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

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


Posted by Dennis Grubbs - April 5th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Freezin’ for a Reason

Just a typical misty grey Saturday morning in Seattle, what should an MBA do? Catch up on finance reading? Nah…instead I dug through the box in my basement and found what I was looking for. My swim trunks! Its time to go for a swim!

For the past three years, Foster MBAs and Challenge for Charity (C4C) have teamed with the Special Olympics of King County to participate in the Seattle Polar Plunge. This is a citywide event that raises over $100,000 annually with 100s of participants braving the waters. An exhilarating 45 seconds where those who aren’t faint of heat take an icy dip in South Lake Union to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. Is it cold? Depends on your definition of cold. At 46.4 degrees, the water was actually warmer than being outside! Its all relative I guess.

The Polar Plunge has become a tradition at Foster and is one of many opportunities that MBA students show their support for local community organizations. In this event alone, we have raised over $15,000 in three years.  The Foster C4C team had over 40 volunteers and 15 plungers participate in this year’s event. We helped out by volunteering with setup, check-in, passing out flyers and cleanup. Although this may seem like work, we always find a way to have a good time. With crazy costumes (one individual went swimming in a three piece suit complete with a bow tie) and goofy hats, and even someone dressed as a Polar Bear dancing in the crowd to “Gangnam Style,” Foster students and C4C are proving that we are leaders in Seattle.

CANNNOOOONN BAAAALLL!

~Guest Blogger Jay Winzler, Full-time Class of 2013; President, Challenge 4 Charity


Posted by admin - March 14th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Three-Day Weekend!

Foster MBAs got President’s Day off of classes!  How did they celebrate the long weekend?

Midterming. And shopping for Dubai trip! And maybe a zoo trip with Anna if weather stays nice. ~Mandi Chappell, Full-time Class of 2013

Catching the train to Portland for a girls’ weekend. ~Erika Robertson, Full-time Class of 2014

Let’s see…. I’ve got a midterm, lots of overdue reading, several homeworks, a field study project, and so on. So, I’m going (to pretend) to go out drinking every night and spend the day playing video games. ~Will Aber, Full-time Class of 2013

Visiting parents up in Bellingham, and attempting to have a social life outside of PACCAR Hall. ~Colin Clauset, Full-time Class of 2014

Team projects and more school work. Also organizing a product shop and swap with China. ~Robert Gardner, Full-time Class o 2013

Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition Prepping (aka Business Plan tweeking and powerpointing), Macro Midterming, and Death Spiraling Rehearsaling. ~Matt Jasper, Full-time Class of 2013

Procrastinating on my procrastination. ~David Hill, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - February 19th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Foster Photo Blog: Tuesday, February 5, 2012

What does a day in the life of a Foster MBA look like? The Foster Photo Blogging project follows individual Foster students through their daily routines to give you a glimpse inside the life of an MBA living, learning, and working in Seattle at the Foster School of Business.

David Hill is a second-year MBA student at the Foster School of Business. He previously worked as a writer at a financial media startup and as a sports blogger. He is interested in working in brand management upon graduation. He serves on the board of the Foster Sports Business Club and plays guitar for Death Spiral, the Foster rock band.

~Photo Blogger David Hill, Full-time Class of 2013

1.

DH1

Like some of my classmates, I stayed on at the company where I interned this summer to do part-time work during my second year. So on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, I bus over to offices of Concordia Beverage Systems in Bellevue. Concordia makes commercial espresso machines, and the showroom (above) also serves as the company coffee room. I’m partial to the espresso, though the mocha is pretty awesome.

2.

DH2

After finishing up at work, I head back over to school for class. Before that, I stop off in the MBA Lounge at Paccar Hall to heat up last night’s leftovers for lunch. The lounge is a bit of a social hub during the day; you’ll see your peers, eating, hanging out, or trying to sneak in some work. Today I sat next to my friend Gwyn, discussing the finer points of Italian cuisine.

3.

DH3

Tuesday afternoon means macroeconomics with Debra Glassman, the final core class in the full-time MBA program. Today’s class covered the GDP multiplier effect and government stimulus.

4.

DH4

I had a few hours free between my afternoon and evening classes, so I parked in the lounge to write some cover letters and do some more Concordia work. The company is launching a new website at the end of the month, and I reviewed the beta version of the site for bugs and typos while my classmates held court at the foosball table. If you are good at the foos, you can go far at Foster.

5.

DH5

My day ended with an evening class, Entrepreneurial Finance with Emily Cox Pahnke. Tonight we talked about intellectual property and patent trolls. Evening classes are a good way to meet other students outside the full-time MBA program, but sitting through a three-and-a-half hour class session (albeit with breaks) can be a bit of a slog. Tuesdays are long for me, after leaving my house at 7am, I did not get home until 10pm. 


Posted by admin - February 6th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Winning the Foster Winter Case Competition

On a bright and sunny morning early in January, our six-person team found ourselves deep in discussion about how to mitigate REI’s environmental impact without losing any profits.  Each of us had spent the past two hours researching a different aspect of the project, and we were debating vigorously about the best ways to accomplish the goals of the project.  After all, we only had twelve hours to solve all of REI’s climate issues…

A case competition is designed around giving teams a complex problem to solve and limited time to solve it.  Teams can take any number of approaches to solving the problem, but the end goal is to produce and explain the team’s solution to the problem, and hopefully that solution proves to be better than the competition.  These competitions are a test of how well a group of people can mobilize toward a common goal, understand a complex problem, compartmentalize that problem into bite-sized chunks, research quickly, and assimilate all of those chunks into one polished presentation.  For first-year students like us, the process was a little challenging.

This particular competition, put on by the Foster School itself, was the first of its kind for most of our six-person team, although two of our members had had prior experience with case competitions.  We decided to approach the case by using an outcome-oriented approach, focusing on what REI was hoping to get out of the strategic recommendations, like reduced energy use, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced waste generation.  We then critically examined each part of REI’s business, analyzing potential strategies that could create both environmental and financial benefit.  Finally, we took these strategies and attempted to quantify the benefits to the environment and the bottom line as best we could, culminating in the development of a Powerpoint presentation that communicated our solutions.

The format of the competition was to present in a semi-final round, before a group of second-year students, professors and professionals from the larger Seattle community.  Those teams who made it through that first round had the opportunity to present in front of their entire class, as well as professionals from the company that the case was written about.  There were a multitude of learning experiences from this case competition, but for me the most impactful was getting through that first round and presenting in front of our peers.  “Adrenaline rush” is a term thrown around quite a bit when talking about being in front of people, but presenting our solution in front of 100 peers and representatives from industry made that term an understatement.  After we had finished presenting our case, we had the opportunity to see the great work that all of the other teams had done, and I can honestly say that I don’t know how the judges made their decision.  The team-based focus of the Foster School really seemed to shine through, since the work of all four top teams was of excellent quality.

Luckily though, my team prevailed in this competition, and we were incentivized with a nice Amazon.com gift card.  In truth though, even though winning this case competition was a great experience, the experience I gained was significantly more impactful than that.  I’m walking away from this experience with a definite understanding that I’m surrounded by 250 of the most intelligent and driven people I’ve ever been near, 100 of whom I was able to compete against directly in this competition.  The sheer amount of creativity and strategic thinking shown in the final presentations was astounding, and it speaks to the quality of the people here at Foster.  I’m proud of our achievement in claiming victory, but I’m more excited at the future opportunities to work with these smart people over the next year and a half.

~Guest Blogger Robert Schmitt, Full-time Class of 2014


Posted by admin - January 31st, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



It Takes a Village

My first contact with a representative of the Foster School of Business occurred at an MBA admissions networking event hosted by Kaplan.  After I found an opportunity to introduce myself as being interested in the program, the conversation clicked, and I found we had more in common than I had anticipated.  I secured a business card and made arrangements to follow-up with her.  We met once more before I submitted my application, and her enthusiasm for the program and the opportunities she has had since finishing was both contagious and compelling. I kept in touch throughout the admissions process, sharing the news of my admission and acceptance, and maintained sporadic contact over the course of my first and second year.

As I am now entering the last 6 months of my MBA, we met up again to touch base.  Of course, one of the first things she asked me about was the progress of my career search.  Ah, yes; my career search!

Since completing my summer internship I had been quite busy!  Busy with classes, busy with club involvement, busy with my role on the admissions team, busy with extracurricular activities…but not so busy with my career search, not lately.   I have been neglecting to schedule meetings with my career coach, scheduling commitments that conflicted with professional networking events, and side-stepping the issue when probed by classmates.

“You need to get on that,” I was told.

In fact, to emphasize her point, my alumni mentor requested that I submit to her a list of SMART goals for my career search – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound tasks that I would commit to accomplishing over the coming months to ensure I would stop slacking off and begin making progress.

And so I have gotten to it.  Last week I emailed her some goals:

  • By the end of January, identify 8 companies to research and make contact with during winter quarter.
  • Develop a list of functional areas to research (e.g., market researcher, product manager, etc) by mid-February.
  • Schedule at least 2 informational interviews during winter quarter and at least 4 informational interviews to be conducted during spring break.
  • Meet with career services every other week to conduct practice interviews to hone interview skills.

And now I am following up with my career coach (who I am sure has been waiting for something like this to happen!) and reaching out to networking contacts to learn more about companies and positions that interest me.  And of course, the career center is thrilled to see me moving forward, and my friends and colleagues are offering to make connections to help schedule informational interviews with other well-placed alumns.  I’m sure most business schools have similar systems and networks to help  students move their careers forward.  What I think is uniquely special about Foster is that our alumni network is so committed to remaining engaged with the Foster community that individuals don’t simply take meetings and make connections on a student’s behalf, they care enough to take you to task when they know you could be doing more, and to find a way to re-light the fire that brought you to business school in the first place.

~Blogger Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - January 22nd, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Experiencing Global Business – India Consulting Project

This winter break about 20 students had the opportunity to do something different with their free time by going to India for the Global Consulting Project. The GCP is a school program that is designed to give students immersion in business in another culture (specifically India), but also to use their knowledge and experience to help less fortunate individuals. I’ve always wanted to visit India and the project seemed amazing so I knew right away I’d want to take part.

Our trip included ten days in India working with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, followed by 4 days of travel. My project (team of four) was with the waste pickers team, Gitanjali. Gitanjali is a business that helps female waste pickers earn fairer wages than previously made available to them through middlemen. It then also provides jobs for former waste pickers and daughters of waste pickers through the manufacture of recycled paper products.

In our ten days in Ahmedabad, my team got to visit the dump, interview waste pickers, visit a slum and the home of a waste picker, visit a sorting facility, meet with suppliers and retailers, go over financials, and actually take part in the assembly line. It was eye opening to really be exposed to the way business gets done in India because it is considerably different than America. After ten days of immersion, we had a final presentation about our experiences and learnings, and presented a scope document and letter of engagement outlining all things we will be covering over the next three months (winter quarter).

Then the group was off for sightseeing and fun! First stop was Jaipur, where we ate meat and drank our first alcohol (Ahmedabad is dry and vegetarian!). The Kingfisher was pretty good! Jaipur was beautiful and we saw palaces, temples, and the world’s largest sundial. We even rode elephants (I’m not sure I liked that part…).

After a few days in Jaipur, we went to Agra. At 6am we were up to visit the Taj Mahal at dawn. What can I saw about the Taj Mahal other than breathtaking? Wow. Definitely a highlight!

After the Taj, we were off to New Delhi to eat our final meal and see some sites. We did some shopping and then said our goodbyes as we parted ways. Some people were home in time for Christmas while some of us stayed on for further traveling. I extended my time in India by a week and went north to the foothills of the Himalayas for some yoga and relaxation.

India was amazing and I am so glad to have been able to do the things I did. I am looking forward to working further on the Gitanjali project this quarter and creating a business plan that will help create more jobs for underprivileged women.

     

~Guest Blogger Amanda Soloway, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - January 8th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Multiple Bottom Lines: Ethics in Business

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


Posted by admin - January 1st, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



Foster Photo Blog: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What does a day in the life of a Foster MBA look like? The Foster Photo Blogging project follows individual Foster students through their daily routines to give you a glimpse inside the life of an MBA living, learning, and working in Seattle at the Foster School of Business.

Dennis is a first year student at the Foster School of Business. He previously worked in digital marketing and wholesale mortgage lending before that. He is interested in product management, finance, and consulting upon graduating. He currently is a member of the Marketing Club, Consulting Society, and the Strategy Club.

~Photo Blogger Dennis Grubbs, Full-time Class of 2014

1.

Start of my day; I overslept a little.

2.

Sun is out in Greenlake where I live. That will change!

3.

I never leave home without this.

4.

Parking at school is expensive if you don’t carpool. King County Metro is my limo.

5.

First class of the day is Marketing. Very “interesting” topics we covered today.

6.

In-between classes, took a quick look for a table to hang out at and it looks like they are already all taken.

7.

Found a chair and a table to do some reading. Weather has turned a bit.

8.

15 minutes later.

9.

Reading spot got a little loud so I hit the Business Library. I find I move spots a lot during the day.

10.

One of the group meeting rooms in Paccar Hall. I was the first of my group to get there.

11.

The results of our brainstorm session for a Marketing deliverable.

12.

Quick break so I grabbed a chair to get some more reading in.

13.

Despite the days getting shorter, I managed to leave campus with a little daylight left.

14.

Working into the late night on a Finance case. These are challenging but fun.


Posted by admin - November 27th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Foster Photo Blog: Thursday, November 8, 2012

What does a day in the life of a Foster MBA look like? The Foster Photo Blogging project follows individual Foster students through their daily routines to give you a glimpse inside the life of an MBA living, learning, and working in Seattle at the Foster School of Business.

I am a first year Full-time MBA student and just moved to Seattle 3 months ago for school.  I spent some time in the Army and then later teaching soldiers computer technology as a consultant. I came back to school to switch careers in my area of passion, sustainability. I’m involved with Net Impact, Women in Business, Consulting, Operations, Diversity in Business and Part ii.

~Photo Blogger Jessica Cameron, Full-time Class of 2014

1.

How I start everyday….

2.

My morning commute.

3.

Entering the sweet, sweet Halls of Paccar where I spend most of my days.

4.

Professional Development Class on Professional Writing.

5.

Net Impact Speaker Series: Jobs in the Nonprofit Sector. Free Pizza!

6.

Have to go pick up my bike at the Hub.

7.

Look at those awesome fenders! Now the water won’t splash up on me as I tear through those puddles.

8.

And I’m working on the John Deere Memo till 2am again.

9.

Oh I should have unpacked from that conference, maybe tomorrow.

10.

And a little light reading before bed…


Posted by admin - November 15th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink