Foster MBA Students Go Back to Prom

Back in the middle of May, the Foster MBA program held their annual program dubbed “The Fosters.”  The theme this year was Foster Prom and many people had fun re-living their high school prom.  Some may have worn their prom outfits! The Fosters is an opportunity for both classes to honor shining stars of the program in fun categories such as Excel King & Queen and Under the Radar Leader.  There was even an award for cutest baby in the program, which really wasn’t a surprise to many.  Check out the pictures below and see some of the fun that was had!

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~ Dennis Grubbs – Full Time Class of 2014


Posted by admin - June 3rd, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



On Foster Welcome Weekend: An Incoming Student’s Observations

I’m buying a grande coffee to get going, I’m driving to Seattle, I’m zoning out to Arcade Fire and chewing up highway, I’m getting off at 45th and taking a left, I’m parking in the garage and walking to Paccar Hall, here we are. This all feels so weird, I’m 30 years old, it’s 4pm on a Friday, I should be at work, what am I doing back on a college campus?? Suddenly everything starts to settle in and make sense: oh, right, it’s April Welcome Weekend at Foster, and in 5 months I’ll be well on my way to endless study sessions where I’ll attempt to learn the basics of impossibly qualitative subjects like Marketing and burying myself in an unholy amount of student debt. Wait…are we sure about this? Oh well, too late now, they already made me a nametag.

Checked into Hotel Deca, changed into a halfway decent getup and now headed over to the meet and greet social. Whoa, this is a lot of new faces; no way I’ll ever remember all these names. “Hi I’m Kris…oh, no I’m from Bellingham…no, but it’s not too far, about an hour and a half drive north on I-5…yeah, it was an easy drive, how about you?  Wait, you came all the way from Beijing/Mumbai/Hyderabad just for this weekend?” This conversation happens a lot, but people are starting to do the stuff that people do when they’re getting hungry, so we move to the dining room for dinner.

Wow, prime rib and an open bar? Is it cool if I just have some saltines and a glass of bubble water and we hack $25 off my tuition this fall? No, I’m kidding. But…seriously, can we do that?

“Tell me about why you chose Foster…” this question happens a lot, and I start to get really good at answering it. In return I ask current students about mentorship opportunities, coursework, life at Foster, all the good stuff. Great answers from current students and alumni, really getting a good vibe from these people, everyone seems very cool, like the type of people I could spend 9 hours locked in a breakout room with. Wait…what?

The group migrates back to the bar at Hotel Deca for a social hour. Wow, there really are a lot of very cool, interesting people here; people who love to travel, people who climb mountains, people who love sports. Relief sweeps over me, or possibly the alcohol. I’ve got my money on both. Everything winds down, some people are going home, some back to the hotel, a few over to Kate’s Pub in Wallingford for a little more social mingling. Certain sacrifices must be made, I join the herd on its way to Kate’s. Darts are thrown, PBR’s are made to disappear (we’re college students, after all), and everyone is laughing. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Head back to the hotel, stop at Dick’s for a deluxe and fries, go to bed you idiot, you have to be up at 8am

Wow, full day today, introductions with Assistant Dean Poston and a seminar about what Foster really represents, burn my tongue chugging some coffee, fascinating mock class about the Eurozone and Greek debt crisis, jam some blueberry muffins in my face, go on a tour of campus in sideways rain, this girl from Capitol Hill forgot her umbrella, share mine with her and get completely soaked, time for the Indian TG, cool let’s do it! Why wouldn’t I eat spicy Indian food on a crowded dance floor surrounded by strangers who I’ll spend the next 2 years with? I can’t think of any reasons, so I double down on the Masala. Nothing can possibly go wrong now!

Okay, at first I was making an effort to be friendly, but these people are seriously really cool. Roger Levesque pours me a beer, alright that’s fairly awesome, go Sounders. TG winds down after some rather intimidating choreographed Indian dance moves – you guys know “The Sprinkler”?? The group heads back to Kate’s for a few more drinks. Probably could have pumped the brakes on that Indian curry. And then it’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m the idiot who has to be up at 8am again. Perfect. Go to sleep.

It’s Saturday morning, which means we’re riding those ducks into Lake Union! Climb aboard the great aluminum beast and we plow through the city. Our driver, the venerable Captain Davey Quackett, points out the noteworthy sights with vigor and we blast through the open water like Bishop Sankey through (Insert your team’s defensive line). Okay, tours over, get off the duck, go to Gordon Biersch for lunch and a brewery tour. Alright people, this has been great, really enjoyed meeting everyone, but I seriously have to get some sleep.

Can’t wait for September – go Dawgs!


Posted by admin - May 17th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Day in the Life – Mark Bonicillo

What is a day in the life of a Foster MBA like? This post chronicles a typical day of an individual Foster student  to give you a glimpse inside the life of an MBA living, learning, and working in Seattle at the Foster School of Business.

What I did Tuesday April 16:

5 am: Wake up, do 100 kettlebell swings and 18 pullups, get dressed. Take bus to school.

7:30 am: Intro to database and SQL class given by a Foster alum who now consults for Microsoft. At this uncivilized time, the classroom was 95% full with about 40 MBA students. One side fact: the alum’s undergraduate major was in theater–there is hope for humanities majors such as me (philosophy).

8:30 am: Another excellent quantitative methods class by Professor Hillier.

10:15 am: “Coffee Break” time. Free coffee, fruit, donuts, bagels, croissants–a very nice spread, with classmates from the 1st and 2nd year full time classes, professors, and faculty. Nice to see my class’s MBAA executive council leadership finally take the reigns. In the words of our class president: Crushing It.

12:00 pm: Informational interview with an account manager from DocuSign–the leading tech company in the e-signature market. Learned more about strategy, sales, management, and leadership in this half hour interview than in a whole quarter of strategy classes.

1:30 pm: Haircut at Capelli’s. It’s pricey, but one of my few vices. Plus, Martina is the best barber in Seattle.

3:00 pm: Another informational interview with DocuSign…this time with a sales developer. Again, very informative and I actually learned something about the internship that I was looking into.

4:00 pm: Read and prepared for the INRIX case for this evening’s technology commercialization class. The case was written last year in Jan 2012 and centered on the question of whether CEO Bryan Mistele should sell the company or keep it.  INRIX is a traffic data provider that is valued at $1 billion if it were to go public.

6:00 pm: INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele speaks in the entrepreneurship class about his decision a year after the case was published. One word: Fascinating.

9:00 pm: Head home, prepare for operations class, and prepare for the Buerk Entrepreneurship Center sponsored “informal chat” with one of my fitness heroes and model entrepreneur–CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman.

~ Guest blog post by Mark Bonicillo – FT Class of 2014.  


Posted by admin - May 13th, 2013 - 0 comments - Permalink



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 admin - 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