I think one of the things Foster does very well is keeping us all grounded. For a long time (long before me or any of my classmates were here) Foster has tried to uphold a reputation as being the MBA program with a heart. MBA curricula are jam-packed with cases that make you think about ROI, value ad, and all sorts of business mumbo-jumbo that increases the bottom line.
But there are human factors that don’t show up on financial statements, and we’re reminded of those everyday at Foster. And that’s the part of the Foster DNA I think we’re all most proud of.
For several years now, Foster has taken part in the Case Competition for Ethical Leadership hosted by Baylor University, which brings 12 MBA programs from around the country to tackle an issue in business that presents an ethical dilemma. Like other national case competitions Foster is chosen to take part in, the Foster Administration covered all costs for us to go participate. I was fortunate enough to take part with my classmates Ed, Alan and Cate in representing Foster.
This year’s case explored the dynamics of a Maquiladora near the America/Mexico border, and some of the very sensitive issues that are considered in such relationships with American companies. Like most case competitions, you’re given a five-to-ten page business case simultaneously with the other teams, and each team has 24 hours to come up with a plan and presentation on your findings, which you present to a panel of judges. It’s a recipe for very little sleep, but they’re 24 of the most memorable hours I’ll take away from my two years at Foster. (When you’re sitting on the floor of an airport terminal playing rock-paper-scissors for the last McNugget Sauce, you’ve bonded in a way that nothing else quite compares to.)
And on that note, aside from the experience of the process at the competition, what happens in around the process is equally valuable. We were dreading the 4-hour layover that loomed on our trip back to Seattle at Dallas/Fort-Worth Airport all week, but we ended up spending it inside an airport bar eating Texas BBQ with MBA students from Pepperdine, Iowa and Minnesota (some of which we’ll see at Stanford this Spring for C4C Sports Weekend.)
The bottom line? When you decide to enroll (and seriously, why haven’t you yet?) make sure you take part in events like these. They’re moments you won’t want to miss.
~Guest Blogger Brandon Scheller, Full-time Class of 2013