April, 2012

MBA Challenge for Charity 2012: Sports Weekend, 2nd Place

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Reblogged from Foster unplugged

Dodge ball…last time I played dodge ball was in 5th grade. If my memory serves me right, I was pretty good back then.

ZING! I managed to avoid the first ball, but the second one knocked me out of the game. The next three games were no different. Apparently I’m not as quick as I used to be. That’s okay, the women’s basketball game was about to start and I wanted to join the Dawg Pack as we cheered them in the championship game against Stanford.

Sports Weekend is an annual event in which Foster students join students from 8 other MBA programs including Stanford, UCLA, USC and Berkeley to celebrate our year of hard work in volunteering and fundraising for local charity organizations. The weekend is filled with sunshine, new friends, school spirit and competitions in every type of event imaginable. Team sports – football, ultimate, volleyball, trivia. Individual sports – swimming, running, spelling bee and just for fun – cheerleading, battle of the bands and challenge races. At the end of the weekend, there is an epic celebration and the program that has raised the most money, volunteered the most hours and successfully competed in the most sports is announced as the winner of the coveted Golden Briefcase.

Foster is famous at Sports Weekend. We are known for our terrific student turnout, fun-loving personalities and because the men arrive with creative and sometimes hilarious facial hair. After a sun-filled Saturday of sports, new friends and school spirit, we ended with the annual Battle of the Bands. Death Spiral, the favorite UW band, got the party started with a rousing song by Seattle favorite Nirvana before following up with the entire crowd singing along to Cee-Lo’s “Forget You.”

2nd Place Among 9 West Coast Universities

UW has a history of winning the Golden Briefcase and yet again we were in the hunt! Everybody was on edge as the final announcement was made. UW took 2nd place in both volunteer hours and fundraising efforts and took 2ndplace overall. WHOO HOO! Although we didn’t win Sports Weekend this year, our hard work (over 1,600 volunteer hours) and effort was justified with a 2nd place finish.

On Sunday, we took one last chance to sit by the pool and top off our tans, said goodbye to our new friends, traded business cards (we are MBA students after all) and shared a few more stories. It was hard to leave California, but I, for one, was excited to get back to Seattle. I had a speech to prepare. I finished my quantitative methods homework on the plane and after landing checked a voicemail from my friend and co-president:

“Hey Jay, it’s Jessica. I had a great weekend, so much fun. That football game was intense! We need to talk. It’s time to start strategizing about how we are going to win the Golden Briefcase next year. Oh yeah, one other thing. Please shave, your mustache is scaring the little kids.”

~ Guest Blogger Jay Winzler, Full-time Class of 2013, 2012-2013 Foster School MBA Challenge for Charity President

Caught Up in a Death Spiral

Friday, April 20th, 2012

In Managerial Accounting, a Death Spiral is when you cut costs or products to remain competitive, which triggers a chain reaction eventually leading to impending doom for your company.  While that concept does not sound like a lot of fun (and may be all too familiar in these recessionary times), Death Spiral, the Foster MBA band, is a lot more awesome than the “traditional” death spirals that Professor Burgstahler teaches us about.  Although the name may imply that we are a progressive metal band from outer Scandinavia, Death Spiral, which consists solely of UW MBA students, has long been one of the more unique aspects of Foster.

In a past life, I was a singer-songwriter in New York City, working in the music industry by day, and playing gigs in coffeehouses and bars at night.  When I decided to go to business school, I thought my music days were over.  However, one great thing about Foster is that creativity is actively encouraged, especially in creating a sense of community.  When I attended Welcome Weekend last May upon being admitted, the outgoing band leader Ryan  ended up inviting me on the Death Spiral stage at the TG (Foster’s monthly party with different themes ranging from rock concerts to Bollywood), where I joined them for a song in front of my future classmates.

By the time the winter quarter kicked into gear, I got in touch with Nick and Mike, the second years who currently play bass and drums in the band, and began attending the Sunday night rehearsals in a (somewhat sketchy) rehearsal space at the edge of town.   Armed with a mysterious set list, we went to work, beginning some of the most demanding yet rewarding rehearsals as a musician I have had throughout my music career.

Although I ended up having to bail on the first gig to help represent Foster in a case competition in California, I was able to play the big fundraiser at the Rendevous, a club in downtown Seattle that we packed over 100 people into on March 31st.  We were raising funds for Foster’s C4C club, in our year long quest for the Golden Briefcase, competing in charity hours and fundraising against a number of West Coast business schools.  From the moment we stepped on stage performing Radiohead’s National Anthem, to the second we closed the night with Foo Fighter’s Everlong, we rocked a crowd that topped out at around 120 people, playing an hour long set of rock, soul, pop, and dance songs that the entire crowd enjoyed.

We recently hit up Palo Alto for C4C Sports Weekend, where we closed out the competitions with a Battle of the Bands.  This time, the stage was a bit bigger, with over 600 people in the audience, and Foster’s superior musicianship over other business schools was once again on the line.  Of course, we blew away all competition, with our multiple lead singers, four part harmonies, brass and rhythm section, and nonstop party rock.  Next, we’ll be performing at the May Welcome Weekend TG, in what promises to be an epic journey of rock discovery.

In the next year, we are looking to transition to the new crop of musicians, looking to put together a solid lineup in the storied tradition of the band.  Luckily, we have a number of classmates who are ready to rock, including Abishek on drums and Ben on guitar, who both performed at the Rendevous show, and we are hoping to have some energetic incoming students who know how to work a crowd.  For Foster, being caught up in a Death Spiral is anything but a road to impending doom.

~ Guest Blogger Matt Jasper, Full-time Class of 2013

How It All Gets Done

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Ever wonder how Foster MBAs gear up for a new week of classes, manage their career searches, and manage to keep themselves sane?  Here is one account.

By Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013.  Gwyn graduated from Smith College with a double-major in Computer Science and American Studies.  After teaching two years in rural Mississippi with Teach for America, she spent five years in the educational testing industry before her interest in organizational behavior and development drew her to business school.

It is 9:30 Sunday morning when the homework panic hits.  Over coffee and an English muffin, I start running through the present status of my weekend To Do list. Due to surprisingly gorgeous weather, I only completed one assignment on Saturday, a review and self-evaluation of a speech I gave last week in ‘Finding Your Voice,’ a business communications course…which means that I have a lot to do on Sunday.

I have to:

  • Update my resume and draft and submit cover letters for 2 internships
  • Review the speech of one of my classmates and provide peer feedback
  • Read Bill Gate’s Harvard commencement speech as a sample exhortation to ‘Change the World’
  • Read 2 assigned articles for my Ads & Promotions class
  • Complete an online problem set on MyAccountingLab
  • Complete a case write up for Managerial Accounting
  • Prep for a 5 PM team meeting on our first Operations case of the term
  • Write a personal statement and submit my scholarship application for the coming school year

Oh, and also:

  • Clean my apartment
  • Do two loads of laundry
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Prepare dinner and fix lunches for the beginning of the week
  • Go to bed on time!

My mind spinning, I feel myself getting sucked into an anxiety-driven negative feedback loop.  How will I get everything done?  There are not enough hours in the day!

And then I remember that I have given myself a mantra to get through days like this: I can only do one thing at a time, and it is going to be OK.


First things first, I run my laundry down to the basement.  Easy. Done.


In sequence, over the next few hours, I diligently work my way through my chores and most of my homework assignments, and even manage to submit my scholarship application.  Every time my mind tries to distract me with dire warnings – you have so much more to do! Don’t forget you have a meeting tonight!  And there is no food in the fridge! – I remind myself: I can only do one thing at a time.  It is going to be OK.

And so, one step at a time, I work my way through the afternoon, completing my course work.

An hour into my team meeting, my colleague and I are stuck with only two out of three case questions answered.  Reviewing the case and our class notes illuminates nothing, so we agree to break early. He makes plans to follow-up with our professor the next day while I agree to turn our preliminary notes into workable text; we will reconvene with the rest of our team Monday evening.  Sometimes, the best solution to a knotty problem is to know when to take a step back.

I stop by the grocery store to stock up on food for the week and when I get home I decide to take an hour (or two…or three!) off of work to make myself dinner, watch some TV and browse the Internet.  At 10:00 PM it’s back to work to finish off the night with my Managerial Accounting write-up.  But wait – have I forgotten something?

The internships!

I check the Foster MBA Jobs website and confirm that two internships I have flagged as possibilities have applications due tonight.  Do I have time to write both cover letters AND finish my case?  I certainly don’t have time to panic, so I set to work.  After checking in with some friends online and getting both advice and encouragement, I return my attention to the two internships.  One of them, I realize, was flagged in haste; the job description matches neither my background nor my interests.  Well, that’s one less thing to do!  In the next hour I shine up my resume and craft a new cover letter, with notes I saved from the Career Center to serve as reminders of format, content, do’s and don’t’s.  After reading through my materials twice, I submit my application just under the wire.  Phew!

I quickly shift gears back to my Managerial Accounting case and begin to work on my write-up but find myself struggling to make simple connections.  I look at the clock and have to acknowledge that I am pretty much useless this close to midnight; if I keep plugging away it will be nothing but diminishing returns for the rest of the night.

And so I go to bed.

At 7:30 Monday morning, I return to the task at hand.  Over coffee and an English muffin, I work my way through a comparison of a traditional costing system and activity-based costing at a small commercial bank.  In less than an hour I’ve completed the case and posted responses to the course’s page on Blackboard.

The sun is shining yet again as I head out of my apartment towards the bus.  I can tell that this week is off to a great start!  I can only do one thing at a time, and right now I’m going to enjoy blue skies above my head and the blossoming trees that line my route towards town.

Bidding for a Cause

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

On February 25th, the students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the Foster MBA program came together for a night of cocktails, dinner, and socializing with the sole purpose of raising as much money as possible for the Challenge for Charity. An annual tradition, the theme of this year’s auction was “Mardi Gras.” New Orleans Jazz music played in the background and beads were handed out at every turn (no flashing required)!

Masks make for a festive event!

Everyone agreed that the night was a resounding success as together we raised a large sum of money for Special Olympics Washington and Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. Everybody pitched in and donated, whether at the Mystery Wine Table, with a raffle ticket for a Canlis gift certificate, or by bidding on one of the numerous silent auction items, or through the exciting live auction.

This night was the product of 10 months of hard work from the auction co-chairs and countless volunteers. This event is a true testament to Foster’s desire to selflessly donate time, energy, and money to worthy causes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is part of a friendly competition with other MBA programs for the Golden Briefcase!

(See Challenge for Charity tags for more information about this worthy charity.)

~ Guest Blogger Carly Massey, Full-time Class of 2012