Foster Photo Blog: Tuesday, November 6, 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 second-year Full-time MBA student. I have been living in Seattle for nine years, all except for 4 months on Capitol Hill. Before the MBA, I was in biotech and I was also an entrepreneur. The focus of my MBA is Finance and Strategy, and I am involved with the Finance Society, Strategy Club, and Foster Foodies. 

~Photo Blogger Zaher Hulays, Full-time Class of 2013

1.

Coffee, New York Times, and Ethics paper.

It was going to be a long day of tracking election news and homework.

2.

The Eastlake Stairs on Howe Street.

Working out regularly is a great way to keep focus and sanity in the MBA program.

Plus, the Howe St stairs are a great exercise for the Mt. Rainier C4C climb.

3.

Catching the bus from Capitol Hill to the U district.

4.

Seattle Skyline on Election Night from my balcony.

I was trying to do anything to make the time pass quickly.

5.

Election night grilling with friends.

6.

Obama Wins!

7.

The party on Capitol Hill after President Obama won reelection and it became clear that R-74 (gay marriage) passed.

The party went on for a while.

8.

The only way to end the night on Capitol Hill, a trip to Dick’s for some late night burgers and milk shakes.


Posted by admin - November 8th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Thank Goodness

Thank Goodness. After a long day, they might be the only words you can say (especially after finishing off another midterm). But sometimes, it’s as much about being thankful for the week being over as it is being thankful for your friends, your family/significant other, and even the occasional professor who have been around you every step so far on this journey.

Just because we’re business students, doesn’t mean we don’t have time to enjoy life every once in a while. Throughout the quarter, we have what are known as a “TG’s”, which literally stands for “Thank Goodness”. Over the course of the quarter, having a moment to take a step back from the stress of cases, team meetings, and exams and to just enjoy the company of your new “family” in Paccar is a welcome break. TG’s are just one of many chances students have here at Foster to grab a drink, share a few laughs, and just reset before the cycle begins again.

Our last TG happened to coincide with both Halloween and MBA Preview Weekend, and gave students a chance to go beyond their quantitative abilities to showcase their creativity. So whether you were a first year or an evening student, prospective or a “blue dot” (significant other), it was a fun night of getting to know new people as well as catching up with some familiar faces.

~Guest Blogger Jimmy Wong, Full-time Class of 2014

     

      

      

… and beware of Fruit Ninjas (especially if you’re dressed as a fruit)!

 


Posted by admin - November 7th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Networking, Networking, Networking…

As any MBA student will tell you, networking is a must do, but finding the time between school and networking is tough. Meeting the right people, connecting with the right organizations, all are factors in where to spend your “extra” time.

For me, the business roundtable event held by the Japan-America Society and the Foster Global Business Center called, “Social Media: For Your Business?” was a no brainer; I had to go. Having spent nearly seven years living and working in Japan, as well as interning over the summer at one of the world’s largest PR and ad agencies (that also has a big social media team), I knew this would be a good opportunity to network and meet industry leaders that work internationally, have a connection to Japan, and are involved in social media.

Companies that were represented in the panel discussion were Starbucks, Microsoft, Ivyworldwide, pspinc.com, Nikkei Concerns, and NicoNico, Inc. Each company representative also gave a 10 – 15 minute presentation on their social media strategy and some of the impacts that social media has had on their organizations.

I learned that effective social media strategy is about leverage, or as Nick White (Partner and General Manger of Ivy Worldwide, Inc., a word-of-mouth social media marketing consultancy firm) called it, “Social Media Judo”. He said if your firm is going to have an effective strategy you need to:

  • Listen;
  • Contribute on other sites;
  • Publish your own content and make sure to link back, cite, and propagate;
  • Don’t sell, rather soft sell [your product or service]; and
  • Listen even more.
Seems simple, but in the ever changing social media world, it is anything but simple. The buying process has changed, the customers are changing, and the frameworks that we have grown to love/hate in our MBA studies are changing. Thankfully, events like these allow real-time perspective from industry leaders in organizations that many of us will end up working for one day. The opportunity to meet, mingle, exchange business cards, and practice your elevator pitch with the panel and other attendees is a great way to go that extra mile and make genuine connections, because you never know how when you might come across the same people when searching for an internship, or in my case, a job.

~Guest Blogger Ryan Loren, Full-time Class of 2013 and President of the Global Business Association

Posted by admin - October 29th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Preview Weekend

Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27 marked the first Preview Weekend of the year.  Foster Preview Weekends provide prospective applicants with a glimpse into the Foster MBA program.  The organized events provided a range of experience and sources of information for prospective students, including a mock class taught by one of Foster’s world-class faculty members, student and alumni panels, a Halloween-themed TG (Thank Goodness it’s Friday) party, a program overview presented by Assistant Dean Dan Poston, a tour of the Paccar Hall facilities, and a discussion of Foster’s career services.  The weekend was also peppered with multiple opportunities for visitors to mix and mingle with each other as well as as current first and second year full-time MBA students.

The next Preview Weekend is scheduled for January 11-12, 2013.

     

     

 


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



Networking My Way to an Internship

Last year as I began my internship search I found myself at an event that would require me to confront a situation I had worked hard to avoid in the past, networking at a job fair. I had always found the idea of shaking hands with recruiters and company reps to be almost alien. To me, these types of events always felt very forced and I really don’t like being forced to do anything. I have had coworkers and friends who seem to excel in these types of situations, who could network naturally, almost instinctively. They could walk into a room of strangers and leave with a room full of friends and contacts. When I entered a room, I was met with a paralyzing social anxiety. Oh, I’m affable enough, love telling jokes, sharing stories and the like and when I tell my friends about my anxiety, they refuse to believe that someone who seems so outgoing would be so internally anxious.

Regardless, there I was, a fresh faced first year MBA candidate on the hunt for an internship. I watched classmates converse with the various company representatives, shake hands, exchange business cards and resumes and leave with a solid prospect for an internship at a company that I would have loved to work at. Seattle is home to some of the top companies in the world, across a range of industries ranging from aerospace to software developers. Yet there I was, standing in the middle of a room with the people who could help me get a foot in the door and I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other to go talk to them.

That’s when my career coach, whom I had had previous conversations with in which we talked about my fear of such situations. She could sense my level of discomfort and encouraged me to head home for the day and come by her office the next day to talk about an alternative strategy in regards to finding an internship. So that’s what I did. I grabbed my jacket, headed home to work on my marketing case for the next day and made plans to come by the career center the next day.

After my morning class the following day, I headed over to meet with my coach to start laying out my alternatives, of which I was hoping there were many because I was getting worried that I would never land an internship. During our meeting we talked about how vast the Foster alumni network is and how eager they are to help fellow Foster-ites in the internship search. Knowing my distaste for large recruiting events, we talked about the possibility of setting up informational interviews, which were more personal and far less stressful for me. My coach showed me the catalog of former student resumes that career services keeps on file and encouraged me to look through them to see if any of the alumni were currently working in an industry I was interested in. She also encouraged me to use LinkedIn to reach out to Foster alumni as well as my personal network to see if there was anyone I could schedule an informational interview with. She even went so far as to reach out to her personal network to help me schedule informational interviews. Over the coming month, when I wasn’t powering through a case with my team, I set up a number of interviews with alumni, people within my personal network, second year students who had interned at companies last summer. At these interviews I would ask about their experience at the company, how they applied what they had learned as an MBA candidate and closed each conversation by asking if they new anyone else that they felt I should talk to.

After a number of these interviews, I met a former Foster student who worked at one of the larger advertising agencies in Seattle. We bonded over not just over having both having experienced the gauntlet that is the workload of first-year but non-academic interests as well. We closed our conversation with him letting me know that he would go by human resources in the morning to share my resume and to find out what the situation was with the agency’s internship program. One week later I received a call from the HR director inviting me in for an interview. I couldn’t believe it! My weeks of informational interviews had paid off! I went in that Friday for my interview and on Monday I had an email in my inbox with an offer.

If there was to be a moral from this story, it’s that there are many alternative paths to finding a summer internship, not just the job fairs. Find what works for you, work with your career coach and exercise your network. The perfect internship is out there, the trick is finding it.

~Guest Blogger Ben Reid, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - October 19th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Taking a Pause

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


Posted by admin - October 12th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Welcome to the MBA Experience

It’s now nearly two whole weeks into fall quarter!  How are Foster MBA students feeling so far?

First year students are hitting the ground running!

I am exhausted, overwhelmed, excited, and hungry to learn. About what I expected coming into the program, just even more extreme. I am looking forward to getting involved in the clubs and interacting with great people.

~Dennis Grubbs, Full-time Class of 2014

I’m overwhelmed, but in the best way possible. Beyond tackling and mastering the coursework ahead, I am looking forward to getting involved in the Foster community and beginning my exploration of career opportunities ahead.

~Liza Green, Full-time Class of 2014

I keep remembering the words of wisdom from last year’s First Years during my campus visit: “You’ll be drinking from a fire hose from day one!” They weren’t joking. It’s been a great first week and the workload has been everything they promised and more.

~Dan Metz, Full-time Class of 2014

Have a great quarter, everybody!


Posted by admin - October 4th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Foster Supports Women’s Business

As my second year at Foster begins ramping up, one of my most exciting responsibilities is being the president of the Women in Business club. I am proud to run a club that includes so many amazing women.

What does WiB do?

We are a group of Foster MBA students that support the personal and professional development of women at the Foster School of Business, especially focusing on growing women into leadership roles. We have themes for each quarter that rounds out this mission: connecting (fall), confidence (winter), and competence (spring).

Why did I want to be involved with WiB?

Coming from an all-women’s undergraduate college, representing women in spaces where we are largely underrepresented is important to me (in fact, this was the topic of my essay for Foster!) From discussions on negotiating salaries to golf lessons, I think it’s important that women have a space to reflect on being a minority in business.

Who runs WiB?

I am proud to be the president, but I would get nothing done without my trusty board of eight amazing women. They head up everything from our mentoring program with the Undergrad Women in Business club, Alumnae networking events, golf lessons and events for the evening students at Foster.

As a board, we meet two times a month—each meeting covers upcoming speakers, event planning, ideas for getting involved in the community and more.

Each spring, WiB runs a spring retreat. Last May, we rented a house out in Hood Canal (in Eastern Washington) right on the water. We shucked and ate oysters right on the beach, ate steamed clams for dinner, played a golf scramble and we held our first official board meeting for the upcoming year. It was an amazing way to reflect on the year that had past and prepare for all the great events we have planned for 2012-2103.

~Guest Blogger Kara Gibson, Full-time Class of 2013 and WiB President


Posted by admin - September 28th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



Preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse

I spent my internship helping to usher in the zombie apocalypse. And by that, I mean I worked at PopCap Games – developer and publisher of titles such as Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, and Zuma.

These are exciting times for casual gaming, as the industry is shifting at a remarkable pace. There has been a rapid movement away from the premium download model, where players pay once for unlimited use of the game, to a freemium model, where the player can play for free, but is encouraged to make in-game purchases.

Under the premium model, the key to success was convincing a large group of players to pay upfront for your game. Whether those players played the game for 3 days or 3 years had a limited impact on the developer’s bottom line. Under the freemium model, however, player retention is critically important. The more often players play, the more opportunity they have to make in-app purchases.

For one of my internship projects, I wrote a white paper on how competitors used virality mechanics within Facebook games (friend invites, gifting, posting updates, etc.) to enhance viral user acquisition and retention. So yes, I spent a big portion of my internship playing games on Facebook! But when I reflect on what I learned about customer acquisition and retention in casual games, I realize how applicable and valuable this knowledge is even in industries far removed from gaming.

Several of my smaller summer projects involved gaming analytics. Cue first quarter stats (especially regression and hypothesis testing)! With the shift to freemium games, some developers have found success by placing a heavy emphasis on testing and iteration. Imagine your game has a few million daily active users. Will total revenue go up if you decrease the price point of a particular in-game item? Will players invite more of their friends if they see a green “Invite” button or a blue one? Will players send more free gifts if they have one gifting option, three gifting options, or 20 gifting options? Rather than making a game-wide change and hoping for the best, developers can use A/B testing (or even multivariate testing) on small subsets of users, and only implement game-wide changes that show statistically significant improvements over the existing game features.

But perhaps the biggest takeaway from my internship was that my MBA experience has given me the skillset to add value, even in an industry where I had no previous experience. As a result, I am confident in my ability to significantly contribute to my fulltime employer – even if they are not in the zombie proliferation business.

~Guest Blogger Ethan Anderson, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - September 20th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink



A Software Company Promoting No Software?

The cloud has been all the buzz lately in the tech industry. While some software companies have been slow to adopt this new technology/service-delivery model, salesforce.com has been a pioneer in the space since the early 90’s.

This summer, I worked at Salesforce as a product marketing intern with the Sales Cloud team. One of my main responsibilities was to help with Dreamforce, the company’s annual conference. Over a 4-day span, close to 40,000 attendees will have access to 750+ breakout sessions, where they can learn about our products and hear from our customers. I helped our team manage over 90 of these breakout sessions by finding session moderators, vetting through customer stories, and more. I also helped build out demo stations for the expo grounds, where attendees can experience our products first-hand.

Aside from Dreamforce responsibilities, I was asked to create a demo video for our Forecasting feature. The demo video will go up on the features section of the Sales Cloud website, and is used to attract new customers who want to learn more about our product. I worked closely with the Product Manager of the feature and my teammate to create a storyboard and script, and recently went into the studio to record the voiceover for the video. So if a career in the tech industry doesn’t pan out, there’s always the possibility of being the voice behind commercials or movies.

Outside of those major projects, I got to experience the day-to-day life of product marketers. I worked with and learned from a cross-functional team that had marketing campaigns people, SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) specialists, a software developer, and a copywriter and artist. It was interesting seeing how the different roles worked together towards a single goal.

And of course there were the great intern events and company perks. I got to hear from company leaders including COO George Hu (a former summer intern), Chief Creative Officer Bruce Campbell (who created the “No Software” logo), and even Peter Schwartz (a renowned futurist). And because Microsoft is a competitor, and their summer interns got a live concert at Gasworks Park (ask fellow Foster MBA candidates Taj Mathews, Aaron Shepherd, or Jessica Martin about that…), I have to ask…

Is there a better way to finish an internship than seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers live, outdoors at the San Francisco Civic Center?

~Guest Blogger Nelson Haung, Full-time Class of 2013


Posted by admin - September 14th, 2012 - 0 comments - Permalink