Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Foster MBAs head to Kenya for Study Tour

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Twenty five students made up of Foster MBAs as well as other UW grad programs arrived in Nairobi, Kenya on March 14th.  Over the course of two weeks we explored Kenyan business, culture and life.  With the guidance of three knowledgeable and enthusiastic student trip leaders, we visited a variety of companies – from start ups to giants like Winafrique (renewable energy) and KenCall to Unilever, Safaricom, Barclays, Kenya Airways, and many others. We had a chance to meet amazing business leaders with degrees from Stanford Business School and from all other parts of the world.

Kenya Study Tour on the Kenya/Tanzania Border during the safari

Kenya Study Tour on the Kenya/Tanzania Border during the safari

We drove all over Nairobi to see what life was truly like in the developing world.  This included a company and site visit with Jamii Bora, Kenya’s largest microfinance firm.  The leaders of the organizations afterwards took us to Kibera (one of the two largest slums in Kenya) where we got to see microfinance funding at work and lifting people from the streets into sheltered living.  We also saw a school and an orphanage in a village outside of Nairobi which gave us a good perspective on the value that education has in Kenya, considering it has a 70% literacy rate.

In addition to businesses that we visited in Kenya, we also had plenty of cultural

Nairobi Stock Exchange

Nairobi Stock Exchange

experiences.  For example, we visited Karen Blixen’s house (the subject of Out of Africa), saw the Bomas of Kenya (where traditional Kenyan tribal dances including Barack Obama’s were performed), learned and visited an elephant orphanage, fed giraffes at the giraffe center and of course we went on a three day safari.  A part of the group also spent one morning on a hot air balloon ride over the African savanna seeing the sunrise and wild life early in the morning.  Many of us also got to try our hand at bargaining at city markets where we gifts like masks, sculptures, paintings and jewelry.

Overall, this was a once in a lifetime experience.  The feeling from the trip was that most of us could have gone on a safari on our own, but we could not have gotten an inside glimpse into a very hopeful and young economy in the developing world.  This is definitely the best part of business school for me – getting to take advantage of opportunities like this one.

Guest Blogger: Helen Seliverstov, Foster MBA Class of 2011

Foster Goes to Omaha

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

A group of 27 Foster MBA students headed to Nebraska last week to spend the day with the Oracle of Omaha, Mr. Warren Buffett. It was supposed to be a quick trip consisting of only 24 hours in Omaha, but a mechanically faulty airplane provided us an extra night in the midwestern city and time for one more famous steak which several people took full advantage of.

Our very own guest blogger, Allison Bilas with Mr. Buffett

Our very own guest blogger, Allison Bilas with Mr. Buffett

Mr. Buffett graciously answered questions for two and a half hours ranging from his approach to maintaining an ethical culture at Berkshire Hathaway to explaining how he would invest $10,000 if he was a graduate student with a limited bank account balance. He was completely honest, open and consistently showed his down-to-earth sense of humor. Our favorite quote came during his answer to a question regarding the government’s intervention in the economy:

“You can’t make a baby in 1 month by getting 9 women pregnant.”

No arguments from us on that one.

It was a fabulous trip and completely stress free which we owe entirely to our amazing classmate, Meghann. She was asked by the Dean to be the lead coordinator for the trip and he clearly chose a great woman for the job. She handled all of the frustrating logistics involved in the rebooking of 27 people on a new flight back to Seattle, as well as making sure we had somewhere to sleep for our extra night in Omaha. We thank her profusely. (You can read her take on the trip over at Foster Unplugged.)

Here’s to Foster being invited back to Omaha for a third year in a row in 2011. If we are, I strongly suggest those attending think of a good pose for their few moments with Mr. Buffett. He likes role playing, clearly.

Our fearless leader, Meghann | Mr. Buffett | Yours Truly

Our fearless leader, Meghann | Mr. Buffett | Yours Truly