My Experiences of a Study Abroad Exchange Program in Japan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha Tran
MBA Candidate, Class of 2015


Posted by Foster MBA Student - March 3rd, 2015 - 0 comments - Permalink



China Study Tour: MBA Students explore business in China

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

 

China Study Tour 8Growth. Scale. Partnership.

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

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

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


Posted by Sarah Eytinge - January 23rd, 2015 - 0 comments - Permalink



First Quarter: In the books

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 '16, and her son Marshall.

Lauren Thompson, MBA ’16, and her son Marshall.


Posted by Sarah Eytinge - December 17th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



Summer Internship Experience – Microsoft

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


Posted by Foster MBA Student - December 1st, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



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

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!

 

 

DSC_0029

DSC_0061

IMG_0137

DSC_0248

DSC_0258

 

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!

DSC_6932

DSC_6509

DSC_6682

DSC_5918

DSC_5948

 

DSC_6151

DSC_7090

DSC_7178


Posted by Foster MBA Student - October 30th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



Another Perspective on the MBA Career Orientation in Shanghai

 

Jun Li compressed

At the end of July, I was enjoying the rare cool summer in Shanghai while considering how my upcoming MBA life seemed so far away on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. It soon became very close and vivid to me during the Foster Career Orientation in Shanghai. Thanks to the effort of Dodi, Sally and the MBA Career Management Team, I came to have a comprehensive understanding of the most challenging part of MBA life for an international student: job hunting.

Not only did we gain tremendously helpful networking skills, trans-cultural communication tips and resume methodologies during the two-day orientation, but I also particularly enjoyed the learning process. The orientation was held in the form of workshops, meaning each participant could bring new perspectives into the group discussion. I found this group learning process extremely inspiring and effective. For example, in the resume workshop, we were asked to use STAR principal to assess and polish one of our fellow students’ achievements. Instead of strictly following the principal, one Chinese MBA proposed to add a ‘wow factor’; what’s in this achievement that wows people? His journalistic perspective inspired me, a heavily left-minded engineer, to view my resume as a story rather than purely a list of quantified achievements.

With an even more diversified MBA community in Seattle, I’m sure that I’ll continue to experience similar career, academic and even life inspirations throughout the two years.

~ Guest post by Jun Li, Class of 2016 MBA Candidate


Posted by Megan Lewis - September 24th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



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

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


Posted by Sarah Eytinge - September 17th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



Pre-onboarding MBA Career Orientation in Shanghai

???????????????????????????????I had thought that all the MBA events and learnings would take place after the start of the program in September. I was very surprised when I learned that the Foster MBA Career Management Team would fly half-way around the earth to Shanghai, China to provide us incoming international students with a pre-onboarding career orientation on July 26th and 27th.

During this two-day session, Dodi and Sally taught us the American style of job hunting, like how to network, how to request informational interviews and how to maintain networking relationships. We also had resume workshops and even got the chance to have our first networking event with HRs and Foster alumni from Amazon, DuPont, Starbucks, etc. and recruiters from Apple.

T???????????????????????????????he most beneficial part of this face-to-face session was the chance to discuss which topics or tones are appropriate to use in informational interviews. As an international student, trying to adapt myself to the cultural differences in job hunting is not just about learning the process, but also about understanding the American norms and customs, which I cannot get through a virtual session. Also, by having guest speakers, HRs and alums with us, I had the chance to test my networking skills and build up my confidence. I also received feedback on my elevator pitch, which I will use in the career expo weeks later.

Through this session, I most certainly confirmed that choosing Foster was a very good decision. Students and alumni are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. Career coaches are very considerate and ready to help. Now I am looking forward to my MBA experience at Foster even more!

Guest post by Florence Fang, Class of 2016 MBA Candidate


Posted by Megan Lewis - September 16th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Marketing Internship at Google Singapore

This has been one of my favorite summers so far. I managed to get an internship at my dream company, Google, and in one of my favorite countries, Singapore. My role at Google is MBA Marketing Intern with the South East Asia, Small and Medium Business Marketing team.

The internship experience has greatly surpassed my expectations. First of all, I feel lucky that I’ve been given a real hands-on project for the summer. The amount of trust that has been placed in me and the resources I’ve been given make me feel that I am not just an intern. Instead, I am doing work that really matters for the users and the company. I’m involved in and actually lead certain key components of a regional marketing project and work closely with Googlers cross-functionally and cross-geographically. Moreover, my final delivery is a real program which will make an impact on both the end users and the company.

Secondly, I was a bit nervous on my first day. However, the moment I stepped into the Google office, I could see and feel the fun and open culture everywhere: the office design & decoration, interns’ high level of access to information, and of course the people I’ve met. Everyone, no matter how senior, is very approachable and open to talking with me. I have never been turned down or even responded to with hesitation when I reach out to ask job-related questions or request career advice. I am so lucky that my manager is a Foster MBA alumnus. He is always willing to share his personal experience and career advice with me. Every one-on-one session with him is more like a career coaching session.Hui Li Google Singapore 2

Now that I’m one year into my MBA program and two months into my internship, I see how I’ve changed substantially, especially in terms of strategic thinking and communication skills. There are so many moments during my work here that remind me of knowledge I acquired from group discussions at Foster. Moreover, the frameworks I learned from the classes are really helpful in solving the problems I encounter here.

There are only three weeks left of my internship. While I’m enjoying this great experience with Google, I’m going to be fully recharged for fall quarter!

Guest post by Hui Li, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 29th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Summer Global Digital Marketing Internship at Starbucks

Jamie Hui Internship starbucksSecuring an internship at Starbucks this summer had been a goal of mine since I started my Foster journey. I’ve always been drawn to Starbucks because I have a passion for food and I want to work for an innovative retail company with a strong consumer brand. This summer, I’m working on the Global Digital Marketing Team, focused on optimizing the performance of their social media campaigns.

I’ve learned so much about Starbucks and why they stand out, but I’ve also taken classes to become a Coffee Master, attended a Sounders game with my fellow intern class (in a box suite, nonetheless), and I’ve had great exposure to senior executives in the company.

Still, the best thing about my experience thus far is meeting the partners (employees) there. Everyone at Starbucks loves sharing their journey and they are so passionate about Starbucks – the company, the coffee, food, and the customer experience. What’s even better is the HUGE Foster alumni network at Starbucks and how supportive they are! They’ve set up “Ask Us Anything” sessions, happy hours and have even set aside time to watch us practice our presentations.  At Starbucks, this summer has been nothing short of amazing!

 
Guest post by Jamie Hui, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate


Posted by admin - August 25th, 2014 - 0 comments - Permalink