August, 2011

A Message from the MBAA President: The Airport Test

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Back when I was working in management consulting (wait, was that only a year ago?), when we were hiring someone one of our main criteria was called “The Airport Test.” Eventually if we hired this person someone was bound to be stuck with him or her for an extended period of time at an airport, and it was important to decide if the resulting conversation would be exciting or vapid. Basically we wanted to hire interesting people.

Well I’m delighted to report that after spending a year with my classmates, it is my conclusion that the admissions office has the same test. I am constantly amazed at how many different interests we have. We have runners, climbers, cyclists, hikers, ultimate players (Frisbee, not creepy), movie buffs, poker enthusiasts, volunteers, foodies, gamers, techies, fashionistas, and many more. That’s not even counting our wide variety of business interests, from marketing to finance, start-ups to Fortune 50, non-profit to investment banking.

What makes Foster such a great place to be is that not only do we have so many diverse interests, but we all want to share them with each other. There are so many different small groups that have formed, each with a specific interest, and each excited to share that interest with the rest of the class. Together with the formal MBAA (MBA Association) clubs, these informal social clubs form the real glue of our school by bringing people together.

As the president of the MBAA, my job is to empower and enable students to create both the formal and informal clubs, and to be sure that we are sharing our interests with the community at large. At the risk of sounding a tad conceited, I want the world to realize what I have: that Foster students are pretty darn awesome people, and the world-at-large would be lucky to have us in their companies, on their boards, or just at their parties.

So here is my challenge to next year’s class, which I issued at the admit weekends. Over the summer, think about how you want to be involved outside of the classroom, where you want to contribute. What gets you up in the morning? What is your passion? And most importantly, how will you share that passion with the rest of Foster? When you arrive in the fall, look me up and tell me what you decided. That’s what the MBAA is here to help you do.

~ Guest Blogger Jason Rankin, Full-Time Class of 2012 and MBAA President

Foster Conquers Mt. Rainier

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Foster is a special place. Each class and individual has the chance to shape their own experience and the experiences of classes to follow. This year I was a part of planning many firsts: the inaugural Foster Cup, pitting first and second years students against each other in activities ranging from flag football to chess; the birth of the Foster Foodies Club, with the mission of bringing students together through a love of food; the first annual Pacific Northwest Case Competition that assembled numerous MBA programs to compete in a 24-hour case competition; and, lastly, my own brain child – the Challenge for Charity Mt. Rainier Fundraising Climb.

I spent the last 5 years dedicating most of my free time to climbing and mountaineering. It is a deep passion of mine, and I honed many of my leadership and teamwork skills in that environment. Coming into the program, I was determined to make an impactful change, and this was the area where I really felt I could add value. Many other MBA programs have guide run outdoor leadership opportunities; my vision was to create an organically grown Foster experience. What evolved was the chance to add a new fundraising avenue and develop business skills, while also attempting a climb of the lower 48th most heavily glaciated peak and Washington’s tallest – Mt. Rainier. My idea quickly gained support from the administration and the rest was a matter of garnering a will from within the program to form a dedicated team and prepare a fundraising drive. The team was easy in that it self-selected itself. Once the climbing team was assembled, I set-up small committees to help with all aspects of the climb. The biggest challenges were in marketing the climb to get donations, and in creating a training plan to prepared the novice climbers for a physically, mentally, and technically challenging climb.

Over the next 6 months, everyone in the Foster community was essential in helping the plan come to fruition; classmates that weren’t on the climb supported in countless ways including setting up fundraising happy hours and helping to teach mountaineering skills, and everyone on the climb sacrificed weekend after weekend for conditioning work and to learn the technical skills required. These months of hard work would culminate on July 4th weekend, as we set forth to conquer Mt. Rainier.

Until that weekend, the greatest parts of the journey had already happened: we formed close bonds with classmates, collaboratively incubated a stretch goal into something real, and raised $7,000 for the Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Club that will help Foster in the upcoming year’s Challenge for Charity Competition.

By 6:30 am on July 4th, all eleven of us had reached the Mt. Rainier Summit. That intense moment of realization of what my extremely ambitious and slightly crazy idea combined with the Foster Community’s passion, determination, and collaboration had and could accomplish stands as my greatest moment out of the countless I have during all my mountaineering feats. This was far more than just a climb.


Foster on Top of the World!

For a complete account of the climb, and the numerous conditioning climbs, check out the Mt. Rainier Fundraising Climb Blog:

~ Scott Heinz, Class of 2012, Guest Blogger and Outdoors Extraordinaire