Every year, Foster MBA students get to travel the world as part of long-term MBA exchange programs or on short-term study tours/projects, led by the Global Business Center. This is Peter Kazarian’s account of the March ’15 study tour in Japan. Super jealous.
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.
Working for Microsoft is like a dream come true since it was my goal when I applied to the Foster MBA program.
Over this past summer, I interned with Microsoft as a Partner Channel Marketing Manager Intern in the Worldwide Partner Group, under the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners organization. Being an international student, even though I had similar marketing background in the technology hardware industry, working for Microsoft was still an eye-opening and a learning experience for me.
During the twelve-week internship, everyday was a new challenge since Microsoft is such a big organization and it required multiple stakeholders’ support to get things done. My project was to advocate the benefits of Microsoft’s Cloud solutions, and I worked closely with vendors to create training videos, blogs, and the worldwide partner training guidebook. It was truly rewarding to see my work being posted on the Microsoft Partner Network website which 400,000 plus partners use. Moreover, in order to get support from other stakeholders in rolling out the project, I had to overcome my shyness and proactively set up meetings with various colleagues to gain their buy-in. To my surprise, despite the fact that many colleagues were senior and very busy, they were still willing to spare time to listen to my pitch, and also gave me feedback, which truly demonstrated the teamwork and collaborative spirit at Microsoft.
I was also given a great opportunity to go on a business trip to Washington D.C. in July to attend the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. It was an important event for the company as attendees came from over 150 countries and represented many of the most successful, top tier partners. I was thrilled to be there and talked to the partners in person. We also had fun watching the FIFA World Cup Championship game together!
Last but not least, Microsoft also cared a lot for interns. There were many speaker events where we got to meet CEO Satya Nadella, the CMO, the head of HR, and many others to learn more about the company. Let alone the fun intern activities to Leavenworth, Puyallup, Casino night, Lake Washington Cruise and kayaking in Portage Bay. I had a great time meeting other interns and the Microsoft internship experience is truly one of the most unforgettable summers I have ever had! I am excited to be going back to Microsoft for a full time role after completing my Foster MBA.
Evelyn Chia-Wei Chiang
Foster MBA, Class of 2015
The University of Washington’s Foster MBA students believe community involvement is an integral part of being a business professional. As a result, each year we participate in the MBA Challenge for Charity (C4C), a non-profit organization that draws on the talents, energy, and resources of MBA students from nine west coast business schools to support our local Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs. The objective is to develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.
What is the C4C Auction?
Every year, Foster C4C hosts an auction that serves as our primary fundraising event. The auction is 100% student planned and coordinated. To date, Foster MBA students have volunteered over 20,000 hours and donated more than $1.4 million to the Special Olympics Washington and the Boys & Girls Club of King County!
The 2014 C4C Auction was the best attended in the event’s history and saw 290 new and old friends alike come together to make the event a huge success. Our Live Auction highlights included an African safari, a getaway to Hood Canal, a private catering experience, and a soccer clinic with the Seattle Sounders, to name a few. Adding to the excitement, for the first time in years, Foster took back the #1 spot in fundraising over the 8 other West coast schools in attendance at C4C Sports Weekend! We want to keep the momentum going, and the planning for the 2015 Auction is already underway. We hope that our incoming students will help us make 2015 even more amazing by continuing to support these wonderful charities. It’s time to bring the golden briefcase back to Foster, where it belongs!
The C4C Sports Weekend
Sports weekend is partly for competition, partly for ego, but mostly, it’s for a lot of fun. It’s a break from the busy routines of school and a chance to get to know classmates better, meet students from other programs, and enjoy a nice, sunny weekend in Palo Alto. It’s also a reward for thousands of hours volunteered in the community and over hundred thousand dollars raised for charity throughout the year (not to mention the bumps and bruises preparing for sports!). Seen all around the Stanford campus were UW shirts, hats, blinky party sunglasses, mustaches (both weird and impressive), purple & gold party beads and temporary UW tattoos. Foster’s Student Band – Death Spiral killed it at Battle of the Bands. The weekend proved that we are as intense with our sports as we are with our studies!
What an exciting weekend we had! Over 180 Full Time, Evening and Blue Dots trekked down to Palo Alto this April and Foster definitely represented at C4C Sports Weekend at Stanford. All year long, students from nine MBA programs on the West Coast raise money and donate thousands of volunteer hours to Special Olympics and local charities. Then, every year in mid-April, we trek down to sunny California and compete in sports events and some non-sporting events with the likes of Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, and USC. Whether it was Basketball, Dodgeball, Ultimate Frisbee, Trivia, the Dance Competition, Tug of War or Battle of the Bands, we participated in almost every event and showed the other schools that UW is there to win. And we did!
Foster placed 2nd in
- Co-ed Soccer
- Co-ed Softball
- Table Tennis
- Ultimate Frisbee
- The Spelling Bee
Foster placed 3rd in
- Women’s Basketball
- The Trivia Bowl
All results can be seen here. Go Dawgs!!
So how did we do?
Between the 2013 and 2014 Sport Weekends, UW raised over $112,000 and donated over 2,600 hours of community service! These two components count for a combined 80% of the total score. Together with the sports during the weekend, UW got a strong 2nd place finish! Awesome job everyone!
Sadly, in the end, the famed “Golden Briefcase” went to USC for another year. Foster placed second overall, just nipping at the heels of USC in the competition for the Golden Briefcase. While we raised the most money per capita of any school, we were just shy on our volunteer hours and not able to restore the Golden Briefcase to its proper home at Foster. But that was 2014, with everyone’s help, we can prevail in 2015!! Here are some stats:
- Foster —78
- USC —80
Hours Volunteered Per Capita (40%)
- Total Hours Volunteered—2,621 hours
- Total Foster Hour per Capita—11.3 hours
- Total USC Hours per Capita—12.8 hours
Fundraising Per Capita (40%)
- Total Amount Raised—$112,068
- Foster Fundraising Amount per Capita—$485
- USC Fundraising Amount per Capita—$480
Sports Weekend Performance is weighted 20%
- Foster Sports Weekend Ranking—5th
- USC Sports Weekend Ranking—4th
As you can see, Foster and USC are neck-in-neck! Let’s step it up this year and show everyone what Foster is all about at Sports Weekend 2015!
Let’s start volunteering NOW!!
Your efforts begin to count now, 2015! And 2014 hours count until graduation. Begin getting out into community and giving back!
Sign up here: https://depts.washington.edu/mbaclub/mba-clubs/challenge-4-charity/c4cvolunteer/
Log your hours here: https://depts.washington.edu/mbaclub/submit-your-c4c-volunteer-hours/
And even if you’re not in the Seattle area, you can still help! Remember to use our affiliate link for all of your Amazon purchases and any money raised goes straight into the C4C donation bin (with no added cost to you!). Do what I do and bookmark it right on top so you don’t forget!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
~ Dennis Grubbs – Full Time Class of 2014
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
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. 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)!
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.
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.