Life as an MBA

First Quarter: In the books

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

First-year student, Lauren Thompson, reflects upon her first quarter as a Foster School student and how she’s found some balance with her other important job: being the proud mother of a 4-year old boy. She chronicles this in her personal blog, LovingMarshall.com, and we’ve reposted it here.

First Quarter: In the books.

Last year, about this time, I attended a workshop on applying for a full-time MBA program. I had to book a babysitter because my husband traveled every other week to the East Coast for his job. As a work-from-home mom that was fairly new to Seattle, I was more anxious about navigating the bus system than going to the workshop itself.

Lauren Thompson.

Lauren Thompson.

This year, I’ve just finished my first quarter as an MBA student. My husband took a job that doesn’t travel so that I could (attempt) to balance parenting and go to school full-time. And my bus driver and I are on a first-“Hi! How are you?”-basis.

Last year, about this time, I packed all of Marshall’s lunches. I made most of our family meals. I proudly baked my homemade bread twice a week.

Now, Daniel is the one who makes sure Marshall’s lunches are packed. He does most of the cooking. (I could not have survived this Fall without him.) I am lucky if I bake anything that qualifies as “homemade” more than once a month.

Lauren Thompson.

Lauren Thompson.

Last year, about this time, I felt “new.” Most of my conversations were with friends in Austin and Alabama. I was equally in awe of Seattle’s beauty and depressed by its “lights out” at 4:30PM policy.

This year I feel connected. Most of my conversations are with people here in Seattle. My chats with my friends in Austin and Alabama are more positive. And I’m more concerned with understanding the Weighted Average Cost of Capital than worrying about the sun setting in the middle of the afternoon.

Lauren Thompson.

Lauren Thompson.

Last year, about this time, I walked Marshall to school every morning and picked him up every afternoon. I worked around his schedule, as I had for 3+ years. It was worth it. This year, I rarely get to take Marshall to school, or pick him up. I usually rush out before he leaves for school with Daniel, and I get home just before dinner. I thought I would feel guilty about this. More than that, I worried that Marshall would feel that I was neglecting him. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Marshall is thriving. He loves that he gets to spend so much time with Daniel. He loves that both he and Mommy are going to school. On nights and weekends, he often sees me studying, and occasionally he gets frustrated when I can’t play with him. More often, though, he curls up beside me and does his own “work.” (Sometimes his chicken scratch makes more sense to me than Accounting.) At the risk of being overly sentimental, my son is proud of me. And I’m proud to show him that women in this country can be mothers and students and career builders and influencers. We don’t have to choose.

Lauren Thompson.

Lauren Thompson.

Last year, I made pancakes every weekend, to the delight of my 100 Instagram followers (and my dad).

That hasn’t changed one bit.

Lauren Thompson, MBA '15, and her son Marshall.

Lauren Thompson, MBA ’15, and her son Marshall.

Summer Internship Experience – Microsoft

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Evelyn Chiang - Microsoft Summer Internship

 

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

Our way of giving back to the community and also having fun – C4C Fundraiser and Weekend

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

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!

 

 

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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:

Overall Score

  • 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!

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18 Pieces of Advice to First-Year MBAs from Two Seattle Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

On Friday September 12th, 106 first year MBA students headed across Lake Washington to the headquarters of Microsoft where they had their Career Management Orientation. Below is a summary of the advice they received from two Seattle-based entrepreneurs, as collected by incoming student Nelson Tang.

Richard Tait and Foster alumnus Chris Howard spoke to new MBA Students at the MBA Career Management orientation.

Richard Tait and Foster alumnus Chris Howard spoke to new MBA Students at the MBA Career Management orientation.

Last Friday, the UW Full Time MBA students went to do a full-on career management day at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA.  We did a ton of activities, including a Q&A panel with recruiters in various industries, a ‘speed career date’ session with alumni and recruiters, and so on.  But the highlight for me was the keynote speech by Chris Howard (founder of Fuel Capital) and Richard Tait (inventor of Cranium, founder of Golazo, and tons of other companies!).  I was floored.

Because memories are fleeting, I’m writing this as a reminder to myself and my fellow MBA students so we don’t forget this advice!

  1. You’re gonna hear “no” over and over again.  Remember: it’s not about how many times you get knocked down – it’s how many times you get back up.
  2. Never blow out someone else’s candle.
  3. What do you want written on your tombstone?  Let those words guide your decisions and chart your path.
  4. Grades don’t matter.  There are 3 legs to the MBA experience, and networking is the most important.  While everyone else is playing fantasy football, you should be having informational interviews.  When you request someone’s time, be super prepared, have a super specific request.
  5. When the door opens and the opportunity arises, hit it with every fiber of your being.
  6. A good mentoring relationship should feel like osmosis…there’s an ebb and flow to the relationship, an exchange that goes both ways.
  7. On informational interviews:  Show up early, and do your research.  Have at least 10 awesome questions ready to go, and follow up with a handwritten note.  Keep them informal.
  8. Make a list of the 10 people you want to meet in the MBA program.  Have a tight filter/criteria for why you want to meet them.
  9. It’s not about grades or the classes you have to take.
  10. Go where the action is.
  11. You will make sacrifices to achieve your dream.
  12. Build a ‘Board of Advisors’ (about five people) for yourself that help you open closed doors and make big decisions.  Each person should have different backgrounds and specialties, but they should have some common values.  Check in with them at least quarterly.
  13. Be present.  Put the phones down.  These moments are the most impactful.  You owe it to yourself and your team to give 100%.
  14. Build a business plan for your life.  Check with your Board of Advisors.  Constantly re-evaluate your goals and values.
  15. Be open to “yes.”  You’re going to have to manage your time and say no to some opportunities to protect your time, but you never know what might happen if you say “yes.”  It might turn into something amazing.
  16. You’re going to be thrown a lot of opportunities.  Take risks, try things you’re uncomfortable with…whether it’s classes, clubs, activities, etc.  What do you have to lose?
  17. If you’re new to the region and don’t have a network – get on LinkedIn!  Networking takes a lot of work and you gotta hustle.  Seattle is a small town – everybody knows everybody.  Connect with all your classmates.
  18. After an informational interview, ask if there are two more people to meet.  See if they can help with the introduction, and include a form letter to make it easy for them.  And finally, for further reading, Richard recommended that we read “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Paypal.  The book basically includes notes from teaching the entrepreneurship class at Stanford.

For more from Nelson, check out http://www.nelsontang.com
Image creditwww.boomboombrands.com

My First Meeting with My MBA Mentor

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

January 30, 2014. 10:30 a.m. A coffee shop on Mercer Island.

“So Karshit, tell me, what’s the most pleasant surprise or the best thing that’s happened to you after moving from Mumbai to Seattle?”, I was asked.

This was during my first meeting with my mentor, Dennis Karlinsky, a UW alum and a senior director at Microsoft. Before the meeting, I was a little nervous. Dennis is such a senior executive and had committed an hour of his time, and I didn’t want to sound stupid.

My meeting with Dennis was scheduled from 10:00–11:00 a.m. At 8:30 a.m. I got an e-mail notifying me of a location change request from the earlier planned Redmond location to Mercer Island. I frantically reserved a cab and ensured I reach Mercer Island on time.

Right from the first impression, Dennis came across as a very humble, and a down to earth person with a contagious smile and a positive welcoming aura. During the conversation, he made me extremely comfortable and started asking me about my background, the experience in the MBA program so far, and what I intend to get out of the program. He also told me about his journey from modest roots to now, his rationale behind pursuing an MBA and the various difficult choices he had made during his career. I asked him for advice for the upcoming MBA internship season, and what qualities he saw in successful candidates during an interview and in the corporate world.

Perhaps, the most valuable thing that I got out of the interaction was how to convey my personal story better and build an emotional connect during an interview. Having left my family and friends and moving across seas to a totally new culture, risking a significant financial loan, and quitting an existing job to build skillsets to invest in advancing my career — after having sacrificed so much, I knew I wanted nothing but the best. Within such a short time, Dennis helped me tell my own story in a much more inspiring and effective manner.

We shared common beliefs and topics of interest–our belief in the power of good Karma, and building genuine relationships with people around. We talked about the Seahawks and the then-upcoming Super Bowl. The discussion continued, and a one hour meeting extended to three hours of a great conversation. Sadly, it was time to end this conversation and leave for a class.

Upon knowing that I had taken a cab in the morning to come meet him, Dennis was slightly infuriated [that I had to spend the money] and made it a point to drop me back to Foster. It was completely unexpected. Every single second of this meeting had left me overjoyed, and given me a whole new perspective.

As I walked back to the class, I pondered back to the question Dennis had posed, and I was convinced, this meeting with Dennis was the best thing that has happened to me in Seattle, yet! I feel lucky to have Dennis as my mentor, and intend to carry on the mentor-mentee relationship not just through the MBA program, but also beyond.

Moments like these have also made me reaffirm my belief in paying it back to the school and helping the future generations of MBA students with any help they may require of me.

I would also like to thank Susan Canfield and the MBA Career Management team for helping organize the Mentor Program, which is certainly invaluable for all the MBA students.

— Karshit Shah, MBA Class of 2015

 

More Information About the Mentor Program for MBA Students:

http://www.foster.washington.edu/mbacareers/Pages/MentorProgramStudentInfo.aspx

 

First Quarter at Foster

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

18th of December, 2013

Lost around 15 pounds;  Gained a truckload of knowledge; Earned a GPA of 3. Something; Formed hundreds of friendships: All of this in the first 12 weeks of the Foster MBA.

December 18th, 2013: As I entered the program office, I had this weird feeling. It felt like I was standing in the same place finishing my admission formalities just yesterday. The past 12 weeks went by so fast that it’s unbelievable.

I had done research on the Internet to prepare for the upcoming move from corporate to student life. But as we started orientation and attended Jump Start courses (a quick crash course in business fundamentals) I was amazed at how smooth my transition was. Of course, all of my preparation was not a waste of time, but a second year student’s advice was right; the best way to prepare oneself for the program is to relax as much as you can because once you start, you will never (and in my case I don’t want to) stop. All the doubts that I had about myself being able to adapt to a new country and culture were cleared when I saw the amount of support I got from professors and students alike. To quote Albus Dumbledore –“Help will be given to those who ask for it.”

The pure high that I got from learning new things and broadening my perspective kept me going. As I continued my daily reading online, I started the applying new finance and accounting knowledge to interpret business news. All the homework, case studies, and career research was overwhelming at times but what kept me motivated was that I was in love with the constant battle of mind over body.

I had heard that the 3C’s mantra – confidence, competence and connections -help one to succeed in this world. Well, they forgot the most important C – Care. By that I mean the care given by family, friends, and professors to support MBAs in winning this battle of mind over body. I am so grateful to all who helped me make it through the first quarter!

~ Guest post by Vishwa Shanti Vaddi, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate

Taking Advantage of Career Resources

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

One of the best things about Foster is the amount of career resources that are available. When you arrive you will quickly discover that a large number of people stand ready to help you develop a wide variety of skills. Nowhere has this been more apparent to me than in my work developing my public speaking skills. Every week I meet with Heidi Mathisen, a Business Communications Advisor at Foster. Every Wednesday we spend an hour developing my speaking skills. I prepare a one to five minute speech depending on the week, Heidi films me delivering it, and then we watch together and analyze my performance. Heidi’s feedback is extremely valuable and specific. First we spend time working on my content to ensure that my points are clear and memorable. Then we work on things like my posture, gestures, phrasing, tone of voice, and use of filler words. Soon we are going to begin working on public speaking while integrating visuals such as PowerPoint. Since each speech is filmed I can directly watch myself improve from week to week. Though I came into the program a reasonably confident public speaker, I have seen my skills steadily improve over the last quarter.

An awkward still from my first session. I’ve gotten better since then.

An awkward still from my first session. I’ve gotten better since then.

I realize that I am at a point in my career where I am able to intensively develop skills of this nature. Never again will someone be willing to sit with me for an hour a week to help me develop such an important skill. Public speaking isn’t the only skillset that offers enrichment opportunities of this nature. Career services offers interview workshops, primers on different industries, and the opportunity to hear about a variety of exciting new technologies. Overall I have gained immensely from my meetings with Heidi and am excited to see how much I will develop over the coming quarters.

~ Guest post by Dave Stecher, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate

An Engineer in Business Land

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I hadn’t always planned to go to business school. In high school I had always done my best in numbers, calculations, cold logic. Everything else was an abstraction. It made no sense to me that there could be more than one answer, or that responses to questions could run a spectrum of right and wrong. In undergrad I studied aeronautical and astronautical engineering and thrived. We used to say that we were really just glorified math majors and we’d joke to each other that “this isn’t liberal arts; we should all get the same answer.” I had always been most comfortable when there was one – and only one – right answer; when it was black and white, yes or no, true or false. It seemed incomprehensible to me to want it any other way, when there was a world of concrete, verifiable absolutism that just made sense.

Fast forward a few years to a few weeks before making the big move to the West Coast. Up until this time, there were two sides to the world that I knew: there was engineering – that marvelous straight-forward world where, if you got your numbers right and all your decimals and arithmetic signs aligned, it was guaranteed to work – and there was everything else. “Everything else” was a big, grey, fuzzy ether on the other side of the wall that separated my small corner of the world from them. I knew there were business people at my old job – financial analysts and planners, human resource managers, accountants, auditors, market analysts and salespeople – but I never saw them. Nor did I really have any clue what it was that they did, or how they did it, or even how it affected the company.

And yet, with each new person that I spoke to, I became increasingly convinced that an MBA would be the wisest course of action. It would open up more doors than a focused engineering degree. It would open up a plethora of new career paths and options to me. It would diversify my skill set. It would bring clarity to that amorphous, hazy something that I called “the rest of the world.”

Now I was poised to hurl myself over that wall and into that foggy, non-specific void to find out what lay beyond. In addition to the usual anxieties and what-if’s that everyone faces when going through a major life change, I was preoccupied with another set of trepidations. Would I be the only engineer in a class full of business majors? Would I be struggling to grasp concepts while everyone around me enjoyed a leisurely review of fundamentals? How could I survive in an environment where there was no single correct answer to any question? To what had I so blindly committed myself, my savings, and the next two years of my life?

I’ve found from prior experience that it never does well to dwell on anxieties, as they have a way of blowing themselves out of proportion. In the weeks leading up to my relocation and subsequent plunge into the frigid, icy unknown, I embarked on an 8,000-mile solo road trip, half conceived by wanderlust and half escapism. I spent three weeks alone, avoiding civilization, and going places I had no business going to with a rear-wheel drive coupe.

If you’ve ever spent any considerable amount of time in solitude, you know that your mind tends to drift towards subjects you’d rather not think about. Anxieties become amplified; insecurities you thought were safely in the closet come marching back out. More than once I thought (if only fleetingly) of turning around, canceling my enrollment and heading back to the comfort of my known universe.

Three things kept me steadfast in my commitment to attend business school. Firstly, I knew that I needed a change in my life and this was to be it. I get restless and bored if I stay in one place for too long, and five years on the East Coast was my limit. Secondly, I focused on what the workload might be. In undergrad, a 20 hour day was not atypical for me. If that’s what it took to succeed in business school, then I could do it. Thirdly, and most importantly, I knew that if I turned away from a defining personal challenge such as this, it would be a long time before I earned back my own self-respect.

So, now here I am, at the end of my first quarter as an engineer-turned-MBA student. At this stage, I can only say one thing for certain: I made the right choice, and in the words of a certain 16th century English playwright, I had made much ado about nothing.

For one, my apprehensions about sleepless nights have thus far proved baseless. I have finals coming up, but I’ve still managed to find the time to write this saga.

It also turned out I’m not the only engineer in the class, and as I got to know some of my classmates I found that regardless of our backgrounds many of them had the same or similar reservations about coming to school. We all came to this place with different strengths and weaknesses. Whether someone’s background was in engineering or computer science, finance or marketing, music theory or underwater basket-weaving, we were all in the same boat, on a more or less even playing field.

The career management center and professional development team work tirelessly to analyze your skill set, drill down to your fundamental essence and help you discover your transferable skills; the skills needed to succeed in business that you didn’t know you already possessed.

Even with this new-found self-discovery, the classes are still challenging; the workload burdensome at times. But the shared drudgery becomes the commonality that knits the class together. And the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.

The future still remains murky and unclear. I don’t know where I’ll end up when I graduate, in both a career sense and a geographic sense. In a previous life, when I was dependent on the need to have a clearly defined sense of the right and wrong directions to take, that might have given me insomnia. But now I know that I can learn how to pick the right answer within the context of the situation. That erstwhile shapeless and formless “other-world” becomes tangible and I can define my own path without the need for the crutch of absolutism.

~ Guest post by Kevin Cotter, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate

Reflections on Group Work At Foster

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I’ll admit to approaching my first quarter at Foster with some nervousness. I had heard a lot about the core teams and knew a lot was riding on how well my team functioned. In the first quarter at Foster each student is assigned to a core team of five or six students. This team you are assigned for every class during your first quarter. To understate it somewhat, you spend a lot of time with your team. The idea of being assigned a team of people from different professional backgrounds, with different skill sets, and different goals for their MBA experience made me a little nervous.

Now I am nearly at the end of my first quarter, and am pleased to report back on my experiences with Team 4. I have quickly become friends with each team member and would heartily recommend them for any sort of project. Each member of the team is incredibly hard working, sharp, and genuinely nice. We meet an unusually high amount – every weekday for at least two hours. We’re even meeting up to play tennis this weekend. We don’t do it because we have to. We could meet less and we would still get our work done. However, I think there are several reasons we choose to meet so often. The first is that we genuinely enjoy being around each other. The second is that we are much more productive when we are together than we are individually. My experience working in a core team has truly facilitated my learning and (I believe) the learning of those around me. I also would not have been able to attain nearly as high of levels of productivity on my own as I could when surrounded with such a great team. I can wholeheartedly endorse the core teams as one of the best parts of my MBA experience so far and I know the same will be true of next year’s incoming students!

~ Guest post by Dave Stecher, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate

Making the Most of Your First Year as a Blue Dot

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

For some of us, it may have been a little while since our last “First Day of School.” Beyond that, many of us may have never experienced a First Day where it wasn’t even us going to school! My student had a month to get ready for Foster classes to begin, and it still seemed like the first day came very quickly, and his calendar filled up so fast that I barely knew what hit us.

What exactly is a Blue Dot? We are the spouses and significant others of students in the program (legend has it the name was born from the blue dots that used to adorn our name tags at welcome events). Even though we may not actually be taking classes, the Blue Dots are a big part of the Foster experience for our Students. Whether it’s preparing dinners for them to fuel long nights of studying, or listening to them use a ton of acronyms that never seem to make sense (worst offender is NPV or Net Present Value), being a Blue Dot is an important job to have. Here are a couple tips as your Student and you start your first year as MBA and hMBA (honorary MBA) students:

  • Share a calendar – Club meetings, due dates, happy hours and late night happy hours creep up quickly, so the best thing to do is share visibility into each other’s lives as early as possible!
  • Dress yo’ self – Your student might be getting some new UW gear to show off their Husky pride, so don’t forget to get some yourself (insert shameless plug for the Foster Huddle/official tailgate club here).
  • Reaching out – Whether you’ve been in Seattle for ages or you just moved here, the Blue Dots know what you’re going through (frustrations and joys!) so don’t forget to say hello. Excusing yourself from a Student conversation after 3 aforementioned acronyms is a perfect time to scan the room for a Blue Dot to chat up!
  • Lunch planning – We’ve been trying to eat healthier and cheaper in our house, and the temptation to eat on the Ave is strong. A bento box has been a time/money/lifesaver and it’s super easy to fill with leftovers from the night before (and carrots or almonds in our case). Our favorite is Zojirushi brand.
  • It’s never too late – as a non-native Seattleite, I feel like fall is one of the craziest and busiest times. It can be easy to realize that it’s December and you still haven’t socialized with your Student’s classmates or their Blue Dots as much as you wanted to the first quarter. But don’t worry, you’re always a part of the clan and we’ll welcome you with open arms in January… or May :)

Shameless plug #2 – if you haven’t yet joined the Foster MBA Blue Dot group, please do! We’re at https://www.facebook.com/groups/FosterMBABlueDots/ and we hope to see you soon. Good luck this year!

~ Guest post by Christina Green, 2014 Blue Dot