Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a MBA student-led non-profit organization that brings together nine West Coast Business Schools to support the Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and local charities. Their signature event is the annual C4C Sports Weekend in Palo Alto. It’s an awesome time and one of the most cherished memories for many Foster MBA students. It’s my pleasure to introduce Erin Poulter, one the outgoing Challenge For Charity (C4C) co-presidents, who provides some great insight on what it was like to be at the C4C Sports Weekend this year!
Day in the Life
Guest post by Mattie Winistorfer, a wonderful 2016 Blue Dot! Mattie’s fiance is a current student here at Foster, and she is a member of the ‘Blue Dots’ – the network of spouses and significant others whose loved ones are in the Foster MBA program. The name comes from the blue dot stickers that were put on their name tags during Admitted Student Welcome Weekends, to indicate that they were the spouse/significant other of an admitted student.
The monthly TG* usually draws a big crowd but none larger than the annual “Indian TG.” Hosted by current students, this TG is popular because it is always filled with delicious food, fun music and, of course, a Bollywood dance! Check out this year’s student dance, performed during the Indian TG and the Welcome Weekend for admitted students.
* The origin of the “TG” event name has been explained differently over the years, but it is most commonly explained as a shortening of T.G.I.F. (Thank goodness it’s Friday). These events happen monthly throughout the year and each one always has a theme associated with it.
On Friday September 12th, 106 first year MBA students headed across Lake Washington to the headquarters of Microsoft where they had their Career Management Orientation. Below is a summary of the advice they received from two Seattle-based entrepreneurs, as collected by incoming student Nelson Tang.
Last Friday, the UW Full Time MBA students went to do a full-on career management day at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA. We did a ton of activities, including a Q&A panel with recruiters in various industries, a ‘speed career date’ session with alumni and recruiters, and so on. But the highlight for me was the keynote speech by Chris Howard (founder of Fuel Capital) and Richard Tait (inventor of Cranium, founder of Golazo, and tons of other companies!). I was floored.
Because memories are fleeting, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and my fellow MBA students so we don’t forget this advice!
- You’re gonna hear “no” over and over again. Remember: it’s not about how many times you get knocked down – it’s how many times you get back up.
- Never blow out someone else’s candle.
- What do you want written on your tombstone? Let those words guide your decisions and chart your path.
- Grades don’t matter. There are 3 legs to the MBA experience, and networking is the most important. While everyone else is playing fantasy football, you should be having informational interviews. When you request someone’s time, be super prepared, have a super specific request.
- When the door opens and the opportunity arises, hit it with every fiber of your being.
- A good mentoring relationship should feel like osmosis…there’s an ebb and flow to the relationship, an exchange that goes both ways.
- On informational interviews: Show up early, and do your research. Have at least 10 awesome questions ready to go, and follow up with a handwritten note. Keep them informal.
- Make a list of the 10 people you want to meet in the MBA program. Have a tight filter/criteria for why you want to meet them.
- It’s not about grades or the classes you have to take.
- Go where the action is.
- You will make sacrifices to achieve your dream.
- Build a ‘Board of Advisors’ (about five people) for yourself that help you open closed doors and make big decisions. Each person should have different backgrounds and specialties, but they should have some common values. Check in with them at least quarterly.
- Be present. Put the phones down. These moments are the most impactful. You owe it to yourself and your team to give 100%.
- Build a business plan for your life. Check with your Board of Advisors. Constantly re-evaluate your goals and values.
- Be open to “yes.” You’re going to have to manage your time and say no to some opportunities to protect your time, but you never know what might happen if you say “yes.” It might turn into something amazing.
- You’re going to be thrown a lot of opportunities. Take risks, try things you’re uncomfortable with…whether it’s classes, clubs, activities, etc. What do you have to lose?
- If you’re new to the region and don’t have a network – get on LinkedIn! Networking takes a lot of work and you gotta hustle. Seattle is a small town – everybody knows everybody. Connect with all your classmates.
- After an informational interview, ask if there are two more people to meet. See if they can help with the introduction, and include a form letter to make it easy for them. And finally, for further reading, Richard recommended that we read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Paypal. The book basically includes notes from teaching the entrepreneurship class at Stanford.
For more from Nelson, check out http://www.nelsontang.com
Image credit: www.boomboombrands.com
As I near the end of my internship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and take stock of my experiences this summer and what I’ve learned, I am repeatedly humbled to be part of this remarkable organization. The campus is teeming with the foremost experts in a plethora of fields from around the world. As interns, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity not only to attend the many talks and fireside chats with people like Peter Piot and Bill Nye, but also the chance to sit down with C-level executives from across the organization and ask them about their experiences, leadership approach, and vision for the organization. I’ve taken away many lessons from these chats, and equally important have learned much from the incredible cohort of interns from across the country.
I’ve been thrilled to dive head first into strategy work for one of the global health programs. In reflecting on what skills I’ve most applied from my first year at Foster, I think, at a high level, it’s a structured way of thinking: which I practiced through a combination of strategy and marketing classes, my applied strategy and Service Corps projects, and case interview preparation. There’s a wonderful sense of gratification in knowing that I’ve approached my work this summer differently as a result of my first year in the MBA program, and that I’ll approach my second year differently as a result of my experiences this summer.
I had high expectations for this summer…they’ve been far surpassed.
~ Guest post by Kate Thorson, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
I’ll admit to approaching my first quarter at Foster with some nervousness. I had heard a lot about the core teams and knew a lot was riding on how well my team functioned. In the first quarter at Foster each student is assigned to a core team of five or six students. This team you are assigned for every class during your first quarter. To understate it somewhat, you spend a lot of time with your team. The idea of being assigned a team of people from different professional backgrounds, with different skill sets, and different goals for their MBA experience made me a little nervous.
Now I am nearly at the end of my first quarter, and am pleased to report back on my experiences with Team 4. I have quickly become friends with each team member and would heartily recommend them for any sort of project. Each member of the team is incredibly hard working, sharp, and genuinely nice. We meet an unusually high amount – every weekday for at least two hours. We’re even meeting up to play tennis this weekend. We don’t do it because we have to. We could meet less and we would still get our work done. However, I think there are several reasons we choose to meet so often. The first is that we genuinely enjoy being around each other. The second is that we are much more productive when we are together than we are individually. My experience working in a core team has truly facilitated my learning and (I believe) the learning of those around me. I also would not have been able to attain nearly as high of levels of productivity on my own as I could when surrounded with such a great team. I can wholeheartedly endorse the core teams as one of the best parts of my MBA experience so far and I know the same will be true of next year’s incoming students!
~ Guest post by Dave Stecher, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
For some of us, it may have been a little while since our last “First Day of School.” Beyond that, many of us may have never experienced a First Day where it wasn’t even us going to school! My student had a month to get ready for Foster classes to begin, and it still seemed like the first day came very quickly, and his calendar filled up so fast that I barely knew what hit us.
What exactly is a Blue Dot? We are the spouses and significant others of students in the program (legend has it the name was born from the blue dots that used to adorn our name tags at welcome events). Even though we may not actually be taking classes, the Blue Dots are a big part of the Foster experience for our Students. Whether it’s preparing dinners for them to fuel long nights of studying, or listening to them use a ton of acronyms that never seem to make sense (worst offender is NPV or Net Present Value), being a Blue Dot is an important job to have. Here are a couple tips as your Student and you start your first year as MBA and hMBA (honorary MBA) students:
- Share a calendar – Club meetings, due dates, happy hours and late night happy hours creep up quickly, so the best thing to do is share visibility into each other’s lives as early as possible!
- Dress yo’ self – Your student might be getting some new UW gear to show off their Husky pride, so don’t forget to get some yourself (insert shameless plug for the Foster Huddle/official tailgate club here).
- Reaching out – Whether you’ve been in Seattle for ages or you just moved here, the Blue Dots know what you’re going through (frustrations and joys!) so don’t forget to say hello. Excusing yourself from a Student conversation after 3 aforementioned acronyms is a perfect time to scan the room for a Blue Dot to chat up!
- Lunch planning – We’ve been trying to eat healthier and cheaper in our house, and the temptation to eat on the Ave is strong. A bento box has been a time/money/lifesaver and it’s super easy to fill with leftovers from the night before (and carrots or almonds in our case). Our favorite is Zojirushi brand.
- It’s never too late – as a non-native Seattleite, I feel like fall is one of the craziest and busiest times. It can be easy to realize that it’s December and you still haven’t socialized with your Student’s classmates or their Blue Dots as much as you wanted to the first quarter. But don’t worry, you’re always a part of the clan and we’ll welcome you with open arms in January… or May
Shameless plug #2 – if you haven’t yet joined the Foster MBA Blue Dot group, please do! We’re at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FosterMBABlueDots/ and we hope to see you soon. Good luck this year!
~ Guest post by Christina Green, 2014 Blue Dot
I’m buying a grande coffee to get going, I’m driving to Seattle, I’m zoning out to Arcade Fire and chewing up highway, I’m getting off at 45th and taking a left, I’m parking in the garage and walking to Paccar Hall, here we are. This all feels so weird, I’m 30 years old, it’s 4pm on a Friday, I should be at work, what am I doing back on a college campus?? Suddenly everything starts to settle in and make sense: oh, right, it’s April Welcome Weekend at Foster, and in 5 months I’ll be well on my way to endless study sessions where I’ll attempt to learn the basics of impossibly qualitative subjects like Marketing and burying myself in an unholy amount of student debt. Wait…are we sure about this? Oh well, too late now, they already made me a nametag.
Checked into Hotel Deca, changed into a halfway decent getup and now headed over to the meet and greet social. Whoa, this is a lot of new faces; no way I’ll ever remember all these names. “Hi I’m Kris…oh, no I’m from Bellingham…no, but it’s not too far, about an hour and a half drive north on I-5…yeah, it was an easy drive, how about you? Wait, you came all the way from Beijing/Mumbai/Hyderabad just for this weekend?” This conversation happens a lot, but people are starting to do the stuff that people do when they’re getting hungry, so we move to the dining room for dinner.
Wow, prime rib and an open bar? Is it cool if I just have some saltines and a glass of bubble water and we hack $25 off my tuition this fall? No, I’m kidding. But…seriously, can we do that?
“Tell me about why you chose Foster…” this question happens a lot, and I start to get really good at answering it. In return I ask current students about mentorship opportunities, coursework, life at Foster, all the good stuff. Great answers from current students and alumni, really getting a good vibe from these people, everyone seems very cool, like the type of people I could spend 9 hours locked in a breakout room with. Wait…what?
The group migrates back to the bar at Hotel Deca for a social hour. Wow, there really are a lot of very cool, interesting people here; people who love to travel, people who climb mountains, people who love sports. Relief sweeps over me, or possibly the alcohol. I’ve got my money on both. Everything winds down, some people are going home, some back to the hotel, a few over to Kate’s Pub in Wallingford for a little more social mingling. Certain sacrifices must be made, I join the herd on its way to Kate’s. Darts are thrown, PBR’s are made to disappear (we’re college students, after all), and everyone is laughing. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Head back to the hotel, stop at Dick’s for a deluxe and fries, go to bed you idiot, you have to be up at 8am
Wow, full day today, introductions with Assistant Dean Poston and a seminar about what Foster really represents, burn my tongue chugging some coffee, fascinating mock class about the Eurozone and Greek debt crisis, jam some blueberry muffins in my face, go on a tour of campus in sideways rain, this girl from Capitol Hill forgot her umbrella, share mine with her and get completely soaked, time for the Indian TG, cool let’s do it! Why wouldn’t I eat spicy Indian food on a crowded dance floor surrounded by strangers who I’ll spend the next 2 years with? I can’t think of any reasons, so I double down on the Masala. Nothing can possibly go wrong now!
Okay, at first I was making an effort to be friendly, but these people are seriously really cool. Roger Levesque pours me a beer, alright that’s fairly awesome, go Sounders. TG winds down after some rather intimidating choreographed Indian dance moves – you guys know “The Sprinkler”?? The group heads back to Kate’s for a few more drinks. Probably could have pumped the brakes on that Indian curry. And then it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m the idiot who has to be up at 8am again. Perfect. Go to sleep.
It’s Saturday morning, which means we’re riding those ducks into Lake Union! Climb aboard the great aluminum beast and we plow through the city. Our driver, the venerable Captain Davey Quackett, points out the noteworthy sights with vigor and we blast through the open water like Bishop Sankey through (Insert your team’s defensive line). Okay, tours over, get off the duck, go to Gordon Biersch for lunch and a brewery tour. Alright people, this has been great, really enjoyed meeting everyone, but I seriously have to get some sleep.
Can’t wait for September – go Dawgs!
What is a day in the life of a Foster MBA like? This post chronicles a typical day of an individual Foster student to give you a glimpse inside the life of an MBA living, learning, and working in Seattle at the Foster School of Business.
What I did Tuesday April 16:
5 am: Wake up, do 100 kettlebell swings and 18 pullups, get dressed. Take bus to school.
7:30 am: Intro to database and SQL class given by a Foster alum who now consults for Microsoft. At this uncivilized time, the classroom was 95% full with about 40 MBA students. One side fact: the alum’s undergraduate major was in theater–there is hope for humanities majors such as me (philosophy).
8:30 am: Another excellent quantitative methods class by Professor Hillier.
10:15 am: “Coffee Break” time. Free coffee, fruit, donuts, bagels, croissants–a very nice spread, with classmates from the 1st and 2nd year full time classes, professors, and faculty. Nice to see my class’s MBAA executive council leadership finally take the reigns. In the words of our class president: Crushing It.
12:00 pm: Informational interview with an account manager from DocuSign–the leading tech company in the e-signature market. Learned more about strategy, sales, management, and leadership in this half hour interview than in a whole quarter of strategy classes.
1:30 pm: Haircut at Capelli’s. It’s pricey, but one of my few vices. Plus, Martina is the best barber in Seattle.
3:00 pm: Another informational interview with DocuSign…this time with a sales developer. Again, very informative and I actually learned something about the internship that I was looking into.
4:00 pm: Read and prepared for the INRIX case for this evening’s technology commercialization class. The case was written last year in Jan 2012 and centered on the question of whether CEO Bryan Mistele should sell the company or keep it. INRIX is a traffic data provider that is valued at $1 billion if it were to go public.
6:00 pm: INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele speaks in the entrepreneurship class about his decision a year after the case was published. One word: Fascinating.
9:00 pm: Head home, prepare for operations class, and prepare for the Buerk Entrepreneurship Center sponsored “informal chat” with one of my fitness heroes and model entrepreneur–CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman.
~ Guest blog post by Mark Bonicillo – FT Class of 2014.
Foster MBAs got President’s Day off of classes! How did they celebrate the long weekend?
Midterming. And shopping for Dubai trip! And maybe a zoo trip with Anna if weather stays nice. ~Mandi Chappell, Full-time Class of 2013
Catching the train to Portland for a girls’ weekend. ~Erika Robertson, Full-time Class of 2014
Let’s see…. I’ve got a midterm, lots of overdue reading, several homeworks, a field study project, and so on. So, I’m going (to pretend) to go out drinking every night and spend the day playing video games. ~Will Aber, Full-time Class of 2013
Visiting parents up in Bellingham, and attempting to have a social life outside of PACCAR Hall. ~Colin Clauset, Full-time Class of 2014
Team projects and more school work. Also organizing a product shop and swap with China. ~Robert Gardner, Full-time Class o 2013
Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition Prepping (aka Business Plan tweeking and powerpointing), Macro Midterming, and Death Spiraling Rehearsaling. ~Matt Jasper, Full-time Class of 2013
Procrastinating on my procrastination. ~David Hill, Full-time Class of 2013