December, 2011

Network Effects: The San Francisco Road Show

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

In November, we followed up on our New York trip with a round 2 visit to San Francisco. This is a shorter trip, with just 1 full day of company visits, but just as valuable as our visit to New York City. Being on the West Coast, we have a lot of alumni connections in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

As you may have read in various articles on tips for anyone who wants to get into investment banking, switch to a new career, or relocate in general, such trips can help you access three of the most important keys to transition: connections, connections, connections.

Through in-person and follow-up interactions over time, our name and personal profile gets circulated in the San Francisco investment banker circle. The alumni connections we make on these trips are also great sources for information interviews, through which we can learn more about the company, industry and city from the inside. Moreover, alumni are often tremendously helpful in polishing a resume for the industry. Finally, they would be the perfect mock interview partner as they are often hiring managers themselves and can give pointers.

The Finance Road Shows got us the first “in”; now it will be up to us to follow through.

~Guest Blogger Kim Chan, Full-Time Class of 2013

The First Two Months in Germany

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I arrived in Koblenz in late August and have done and experienced so much that sometimes it feels like I have been here for much longer than only two months.

I decided to do a semester abroad not just because I am looking into focusing on an international career after Business School, but also because this may just be the last opportunity that I will have to experience a semester immersed in a different culture before re-entering the real world. I chose Germany because, although born in Brazil, my family came from here and I thought that it would be interesting to spend some time in the country my grandparents are from.

I wound up in a very small town called Vallendar, right outside Koblenz and not too far away from Frankfurt. Upon my arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and perfectly organized everything is here (go figure!). WHU (the Otto Besheim School of Business) had put together a full schedule of activities to help us Tauschies (short for “Austauschstudenten” or exchange students) learn more about their school, the German Culture and to help us better integrate with the Vallendar community. We had regional tours down the Rhyne river wineries, International dinners and a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest.

School life here is very different from that in the U.S. We have really intense weeks followed by not so intense ones. Classes, in general, are much longer in duration. Usually we spend entire school days studying the same subject (9 straight hours) for four or five days in a row. Then we have a final test a week or two later. I have been very impressed with the caliber of our Professors here too. In one of my classes, Change Management, the Professor was Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley. He is the current CEO of Merck and former CFO of Lufthansa. It was fascinating to listen to his experiences and insights on business and how change can be driven smoothly when well executed. In another class we will work on a case about Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile communication company, and will present our findings and solutions for it to a board of managers in Düsseldorf (main office of Vodafone in Germany.)

Between classes there is plenty of time for relaxing and traveling, which I have been doing a lot since I got here. Whenever I can get away, I make sure I do. I’ve already spent some time in Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, London and other cities in Germany. I am really enjoying being able take a short train ride and end up in a completely different country.

Even with all these fun trips I have to admit that Germany is still my favorite place in Europe! Germany is a country where beer is cheaper than mineral water. Germans typically drink carbonated water because they find regular water to be just too boring to drink without the bubbles (words of a German). People are also extremely nice and helpful, even if they don’t sound that way up front. They just have a blunt manner of speaking.

Overall, this experience has been “Super” as they would say here. I’m sure the second half of my term will fly by even faster than the first and that in the end I will be a little sad to be leaving all of this behind. However, the thought of playing a foosball match in the MBA lounge at PACCAR hall and having having Pagliacci Pizza for lunch (multiple days in a row) makes me happy that I will be re-joining my friends back at Foster soon.

Bis dann,
Rick Cardoso
Foster MBA 2012

Evening Students Feed Hope

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Evening MBA students set time aside on the Saturday of Halloween weekend to volunteer at Food Lifeline, a local hunger relief organization in Shoreline who’s mission is to end hunger in Western Washington. The students helped Food Lifeline meet it’s commitments to donors by “debranding” bags of frozen sweet potato fries. Students used a packaging label to cover up the manufacturer’s name on the bag, a requirement of the grocer who donated them.

Volunteers had a lot of fun hanging out with each other in a non-stressful environment. And being the dorks that they are, they made multiple jokes about how they could make the process more efficient, decrease the lead-time, and implement other concepts that they are learning this quarter in their Operations Management course.

They not only felt good about helping others in need, but there were also proud that they think they had the shortest processing time out of all the groups that were there that day! The students had a great time!

~ Guest Blogger: Julie Olden, Evening Class 2013

What First Quarter is Really Like: 5 Student Stories

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Coffee is a Must
By Guest Blogger Ryan Loren, Full-Time Class of 2013. Ryan hails from Vancouver, Washington. His background is in finance, and he hopes to pursue international business in southeast Asia post-graduation.

As I’m approaching the end of my first quarter here at Foster, it’s been a whirlwind experience. Challenging, busy, fun, did I mention busy? Here is a glimpse into the life of a 1st year MBA student, in the first quarter.

6:30 a.m. – Roll out of bed. Breakfast, cup of coffee and prep for the today’s finance class.

7:30 a.m. – I live in Ballard, so we’ve got a nice “Ballard Crew” carpool going. It’s my turn to drive, so I pick up three of my other classmates and we’re off. Get to Paccar Hall (a.k.a. my second home) in time to grab another cup of coffee from Orin’s.

8:30 a.m.– Caffeine…check. Professor Gilbert’s high-energy finance class…check. Good start to my day so far. Today we have a capstone case discussion, which covers the entire class to date. Very interesting discussion and debate in today’s class. It’s amazing how much we’ve learned in such a short amount of time. A full two-hour class flies by.

10:30 a.m. – Group meeting. We debrief our case project on what went right and what went wrong. Key learning’s are discussed and then we move on. No time to dwell on your successes and failures because the next project or next assignment is already waiting. We assign project leads and get ready to tackle whatever is thrown at us next. I’m bias, but my group rocks!

12:30 p.m. – I’ve been elected the first year representative for the Global Business Association, so I needed to attend a lunch, “Fall Quarter Club Presidents and First-Year Reps Forum”. We discussed everything from future events, succession planning for second year reps, and budgets. Great to get the MBAA reps and club reps all in one place bouncing ideas off one another. Not to mention a free lunch.

1:30 p.m. – Accounting class, it’s a love-hate relationship. There is no doubt that Professor Kennedy knows her stuff though.

3:30 p.m. – With such a large finance case just finished my group decides to not meet after class. We head our separate ways, but I end up meeting up with a couple other guys for a beverage down on the “ave.”

5:00 p.m. – Get home, grab a quick bite, and then its back to the books. Accounting…marketing…statistics…oh my. Yep, that’s the life I’ve chosen for the next two years and no regrets.

10:00 p.m.– …And I’m worthless. I don’t work well after ten p.m., so I call it a night. Head upstairs to get my nightly fix of ESPN.

11:30 p.m. – Lights out. Ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

Making it Work
By Guest Blogger Mandi Chappell, Full-Time Class of 2013. Mandi is from Austin, TX, and has a new baby and a husband working crazy hours. After graduation, she wants to explore cross sector collaboration, particularly how business can benefit society, non-profits, and government.

Some people think I’m crazy to be going for my MBA right now as I actually just had my first child last May. So while the program is a challenge in itself, I’m attempting to make it work while at the same time being the best momma I can be to my sweet baby girl. Here is an idea of what a typical day looks like for me.

5:00 am – Baby wakes up, she’s hungry. I go downstairs to make a bottle then feed her and try to get her back to sleep for another hour or two. She’s back down 45 minutes later and so am I!

7:45 am – Now we’re both up for good. I get her changed & ready for the day then go down to the kitchen for our morning routine: set her up in her highchair with some toys while I get her bottles ready for daycare and then give her some cereal and another bottle. If I’m not running too late I’ll grab breakfast cereal myself (a rarity!).

8:45 am – Give the baby some toys to play with in her crib while I shower and get myself ready for the day. Ideally we’re out the door to drop her off at daycare by 9:30 am.

10:20 am – Arrive at campus, grab a cup of coffee (unless had time to make a to-go cup at home before leaving) and head to Marketing core class, rushing to not be late so don’t get called out (he makes people bang on the desk ‘til you get seated if you’re late – not to be mean, just fun and makes people make an effort to be on time).

12:30 pm – Attend a Strategy Club sponsored lunch event to hear folks from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Great talk and free lunch (if you’re a member!).

1:30 pm – Meet with my core team (which I lucked out on – LOVE THEM!) to prep for Finance & Statistics cases due early next week and then study for Accounting midterm tomorrow if time permits.

3:30 pm – Head into Statistics core class. Grab coffee during the break so can keep focused – didn’t do so hot on the first midterm so really trying to grasp everything in order to pull my grade back up by doing awesome on the second midterm.

5:20 pm – Done at Paccar for the day, time to rush over to the daycare to pick up the baby – if not there by 6 p.m. they charge by the minute!

6:15 pm – Get home. Depending on when they daycare fed the baby last I might feed her or might let her play for a bit while I do some house cleaning.

7:00 pm – Baby bedtime routine – bath, jammies, story, bottle. Hopefully she’s asleep by 7:45.

7:45 pm – Cook dinner for my husband and I, assuming he’s home from the hospital by then (he’s doing a fellowship so equally as busy as I am).

8:30 pm – Eat dinner with husband, watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire or something else clogging up our DVR. This is our only time together these days.

9:15 pm – Thank the hubby for cleaning up dinner. He goes off to bed after and I start my studying for the day. Typically I’d be trying to learn finance & accounting to be able to complete my homework, but today is unique in that there is an Accounting midterm tomorrow and we just finished Finance midterm so no homework this week. So tonight is CRAM TIME, yay for t-accounts, journal entries, LIFO & FIFO!!!

12:30 am – Finally going to bed. If I don’t know it by this point, I’m not gonna learn it in the next few hours. Better to get some shut eye for a bit as the baby will be up in a few hours and gotta be out of the house by 7:30 am to get to class by 8:20.

Just Another Manic Monday
By Guest Blogger Laura Peirano, Full-Time Class of 2013. Laura grew up in Walnut Creek, CA, and graduated from UCLA in Design | Media Arts and Global Studies. Her professional goals are to be a marketing professional in the food and beverage industry. In her free time, Laura does yoga, cooks, and enjoys most outdoor activities and sports, but she hasn’t had much free time this quarter. Laura is a first-year class rep for her class section.

Monday through Wednesday is one long sprint. Thursday is a combination of relief and exhaustion. Friday isn’t really a break even though there is no class because there are career services events, team meetings, and timed online finance quizzes. By the time Monday rolls around again, you better be prepared to run.

7:00 am – Alarm goes off and I can hear it raining outside. I put on a pot of coffee, make some quick protein pancakes and pack my backpack full with my computer and notebooks for class.

8:15 am – I’m out the door with my Foster traveler mug full of hot black coffee in one hand, and a reusable Trader Joe’s bag filled with boxes of Joe’s Os for the class meeting in the other hand.

8:30-10:20 – Shelly’s marketing class. Today the case up for discussion is the organization and implementation of Cialis, a competitor to Viagra. The conversation is lively as students participate in analyzing Cialis’s challenges using the marketing framework and try not to make inappropriate jokes.

10:30-12:20 – Meeting with my core team the “Spicy Five.” We named ourselves that because we share a common love for spicy food. My team is awesome and I’ll be sad to leave them next quarter.

12:30-1:00 pm – The other section rep Jessica and I lead the Class of 2013 All-Class Meeting to debrief about midterms, plan for finals, and brainstorm a fun activity for the class to do together. We pass around the Joe’s Os to reward those who attended.

1:30-3:20 pm – Statistics class with Erich. He cold calls people in the beginning of the class to review last week’s material and make sure everyone’s paying attention. We are.

3:20- 4:45 pm – Start to work on Statistics homework in the MBA lounge but get distracted talking to friends about their weekend. Back to statistics and then someone challenges me in a game of foosball. I never say no to foosball.

5:00 pm – MBAA Meeting with Evening and Full Time Executive Boards at Big Time Brewery on the Ave. I meet the evening board for the first time and then mostly listen as they all discuss current issues. They tell us, the first year reps, that they’re preparing us for when we have to start leading in Spring. Already?!? I just started school!

7:00 pm – Walk home with my heavy backpack and the leftover Joe’s Os to cook dinner and start on the week’s assignments. Do a little gchatting and procrastinating when my roommate gets home from her team meeting and then head to bed around midnight.

Refreshed… Back To School
By Guest Blogger Richard Ha, Full-Time Class of 2013. Richard worked in the advertising industry as a media director before coming to Foster. After graduation, he plans to focus on the tech/digital marketing industry.
Here what a day looks like for a 1st year student in the Foster MBA program; you’d be hard-pressed to ID a “typical” day for any of us!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

8:30 am — Since I was gone all Thanksgiving weekend, my fridge is in desperate need of food. Take advantage of a later class start time and head over to the grocery store to stock up.

10:00 am – Coffee in hand (what would an MBA student in Seattle be without?), I meet up with my core team to do a quick run-through of a finance case assignment we’ll be discussing in class today. Need to make sure we’re all prepared in case any of us are cold-called!

10:30 am — Turns out nobody on my team is called. Still, the entire class always gets involved in the discussion in Thomas Gilbert’s finance class.

12:30 pm — Attend a lunchtime Samsung Meet The Firms event to learn about internship opportunities next summer.

1:30 pm — Team meeting time! Start working on our next group assignment for accounting and help each other on our statistics homework.

3:30 pm — Accounting class with Jane Kennedy. On the lookout for tips to help on the team assignment.

5:30 pm — Attend a case discussion event with Amazon. The Amazon team presented situations their company faces to us 1st years and we got to think on our feet and put our new MBA knowledge to use to present some solutions.

7:30 pm — Make it back home. Eat dinner while I catch up on some DVRed shows while I also send out some thank you emails. How’s that for multi-tasking?

8:30 pm — Work some more on the accounting team assignment, start my finance homework, and do a bit of reading for marketing.

10:30 pm — Think I’ll call it a night school-wise. Time to unwind and get ready for a morning class tomorrow.

Passion for Learning
By Guest Blogger Pooja Tripathi, Full-Time Class of 2013. Pooja graduated with a software engineering degree from University of Mumbai, and worked as a software lead and developer in a multinational and a start-up IT and Telecom based companies with clients located in UK and US respectively. At Foster MBA, she is extending her previous skills by learning the tools to be an efficient product planner and manager in the high-tech industry.

Yawn!!! Monday morning rays are seeping through the blinds. I take a blanket; cover my face and go to sleep for next few hours. After I wake up at 9:00am, I brew a cup of hot coffee, sit by the window and enjoy the sunshine followed by some “Facebook’ing.” After I’ve replied to everyone, seen all the weirdest videos on everyone’s wall, it’s time for brunch and some TV shows. I realize it’s already 12noon and time for lunch. Well, I read some gossip in “Cosmopolitan”, do some “productive” work, followed by an afternoon nap. My husband wakes me up after coming back from office and we go out for a nice long sunset drive. We cook dinner together, watch some TV shows and it’s the time to go to bed.
Beep Beep….
Beeeeep Beeeeeep….
Beeeeeep Beeeeeep Beeeeeeeeppppppp……
What is that deafening sound????!!!!
I open my eyes and realize that it’s the annoying sound of my alarm clock. A voice from within echoes,
“Come out of your dream Pooja! This is your 1st quarter of the MBA program! This is NOT your lifestyle!”

It’s already 7am on a Monday morning and I have to commute to school to attend 8:30am Marketing lecture. If I am late to class, my classmates will welcome me with a noisy bench banging (a rule set by our professor) and probably the TA sitting in the last row will deduct some points from my class participation grade (I am assuming). So, I jump out of my bed, wear some random un-ironed t-shirt and jeans, stuff my laptop, some apples, “Fiber-one’s” in my bag and run to catch a bus to school. Within 30mins ride to school, I skim through the pre-readings for the class in order to maximize my class participation grade. The 2hrs of class is full of energy and lots of learning about 3C’s, 4P’s, 7M’s. The time flies by quickly.

10:30 am team-meeting, the pre-requisite is to have read the Statistics case due Wednesday, the Finance case due Thursday, and have understood all the concepts taught in class until last weekend. The latter is not a problem as we take Finance quiz every Friday so catching up with subject matter is never an issue. Anyway, my team, GDP aka “Global Diversity Pirates” (is what we named while drafting our team charter), is comprised of some brilliant people with diverse background and ethnicities, a Korean markets financial regulator, a Surface warfare officer, an entrepreneur, an army officer and a software engineer. This diversity assists in contributing varied insights and different approaches to solving team assignments. The team leaders for the projects initiate the case discussions, followed-up by dividing the work into sub-groups and setting up a timeline for finishing our tasks. We are walking on a tight rope with 2 cases due in the next 2-3 days along with our individual homework and readings for Accounting lecture due next day.
Inner Voice: Time Management is crucial in being efficient at everything that you do.

12:30 noon and I’ve to attend “Amazon-Meet the Firm” session, so I read up on some latest news about Amazon, dress up well and rush to the meeting room. I am loaded with some more company information. I leverage my previous knowledge about the company to network with the business professionals.

1:30pm and I’ve to attend the Statistics lecture. I submit my homework in the class and juggle my brain understanding sample means, proportions, t-test, f-test so on and so forth. I use the 5mins coffee break between the lecture to meet and greet my classmates and then back to the lecture.

3:30pm and it’s time for another team meeting until 5:30pm. We plan to finish most of the team assignments during the school hours so that there is no backlog after we go back home. But at times, we do need to spend some extra time reviewing our project memos.
I catch up on a small nap in the bus on my way back and after I reach home at 6:15pm, I sit back, relax for a while and plan the rest of my evening. I have set aside 1 hr of quality time with my husband so this is when we dine together, watch “Castle”, “How I met your mother”, “Modern Family” etc.

At 9:00pm I go back to my study den complete individual assignments for the next day, send a follow-up emails to Amazon professionals whom I met early this afternoon and probably search for any case competitions that I can participate in. You may wonder when in the world, do I’ve time for the case competitions. Well, I love the subjects, I love the professors, I love the dedicated career coaches, and I love the school environment. I want to be immersed in the curriculum, learn as much as I can and party hard every Thursdays and Friday evenings during Pub Clubs and TGIF’s respectively. I believe that if you are passionate about what you are doing, you will definitely enjoy what you do!
Have the passion to learn; Foster MBA has the remaining elements to make you the best business professional!