Life as an MBA

So Your Sweetheart wants an MBA… Advice from a Foster Blue Dot

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Hi Future blue-dots, fellow blue dots and maybe you Foster MBA’s that read this blog!

I’m not totally sure about the term blue dot[1], but the term does speak to the commonality of the experience that I, and you reading this, might share. That experience would be the joys and hardships of dating a Foster MBA.

Well, my ‘blue dots,’ you are in luck!  I’m here to share with you some tips for survival.

Be comfortable with the idea that your partner isn’t going to be around.

Confession time: I skipped out on the first year. I was graduating from a super competitive design program in NYC and I missed my fiancé like all get out. It sucked and it is a steep learning curve, especially if you’re used to doing everything with your partner. All I could do was trust that our relationship was strong, and be able to communicate my needs adequately.

Know how to communicate with your partner. Quickly!

Speed isn’t actually key here. But being able to be a good communicator will help. If any of you figure that one out, please let me know.  I’m actually, if you haven’t noticed, terrible at relationship advice. I’m probably one bad day away from being a sad lady who cries in cat videos! But I have been told that communication is key, so I am passing this on to you.

Carve out time for the two of you.

Matt and I are notoriously bad at this.

Matt: When do you want it to be us time?
Me: I dunno. Whenever.

3 days later.

Me: WHERE ARE YOU?

Everyone always says to do this. I just always assume that all time is me time. It’s why Matt spends a lot of time at Paccar really. For those of you that aren’t emotionally three years old… maybe sit down and agree on a date night. For Matt and I date time is from 8am to 10am on Saturday mornings, except during the football playoffs when all bets are off. We usually spend date time either sound asleep or ignoring each other. I love date time.

Get to know your fellow blue dots, and your partner’s friends as well.

I moved here from NYC and I didn’t know a soul outside of the Foster circle. I was really fortunate that in the year that we had been apart my fiancé was sowing the seeds of a fun new life.  We have been so lucky to have made some great friends here! It’s made our Seattle experience worth-while, and I’ve really cherished the time I’ve spent getting to know them. Fellow Blue dots can be a life saver. They will get what you’re going through, and you can all laugh about the experience together.  Preferably over beer, wine or cocktails.

Don’t mind nights alone. Cultivate you and do what you love.

I’m outgoing and friendly, but I’m also the world’s biggest introvert. I don’t notice as much when Matt has been out for hours at a time after I get home from work. I love the chance to sit on the couch and watch YouTube videos about cats without judgment, read whatever books I want, and eat as many cookies as I can. If that is not your jam then take some to think about what makes you happy. And then do it.  The very best thing about my last year in NYC was that my partner was across the country so I got spend so much more time with my friends than I would have otherwise. And now I can look back on that difficult time and remember how lucky I was that I got to have those late night dinners with my sisters and all weekend long LoTR marathons with my friends.

Enjoy this time!

Foster is a nifty place. There are all of these opportunities to engage the community here, and two years, as I state below, is an extremely short amount of time in the grand scheme of things. So go to events, go to parties, go to bar nights! Take advantage of everything that’s available to you, because once it’s gone, it’s over. One of my regrets is not getting to participate as much during Matt’s first year.

Don’t listen to the naysayers.

This is the most important one. I spent one very long month reading all about how MBA relationships just don’t work out. I quoted the stats to myself and judged every conversation with my partner on if he was getting ready to dump me. I was completely psyching myself out! These blogs and stats are the bane of your existence. Just repeat that ad nauseum and you’ll be fine.

Just remember that two years isn’t really that long.

You might want to download a countdown widget for your iPad or PC. Then be amazed at how quickly the time passes.

Everyone is different. So my advice will probably only work for about 3 of you. You’re welcome Foster.

Also, before you drag me away kicking and screaming from this blog platform: a shout out to any of you in LDR’s[2]. They are so tough, and they can be so lonely and frustrating. But if you really love the person you are with, you can make it work! Don’t listen to all the jerks in the back row who say you can’t.

 

~Guest Blogger Amanda Lodi, fiancé to Matt Jasper, Full-time Class of 2013

 


[1] Ed. Note: Significant others of Foster MBAs are known within the program as ‘blue dots’ due to the small stickers traditionally placed on their name tags during welcome weekend to distinguish between students and their partners for logistics’ sake.

[2] Long-distance relationships

Taking a Pause

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Being a 2nd year MBA is amazing. You no longer have 8:30 classes assigned to you, you get to take the classes you want, and you’ve got the confidence of an internship behind you! So fear not, young 1st year Padawans, there’s a bright future if you just stick it out.

What I really appreciate about being a 2nd year is the whole new level of confidence I have in my personal goals. I’m taking a small load (only  13 credits!) this quarter because I want to take some time to really focus on my career search, my classes, and the people in my life. My first year I was still coping from the shock of being back in school after five years in the work world and trying to re-learn how to write memos and reports longer than two paragraphs. I was stressed about doing well academically and on scoring a summer internship early. I didn’t really have as much time to sit back and think about what I wanted to do once I had my MBA. This quarter I’m blocking out time on my calendar to do just that: taking personal assessments and time to reflect on the person I want to be and the type of career that follows from those goals.

I also enjoy having more time for the classes I do want to take. I learned my lesson from Spring Quarter – taking a 2 credit class does not mean half the work, it just means an entire quarter’s work consolidated in half the time! So this quarter I’ve got more time to do all the readings, think about the course content, and actually learn. The key to success is preparation, especially in my Negotiations class. In this course, you’re given the details of a case and have about an hour in class to come to an agreement with your partner on how to carve and share that mythical pie. I highly recommend this class, it will change your world.

Finally, I am prioritizing making time for people. This includes being involved in clubs to a greater capacity than I was last year, and also keeping in touch with friends. Serving on the boards of clubs really helps cement the relationship with fellow Fosterites and enables you to build additional channels of access to companies for networking purposes. Just about the only drawback about 2nd year is that everyone is on a different schedule, so some people I’m lucky if I see only twice a week, which makes coffee breaks that much more important.

~Guest Blogger Bin Ma, Full-time Class of 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

What a difference a year makes. Last year, I completed my last tour as a U.S. Marine, moved from my duty station in Japan back to Seattle, studied for the GMAT, worked tirelessly on my business school applications, and reconnected with old friends and colleagues.

This year, I finished up my volunteer service as a writing and math tutor at 826 Seattle, rekindled my passion for jazz music and swing dance, connected with local veterans and military-friendly companies, and traveled to Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. And now, in less than a month, I will hang up my uniform and don a business suit…and this old Marine will soon become a full-time MBA student at the Foster School of Business.

After my deployment to Iraq, I knew that I did not want to make the military a long-term career. I joined the Marines out of a sense of patriotism and duty, stemming from the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. I wanted to serve my country, deploy to Iraq, and, like Cincinnatus, go back home. My military experience helped me discover my personal strengths and professional interests and develop my leadership and management skills. But I knew that I didn’t know enough about business theory and practices. I was hungry and wanted to know more. And I saw business school as a way to satisfy that hunger and make a successful career transition from the military to the business world.

Having spent my entire career overseas in Asia and the Middle East, I look forward to starting business school in my hometown of Seattle. I look forward to meeting and learning as much as I can from my future classmates and professors. I look forward to making lifelong friendships and golden memories. I look forward to the parties and social events. I look forward to building my professional network and making inroads into the local technology industry. But most of all, I look forward to starting a new chapter in my life as a veteran in business school.

Every now and then, I miss the Corps. Sometimes, I wonder how the veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam made the transition back to civilian life after they got back from the war. How did they cope with hanging up their uniform and remaking themselves as part of American society? Last year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, said, “A Marine is a Marine…there’s no such thing as a former Marine. You’re a Marine, just in a different uniform and you’re in a different phase of your life.” As I begin the journey of the Foster MBA program, I know that I will have to remake my identity on a personal and professional level, but I also know that I don’t have to forsake my identity as a Marine. And thanks to the wisdom of General Amos, I will stand as a proud veteran at Foster and, in return, hope to make the Corps proud someday.

~Guest Blogger Mark Bonicillo, Full-time Class of 2014

Time for a Change

Friday, August 10th, 2012

What are your life-time career goals? Jesus, I don’t know…to retire early? I overheard my sister ask my niece what she wanted to be when she grew up and I leaned in closer to hear the answer. Maybe this six year old knows something I don’t. In case you’re wondering the answer was cashier at the grocery store or the trash guy. She didn’t want to touch the trash; she just wanted to drive the truck and operate the arm that picked up the cans. These answers did not inspire anything in me. Although the discount at the grocery store was appealing, I had little interest in wearing an apron. Also, I’m too short to drive a trash truck.

For the last ten years I have developed my expertise in a small and specialized industry, which was dying a slow and painful death. I could see the writing on the wall and needed to reinvent myself, but transitions are difficult. As my old boss was fond of saying, “change just brings problems”. This brilliant, albeit fictional, political campaign slogan was quoted ironically, but that company has since had to lay off more than half its staff.

A career change was in order. I have extensive experience in a very specific field and I didn’t think this was enough to make the career change I wanted. So, I decided to go back to school. This presents a new set of challenges, like “What are your life-time career goals?” Answering this question actually forced me to examine what I wanted as opposed to what was immediately available to me. I wanted more options and felt an MBA could help me with that.

Foster has lots of the qualities I was looking for in a school. Ideologically, the program’s very supportive and collaborative environment was a plus. I didn’t quite realize how prevalent this theme was until I arrived at the welcome weekend. It’s all anyone talks about. Well that and coffee. A good number of the students were also career changers, the class was a little smaller and more diverse, and the location was a draw. The cooperative focus was actually a really strong selling point for a career changer like me. Let’s be honest, I can use all the help I can get.

Ultimately, these little bits of information about the program and the opinions of a bunch of people I don’t know are all I had to go on. Is Foster a good fit for me? I think so, but I haven’t even started yet. My own experience will be shaped greatly by what I put into it, but I just don’t know exactly what that looks like. It may be the best decision I ever made. I’ll let you know in two years. So, right now the only thing I’m certain of is that Foster will be the best MBA experience of my life, or really, the only one. Here’s hoping I’m right and Foster is a good fit.

~Guest blogger Nicki Miyoshi, Full-time Class of 2014

How It All Gets Done

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Ever wonder how Foster MBAs gear up for a new week of classes, manage their career searches, and manage to keep themselves sane?  Here is one account.

By Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013.  Gwyn graduated from Smith College with a double-major in Computer Science and American Studies.  After teaching two years in rural Mississippi with Teach for America, she spent five years in the educational testing industry before her interest in organizational behavior and development drew her to business school.

It is 9:30 Sunday morning when the homework panic hits.  Over coffee and an English muffin, I start running through the present status of my weekend To Do list. Due to surprisingly gorgeous weather, I only completed one assignment on Saturday, a review and self-evaluation of a speech I gave last week in ‘Finding Your Voice,’ a business communications course…which means that I have a lot to do on Sunday.

I have to:

  • Update my resume and draft and submit cover letters for 2 internships
  • Review the speech of one of my classmates and provide peer feedback
  • Read Bill Gate’s Harvard commencement speech as a sample exhortation to ‘Change the World’
  • Read 2 assigned articles for my Ads & Promotions class
  • Complete an online problem set on MyAccountingLab
  • Complete a case write up for Managerial Accounting
  • Prep for a 5 PM team meeting on our first Operations case of the term
  • Write a personal statement and submit my scholarship application for the coming school year

Oh, and also:

  • Clean my apartment
  • Do two loads of laundry
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Prepare dinner and fix lunches for the beginning of the week
  • Go to bed on time!

My mind spinning, I feel myself getting sucked into an anxiety-driven negative feedback loop.  How will I get everything done?  There are not enough hours in the day!

And then I remember that I have given myself a mantra to get through days like this: I can only do one thing at a time, and it is going to be OK.

OK.

First things first, I run my laundry down to the basement.  Easy. Done.

Next!

In sequence, over the next few hours, I diligently work my way through my chores and most of my homework assignments, and even manage to submit my scholarship application.  Every time my mind tries to distract me with dire warnings – you have so much more to do! Don’t forget you have a meeting tonight!  And there is no food in the fridge! – I remind myself: I can only do one thing at a time.  It is going to be OK.

And so, one step at a time, I work my way through the afternoon, completing my course work.

An hour into my team meeting, my colleague and I are stuck with only two out of three case questions answered.  Reviewing the case and our class notes illuminates nothing, so we agree to break early. He makes plans to follow-up with our professor the next day while I agree to turn our preliminary notes into workable text; we will reconvene with the rest of our team Monday evening.  Sometimes, the best solution to a knotty problem is to know when to take a step back.

I stop by the grocery store to stock up on food for the week and when I get home I decide to take an hour (or two…or three!) off of work to make myself dinner, watch some TV and browse the Internet.  At 10:00 PM it’s back to work to finish off the night with my Managerial Accounting write-up.  But wait – have I forgotten something?

The internships!

I check the Foster MBA Jobs website and confirm that two internships I have flagged as possibilities have applications due tonight.  Do I have time to write both cover letters AND finish my case?  I certainly don’t have time to panic, so I set to work.  After checking in with some friends online and getting both advice and encouragement, I return my attention to the two internships.  One of them, I realize, was flagged in haste; the job description matches neither my background nor my interests.  Well, that’s one less thing to do!  In the next hour I shine up my resume and craft a new cover letter, with notes I saved from the Career Center to serve as reminders of format, content, do’s and don’t’s.  After reading through my materials twice, I submit my application just under the wire.  Phew!

I quickly shift gears back to my Managerial Accounting case and begin to work on my write-up but find myself struggling to make simple connections.  I look at the clock and have to acknowledge that I am pretty much useless this close to midnight; if I keep plugging away it will be nothing but diminishing returns for the rest of the night.

And so I go to bed.

At 7:30 Monday morning, I return to the task at hand.  Over coffee and an English muffin, I work my way through a comparison of a traditional costing system and activity-based costing at a small commercial bank.  In less than an hour I’ve completed the case and posted responses to the course’s page on Blackboard.

The sun is shining yet again as I head out of my apartment towards the bus.  I can tell that this week is off to a great start!  I can only do one thing at a time, and right now I’m going to enjoy blue skies above my head and the blossoming trees that line my route towards town.

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

Does it get easier? Five stories from 2nd Years

Monday, January 16th, 2012

The myth of business school is that life gets easier in your second year. While life may not necessarily get easier, it definitely changes, mostly for the better. Below are 5 stories highlighting life as a second year in the full-time Foster MBA program.

The Full Foster Experience
By Guest Blogger Jenny Brackett, Full-Time Class of 2012. Jenny is an MBA/MHA candidate focused on operations and project management. She currently serves as an intern for the UW Medical Center Planning & Referral Department and as a board fellow for Group Health Foundation. She is also vice president of the Biotech & Healthcare Club. Prior to graduate school, Jenny worked in public relations and marketing for clients including Swedish Medical Center, the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Intel Corporation, among others. She is originally from Whidbey Island and is a double-Husky completing Bachelors of Arts degrees in communication and psychology from University of Washington in 2005.

As a second year full-time MBA student, I have pretty much loaded my schedule with as many activities as possible, and I am enjoying every minute of it. When I look back on my first year, while I was incredibly busy with constant deliverables in each class and part-time work, I still felt as if I could have done more. This year, I’m pushing myself to experience all that the Foster MBA experience has to offer.

Classes are obviously priority one. Since I am also in the MHA program (Master of Health Administration), I am taking 18 credits every quarter. My schedule this winter includes five classes, three of which are at Foster and two are in the School of Public Health. The two buildings are literally as far away on campus as possible so I spend a fair amount of time trekking across campus. Some days it’s cold and tiring when I’m feeling lazy, but the views on campus are amazing, and I’m trying to soak up the scenery as much as possible. It’s also built-in exercise which is an added bonus.

Part of my time is spent in my internship in the UW Medical Center Planning and Referral Development department. I am able to fit about 18 hours each week, but I do have to take a night class to open up enough work hours in the day. This is fine since many electives are offered at night, and second years typically take at least one night class. One quarter I also served as a grader for an evening MBA course. It was possible to juggle this, but I definitely went a little overboard.

Besides this, I fill spare moments with activities for the Biotech & Healthcare Club, Operations Club and Leadership Fellows. I also serve as a Board Fellow for Group Health Foundation, so I attend board and committee meetings every few weeks. And as every Foster MBA does, I make sure to log my C4C volunteer hours. It’s not all work though. I definitely make time for fun at TGs and occasional Pub Club. It’s a great opportunity to unplug and socialize.

In your second year, every day is a little different, and everyone’s schedules are different from one another’s. We are all busy but we’ve each customized how we want to spend our time. For me, the busier, the better. It’s only going to happen once, might as well enjoy it.

Get Out What You Put In
By Guest Blogger Sita Dontharaju, Full-Time Class of 2012. Sita is originally from India, studied metallurgical engineering, worked as a software engineer for 4 years and finally found her passion in business. She is passionate about technology and interested in the tech industry for a career. She looks forward to achieving her goals while giving back to Foster.

Here I am, successfully completed one year and one quarter of my MBA and calling myself a second year student! Sounds like a privilege!

First year was busy, as you can read the posts on this blog, and particularly for me there was a lot of getting accustomed. However, second year has been another life changing experience. Having been acclimatized to Seattle, Foster and having finished most core courses, time had come to make decisions that directly affected my career. The challenges I had were diverse – internship that continued as a part-time job through the quarter, a teaching assistantship, club activities, great courses taught by the best professors and most importantly – hunt for the perfect job!

There was a lot of working smart with lot of planning than simply working hard. I always had a schedule and tried my best to do justice to it. There were definitely times when I was not able to stay on top of all the activities due to the busy schedule and conflicting priorities. And then I learnt, it is not always possible to achieve 100% of the goals but giving your 100% is more important. And that gave me a very positive outlook.

The club activities, the TGs and the campus events were always a welcome break from school work. The part-time job was great in its exposure to real-life problems and challenges and gave further motivation to learn more at school. The great faculty made the case studies an amazing experience. And putting all these together, mixed with the great Foster spirit made the dream job a reality.

And the most valuable assets are the bonds with classmates, the connections with the faculty and career coaches and the interactions with the Foster community. I learnt more from the great people around me than I did ever before, which is also the most unique part of my second year. The challenges and the rewards make the second year of MBA unique. Second year offers more challenges, and demands more conscious, calculated and relentless effort. At the same time rewards you with great camaraderie, precious moments and the will to achieve great heights!

And then I remember, during the orientation the dean said – “You will get from the MBA program as much as you put into it”! It’s so true. And second year is when you put in the most, knowing what you want!

It won’t be long before I miss being a second year!

What Happens when you say “Yes” to Extending your Internship
By Guest Blogger Andrew Roberts, Full-Time Class of 2012. Andrew is a Seattle local with an undergraduate degree in Economics from UW. His background in non-profit organizations and startups, but he finds himself in a lot of finance and strategy courses these days. He is looking to a career in consulting post-grad. When not over-scheduling himself with class and work obligations, he aspires to work-life balance with Crossfit, hiking, photography, and travel.

Who knows what I was thinking… I had survived year one of my MBA in good health and good spirits. I spent my summer dedicated to my work as an intern at Intellectual Ventures. Come fall quarter, by some strange luck and careful bidding, I had managed to squeeze 16 credits of core and electives into just two class days and two nights. When September came around, my efforts at IV had made an impression and they asked if I could stay on. A glance at my calendar showed three days a week completely free of school obligations. “I’d love to – looks like I can manage 20 hours or so…”
Now a taste of what *actually* happened:

Monday – Work Day
In the office by 8:30am, out by 6pm. I hate the commute to the Eastside. I like the free coffee and bagels at IV. Did I forget to eat lunch?
Finance team meeting to review case deliverable from 7pm to 8pm. Might get around to reading for Ethics afterwards…

Tuesday – Class Day
Ethics didn’t have a chance last night, so it’s Starbucks @ 8:30am to caffeinate, eat, and read up for class @ 10:30.
Lunchtime Meet the Firm for Deloitte Consulting, but I’m so sick of Vietnamese sandwiches I’ll have to forage elsewhere for food.
After lunch, it’s Finance with Jennifer Koski. I love the cold calls (no really, I do!). Then, another meeting with the Finance team to prep for next class. I’m so glad we have an accountant on our team…
Duck out of the meeting early at 5pm to catch an overview of the Study Tours this year. Brazil is going to be amazing…
Barely time to grab Coke before I’m off to my night class – Entrepreneurial Strategy with Darius Sankey, who happens to also be a colleague at IV.
9:30pm and I’m finally on my way home on the bus. I read what I can for Direct Marketing the next day, but 13 hours straight has taken it out of me.

Wednesday – Work Day, With Class…
Work from 8:30 onward. Thank God for coffee. I have every intention of leaving by 5pm to make my evening class with Elizabeth Stearns
I get held up by some important conversations and held up even more by terrible traffic. I’m late to class… Again. It’s becoming a running joke – I’ve been threatened with impromptu karaoke in front of the class if I’m late again. I don’t know how the Evening students do it.
Finally homeward bound at 9:30pm.

Thursday – Class Day
Today resembles Tuesday, except it is Alvarez & Marsal instead of Deloitte at lunch. I really like this company and they’ve got offices in California as well… Have to keep that in mind when the recruiter comes a calling.
I still have a Finance meeting in the afternoon, and another with my Entrepreneurial Strategy team after. No night class and I still don’t get off campus until 8:30pm.

Friday – Work Day
What is the lethal dose for caffeine? I feel as though I’m getting close… Work runs late (or maybe I don’t know when to quit), but I’m determined to make it back to campus for the Halloween TG. This year I’ll be going as the beleaguered grad student. Save some beer for me!

Saturday & Sunday – Weekend, sort off…
Finally a break! Wait… Actually, I have no free time during the week, so it’s a Direct Marketing team meeting all afternoon. Both days. These folks have been incredibly understanding of my work commitments – I couldn’t do it without their support.
It’s a pathetic thrill that I actually have time to go to the grocery store and do laundry before it’s time to get things together and prep for the coming week!

Week Summary
Hours on Campus: 30
Hours in Off-Campus Team Meetings: 8
Hours at Work: 26
Cups of Coffee Consumed: Too Many
Number of Meals and Hours of Sleep: Not Enough
Sense of Accomplishment: Off the Charts

FT MBA Second Year = Your Year
By Guest Blogger Saurabh Modh, Full-Time Class of 2012. Saurabh is originally from Ahmedabad (India) and is a second year MBA student at the Foster School of Business. He is focused on Marketing and Finance and is currently exploring opportunities within the technology industry in Seattle and the Bay Area. He is also involved in the MBAA (VP of IT) and holds a leadership role in the Foster Business Technology Club.

The title of this post is representative of what the second year of a Foster full-time MBA student can be. It allows a lot of flexibility with respect to choosing your classes, your projects, your part-time work, clubs, etc. Having said that, it does not mean that it is less hectic than any other quarter of the MBA program. Well of course, except the first quarter. I will describe how a typical day in my second year of MBA goes by. Let me start with Tuesday.

As soon as I get up on Tuesday, I know it is going to be one of the most hectic days of the week. I have a Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class at 10:30am. This class is usually followed by an MBAA meeting or a meet-the-firm event or a club event from 12:30 pm to 1:20 pm. As soon as it is 1:15 pm, I realize I have to go to a new venture intern meeting at 1:30 pm. This meeting is part of a CIE project that I along with three other MBAs are doing with a start-up located in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. After finishing the meeting by around 3:00 pm, I get a good 30 minutes break before I go for my Macroeconomics class at 3:30 pm. Once the Macro class is done, I have another 30 minutes break before I go to my last class of the day – the Business to Business Marketing class from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. At 9:15 pm, I keep thinking of the queen size bed in my apartment and how I will go sleep on it once I am done with the class. But no, depending on the week, I might have to finish a case before an early morning class on Wednesday. This is how my Tuesday goes. Did I scare you? The good news is that the rest of the week is not as overwhelming. I have only one class on Mondays and Wednesdays. And so, on those days, I usually search for jobs, apply for them, do informational interviews and participate in club activities. Of course Thursday is the most happiest day since the weekend is right around the corner.

So yes, second year schedule can be designed and manufactured as per your requirements. And it is a lot of fun to decide which classes to take, which events to attend and which club activities to participate in. I would say MBA second year gives you a great chance to build your character and personality.

Know When to Say No
By Carly Massey, Full-Time Class of 2012. Carly graduated from Williams College having majored in Psychology & English. She moved from Boston for Foster’s MBA program and has studied general management over the last 5 quarters. She just received and accepted a full-time position in Liberty Mutual’s Corporate Development Program and will be returning to Boston upon graduation.

Second year can tailored however you want. Two small nuggets of wisdom: everything will take more of your time than you think, and know when to say no. I did not understand either of those things, and as a result have found myself scrambling around this second year as I juggle all my responsibilities. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything I do and wouldn’t give up a single piece of my involvement. But if I had known, I may have used the word “no” more often last year when signing up for everything. A typical day of mine goes like this:

9:00 am – Team meeting to go over a presentation for our 10:30 class. I missed all the team meetings this weekend as I was out of town, but am quickly brought up to speed and ready to lead the presentation.
9:30 am – I am one of the Challenge for Charity auction co-chairs and need to start coordinating the night of volunteer activities since the auction is less than a month away! I meet with my co-chair and the person we delegated this task to in order to explain the process, go through the time line, and assign people duties. We still have so much to do with the auction!
10:30 am – Brand Management class. Each team has done a Visual Identity Exercise with Benaroya Hall. Now, we get to present our ideas to two people from the actual marketing agency with this task. Everyone has great ideas – it’s awesome to see so much creativity!
12:30 pm – The MBA Association hosts a meeting for club presidents and first-year representatives to go over club goals and succession planning. As president of the Women in Business Club, my first-year rep and I must attend. It’s a great meeting and we come up with some really good ways to improve WiB going forward. They also serve food, which is necessary.
1:30 pm – As a Leadership Fellow, one of my tasks is to meet with my first year team members in a one-on-one capacity. I meet one of my team members in a coffee shop and we chat about the internship process, what second year is like, etc. It’s a great conversation – I’m so glad I get to interact with first years this way!
2:30 pm – I haven’t checked my email in several hours so I spend an hour going through my 30 unread emails. I also check the Student Ambassador email inbox to ensure I didn’t forget to schedule a class visit or anything.
3:30 pm – Macroecon class. Today we discuss what the effects of extending or expiring the Bush era tax cuts are. Despite being a class of 100+, the conversation flows well.
5:30 pm – Time to head home! Once home, I check email again, do my reading for class the next day, and check facebook to see if I’ve missed any news.
8:30 pm – Done with school work for the day. I put away my computer, cook dinner, watch a couple episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and go to bed around 11. I love being as involved as I am in Foster – that’s why I wanted a smaller program. And it’s days like these that I go to bed feeling accomplished and happy! Tomorrow I have less on my plate, so I’ll make sure to go to the gym and go to lunch with friends. Even when I am running around, I can’t forget to take care of myself mentally and physically.

What First Quarter is Really Like: 5 Student Stories

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Coffee is a Must
By Guest Blogger Ryan Loren, Full-Time Class of 2013. Ryan hails from Vancouver, Washington. His background is in finance, and he hopes to pursue international business in southeast Asia post-graduation.

As I’m approaching the end of my first quarter here at Foster, it’s been a whirlwind experience. Challenging, busy, fun, did I mention busy? Here is a glimpse into the life of a 1st year MBA student, in the first quarter.

6:30 a.m. – Roll out of bed. Breakfast, cup of coffee and prep for the today’s finance class.

7:30 a.m. – I live in Ballard, so we’ve got a nice “Ballard Crew” carpool going. It’s my turn to drive, so I pick up three of my other classmates and we’re off. Get to Paccar Hall (a.k.a. my second home) in time to grab another cup of coffee from Orin’s.

8:30 a.m.– Caffeine…check. Professor Gilbert’s high-energy finance class…check. Good start to my day so far. Today we have a capstone case discussion, which covers the entire class to date. Very interesting discussion and debate in today’s class. It’s amazing how much we’ve learned in such a short amount of time. A full two-hour class flies by.

10:30 a.m. – Group meeting. We debrief our case project on what went right and what went wrong. Key learning’s are discussed and then we move on. No time to dwell on your successes and failures because the next project or next assignment is already waiting. We assign project leads and get ready to tackle whatever is thrown at us next. I’m bias, but my group rocks!

12:30 p.m. – I’ve been elected the first year representative for the Global Business Association, so I needed to attend a lunch, “Fall Quarter Club Presidents and First-Year Reps Forum”. We discussed everything from future events, succession planning for second year reps, and budgets. Great to get the MBAA reps and club reps all in one place bouncing ideas off one another. Not to mention a free lunch.

1:30 p.m. – Accounting class, it’s a love-hate relationship. There is no doubt that Professor Kennedy knows her stuff though.

3:30 p.m. – With such a large finance case just finished my group decides to not meet after class. We head our separate ways, but I end up meeting up with a couple other guys for a beverage down on the “ave.”

5:00 p.m. – Get home, grab a quick bite, and then its back to the books. Accounting…marketing…statistics…oh my. Yep, that’s the life I’ve chosen for the next two years and no regrets.

10:00 p.m.– …And I’m worthless. I don’t work well after ten p.m., so I call it a night. Head upstairs to get my nightly fix of ESPN.

11:30 p.m. – Lights out. Ready to do it all over again tomorrow.

Making it Work
By Guest Blogger Mandi Chappell, Full-Time Class of 2013. Mandi is from Austin, TX, and has a new baby and a husband working crazy hours. After graduation, she wants to explore cross sector collaboration, particularly how business can benefit society, non-profits, and government.

Some people think I’m crazy to be going for my MBA right now as I actually just had my first child last May. So while the program is a challenge in itself, I’m attempting to make it work while at the same time being the best momma I can be to my sweet baby girl. Here is an idea of what a typical day looks like for me.

5:00 am – Baby wakes up, she’s hungry. I go downstairs to make a bottle then feed her and try to get her back to sleep for another hour or two. She’s back down 45 minutes later and so am I!

7:45 am – Now we’re both up for good. I get her changed & ready for the day then go down to the kitchen for our morning routine: set her up in her highchair with some toys while I get her bottles ready for daycare and then give her some cereal and another bottle. If I’m not running too late I’ll grab breakfast cereal myself (a rarity!).

8:45 am – Give the baby some toys to play with in her crib while I shower and get myself ready for the day. Ideally we’re out the door to drop her off at daycare by 9:30 am.

10:20 am – Arrive at campus, grab a cup of coffee (unless had time to make a to-go cup at home before leaving) and head to Marketing core class, rushing to not be late so don’t get called out (he makes people bang on the desk ‘til you get seated if you’re late – not to be mean, just fun and makes people make an effort to be on time).

12:30 pm – Attend a Strategy Club sponsored lunch event to hear folks from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Great talk and free lunch (if you’re a member!).

1:30 pm – Meet with my core team (which I lucked out on – LOVE THEM!) to prep for Finance & Statistics cases due early next week and then study for Accounting midterm tomorrow if time permits.

3:30 pm – Head into Statistics core class. Grab coffee during the break so can keep focused – didn’t do so hot on the first midterm so really trying to grasp everything in order to pull my grade back up by doing awesome on the second midterm.

5:20 pm – Done at Paccar for the day, time to rush over to the daycare to pick up the baby – if not there by 6 p.m. they charge by the minute!

6:15 pm – Get home. Depending on when they daycare fed the baby last I might feed her or might let her play for a bit while I do some house cleaning.

7:00 pm – Baby bedtime routine – bath, jammies, story, bottle. Hopefully she’s asleep by 7:45.

7:45 pm – Cook dinner for my husband and I, assuming he’s home from the hospital by then (he’s doing a fellowship so equally as busy as I am).

8:30 pm – Eat dinner with husband, watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire or something else clogging up our DVR. This is our only time together these days.

9:15 pm – Thank the hubby for cleaning up dinner. He goes off to bed after and I start my studying for the day. Typically I’d be trying to learn finance & accounting to be able to complete my homework, but today is unique in that there is an Accounting midterm tomorrow and we just finished Finance midterm so no homework this week. So tonight is CRAM TIME, yay for t-accounts, journal entries, LIFO & FIFO!!!

12:30 am – Finally going to bed. If I don’t know it by this point, I’m not gonna learn it in the next few hours. Better to get some shut eye for a bit as the baby will be up in a few hours and gotta be out of the house by 7:30 am to get to class by 8:20.

Just Another Manic Monday
By Guest Blogger Laura Peirano, Full-Time Class of 2013. Laura grew up in Walnut Creek, CA, and graduated from UCLA in Design | Media Arts and Global Studies. Her professional goals are to be a marketing professional in the food and beverage industry. In her free time, Laura does yoga, cooks, and enjoys most outdoor activities and sports, but she hasn’t had much free time this quarter. Laura is a first-year class rep for her class section.

Monday through Wednesday is one long sprint. Thursday is a combination of relief and exhaustion. Friday isn’t really a break even though there is no class because there are career services events, team meetings, and timed online finance quizzes. By the time Monday rolls around again, you better be prepared to run.

7:00 am – Alarm goes off and I can hear it raining outside. I put on a pot of coffee, make some quick protein pancakes and pack my backpack full with my computer and notebooks for class.

8:15 am – I’m out the door with my Foster traveler mug full of hot black coffee in one hand, and a reusable Trader Joe’s bag filled with boxes of Joe’s Os for the class meeting in the other hand.

8:30-10:20 – Shelly’s marketing class. Today the case up for discussion is the organization and implementation of Cialis, a competitor to Viagra. The conversation is lively as students participate in analyzing Cialis’s challenges using the marketing framework and try not to make inappropriate jokes.

10:30-12:20 – Meeting with my core team the “Spicy Five.” We named ourselves that because we share a common love for spicy food. My team is awesome and I’ll be sad to leave them next quarter.

12:30-1:00 pm – The other section rep Jessica and I lead the Class of 2013 All-Class Meeting to debrief about midterms, plan for finals, and brainstorm a fun activity for the class to do together. We pass around the Joe’s Os to reward those who attended.

1:30-3:20 pm – Statistics class with Erich. He cold calls people in the beginning of the class to review last week’s material and make sure everyone’s paying attention. We are.

3:20- 4:45 pm – Start to work on Statistics homework in the MBA lounge but get distracted talking to friends about their weekend. Back to statistics and then someone challenges me in a game of foosball. I never say no to foosball.

5:00 pm – MBAA Meeting with Evening and Full Time Executive Boards at Big Time Brewery on the Ave. I meet the evening board for the first time and then mostly listen as they all discuss current issues. They tell us, the first year reps, that they’re preparing us for when we have to start leading in Spring. Already?!? I just started school!

7:00 pm – Walk home with my heavy backpack and the leftover Joe’s Os to cook dinner and start on the week’s assignments. Do a little gchatting and procrastinating when my roommate gets home from her team meeting and then head to bed around midnight.

Refreshed… Back To School
By Guest Blogger Richard Ha, Full-Time Class of 2013. Richard worked in the advertising industry as a media director before coming to Foster. After graduation, he plans to focus on the tech/digital marketing industry.
Here what a day looks like for a 1st year student in the Foster MBA program; you’d be hard-pressed to ID a “typical” day for any of us!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

8:30 am — Since I was gone all Thanksgiving weekend, my fridge is in desperate need of food. Take advantage of a later class start time and head over to the grocery store to stock up.

10:00 am – Coffee in hand (what would an MBA student in Seattle be without?), I meet up with my core team to do a quick run-through of a finance case assignment we’ll be discussing in class today. Need to make sure we’re all prepared in case any of us are cold-called!

10:30 am — Turns out nobody on my team is called. Still, the entire class always gets involved in the discussion in Thomas Gilbert’s finance class.

12:30 pm — Attend a lunchtime Samsung Meet The Firms event to learn about internship opportunities next summer.

1:30 pm — Team meeting time! Start working on our next group assignment for accounting and help each other on our statistics homework.

3:30 pm — Accounting class with Jane Kennedy. On the lookout for tips to help on the team assignment.

5:30 pm — Attend a case discussion event with Amazon. The Amazon team presented situations their company faces to us 1st years and we got to think on our feet and put our new MBA knowledge to use to present some solutions.

7:30 pm — Make it back home. Eat dinner while I catch up on some DVRed shows while I also send out some thank you emails. How’s that for multi-tasking?

8:30 pm — Work some more on the accounting team assignment, start my finance homework, and do a bit of reading for marketing.

10:30 pm — Think I’ll call it a night school-wise. Time to unwind and get ready for a morning class tomorrow.

Passion for Learning
By Guest Blogger Pooja Tripathi, Full-Time Class of 2013. Pooja graduated with a software engineering degree from University of Mumbai, and worked as a software lead and developer in a multinational and a start-up IT and Telecom based companies with clients located in UK and US respectively. At Foster MBA, she is extending her previous skills by learning the tools to be an efficient product planner and manager in the high-tech industry.

Yawn!!! Monday morning rays are seeping through the blinds. I take a blanket; cover my face and go to sleep for next few hours. After I wake up at 9:00am, I brew a cup of hot coffee, sit by the window and enjoy the sunshine followed by some “Facebook’ing.” After I’ve replied to everyone, seen all the weirdest videos on everyone’s wall, it’s time for brunch and some TV shows. I realize it’s already 12noon and time for lunch. Well, I read some gossip in “Cosmopolitan”, do some “productive” work, followed by an afternoon nap. My husband wakes me up after coming back from office and we go out for a nice long sunset drive. We cook dinner together, watch some TV shows and it’s the time to go to bed.
Beep Beep….
Beeeeep Beeeeeep….
Beeeeeep Beeeeeep Beeeeeeeeppppppp……
What is that deafening sound????!!!!
I open my eyes and realize that it’s the annoying sound of my alarm clock. A voice from within echoes,
“Come out of your dream Pooja! This is your 1st quarter of the MBA program! This is NOT your lifestyle!”

It’s already 7am on a Monday morning and I have to commute to school to attend 8:30am Marketing lecture. If I am late to class, my classmates will welcome me with a noisy bench banging (a rule set by our professor) and probably the TA sitting in the last row will deduct some points from my class participation grade (I am assuming). So, I jump out of my bed, wear some random un-ironed t-shirt and jeans, stuff my laptop, some apples, “Fiber-one’s” in my bag and run to catch a bus to school. Within 30mins ride to school, I skim through the pre-readings for the class in order to maximize my class participation grade. The 2hrs of class is full of energy and lots of learning about 3C’s, 4P’s, 7M’s. The time flies by quickly.

10:30 am team-meeting, the pre-requisite is to have read the Statistics case due Wednesday, the Finance case due Thursday, and have understood all the concepts taught in class until last weekend. The latter is not a problem as we take Finance quiz every Friday so catching up with subject matter is never an issue. Anyway, my team, GDP aka “Global Diversity Pirates” (is what we named while drafting our team charter), is comprised of some brilliant people with diverse background and ethnicities, a Korean markets financial regulator, a Surface warfare officer, an entrepreneur, an army officer and a software engineer. This diversity assists in contributing varied insights and different approaches to solving team assignments. The team leaders for the projects initiate the case discussions, followed-up by dividing the work into sub-groups and setting up a timeline for finishing our tasks. We are walking on a tight rope with 2 cases due in the next 2-3 days along with our individual homework and readings for Accounting lecture due next day.
Inner Voice: Time Management is crucial in being efficient at everything that you do.

12:30 noon and I’ve to attend “Amazon-Meet the Firm” session, so I read up on some latest news about Amazon, dress up well and rush to the meeting room. I am loaded with some more company information. I leverage my previous knowledge about the company to network with the business professionals.

1:30pm and I’ve to attend the Statistics lecture. I submit my homework in the class and juggle my brain understanding sample means, proportions, t-test, f-test so on and so forth. I use the 5mins coffee break between the lecture to meet and greet my classmates and then back to the lecture.

3:30pm and it’s time for another team meeting until 5:30pm. We plan to finish most of the team assignments during the school hours so that there is no backlog after we go back home. But at times, we do need to spend some extra time reviewing our project memos.
I catch up on a small nap in the bus on my way back and after I reach home at 6:15pm, I sit back, relax for a while and plan the rest of my evening. I have set aside 1 hr of quality time with my husband so this is when we dine together, watch “Castle”, “How I met your mother”, “Modern Family” etc.

At 9:00pm I go back to my study den complete individual assignments for the next day, send a follow-up emails to Amazon professionals whom I met early this afternoon and probably search for any case competitions that I can participate in. You may wonder when in the world, do I’ve time for the case competitions. Well, I love the subjects, I love the professors, I love the dedicated career coaches, and I love the school environment. I want to be immersed in the curriculum, learn as much as I can and party hard every Thursdays and Friday evenings during Pub Clubs and TGIF’s respectively. I believe that if you are passionate about what you are doing, you will definitely enjoy what you do!
Have the passion to learn; Foster MBA has the remaining elements to make you the best business professional!

“Yes, it was totally worth it.”

Monday, January 17th, 2011

For the last four months, my family, friends and colleagues have all been asking me the same question: Was it worth it? For my personal situation, this question is asking a lot more than, “was it worth it to start the evening program at Foster business school?”

Four months ago, I decided (well my husband and I decided) to move across the country, change the terms of my employment and join the Foster community. After four years in Washington D.C. working as a advocate on Capitol Hill it was time for a change – and we decided to go all out.

Trust me, I looked at programs on the East Coast. From Dartmouth to Georgetown and everything in between, I scoured the East Coast for programs that might be a good fit. But after meeting the professors, talking with admissions staff and literally grilling current students about the program, everything told me that Foster was the best choice despite the fact that it was on the other side of the country and more than 3,000 miles away from any immediate family member.

And yes, it was totally worth it. There is a laundry list of reasons why Foster is “worth it” but a few that are of great importance to me. First, is the community. The professors, students, and administration all combine to create a supportive, smart and accessible group of people. Second, is the program. The strong core of “business basics” along with the flexibility to create and shape your MBA provide students with the ability to design the ideal MBA experience. Third, the challenge. Foster does an amazing job of challenging its students both inside and outside the classroom. From professors who push you to learn and apply new knowledge to engaging with the Seattle business community and working closely with other students (and yes this was all in the first ten weeks), it is clear that Foster was and will be a great choice.

Guest blogger – Tyler Edgar, Evening MBA 2013

A light at the end of the tunnel

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

The summer before beginning the Foster MBA program, graduation and the job hunt seemed a long way off.  Though I knew in the back of my mind that pursuing an MBA would change the career opportunities available to me, the return to school in itself seemed like the impactful change I needed, not so much the new job I’d take on afterward.  Just over a year after joining Foster, I’m fortunate to have landed a post-graduate job I’m thrilled about, though the process of getting there was not what I expected.   

Figuring out the right position and right employer begins the moment you set foot on campus.  For my first two quarters, I felt like I kept adding options instead of narrowing my search.  Anytime I spoke to someone who was passionate about their past or future career, I began to add it to the list to explore it as an option for me.   Looking for the ideal post-graduation fit became a process of elimination.  At Foster, you will feel like you have too many options, from clubs to internship choices to social events.  You’ve certainly heard before that you should take advantage of as much as you can handle, and I agree with that.  But pay special attention to how these experiences make you feel.  When you’re working in your core team first quarter, what role do you naturally fall into?  When you try to push yourself outside of that role or take a lead on a project that is not in your traditional skill set, how do you feel – does it excite you, make you want to work harder, or just frustrate you? 

In the end, what made the biggest difference was to try things I wouldn’t normally label as “me.”  Though I had initially focused on product management internships and a few positions with logistics companies, I decided to work with a small marketing strategy consulting firm, Bridge Partners Consulting, as part of a work stream for a beta launch with Microsoft.  I had been adamant that consulting was not a good fit for me; and as a late-adopter, I never thought that technology was right either.  By the time Fall quarter began, I felt as though all the little discussions I had with classmates, team experiences, and mini-projects I had taken gave me the confidence to know that what drove me. 

Reflecting on my summer internship, I realized that the things that made me tick there were the same that had made me tick in my previous work; the people.  I spoke with a number of alums and contacts at a variety of consulting companies, spoke with the mentors I’ve made through the years to discuss the ways they’ve seen me be successful in the past, and made the decision to join Bridge Partners.  Having a job lined up after graduation is of course a weight off of my shoulders.  I’m afforded the chance to continue to strengthen the amazing friendships I’ve made here, and begin to plan a fantastic summer trip.  At the same time, there is a bittersweet edge:  signing the contract has made me come to terms that my stint at Foster is almost over.  It’s a mix of excitement and pre-emptive nostalgia, that I think will make me appreciate the next few months that much more.

Guest blogger – Lacey McCann, FT 2011