Life as an MBA

The 2015 UW Business Plan Competition: Co-chair perspective

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Last year, I had the pleasure of serving as one of the two MBA co-chairs for the Buerk Center of Entrepreneurship’s annual Business Plan/New Venture Competition. This was a priceless experience, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering working in an early-stage startup or starting a new venture.

the business plan competition

Follow your Passion

“Just follow your passion.”

That’s the career advice I’ve heard countless times. Follow your dreams, and the rest will come. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. When I was in the Air Force, I thought about life on the outside and imagined how great it would be to be your own boss, to be in control of your own destiny. I devoured stories about people starting their own companies, and learned how veterans can be amazing entrepreneurs.

Trouble is, I didn’t know what I was passionate about. I didn’t have one singular problem that I wanted to solve. So I was hoping that a full-time MBA would help me find that problem, and lead me on the path toward becoming the next great entrepreneur. I dove headfirst into the Seattle entrepreneurship community, and went to all the events that I could find through the University of Washington’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

That’s when I got involved with the UW Business Plan Competition. And it would change my life forever. (more…)

Introducing: Marcus Dover, our new Diversity Initiatives Coordinator!

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

It’s my pleasure to introduce Marcus Dover (Class of 2016), our new Diversity Initiatives Coordinator for 2015-2016! Prior to the MBA, Marcus was in Accounting and Finance, and hopes to go into Marketing or Strategy. He’s also a huge 49ers fan and is active in the Foster Marketing Association, Diversity in Business, and many other clubs!

Marcus Dover, Class of 2016

Marcus Dover, Class of 2016

What led you to pursue an MBA?

I decided to pursue an MBA because I wanted to switch gears and do something completely different with my career. I was no longer interested in accounting, but also wasn’t quite sure what type of career I was interested in pursuing. I knew an MBA would allow me to explore new career possibilities while gaining a new skill set that would allow me to successfully make the switch.


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Foster C4C Sports Weekend 2015 Recap: Go Dawgs!

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a MBA student-led non-profit organization that brings together nine West Coast Business Schools to support the Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and local charities. Their signature event is the annual C4C Sports Weekend in Palo Alto. It’s an awesome time and one of the most cherished memories for many Foster MBA students. It’s my pleasure to introduce Erin Poulter, one the outgoing Challenge For Charity (C4C) co-presidents, who provides some great insight on what it was like to be at the C4C Sports Weekend this year!

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The summit is only the halfway point: thoughts on the first year of the MBA

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

mount st helens summit A few short weeks ago, the MBA class of 2016 breathed a collective sigh of relief as the last final was turned in, we had our end of year celebrations, and said our farewells to the graduating class of 2015. The class of 2015 is now transitioning into their post-MBA careers, and the class of 2016 is already starting their summer internships. We are now officially “second-years.”

For anyone looking to embark on their own MBA journey, here are my thoughts on the first year:

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Blue Dot Perspective: Mattie

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

blue dot perspective - mattie

Guest post by Mattie Winistorfer, a wonderful 2016 Blue Dot! Mattie’s fiance is a current student here at Foster, and she is a member of the ‘Blue Dots’ – the network of spouses and significant others whose loved ones are in the Foster MBA program. The name comes from the blue dot stickers that were put on their name tags during Admitted Student Welcome Weekends, to indicate that they were the spouse/significant other of an admitted student.

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Blue Dot Perspective: Greg

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

blue dot perspective - greg

Greg’s boyfriend is a current student here at Foster, and is a member of the ‘Blue Dots’ – the network of spouses and significant others whose loved ones are in the Foster MBA program. The name comes from the blue dot stickers that were put on their name tags during welcome weekends, to indicate that they were the spouse/significant other of an admitted student.

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Foster MBAs do Bollywood

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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.

Stuart Childress begins tenure as President of the MBA Association

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Stuart Childress, MBA Class of 2016, is President of the MBAA for 2015-16

On April 1st, rising second-year student Stuart Childress will be assuming the role of President of the MBA Association (MBAA) for the 2015-16 school year.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA, especially the full-time program at Foster?

Like many people at Foster or considering Foster, I am a career changer. I spent 5 years working at a non-profit doing program operations. As someone motivated by challenges and opportunities, I reached a point that I was no longer experiencing either of those and wanted to pivot to the for-profit sector. While I felt like I had leadership and project management experience in spades, I was lacking the quantitative skills like finance, statistics and accounting. I was already living in Seattle and wanted to eventually work here. I figured Foster would be a great entry into companies native to or with a Seattle presence. I ultimately chose Foster because it was a great fit for me culturally.

What motivated you to be involved in MBA student leadership?

Leadership has always been an area I’ve pursued. In fact, one of the really appealing aspects of Foster was the variety of available leadership opportunities, even as a first year. There is an inherent opportunity cost when you choose to do the full-time MBA program. I really believe that as students, we have the power to shape our Foster experience and extract the value from it that we want and expect. But, we have to take the initiative as leaders to make it happen.

What goals do you have for the MBAA this next year?

  • Streamline communication between various aspects of Foster Program, including Program, Academics, Career Management and Student Clubs.
  • Increase collaboration between first and second years
  • Continue to improve processes between Career Management and students

What has been your experience with being in the full-time MBA Program?

My experience has been really positive. To be honest, I was intimidated about coming to the MBA program. I didn’t quite know what to expect. But, I got over that fear really quickly. My classmates are smart, interesting, and incredibly helpful. The professors, career management, etc. really want you to get the most out of this program. And, we really do have a lot of fun. Of course, as with anything, there are some improvements I would like to see. As a class, we are already pushing for changes that hopefully will make your experience even better.

What advice would you give someone looking at pursuing an MBA?

My primary advice is, as I mentioned, you give up a lot to pursue an MBA–salary, time, possibly location. Make sure pursuing an MBA actually fits in with you career goals (even if they are not entirely nailed down) and is not just an exit strategy from your current position. I’ll have more advice for you once you’ve decided to attend!

Stuart and 1st year classmates at the annual Polar Plunge, benefiting Foster's C4C and the Special Olympics of Washintgton

Stuart and 1st year classmates at the annual Polar Plunge, benefiting Foster’s C4C and the Special Olympics of Washintgton

Stuart, third from left, and her Study Team from Winter Quarter

Stuart, third from left, and her Study Team from Winter Quarter

Stuart and friends, decked out in 80s and 90s gear, are having a blast at the Neon TG.

Stuart and friends, decked out in 80s and 90s gear, are having a blast at the Neon TG.

 

 

My Experiences of a Study Abroad Exchange Program in Japan

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

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To be honest, one of the main reasons I chose to apply to the Foster MBA program was for its excellent exchange programs with 16 partner schools in 14 countries around the world, which include Japan. I had always wanted to do an exchange program in Japan.

As I recall my study abroad experience and think about how to fit an extraordinary 4-month experience in one short blog, all my senses are awakened once again as if I’m seeing the beautiful red autumn leaves, eating a plate of fresh sushi and meditating in a quiet temple.

To me, Japan is a land of inspiration. Beauty lies in everything, from the Japanese language to the sophisticated art forms, but this beauty is not obvious on the surface. One must carefully observe and learn about Japan to fully appreciate it. In Osaka (a major city in Japan), people call a potato “o-imo-san,” where only “imo” means potato. “o” is a term which is used to show respect, “san” is a suffix used after a person’s name to show affection. In brief, people from Osaka call a potato something like “Dear Mr. Potato.” The Japanese rock garden is an art form in itself, composed by an arrangement of rocks, trees and sand which create different forms and images. The largest rock garden in Japan, which I’ve seen and really liked, depicts the image of a pair of dragons emerging from a sea of clouds.These are just two among tons of examples showing the uniqueness, creativity and inspiration the Japanese culture carries.

As exchange students in Japan, we got a chance to grasp the creativity of Japan in an MBA elective at Waseda Business school called Creative Thinking and Ethics in Business. Nobody would expect to have such a class in an MBA program where you learn abstract painting, talk about meditation and the different functions of the left and right brain. It was one of my favorite classes at Waseda. In a nutshell, the class taught us how to practice creativity through understanding which side of the brain we use more often, through abstract painting to express feelings and how important creativity is to various fields of life, including business. We also learned about intriguing research on the difference between a native Japanese speaker’s brain and the brain of those with other native languages, which explains why the Japanese love the sounds of insects and their cHaounterparts don’t. This class, to me, provides excellent evidence of the fact that creativity is an integral part of the Japanese way of doing things.

Inspiration came from not only the language, the art, and the classes, but also from the people I met. A young Japanese couple who has two little boys hosted me in Kyoto for several days. Since they have kids they could not travel, even though they both love travelling and learning about new cultures. Instead, they host visitors from around the world who come to Japan to exchange culture and ideas. Spending a wonderful time eating, talking with them and their friends, and playing with the boys made me think about my future family. It would be a great idea to host international guests once I have my own family. I’d love to bring in people from around the world who come visit my country, to share stories and experiences with them.

In a few words, this is how I remember Japan: beautiful natural scenery, mesmerizing old streets and houses, unique and exciting culture, and delicious food. And yes, the slogan of its tourism industry is absolutely correct: Endless discovery. Yet, all these features seem static. Thinking about them will bring me back to some points in time in the past. There is one thing I took from Japan that I know will go with me for a very long time: Inspiration.

Ha Tran
MBA Candidate, Class of 2015

China Study Tour: MBA Students explore business in China

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

In December, a group of MBA students took part in the Global Study Tour to China. Accompanied by staff and faculty, they visited Shanghai and Beijing and visited 12 companies while exploring the cultural and economic landscape of China. Below is a recap written by current student Ryan Osher (MBA ’16).

 

China Study Tour 8Growth. Scale. Partnership.

These were common themes noticed by 8 Foster MBA’s as they traveled across China last December. Their visit included 12 companies and 3 days worth of free time to enjoy all the best Beijing and Shanghai had to offer. Students were eager to dive in to China’s culture and present themselves on behalf of Foster. What they didn’t expect, however, was just how meaningful the company visits would be and the lasting friendships that were made.

The two week trip included visits to Microsoft, Amazon, and Nike, to name a few. Students learned Boeing’s strategy to maintain growth in China, directly from the President of Boeing China. They met with the CFO of Starbucks China to better understand how the world’s largest coffee company was able to successfully enter and thrive in a tea drinking country. In addition, Directors at Apple explained their strategy to navigate around counterfeit products and maintain their growth rate. Students also met with foreign service agents from the United States Embassy to better understand trade relations and diplomatic efforts between the US and China.

The two week trip provided rich experiences and a lifetime of insight. More than anything, the company visits left each traveler with a greater understanding and appreciation for China as the country continues to drive the world’s economic growth. It is incredible that Foster provides students with the opportunity to experience culture and business first-hand as they develop into the global business leaders of the future.China Study Tour 6 China Study Tour 7