Fun

Vamos, Vamos Argentina!

Friday, July 5th, 2013

I always wanted to visit South America and get a taste of the culture. When the opportunity to go to Argentina for a study tour presented itself, I couldn’t help but sign-up for it. I had a fantastic experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and I’m sure the ten other students and two faculty members that I traveled with are nodding their head yes in agreement.

Foster tried a different model this time for study tours. Instead of being student-led like in the past, they were school-led. While this restricted student leadership opportunities, it was very well organized and we got a chance to learn and soak-in everything around us. Before leaving Seattle, each student owned researching of 1-2 companies and presented a background of the company to set the stage for visits when we reached Argentina. In Argentina, we met with executives from various companies that spanned across various industries. Big firms like KPMG, Microsoft and US Commercial Services to start-ups like Remolino (a graphic design and creative studio), Natural Deli (a proponent of natural and organic products) and GoodPeople (a global platform that connects all aspects of the sports community).  Other companies of interest included Bimbo (a baking company), Zanella (motorcycle manufacturer), Medix (medical devices), LAC-CORE (renewable energy) and Nieto Senetiner (A wine pioneer in Argentina). We even visited the well-known Football club River Plate. Upon our return we presented our insights from the trip and how we thought we could use this knowledge in our own businesses in the future.

All throughout our trip and company visits it was evident that Argentine culture is rich – the people, language, food, mate (tea), wine, art, tango, architecture, et. al. personify it. This is also reflected in their style of doing business.

Argentinians take pride in their traditions and the wealth of the past. They still haven’t forgotten their roots. Despite the fact that the economy is not doing so good, inflation is through the roof, currency is extremely volatile, the government vetoes every decision, and corruption is prominent; they have faith that the country will prevail and become a prominent global player.

Everyone we met was really hospitable and just really nice. They were honest and poured their heart out, whether it was about their companies, work styles, government, inflation issues, or even their personal lives. Relationships really meant a lot to them, and it was evident in their interaction and communication. In most cases, relationships formed the pillars of their businesses. It also meant that if you wanted to start a company in Argentina, you’d have to have a connection/ contact in Argentina.

Desert Steak

 

The people were super warm and generous. We were fed really well by everyone, be it at the steakhouses or at the companies we visited. Every meeting started with a spread of yummy treats, pastries filled with Dulce de leche, tea, coffee, wine, etc. Argentinians take pride in sharing their Yerba Mate (tea) and was a way for them to bond. It was the same homely feeling I got, every place we visited.

Dancing Game

Tango is a dance that originated in Argentina – passionate, complex and authentic. Football (Soccer) is another thing that Argentinians are very passionate about. (We were fortunate enough to witness both these live J) I soon realized that this passion was an integral part of their personality. We met young entrepreneurs that had established respectable positions in the industry because of this zeal. We also met leaders of big firms who were determined enough to maintain their stand while navigating the red oceans of the competitive market. They were smart, intelligent, and ready to take on the world.

Zanella Medix

It was such a wonderful trip, will go back in a heartbeat to the country and to the beautiful people we met. “Una mas, por favor!”

~ Guest blog post by Saloni Sonpol – Evening Class of 2014

Foster MBA Students Go Back to Prom

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Back in the middle of May, the Foster MBA program held their annual program dubbed “The Fosters.”  The theme this year was Foster Prom and many people had fun re-living their high school prom.  Some may have worn their prom outfits! The Fosters is an opportunity for both classes to honor shining stars of the program in fun categories such as Excel King & Queen and Under the Radar Leader.  There was even an award for cutest baby in the program, which really wasn’t a surprise to many.  Check out the pictures below and see some of the fun that was had!

A8Pw0mZy7mSfbem21EBzIWUeKL-nX3hD5WaV8KdnSRc 4NOfIgxSmQ9d17yH2Of-Sx4oQ9M-3jnjhJ6T14m0cI8 sreOHPlwa6Dv_NKfg7a89bjB_gch9TfrWFBUFLaX5HM mc8Bg1tZ0WkU6S4Xy2lfCwSuVKwxYOK5cK7-CHMe-ek,Im9q3Xcc-skePLfubxRtPuRUvl6Ar4YnXCFiCMElNRc LgedbO3FqnbHGGXQzkJVKK5e-5bOkQpmPjxmBBhrpSU,bLO-ncXWP9beKg3irJ0iwmI0GlrTihlf38K38B2nZsQ jRqn-dtasmPpMztLNnPK_93vw2LjQYMoCHPFjdhaMiU qhkGPAW_auRxXpaTH1YOs8mkxlTAWxzNyYhBvZW4lYE ZvB38YaSkkGjPi_vwxcquvT3cmlK4o1HiplZGV3TmUI 6Sk8qxlI1WPrPmdZRGuuXumMqTjJCi6juyFLRpu1a7U OUvw2FTJvlAUjRCd2JUWnvxnUfy33BIecAsJ0w5Gnpw

 

~ Dennis Grubbs – Full Time Class of 2014

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.

CANNNOOOONN BAAAALLL!

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

Three-Day Weekend!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

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

Thank Goodness

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Thank Goodness. After a long day, they might be the only words you can say (especially after finishing off another midterm). But sometimes, it’s as much about being thankful for the week being over as it is being thankful for your friends, your family/significant other, and even the occasional professor who have been around you every step so far on this journey.

Just because we’re business students, doesn’t mean we don’t have time to enjoy life every once in a while. Throughout the quarter, we have what are known as a “TG’s”, which literally stands for “Thank Goodness”. Over the course of the quarter, having a moment to take a step back from the stress of cases, team meetings, and exams and to just enjoy the company of your new “family” in Paccar is a welcome break. TG’s are just one of many chances students have here at Foster to grab a drink, share a few laughs, and just reset before the cycle begins again.

Our last TG happened to coincide with both Halloween and MBA Preview Weekend, and gave students a chance to go beyond their quantitative abilities to showcase their creativity. So whether you were a first year or an evening student, prospective or a “blue dot” (significant other), it was a fun night of getting to know new people as well as catching up with some familiar faces.

~Guest Blogger Jimmy Wong, Full-time Class of 2014

     

      

      

… and beware of Fruit Ninjas (especially if you’re dressed as a fruit)!

 

The Time Value of Joy

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Ding!  Anyone going to that launch party for that thing we worked on?  Ding!  No.  Ding!  Maybe.  Ding!  Let’s do 4-6 for our happy hour team catch-up.  Ding!  I’m out of town.  Ding!  RARRRR!!!!!  Ding!  Guess we’ll have to wait for the summer.  Ding!  Don’t forget to print the ticket for that event you signed up for!

The background noise of the Foster MBA is the perpetual ding of the gmail notifier.

Ding!  Tech Club wants you to come to our event!  Ding!  Here’s a third reminder for that launch party.  Ding!  Congratulations to this year’s Leadership Fellows!

I thought I would never figure it out- how to juggle this constant influx of information- the outrageous flow of opportunity, commitment, connections, responsibilities, and tasks of all kinds.  I remember the strange stillness that became of my life after I quit my job, sold all of my belongings in Detroit, and flew to Seattle with only two suitcases to my name and the idea that I would carve a niche for myself in the world with help from the Foster School of Business.  “Niche” is the key word here.  You can’t do everything in the MBA- so how do you choose?

Ding!  We’d like to interview you tomorrow for an internship position.  Ding!  Yes, former president of my club, you are invited to Happy Hour!  Ding!  Friday works for me.  Ding!  I’d also prefer Friday.  Ding!  Yeah Friday!  Ding!  You’ll have to go without me.  Ding!  Great- see everybody there then.

Some things are obvious- clearly you want to pay attention when someone wants to interview you for an awesome internship.  But, what about all this other noise?  The clubs constantly bombarding you with scheduling; the speaker and networking events promoted by the program office; the coaching sessions solicited by the career center; the (sooo many!) contacts you can make with alumni, second years, partners of partners of business partners; cousins of classmates of alumni of classmates; special projects…

Ding!  This project looks harder than I thought.  I need help!  Ding!  When should we close the survey?  Ding!  51 sounds like plenty of people to me.  Ding!  Let’s divide and conquer!  Ding!  Let’s keep it open- more is better!  Ding!  Here’s my valuation: what do you guys think?  Ding!  Something’s not quite right there…  Ding!  Here’s your add-code for that class you want.  Ding!  Should we get together Friday to talk about the next case study?  Ding!  Yes we should!  Ding!  I agree!

Also you have to do your classwork- there is that too.

Ding!  Here’s your graded Accounting exam.  Ding!  What terminal growth rate did you use?  Ding!  What kind of speech am I supposed to give tomorrow?  Ding!  This kind of speech!  Ding!  Ok.  Ding!  We just heard that you were all too busy to apply for the India Consulting Project, so we’ve extended the deadline.

At times, it feels like triage.  There is a constant flow of tasks coming in.  You can’t possibly treat all of them at once, so you have to assess the severity of each.  “This one’s critical!  We need to operate now!”  or “This one’s dead- just delete it,” or, and this one gets messy- “file this one for later.”

Ding!  Time for the Foster Cup Cycling Event!  Are you participating?  Ding!  Join us at the Student Budget Roundtable!  Ding!  We heard there was some concern about the club budgeting process- here’s a giant email full of words that you don’t have time to absorb.  Ding!  Thank you for taking my (four-hundredth) marketing research survey!  Ding!  Whoops- believe it or not, that giant email I sent a minute ago wasn’t done- there’s more!  Here you go!

All of these emails came on May 15.  And this is only a fraction of the noise when you consider that there are also classmates all around you promoting their own club’s events, and text messages and phone calls to boot.  And don’t forget about those pesky professors lecturing at the front of the room!  My calendar for this particular day included a 2-hour Accounting class, a 2-hour Marketing class, a meeting with my therapist (to talk about how overwhelmed I was) and (thankfully!) a birthday party including multiple artisan cupcakes, glasses of champagne, and an adorable newborn baby being all baby-like.

So how did I choose on this particular day how to prioritize?  There is clearly a trade-off between being comfortable and happy now verses being successful and content later.  Many people will often say- resist instant gratification!  Sacrifice!  Persevere!  I say this:

Just as there is a time value of money, there is also a time value of joy.

Joy/(1+r)^t

Don’t forget that what makes you feel happy, accomplished, and at ease in the here-and-now is worth more than the same in the future.  Also, it’s better to figure out who you are now- to connect with people over your interests, and to succeed at what really makes you happy today- than to guess at what will make you happy in the future and scheme and plot to put yourself into position to make that happen.  That being said, the “r” in the above equation will be different for everybody.  Some people will value present benefit over future benefit to a lesser degree than others.  There’s no one right way to approach the MBA.  Do I wish I could have done even more on May 15?  Of course.  But do I regret capping my day with a glass of champagne and a Neapolitan cupcake from Cake Envy?  Absolutely not, because without a doubt, the relationships you build at Foster are the most important takeaways you can get.  I guess what I’m saying is: that cupcake was a serious investment in my future.

~ Guest Blogger Edward Chinevere, Full-time Class of 2013, 2012-2013 Diversity Club President and Leadership Fellow

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

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