GMAT Prep: Advice from Current Students and MBA Admissions

If you are considering an MBA, the GMAT is one of the first hurdles in the application process. How should you prepare and set yourself up for success on exam day? Here are some tips from those who have been there.

What is your #1 piece of advice for prospective students regarding GMAT prep?

Emily Sherry, Senior Business Analyst at Starbucks

Emily Sherry, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Emily Sherry, Evening MBA Class of 2016

I would recommend planning on taking at least a couple of practice tests, beginning with one early on in the studying process. I had been stressing out about how little time I would have to do each question, but when I took my first practice test, I actually had more time than I imagined I would. That took the pressure off a little bit and helped me pace better. Taking one early on can also help guide your preparation strategy by showing you which areas and types of questions you need to spend the most time studying. I would also recommend opting to spread the practice tests out, and not save them until immediately before taking the actual exam; it’s easy to get burnt out doing them and you don’t want to feel that way when it comes time to sit for the real thing.

Logan Fouts, Design Engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Logan Fouts, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Logan Fouts, Evening MBA Class of 2017

The GMAT isn’t hard; it’s just material you probably haven’t reviewed in a long time.  Take the time to refresh yourself on the skills needed for the GMAT, which you likely learned in high school.

I studied for about six weeks.  I used a guidebook and just worked my way through it.  I went with the strategy of doing a lot of practice problems and I believe that helped me.

Mike Mulligan, Account Executive- Advertising at Amazon

Mike Mulligan, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Mike Mulligan, Evening MBA Class of 2017

My #1 piece of advice for taking the GMAT is DO IT!  I’ve found that the single largest barrier to getting an MBA is deciding you’re serious enough to invest time/money in studying and taking the GMAT.  I talk to countless peers who are thinking about getting an MBA but never get around to the GMAT.  I was fortunate to have access to an online GMAT prep class which, while not critical to success, gave me deadlines to be accountable to studying and practice tests.  Really, the accountability to move forward is the most important part whether it is a class, test date, study buddy, or something else.  You need to set yourself up for success with a positive and motivating environment.  I probably gave myself three months to prepare, study, and practice before I took the GMAT, and that felt like a good amount of time.  The most valuable element of studying was taking practice tests in the actual allotted time that they were designed for and going through the areas of opportunity identified in those tests.  The GMAT is like a video game and each answer is like a level that you beat or lose, taking you up or down a level.  Just like a video game, the more you practice the levels, the more likely you are to get the high score.  Have fun and go get the high score!

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions
Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions

The best thing you can do to perform well on the GMAT or GRE is to practice. There is a direct correlation between amount of prep time and standardized test scores so make sure you put the time and energy into preparing to take the test. I think understanding the format of the test is one of the first steps all candidates should know – how long does it take, how is it broken down, how many questions in each section. Being comfortable in the exam room can be simply accomplished by knowing what will be coming over the course of the four hour exam – and that, in return, can easily help your score. As for specific study tips:

  • Figure out when you are going apply and work backwards to schedule your test prep: I always tell candidates that they should figure out to which admissions deadline they plan to apply and then at least take the GMAT one month before that deadline. Since you can only take the GMAT or GRE once every 30 days, planning  to take the test at least a month in advance gives you the security in knowing that if you aren’t happy with your first score, you can still take it again before the admissions deadline. Also, if you are happy with your score, then you can spend the last month fine tuning your essays, resume and other application requirements.
  • Come up with a study plan: Once you decide the deadline to which you will apply and you have a good sense of what is on the test, come up with a study plan:  when will you study, what will you study how will you measure your progress. This is where you have to figure out what will keep you motivated the most: some people benefit from signing up for a prep course, where a study schedule will be created for you.  Others can work independently through a test prep book. Make sure you take into account personal or work commitments when devising your study plan: if you know that a personal commitment is going to take up a lot of time or will keep you away from studying, accommodate for that.
  • Think outside the traditional test-prep options: I’ve heard from a lot of students that they’ve found benefit in taking a class in a related subject, like calculus, economics or statistics. While these courses may not directly feed into a study curriculum for a specific standardized test, they do help in becoming more comfortable with quantitative problem solving.
  • Practice, practice practice: Whatever your study plan may be, make sure that you periodically check in with how you are doing. There are a lot of free resources that you can use to test yourself and many resources will break it down in to the specific types of questions in each section. Thus, if you are having a difficult time with the geometry questions on the Quantitative sections, you know you probably should spend more time reviewing concepts that will help you in that area.
  • Foster will take your best score – so don’t be afraid to sit for it more than once:The question I get most often regarding the GMAT or GRE is if it looks bad if candidates have to take the GMAT more than once. The answer is an NO! In fact, we respect that you are making efforts to improve your scores: Foster will take your best overall score when evaluating your candidacy and we want you to apply with a score which you feel best reflects your abilities and strengths. If you’ve taken the test multiple times and are still not satisfied with your score, schedule a one-on-one appointment with an Admissions Team member. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss your preparation strategy so you can demonstrate your academic proficiency on the GMAT and throughout the application process.
  • And Remember: the GMAT or GRE is not an indicator of your self-worth nor does it determine your fate: The Foster Admissions team considers many different factors when we evaluate candidates so your future does not rest on the results of a four hour test. If you have concerns about your score and how it will be evaluated, schedule a one-on-one appointment with an Admissions Team member so you can learn how to accentuate other areas of your application.

Every candidate is different. Whether your GMAT prep plan is six weeks, three months, or longer, make sure to take into consideration your learning style and your schedule, and follow the strategy that works best for you.

For questions regarding GMAT prep and the application process, make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office. Give us a call at 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622 or email us at

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Moving to Pursue the Foster Evening MBA

Alf Lee, a member of the Class of 2017, moved from the East Coast to pursue the Foster Evening MBA Program. Born in Marshfield, WI and having grown up in Boxborough, MA, Alf  left the familiar behind to start the Foster Evening MBA chapter of his life. Why would one move across the country to pursue a “part-time” MBA Program? He shares his experience with us in the first installment of this new Blog Series.

PS The pic with the "Alf" written on the ground was something I came across in Magnuson Park the 2nd week I got to Seattle.  Pretty much validated the move here!
After two weeks in Seattle, Alf came across this written in Magnuson Park. He says it validated his move to this beautiful city.

Why did you choose the Foster Evening MBA Program?

Alf Lee, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Alf Lee, Evening MBA Class of 2017 and MBAA VP of IT

I was lucky enough to get into three great MBA programs: University of Washington, Babson College, and University of Texas at Austin.  Ultimately, three factors separated UW from the pack.  First, the quality of the faculty and students when I visited really blew me away.  Every conversation I had was inspiring.  Second, the immediate camaraderie with students that resulted from Evaluation Day.  Even though I was competing with these individuals, there was an instant bond of taking this challenge on collectively.   Third, the culture of the Pacific Northwest sealed the deal:  Good nature, good food (this was actually on my checklist), good people, and- especially- the entrepreneurial spirit here.

 What prompted you to move to Seattle from the East Coast to pursue a part-time program?

Well, not shoveling snow for 6 months is pretty appealing!  In all seriousness, I had wanted to explore life outside New England for some time and I had reached a stage professionally where I needed to take a big leap and step out of my comfort zone.  Seattle has a great economy with prospective work in every industry, so I felt there was an opportunity here to learn in both the classroom and the work force.

Alf at Glacier national Park.
Alf at Glacier National Park.

 What is your assessment of the program so far?

A year in, I can say it’s definitely delivered.  As a transplant, there are tons of challenges I wasn’t prepared for (like driving only 60 MPH on the highway), but interestingly, it’s the program that has stabilized me thus far.  I come to class each week genuinely excited to learn and interact with everyone.  I’m constantly humbled by the talent around me.  It’s intimidating and inspiring at the same time.

The Class of 2017 celebrating the end of their first year.
The Class of 2017 celebrating the end of their first quarter in the Evening MBA Program.

What is your favorite thing about Seattle?

You mean, aside from seeing my Patriots beat the local team in the Super Bowl?  It is definitely the worldly culture.  People here are so well-traveled which fosters (pun intended) outside-the-box thinking.  This feeds the entrepreneurial mindset and a pervasive understanding that there is always a better, more efficient way to do things.  Definitely the biggest strength of the region.   The food is a close second.

Alf and fellow Evening MBAs enjoying breakfast with friends.
Alf and fellow Evening MBAs enjoying breakfast with friends.

Any advice for prospective students?

Stay focused.  There is an overwhelming amount of stimulation here, and it’s all good!  But you’ve go to be selective about where you invest your time and energy.  My biggest mistake in Year 1 was going after EVERYTHING.  It’s just not possible.  This is the time to explore in your career, but remember why you came in the first place – you had a goal so make sure you stick to it…because you can get derailed pretty easily if you don’t stay centered.

Evening and Full-time MBA students at a Flywheel fundraiser benefiting Challenge for Charity (C4C).
Evening and Full-time MBA students at a Flywheel Sports fundraiser in South Lake Union benefiting Challenge for Charity (C4C).

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to see the program through the eyes of current students.

Fostering Friendship

Foster Evening MBA students spend a considerable amount of time together. Rigorous classes and demanding team projects keep them busy throughout the academic year. Friendships develop organically as students share experiences with each other and bond. Many students remain close friends long after earning their Foster MBA.

Meredith Heestand and Nicholas Wilton proudly point to their name tags at the Admitted Student Happy Hour.
Meredith Heestand and Nicholas Wilton proudly point to their name tags at last year’s Admitted Student Happy Hour.
Now second year Evening MBA students, Meredith Heestand and Nicholas Wilton proudly point to their official Foster name tags.
Now second-year Evening MBA students, Meredith Heestand and Nicholas Wilton proudly point to their official Foster MBA name tags.

Meredith Heestand and Nicholas Wilton, members of the Class of 2017, describe how their friendship began and evolved through the Evening MBA Program. In addition to their academic responsibilities at Foster, they both maintain several professional and extracurricular activities. Meredith is a Research Associate at Theraclone Sciences and an Instructor at Flywheel Sports. Nicholas is  the Chief Revenue Officer at WAGmob.

How did you become friends?

Meredith Heestand, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Meredith Heestand, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Meredith: Nick and I met on Evaluation Day 2014 when we were both vying for the same scone at the breakfast buffet. (Ok, maybe not the same scone.) But I was certainly nervous for Evaluation Day and thought “Hey, this guy looks friendly,” and introduced myself. It turned out that we had several mutual friends and bonded over these small-world connections. I was beyond ecstatic to see Nick again at the Admitted Student Happy Hour. From then on we kept in touch and have become good friends. Midway through the year, I even recruited Nick to join a non-profit board with me! Despite his weird taste in sports (hockey?), he’s one of the best all-around guys you’ll meet.

Nicholas Wilton, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Nicholas Wilton, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Nick: On Evaluation Day, we arrived at about the same time. We started a conversation over breakfast and found out we had several mutual friends from different circles, but had never met.

What makes Evening MBA friendships unique?

Meredith: We all share similar crazy schedules and have empathy for one another. We know what everyone is experiencing and are able to push each other, but give grace when needed. And an Evening MBA friend can potentially turn into your best friend and future business partner.

Nick: While they often start like most friendships, it’s interesting how many opportunities Foster friendships have opened up. I’ve met a lot of great people, joined volunteer organizations, tried new group fitness classes, had many helpful informational interviews, and met quite a few classmates for a coffee or a beer to share insights. There is a lot of passion, intelligence, and willingness to explore new ideas in this program and I absolutely love it.

Why do you think Evening MBA students go out of their way to plan social events together, even outside of the academic year?

Meredith: Evening MBA students need a social outlet to get to know the passions of their peers outside of the classroom. And just to have fun without the stress of school!

Nick: We’re a social bunch. We are sharing an experience that will be life-changing. This experience extends well beyond the classroom, and I think that it’s pretty well-understood that the bonds we are building now will be a huge portion of the ROI of this program.

What else would you like to share about your friendship?

Meredith: Nick joined the Friends of the Children Ambassador Board earlier this year which has been a great way to interact in a professional (and fun) setting outside the classroom. We had some board member turnover and Nick seemed like the perfect fit after expressing interest in becoming involved in education within the Seattle community.

Nick: Meredith has energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence like few people I’ve ever met. I sincerely admire how much she cheerfully has on her plate, and the amount of effort she applies to not only doing it, but DOING it! (You should try taking one of her early morning spin classes… no lack of enthusiasm!) We talked about the organization for which she is an Ambassador Board member (Friends of the Children Seattle) on Evaluation Day, and I was inspired. We continued to talk about it, and a few months later I joined her on the board. It’s been a great experience, and it’s been rewarding to contribute to a great organization and grow as a leader.

Meredith and Nicholas pose for a picture at the same place where they celebrated admission to Foster's Evening MBA Program.
Meredith and Nick pose for a picture at the same place where they celebrated admission to Foster’s Evening MBA Program.

Meredith and Nick are looking forward to their second year of the Evening MBA Program this fall.

Class of 2016 Summer BBQ

Classmates and their families pose for a group photo at the Class of 2016 Summer BBQ.
Classmates and their families pose for a group photo at the Class of 2016 Summer BBQ.

The Evening MBA Association recently hosted a family-friendly BBQ for the Class of 2016. Classmates enjoyed meeting each other’s families in the beautiful sunny weather. The Class of 2016 has had a total of 21 babies since beginning the Evening MBA Program, thirteen of whom were at the BBQ. There is a special camaraderie among these students, many of whom are first-time parents. Foster has seen these bonds last long beyond graduation.

Members of the Class of 2016 reflect on the event:

Karena Teves, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Karena Teves, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“Foster’s Evening MBA Program has welcomed parents and non-parents alike, and I couldn’t have felt more welcomed than at the family-friendly BBQ that my class hosted this summer. As a parent of young ones, I don’t get to go to all the social events that I’d like to, and it felt great to go somewhere and see my MBA classmates and know that my children were welcome as well! It was also great to see so many non-parents there supporting us! Thanks guys!”



Cy Berryman, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Cy Berryman, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“It was great to see everyone out at the Baby-Q and all of the amazing kids in our program. With 21 babies born and counting, our class has shown that you can have kids, go to school, and develop your career simultaneously. These choices don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We have so much support from our families and the Foster community that makes the challenge possible.”



Jarrod Job, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Jarrod Job, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“The beauty of the Evening MBA Program is that it promotes ‘whole-life’ learning.  For Evening MBA parents, learning does not end at 9:30 PM after class, leaving little time for networking with one another the way we would like.  Foster saw this opportunity and brought together the parent community for a mid-summer BBQ.  This event served my family.  Specifically, it served my wife, who was able to meet fellow candidates, especially fellow professional and MBA moms with their kids.  Meeting the other families, who are stretched across several responsibilities and still making the most of the Program, fosters a camaraderie that was definitely felt at the event.  I hope that future classes can continue this event.”











Building a Community: Admitted Student Events

The Foster Evening MBA Program offers several summer events to welcome new students and engage them in building a strong community long before classes commence.

The Evening MBA Program welcomes the Class of 2018 at the Admitted Student  Happy Hour.
The Evening MBA Program welcomes the Class of 2018 at the Admitted Student Happy Hour.

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions, describes the value of the Admitted Student Events.

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions
Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions

The goal of Admitted Student Events is to bring recently admitted students together in a more informal setting. For those who are still deciding whether Foster is the right choice for them, this is a great way to get a feel for who they would be spending the next three years with. In a program as rigorous as Foster, it’s essential that you feel inspired, supported and encouraged by your classmates. And for those who have already decided to join us in the fall, these events offer a great opportunity to begin building lasting relationships with their future classmates. Many students say that they look back on the admitted student events as the start of their Foster MBA journey.

These events have been very popular with the admitted students – we’ve had great turnout this year! Many of the attendees have already accepted their offers of admission, but some like to attend the events first in order to get a better feel for the student body before making a decision. It’s so important that you engage with the program and with the community as much as possible prior to joining a program. For some, these events can be incredibly influential in their decision to join Foster. Also, over the last few years we’ve noticed an increase in student involvement outside of class, and we believe these events have played a role in this, since students begin getting to know each other “beyond the classroom” well before they even set foot in the classroom!

Members of the Evening MBA Class of 2018 meet their classmates, current students, and the Admissions Team at the second Admitted Student Happy Hour.
Members of the Evening MBA Class of 2018 meet their classmates, current students, and the Admissions Team at the second Admitted Student Happy Hour.

The most common feedback that I hear is, first and foremost, how impressed everyone is with their future classmates. Many of our students are surprised by how incredibly diverse the student population is here at Foster, and these events increase their excitement about joining the program. Also, the admitted students enjoy being able to relax and get to know each other in a casual setting, without the pressure of still being “under review”. (Plus this gives everyone an opportunity reminisce on Evaluation Day!)

The Foster Evening MBA program is very unique in that it is a program designed to fit around a busy work/life schedule, but at the same time it is an incredibly engaging experience, and the students develop close relationships with one another that last well beyond graduation. Similarly, the admissions team seeks to get to know our candidates and students well beyond the application, and these events are just another way for us all to become better acquainted with one another. Your will make lifelong friends in this program – guaranteed! These events are just the beginning of what will be an unforgettable and transformational experience.

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, shares how these events allows students to build meaningful connections with their classmates.

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions
Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions

We began organizing summer events because we discovered that they are a catalyst to get students more excited about the journey they are about to embark on – and get them connected with other admitted students, many of whom they met during Evaluation Day. Admitted students love the chance to start interacting with other admits as soon as they can – after all, these will be their fellow students for the next three years! When September rolls around and ePRIME starts, students quickly shift into school-mode so the summer events also allow for a bit more laid-back environment for people to get to know each other.

The Evening MBA Program hosts social events outside of academics– whether it is events prior to school starting, weekly happy hours, winter formals and end of the year parties or sporting activities.  This sets Foster apart from other part-time programs. To my knowledge, no other part-time program promotes a wide range of activities like Foster does. All of these events lend themselves to creating a strong sense of community and, even better, a more solidified network. These are major benefits of business school that the Evening MBA Program is proud to offer its students.

Mike Bersos and Zach Hokett Members of the Evening MBA Association welcome the Class of 2018 at the MBAA Admitted Student BBQ.
Mike Bersos and Zach Hokett, members of the Evening MBA Association, welcome the Class of 2018 at the MBAA Admitted Student BBQ.


The Class of 2018 mingling at the Evening MBA Association Admitted Student BBQ
The Class of 2018 mingling at the Evening MBA Association Admitted Student BBQ

To stay up to date on everything Foster Evening MBA, follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram.

Moms in the Evening MBA

The Foster Evening MBA Program is more than a “work-compatible” MBA- it’s a “life-compatible” MBA. Students juggle a variety of demanding responsibilities in their personal and professional life while in the program. In the first installment of “Moms in the Evening MBA” blog series, Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017, shares how she does it all.

Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Diane Dettling

Graduation Year: 2017

Pre-MBA Profession: Oil/Hazmat Spill Responder with the US. Environmental Protection Agency

Post-MBA Aspirations: Undecided

 How do you balance your academic, personal, and professional responsibilities?
I have a very strong support system. I rely heavily on my husband, family, and close friends.

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?
It’s definitely all about the people. My 1st year study team, team mentor, and classmates were an essential resource providing constant motivation and support. Also, the professors and advising staff are always available and willing to help.

Members of Diane’s first year MBA team decided to enter the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition together and won the Best Marketplace Idea Prize. The team shares her sentiment:

“Diane is amazing! Not only is she a fantastic project manager who always kept our team on track, she also hosted other Foster moms at her house to chat classes and careers amidst a flurry of kids. She was a key member of our Business Plan Competition team, designing our PowerPoint and presenting with poise and charisma.” -Anna Nordstrom

“Diane was a model teammate during this past school year. She came prepared to every group meeting and contributed her unique perspective to every discussion while even offering up her home for group meetings and making breakfast. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate!” -Jay Chang

“Diane could be busy with class and family, and still put in extra hours for the UW Business Plan Competition with a smile on her face.” -Daniel Johnson

“Diane is super smart and always calm, cool and collected. Working with Diane was great. Whatever the task, she did an incredible job setting the pace and- just by her example- challenging us to meet the standard she set. But the best thing about working with Diane is her sense of humor- it’s always fun to hang out with her at happy hours and team get-togethers.” -Justin Meith

“Diane has an inner kindness as well as a strong sense of responsibility towards her team members.” -Bo Gao

Diane's first year MBA team
Diane’s first year MBA team

What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies/interests outside of the program?
I like to cook (and eat), try new restaurants, get outdoors, run, go to Sounders games, and spend time with family and friends.

How do you make time for loved ones?
I make it a priority to always spend at least one of the days on the weekend doing something fun with family or friends.

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?
I chose Foster because I wanted the best MBA program in the area. I chose the Evening Program because it provides the flexibility for me to raise my daughter and work toward my future career.

Diane, enjoying quality time with her family.
Diane, enjoying quality time with her family

Reflections: Class of 2015 Graduates

The Foster Evening MBA is known for its collaborative culture, thanks to its students who enjoy helping others succeed. In true Foster form, recent graduates from the Class of 2015 share their takeaways from the Evening MBA Program.

Greg Uratsu

Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “I found that the best way to enhance your experience at Foster is to trust your classmates and get out of your comfort zone with them – both in and outside of the classroom.”

Advice for incoming students: “Time stops for no one; if you have time and interest in a Foster event – do it now!  A future unforeseen event may occur and you may never be able to attend later.”

Owen Ho

Owen Ho, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “Stay curious. Always be helpful to your friends, classmates, and people around you.  Relationship is the key.  Like Dan Poston & Tim Hossain mentioned at orientation, focus on mastering the 3Cs (Competency, Connection, Confidence) and live the Foster values.”

Advice for incoming students: “Be resourceful, take interesting risks, make amazing mistakes, and don’t let people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.”

2015 Foster Evening MBA Service Awards

A portion of commencement is dedicated to recognizing one student and one faculty/staff member with the Service Award, as voted on by the Class of 2015. This year, there was a tie between two incredible faculty/staff. Congratulations to Adam Rubens, Lloyd Tanlu, and Tim Hossain!

Class of 2015  Commencement
Class of 2015 Commencement

Chris Cunningham shares his appreciation for his fellow classmate at commencement:

Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Each year, the evening MBA votes on the student service award. This year, our recipient is a good friend and familiar face to so many in the program. Students describe Adam Rubens as “involved in all things foster,” ” friendly, welcoming and kind without ever exhibiting ego.” I personally can attest to his willingness to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. He takes care to make everyone feel included, contributes thoughtful, creative work in the classroom, and his contributions on the MBAA board have been recognized across campus.

Adam Rubens describes what makes Foster Evening MBA faculty & staff unique:

Top tier MBA programs are reliant on faculty and staff who make a profound impact on the educational trajectory of the students.  In the Evening MBA program we measure that impact in terms of passion, connection, knowledge, and a willingness to go beyond the classroom to engage our minds in our concurrently progressing careers.  A great staff or faculty member challenges us like Apple to “Think Different”, like Nike to “Just Do It”, and like Sprite to “Obey Your Thirst”…for knowledge.

Lloyd Award
Lloyd Tanlu, Professor of Accounting, accepts his Service Award.

The winner of this year’s faculty/staff award exemplifies all of these criteria and more.  Professor Lloyd Tanlu is known for driving the Foster student experience both inside and outside the classroom. While his reputation is sometimes synonymous with a generous love of red meat and uncanny ability to remember all of his students, there are few people who can make quarterly budgeting, balanced scorecards, and corporate governance as interesting and meaningful as this professor.

Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.

This year, we had an honest to goodness tie in the voting for this award.  For our second winner I think this quote from a nominating student sums it up well-  “I’ve never had a faculty/staff member that cared so much about the lives, goals, and accomplishments of individual students.  He really shows how much he cares daily and goes well above and beyond to support this program”.  I am proud to personally call Tim Hossain a mentor and am joined by the rest of the 2015 Evening MBA class when I thank him for all the hard work he puts in on a regular basis to make this an incredible and valuable experience for all of us.

Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his Service Award.
Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his award.

Outstanding Students from the Class of 2015 Recognized at Graduation

One of the highlights of the academic year at Foster is the opportunity to recognize students who represent all that Foster stands for and who consistently strive to make a difference.

2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Student Award

Every year, the faculty and staff have the pleasure of nominating a graduating student who has, during her or his time in the program, exhibited a broad range of qualities which are held in high esteem by the University of Washington, including contribution to the UW Foster MBA community; contribution to the community at large; business professionalism; leadership; and class representation.

The two recipients of the Outstanding Evening MBA Student Awards made major contributions to the Foster Evening MBA Program inside and outside of the classroom.  They truly embody what it means to be a Foster MBA. Foster is proud of them and has previously highlighted their experience in spotlight videos. Congratulations, Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell!

Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.
Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.

Lisa Dahlby

Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Lisa took it upon herself to forge strong relationships with all of her professors.  She worked hard with both administration and faculty on creating a strong academic experience for her classmates.  She  instituted a standardized mid-quarter feedback session for all core faculty and facilitated the discussion with strong professionalism.  Economics professor Ed Rice had this to say about her:

“She served her fellow students as a strong advocate for academic excellence.  Lisa is as an example of how to make the most of the program by having a positive attitude, caring about fellow students and challenging yourself. ”

Allison and Lisa with fellow classmates on graduation day.
Lisa and Allison with fellow classmates on graduation day.

Outside of the classroom, Lisa served as the Evening MBA representative to the Master’s Program Committee, a superstar Ambassador and  a Vice-President in the MBA Association.

Beyond her leadership, she will be remembered for her constant professionalism and dedication to the Foster School of Business.

Lisa shares why she chose Foster: “I knew this was my calling. The MBA makes you look at the world in a different way and it makes you a much better citizen of the world.”

Allison Waddell

Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Many in the Evening MBA Program call Allison “THE Face of Foster”.  When Allison started the program she knew the MBA Program was not just a set of academic courses, but an overall experience that reached beyond the classroom.  This quote from her nomination sums it up:

“She arrived at Foster and quickly became a face of the program. Her ebullient personality, willingness to roll up her sleeves and work with anyone to get the job done, and her genuine interest in learning more about people made her well-liked by her classmates. As she went through the program, she continued to shine as a leader. Whether it was finding effective ways to communicate to all Evening students or just lending a helping hand, her presence was felt by everyone during her time at Foster. She has the knack and drive to go anywhere and be extremely successful in her future endeavors – and Foster’s Evening MBA Program will be extremely lucky to count her as an alumna.”

Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.
Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.

Allison shares the most memorable aspect of her Foster experience: “I will never forget the people I met through Foster. The faculty, staff, students, and alumni are what make Foster great and it is those relationships that I will never forget.”

Rita Jabbouri: “It’s all about the team”

Meet Rita Jabbouri, the Admissions Team’s new Social Media & Blog Coordinator for the Evening MBA program. An important aspect of Rita’s position is connecting prospective students with the Foster community through social media. Rita is a “Double Dawg,” having earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Foster. She is passionate about the value of a Foster MBA and is happy to give future students an inside look at Foster through the perspective of current students, faculty, and staff. Rita will assist with most Admissions events and looks forward to meeting you!

Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Rita Jabbouri
Graduation Year: 2017
Pre-MBA Profession: Branch Manager at U.S. Bank
Post-MBA Aspirations: Finance or Marketing at an industry-leading organization

What is your favorite part of the Foster MBA experience?

My team! Foster places an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration because that is what employers expect upon graduation. To be successful, leaders must not only understand how to work effectively in teams, but actually live it. It has been a pleasure working with Daniel Webb, Edward Galloway, Logan Fouts, Nhi Le, and our peer mentor Mark Smedley. I learn just as much from them as I do from the classroom. They are some of the smartest, most down-to-earth people I have ever met and I know these friendships will last beyond the program.

My favorite thing about each of my teammates:

Daniel Webb: Daniel is our “big idea” person. When we get lost in the details, we can always count on Daniel to help us see how everything fits into the big picture.

Edward Galloway: We call Edward “the consultant in the room.” You’ll never see him without a smile on his face, but if we start to get sidetracked during a team meeting, Edward will jump in to keep us focused.

Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program
Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program

Logan Fouts: Logan is great at finding alternative methods to explain a concept. He will sometimes draw a picture on the whiteboard to illustrate a point that may have been difficult to grasp otherwise. Logan also has a great sense of humor- you might hear a roar of laughter if you walk past our team room.

Nhi Le: Nhi is our accounting and finance expert. We say she has “magical Excel powers” because she really is that good! She will also throw in a joke or two when we least expect it, which makes our team meetings even more engaging and fun.

Mark Smedley: Mark has been a fantastic peer mentor. As a second year student, he has already been through the challenging first year experience. Mark provides advice to help us get the most out of the program. He is also instrumental in encouraging us to explore ways we can get involved in extracurricular activities at Foster.

How did we create excellent team dynamics? We built a team culture based on respect and focused on learning. When one person on the team is stuck on a concept, the rest of the team is eager to provide different explanations that lead to a deeper understanding of the material. Our goal as a team is to help each other be successful by offering each other advice, bringing out the best in each other, and making the Foster MBA experience a fun and memorable one. When we come across a challenge on a marketing or finance case, someone will jump in with some humor and have the entire team laughing and energized to complete the rest of the case. We all know we can count on each other and we are committed to each other’s success. Meeting these unique individuals and learning from them inspired me to get involved in the MBA Association as Vice President of Community Outreach. Every single student at Foster has a story to share and expertise to offer. My goal is to discover others’ strengths, showcase what makes each student unique, and help make the Foster experience meaningful for everyone.

Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita's team meets to go over a marketing case
Rita’s team meets to go over a marketing case

Everything Foster Evening MBA