Fun

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: http://fostermtrainier.blogspot.com/

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

Professor Dinners

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

There is a tradition at Foster in which classmates volunteer to host a dinner for a core professor and several other classmates during the summer months. This past Saturday, Stacie did the honors of cooking for Professor Mark Hillier (quantitative methods) and company in her 15th floor downtown apartment with a view. It was a gorgeous day, so the balcony was well-used by the party as we all enjoyed the Seattle summer sun. For dinner, her fiancé grilled a whole salmon, and served it with salad and sweet potatoes. The entire main course presentation was amazing and tasted delicious! Conversation was easy as we discussed academics, summer plans, enormous spiders, and food, seamlessly moving from topic to topic. Dessert was individual cheesecakes from The Confectional. Judging by the radiating smiles and grunts of food happiness they were exceptionally tasty. All in all it was a delightful evening of good food and good company. I am glad Foster has this tradition as it enables interaction with professors outside of the world of academia. I look forward to attending more of these dinners!

Warm Weather Comes to Seattle

Monday, June 13th, 2011

We made it to the top!

Last weekend, Settle saw a preview of what will hopefully be a beautiful summer. At one point on Saturday, I looked up and there was literally not a cloud in the sky anywhere. Unfortunately, most of the weekend was taken up by the last of finals. So, on Monday, another gorgeous day, several of the MBA ladies decided to do a girls’ hike to mark the end of the school year. We did the low intensity Rattlesnake Ridge. I classify it as “low intensity” because we saw not just one or two, but numerous small dogs making the trek; dachshunds, Scottish terriers, and pugs. It was my first ever Seattle-area hike so I was ok with just a 2 hour round trip. The view from the top was incredible and we enjoyed a variety of snacks and entertainment from a friendly chipmunk. When we completed the round trip and were standing in the parking lot deciding where to celebrate our accomplishment with beer and food, four of our male classmates emerged from the trailhead! Seattle really is a small world!

First Annual Foster Golf Classic

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

2011 marked the beginning of a new tradition at Foster. The MBA Association, in conjunction with the Sports Business Club and Women in Business, was proud to present the Inaugural Hogan Brothers UW Foster MBAA Golf Classic. On April 30, after months of preparation, the event brought together alumni, friends of Foster and current MBA students for a day of networking and golf at the Golf Club at Newcastle.

Last year, student leadership of the Full-time MBA Program decided to strengthen ties between current MBA students, alumni and friends of Foster. After looking at all the options for engagement, the MBA Association decided on a couple of key events, one of which was a golf tournament. The Foster School of Business has a successful history with golf tournaments—the Evening MBA Program hosts an informal event and the Technology Management MBA Program holds an annual Bettin Cup. Therefore, the planning committee, composed of myself and other MBA students, were hopeful that the Full-time MBA Program could start and maintain a new tradition. For more reading, please refer to Foster Unplugged, the Blog for the entire business school. http://depts.washington.edu/foster/inaugural-golf-classic-connects-mba-students-and-alumni/

~Guest Blogger Matt Eliseo, Full-Time class of 2011

Run Foster Run

Friday, May 14th, 2010
The Foster team getting ready to head to the starting line

The Foster team getting ready to head to the starting line

It was a sunny cold day at the end of fall quarter in December.  I was overwhelmed classes and felt that I had no time to do anything but school.  I decided that I needed a goal.  A big goal.  I thought about something really hard for me, but something that I could accomplish if I put my mind to it. Something that involved a personal victory as opposed to a standard distribution curve in a class.  So it dawned on me – it was running.  So I threw a shout out to my MBA colleagues – “Does anyone want to train for the half marathon in Vancouver in May with me?”

The response I got was overwhelming.  Two other classmates quickly became co-leaders with me on this effort.  We set up a Facebook group (Run Foster Run) and started putting together weekly runs.  Our first run was the week before finals around Greenlake.  It was 20 degrees outside and slippery. From that Saturday and until first weekend of May, Run Foster Run had 13 organized runs.  We took a picture every week and recorded the number of miles we ran to demonstrate to ourselves and our classmates our progress.  We ran all over Seattle – from classical runs like Greenlake and Lake Union to Burke Gilman trail runs, to Discover Park, Arboretum and many others.  Our turnout was always fabulous – people came rain or shine.  In the process, we got to know significant others, second years, evening students and each other.

To make the team more official, we decided to print up shirts for the big race.  Given that we had a decent group signed up to go to Vancouver, we were also able to get support from the Program Office, the MBAA, and Part II which the club is now a part of, to help pay for the shirts.  It was totally worth it, too.  They were quite visible throughout the whole race with their Husky purple and Foster logos. We wore the shirts proudly and I’m happy to report we all beat our goal times.

As for me, I finished my first ever 13.1 mile race and felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment considering the fact that in December, I could not run 2 continuous miles.

– Helen Seliverstov (Class of 2011)

Challenge for Charity

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Every year 9 of the top business schools located up and down the West Coast meet up at Stanford to compete on volunteer hours, fundraising and both serious and absurd sporting events in the Challenge for Charity. It’s an organization that “draws on the talents, energy and resources of MBAs to support Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs to develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.” It also tends to be one of the events that truly solidifies the lifelong commitment we have to each other, our Foster community.

Many of us are still recovering from the lack of sleep and some tough athletic losses, yet basking in what was a weekend full of overwhelming school spirit. We’re a small MBA program compared to many of our fellow participants – UCLA, USC, Stanford – but we brought it unlike any of the other schools. It was obvious that we had the most pride in our school and our classmates. Whether it was cheering on first year, Cate, as she competed in the spelling bee or raging with our band as it kicked off the closing event, Battle of the Bands.

As the Challenge for Charity efforts wrap up for this academic year, Foster has raised $102,000 and volunteered nearly 1,800 hours in our community. An amazing feat and a great weekend of celebrating it, and each other.

C4C Sports Weekend

C4C Sports Weekend

Foster MBAs head to Kenya for Study Tour

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Twenty five students made up of Foster MBAs as well as other UW grad programs arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on March 14th.  Over the course of two weeks we explored Kenyan business, culture and life.  With the guidance of three knowledgeable and enthusiastic student trip leaders, we visited a variety of companies – from start ups to giants like Winafrique (renewable energy) and KenCall to Unilever, Safaricom, Barclays, Kenya Airways, and many others. We had a chance to meet amazing business leaders with degrees from Stanford Business School and from all other parts of the world.

Kenya Study Tour on the Kenya/Tanzania Border during the safari

Kenya Study Tour on the Kenya/Tanzania Border during the safari

We drove all over Nairobi to see what life was truly like in the developing world.  This included a company and site visit with Jamii Bora, Kenya’s largest microfinance firm.  The leaders of the organizations afterwards took us to Kibera (one of the two largest slums in Kenya) where we got to see microfinance funding at work and lifting people from the streets into sheltered living.  We also saw a school and an orphanage in a village outside of Nairobi which gave us a good perspective on the value that education has in Kenya, considering it has a 70% literacy rate.

In addition to businesses that we visited in Kenya, we also had plenty of cultural

Nairobi Stock Exchange

Nairobi Stock Exchange

experiences.  For example, we visited Karen Blixen’s house (the subject of Out of Africa), saw the Bomas of Kenya (where traditional Kenyan tribal dances including Barack Obama’s were performed), learned and visited an elephant orphanage, fed giraffes at the giraffe center and of course we went on a three day safari.  A part of the group also spent one morning on a hot air balloon ride over the African savanna seeing the sunrise and wild life early in the morning.  Many of us also got to try our hand at bargaining at city markets where we gifts like masks, sculptures, paintings and jewelry.

Overall, this was a once in a lifetime experience.  The feeling from the trip was that most of us could have gone on a safari on our own, but we could not have gotten an inside glimpse into a very hopeful and young economy in the developing world.  This is definitely the best part of business school for me – getting to take advantage of opportunities like this one.

Guest Blogger: Helen Seliverstov, Foster MBA Class of 2011

Foster Does Fundraising

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
2009 Foster Grads

2009 Foster Grads

Foster MBAs are not just thinking about that next case competition or how to get a great internship. We’re also racking up some serious volunteer hours chaperoning dances for the Boys & Girls Club and coaching basketball with Special Olympics athletes.

In an effort to generate funds for those great organizations, last weekend the Foster MBA Program hosted an amazingly successful auction. The event raised over $100,000! It was planned and staffed in its entirety by busy MBA students and was attended by hundreds of alumni, staff and faculty.

Some highlights of the night’s live auction:

– flying fish being thrown across the room by the famous fish mongers from Pike’s Place Market

– the heated bidding over poker night with several popular marketing professors and the Associate Dean

– hearing first hand from those who have benefited from the Boys & Girls Club and the Special Olympics

Getting all dressed up and drinking wine with our financial accounting professor wasn’t so bad either.

Raise the Paddle

Raise the Paddle

Dessert Dash

Dessert Dash