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

We’re #10! We’re #10!

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Foster MBA

So proud to be a part of Foster!

Business Week just published their rankings for the top part-time MBA programs in the country and Foster is number 10! This is a jump of 30 spots since the last published rankings in 2009. This ranks Foster above other prestigious business schools such as Chicago – Booth, NYU – Stern, Indiana – Kelley and USC – Marshall!

As a current evening student, the data points that jump out at me the most are the valuations of Teaching Quality, Caliber of Classmates, and Curriculum. Each of these categories was evaluated based on student surveys. Foster achieved an A+ for each of these categories! And, I can’t argue with this at all.

– Our professors are industry experts who not only have a wealth of practical and academic knowledge but also care about their students.
– My classmates are a trusted and diverse set of professionals representing a wide array of companies and industries. They are my cohorts in the classrooms and have become great friends outside.
– The curriculum in varied and challenging. The standards are high and we are driven to excel. This is exactly what I would expect from a top business school.
– The program offers a wide assortment of career services, mentoring programs, networking opportunities, clubs, global study programs and social activities to extend the value of my education beyond the classroom.

Business Week’s rankings only confirmed what I have known since I started in the program; that Foster is one of the top business programs in the country and delivers a world class education to their students. I can’t wait until the 2013 rankings when Foster climbs to Number 1!

Proud to be at Foster!
~Guest Blogger, Mark Ninomiya, Evening Class of 2013

Foster Goes to Peru

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Looking down on Machu Picchu from the top of Wayna Picchu.

Looking down on Machu Picchu from the top of Wayna Picchu.

I just had one of the most amazing two weeks of my life. From sand boarding down giant dunes to paragliding over the Lima coast to late nights out clubbing, I experienced adventures that I can only hope to put words to when trying to share with those who weren’t there.

At our company visits and around the cities we visited, I got to see firsthand how different and how similar life in Peru can be. The things I learned listening to Peruvian economists, government officials, and business leaders speak to us as well as those learned exploring the cities where we stayed will be carried with me through my life.

Sunset in Cusco

Sunset in Cusco

I find myself with a new appreciation for those working hard to improve not only their own situation, but the situation of an entire nation. I also have found an appreciation for the choice between English and Spanish on the ATM machine. I understand that the business decisions we make every day in the US can ripple through the global economy to a single farmer of giant corn in the Sacred Valley, making the difference between whether he can sustain his way of life or not.

I also got to know a great group of people. Whether it was dancing our hearts out at a local traditional Peruvian dance and music show, killing time while the bus driver looked for the pieces that fell off the bus after an impromptu creek crossing in the Sacred Valley, climbing to the top of Wayna Picchu to look down upon the amazing construction of the Incan civilization, or sitting down to enjoy a few Cuzcanias, I became closer to some already good friends and got to know some new good friends. I realized that despite the many different choices of things to do on our trip, the ones that were the best were the ones we did together. I only hope that I can continue to build upon these great friendships no that our trip is over.

Traditional Dance

Traditional Dance

As such, coming home was bittersweet; I will miss the excitement, adventure, and fun of my trip. I was also looking forward to hugs and kisses from my wife and pooches. The trip home for many of us was challenging with all the flight complications caused by fuel system fires in Miami or computer system problems for Alaska Airlines. These challenges seem somewhat trivial compared to the challenges we were exposed to on our trip. I myself was stuck in Chicago for a night, but even that was not as bad as it sounds because I got to see my mother for a night. It’s not often that you get to come home twice on the same trip.

I would like to thank Alonso and Maria for planning such a fantastic trip. Thanks also to the group the came with because without each one of you, my experience would not have been as rich as it was. Lastly, thanks to my wife, Emily, for supporting my adventure and taking care of our home while I was away. Because of all of you, not only was I able to have the time of my life, but I get to take away memories and experiences that are now part of who I am, a slightly different person than I was when I started the trip.

– Guest Blogger, Mike Lumen, Evening MBA

Building Lifelong Connections

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

I remember EPRIME weekend like it was yesterday. Mostly, I remember a blur of faces and names, handshakes and smiles, and a whole lot of advice. We were given advice on how much work we would get and how to manage it, on how to get along with our teams, on how to get involved in clubs, and much more. I remember walking back and forth past the club tables during our second day club fair and thinking how can I fit the most clubs into my already hectic schedule. My goal was to get involved. What I didn’t realize at the time was that there is only 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week…no matter how you twist it, how much sleep you give up, there is a limit to how many activities you can cram in.

The next few days after EPRIME I began to reflect. My goal going into the program was to get involved, but what does that mean? I wanted to meet people, I wanted to make friends, and I wanted to make lifetime connections. Then I thought about the blur of faces and names that I couldn’t make out and I realized that those people, those faces, and those names are the key. The beauty of the evening MBA program is that you get to spend 3 years with a group of people that come from all sorts of places with all sorts of different life and work experiences. I realized that the key to getting the most out of my MBA was getting to know these people. So I decided to run for 2013 Class Representative for the MBAA.

My running mate Sergio Bustamante and I decided to maximize our chances of beating out the competition and run together. We won by a landslide, and even though we were the only two running, we put on a great campaign. Our campaign and promise to our class was to have fun, get to know each other and have a blast doing it! After the glow of victory subsided we began to think. Our goal was to organize social events outside of school that will help our class get to know each other on a personal level. The first idea was weekly Wednesday Happy Hours. Sergio had started this trend during the first week of school but it took a few weeks for the crowd to form. After some advertising and pre-class presentations and once everyone got settled into a routine and realized that they will need that drink after class, we began to see a good turnout.

We created a Facebook group page called, 2013 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. As weeks went by and we met more and more people our unofficial social club membership grew. It soon included many of our new friends from the 2012 class, which warranted a name change to the 2013 & 2012 Foster Evening MBA Social Club. Our happy hours became a mixture of classes, with some full-time students joining in as well. The third name change eliminated our graduation dates and it became just the Foster Evening MBA Social Club…I think the next and final change will eliminate the Evening designation, but we will first need to see more full-timers joining us!

With the help of my friend and classmate Brett Bennett I recently organized an eight-player poker game. The game took place on a ferry to Bremerton and back and was a success in bringing eight classmates closer. Tonight I am getting together for happy hour with some girlfriends before they scatter for the holidays. There was a recent dinner party put on by another classmate, Garrett. Other events in the works are ski/snowboarding trips, a girls’ trip to Vegas in March for one of our classmate’s bachelorette party, and more. As I make more and more close friends and connections, and watch my classmates do the same, I realize that we are getting the most out of our MBA experience.

Guest Blogger – Olga Shapiro, Evening MBA 2013

Planning a study tour

Friday, February 4th, 2011

After nearly a year of preparing and planning for the Peru Study Tour, things are finally starting to come together.  As I look back it seems that this trip has come together better than even I could have imagined.

When Alonso, my study tour leader partner, asked me to help him plan this trip I really had no idea what the process would entail. We began by submitting a 25 page tour proposal that was evaluated by the Global Business Center (GBC) last May.  We knew we were up against some other great teams and that the GBC would only select a handful of us to lead tours.  After the GBC review process, we were invited to interview with the GBC.  We diligently prepared for this step of the process by meeting with past tour leaders and reviewing anticipated interview questions. Within just a few short weeks we discovered our tour had been selected and we were on our way to Peru!

However, as with most things in life, there were a few hurdles we still had to cross. First, we had to do some marketing in order to ensure students knew about our tour.  We attended several events including TGs, formal GBC events, and informal MBAA events to get the word out.  But, when the deadline for student enrollment rolled around we were still short students and needed to sign up more students or risk cancelling the tour.  We decided to focus our efforts on 1st Year Full-Time MBA students and reached them by visiting classes and meeting with them one-on-one.  Within a couple of weeks we had enough students to continue on with our trip.

Another obstacle we still had to overcome was delivering on the great tour we had sold to the GBC and the students.  It was much easier to write down great ideas than implement them.  Between different time zones, languages and cultures we had our hands full.  But, we were persistent and diligent with our efforts to reach companies we wanted to visit. We also worked with a travel agency to help us plan historical, educational, and recreational tours.  They also helped us plan the logistics including transportation and hotels.  Most importantly, Alonso and I worked together to balance the workload and stay positive when the outcome was uncertain.

As I look back over the last nine months I think of all we have accomplished…and, what is still to come.  We leave for Peru on March 12th and I know that this leaves us little time to solidify plans. With mid-terms, spring registration, work, family, and finals all happening between now and then I must admit the task seems insurmountable.  Then I think about the Peruvian beaches we will visit near Ica, the tour of the historical district in Lima, going out to dinner on the colorful streets of Barranco, and visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World – Machu Picchu with old friends and new friends….and I realize that it will all be worth it and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.

– Guest Blogger, Maria Olagunju, EMBA 2012

8 Tips from an Evening MBA

Monday, October 4th, 2010

As a 3rd year Evening MBA Student here is some advice that I’ve found particularly helpful over the last two years that I recently shared with the Evening MBA Class of 2013. Please take it for what it’s worth…chances are my advice won’t work for everyone, but it may be helpful to think about.

1. Try not to be intimidated by the workload.  I usually go into a class thinking that at the end of quarter, I want to better understand 5 core theories/topics.  Everything else is “filler.”  If you start to fret about your grade and acing everything, you may drive yourself crazy (i.e. trying to drink from a fire hose).

2. Don’t worry (too much) about your test grades.  No one cares about grades anymore…it’s about whether or not you understand the basic principles.  If you don’t, get in touch with the professors to make sure you do.  I have gotten 50% on some exams and felt like I was lost.  After follow-up meetings with the professor I was able to walk away feeling more confident of my knowledge.  The grade didn’t change, but my experience did. And even after a couple sub-60% grades, I ended up with a 3.2 GPA.

3. If you have (or are in the process of having) kids/spouse, you may find that things get “tense” now and then.  One thing I found helpful: I get my wife a card every 2 – 3 weeks during the quarter and thank her for all of her patience and work while we’re going through the MBA program. Basically, a $2.99 investment helps show that you really appreciate what they’re going through for you.  A random night out for dinner could get you even further.

4. If you can’t get dinner before heading to class (and don’t want to eat what they have on campus), I highly recommend getting a Jimmy Johns sub. They’re about $11 (for a sandwich, coke + cookie), and they deliver really fast (to campus).  Their phone # for ordering is 206-548-9500.

5. I try to remind myself that the University of Washington is a business / brand, and that business is never perfect.  You may run into professors who use an approach that you don’t find helpful, or perhaps a professor that’s presenting information that’s more academic than it is “real-world” worthy. Remember that it’s up to us to help shape the future of the program and ultimately make the University of Washington’s MBA brand stronger.  Be critical of your experience in the program, but be positive, be fair, and
be helpful.

6. Look for ways to build on two critical skill-sets: leadership + presentations.  It seems to me (and it may to you, as well) that the corporate world could really benefit from better leaders (utilizing transitional methods) and people who deliver focused, succinct presentations with meaning.

7. Bond with your team as much as you can.  Get personal with them so you can appreciate each other for who you are (strengths, weaknesses, etc.). Also, make sure you take the time to check in with each other during your work to make sure everyone understands what’s going on.  It’s easy to want to finish up projects as fast as possible, but I would argue it’s ultimately not the best approach if someone in your team is left in the dark.

8. Don’t feel like you have to join clubs, etc.  Yeah – I have no doubt that they’re awesome, and they’re a great to expand your horizons.  But at the end of the day, you only have “so much time” to give.  If joining a club means you can’t spend some time relaxing or hanging out with your family, I’d think hard about whether it’s worth the commitment.

Just my two cents. Good luck to everyone!

– Guest Blogger, David W. Griffiths, Evening MBA Class 2011