May, 2012

New Foster Club Supports Veterans

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Military veterans typically constitute a small but unique subset of MBA students at the Foster School of Business. In recent years, however, this number has risen significantly. We expect there to be over 20 veteran students enrolled at Foster spanning the day and evening programs by the start of the 2012-2013 academic year – and this phenomenon isn’t just limited to the Foster MBA Program. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal indicates that veteran enrollment is on the rise at top tier business schools all across the country. As major overseas operations wrap up and militaries begin to drawdown their numbers, service members are increasingly looking towards pursuing an MBA to complement their leadership and combat experience with fundamental business skills that will ultimately help them make the transition into the private sector; a two year business “boot camp,” if you will.

So what does this have to do with my experience as a Foster MBA student? Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a military veteran; so naturally I made it a point to seek out schools that had a club or networking group for former military members. When I couldn’t find any information on the Foster website about a veterans club, I made the assumption that it still existed – but perhaps it just wasn’t widely publicized. It wasn’t until after the start of first year pre-term activities (Prime/LEAD/JumpStart) that I realized I was mistaken.

Foster Veterans with Dave Chonowski, Co-founder of MBA Veterans

While there is a sizeable contingent of us here, we don’t have the support structure offered by other top business schools. Many of my prior-service classmates came to the same realization either during the application process, or soon after starting the program. In fact, most of my non-veteran classmates were also surprised to learn that Foster did not have a club for current and former military members. Of course, it wasn’t long before I started hearing the same repeated comment: “Someone should start a veterans club.”

Fast forward nine months.

I’m proud to announce that, as of last week, the Foster School of Business now offers a club specifically geared towards supporting military veterans enrolled at Foster, as well as applicants considering a Foster MBA. The Foster Veterans Association was cofounded by myself and another vet from the Class of 2013, Gene Ahn, with the support of the Assistant Dean, Dan Poston, Foster MBA Admissions Office, MBA Career Services, MBAA leadership, and of course, our classmates, both military and non-military. It’s my personal hope that this club provides veterans with a strong platform for professional, academic, and personal support, not only during their
two or three years here at Foster, but well into their post-MBA careers.

Check out the Foster Veterans Association webpage for more information.

~Guest Blogger Edward Hwang, Full-time Class of 2013, 2012-2013 Foster Veterans Association President

Operations and Opportunities with the Ops Club

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Question: Which one of these things doesn’t belong?

  • Steel Mill
  • Chocolate Company
  • Hospital
  • Fulfillment Center
  • Distillery

Answer: Trick Question – they all belong, at least to the Operations Club.

This is just a sample of the tours and events that the Operations Club has held over my first year at Foster. It was exciting to be a member of a club that purposely went into the community to secure tours and speakers is such a wide variety of industries. The events provided the best opportunity to learn about companies & industries as well as to network with industry leaders. Interestingly enough, some of the people we met on the tours were the same people that interviewed students for internships and full-time jobs. It was an added benefit to not just already know the interviewer but also to have in-depth knowledge of a company.

I made a conscious decision to purposely join clubs and attend events that offered an introduction into a variety of industries. After attending club fairs and informational happy hours I settled on a conservative 3 clubs with one of them being Operations Club. I felt that the club was highly motivated to organize tours and speakers from a multitude of industries to help the members see that 1) operations exist in every industry and 2) help open doors in whatever industry members were interested in. I am extremely happy with my decision to join the Operations Club and I’ve heard a number of my classmates confirm my belief that the Operations Club is the best club at Foster.

~ Guest Blogger Jennifer Yanni, Full-time Class of 2013, 2012-2013 Operations Club President

Women in Business Take Control

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Spring is a time of transition at Foster.  The second years are getting ready to graduate, and the first years are getting ready to become the new second years.  This means MBAA leadership and club leadership is transitioning too, so that we can make plans for the year to come while we still have some wisdom around.  Women in Business (WiB) took the beginning of Spring Quarter head on, and as the new VP of Speakers, I got to take the reins on our first event of the quarter: the WiB Negotiations Seminar.  After meeting with my predecessor to go over protocol and get the details, it was my turn to order lunch, be in touch with the speaker, and track RSVPs to the event.  Professor Christina Fong led the discussion about being a woman in negotiations – common stereotypes, pitfalls, and strengths that women bring to the table.  About 20 club members ate some Jimmy John’s sandwiches as they got a head start on learning how to negotiate.  The board’s first event was a great success.  With our first event under our belts, we were ready to tackle the next one: the WiB Spring Retreat, a weekend away on the Hood Canal which featured fresh oysters plucked up off the beach, red wine, and planning for the events next year.

~Guest Blogger Cate van Oppen, Full-time Class of 2013

Inside Admissions: Welcome Weekend

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Welcome Reception Dinner at the Burke Museum.

I was recently chatting with Dennis, a Foster MBA alum from 2001, as he reminisced about the admitted student event he attended before starting the program. He said, “Back in my day, the admitted student event was nothing but a classroom in good old Balmer Hall, and an ice chest filled with cold beverages. But man, it was awesome!” The admitted student weekends, or Welcome Weekends, as we call them now, have certainly progressed over the past 10 years. For one thing, Balmer Hall no longer exists. We now have beautiful Paccar Hall, which opened in the fall of 2010, and another building scheduled to open this summer. We offer opportunities throughout the weekend for incoming students to interact with the current students, including panels, small group discussions and social events. We host a special session for significant others and reimburse part of their travel costs as well as yours. After all, they are a huge part of this decision! And finally, the food has improved immensely since the Dennis’s time (although I have to admit that we do still use those ice chests).

But I don’t think that was his point. Over 10 years later, those same people who sat next to Dennis in Balmer Hall for the admitted student event are now some of his closest friends and colleagues. Welcome Weekend was awesome for Dennis because he immediately felt that “click” that told him this was the right program for him. This is where he belonged.

Admitted students learn about Seattle neighborhoods.

I can’t stress enough the importance of visiting the schools that you have been admitted to. As an applicant, you spend a great deal of time finding the handful of schools that really have what you’re looking for in terms of course offerings, location, size, experiential opportunities and company connections. But once you have been admitted, you still have a decision to make. Is this where you want to be for the next two years? Are these the types of people you want to know for, let’s be honest, the rest of your life? While there is a ton of information online these days, nothing can replace the firsthand experience of visiting campus and interacting with the MBA community. We offer these events for you, and over the years we have tweaked and improved, and tweaked some more, in order to make them as useful, candid and interactive as possible.


If you have been admitted to Foster, or any other program for that matter, attend the admitted student events and ask all (I mean all) of your questions. “Can I get by without a car?” “Can I get home in time to have dinner with my family?” Is Seattle a dog-friendly city, and will I even have time for a dog??” None of these are silly questions. Our current students worried about these same issues when they were preparing for school, and they are your best resource as you embark upon this challenging, thrilling, life-changing experience.

We had a fantastic time at our April event and we can’t wait to get to know more of the Class of 2014 next week at our final Welcome Weekend this year. If you’re thinking about applying next year, the dates for our 2013 Welcome Weekends will be posted by early June. Mark your calendar! (Just in case – it doesn’t hurt to think positively!) We hope to see you there.

~ Featured Blogger Erin Ernst, Director, MBA Admissions

Admitted students mingle with current Foster students on a Duck Tour of Seattle in April, 2012.


Foster on Two Wheels

Friday, May 4th, 2012

I live in a great part of town called Fremont.  It has three things that are important to me.  It’s near the water, it’s near about a dozen great bars, and it’s near the Burke Gillman trail.  I’ve been biking since I was a child.  Before my legs could reach the pedals my old man would sit me on the cross bar and ride us along hopping curbs and “stump jumping.”  Needless to say, biking is and has been an important part of my life.

Seattle is the most bike friendly city in the world.  They literally rip streets up and put in bike lanes.  Cars don’t run you off the road, and most of the time you don’t need it because of wonderful trail routes.  I’ve been riding my bike to school since starting at Foster. It’s about 2.5 miles and my only concern is not getting so hot that I’m a sweaty mess in class.  Waking up on a crisp morning and riding to school has been more effective for me than the liter of coffee I consume regularly.  Getting out of class and bombing down the University hill is the best part of my day.

~ Guest Blogger Charlie Northrop, Full-time Class of 2013