered the “mom” market by focusing on products for women and children with a focus on delighting their customers with short-term (3-days) sales on unique products from both boutique brands as well as name-brand fashion. In recent years, zulily has begun to expand into related categories – such as homewares. Encouraged by their powerful e-tailing platform and passionate customer base, zulily continues to focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience for all of its customers, each and every day. The Foster School of Business partnered with zulily to explore the critical question through the Strategy Development Case Competition: Where should zulily focus their growth and expansion?

Each quarter the Foster School partners with a Seattle-based company to develop a customized business case as part of a required capstone course (MGMT430) for all graduating seniors. The case, written by Sadie Raney, Foster MBA Alumna (’14) and overseen by the course coordinator, Rich McPherson presents an urgent business issue in a condensed format.

Nearly 60 teams of students presented their solutions to panels of
judges composed of alumni, friends of the business school and zulily leaders. Although the case challenge centered on expanding addressable markets, the winning team built a compelling argument for remaining true to the zulily brand and their core customer – mom by developing a rewards programs. The winning team highlighted that there are still opportunities to gain market share with moms throughout the United States. Their solution was backed by their business finding – 80% of future revenue comes from 20% of existing customers.

The winning team hard at work at zulily’s headquarters

Members of the winning team were: Kevin Cruz, Kayla Jedele, Erinna O’Brien, Phi Pham, and Bryanna Woo, had the opportunity to present to the Customer Experience team at zulily headquarters a few days after the competition – and a few days before graduating! The general consensus of the senior leaders of the students’ “bloom” rewards program (featuring a flat membership fee to enable customers’ early access to specific daily sales and free shipping on a monthly basis) was that it is ‘simple, clean, and easily understood.’ Kayla Jedele “loved actually presenting to zulily employees both in the competition and during our office visit because it meant they cared about our work. They were just as excited and invested as we were which really enriched the whole experience.”

Erinna O’Brien said of the experience overall: “I had the most incredible experience at Foster doing this case competition with my team. The key to our success was trusting one another, not being afraid to speak up and capitalizing on our best skills.”

¹Brohan, Mark. “Zulily sales spike 72% in 2014.” www.internetretailer.com. 12 February 2015. Used content from earnings press release hosted on zulily: http://investor.zulily.com/releases.cfm

– Faculty perspectives, alumni happenings, student experiences, Seattle and Pacific Northwest community connections, and a taste of life around the Foster School.