Foster faculty go to China

By Krista Peterson, associate director of the Foster Global Business Center.

Shanghai PhotoIn just over a week, the Global Business Center is leading the first-ever Foster School of Business faculty study trip to China. From September 12 – 20, we’ll visit Shanghai and Beijing, hear from companies and government organizations on the current business environment, developments in green energy and renewable resources, adapted business strategies, and the unique challenges faced by China and Chinese business in the 21st century.

This program was designed to augment international business research and education. Through this trip, faculty can gain potential research data sources or collaborative partners, as well as current case examples for teaching and analysis.

The group will visit or hear from iconic companies such as Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, Boeing, and F5 Networks.  We’ll also hear from the Energy Resource Institute (a partner in the US-China Clean Energy Forum); the US Commercial Service; and visit the new US Embassy in Beijing and others. Faculty will have the opportunity to meet with professors at Shanghai Jaio Tong University, and a small group will make a presentation at Peking University.

We will also meet with Foster alumni living or working in China.

Faculty voyaging on this pilot trip are Doug MacLachlan, Jennifer Koski, Jarrad Harford, Ming Fan, Apurva Jain, and Jane George-Falvy Reynolds.

Welcome to Foster Unplugged

Welcome to the University of Washington Foster School of Business blog, where you can learn about our business, community, student, faculty connections and happenings. Leaders are being educated and solving  complex, real-world problems while learning business fundamentals.

We aim to keep it fresh and relevant to current business issues, insights, new research, share life around the Foster School and much more.

Profile: Jenepher Schulte

Find out more about Jenepher Schulte, Certificate of International Studies in Business student.

Jenepher Schulte
Co-President, Certificate of International Studies in Business Custom (Italian) Track
Finance Major
2009 Ambassador Manager, Global Business Case Competition

Jennifer SchulteWhy did you decide to do CISB?
CISB is an exceptional program. I attended an informational meeting while I was still considering business school. I learned that CISB requires a lot from its students, but in turn offers extraordinary opportunities to learn about international business and a set of peers that share my interests and ambitions. Also, CISB requires things that I wanted for myself: studying abroad, completing an international internship, gaining area studies expertise, learning another language, and taking on leadership opportunities. By participating in CISB, I was confident that I would realize my goals and have a fulfilling undergraduate experience. I now feel much more prepared for entering my career and leveraging the knowledge I have gained through my CISB experiences.

What are the most important aspects of your CISB experience?
First and foremost, CISB gave me outstanding learning opportunities. Second, I made valuable friendships with students that share my academic interests and ambitions.

As an exchange student in Italy, I took business classes with students from all over Europe and made lasting friendships. This year, I participated in an undergraduate research conference with the European Union Center at Scripps College, where I met students who share my enthusiasm for European politics. This summer I am studying business and government relations with The Fund For American Studies in Washington D.C. This fall, I will intern in Geneva, Switzerland, through the Global Business Center. I also participated in the CISB Business Mentoring Connections Program and got excellent coaching from my mentor. CISB allowed me to participate in great learning experiences such as serving as a manager of the 2009 Global Business Case Competition. These have been formative experiences and I found them through CISB.

What advice would you give prospective CISB students?

  1. Get to know your CISB peers! They all share your interest and dedication to international business. And they can help you with advice to get through all the CISB requirements!
  2. Read the CISB emails. These are full of great opportunities to learn and experience more, whether with the business school, elsewhere on campus, or in the business world. If you like international business, then you’ll see something you’ll like there!

What are your plans post-graduation?
I plan on attending graduate school in Europe to pursue a Masters in Finance.

Learn more about the Certificate of International Studies in Business.

Fostering Innovation: Newsvine’s Mike Davidson

Is there a future for newspapers? No there isn’t; and there isn’t even a present.

The question was posed by former Q13 news anchor Christine Chen. The answer came from Newsvine’s Mike Davidson. The exchange was part of insightful 45 minute dialogue hosted by the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business on April 7.

The topic of the day was “News in the Internet Era,” and the conversation included issues ranging from the role of bloggers to the myopia that can result from overreliance on RSS feeds.

Water consumption tracker wins UW Environmental Innovation Challenge

HydroSense, a team of seven students from across the University of Washington, won first place and $10,000 in the inaugural UW Environmental Innovation Challenge on April 1, 2009.

The team won for their practical solution of tracking water usage in the home. When attached to a faucet, the HydroSense product can calculate real-time water flow, infer the specific source of use such as the toilet, shower, etc., and, detect leaks.

According to research provided by the team, a 15% reduction in water usage across U.S. households would save an estimated 2.7 billion gallons per day and more than $2 billion in consumer costs. Given its potential impact, a low-cost, practical solution to monitor water consumption in the home made perfect “HydroSense” to the 78 judges.

“We’ve seen a tipping point in the United States from a financially-driven bottom line to a triple bottom line; or what my company refers to as the triple win: customer, society and investor,” said judge Maury Costantini, Jr., solutions sales manager for Siemens Building Technologies. “That was on full display today. I’m encouraged by the students’ compassion to improve the human condition and excited by their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Sustainable solutions come to life
To win the $10,000 grand prize, HydroSense beat out 15 other teams representing five colleges from around Washington State. Students came from a variety of disciplines including business, computer science, engineering and urban planning. Each team was tasked with developing a viable product to reduce environmental impacts and improve ecological sustainability.

Second place and $5,000 went to Nanocel, for technology that cools electronic devices using a convective flow of fluid within a small plastic heat sink. Three honorable mention prizes of $2,500 went to Wind20 (production of potable water using wind energy), Ecowell (vending machines to refill drinking containers) and InTheWorks (marine engine emission reduction).

Challenge, a cross-campus collaboration
The challenge was conceived of by Ellen Lettvin, UW Applied Physics Laboratory, and Connie Bourassa-Shaw, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Foster School of Business. As the Challenge took shape and the Center offered an “Environmental Innovation Practicum” course, momentum for the Challenge spread across the UW campus and garnered financial support from the College of Engineering, the College of the Environment and a host of corporate sponsors.

Foster MBAs win corporate growth case competition

Four MBA students from the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business won the international finals of the Associate for Corporate Growth (ACG) case competition, March 21 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The event was designed to give MBAs valuable insights into mergers and acquisitions, investment banking, financial advisory and private equity. The Foster School team—Nick Casaril, Erick Rendon, Rhett Baldwin and Robert Belcher—presented the most compelling strategic advice on a realistic merger and acquisition case. In the simulation, the team advised a private equity group on whether a potential acquisition was a good value, and at what price, and how best to structure a deal that would be acceptable to both buyers and sellers.

Competition included Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, Whitworth University and University of Calgary, with the Foster School clearly best in show. Said judge Luke Fouke, senior vice president of Seattle-based Net Lease Holdings: “The level of analysis and thought-provoking recommendations that the students presented really goes to show the excellence of the Foster School of Business’ curriculum.”

The victory earned the team the first International AGC Cup, a prize of $10,000 Canadian, and the proverbial much, much more.

“The entire competition was an enriching experience that provided great insight to some of the activities and challenges that actual practitioners of the craft face in the real world,” said Casaril. “Everything from analyzing and crafting the deal to the ‘bake-off’ at the end to sell the deal was incredibly engaging. I know I learned an incredible amount that will be immensely valuable as I embark on my future career.”

Big weekend: Foster School brings home three case competition victories

Student teams representing the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business won three separate case competitions—in Montreal, Cleveland and Washington, DC—on the same day this past weekend, Saturday, February 28.

KeyBank-Ohio State University Minority Case CompetitionA team of Foster MBAs triumphed at the KeyBank-Ohio State University Minority Case Competition in Cleveland. Evening MBAs Bryan Tomlinson and Rina Sarkar and full-time MBAs Hakim Jones and Kathleen August delivered the most compelling plan to increase KeyBank’s market share in the small business banking market, and added a set of tactics to empower managers to implement this plan. In doing so, they outwitted teams from the University of Chicago, Indiana University, Ohio State, Yale, Carnegie Mellon and 15 other top business schools. August was awarded “Best Presenter” for the competition. Jones won “Best Q&A” honors.

“This is another wonderful demonstration of the Foster MBA model—great students, talented faculty, and a curriculum designed to offer transformative experiences in strategic thinking and leadership,” said Dan Turner, associate dean for masters programs and executive education. “It all adds up to innovative, strategic solutions for businesses facing complex, unstructured, real world-problems.”

Hilltop Business Strategy ChallengeUndergraduates from the Foster School took top honors at the Business Strategy Challenge at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The team of Ray Phua, Olivia Miasik, Stephanie Payne and Rikki Johnson weighed an unconventional not-for-profit case, stretching their knowledge of business strategy into a new arena. The conundrum was how best to guide the United Way through the economic crisis. The Foster team’s solution: form partnerships with healthy, like-minded organizations such as the Gates Foundation in the short-term and reorganize internally to better influence legislation for the long-term. The top-flight competition—including Georgetown, USC, New York University, Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon—couldn’t match the Foster team.

“The fact that we had the opportunity to present our recommendations to actual representatives of United Way and know that what we proposed would be considered seriously and possibly be implemented was all the more motivating and very gratifying in the end,” said Miasik, a senior studying accounting and international business at the Foster School. “I think our great team dynamic was key to formulating a successful deliverable for United Way.”

John Molson Undergraduate Case CompetitionAnother team of Foster undergrads won the John Molson Undergraduate Case Competition at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. The Molson competition was as much a test of stamina as of strategy. The Foster team–Vanessa Lopez, Derrick Nation, Eric Appesland and Susan Dugal (named “Best Presenter” for the competition)—gamely navigated three introductory lightning-round cases that had to be analyzed without the aid of the Internet or any notes, books or other reference materials. The final round was a more traditional, 24-hour “live” case involving the future plans for Montreal’s working waterfront. The Foster team recommended moving shipping facilities to a new, larger site to increase capacity, while turning the Old Port into an elaborate draw for tourism.

This solution, complete with an artist’s rendition of the “new” Old Port, distanced the Foster team from a world-class field representing universities in Canada, China, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore and the United States. “Our team was complimented on their strategy and performance,” said Jennifer Kitchen, coordinator of student development at the Foster School. “The panel of judges included the director of operations for the Montreal Port Authority who said that he would have no reservations about bringing our team’s recommendations and implementation plan to his board of directors. That’s high praise.”

UW Foster MBAs take second at East-West All-Star Challenge

East-West MBA all Star Challenge 2009
The UW Foster School of Business East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge team (L-R): Ming Fan (faculty advisor), George Zhu, Megan Armstrong, Martin Wilson, Nathan Kolmodin.

A team of MBA students from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business tied for second place at the 2009 East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge held in Beijing January 5-6.

Sixteen teams representing 12 elite universities in China, Singapore, South Korea and the United States participated in this invitation-only competition, organized jointly by Microsoft and Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.

The Foster School team – full-time MBAs Martin Wilson and Nathan Kolmodin and evening MBAs George Zhu and Megan Armstrong – finished behind only the University of Chicago in the “compete” phase of the event. This phase was the culmination of six weeks of work to conceptualize a new, scalable mobile service and marketing campaign to support Microsoft’s Imagine Cup or DreamSpark programs. Imagine Cup encourages young people to create technology innovations that can make a difference in the world. DreamSpark provides free development and design software to millions of college students across the globe.

Real-world challenge
By design, the competition offered challenging real-world conditions. “We wanted to leverage the current economic downturn to give participants a taste of some of the scenarios they could encounter in the real world – budget cuts, changes in project parameters, increased expectations on return to investment – and help the students see that innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity, not a threat,” said Pradeep U.N., director of the Microsoft Firenze program.

The Foster plan was a localized version of Imagine Cup that seeks to reach a larger, younger, more diverse segment by appealing to less tech-savvy students who might otherwise feel intimidated by the challenge.

Student teamwork and raw skill makes a difference
Following the “compete” phase, participants were shuffled into eight inter-school teams to create a new solution that addressed the same scenario in short order. Kolmodin’s mixed team placed second in the “collaborate” phase, earning $10,000 from Microsoft to implement its proposal. He says he earned much more from the experience.

“The ‘compete’ phase allowed us to focus on honing the skills we are developing in an academic environment,” he said, “where the ‘collaboration’ phase enhanced the experience by giving us the opportunity to seek synergies across cultures since we needed to implement our idea without regard to borders, geographical restrictions and cultural differences.”

“The competition was taxing, exhilarating and led to relationships that can only be created within a crucible-like situation.”

The Foster team was advised by Ming Fan, an assistant professor of information systems, and Elizabeth Stearns, a senior lecturer in marketing. Foster MBAs brought home the grand prize from the inaugural East-West MBA All-Star Case Challenge in 2008, with their winning plan to market Chinese-brewed Tsingtao Beer in the US.

Foster School of Business honors transformational leaders

At the 2008 University of Washington Business Leadership Banquet, October 30 at the Sheraton Seattle, the Michael G. Foster School of Business recognized the paramount importance of transformational leadership during the current global economic crisis. On that note, the school honored a trio of long-time advisors, stalwart supporters and exceptional leaders — Gerald Grinstein, Mark C. Pigott and Eileen O’Neill Odum – with its 2008 Distinguished Leadership Award.

“Our nation’s sixth president, John Quincy Adams, said, ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.’ And each of the people we’re recognizing tonight is just that,” said Foster School Dean James Jiambalvo. “They serve as an inspiration to all of us.”

Gerald Grinstein is a strategic director at Madrona Ventures Group and CEO emeritus of Delta Airlines. He has served as non-executive chairman of Agilent Technologies and chairman and CEO of Burlington Northern, Inc. He was a partner in the law firm of Preston, Thorgrimson, Ellis & Holman, chief counsel to the US Senate Commerce Committee and assistant to US Senator Warren G. Magnuson. A native of Seattle and graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Mr. Grinstein is currently the trustee of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and a board member of Long Live the Kings, The Seattle Foundation, the Foster School of Business, the University of Washington Foundation, and the William D. Ruckelshaus Center.

Eileen O’Neill Odum, a 1977 graduate of the Foster School and member of its Advisory Board, is executive vice president and group CEO at NiSource, a natural gas and electric company. She has served in a variety of senior leadership roles with GTE Corp., Verizon Communications and Commonwealth Telephone Enterprises. Ms. Odum is also an active member of the Committee of 200, an invitation only membership organization of the world’s most successful female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders which helps to equip the next generation of women with scholarships, education and mentoring that will foster their rise to the top

Mark Pigott, a major benefactor of the Foster School, is chairman and CEO of PACCAR Inc, a Fortune 150 technology company. PACCAR has received the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest science award. Mr. Pigott has been honored with the prestigious Officer of the British Empire (UK), the Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium), and the Officer of the Orange-Nassau (Netherlands) for his efforts in strengthening international business relations. A passionate philanthropist, Mr. Pigott and PACCAR have made numerous contributions to the Foster School, including the lead gift to construct PACCAR Hall and the PACCAR Award for Teaching Excellence.

In his keynote address, Reginald Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, Inc., spoke of the opportunity that exists amid every crisis – for those with vision. “Given the broader, macro-economic challenges that we are facing right now, the topic of leadership is especially timely,” he said. “At Nintendo, we believe there are opportunities right now for leaders to do what they do best, to create opportunities and to drive businesses forward.”

To illustrate, Fils-Aime offered Nintendo’s bold, innovative moves to expand a shrinking home video gaming industry through its inclusive new offerings of the hand-held Nintendo DS and family-oriented Wii console. Delivering gaming to the masses rather than only hard-core players, both products have seen blockbuster success around the world.

“Hopefully you can look at your own industry through a new set of eyes, challenging not what has been but what can be during this time of opportunity,” he said. “Challenge those paradigms and hopefully you’ll find growth in new spaces.”

Advisory Board Chair Lex Gamble (a 1959 Foster School graduate and 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award recipient) added: “Times of crisis underscore the need for a great business school like the Foster School of Business. Because it is here, in the learning laboratory, that we educate leaders who have the skills to make a difference in the challenges they confront, and who are prepared to lead their organizations – and their communities – through times like these.”

The 2008 UW Business Leadership Banquet’s Premier Sponsors included iPass Inc., Premera Blue Cross, Saltchuk Resources, Inc., Wells Fargo and Weyerhaeuser Company. Major sponsors included Alaska Air Group, The Boeing Company, Crowley Maritime Corporation, Deloitte, Neal and Jan Dempsey, Ernst & Young LLP, GM Nameplate, GVA Kidder Mathews, KPMG LLP, LMN Architects, Odum & O’Neill Family, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, RSM McGladrey, Sellen Construction, Sonosite, Inc., Sweeney Conrad, P.S., Univar and Williams Investment Company.

Proceeds from the event fund scholarships for students at the Foster School of Business. And it was to those students that Odum delivered the following advice upon receiving her award. “Keep your own scorecard – your personal performance report. This scorecard may contain traditional performance metrics but it should also include your contributions of positive energy, active support to others, giving back, making good things happen – leaving your school, your job, your company, your community better for your presence. Truly high performance is both deep and wide in its impact.”

Reunion gifts becoming tradition

Class giftFoster leaves a lasting impression. Alumni don’t just walk away with a degree. They walk away with the experience of a lifetime…and a lifelong commitment to the School.

That’s why the MBA class of 1980 celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005 by pooling funds to make a combined gift of over $37,000—more than double the total of individual gifts made the class the year before.

Since then other classes have followed suit. In every case, the collective totals have exceeded the amounts of previous years.

Although Foster structures the giving campaign, alumni like Coreen Nickerson (MBA 1996) and Kevin Scharpenberg (MBA 2006) pitch in to add their personal touch that makes the giving much more generous.

Kevin said of his work to collect donations back in 2006: “In two years with 100-plus classmates, you develop a pretty tightly knit community.” He believed the class gift would connect the alumni to each other as much as it would connect them to the School. It also helped them give back to the community that supported and challenged them during their two intense years in the program.

Coreen continues to be involved with reunions and soliciting donations because she still feels so connected to her class: “I had such a good experience that it”s an easy way to continue to enjoy that experience.”

Just as Foster leaves a lasting impression, a class donation leaves a lasting legacy, one that benefits future MBA classes, and continues to unite alumni with each other and the School.

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