Clubs @ Foster : Healthcare and Biotechnology Association

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

For students interested in the healthcare field, Foster’s Healthcare and Biotechnology Association (HCBA) strives to “educate students about the healthcare and biotechnology industries, create valuable connections and experiences for students, and help its members gain internship and job opportunities.”Logo HCBA

For the 2016-17 school year, HCBA is being headed up by Class of 2017’s Dina A. Fomina Yadlin. Before coming to Foster, Fomina Yadlin received her PhD. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard, where she focused her research on innovative diabetes treatments. She then worked at Amgen, the global pharmaceutical giant, focusing on improving biological drug production. It was here that she realized she wanted to be a part of the strategic business decisions being made that impacted the research outcomes of the field and the therapeutic options delivered to patients.

With her background in science, Fomina Yadlin is pursuing her MBA at Foster in order to bridge that gap between science and the business of science, and we recently sat down with her to hear about healthcare/biotech opportunities at Foster and what HCBA is planning for the upcoming year.

Why should a student interested in the healthcare/biotech field choose Foster? Foster is at the pulse of innovation within the healthcare/biotech/global health space. As a research powerhouse, the University of Washington is a catalyst for technological disruption in these fields, and as such, there is a dynamic start-up scene for students to get plugged into. We have access to world-class hospitals and groundbreaking research institutions, and as Foster MBAs, we are able to connect with and learn from the experts leading these organizations. In addition, Seattle is home to both the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH and every year, Foster MBAs intern and research with these important global health players.

These are exciting industries, developing constantly, yet with huge challenges still remaining to be solved. There’s also huge opportunity for collaboration with the technology field as Satya Nadella (the CEO of Microsoft) just recently acknowledged by joining the board of Fred Hutch (the groundbreaking cancer research center based in Seattle). Students interested in working in the tech space because of its scale and impact should explore the intersection between healthcare and technology as well. This space is booming in Seattle.

What type of opportunities exist for MBAs interested in the healthcare/biotech space? Just like other industries, this field needs typical MBA functions, such as business development, finance, marketing, strategy, and operations. There are local, nationwide and global opportunities for Foster MBAs to serve in those functions within the fields of biotechnology, hospital administration, healthcare consulting, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and global health.FominaYadlin_Dina_edited

In addition to receiving competitive compensation for your talents, you have an opportunity to work on impactful projects aimed at improving human health. It is an incredibly rewarding field to be in because you have opportunities, not only to do well for yourself, but to do work that impacts the community for the better.

Tell us about HCBA HCBA’s mission is to develop and channel MBA talent into businesses working to improve human health and well-being. Students rated us as one of the best clubs at Foster this past year, and we aim to continue that tradition by providing even more opportunities to learn about and connect with these dynamic industries. We host skill-building workshops, numerous networking opportunities with alums and industry professionals, tours to local companies and organizations, and a CEO speaker series. And of course, while doing all of this, we also aim to have fun. Business school allows students to have experiences that otherwise wouldn’t be possible, and we hope to leverage that by providing unique opportunities to explore the field while also connecting with classmates and professionals who share the same passions. The HCBA board is composed of talented individuals with professional backgrounds in various sectors covered by our association, and we are eager to see more of our peers get excited about this space. We encourage students to reach out to any of the HCBA board members, and we are very open about coaching them through transition into the field and sharing contacts.

What career prep/networking is available from HBCA? Every year we host skill-building workshops with local companies in the space. This upcoming year we will be hosting a finance strategy workshop with Providence/Swedish, a healthcare marketing workshop with Seattle Genetics, and a healthcare consulting case prep workshop with the Foster Consulting Society. We also hold an internship panel of the 2nd year students who spent the summer interning within the field, and we plan to put on a Resume/Coverletter workshop for those interested to tailor their stories to the healthcare/biotech/global health space. In addition, we are planning to release the first edition of the HCBA Resource book to all of our club members this Fall, which will have an abundance of valuable career prep information. Networking happens at a lot of our events, including workshops and site visits. We hold an annual HCBA social with the local professional community specifically dedicated to networking and we will also have alums come to the club happy hour info session during PRIME (the orientation week for incoming students). We also co-sponsor several Meet The Firm events throughout the academic year. The networking really starts at the very beginning of the program!

Any site visits/treks planned for this year? Right now, we are planning a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Tour and Alumni Panel for the Fall. In the spring, we will go on a Philips Ultrasound Manufacturing Tour which is always great because it aligns with our core Operations class. Students get to see lean process in practice and see what we are learning in the classroom implemented in a real way! We also are planning to host an ECG management consulting visit and a Frazier Healthcare venture capital visit to further explore opportunities in those two fields.

Outside of HCBA, what other opportunities exist at Foster within the field? Foster has several classes focused on healthcare. There is the Global Health Business Models course, taught by Emer Dooley, and a healthcare innovation practicum which allows you to satisfy one of your required practical experiences within the sector. Every winter-quarter, there are usually healthcare-focused applied strategy projects first-year students. For my applied-strategy project, I worked on a project with GroupHealth Hospitals, and there was also a group working with Providence. The ever-popular Global Business Forum has a global health focus for the Fall 2016 quarter.

Outside of classes, Foster’s Burke Center for Entrepreneurship annually hosts the Healthcare Innovation Competition. Furthermore, there’s CoMotion Innovation Fellowships available after completion of your first year. CoMotion is UW’s center for technology commercialization, and fellows help UW based startups take off. Many of these startups have been in the healthcare space in the past. We also have several mentors from these fields in the Foster Mentorship program.

Students at Foster are also encouraged to take classes across the University of Washington, including classes at the School for Public Health. We have relationships with other healthcare organizations on campus including the Science and Engineering Business Association (SEBA) and the Student Public Health Association (SPHA) to further connect our members.

You can learn more about HCBA and their upcoming events at

Foster Students in Silicon Valley – The 2015 Bay Area Tech Trek

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Today we have a guest article from Peter Kazarian, Class of 2016! You may remember Peter from his story about his amazing experience at the MBA Study Tour to Japan last spring. In October, Peter organized and led the annual Foster Technology Club’s Bay Area Tech Trek, a student-run event that takes Foster MBA students on a tour of Silicon Valley tech companies. Read on for Peter’s recap of the event!

2015 tech trek twitter


The Toyota & Net Impact Next Generation Mobility Challenge

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Toyota Mobility Challenge
Photo Credit: Paul Gibson

Today we have a special guest blog by Caitlin McElwrath, Class of 2017! Caitlin attended the 2015 Toyota and Net Impact Next Generation Mobility Challenge at the University of Washington, a competition where multidisciplinary teams of students work together to dream up and map out innovative solutions to a specific mobility or transportation issue. The winning team from the challenge will have an opportunity to receive summer internships with Toyota to incubate their ideas with their innovation partners. Read about Caitlin’s experience below!

This story originally posted on the MBAA Net Impact Blog


Making an Impact: Sustainability Resources at Foster

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Interested in using your MBA experience to be a force for social good? It’s my pleasure to introduce this guest post by Phoebe Lipkis (Class of 2016), our 2015-2016 Net Impact Club President. She’s a truly inspired leader and an amazing classmate. This is her guide on all the resources available to Foster MBA students who are interested in maximizing their social impact.

Sustainability resources at foster The Pacific Northwest is a hotbed of social entrepreneurs, environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and do-gooders. New Foster students looking to use their MBAs for social or environmental good will find an abundance of resources at their fingertips. Here’s a guide to make it easier for you to navigate these resources and create new opportunities.


Freezin’ for a Reason

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Just a typical misty grey Saturday morning in Seattle, what should an MBA do? Catch up on finance reading? Nah…instead I dug through the box in my basement and found what I was looking for. My swim trunks! Its time to go for a swim!

For the past three years, Foster MBAs and Challenge for Charity (C4C) have teamed with the Special Olympics of King County to participate in the Seattle Polar Plunge. This is a citywide event that raises over $100,000 annually with 100s of participants braving the waters. An exhilarating 45 seconds where those who aren’t faint of heat take an icy dip in South Lake Union to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. Is it cold? Depends on your definition of cold. At 46.4 degrees, the water was actually warmer than being outside! Its all relative I guess.

The Polar Plunge has become a tradition at Foster and is one of many opportunities that MBA students show their support for local community organizations. In this event alone, we have raised over $15,000 in three years.  The Foster C4C team had over 40 volunteers and 15 plungers participate in this year’s event. We helped out by volunteering with setup, check-in, passing out flyers and cleanup. Although this may seem like work, we always find a way to have a good time. With crazy costumes (one individual went swimming in a three piece suit complete with a bow tie) and goofy hats, and even someone dressed as a Polar Bear dancing in the crowd to “Gangnam Style,” Foster students and C4C are proving that we are leaders in Seattle.


~Guest Blogger Jay Winzler, Full-time Class of 2013; President, Challenge 4 Charity

Taking a Pause

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Being a 2nd year MBA is amazing. You no longer have 8:30 classes assigned to you, you get to take the classes you want, and you’ve got the confidence of an internship behind you! So fear not, young 1st year Padawans, there’s a bright future if you just stick it out.

What I really appreciate about being a 2nd year is the whole new level of confidence I have in my personal goals. I’m taking a small load (only  13 credits!) this quarter because I want to take some time to really focus on my career search, my classes, and the people in my life. My first year I was still coping from the shock of being back in school after five years in the work world and trying to re-learn how to write memos and reports longer than two paragraphs. I was stressed about doing well academically and on scoring a summer internship early. I didn’t really have as much time to sit back and think about what I wanted to do once I had my MBA. This quarter I’m blocking out time on my calendar to do just that: taking personal assessments and time to reflect on the person I want to be and the type of career that follows from those goals.

I also enjoy having more time for the classes I do want to take. I learned my lesson from Spring Quarter – taking a 2 credit class does not mean half the work, it just means an entire quarter’s work consolidated in half the time! So this quarter I’ve got more time to do all the readings, think about the course content, and actually learn. The key to success is preparation, especially in my Negotiations class. In this course, you’re given the details of a case and have about an hour in class to come to an agreement with your partner on how to carve and share that mythical pie. I highly recommend this class, it will change your world.

Finally, I am prioritizing making time for people. This includes being involved in clubs to a greater capacity than I was last year, and also keeping in touch with friends. Serving on the boards of clubs really helps cement the relationship with fellow Fosterites and enables you to build additional channels of access to companies for networking purposes. Just about the only drawback about 2nd year is that everyone is on a different schedule, so some people I’m lucky if I see only twice a week, which makes coffee breaks that much more important.

~Guest Blogger Bin Ma, Full-time Class of 2013

Foster Supports Women’s Business

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As my second year at Foster begins ramping up, one of my most exciting responsibilities is being the president of the Women in Business club. I am proud to run a club that includes so many amazing women.

What does WiB do?

We are a group of Foster MBA students that support the personal and professional development of women at the Foster School of Business, especially focusing on growing women into leadership roles. We have themes for each quarter that rounds out this mission: connecting (fall), confidence (winter), and competence (spring).

Why did I want to be involved with WiB?

Coming from an all-women’s undergraduate college, representing women in spaces where we are largely underrepresented is important to me (in fact, this was the topic of my essay for Foster!) From discussions on negotiating salaries to golf lessons, I think it’s important that women have a space to reflect on being a minority in business.

Who runs WiB?

I am proud to be the president, but I would get nothing done without my trusty board of eight amazing women. They head up everything from our mentoring program with the Undergrad Women in Business club, Alumnae networking events, golf lessons and events for the evening students at Foster.

As a board, we meet two times a month—each meeting covers upcoming speakers, event planning, ideas for getting involved in the community and more.

Each spring, WiB runs a spring retreat. Last May, we rented a house out in Hood Canal (in Eastern Washington) right on the water. We shucked and ate oysters right on the beach, ate steamed clams for dinner, played a golf scramble and we held our first official board meeting for the upcoming year. It was an amazing way to reflect on the year that had past and prepare for all the great events we have planned for 2012-2103.

~Guest Blogger Kara Gibson, Full-time Class of 2013 and WiB President

Operations Club Roast: Dillanos Coffee Roasters

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Seattle is known for its coffee; maybe it’s the weather or maybe it’s because there is a coffee shop on every corner.  Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure- Seattleites love their coffee and so do MBA students.  As a Foster student, a delicious cup of coffee is never more than an arm’s reach away.

Dillanos Coffee Roasters was voted 2011 Roaster of Year by Roast Magazine and was featured in CNN’s “The Coffee Addiction.”

One Friday in May, the Foster Operations Club visited Dillanos Coffee Roasters. Our visit started out with a tour of the roasting operations; from the bean delivery to the distribution of packages. On the tour we saw machines that could roast up to 400 gallons of coffee beans an hour! We also so where Dillanos makes their flavored coffees. Did you know that coffee is like baking soda in that it absorbs any of the scents around it? Because of the absorbing nature of the coffee beans Dillanos makes the flavored coffee in a separate and sealed off room, away from the roasters.

After the tour we had a coffee tasting with the head roaster at Dillanos, Bjorn. Bjorn filled us on what he looks for when trying coffee samples provided by potential suppliers. Our group got to taste two coffees brewed in different ways to experience how different brewing methods alter the taste of the coffee. My favorite brewing technique is the pour over method although, once brewed, I do not turn down coffee no matter how it’s brewed.

Fueled by caffeine we spent the next hour or so listening to and speaking with Dillanos’ operations executives. We spoke about operating with limited inventory, the implementation of the balanced score card approach, and how cross training employees could lower costs. Between the tour, tasting, and conversation with executives the Operations Club’s appreciation of all things coffee got stronger and richer – just like, well, a nice cup of coffee!

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

Foraging for Fun

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

I am from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This probably conjures up thoughts of pristine sandy beaches, sailing on the blue seas, and Dawson’s Creek. Although I grew up in a place famous for the seafood, I must admit I have never actually procured the seafood on my own, whether on the Cape or elsewhere. This all changed at the annual Women in Business retreat.

Each year, the Women in Business Club hosts a weekend-long retreat. Members and non-members alike travel to a “remote” location and get away from the mayhem of everyday business program life. This year’s house on Hood Canal literally sat on the water, and our first order of business was to forage for snacks. Armed with rakes and a big bucket, we started digging for clams. I dug up my first clam (see picture for proof)! On the short walk home, we walked through the oyster fields and easily plucked them from their beds. I did not participate in the subsequent shucking, but I definitely enjoyed the results the next night when we feasted on steamed clams and fried oysters.

Aside from clamming for the first time, it was a weekend filled with other adventuresincluding:

  • A riveting and competitive card game
  • A scramble golf “tournament”
  • Midnight kayaking through the phosphorescence algae
  • S’mores and more s’mores
  • Scary stories around the campfire

Of course, there was much more, but the rule “what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat” has my lips sealed. When you join Foster, though, let me recommend you join WiB. And definitely attend the retreat – you won’t regret it!

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

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