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

Bidding for a Cause

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

On February 25th, the students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the Foster MBA program came together for a night of cocktails, dinner, and socializing with the sole purpose of raising as much money as possible for the Challenge for Charity. An annual tradition, the theme of this year’s auction was “Mardi Gras.” New Orleans Jazz music played in the background and beads were handed out at every turn (no flashing required)!

Masks make for a festive event!

Everyone agreed that the night was a resounding success as together we raised a large sum of money for Special Olympics Washington and Boys & Girls Clubs of King County. Everybody pitched in and donated, whether at the Mystery Wine Table, with a raffle ticket for a Canlis gift certificate, or by bidding on one of the numerous silent auction items, or through the exciting live auction.

This night was the product of 10 months of hard work from the auction co-chairs and countless volunteers. This event is a true testament to Foster’s desire to selflessly donate time, energy, and money to worthy causes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this is part of a friendly competition with other MBA programs for the Golden Briefcase!

(See Challenge for Charity tags for more information about this worthy charity.)

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


MBA Vegas Poker Tournament

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

This past MLK weekend, something curious happened in Las Vegas, NV. A sea of purple came pouring in for the annual MBA Poker Tournament and recruiting weekend. Maybe not quite a sea, but we had a great turnout. Andy Passic led an army of full time Fosters, and the Evening program was represented by the 2012, 13, and 14’s, as well as alumni! This was my second year attending and while I was impressed with our turnout last year, my expectations were definitely surpassed.

Its great having such a large group of friends from school attend an event because generally you can always find someone to do something with. We used a group chat app to communicate and figure out where people were and what they wanted to do. There were people playing poker, naturally, hanging out at the sports book and watching football games, shopping, over-indulging at the buffets, clubbing, dining, gambling, and the list goes on. I won’t get into too much detail…what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

As far as the poker tournaments, Foster represented quite well. We had a great turn-out with at least 20 people playing and oftentimes, multiple Fosters at the same table. It was nice to sit down at a table among 230 MBAs from across the country and stare at 3 other friendly Foster faces. I may not have quite felt the same as I was brutally eliminated from the tournament by one of our own and my dear friend David Liu, but I got over it. We had a few Fosterites make the payout in the Friday tournament and Ryan Fisher as the last Foster standing came painfully close at Saturday’s Championship.

All in all it was a weekend of camaraderie and fun and I am looking forward to it again next year! I’d post pictures, but as you know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

~Guest Blogger, Olga Shapiro, Evening Class of 2013

Snow Day in Seattle!

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Thought snow days were a thing of the past? Think again!

Last night, UW canceled all normal operations and classes for today, which sent Fosterites celebrating by either finishing a paper or going to a pub! Today, as Seattle was cloaked in white from a rare snow storm, people utilized the impromptu day off with a wide variety of activities. What did some of our students do? Read below to find out!

“I went for a walk around Fremont with my roommates, made quesadillas, and watched some 30 rock!”
– Ben Reid, Full-Time Class of 2013

“Working, walking dogs, then drinking hot toddies!”
– Chris Simons, Full-Time Class of 2013

“Sledding at gasworks park, building a snowman while discussing “stuff MBAs say,” apples-to-apples game, and maybe pancakes with 10-15 other first year MBAs”
– Laura Periano, Full-Time Class of 2013

“Walked down the center of the road to my favorite café for a warm bowl of soup and delicious cup of coffee this morning. Then headed back to my toasty apartment for a 24-a-thon with my fiancé and friend who are stuck up on Queen Anne Hill with me. Plans for homemade soup and a bottle of wine for dinner.”
– Sherry Gardella, Full-Time Class of 2012

“I just woke up” (Emailed at 3 pm)
– Charlie Northrop, Full-Time Class of 2013

“After staying up until 1:30 am finishing a paper, my husband was kind enough to take baby duty and let me sleep in until 9:30 (UNHEARD OF!). We bundled up and walked over to Greenlake to pull the baby around in a little baby sled, which she loved. On the way home, we stopped by Starbucks so I could spend way too much money on my favorite “Christmas Beverage” (venti non-fat white chocolate mocha with 3 pumps of sugar free peppermint). I then had a conference call with my team to discuss our Applied Strategy consulting project. Hopefully I can hammer out tomorrow’s assignments in the next couple hours, and then go to a classmate’s house for hot toddies and board games.”
– Mandi Chappell, Full-Time Class of 2013

“After waking up at 11 am (late!) I had a couple hours of guilt, and decided to be productive. Then, decided that was dumb, and since then have been drinking wine and watching classic movies while I wait for my significant other to stop being a productive member of society and come home so we can hike through the snow to dinner. I also booked flights to warm places (nothing motivates like a 25 degree, snowy day).”
– Carly Massey, Full-Time Class of 2012

“I celebrated at the pub last night with the news, but then am taking advantage of a free day and doing homework and looking for jobs. Wish it was more exciting than that!”
– Emily Shubin, Full-Time Class of 2012

“Slept in (yay! no 8:30 class!) then caught up on ‘Castle’ via Hulu while having oatmeal with a cup of tea. Walked around Greenlake (now “Whitelake”?) to meet a friend for some decadent hot chocolate at Chocolati.”
– Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-Time Class of 2012

“Watching the two best soccer teams in the world, Real Madrid v Barca, at the George and Dragon with 15 MBAs, followed by an epic 15 minute snowball fight in Fremont – only a few casualities.”
– Colin Beazley, Full-Time class of 2012

The Foster Cup

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The Foster Cup is a cross-class competition aimed to build camaraderie amongst MBA students. The idea was created by former 2011 class president, Raja Das, who despite not being very athletic, found an outlet for his real skill which is talking smack. This smack talking turned into cross-class football game in the fall of 2010. The football game was such a success, that a year-long multi-sport competition, now known as the Foster Cup was born. The first annual Foster Cup was made up of both athletic and non-athletic events, ranging from football and softball, to chess and foosball. The 10 event competition wasn’t decided until the final event, when Scott Heinz made a fade-away three pointer to win the basketball game and bring home the Foster Cup to the class of 2012.

As business school students like to do, we decided to tinker with the format of this year’s Foster Cup to try and make it even better. The 2nd annual Cup is designed to further promote participation from all members of the class, not just the athletic types. So far the plan has worked, proven by the 125 people who participated in the Green Lake Fun Run event, more than doubling the total from last year. The current standings for this Foster Cup has the 2013 class in the lead with 2 points by winning the Fun Run and Huddle Games, compared to the 2012 class who has 1 point for winning the Football game. Events on the calendar for later in the year include basketball, soccer, Chinese Downhill ski race, bicycling, hiking and of course Scott Heinz will defend his foosball championship from last year.

~Guest Blogger Adam Hitch, Full-Time Class of 2012

The First Two Months in Germany

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I arrived in Koblenz in late August and have done and experienced so much that sometimes it feels like I have been here for much longer than only two months.

I decided to do a semester abroad not just because I am looking into focusing on an international career after Business School, but also because this may just be the last opportunity that I will have to experience a semester immersed in a different culture before re-entering the real world. I chose Germany because, although born in Brazil, my family came from here and I thought that it would be interesting to spend some time in the country my grandparents are from.

I wound up in a very small town called Vallendar, right outside Koblenz and not too far away from Frankfurt. Upon my arrival, I was pleasantly surprised by how clean and perfectly organized everything is here (go figure!). WHU (the Otto Besheim School of Business) had put together a full schedule of activities to help us Tauschies (short for “Austauschstudenten” or exchange students) learn more about their school, the German Culture and to help us better integrate with the Vallendar community. We had regional tours down the Rhyne river wineries, International dinners and a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest.

School life here is very different from that in the U.S. We have really intense weeks followed by not so intense ones. Classes, in general, are much longer in duration. Usually we spend entire school days studying the same subject (9 straight hours) for four or five days in a row. Then we have a final test a week or two later. I have been very impressed with the caliber of our Professors here too. In one of my classes, Change Management, the Professor was Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley. He is the current CEO of Merck and former CFO of Lufthansa. It was fascinating to listen to his experiences and insights on business and how change can be driven smoothly when well executed. In another class we will work on a case about Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile communication company, and will present our findings and solutions for it to a board of managers in Düsseldorf (main office of Vodafone in Germany.)

Between classes there is plenty of time for relaxing and traveling, which I have been doing a lot since I got here. Whenever I can get away, I make sure I do. I’ve already spent some time in Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels, London and other cities in Germany. I am really enjoying being able take a short train ride and end up in a completely different country.

Even with all these fun trips I have to admit that Germany is still my favorite place in Europe! Germany is a country where beer is cheaper than mineral water. Germans typically drink carbonated water because they find regular water to be just too boring to drink without the bubbles (words of a German). People are also extremely nice and helpful, even if they don’t sound that way up front. They just have a blunt manner of speaking.

Overall, this experience has been “Super” as they would say here. I’m sure the second half of my term will fly by even faster than the first and that in the end I will be a little sad to be leaving all of this behind. However, the thought of playing a foosball match in the MBA lounge at PACCAR hall and having having Pagliacci Pizza for lunch (multiple days in a row) makes me happy that I will be re-joining my friends back at Foster soon.

Bis dann,
Rick Cardoso
Foster MBA 2012

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

Foster Conquers Mt. Rainier

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Foster is a special place. Each class and individual has the chance to shape their own experience and the experiences of classes to follow. This year I was a part of planning many firsts: the inaugural Foster Cup, pitting first and second years students against each other in activities ranging from flag football to chess; the birth of the Foster Foodies Club, with the mission of bringing students together through a love of food; the first annual Pacific Northwest Case Competition that assembled numerous MBA programs to compete in a 24-hour case competition; and, lastly, my own brain child – the Challenge for Charity Mt. Rainier Fundraising Climb.

I spent the last 5 years dedicating most of my free time to climbing and mountaineering. It is a deep passion of mine, and I honed many of my leadership and teamwork skills in that environment. Coming into the program, I was determined to make an impactful change, and this was the area where I really felt I could add value. Many other MBA programs have guide run outdoor leadership opportunities; my vision was to create an organically grown Foster experience. What evolved was the chance to add a new fundraising avenue and develop business skills, while also attempting a climb of the lower 48th most heavily glaciated peak and Washington’s tallest – Mt. Rainier. My idea quickly gained support from the administration and the rest was a matter of garnering a will from within the program to form a dedicated team and prepare a fundraising drive. The team was easy in that it self-selected itself. Once the climbing team was assembled, I set-up small committees to help with all aspects of the climb. The biggest challenges were in marketing the climb to get donations, and in creating a training plan to prepared the novice climbers for a physically, mentally, and technically challenging climb.

Over the next 6 months, everyone in the Foster community was essential in helping the plan come to fruition; classmates that weren’t on the climb supported in countless ways including setting up fundraising happy hours and helping to teach mountaineering skills, and everyone on the climb sacrificed weekend after weekend for conditioning work and to learn the technical skills required. These months of hard work would culminate on July 4th weekend, as we set forth to conquer Mt. Rainier.

Until that weekend, the greatest parts of the journey had already happened: we formed close bonds with classmates, collaboratively incubated a stretch goal into something real, and raised $7,000 for the Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Club that will help Foster in the upcoming year’s Challenge for Charity Competition.

By 6:30 am on July 4th, all eleven of us had reached the Mt. Rainier Summit. That intense moment of realization of what my extremely ambitious and slightly crazy idea combined with the Foster Community’s passion, determination, and collaboration had and could accomplish stands as my greatest moment out of the countless I have during all my mountaineering feats. This was far more than just a climb.

Foster on Top of the World!

For a complete account of the climb, and the numerous conditioning climbs, check out the Mt. Rainier Fundraising Climb Blog:

~ Scott Heinz, Class of 2012, Guest Blogger and Outdoors Extraordinaire