February, 2011

MBA students consult for Seattle shipyard

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and Electric is attempting to branch out from its traditional lines of revenue with new facilities for preparing and painting industrial equipment. To market its new capabilities and hopefully add jobs at the shipyard, Pacific Fishermen has tapped the marketing skills of MBA students through the Field Study Program at the University of Washington Foster School of Business.

Click on image to play video.

The Field Study Program offers selected consulting projects proposed by businesses and non-profits to MBA candidates as an opportunity for Foster students to get real-world consulting experience while having a positive impact on the economy of the Puget Sound region. This is the first of two videos to document the collaboration between Foster MBAs and Pacific Fishermen Shipyard and Electric. At the end of winter quarter 2011, we’ll check back with the MBA team to see what they have been able to accomplish for this historic Seattle shipyard.

- Reposted from the Foster Unplugged Blog

Building Lifelong Connections

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I remember EPRIME weekend like it was yesterday. Mostly, I remember a blur of faces and names, handshakes and smiles, and a whole lot of advice. We were given advice on how much work we would get and how to manage it, on how to get along with our teams, on how to get involved in clubs, and much more. I remember walking back and forth past the club tables during our second day club fair and thinking how can I fit the most clubs into my already hectic schedule. My goal was to get involved. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there is only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week…no matter how you twist it, how much sleep you give up, there is a limit to how many activities you can cram in.

The next few days after EPRIME I began to reflect. My goal going into the program was to get involved, but what does that mean? I wanted to meet people, I wanted to make friends, and I wanted to make lifetime connections. Then I thought about the blur of faces and names that I couldn’t make out and I realized that those people, those faces, and those names are the key. The beauty of the evening MBA program is that you get to spend 3 years with a group of people that come from all sorts of places with all sorts of different life and work experiences. I realized that the key to getting the most out of my MBA was getting to know these people. So I decided to run for 2013 Class Representative for the MBAA.

My running mate Sergio Bustamante and I decided to maximize our chances of beating out the competition and run together. We won by a landslide, and even though we were the only two running, we put on a great campaign. Our campaign and promise to our class was to have fun, get to know each other and have a blast doing it! After the glow of victory subsided we began to think. Our goal was to organize social events outside of school that will help our class get to know each other on a personal level. The first idea was weekly Wednesday Happy Hours. Sergio had started this trend during the first week of school but it took a few weeks for the crowd to form. After some advertising and pre-class presentations and once everyone got settled into a routine and realized that they will need that drink after class, we began to see a good turnout.

We created a Facebook group page called, 2013 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. As weeks went by and we met more and more people our unofficial social club membership grew. It soon included many of our new friends from the 2012 class, which warranted a name change to the 2013 & 2012 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. Our happy hours became a mixture of classes, with some full-time students joining in as well. The third name change eliminated our graduation dates and it became just the Foster Evening MBA Social Club…I think the next and final change will eliminate the Evening designation, but we will first need to see more full-timers joining us!

With the help of my friend and classmate Brett Bennett I recently organized an eight-player poker game. The game took place on a ferry to Bremerton and back and was a success in bringing eight classmates closer. Tonight I am getting together for happy hour with some girlfriends before they scatter for the holidays. There was a recent dinner party put on by another classmate, Garrett. Other events in the works are ski/snowboarding trips, a girls’ trip to Vegas in March for one of our classmate’s bachelorette party, and more. As I make more and more close friends and connections, and watch my classmates do the same, I realize that we are getting the most out of our MBA experience.

Guest Blogger – Olga Shapiro, Evening MBA 2013

Planning a study tour

Friday, February 4th, 2011

After nearly a year of preparing and planning for the Peru Study Tour, things are finally starting to come together.  As I look back it seems that this trip has come together better than even I could have imagined.

When Alonso, my study tour leader partner, asked me to help him plan this trip I really had no idea what the process would entail. We began by submitting a 25 page tour proposal that was evaluated by the Global Business Center (GBC) last May.  We knew we were up against some other great teams and that the GBC would only select a handful of us to lead tours.  After the GBC review process, we were invited to interview with the GBC.  We diligently prepared for this step of the process by meeting with past tour leaders and reviewing anticipated interview questions. Within just a few short weeks we discovered our tour had been selected and we were on our way to Peru!

However, as with most things in life, there were a few hurdles we still had to cross. First, we had to do some marketing in order to ensure students knew about our tour.  We attended several events including TGs, formal GBC events, and informal MBAA events to get the word out.  But, when the deadline for student enrollment rolled around we were still short students and needed to sign up more students or risk cancelling the tour.  We decided to focus our efforts on 1st Year Full-Time MBA students and reached them by visiting classes and meeting with them one-on-one.  Within a couple of weeks we had enough students to continue on with our trip.

Another obstacle we still had to overcome was delivering on the great tour we had sold to the GBC and the students.  It was much easier to write down great ideas than implement them.  Between different time zones, languages and cultures we had our hands full.  But, we were persistent and diligent with our efforts to reach companies we wanted to visit. We also worked with a travel agency to help us plan historical, educational, and recreational tours.  They also helped us plan the logistics including transportation and hotels.  Most importantly, Alonso and I worked together to balance the workload and stay positive when the outcome was uncertain.

As I look back over the last nine months I think of all we have accomplished…and, what is still to come.  We leave for Peru on March 12th and I know that this leaves us little time to solidify plans. With mid-terms, spring registration, work, family, and finals all happening between now and then I must admit the task seems insurmountable.  Then I think about the Peruvian beaches we will visit near Ica, the tour of the historical district in Lima, going out to dinner on the colorful streets of Barranco, and visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu with old friends and new friends….and I realize that it will all be worth it and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

- Guest Blogger, Maria Olagunju, EMBA 2012