Summer BBQ

On Sunday, July 27, over 100 admitted and current students attended the annual Summer BBQ, sponsored by the MBAA. On top of beautiful summer weather, delicious food and a fantastic on-campus location, the BBQ was a great way for incoming students to get a better sense of the Foster community. Below are some photos from the event.

Summer BBQ 2014
Diane and Larry, VPs of Membership, (wo)man the grill to keep the brats hot
Summer BBQ 2014
MBAA President Adam Rubens making announcements.
Summer BBQ 2014
Incoming and current students hanging out at the summer BBQ
Summer BBQ 2014
Summer BBQ 2014
Summer BBQ 2014
Summer BBQ 2014
Summer BBQ 2014
Tents provide protection from the summer heat
Summer BBQ 2014
Announcements during the MBAA Summer BBQ
Summer BBQ 2014
Graham and Naila taking time for a selfie at the Summer BBQ

Student Spotlight: Dan Le ’15

Name: Dan Le
Age: 29
Graduation Year: 2015
Profession: Technology Consultant

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: By far, the most valuable academic experience for me has been the collaboration and learning I have done with my teams and class cohort.  We all come from varying industries and professions where our views and ideas in class can greatly differ, but that’s what adds so much value.  I start to think about a discussion or case differently based on the  contributions and debates of my peers, that as a result, deepen my perspective as well. From our initial Evaluation Day through all the course we have taken thus far, I feel a real sense of community learning and collaboration.

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?(i.e. Clubs, Groups, Programs, Activities, Committees): I’m involved outside the classroom as an Evening MBA Ambassador to prospective students, as a peer mentor for the Class of 2016, and recently elected as Representative for the Class of 2015 in our graduating year.  Additionally, I’ve teamed with classmates to participate in case competitions, offered both through Foster and nationally. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention participating at C4C charity and sports weekend (while rocking an outstanding UW mustache).

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: As a senior consultant growing into a new manager role, I wanted to further develop my leadership and management skills to support my company’s developing business.  I also wanted to extend my personal network by building relationships with classmates and future leaders, as well as alumni of the program.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: Sometimes you have to wear a lot of different hats, and sometimes, many at the same time.  As working professionals, balance can be challenging, but by keeping perspective and the goals that you set forth for the program and your career, the Evening MBA program at Foster is incredibly rewarding.  It also is exactly what you make of it. I’ve experienced personally and through the eyes of my peers that life events can happen, but the support of the Foster community is both amazing and accommodating.  It might require you to take lead in certain projects or be a keen listener and contributor in others; however, almost all the experiences I’ve gained through the program have been valuable and applicable to my work and life.

So, what is the C4C thing?: C4C stands for Challenge for Charity.  It is a non-profit organization that supports Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Club, and other local charities.  The organization helps to develop business leaders that encompass a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility.  Nine MBA programs on the West Coast participate and compete each year in fundraising, volunteerism, and Sports Weekend hosted at Stanford University in hopes of bringing home the Golden Briefcase.

On the flight down to C4C. Look closely. Yes, that's a "UW" carved into his mustache
On the flight down to C4C. Look closely. Yes, that’s a “UW” carved into his mustache

What’s one thing that surprised you about the Foster Evening MBA Program?: In the beginning, it’s easy to get caught up sometimes with a heads down mentality of going to class, getting your work done, and repeating.  However, when you talk to your peers, you will be inspired to hear all the amazing things they are doing in the program such as field studies, study tours, resume workshops, and various clubs.  It just makes you want to be more involved and get the most out of the program.  In the end, you’ll most likely remember all those added opportunities and the people you meet as a result.

What are your plans for summer break?: Having the time off in summer from the program certainly feels like a vacation, so being able to enjoy the perfect Seattle weather has been  rewarding enough for me.  I plan to spend my weekends hiking, playing outdoor sports, attending weddings, and doing some light traveling to visit friends, etc.

How do you find time to do all of your hobbies and activities? Is balance an option in the Evening MBA program? I certainly knew coming into the program, that it would be a large investment of my time for three solid years; however, I learned that if I managed my work and school commitments correctly and did not procrastinate, I still was able to commit time to friends and family, as well as my favorite hobbies.  Balance is definitely achievable if you are truly committed to it.  This means having clear communication with all relevant stakeholders, prioritizing, being able to say “no” when you just don’t have another inch on your plate to spare, and perhaps just a little bit less sleep.

Peer Mentors at the annual Edward Fritzky Leadership Dinner
Peer Mentors at the annual Edward Fritzky Leadership Dinner
Dan Le's 2nd year study team, "Foster's Six Pack", celebrating the end of 2nd year at Happy Hour
Dan Le’s 2nd year study team, “Foster’s Six Pack”, celebrating the end of 2nd year at Happy Hour
The Class Representatives for 2015 and 2016 celebrating a successfully thrown on-campus networking happy hour after class.
The Class Representatives for 2015 and 2016 celebrating a successfully thrown on-campus networking happy hour after class.
Dan Le celebrating UW's 3rd Place finish at Dodgeball
Dan Le celebrating UW’s 3rd Place finish at Dodgeball

Student Spotlight: Shane Kigin ’16

Shane Kigin, MBA Class of 2016
Shane Kigin, MBA Class of 2016

Name: Shane Kigin
Age: 32
Graduation Year: 2016
Profession: US Navy Pilot

My background: I’ve been in the Navy for eight years since graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2006. After two years of helicopter flight training in Florida, I was stationed in San Diego, California. I deployed twice: first in 2010 off the coast of Central America to conduct counter-narcotics trafficking operations, then again in 2012 to Afghanistan part of a provincial reconstruction team. I began working at the University of Washington Naval ROTC in January, 2013.

Shane Kigin '16 during a military execise
Shane Kigin ’16 is a helicopter pilot for the US Navy

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: Establishing a firm foundation in basic financial language and practices, including accounting, finance, economics, and statistical analysis.

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: Faced with decreasing budgets and a “do-more-with-less” mindset from our congressional financiers, the US Navy needs men and women with sound financial understanding. Given that my profession operates in a “move up or move out” promotion system, an MBA will hopefully help me promote within my organization and serve the nation and its Navy in the best way possible.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: I CAN trust other people — the teamwork-centric approach to learning at Foster was daunting, as we’ve all had bad luck with teams in the past… but it turns out our teams are pretty awesome and we produce high-quality products.

Summer Plans?: Between working a full time job and taking an extra MBA class this past quarter, I haven’t been this excited for summer since I was a kid! I’ll still be working, but plan to enjoy plenty of free evenings and weekends of Seattle’s beautiful summer weather. We’ll also head out of town once or twice to introduce our seven-month-old son Oliver to his extended family and to the world.

Shane Kigin '16 during a military operation
Shane Kigin ’16 during a military operation

 

Winetasting for Professionals

Smitt Rojanasthien, Class of 2014, explains the art and science of wine tasting
Smitt Rojanasthien, Class of 2014, explains the art and science of wine tasting

On May 29th, over 50 current students, faculty, staff and alumni joined Foster’s in-house Sommelier, Smitt Rojanasthien, Evening MBA ’14, for an evening of fine wine education and food pairings. The event was sponsored by the Evening MBAA, with support from the Evening MBA Excellence Fund.

Throughout the evening, guests sipped on five different wines with four different food pairings hand selected by Smitt to provide the perfect balance. This included:

  • Solletico Prosecco for reception and toast
  • New Harbor Sauvignon Blanc, paired with Citrus Lime Shrimp
  • Sagelands Riesling, paired with Spicy Coconut Curry with Naan
  • Primarius Pinot Noir, paired with Hardwood Smoked King Salmon
  • Sterling Vintner’s Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with Sirloin Steak Strips
Students and staff at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Students and staff at the Winetasting for Professionals event

Smitt reminded the crowd that it pairing wines with food is not only about determining between a red or white wine, but selecting the right foods to match the tannins, acidity levels, and sweetness of the wine. Common knowledge suggests that red meats are best paired with red wines because the tannins help break down the fat and balance out the flavor. On the other end of the spectrum, white wines pair well with lighter foods, like salad and fish dishes because of higher acidity levels. One interesting fact that Smitt offered: “The old adage is that red goes with meat and white goes with fish.  However, there are multiple things to consider when pairing wine with food.  You have to consider different aspects of the dish… fat, acid, saltiness, sweetness, bitterness, and texture.  Each element will affect the flavor of the wine, and in turn, the flavor of the food.  Feel free to do white wine with meat and red wine with fish… the trick is to find the right wine”

“While there is no technically wrong or right pairing, some matches work better than others.  The idea is to have each enhance and complement the other to increase the overall dining and drinking experience.  But, at the end of the day, drink what you enjoy.”

Finally, understanding the audience of young business professionals and acknowledging that selecting wine can be a difficult and daunting task, Smitt laid out some tried and true rules for choosing wines during a business dinner.

2013 Evening Alumni at the Winetasting for Professionals event
2013 Evening Alumni at the Winetasting for Professionals event
  1. When in doubt, go with a sparkling wine, especially Champagne. The effervescence and acidity make it great for pairing and cleansing the palate.
  2. A Riesling is great for ethnic food… particularly anything spicy.
  3. The sauce or seasoning of a dish impacts the pairing more than the main ingredient. Keep that in mind. Big flavored sauce? Big flavored wine.
Smitt Rojanasthien, Sommelier and Evening MBA Class of 2014
Smitt Rojanasthien, Sommelier and Evening MBA Class of 2014

 

 

A little about Smitt: Growing up in Wenatchee, Washington, Smitt attended the University of Washington as an undergrad, earning a degree in German Cultural Studies.  After college, he focused on the Hospitality Industry and studied wine through The Court of Master Sommeliers, earning his certification as a sommelier.  He then decided to go “Double Husky” and entered the Foster School of Business for his MBA.  Smitt currently works for Southern Wine & Spirits as the Moët Hennessy Portfolio Manager, partnering with Seattle’s top wine and spirits accounts, focusing on consumer and event marketing, as well as education.  Smitt loves to travel, but when he’s in Seattle, he can be found spending time with family and friends, enjoying a glass of champagne.

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

Selfie of attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Selfie of attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Smitt Rojanasthien (left) with two attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event
Attendees at the Winetasting for Professionals event

Student Spotlight: Caitlin Casas ’17

Caitlin Casas, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Caitlin Casas, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Caitlin Casas
Age: 25
Graduation Year: 2016
Profession: Advertising 

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: My classmates and teammates have contributed significantly to my academic experience at Foster. Questions and discussions presented in class continuously focus on “real world” applications of the course subject matter, which helps translate how we can use the skills we’re developing in class while on the job. My teammates have also been extremely supportive over the last three quarters. We are all willing to spend more time on projects and assignments together to ensure we all understand the concepts, and make a point to not move on until we are all comfortable with the subject matter.

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?(i.e. Clubs, Groups, Programs, Activities, Committees): In my first year I haven’t been extremely involved outside of class, but I do try to attend happy hours on Wednesdays and larger events like the C4C Gala. I plan to become more involved in my second year now that I feel I have adjusted to the work-school-life balance.

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: Job security, upward mobility within my career path, increased marketing knowledge and skills (particularly in the area of quantitative analysis), and networking.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: Focus on gaining knowledge, not just getting good grades. I’m dedicating a lot of resources to this program and if all I finish the program with is a 3.6+, not a sustained knowledge of the course material, then I did myself a disservice by not utilizing the resources available to me to increase my skills and knowledge.

Plans for summer break?: I plan to enjoy all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer during the summer and spend more time with friends and family.

 

Graduation 2014: a short summary of 3 years

Saloni Sonpal, Evening MBA Class of 2014
Saloni Sonpal, Evening MBA Class of 2014

Saloni Sonpal is a 2014 graduate from Foster’s Evening MBA Program. She has her B.E. in Information Technology from the University of Mumbai and an M.S. in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has been a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft for the past 7 years. Below is a post that she shared with her social network on graduation day.

 

Some things that will stick with me after the nine quarters of Foster’s Evening MBA program:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Incentives change behavior
  • Positive NPV projects
  • Statistical significance
  • Sunk Costs
  • 4Ps and 3Cs
  • Leadership
  • Bottlenecks, Kanban and Kaizen Bursts
  • Decision Trees
  • Value Prop
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • GDP and volatility
  • Conjoint and bundles
  • Listen to your customer
  • What’s your BATNA?
  • It depends…
  • Segregate gains, aggregate losses
  • Be Lean and Agile!
  • Less is more.

Oh wait, did I mention the awesome people, life-changing experiences and the endless fun?! That stuck more than anything else!

#Graduation2014 #EveningMBA2014 #UWFoster

MBA Graduation Collage Saloni

Summer Reading List

Some students are just psyched to be on summer vacation – a break from school, a chance to reconnect with friends, three full months of NOT thinking about NPV equations and supply/demand curve illustrations. But for those students who are eager to keep their brain stimulated, we’ve queried the core faculty on which books they’d suggest for summer reading.

Note that this list contains no textbooks – the readings are meant to provide background to the world of business.  Additionally, the content will not be referred to in any classes so this is a completely elective pursuit. So, if you would like to do a little summer reading, we suggest selecting one or two from the list below:

  • Rocket Boys (Hickam)
  • Talent is Overrated (Colvin)
  • Brain Rules (Medina)
  • The Boys in the Boat (Brown)
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street (Malkiel)
  • The Big Short (Lewis)
  • Converge: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology(Lord & Velez)
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Dweck)
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Sandberg)
  • The Power of Habit(Duhigg)
  • Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management(Pfeffer & Sutton)
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (Grant )
  • Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation (Bryant)

Student Spotlight: Kim Hickey ’14

Kim Hickey, Evening MBA Class of 2014
Kim Hickey, Evening MBA Class of 2014

 

Name: Kim Hickey
Age: 32
Graduation Year: 2014
Pre-MBA Profession: Human Resources
Post-MBA Profession: Sr. Specialist, Veterinary Systems at Trupanion

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: I have a bachelor’s degree in biology but my career has led me into the corporate world. In order to move forward I knew it was necessary to get a solid business education that would serve as the foundation for my professional growth and development. I appreciated that Foster balanced elective and core classes and felt that this program offered the most balanced experience. In coming to the end of the program, I can say that it has exceeded my expectations.

What did you do prior to the Evening MBA Program and what do you do now? How did the Foster Evening MBA program impact your career?
My career path has had several twists and turns, but with the support of the Foster Evening MBA program I was able to combine my past experience with my education to get the job of my dreams. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2003, I managed a veterinary hospital in Phoenix, AZ for five years. Upon moving to the Northwest, I transferred those skills to work in human resources. While I enjoyed the strategic planning and business insight that came with the role, I knew I wanted to get back to my roots and return to the veterinary industry.

Throughout my time in the Evening MBA program I attended most of the workshops hosted by Career Services. During these sessions I improved my networking, interviewing, and communication skills that were critical to switching careers. I also had several one-on-one meetings with Career Services to map out my job search strategy. I started researching Trupanion, a pet health insurance company based in Seattle, in winter quarter of my last year and with the help of Career Services I was able to connect with an alumni at the company. Two months later I had my job offer and I successfully moved from a human resources position to my current role, which focuses on growing a new product that Trupanion offers to vet hospitals. My experiences in the Evening MBA program, including taking advantage of all that Career Services has to offer, definitely gave the confidence to pursue and make a career change!

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: Aside from gaining exposure to accounting and finance, my most memorable class has been Finding Your Voice. I was not comfortable with public speaking coming into Foster and it was a goal of mine to improve upon this skill. Despite being nervous before presenting in each class, I knew it was a safe environment to practice the public speaking tools we were learning. The feedback I received from the instructor and my classmates, both constructive feedback and positive recognition, helped me gain confidence in my presentation capabilities. Although I still get a little nervous, I often reflect back and pull from those experiences to help me give an impactful presentation. This class not only gave me vital business tools but also helped me grow personally as well.

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?(i.e. Clubs, Groups, Programs, Activities, Committees): Student Ambassador (2nd and 3rd year) and Group Mentor (2nd year); travelled to India on the Global Consulting Trip.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: That it is possible to work and get an MBA! It seemed like such a daunting task at the beginning but the time has flown by. It’s amazing to look back and see what has been accomplished.

Kim Hickey (left) with two Evening MBA classmates on the annual Global Consulting Trip to India in December, 2013
Kim Hickey (left) with two Evening MBA classmates on the annual Global Consulting Trip to India in December, 2013

 

PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD

This post was originally posted on October 18, 2013 on the Foster Blog. The next Evening MBA Case Competition for the Class of 2016 will be on Saturday, September 20, 2014.

The Evening MBA Program recently hosted its first ever case competition for the second-year Evening MBA students. The competition served as an opportunity for students to apply what they learned in their first-year core classes toward a simulated business case. This year’s case was developed by Sadie Raney, a third-year Evening MBA student. The winning team, comprised of Garin Wedeking, Abhi Thinesh Rathinavelu, Michael Pamphlet, Brad Waidelich and Derek Zahajko, has shared what helped them succeed.Case Competition Winners

What did you learn from the competition? This felt like a round of “speed-dating” with our new group. It gave us an opportunity in a week’s time to identify team members’ strengths and quickly discover how to best work together. The best trait we share is that none of us needs to be in charge for any reason other than to get the project done. We have quickly learned how to let each other take the reins, as well as to give each other space and time at one’s discretion with the understanding that everyone is overbooked. It’s a fact of grad school.

What made your team successful? We set early expectations of what we were going to do, and then each executed on our commitments. Those expectations were not equal in work load, but that didn’t matter. When you start keeping score you make room for excuses. To quote a teammate “All (five) of us should be pulling 25%.” The trick is actually doing that.

How could you apply what you learned in the competition to your job? Since the case intentionally provided little detail, it forced our team to quickly and rationally make assumptions and move forward. We could have chosen to jump down rabbit holes in order to make real-world parallels, but we didn’t think that would create a better product in the end. This parallels the real-world in that sometimes time-sensitive situations or opportunities arise where rapid action is required and time is not available to acquire more data or more data may simply not exist.

Did it teach you to think about business issues in a different way? Often times we have the inclination to think there is only one right answer. In this case, all three options could have been viable options for the company. It came down to the rationality behind the option and ultimately the ability to execute on the idea within the time frame. Parfait est l’ennemi du bon.

 

School’s out for summer

The following is a message sent out to the student body by Adam Rubens, President of the Evening MBAA. Adam has just finished his second year in the program; his wife, Briana, has just finished her first.

Adam Rubens '15 (right) with his wife Briana Rubens '16 (left).
Adam Rubens, EveMBA’15 (right) with his wife Briana Rubens, EveMBA ’16 (left). This picture is from the annual C4C Auction which is organized by Foster MBA students to benefit the Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics.

A Message from the Evening MBAA President:

Few things benchmark the magnitude of the change that we go through during the school year like Summer Break.  It never ceases to amaze me how “just working” can feel like a vacation from all the sprints during the school year.  It’s critical that you enjoy the time off from school – spend time with friends you haven’t seen in what seems like forever, take a trip somewhere, read a good book, hit the gym, binge watch all those episodes of Game of Thrones that you missed because you had assignments to turn on Sunday nights.

I think that part of that summer enjoyment comes from re-balancing life a bit and redirecting the newly available academic energy into some of the things that fall to the bottom of the priority list.

Still thinking about switching jobs but haven’t been “Green-Lit” yet?  Career Services is offering workshops all summer long to help you (check the newsletter for the schedule).  Want to get a head start on next year’s Business Plan Competition?  Take some time to think about that brilliant idea that you haven’t had the bandwidth to explore.

Whatever activities you decide to pursue in the next 3 months, know that the MBAA board will be planning some fun things for you this summer and some new events to help you reengage in being a student when you get back to school in the Fall.

Until we meet again,
Adam Rubens
EveMBAA President

Everything Foster Evening MBA