U.S. Ambassador to Singapore shares insights about ASEAN and global business

Ambassador“Our country is positioned to be the center of global business for the next 100 years,” said U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Kirk Wagar, at a lunch with Foster School students and faculty on April 24th. He argues that 50% of the employees at U.S. businesses are global, and that the diversity in the U.S. has created and will sustain its tremendous success in business. At the lunch, the Ambassador shared his insights on global business, ASEAN, and Singapore.

He encouraged students around the table to consider studying abroad or working abroad in SE Asia. It is a vitally important region for business students to understand and engage with. Even comparing China and SE Asia, he argues that while China has a rising middle class, the demographics for business in SE Asia are much better. The population is younger, and ASEAN has also figured out that they either rise or sink together. Unlike Latin America, ASEAN understands the concept of shared economic prosperity.  ASEAN is lowering its tariffs and pushing to become a more connected region. There is great opportunity for business in ASEAN with over 620 million people in the region – that is one million more people than in the EU.

Student with US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar
EMBA student Vanesssa Zhang with US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar

Singapore sits in a unique position – India on one side and China on the other. It has the one of the largest port in the world, handling more than 30 million containers annually. Singapore is also incredibly multicultural, and it is home to more than 3600 U.S. businesses. A student asked why it is such an attractive location for foreign firms, and Ambassador Wagar responded that its business and regulatory environment is very friendly, it’s politically stable, English is widely spoken, and well, it is the only place in SE Asia where you can confidently drink tap water.

Foster undergrads create social media plan for U.S. Open Golf Championship

Foster undergraduate students enjoy U.S. Open media day with legendary champion Greg Norman and FOX Sports broadcasters.
Foster undergraduate students  at Chambers Bay Golf Course during  U.S. Open media day with legendary champion Greg Norman and the FOX Sports broadcast team.

When the world’s best golfers tee off at the U.S. Open June 17-21, not all of the action will take place on the rugged Puget Sound landscape of Chambers Bay. A coordinated “Open For All” Fan Experience in Seattle’s Lake Union Park will offer big-screen viewing of the championship, games, activities and official merchandise, a “Learning Science through Golf” exhibit, local food trucks, and an opportunity to see the famed U.S. Open trophy at the end of its cross-country tour.

The event—if not the trophy—will bear the fingerprints of Foster School undergrads.

In winter quarter, the United States Golf Association and its broadcast partner FOX Sports challenged students in Abhishek Borah’s social media class to brainstorm event ideas and promotion of the fan fest viewing party. Their target demographic was a familiar one: Millennials, the legion of 20-somethings raised on technology though not necessarily on golf.

“The executives from FOX Sports and the USGA wanted my students to provide research and analysis to support a location for the event, and a plan to create social media buzz that would get young people excited about it,” says Borah, an assistant professor of marketing at Foster.

Golf in the city

The projects, conducted through the FOX Sports University program, became the real-world capstone to Borah’s course.

Four teams presented. The winning “Golf The City” team—Yen Phung, Tyler Ronish, Supo Techagum, Nap Poshyananda and Coral Lee—delivered outside-of-the-box creativity in a coherent and professional presentation that most impressed the USGA and FOX Sports executives.

“The kids came up with a variety of great ideas, presented with real professional polish,” says Greg Ross, manager of branded and special events at the USGA. “Since we’re not from the Seattle area, it was a great eye-opener to see what options are there, what the younger demographic would think was cool and fun.”

Golf The City proposed a network of mini-golf installations around the city, encouraging social sharing of pictures and recommended hashtags. They outlined an advertising campaign featuring local celebrities. For the Fan Experience, they envisioned photo ops with wax figures of famous golfers from Madame Tussauds, specialty golf-themed cakes and a virtual swing analyzer. They recommended favorite food truck vendors and popular local bands.

“Since we were the target audience, we thought, what’s interesting to us? How could we be convinced to go?” says Phung, a senior at Foster who is president of the school’s American Marketing Association branch.

“The winning team had great ideas—along the lines of our original thinking,” Ross adds. “But they went the extra mile and presented budgets, projected impression numbers. Information we weren’t even asking for.”

Next generation entertainment

Their reward (beyond an excellent grade and a valuable resume booster) was an all-access pass to U.S. Open media day in May, and VIP status for the Fan Experience.

The winning team gets a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to broadcast a major sporting event.
The winning team gets a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to broadcast a major sporting event.

The students have seen how such an event is promoted and executed, and how well their ideas dovetailed with the USGA’s plans. Their mini-golf notion resembles the “Epic Putt Challenge” that has challenged fans at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (and continues at the Fan Experience) to match some of the greatest putts in championship history. Their swing analyzer has morphed into a golf simulator that allows fans to virtually play the signature 15th hole at Chambers Bay. And there will be food trucks galore.

Alas, no golf ball cakes or waxed U.S. Open champions.

In sync

“The students didn’t know what the USGA was planning for the Fan Experience,” says Kaitlyn Beale, manager of marketing and strategic partnerships at FOX Sports. “So to be so in sync was pretty exciting. It was great for us to be able to tap into some great minds at the University of Washington, and for the students to be so engaged and invested in this project.”

They certainly learned a lot. Apart from Ronish—an avid golf fan who will intern with the USGA this summer—nobody on the winning team knew the first thing about the sport at the outset.

“Coming into this class, I didn’t know anything about golf, and not a lot about the power of social media,” says Phung, who will join Hitachi Consulting after graduating this June. “But I did know something about marketing. It was so interesting to see all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a big event and social media campaign. And it was an incredibly valuable challenge to apply what I’ve learned in school to an unfamiliar industry, something I’ll be doing a lot in my career.”

Foster delivers best bang for the buck

U.S. News & World Report recognized Foster as the highest-ranked MBA program with the best bang for the buck in its recent analysis of graduates’ salaries and average debt. According to the article, Foster graduates “who were employed within three months after graduation in 2014 have an average annual starting salary of $105,680, and those who borrowed had an average debt of $29,720 for business school.” Read the full story.

Foster was also the top-ranked program listed in U.S. News’ top 10 MBA programs where grads can afford their student loans.

YEOC marks end of the year with competition and celebration

With summer break just on the horizon, students are preparing for a little down time before they transition to the next chapter in their lives. However, before the vacations and summer jobs begin, YEOC marked the occasion with the Annual Case Competition and End of the Year Celebration.

Inspired by the popular TV show Shark Tank, the entrepreneurial-themed case competition highlighted the students’ creativity, business insights, and teamwork skills. Prompted to “solve a problem that the world is facing today using technology” students worked together in groups to create their own innovative solutions. With thirty judges from the business and higher education communities in attendance, thirty YEOC student teams competed against one another for the top prize. After three rounds, it was the “Piezo board” that took first place. Described as a piezoelectric crystal floorboard that captures energy from the footsteps of passing pedestrians, the winning team received a check for $1,000 and a trip to the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Gala.

During the celebrations, EY took the time to showcase their commitment to the YEOC program. With a giant check in tow, the company renewed its pledge of support with $225,000 over the next three years. EY partners Glenn Carrington and Matthew Alexander also surprised the audience with personal donations of $1,000 each.

See photos of the celebration below:

YEOC students
A group of YEOC students
YEOC Mentors and MITs
YEOC Mentors and MITs
Winning team
Winning case competition team
sponsorship renewal
EY’s $225,000 sponsorship renewal for YEOC

Find out more about the YEOC program on the Foster website.

Foster Professional Sales Program 18th Annual Spring Business Partner Breakfast

Guest post by Rick Carter, assistant director, Foster Professional Sales Program Foster Professional Sales Program


Celebrating the Foster Professional Sales Program 18th Annual Spring Business Partner Breakfast

On May 20, close to 500 guests celebrated the accomplishments of 125 students who have completed practicums with 66 business partners from the Puget Sound Area. The student-led celebration showcased the winners of the National Team Selling Competition, the National Collegiate Sales Competition, and the Husky Sales Club’s $18,000 gift to the program.

Conner Olsen of The Broderick Group, Hanna Klemm of Towers Watson, and Tyler McManigal of F-5–all alumni of the program–were interviewed by Dick Foley on their experiences as recent grads living out their education in real world application. “This program set me apart from my colleagues, giving me a quick start and advantage in my success and advancement.” All have experienced rapid growth and are very successful in their positions.

Congratulations to the Foster Professional Sales Program Class of 2015.

Colours By Design | reflections on the Business Certificate Program

Patty Maggard Prediletto, owner of Colours By Design, an interior design firm based in Yakima, Washington, reflects on the value of the Business Certificate Program offered by the Consulting & Business Development Center. This program wrapped up this May with more than 100 graduates since January of 2015.

Patty_PhotoMy name is Patty Maggard Prediletto and my business is Colours By Design.  As a sole proprietor of a home-based interior design business, I was surprised when the Consulting & Business Development Center asked me to tell the story of my company.  My initial thought was that a larger firm, due to their higher number of employees, crews, and supervisors to manage would make a better story about the impact of this program.  Then I realized just how diverse the mix of my fellow classmates was in the Business Certificate Program.  These included owners of small businesses (like mine) as well as employees from large companies.  I’ve come to realize that although we have different perspectives on business, the tools that we learned can help us all in different ways.

I may not have a staff or a board of directors, but I do have clients and subcontractors that I work with; I make decisions with and for my clients on a daily basis; and I have to brainstorm how to approach a project and how to make snap decisions to keep jobs flowing.  It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is.  We all work on the same principles, we are here to make a profit, and I’ve realized through the BCP that companies both big and small use the same tools to accomplish these goals.

BCP teaches three major subjects: marketing, management, and finance & accounting.  Here are my takeaways that I was able to bring back to Colours By Design.

Marketing: I know my name is long, but that is part of my brand.  I was Maggard for the first 20 years of my career and built up that name recognition.  When I remarried I knew I needed to keep that name as that is my brand and how I am known.  This class has helped me to put that into focus and helped me to better understand how important identity or branding is.  I knew that branding was important but BCP showed my why.

Management: When I am dealing with a couple, many times there are differences of opinions and tastes. It is my job to bring both sides together and come to a decision that everyone is happy with.  I joke that I have a marriage counseling degree!  With this course, I now have more tools in my toolbox to help me mediate the decision-making process.

Finance & Accounting: I have written a business plan and I readily admit that I am more creative than a financial whiz.  However, I know it is a very important part of any business to have an understanding of how money flows and how to adjust to changes.

I would like to thank Domex Superfresh Growers for bringing the UW Foster School of Business to our community.  I found the instructors were very engaging and entertaining.  The teamwork exercises were fun, creative, and really helped me understand the concepts.  It doesn’t matter what size your business is, this course is for all businesses, large or small like me.

2015 UDS graduation ceremony

On Saturday May 17th, students, families, Foster staff, and community members gathered in Anthony’s Forum to celebrate the Undergraduate Diversity Services (UDS) graduating class of 2015! The goal of UDS is to attract, recruit and retain diverse students here at the Foster School of Business. These UDS graduates have participated in the UDS pipeline programs (YEOC, B2, ALVA, BEOP) and diverse student organizations (ABBS, NABA, ALPFA). During the event, the soon-to-be Foster alums took to the stage to receive a custom UDS stole and a special message of congratulations from Undergraduate Assistant Dean Vikki Haag Day and former UDS Associate Director Jai-Anana Elliott. Attendees also heard from staff members Kate Merriwether (Assistant to Undergraduate Deans), Pamela Lacson (Associate Director of Diversity & Recruitment), and Korrie Miller (YEOC Program Manager).

See photos from the celebration below:

UDS_Graduation_2015-007-X2UDS_Graduation_2015-195-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-147-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-201-X2 UDS_Graduation_2015-206-X2
Learn more about UDS on the Foster website.

2015 Undergraduate Consulting Challenge

Big Time Brewery owner Rick McLaughlin with winning student team from South Seattle Community College – Louise Bayona, Amber Jiang, Gosay Mohammed and Aliya Zhaxylykbayeva.
Gargoyles Statuary owner Gayle Nowicki with winning student team Jeremy Santos, Anthony Li, Emmeline Vu, and Jennifer Louie.
Panache206 owner Elizabeth Morris with colleagues and winning student team Ataur Rahman, John Tran, Alan Cai, and Anthony Shen.

On Friday, May 8, the Consulting and Business Development Center hosted the Undergraduate Consulting Challenge, pairing three local small businesses – Big Time Brewery,  Gargoyles Statuary, and Panache206 with teams of students who were given a week to create a plan that would aid in the growth and development of each client.

Approximately 60 students formed teams of three or four to research and analyze the companies in order to develop recommendations to present at the competition.  For the first time, the Consulting and Business Development Center extended the invitation to compete beyond UW to business students from community colleges throughout the state. South Seattle College and Yakima Valley Community College each sent four students to compete in the challenge – with the South Seattle team winning first place for their recommendations to Big Time Brewery!

Each student team presented dynamic ideas and data to the business owners and panel of  judges from event sponsors Key Bank and Target as well as professionals from  Community Sourced Capital, Crown Moving, PaintBox Labs Media Group and Project Management Institute who volunteered their time and expertise. Following the presentations, all attendees gathered in Deloitte Commons for a celebratory lunch and networking opportunity for students, business owners and professionals. After lunch the winning teams for each business were announced and each winning team member received a $200 gift card prize.

Congratulations to all involved with the 2015 spring Undergraduate Consulting Challenge!

For information about the next Consulting Challenge email: Consult1@uw.edu

Thank you to James Dennis Professional Photography

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