Have you seen all the Powered by Foster billboards around town? Check-out Molly Moore, Business Development Manager, Cambia Health Solutions, Evening MBA 2012
Investing in healthcare start-ups isn’t what you’d expect as a function of the parent company of Regence BlueShield. But that’s just what Molly Moore does, and she’d be the first to tell you that her Evening MBA helped get her there.
“When I entered the MBA program, I worked for Regence BlueShield negotiating provider contracts and managing specialty provider networks,” says Moore. “I had been in similar roles for Aetna and United Healthcare dating back to 2002.”
Moore moved forward with two things in mind: 1) She had acquired a deep knowledge of the healthcare industry over 17 years and wanted to stay in the field, 2) She wanted options for pursuing a different role than what lay ahead.
Her success in meeting both goals is evident in her role at Cambia Health Solutions, the parent company of Regence BlueShield in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. As part of a special division called Direct Health Solutions (DHS), Moore has a key role on a health care investment team.
DHS invests in (and builds) healthcare companies that create a more economically sustainable and person-focused health system. Her role within DHS is to work with invested companies, building the value of the portfolio. “I help our companies explore business opportunities with the Regence health plans, other Blue plan partners, consumers and employers within our four-state footprint,” says Moore.
Promising healthcare start-ups attract a lot of potential investors, but one of Cambia’s differentiators is taking the long-term investment view. DHS needs its business development people to be versed in everything from sales and channel development to acquisitions and partnerships. Moore’s years in the business play a big part in getting it right. What she learned as an MBA student has paid dividends as well.
“The two aspects of the Evening MBA Program that most prepared me for my current role were my participation in the UW Business Plan Competition and Lance Young’s entrepreneurial finance class,” says Moore. “When my job opportunity came along, I was fluent with the financial discussions as well as the healthcare context. I felt confident in tackling all the other aspects of the role such as interacting with the C-suite of my company, presenting to large rooms of people, strategic planning and project management.”
Now, Moore’s work powers innovations in healthcare, builds returns for investors and creates opportunities for new businesses.
Daniel Webb recounts the three things that stood out to him upon completing his first quarter as an Evening MBA Student.
Looking back at the first quarter of business school, three things stand out: 1) I really like going to class, 2) I love my study team and 3) the resources Foster provides from academic, to career management, to extracurricular activities are outstanding.
Looking forward to class…
During undergrad, I enjoyed classes to some degree but really focused my energy on activities outside of class. Since starting the Foster Evening MBA, I have been massively impressed with the quality of each and every class. Because we are all working during the day, our time is obviously very limited. This makes time in class super important. Even when we’ve had a long day and are beat by the time class starts, everyone is engaged in the class discussion. The faculty are fantastic. People ask good questions and its clear that everyone really wants to understand the content. Not to mention, each student brings a different perspective and work experience to the course content. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next quarter brings.
My team rocks…
During the recruitment process, staff and students shared that study teams and group assignments were an important part of the learning process at Foster. I enjoy working with groups so was happy to hear this but I couldn’t have imagined how great my team would be! We come from very different backgrounds with different skillsets and have meshed perfectly over the last few months. My team is a study resource. It’s a close-knit support network for getting through the tough parts of the quarter and it now includes some of my closest friends!
Sign me up…
As many of us were looking into to attending Foster, we also heard that there were plenty of extracurricular opportunities to take part in. It turns out, this aspect of the program is way above and beyond what I envisioned and I haven’t yet begun to tap into this set of resources. I’m very excited about taking part in the mentor program next quarter. The incredible quality of the list of Foster alumni and friends who signed up to mentor us highlights the huge upside this program brings. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved with clubs and other non-class activities like lectures, career management sessions, etc.
Meredith Heestand just finished her first quarter of the Evening MBA Program. Below she discusses what she learned about teamwork and how she’s excited that this is only the beginning.
It’s not always easy, but the reward is worth the work.
You might think that this point is fairly obvious. Come on, it’s an MBA program! But for a molecular biologist that mostly works independently and has played individual sports her entire life, let’s just say the learning curve was rather steep.
Thankfully, my team: 7, aka “Seventh Inning Stretchers” (named for our shared love of music and sports), have been unconditionally patient and encouraging since day one. Looking back, I keep wondering how on earth I got so lucky to be chosen as a member of this group of intelligent, witty, and hard-working individuals who were even game to do awkward yoga poses in front of our entire class two days after meeting each other.
I also remember how scary the thought of relying on other people for certain projects and assignments was. What if someone didn’t pull his or her weight? What if someone just dropped the ball and didn’t show up to a team meeting? Oh, the horror!
Well, honestly, these things happen. LIFE happens. And that is why you have a team. There is an imbued sense of reciprocity that if paired with the right people happens pretty organically. Being newbies to the whole MBA thing, many of us overscheduled our lives in the beginning, thinking this program was something we would just fit into the mix. WRONG. But you have to accommodate. You have learn to be a willow that bends but does not crack in what feels at times like the biggest windstorm you’ve ever endured.
New beginnings are immense times of change and my teammates were there for each other through it all. At times when people get sick or are out of town, you have to improvise. Getting a group of five adults that work full time and have family/life obligations together can sometimes be a challenge likened to herding cats. Thankfully, with Skype and shared Google Docs (and snacks) we made it work!
But your team is not just there to catch you when life runs its crazy course. They push you to think outside the box in new ways. I surely would still be scratching my head about economics if it weren’t for outside of class discussions on approaches to homework. Even if the only reason I showed up in the first place was for the snacks. Good thing I now realize incentives change behavior…
Teamwork is also about celebrating your successes. One of the best moments of the quarter came right after finishing our Economics final where I found myself singing karaoke alongside my class of 2017 team and the one and only Professor Ed Rice. We work hard but play harder!
To sum it all up, it feels like I just finished the first quarter of the rest of my life, not just the next three years. My Team 7 comrades and the entire evening class of 2017 have showed me the enduring power that good teams hold.
And when I say the work is worth it?
Let’s just say I’m exhausted but I can’t stop smiling.
As the days shorten and we head into the holiday break, I think that now is a good time to reflect back on my first quarter as an Evening MBA student at Foster. To say that I’ve been challenged in new and interesting ways would be an understatement. I hadn’t been in a degree program in over 10 years and it took some time to adjust, but with the finish line in sight I can say without a doubt that I’ve had an incredible time.
Here are some of the things I learned this quarter.
Ambiguity is the order of the day. As with life, things are not always clear cut and tidy in business. There’s almost never one right solution or approach, and sometimes you need to make decisions without having all of the relevant information. Our first quarter classes really delivered this message – to succeed, get comfortable with not having all of the answers.
There’s no “I” in team. Most everything we do is team based – even when you’re not working on a team assignment you study as a team. Reaching consensus in a group of smart and experienced people can be a really difficult task, but my team has been amazing – Aaron, Darius, Pete’ and Bing are the best teammates I could ask for. In fact, most of my classmates love their team as much as I do. We build on each other’s strengths and are better as a team than alone.
Leading in partnership. My classmates elected me and my classmate Tyson as class representatives, and we’ve had a blast working together to make the MBA experience as amazing as it can be. Two people with different ideas but with a common goal can work together, and thrive.
Socializing – it’s what’s for dinner. Academics is only about 50% of the MBA. The other 50% is socializing with classmates, alumni, and business leaders. My classmates are going to be my primary professional network for my entire career, and I love getting to know everyone. Happy hours every week, class-sponsored sports, monthly TGs, random trips to the bar after a team meeting, even a scavenger hunt – all necessary if you want to maximize your experience.
You get what you give. If you’re just there for the piece of paper you get in three years, you’re going to miss out on a lot. The more effort, time, and energy you put into the experience, the more you’ll get out of the program. I made it a point to attend every career management workshop (although I’m not looking for a job), go to as many networking events as possible, join the clubs that looked the most interesting, and connect with people in other classes and programs. The more you put yourself out there, the higher the chances of having a serendipitous encounter that just may change your life.
And here is some advice I received from upperclassman and which I think helped immensely.
Be sure to make time for yourself. Between family, school, and work, you need to find time to just turn off your brain. Don’t feel guilty taking a weeknight to just veg in front of the TV or play a board game. You’ve earned it.
Don’t take it so seriously. We are all committed and want to do well, but don’t lose perspective – it’s just school. This is where you can make mistakes with minimal consequences. One low score won’t make or break you. Stop yourself once in a while and make sure you’re enjoying yourself.
Don’t be afraid to keep your options open. There are so many opportunities in the program, if you close yourself off to new experiences you are selling yourself short. I came in laser-focused on entrepreneurship and global business, and though that’s still my focus I also never thought I’d actually like accounting. I’m also looking forward to learning more about careers in consulting and marketing.
Overall, it’s been a fantastic experience. Yes, I’m exhausted and look forward to the winter break, but I’m also excited about what awaits us in winter quarter.
Briana Rubens is a 2nd year student and VP for Community Outreach on the Evening MBAA. Below, she recaps the various ways in which Foster Evening MBA Students gave back to the community during Fall Quarter.
The Foster Evening MBA Program has been busy this past quarter with a wide variety of Challenge for Charity events.
To provide a little background, Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that draws on the talents, energy, and resources of MBA students from the top West Coast business schools to support Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other family-related local charities. The purpose of the organization is to develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility. Since C4C’s inception in 1984, the students of Foster have volunteered more than 19,000 hours and raised more than $1,000,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) and the University Food Bank. This year’s challenge promises to once again be filled with epic fundraising, social, volunteer, and athletic events in pursuit of the coveted ‘Golden Briefcase.’
We started off the school year with our annual Foster C4C 5k Fun Run on October 11th, and were thrilled to have over 200 participants this year as we kicked off our run at Paccar Hall! The run was a great opportunity for students from the daytime and evening MBA programs, family and friends to come together and support our Challenge for Charity efforts. The race kicked off at 9am, and participants were rewarded at the finish line with treats provided by Honest Tea, ClifBar, Naked Juice and Apex Fun Run. Orion Entertainment was also on-site to play some motivational tunes to energize the runners, and we capped off the event by awarding metals and prizes from Super Jock ‘n Jill and Mod Pizza to our top three women and top three men runners. The event helped raise over $8,000 for our Challenge for Charity efforts.
November’s TG (Thank Goodness it’s Friday) Event benefitted C4C through a raffle for fun prizes ranging from lunch with our favorite professor to choosing how a guy’s facial hair should look (since many were participating in Movember) This TG was Hoedown themed, and everyone decked out in great western wear. At our TGs Foster MBA students, family and friends are able to get together and celebrate the end of the week and spend time outside of the classroom to get to know each other.
Evening MBA students recently participated in the first Service Day of the school year. We assisted St. Jude with its annual Give Thanks Walk that took place at Seattle Center on November 22nd. Armed with coffee and energetic cheers to share with participants, we arrived at Seattle Center at 7:00am and headed off to our stations on the race course. It was extremely motivating to see so many family members and friends of those who have benefitted from St. Jude’s services and support out for the walk, and many shared their appreciation for our cheering and support on the race course.
There is a lot more in store during Winter Quarter – including the annual C4C auction and the Polar Plunge, so stay tuned!
On September 28th, I participated in the #OneFoster Scavenger Hunt, an event organized by the Evening MBAA to bring together students from every year under the theme of unity. I was teamed up with fellow 2017, Michael, two 2016s, Cara and Taka, and 2015s, Lisa and Aaron. We called ourselves the OneFosterSix, and together we ran around campus collecting photos of ourselves in front of UW landmarks.
In just over an hour and a half, we went from Paccar Hall to the IMA and Husky Stadium, then strolled through U District before finally heading back to campus. Between picking up items, we chatted about our backgrounds, studies, and goals for the future. We also laughed a lot! By the end, we were exhausted (at least I was!), so we turned in our scavenger list and ate delicious tacos while the scores were being tallied.
In the end, we didn’t win the scavenger hunt – that honor went to the awesome team dressed as inmates, with best dressed going to the Foster Ninjas – but I wouldn’t say we lost either. I got to know my classmate a little better, and I made four new friends along the way. The MBAA did a great job of organizing such an intricate event, and I’m so happy they did. Between getting accustomed to being back in school and juggling work, I haven’t had many opportunities to meet students in other classes. This event helped start the process, and it made me even prouder to be a part of Foster!
Michaela Byrne recaps eLEAD- the first class students take as MBA Students.
This last weekend, the class of 2017 completed their very first Foster MBA school credits. eLead was a full weekend complete with personal reflection, team building, creative peer presentations and of course, meaningful happy hours. Now that the work week is back in full swing and we’ve had a chance to reflect on the weekend, below are a a few of my takeaways.
Just because you’re in grad school, does not mean that you’re a faster reader than before grad school. Noting the number of students pouring into our readings the morning before class tells me that we may have fooled ourselves into thinking we’re capable of reading 20 plus pages just before class begins. Fortunately, students proved just fast enough to get through the pages to have engaging discussions with both Professor Bigley and Professor Fong.
The UW bars haven’t changed much, but the company in them may have. As a former UW undergrad, I swapped countless stories with other two-time Husky’s on their past experiences on the Ave. Twenty-one runs, Thursday night outings, and the unbeatable food offerings of the late night hours were all reminisced by those who had spent four years here before. But now the conversations have shifted towards entrepreneurship, technology, or maybe even politics… Undoubtedly an incredible class of students to share insights and a beer with.
Just because you’re getting your MBA does not mean that the touchy feely stuff doesn’t matter. It matters more. Professor Christina Fong’s Leadership class gave us the opportunity to reflect on feedback from our peers, while Professor Bigley challenged us to share tips with one another on ways to combat some of our weaknesses. While diving into deep discussions about one another and ourselves, it became very apparent that this program will serve as so much more than a tool to polish our business acumen, but an opportunity for personal growth.
This program is exceptional. We have yet to begin our first class and already our start to Foster has been an amazing one. We’ve shared personal stories, gave semi-embarassing presentations, learned that Tim truly does like to stand on things before he makes an announcement, and have begun to build strong and lasting friendships. Class of 2016, and 2015, watch out. 2017 is starting at full strength, ready to take advantage of all that Foster has to offer.
It’s back to school time and the Foster MBA Admissions team couldn’t be more excited to welcome 112 individuals into the Evening MBA Class of 2017. The decision to return to school differs from person to person, but the reasons for why they chose Foster all sound familiar: they are excited for the collaborative, challenging environment that Foster provides and everybody cannot wait to meet their incredible network of classmates.
Meet eight of these incoming students – all who have agreed to document their first year in the program through the Foster Evening MBA Blog. Like the rest of their class, they come from diverse backgrounds and have a myriad of interests. And, like the rest of their class, they can’t wait to meet each other!
ROSE ANTHONY: Rose is a member of the 2017 Evening MBA class and currently a systems engineer at the Boeing Company. Her background includes a BS in structural engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a BS in mathematics from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Rose grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved to Seattle after graduation in 2009. Rose loves the Northwest, as it fits greatly with her active lifestyle and keeping busy. In Rose’s free time she is an avid distance runner, enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, eating, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.
MICHAELA BYRNE: Michaela is joining the incoming class of 2017 in the Foster Evening program this fall. Originally from Alaska, Michaela has spent extensive time living overseas, graduating from High School in Thailand and spending long periods of time in Europe and other parts of Asia. Since graduation, Michaela has pursued a career path that combines both her love for Business and passion for Technology, by successfully contributing to digital companies, both large and small. Currently, Michaela is the Global Operations Manager for Zooppa.com Inc., a crowdsourcing platform for online media, based out of Seattle. In her free time Michaela loves running, yoga, exploring Seattle’s music scene, and traveling. She is eager to begin her graduate school experience at Foster and looks forward to the opportunities to get involved!
ANNA CASCIARI: Anna is an avid reader of the novel variety. You’ll find her in the kitchen on Sunday nights cooking up a variety of dishes and treats to last her the week. She Crossfits most mornings at 6AM, and the other days she’s outside running the Burke Gilman trail. And although she would love to fill my days with hobbies, she also needs to work: Her current role is as a Supervisor on an implementation project to replace Costco’s HR/Payroll System. She has been on the project two years, but she’s worked at Costco for over four and have had positions in Accounting and HR, moving from entry level to analyst positions. After this current project, she will move into a role supervising a department that oversees the Organizational Management (Org Structure) portion of the new HR/Payroll System. This is a brand new department at Costco, which she imagines will make the next year interesting as her department learns what their roles require.
ANDREW CREIGHTON: Andrew joins us from the food manufacturing industry, where he has worked since getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering in 2010. His career interests include manufacturing operations and consumer marketing. Outside of work, Andrew likes to spend time in the outdoors, especially in both the mountains and the waters: he’s a scuba diver and snowboarder.
Meredith Heestand: Meredith was born and raised in Bothell, WA and after graduating with a degree in Molecular Biology from University of Denver, she returned to Seattle in 2008 where she has been a Molecular Biologist and part-time cycling instructor at Flywheel Sports. Meredith has six years of professional experience under her belt; nearly four years at Seattle BioMed spent researching the parasite causing African Sleeping Sickness, and two years and counting in biotech at Theraclone Sciences where she develops cancer therapeutics. Aside from work, fitness and volunteering are her main hobbies. Meredith loves to road cycle, run, rock climb, snowboard, and lift the occasional heavy barbell at CrossFit. She’s completed one marathon, several half marathons, 10 century bike rides, and last year finished the STP 204 mile bike ride in one day. She co-captains a Bike MS Washington fundraising team and sits on the Ambassador Board for Friends of the Children Washington, a non-profit providing full time mentors to vulnerable youth in Seattle. She also enjoys cooking, spending time with her 1-year-old niece, and indulging in good wine and bourbon.
RAY LOYOLA: Ray has been an engineer at Boeing for over 10 years. He is currently an engineer in the passenger seats group, where he is responsible for the electrical integration and certification of seats into the 747 and 777 airplanes. The organization works constantly with seat suppliers around the world, to ensure on-time delivery of their seats into Boeing’s customer’s airplanes. Prior to working with seats, he spent 7 years on the 787 Dreamliner program as it went through initial design, ground / flight testing, and the delivery to the first few customers. Outside of work, Ray enjoys playing soccer, watching the Sounders, Mariners and Gonzaga Basketball, traveling, and doing anything and everything in Seattle – he loves this city!
NICK PERNISCO: Nick has been an entrepreneur since the age of 11, when he helped his parents run their hotel in a small coastal town in Argentina, finding new ways to please guests and increase revenues. Over the years, he has had the opportunity to launch a variety of companies, particularly in the media and tech industries. His latest company is TeleBEEM, which focuses on bringing unique digital content to mobile and to the web. Nick is heavily involved in the community, volunteering as a math tutor and serving on several non-profit boards. As a person living with Parkinson’s Disease, Nick is involved in various efforts to help raise awareness and to help find a cure. Nick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Radio-Television-Film, and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications, both from California State University, Northridge. He speaks fluent Spanish, intermediate Italian, and basic Russian, and he holds dual citizenship with Italy. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, playing tennis, and following international news and politics. Nick lives in Seattle with his wife Rosaline (Foster MBA 2014), and their two cats.
DANIEL WEBB: Daniel is a major gifts officer for the College of the Environment at the University of Washington. He received a BA in Business from Southwestern University, a liberal arts school near Austin, TX, and has six years of experience in higher education fundraising, getting his start in the development office with his alma mater. Daniel serves on the board of directors for the Northwest Development Officers Association. He enjoys hiking, camping, playing soccer and adventuring in the Northwest with his wife and friends.
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On Tuesday, August 26th, current and Evening MBA students met up to watch the Mariners take on the Texas Rangers. This annual, MBAA organized event has been a great way to welcome in the new class of students, allowing the upperclass men and women to reconnect with one another and the newbies. And to add to the awesome-ness of the night, the Mariners won 5-0! Below are some photos from the event.
Lavanya Venkateswar is a rising third year Evening MBA Student and scheduled to graduate this upcoming spring. Beginning her career as a product developer in the food industry, she’s using Foster’s Evening MBA Program to transitioning into a marketing role. Here she reflects upon her experience in Foster’s Evening MBA program.
I started off the Foster MBA program with a very conservative and achievable goal – get a Masters of Business Administration to move ahead in my current career path. I started my career off as a food scientist and after seven years of product development, I found myself wanting more: I wanted to work with consumers, making business decisions on what products to launch and how to make them profitable. I knew that marketing was the right spot for me to do what I wanted. But when I applied for the MBA I only gave myself permission to want to move into management in R&D in the food industry. I didn’t even want to say in my application essay that truly I wanted to move into marketing at the risk of sounding pretentious.
Once I started the Evening MBA program at Foster and started talking to other students in the 2nd and 3rd year of the program, I found out that it was quite common for folks with many years of experience in a particular function to move into other functions within the same industry or other industries. I felt more confident in voicing my desire to move into marketing. I also found that knowing other people had similarly wanted to move into new roles and were successful in their roles gave me confidence that I would do well in a marketing role. Within 9 months of starting the Foster program, I moved into a product manager role in marketing at the current company for which I was working – Continental Mills. During the first 6 months, I learned by leaps and bounds the various skills I needed to be successful in my new position. I also found that the learning experience at school and learning experience at work went hand in hand. There were times when I did a class at school before I had to experience it at work and there were times that I did something at work that made more sense after I learned why it was done a particular way at school.
My classmates were one of the greatest resources in helping me make the decision to move into marketing, as well as after I moved into my new role. Talking to classmates who were in marketing roles helped me understand the different kinds of marketing roles in different industries, the day to day activities of these roles as well as the skills required to be successful in the roles . These conversations helped me determine the skills and knowledge I would need to supplement what I already had, ultimately leading to a plan for what classes and electives I needed to take.
Going to the coffee breaks and weekly happy hours gave me the greatest opportunity to talk to my fellow classmates and bounce ideas off of them. The word “networking” always gave me the jitters. What am I supposed to say? What do I ask? What could I possibly have common with random people? After a year of weekly happy hours, I got it – networking just means talking to people and listening to them…that is something I could do! It got me comfortable with talking to new people about what they did, how they did it, what is common and different between the skills they needed to do what they did and what I did. Also, I got to learn this in the safest environment to practice the skills needed for networking – with friends trying to learn about you and practice their skills as well.
The next step in this discovery process was to engage with the Career Management team. One “ah-ha! moment” for me was when I realized I had access to the entire Foster Alumni in the Seattle area. It was truly humbling to see how the Foster alumni are so helpful and ready to talk to you. Every alumna and alumnus I have reached out to, whether through the Linkedin Alumni group or through introductions from the MBA office and Career Management office, has made time to meet with me or at the very least have a phone conversation. This is a great way to discover and understand different company cultures, different roles and how the Foster MBA helps you be successful in these roles, ultimately determining your interest in it and fit for you. The best way to make the right decision is to have all the facts and the easiest way to get these facts are through people who have done it.
You don’t know what you don’t know – that is something I found to be true time and again in this program. As I have talked to people in different industries and business functions I began discovering roles and opportunities that I had never known existed before. This has intrigued me and has made me think about possible future opportunities. I have given myself permission to not limit myself to a particular role or industry. What I ultimately want is to have transferrable business skills that would be applicable to multiple industries. I hope to continue this discovery process as I get into the final year of the evening MBA program and see where this exciting road takes me! -Lavanya Venkateswar Evening MBA, Class of 2015