A contrarian’s tale

“And then I ran out of money. That,” says Scott McAdams (MBA 1986), “was when I knew it was time to get serious about finding a job.”

Chris Ackerlund with Scott McAdams
Chris Ackerlund, recipient of the McAdams Wright Ragen, Inc. Endowed Scholarship, with Scott McAdams (MBA 1986).

A few months prior to running out of funds, McAdams had graduated from Cornell University with degree in mechanical engineering. The year was 1979. Jimmy Carter was president. McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. The economy was in a lull and jobs were hard to get. Oil prices were high.

McAdams was fascinated by alternative energy and passionate about becoming a solar engineer, so, after graduating, he came west. First he drove to Colorado for some interviews. He then went to New Mexico. He stayed with some relatives and lined up some more interviews.

All of the interviews led him to the conclusion that jobs in the field were demanding PhDs. This conclusion coincided with running out of money. McAdams started to send out resumes further afield.

Hello, Scott. This is Boeing.

One of the resumes got him an interview with Boeing, which led to another. “Everything happened over the phone,” says McAdams. “They even hired me over the phone. It was as if they were thinking, ‘We need engineers and you passed muster.’”

He had never been to the Northwest, but accepted the job offer and drove to Seattle with everything he owned in January of 1980.

McAdams found Boeing to be an incredible company, but a bit stifling. “If you were young and ambitious at that time—and I was—it wasn’t a great place to be. There were guys who had been there for 20 to 30 years and they weren’t going anywhere,” says McAdams. “It just wasn’t moving fast enough for me.”

McAdams sought other work, but found it hard to find. He believes a good part of it was a prevailing attitude in the area at the time of Boeing engineers. “There was an unspoken mark against you if you worked at Boeing, if you were part of the ‘lazy B,’ as many people called it.”

A well placed bet

McAdams decided to pursue an MBA and applied to a number of schools. With acceptance letters in hand, and a desire to stay in Seattle, he made his choice. “At the time, Seattle was a provincial enough economy that if you wanted to work in the Northwest you were better off going to school in the Northwest. So I did,” says McAdams. “It was the bet I made and it worked out.”

Once he was in school, the decision to pursue finance as a concentration was easy. “As my wife reminds me, even at Boeing I would read the WSJ everyday cover to cover. Even as an engineer, I wanted to be a stock analyst.”

At the time, there weren’t many investment firms in Seattle. He interned with Foster & Marshall (where he met both Michael and A.O. Foster). Upon graduating, he went to work for Cable, Howse & Ragen as a junior analyst.

“My starting salary was half what I had been making as an engineer two years before. But at the time, the finance community was so small and if you wanted to get your foot in the door, you started at the ground floor,” says McAdams. “I was so excited to have the job, it didn’t matter.”

The early days provided some lessons that couldn’t be taught in school, even by Karma Hadjimikilakis and Bill Alberts, his favorite professors in the program. He learned a lot, but didn’t realize the courage it would take.

“It’s something you have to experience and it’s brutal. Classic problem you run into: a stock drops 50%, you do your analysis and think it must be the bottom, so you build a position. Then you realize it’s not the bottom when it drops another 50% and it turns out your assumption wasn’t accurate. And you’re faced with a big decision–do you double up or sell and take the loss? When you’re in this business and you come in in the morning and one of your stocks has done that, it’ll be the worst 24 hours of your life.”

Youre all fired

Within a couple of years, he returned to work at Foster Marshall, a subsidiary of Shearson American Express at time, but which still had a local research staff led by John Mackenzie.

“Shearson Lehman had a huge research department in New York, which was being led by Peter Cohen, and they didn’t really need us in Seattle. And unlike the team in New York, we were practicing contrarian value based investing,” says McAdams.

In 1988, the differences in investing approach came to a head. The New York research department was recommending the sale of a particular security. The Seattle office was recommending a buy on the same security. “Someone must have marched into Peter’s office and said, ‘What are these guys doing in Seattle? They’re confusing the clients.’ He called us that day and fired the whole department.”

According to the Seattle Times, that same year, Tom Cable and Elwood “Woody” Howse “decided to focus exclusively on their Bellevue-based venture-capital firm, investing in new, cash-hungry companies.” That provided an opening for John Mackenzie, with his small team of recently laid-off analysts, to approach Brooks Ragen. Ragen MacKenzie, formed in 1988, prospered and grew becoming a dominant regional firm in the Northwest.   The firm was eventually sold to Wells Fargo in 2000, which later folded the operation into its larger brokerage unit.

We need a name

In late spring of 1998, Ragen made a call to McAdams. He wanted to start another firm.

“At the time, Brooks was in his 60s,” recalls McAdams. “He said, ‘I’ll supply the capital, my name and contacts, and you do all the work.’ ”

The men pulled a staff together and found a location, but ran into a dilemma prior to opening their doors. They were in need of a name. “Because of the terms with our prior firm, we couldn’t use our names together. It sounded too much like Ragen Mackenzie,” says McAdams. “We needed another name.”

They wanted to find someone with a name that meant something in Seattle. At the last hour, the duo asked Bagley Wright if they could include his name. Wright was well known as a real estate developer as well as a philanthropist and patron of the arts. He agreed to lend his name and became a shareholder and a member of the board.

Contrarian value investing

“Contrarian value based investing tends to work because it isn’t used very often,” says McAdams. “It’s about buying when companies are down and out and no one else wants them. You’re looking for the intrinsic value and trying to guess what Wall Street is thinking. Practiced with discipline it tends to be, on a risk adjusted basis, a good way to manage retail money.”

He is quick to note that the approach is not going to make a 20-something a millionaire, but for someone with a million dollars in their 60s it’s a good way to protect it and make some money.

“There’s always been this little enclave of people in the northwest that believe in this type of investing,” says McAdams. That little enclave helped McAdams Wright Ragen become a big success. The firm experienced 15 straight years of growth of approximately 20% every year.

During that fifteenth year of growth, McAdams along with his partners and staff decided to celebrate in a unique fashion. Rather than throw a lavish party, they endowed a scholarship at the Foster School, the educational institution that educated many of them, to create a means by which to encourage students to pursue a finance career. Of equal importance to McAdams and his partners was the desire to contribute to the most vulnerable parts of the community by designating the scholarship for students affiliated with the university’s Educational Opportunity Program.

The closing bell

As the firm celebrated their fifteenth year of business and growth, they were approached by Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. with an offer to buy the firm.

“Brooks and I decided that if we were ever going to sell, the firm would have to be of high caliber and high integrity,” says McAdams. ”Unfortunately on Wall Street, there is a shortage of those things. We were particular and Baird passed the test. We worked with them to understand the values of our firm and our clients. It made sense and it made a return for our shareholders.”

McAdams notes that notifying clients was hard, particularly because most were with the firm because they shared a world view and values.

As for life after the acquisition? McAdams and his wife have been traveling, enjoying hobbies and catching up on long neglected projects. “I’m probably at a stage where being on boards might make the best use of my experience, says McAdams. “I‘m not currently enthused about being another CEO, but I wouldn’t rule it out if something really disruptive came around.”

Perhaps there’s a firm out there in need of a name.

Twitter for entrepreneurs: using social media to build your personal brand

T.A. McCann is many things to many people: entrepreneur, mentor, angel investor, America’s Cup winner … (I could go on). On Thursday, April 23, the founder of Gist (which sold to Blackberry in 2011) and Rival IQ assumed the role of social media pro and spoke to a room of up-and-coming entrepreneurs about how to use Twitter to build their personal brand and promote their companies.

McCann’s presentation, called Twitter for Entrepreneurs, was packed with solid social media advice and anecdotes. We’ve included a few of our favorites below. You can see McCann’s full slide deck here.

1. Twitter is for learning

Always be learning “Twitter is this amazing place where many of the smartest people in the world are pushing their ideas out in real time,” says McCann. Experts, CEOs, and thought-leaders are on Twitter sharing information that they feel is of value.  If you follow the right people, they will educate you on whatever it is that you care about.


2. Twitter is for building relationships

building relationshipsTwitter is an amazing resource for building relationships with people you don’t know, but with whom you share a connection. McCann didn’t know Brad Feld (a well-known investor, entrepreneur, and co-founder of TechStars) when he first contacted him on Twitter. What he did know was that they shared a connection–a love of running.  McCann reached out to Feld with a simple tweet prior to a conference they were both attending: “I know you’re a runner, and I’m hoping to run while I’m at this conference. Can you recommend any good places to run while I’m there?” Feld replied and suggested the two of them meet up and run together. So they did. Feld ultimately ended up leading the series A financing of Gist. McCann used Twitter to build a connection that  led to success for his company (and a great friendship).


3. Once you’ve got the hang of it, become a thought leader

thought leader“If you like using Twitter,” says McCann, “you will evolve from purely consuming (listening and learning) and connecting, to sharing your own perspective with your followers.” Once you develop your perspective in a particular area, you have the opportunity to become a thought leader, someone Twitter followers look to for opinion on a given subject. “Once you become a thought leader,” says McCann, “you';; begin to accrue value to your business.”


4. Bottom line: CEOs who aren’t on Twitter are letting their company down

CEOs on TwitterAll CEOs use Twitter in different ways. Some use it to communicate with customers or other industry leaders.  Some act as thought leaders and create their own content. And some simply amplify others’ content. But the bottom line is that once the leader of a company has a strong following on Twitter, it becomes a powerful marketing tool. On March 30, 2015, Tesla Motors’ CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted a major announcement, and Tesla’s stock price suddenly shot up:











5. Don’t forget the 5-3-2 rule

5-3-2Does Twitter seem overwhelming? Don’t worry–you don’t have to spend all day tweeting and re-tweeting. Just remember the 5-3-2 rule: For every 10 posts:

  • 5 should be about your space: What does your company do? Find thought leaders that do the same and re-tweet their content
  • 3 should be your thoughts on a particular subject: Have an opinion on news that applies to your company? Share it!
  • 2 should be personal: Show some personality? Tweet about your favorite new song, or what you think will happen on the next Game of Thrones

Don’t forget to check out all of T.A. McCann’s Twitter for Entrepreneurs slides, and share this post on Twitter:

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Want a better board? Recruit more women directors

Now that more than 20 countries have adopted quotas for women on corporate boards, the number of companies with women directors is growing worldwide. To identify the impact that women directors make on boards, Foster adjunct professor Cate Goethals and global management consultant Susan Bloch recently completed the Better Boards Project, an international study of more than 100 board members.

The study builds on research by Credit Suisse, McKinsey, and Catalyst that concluded public companies with women directors outperformed all-male boards on several financial dimensions, including stock price, return on equity, and better average growth. For the Better Boards Project, Goethals and Bloch explored the distinctive qualities that women directors brought to the table and the relationship between board effectiveness and women’s contributions.

Study highlights
The directors interviewed overwhelmingly believe that the contribution of women makes majority-male boards more effective. Specifically:

  • Women provide the broad diversity of perspective critical to robust governance practice
  • Female directors are more likely to fully explore the implications of decisions through their implementation stage and insist upon discussing standards of ethics and accountability
  • Women are more likely to build relationships among board members and with management
  • They ask more and different questions to fuel deeper discussions and better-considered decisions
  • Women are more likely to probe the human dimensions of policies—their effects on employees, customers, and other women
  • Inside the boardroom, female directors are generally more collaborative, listening carefully and facilitating contributions from others

Many directors expressed enthusiasm for bringing more of the right women onto their boards, but noted challenges locating qualified candidates.

Creating a pathway for potential women board members
Several countries, including Norway, France, India, and the United Arab Emirates, have passed legislation mandating a percentage of women serving on public boards. Still, there are remarkably few female directors—about 11 percent of all board members around the world and markedly less in some countries and sectors.

The number of women on public boards is closer to 20 percent in the U.S., and growing as companies actively seek qualified women directors. The percentage of new female nominees to S&P 500 directorships has doubled in the last seven years to 30 percent—almost one in three new board members is a woman. The primary problem boards face is locating and nominating eligible women directors.

To respond to this recruitment gap, Goethals, Foster market researcher Andrea Bowers, and Executive Education staff Lisa Loucks and Ann Koziol launched a new program to help prepare talented professional women for board service. The Women Board Directors Development Program will be offered June 18-19 at the Foster School of Business.

The program will feature sitting directors Colleen Brown (American Apparel, Newport Board Group), Connie Collingsworth (Premera Blue Cross, Banner Corporation), and Betsy Berkeimer Credaire, (Women Corporate Directors, Los Angeles/Orange County, author of “The Board Game”) joining Goethals to share their personal board experiences.

The Women Board Directors Development Program will help participants:

  • Deepen knowledge of board roles and responsibilities, including financial reporting, corporate strategy, CEO performance, and regulatory compliance
  • Understand the best professional pathways to influential boards
  • Develop a detailed personal action plan for securing the right board seat and advancing board service
  • Learn proven techniques for becoming known to nominating committees
  • Understand the board interview and onboarding process
  • Hear from sitting board members how they found their best voice at the table

For more information and to register, visit www.foster.uw.edu/women-on-boards

For more information about the Better Boards Project, visit http://www.betterboardsproject.com/ or contact Cate Goethals.

Foster Global Leadership Summit in photos

The UW Foster School of Business hosted a Global Leadership Summit in Taipei, Taiwan ROC on April 10, 2015. The purpose of the Summit was to host a high level forum in Taiwan in an effort to reach out to business leaders in the region and engage them in a meaningful dialogue on strategies in innovation and leadership. The Summit included presentations by Dean James Jiambalvo, Professors Michael Johnson and Matthew O’Donnell as well as panelists representing Chairmen and CEOs from Taiwan Cement Group, Chungwha Telecom, CTCI Group, Walsin Lihwa, Costco Taiwan, and The Boeing Company. Attendees were mostly from Taiwan, but also included participants who traveled from S. Korea, China, India, and the Philippines. See photos of the event below.


Foster-18 Foster-21 Foster-25 Foster-26 Foster-28 Foster-31Foster-32 Foster-36 Foster-41 Foster-42 Foster-63 Foster-68 Foster-130 Foster-133 Foster-143 Foster-144 Foster-154 Foster-150  Foster-160 Foster-232Foster-165 Foster-70Foster-137Foster-189 Foster-145Foster-194Foster-202  Foster-213 Foster-217 Foster-206Foster-223Foster-220 Foster-226 Foster-229 Foster-231 Foster-260Foster-234 Foster-235 Foster-242 Foster-245 Foster-250 Foster-251 Foster-241Foster-254  Foster-269Foster-244 Foster-270

Picatti Brothers | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Doug_PicattiDoug Picatti, Vice President of Business Development and Co-Owner of Picatti Brothers, Inc. based out of Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered in Yakima by the Consulting & Business Development Center.

I am Doug Picatti, the Vice President of Business Development and an owner of Picatti Brothers, Inc., an 86-year-old multi-company electrical and pump contracting family business in Yakima, WA.  During the Spring of 2014, I and six of my team members attended the UW Foster School’s Business Certificate Program.

First, I’d like to thank the staff and excellent educators from the UW Foster School of Business, Domex Superfresh Growers, the Kershaw family, the Educational Service District 105 and most importantly, my fellow classmates whose enthusiasm and participation made this program a success!

Picatti Brothers has 5 core values that guide our culture.  Our first is knowledge.  Our people and team must be knowledgeable to create quality solutions to exceed our customer’s goals.  Continued education is important to our success.  Expanding the capabilities of our people, our leadership team and ultimately our company is of paramount importance to us.

Picatti Brothers will be 90 years old in 2018.  We have set some very aggressive goals for this very special anniversary.  In order to meet these goals, we need to continue to learn and grow our people’s capabilities.  I was excited after learning about this program and felt this was a great opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge of our management team to effectively lead our company to the next level.

This six-week program taught techniques, skills and experiences from some of the brightest minds within the University of Washington.  The case studies were interesting, relevant and helpful.  In short, this program and its people were truly world class!

Ultimately, this class helped us learn to be better leaders.  Leadership is more than just having skills and knowledge.  Leadership coalesces the passions and purpose of people to achieve a common vision.  It is about inspiring ourselves and others to achieve a unified goal.

Mindy Grossman, the CEO of HSN said it well when she said “If you are inspired, if you are excited, and you are part of something, you are probably going to be successful, because you are doing what you love.”  Because of this program, we’ve made some great new leaders who will make our companies and ultimately our community successful!

Developing the ability to develop – UW students get a taste of CLST’s approach to leadership development

students in workshop
Students in CLST workshop discussing their development plans

This post was written by staff members from the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking

What can undergraduates do to develop their leadership while at UW?

That’s what over 150 undergraduates came to a Leadership Conference on a recent Saturday to learn about. Hosted by Delta Sigma Pi (a professional co-ed business fraternity)* in conjunction with the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, the one-day conference gave attendees a real-world perspective on what they can do now to develop the leadership skills that will be vital to their professional success. The conference included representatives from companies such as Accenture, PepsiCo/Frito Lay, Boeing, Microsoft and Target.

CLST’s role in the event was to help students build their Developmental Readiness, their willingness and ability to develop when faced with challenging leadership situations. (It’s worth noting that the students certainly demonstrated their willingness to develop by showing up to a leadership conference early on a sunny Saturday morning.)

Research on leadership development has shown that only about 30% of leadership is hard-wired, while the other 70% can be developed, and that the extent to which one develops through experiences differs from person to person. In other words, facing a similar challenge, a person with higher developmental readiness might thrive and grow while another struggles and gives up. Further, this ability to develop can itself be developed. CLST’s goal was to help catalyze this process.

In a workshop format, CLST coaches helped participants craft a plan for working on an aspect of their developmental readiness, including specific actions they could take on a daily basis. Sienna Landry, a member of Delta Sigma Pi who helped organize the event, said that the attendees “have absolutely walked away from this conference with a new sense of how they can impact their leadership styles.”

The event was a huge success, and the fraternity plans to hold it again next year. This collaboration with Delta Sigma Pi is a great example of how CLST is reaching out to UW undergraduates to help develop critical leadership skills during their time at UW.

*Delta Sigma Pi is a professional fraternity organized to foster the study of business in universities; to encourage scholarship, social activity and the association of students for their mutual advancement by research and practice.

GBCC student teams tackle solar energy

Foster School Team showing off their school spirit!
The Foster School team members Eric Zhu, Emmeline Vu, Morgan Bell-Smith, and Dinesvara  Airlangga show off their school spirit!

This Saturday, the Global Business Center hosted its 17th annual Global Business Case Competition (GBCC) – where twelve teams representing eight countries competed for the title of GBCC Champion.

Each of the undergraduate student teams spent 48 hours analyzing a business case on First Solar Inc.  In 2010, First Solar was the global leader in production of solar panels. However, by 2013, Chinese producers dominated the world market, helped by generous government subsidies.  First Solar was also challenged by falling prices for solar panels made with a competing technology.  First Solar responded by vertically integrating into the solar systems business, making the company a “one-stop shop” for utility customers.  First Solar’s sales have been concentrated in the US market, but they are exploring opportunities outside the US.  The GBCC student teams were tasked with identifying the external forces affecting First Solar’s business over the next five years and then prioritizing the non-US target markets.

Four teams were selected to move on to the final round: the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Florida State University, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Southern California.

GBCC 2015 Winning TeamOur final round judging panel commented that this was one of the most difficult and complex cases in the history of GBCC. In the end, the judges chose the Chinese University of Hong Kong as this year’s GBCC Champion.

We would like to acknowledge the hard work of our GBCC Student Leadership Team who spent countless hours organizing this event.

GBCC would not be possible without our major sponsors. A special thank you to The Boeing Company, Costco Wholesale, F5 Networks, Russell Investments, Starbucks Coffee International, and Wells Fargo for their generous support.

Student teams selected to compete in the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition

The University of Washington Business Plan Competition (BPC), now in its 18th year, is a platform for student-led ventures. It provides an opportunity for entrepreneurial students across Washington State to take their ideas beyond the classroom and test them out in a real-world setting. A business built around stylish sports socks, nose-to-brain drug delivery, or Emergency Medical Response might look great on paper, but not until you present it to a room full of entrepreneurs, investors, and mentors will you really know if it has potential.

A record 103 student teams applied to the 2015 BPC. After an initial screening round, 37 teams were selected to move on to the BPC Investment Round on April 28. There, they’ll pitch their ideas to 300+ judges—entrepreneurs, lawyers, investors, and other top professionals—in the hopes of earning a spot in the Sweet 16 and, ultimately, a chance to win the $25,000 Grand Prize.

Best of luck to the teams in the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition!

Alpha Endeavors
University of Washington Tacoma

Alpha Endeavors seeks to disrupt the antiquated residential real estate investment marketplace by alleviating a massive amount of transactional friction in the acquisition process. The company helps residential real estate brokers who serve investor clients to sell more real estate through a software facilitated process that implements predictive analytics, administrative automation, and integrates modern data gathering techniques.

University of Washington

Auctora’s automated recruiting tool seamlessly screens, sorts, and schedules candidates so that corporate recruiters can utilize their time more effectively while sourcing job applicants. No dealing with paper resumes; no back-and-forth emails between recruiters and candidates – welcome to recruiting in the 21st century!

University of Washington

Authality’s first product, Klide, is the most secure and convenient smart lock, and the only smart lock that meets the demands of Airbnb hosts. Klide pairs a physical lock with a mobile app that allows hosts to distribute revocable “keys” to guests and control access remotely.

Avayla Weddings
University of Washington

Avayla Weddings is a software platform designed to provide wedding vendors with better marketing and increased profits while simultaneously acting as the market-leading information tool for couples in the same way that TripAdvisor works for the travel industry. Avayla is the most efficient, enjoyable, and user friendly way for couples to find, contact and book the venue of their dreams.

University of Washington

Have you ever been at lunch and realized the 30 minutes you wanted to spend had turned into an hour? Have you ever been late for a meeting because you just couldn’t find a server to pay your bill? At Baunsu.com you can order and pay for your food ahead of time, getting rid of the hassle in the dining experience. Once you arrive, your food will be served, leaving you time to concentrate on the flavors and experience instead of the wait. It’s Baunsu.com!

Benchmark Environmental
University of Washington
Washington State University

Benchmark Environmental is changing the way we treat storm water. By combining innovative design with new technologies, our treatment solutions are affordable, easy to install, and low maintenance. Benchmark Environmental’s products enable more companies and municipalities to treat storm water runoff effectively–a win-win for customers and the environment.

University of Washington Tacoma

Bettery provides consumers with the most cost effective, convenient, and sustainable portable power solution on the market. Bettery taps a growing demand for sustainable solutions by offering batteries as a low cost subscription service.

Seattle University

CaseBooker is a simple, convenient, and local online mobile application and service that helps law students buy and sell their casebooks (legal textbooks) and other supplementary materials with other law students on their campus.

Co Optical
Washington State University

Co Optical specializes in lifestyle management technologies, with a flagship product that revolutionizes diabetes management by continuously and non-invasively monitoring blood glucose. This wearable device, structured as a pair of glasses, improves convenience and enhances the overall user experience allowing seamless integration of lifestyle management strategies into the everyday lives of people with diabetes.

Community Supported Bio
University of Washington and BGI at Pinchot University

Community Supported Bio turns trash into treasure. It offers turnkey lease-to-own B2B solutions to upcycle food & beverage waste into renewable fertilizer & fuel.

Seattle University

Old growth happens when nurtured. Eldergrow is a start-up company that connects nature to elders so that they can continue to flourish in their later years of life. Gardening every day reduces the risk factors for dementia by 36%! Through a portfolio of meaningful gardening and nature-related products, Eldergrow will improve the quality of 10,000 elders lives by the end of the decade.

University of Washington

Empreva aims to empower and engage women across the world to take their health into their own hands by providing a safe, convenient, and comfortable method for birth control and STI prevention.Empreva is developing birth control and combination birth control/anti-HIV products to benefit the health of women in high-HIV burden areas of the developing world who lack options for protection. For every purchase of an Empreva birth control product in the U.S., Empreva will donate one combination product to a woman in need in the developing world to help achieve sexual health and empowerment for women everywhere.

University of Washington

JikoPower makes thermo-electric generators to turn ordinary cook stoves into personal charging stations for off-grid households that have small electronic devices in the developing world. JikoPower POWERS devices, but it EMPOWERS people.

FullCircle Technologies
University of Washington

FullCircle Technologies is an education technology company empowering K-12 teachers, administrators, counselors, and staff with fast, easy to use, intuitive software to allow educators to focus on maximizing student learning. SITAR – Student Intervention Tracking and Reporting, is the company’s first product that helps schools track both academic and non-academic interventions and proactively reduces future interventions by focusing on the communication and action plans between teachers, staff and parents.

University of Washington

Genie is a file browser that understands and looks at files exactly the way a human does. Gone are the days of having to go through long lists of generic file names for images. Remember what an image contains? Tell Genie and it does the rest for you.

Washington State University

Go KEFI is an experience-based travel website that helps you plan vacations based off desired experiences and budget. The team won first place at Spokane Startup Weekend 2014, and has since sparked a movement for a new way to travel.

University of Washington

Hook is a home automation hub that offers smart home capability to the price sensitive consumer. Customers are able to convert existing electronics in the home to smart compatible devices, keeping these products up-to-date for years to come. Consumers will enjoy convenience with control via their mobile devices, savings on energy costs, and improved home safety. With an affordable price and remarkable ease of use, Hook aims to make smart home technology accessible to the masses.

Ion Informatics
University of Washington

Ion Informatics is developing a proprietary technology that provides critical health information enabling battery operators to maximize the value that can be extracted from each battery through more informed decision making. Applications for improved battery state diagnostics in the marketplace are extensive, applying to any system where large scale batteries are used. The information rich diagnostics developed by Ion Informatics will transform the storage sector by allowing more robust, intelligent, and informed battery management.

University of Washington

Limefy makes business networking you can wear. You’re in a big crowd where you don’t know anyone. It’s intimidating. You want to meet someone with similar interests but you don’t know how. LiGo can help you.

Meridian Lee
BGI at Pinchot University

Meridian Lee is a conscious fashion company making chic, distinctive fashion accessories. By collaborating with marginalized artisans around the world, Meridian Lee is able to create handcrafted designs and artisans are able to earn an income and live healthier, safer lives.

University of Washington

miPS is the first consumer stem cell generation and cell banking service. miPS allows consumers to store their adult cells to prevent cellular aging, generate stem cell lines for research, and use banked cells for future stem cell therapies.

NOVA Technologies
Western Washington University and University of Washington

NOVA Technologies’ Smart Solar Window uses transparent nanotechnology to create clean, local electricity that can turn skyscrapers into giant solar arrays and reduce HVAC systems costs, an innovative link to a carbon neutral future.

University of Washington

For small businesses, creating and managing purchase orders is a time-consuming manual task. Ordr.it offers a modern supply chain solution for small businesses that allows users to better manage purchase orders and collaborate on pending orders with their vendors.

University of Washington

Otogear is a stylish, customizable, environmentally friendly, reusable silicone earplug designed to help sustain a healthy hearing environment during loud events. In addition, Otogear promotes the reduction of waste by being reusable and biodegradable.

Park A Lot
University of Washington

Park A Lot is a platform connecting private businesses who have unused parking spaces with customers looking for parking. Lot owners sign up on a hop-on, hop-off platform and their lots become available to the public, generating them revenue. Customers use Park A Lot’s website or app to purchase parking on a lot of their choice from their home or mobile device.

University of Washington

Parky makes paying parking tickets suck less! Parky is a cloud-based app for receiving automated notifications once a parking ticket is issued to a vehicle owner. The app sends payment reminders and allows users to make one-click payments, reducing the anxiety related to missed parking payments and late fees.

University of Washington

PowerNode is a web-based power monitoring system for industrial machinery that utilizes machine learning to perform predictive maintenance, reducing costs associated with operation, maintenance and machine down time.

RainCity Heart Lab
Seattle University

Seventy percent of patients who have suffered a heart attack for the first time were previously classified as low risk for cardiovascular disease based on the current testing methods. RainCity Heart Lab (RCHL) is a specialty diagnostic lab that offers a better diagnostic test called CALLIS. CALLIS (Calibrated Lipoprotein Ion Separation) is a blood test for accurately quantifying intact lipoproteins for improved Cardio Vascular Disease risk assessment.

Saffron and Rose
Cornish School of the Arts and University of Washington

Saffron and Rose provides stylish and comfortable yoga-inspired apparel that supports the true health of the body and the planet. Using natural and organic fibers in beautiful colors, Saffron and Rose apparel enables a positive mood, a balanced body, and a general sense of well-being.

University of Washington

SmartyPants reinvents toilet training and mitigates adult incontinence issues to prevent millions of diapers from ending up as a biohazard in landfills. It predicts impending bowel events and alerts users to get to a toilet. The company’s innovative, first-of-its-kind, technology creates value for the consumers by saving on diaper purchases and the environment by reducing waste and biohazard from disposable diapers.

Seattle University and University of Puget Sound

Sport-Social provides the easiest way to spontaneously organize, locate, and join pickup sports activities through a social platform.

University of Washington

Sheer volume of life moments – scattered across electronic devices and online accounts – and lack of organization make it difficult to find precious moments and to assemble them into stories. Ironically, even as more life instances are captured, stories are increasingly buried in digital chaos. In an attempt to record many experiences, users risk losing the very memories they want to preserve. Storyline.Life is a storytelling platform to conveniently capture, organize and connect moments so that they can be shared as meaningful stories.

University of Washington

ThreeBar is a revolutionary website tracking and content delivery platform that allows any business to easily and cost efficiently hyper-target customers. Using a customer’s past web viewing habits, locational data, and demographic profiling, ThreeBar enables businesses to deliver custom website content and test special offers in real-time– all with the simplicity of a point and click user interface.

Washington State University

TriboTEX aims to extend the operational life-span of industrial machinery by improving efficiency where lubricated friction takes place. TriboTEX’s self-assembling nanostructured lubricious coating provides regenerative effects to frictional surface during normal operation.

University of Washington

vHAB is a virtual rehabilitation platform that helps patients regain fine motor skills to lead autonomous lives again. vHAB enables occupational therapists to customize patient treatment and accurately monitor progress through engaging and dynamic video games. System portability and precision metrics pose a competitive advantage for rehabilitation facilities, allowing delivery of quality treatment to patients – anywhere, anytime. vHAB saves rehabilitation facilities time and money. Most importantly, vHAB empowers patients to reclaim their independence.

Vie Diagnostics
University of Washington

A significant portion of patients attending STD clinics fail to follow up for treatment, even when tests are positive and the risk for transmission and complication is highest. Vie Diagnostics’ disruptive molecular diagnostic technology will reduce the spread and pain of STD infections by allowing patients to be tested and treated in a single clinical visit. Its tests will provide better patient management, lower costs for clinics, and improve overall public health.

University of Washington

Yowgii has the potential to disrupt the bottled water industry and the water filtration industry. The global bottled water industry is worth over $157 billion a year, but is heavily comprised of plastic bottles with significant environmental footprint and potential for contaminants. Yowgii combines environmentally-friendly water delivery with innovative water purification to deliver the best drinking water to consumer and promises pure water for a better you!


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When rankings focus on student results, Foster rises to #12 in U.S.

If business schools were ranked based on MBA students’ results, the Foster School would leap to #12 in the country, according to MBA ranking site, Poets & Quants.

Poets & Quants re-ranked the schools in response to a recent Fortune magazine essay by Dean Glenn Hubbard of Columbia University’s Business School, who recommended weighting the MBA rankings based on student inputs and outputs. Hubbard wrote, “Every business school dean, myself included, will tell you that their school is the best, so as much as it pains me to say, you should probably look past the deans. Instead, look to the students. It’s in the student network that you will find the metrics that matter for assessing any business school: inputs and outputs.”

What would a new ranking focused on student metrics look like?
Poets & Quants analyzed publicly available data to re-weight the ranking of the top 25 business schools in the U.S. When those student inputs – applications per seat and yield (acceptance of admissions offers) and outputs – job placement rates and pay – are weighted most heavily, schools that focus on student results rise to the top.

Based on the student performance factors, Foster ranks #12, above Duke, Yale, Cornell and Michigan, and third among public schools.

Poets & Quants
A New Ranking Of The Top Business Schools

School Index P&Q Rank Apps per seat Yield Pay Jobs
  1. Stanford 100.0 1 17.9 78.7% $142,834 92.1%
  2. Harvard 91.3 2 10.2 88.8% $144,750 89.4%
  3. MIT 86.2 7 11.7 62.3% $142,936 92.8%
  4. Berkeley 85.3 10 14.4 52.5% $140,935 86.7%
  5. Wharton 82.0 4 7.1 68.0% $142,574 95.6%
  6. Columbia 81.6 5 7.8 70.4% $139,006 91.1%
  7. NYU 79.8 10 11.3 48.7% $135,933 90.4%
  8. Chicago 79.0 4 7.2 59.4% $137,615 97.2%
  8. Tuck 79.0 8 8.7 52.2% $142,489 93.8%
10. UCLA 78.1 14 11.7 48.2% $127,535 88.6%
11. Kellogg 77.2 6 6.7 63.9% $136,357 88.6%
12. Foster 75.9 23 9.8 44.7% $125,367 95.8%
13. Darden 75.5 13 8.4 45.8% $136,474 93.4%
14. Duke 75.4 9 7.8 50.9% $137,154 89.8%
15. Yale 73.9 12 8.5 49.5% $126,871 88.9%
16. Olin 73.1 24 12.1 30.9% $111,974 96.9%
17. Cornell 72.8 15 6.3 52.6% $132,316 89.8%
18. Emory 72.5 20 7.5 43.5% $128,347 94.8%
18. Michigan 72.5 11 5.5 50.9% $140,497 89.7%
20. Texas 72.0 19 7.9 44.4% $126,160 91.3%
21. Tepper 71.4 17 6.9 46.6% $131,865 88.3%
22. Kelley 68.4 20 6.6 45.6% $119,581 88.1%
23. UNC 67.6 18 6.8 37.9% $124,641 89.0%
24. Owen 66.3 25 5.3 44.7% $113,830 90.8%
25. Georgetown 64.4 22 6.1 34.5% $118,938 88.5%

Source: Poets & Quants analysis from publicly available data

Read Dean Hubbard’s full essay in Fortune and the How A Dean Would Rank Business Schools article in Poets & Quants.

Learn more about Foster’s current rankings.

Global Business Case Competition exports inspiration around the world

GBCC-facesEvery year the Foster School’s Global Business Case Competition (GBCC) welcomes the world.

Bangladesh and Brazil. Egypt and Estonia. Israel and Italy. Jamaica and Japan. Korea and Kuwait. Pakistan and Peru. Serbia and Singapore. Uganda and the United Kingdom. In all, 52 nations have sent their best and brightest undergraduate business students to match wits in the GBCC since its 1999 launch.

Now this long-time importer of competitors is exporting inspiration.

Kindred competitions in Portugal, New Zealand, Belgium, Sudan and Colombia have been inspired by unforgettable GBCC experiences and informed by its best practices.

GBCC-Presentation2After Brendon Potter, student development and engagement manager at the University of Auckland Business School, brought a team to Seattle for its first international experience in 2004, he was moved to launch his school’s own champions league of case competitions. “Because of that invitation to the GBCC, we have established a significant case program of our own,” says Potter. “And it was the motivation to instigate our own Champions Trophy Case Competition in 2008, to which we’ve been delighted to welcome the Huskies on several occasions.”

Some 12,000 miles and a hemisphere away in Portugal, Renata Blanc de Melo had a similar response when she brought a team of students from the Universidade do Porto to the 2007 GBCC. The lecturer and senior consultant began drawing up plans to replicate the competitive and cultural experience and in 2013 launched the FEPUPORTO International Case Competition. “There is no case competition culture in Portugal, so being invited the first time was a departing point for us,” says Blanc. “And regarding our own competition, GBCC was undoubtedly a benchmark.”

This year, two former Foster students are instigating GBCC-style competitions to serve students in their respective corners of the world. Aysa Miller (BA 2004) and Nathan Bright (BA 2014) are both alumni of the Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB), Foster’s nationally-ranked specialty program that gives undergrads a competitive edge in global business through language immersion, study or work abroad, and practical experience.

Miller, the economic and deputy commercial officer at the US Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, has assembled a team of students representing three Sudanese universities to compete at this year’s GBCC. He’ll follow up with a local case competition hosted by the Ahfad University for Women—the first in the east African nation.

Bright, a teacher of international business, technology management and marketing at the Universidad de Manizales in Colombia, decided that a GBCC-style competition would benefit his students. To pull it off, he’s been working with Kathleen Hatch, assistant director of undergraduate programs at the Global Business Center.

GBCC-2014 winnersHatch offers open source guidance to Bright, Miller and any others seeking to replicate the life-changing experience that the GBCC annually delivers through its heady mix of company visits, social events, professional development, cultural exchange and rigorous competition to solve a real-world international business challenge.

She’s not surprised to see the competition’s effect rippling so far and wide.

“I think that GBCC has been an inspirational model to other business schools because it incorporates everything that is so critical to business education today—cross cultural communications, team work, and strategic thinking,” says Hatch. “It forces students to grapple with the complexities of doing business in today’s global landscape.”

Not to mention, it’s great fun.

This year’s Global Business Case Competition takes place April 13-18.

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