All posts by Rita Jabbouri

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Stacy Hanks

Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Recent Class of 2017 alumna Stacy Hanks delivered an energetic and passionate graduation speech to her classmates and the Foster community. The Class of 2017 voted  (in a landslide) for Stacy to represent them at graduation. They describe her as “confident (inspires everyone around her), insightful (asks the tough questions that benefit the entire class), and generous (shares her marketing expertise with classmates and her time with the community), doing it all with a smile.”

After beginning her career in B2B and CPG sales, Stacy started at Amazon textbooks in Vendor Management, tasked with disrupting and strategically growing Amazon’s oldest book business.  She then moved on to running the marketing team, growing new customer accounts by more than 10%.  Her current role is in Amazon global vendor management where she seeks to leverage the strength of Amazon in the US to grow top vendors  around the world.  She works with America’s most iconic brands in emerging countries like India, Japan and focuses on global expansion efforts with Australia and the Middle East. Stacy continues to be passionate about marketing:  “Nothing else matters if you don’t move product.”

Post-MBA, she is interested in continuing her growth at Amazon and pursuing board service.  Her super power is presenting in front of large groups and maximizing growth, especially in challenging industries. Stacy looks forward to spending more time on her hobbies, like yoga and making stationery.  

Stacy’s Key Foster takeaway? How to bring it all together and be a master of all, jack of only a couple – but know exactly what those couple are and how to fill in the gaps with the right people!

Watch Stacy’s speech or read on to see Foster from Stacy’s perspective.

Great things happened in 2017.

The Husky football team kicked off January playing for a national title.

The University of Washington Foster School of business raised over $153K and volunteered 3,600 hours for the Special Olympics & Boys & Girls Clubs, more than every other top west coast business school to bring the GOLDEN BRIEFCASE back to UW.

Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster's annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs
Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster’s annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs

2017 also marks the moment the incredible group of people behind me are coming together to graduate with our MBAs, armed with new knowledge, new friendships and destined for even greater success.

Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition
Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition

When we entered this program we were individuals, unsure of what we might find, classmates unknown.  To our surprise we found a reason to get out of bed early on weekends – classmates that would become teammates, and more importantly, friends.

These friends are the reason we made it here today, because they brought out the very best in each one of us.  They challenged us to learn concepts and disciplines we never thought possible.  They challenged us to be better versions of ourselves, better versions that stood up for our convictions when pushed and better versions that learned to concede when needed.

Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour
Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour

When we doubted ourselves, every single person in this class was there to support us, to demand we brought everything we had left, even if we doubted there was anything more for us to give, especially during those early mornings and late nights.

The life of an evening student is not easy, but you would never know if from talking to my classmates, who literally did it all.

If I had to summarize our entire class is just a few words, I would say the Evening Class of 2017 is the coolest, most laid-back bunch of overachievers you’ve ever met.

Stacy organized annual Derby trip for classmates, bringing everyone together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends
Stacy organized annual Derby trips for classmates, bringing first, second, and third-year students together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends

Because over-achieve we did, both inside and outside the classroom.

Numerous placements and awards in the Business Plan Competitions, participation in many field studies with top Seattle companies, putting our classroom learnings directly to work, capped off by our stellar all-female-team taking second place in the Venture Capital Investment Competition Western Regional, beating out USC, Berkley and others.

Not to mention the countless businesses formed, career changes, and promotions.

Outside the classroom, we may have faced challenges but we also found and shared tremendous joy, whether babies, engagements, weddings or even that time Gonzaga played in the final four.

V1 C4C2
As the program progresses, friendships are formed and classmates end up spending as much time together outside the classroom as inside. Stacy poses for a photo with friends on a trip to Palo Alto, CA.

We leave Foster today, forever thankful to the professors, staff and everyone who made this journey possible.  Everything you did for us contributed to our success and we promise to continue the tradition of excellence and community found at Foster.

To everyone in the audience out there- you know we couldn’t have done it without you.  But it’s safe to say – To the spouses and significant others, there’s a good chance your graduate owes YOU at least one home-cooked meal.  To the friends and families, your graduate probably owes you a phone call when they aren’t driving TO or FROM school or a team meeting.  And to the children and the pets, well you should have been asleep anyways, so you don’t actually know how late we stayed out at happy hour.

Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session
Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session

And to the class of 2017, if this was high school, I would sign off with a “Stay Cool” and “Don’t ever change”. But it’s not – so KEEP changing, keep growing, and keep asking the hard questions that make you better with every passing day, even if those questions drove our professors crazy.  Our time at Foster may have come to an end, but we still have a lifetime to use what we learned here to refuse acceptance of average, continue to exceed all expectations and finally, accept the fact that our futures will always be #SOBright.

Thank you.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Maggie Olson: “Foster is so invested in you”

Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018
Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018

Meet our new Social Media Coordinator, Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018. Maggie currently works for Nordstrom, where she has been a Buyer for the past five years and recently made the transition into Business Technology. Post-MBA, she is looking to move into a Management and Leadership focused Rotational Program, or into a Strategy/ Consulting role. In her spare time this summer, when she’s not with her friends, family, or godson, she can be found outside on the volleyball court!

Pre-MBA Profession:

Buy Planner, Nordstrom, Women’s Apparel: Special Occasion Dresses

In my most recent role as the Buy Planner for Special Occasion Dresses I was responsible for the strategy, quantification, selection, and allocation of a $200 million dollar annual budget which applied to all stores and online.

Forté MBA Women's Leadership Conference
Maggie attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference with classmates and Admissions staff

Current Profession:

Business Process Specialist, Nordstrom

One of the biggest parts of my job is working with engineers to help them understand the business requirements for the reports, tools, and queries they are coding. Additionally, I am responsible for the business process surrounding the inventory, reporting, and price components of Nordstrom’s off-price channels.

Hometown:

Seattle, WA

What brought you to Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

I always knew I wanted to go back to school for a graduate degree. My parents are life-long learners, both with PhD’s, so the question was more surrounding “when” for me. I have also always been a very curious person, wanting to better myself and learn more at every opportunity. As I was settling into my career at Nordstrom I knew that an MBA was the right move for my future goals.

I had been at Nordstrom for about three years, and I knew that I wanted to expand my qualifications should I move out of Buying. The timing was right from a personal perspective, so I took the plunge. I knew that I wanted to stay in this region and keep working at Nordstrom, and I knew that I wanted to attend a top-school. Foster is so focused on your success, and so invested in you. I love the cohort approach, and I have always bled purple thanks to family ties at UW. I didn’t apply anywhere else.

Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity volleyball game in Palo Alto.
Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity volleyball game in Palo Alto

It was a hard adjustment during my first year in the program as I was still in Buying and I was traveling to New York every six weeks for week-long buying trips. On school nights in NYC, I was skyping into class after vendor dinners, and on east coast time (thanks team!). My success strategy my first year was literally just to take it one day at a time, and it worked. I felt very supported by my teams at work and school and I learned to really lean on my network. I also learned that I had skills and traits that I could help my team with, and I became more confident to own them and share my value.

Maggie with classmates and friends at the Fosters, Foster's annual end of year celebration.
Maggie with classmates and friends at The Fosters, Foster’s annual end of year celebration

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

My favorite part about Foster (aside from the amazing content, professors, and learning environment) is definitely the people I have met. You don’t necessarily go back to school for the purpose of making friends, but without a doubt I have found life-long friends at Foster. Foster sets up a great environment to network in; we have fun while working hard, give back, and pursue so many extracurricular opportunities together. It’s really meaningful to do all of this with people you are in school with and who are experiencing the same things as you (work, school, personal life, families, etc.). It creates super strong bonds and it’s absolutely one of the most special things about Foster.

At Challenge for Charity in Palo Alto with close friends in the Foster Evening MBA Program
At Challenge for Charity in Palo Alto with close friends in the Foster Evening MBA Program

What are you looking forward to in the last year of the program?

During my last year in the program, I am looking forward to being more involved. In my first year, I was focused on getting through each day. In my second year, I had a pretty big workload based on an extra class, so I wasn’t as involved as I had planned to be. So this year I am going to be focused on taking advantage of more clubs, networks, seminars, and activities offered at Foster. There is absolutely no way to be involved in everything, but I am excited to work with career services more this year, attend more Leaders to Legends series, and join a club or two.

C4C
Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity game in Palo Alto

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Ahmed ElAyouty

The Class of 2017 is an exceptional group of graduates, each with her or his own Foster story and takeaways from the program. Our second Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduate feature is Ahmed ElAouty, founder of Pacific Hyperloop, the team of UW students who want to make a 15-minute Seattle to Portland trip a reality. Ahmed will present at the 27th Annual PNWER (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) Summit next week in Portland, where policymakers from all over the region will come together to share advances in infrastructure and transportation.

Ahmed ElAyouty, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Ahmed ElAyouty, Evening MBA Class of 2017

How did you first get involved with Pacific Hyperloop?

Hyperloop One (California) is developing the technology and they launched a crowdsourcing challenge to select the first regions to use hyperloop tech. I teamed up with an undergraduate in Economics to submit the proposal for Seattle-Portland-Vancouver, BC. Two thousand regions submitted and we were selected as one of 38 semi-finalist teams, one of 12 from U.S. teams.

What is your idea and how is it different from the competition?

Compared to the other U.S. teams, we are the only region that has the aerospace supplier base/cluster that can build the PODs (passenger vehicle).

Where is Pacific Hyperloop now? What challenges do you face?

We are building up the team and preparing our funding package to engage with investors. The most challenging work ahead of us is swaying the minds of policy makers (in Seattle and Olympia) to accept the technology risk and favor hyperloop over high speed rail.

Ahmed & Team
Ahmed and Charlie Swan co-founded Pacific Hyperloop and are looking to grow their team

How has the Foster Evening MBA Program helped you in your entrepreneurial endeavors?

The variety of electives at the Foster MBA program helped me customize my curriculum to strengthen my weaknesses. For example, Finance 555 (Financing Decisions, Payout Policy and Corporate Control) armed me with the framework to understand and develop Public-Private Partnerships to fund today’s expensive infrastructure with future cash flows.

What is your best takeaway from the program?

Confidence to take on bigger projects.

Ahmed & Team 2
Ahmed presenting at the Hyperloop One event in Washington D.C. The Foster curriculum allowed Ahmed to develop his leadership skills and gave him the confidence to take on a project like Pacific Hyperloop.

What does the future hold for Pacific Hyperloop?

We are building up the founding team to refine the value proposition, execute and eventually seeking funding. The target is to create demand for and win the contract for the local route worth $4-$6 billion. Then we will expand to the global market worth $100 billion.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Helping the region finance the buildup of hyperloop infrastructure between cities and scaling up production of hyperloop PODs.

Pacific Hyperloop local route- Seattle to Portland in 15 minutes
Pacific Hyperloop local route: Seattle to Portland in 15 minutes

For more information on Pacific Hyperloop, visit https://www.pacific-hyperloop.com/.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Chelsey Roney

Congratulations to our recent Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduates! Get to know them via a series of spotlight stories: What does earning a Foster MBA mean to them and what advice do they have for those considering a work-compatible program? Learn more in our first feature, Chelsey Roney, who tailored her MBA to develop expertise in her areas of interest.

Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate
Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate

Pre-MBA Profession: Financial Analyst at Boeing and Small Business Owner

Current Profession: University Recruiter at Microsoft and Small Business Owner/Entrepreneur

A former Texan turned Washingtonian, Chelsey Roney works full-time as a University Recruiter at Microsoft and part-time as an entrepreneur. She recently spent several years as a Board Member for Nature Consortium. Chelsey is passionate about developing new business ideas. She currently runs Select-A-Sis, a company focused on streamlining sorority recruitment and recently launched Collectabl, a company that creates seasonal capsule wardrobes for purchase.  Outside of work, Chelsey enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling and working out.

Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at the annual Challenge for Charity competition
Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at Sports Weekend

Looking back on your Foster experience, what was your most memorable challenge and success, respectively?

The most memorable challenge was trying to balance school, full-time work, a part-time business, and a personal life. When you are in an MBA program and working, a multitude of tasks that each appear to be as important as the next pull your attention in varying directions.  Like my classmates, I became an expert in prioritization and simplifying processes during my time in the program. I think the key to success is planning the tasks that must be completed at the beginning of each week and staying on task as much as possible. I also learned to include buffer time in case of delays and plan periods that are designated as ‘rest’. I was pushed to my limits, but I also learned more (both educational content and about myself) than I could have dreamed possible.

My most memorable success was learning content in a deeper way than I have before.  The Foster MBA program uses case studies for most lessons. This approach forces you to think more critically and take a step further than you may have in the past. Rather than caring primarily about grades, I cared about how I could apply the content to my work. I honed in on my ability to truly learn material so that I could more impactful at work. The Foster MBA Program also helped me develop curiosity, which is an important aspect to learning. Because the solution associated with each case was often vague, you must learn how to ask the right questions to be successful.

Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour

Foster MBA students are empowered to move up, change up, or start up. Which path did you choose?

I love that Foster MBA students are encouraged to think about how their experience in the program will enable them to change the trajectory of their careers in one of several different ways. Because the Foster MBA Program discusses potential career changes from the first day of orientation, it empowers students to begin planning what their careers might look like upon completion of the program. This forethought sets students up for success because they can map out what coursework and extracurricular activities they might want to take on to make these changes happen.

I both ‘changed up’ and ‘started up’ because of the program. Midway through my coursework, I made the transition from Finance at Boeing to Recruiting at Microsoft. I knew that I wanted to move to a company that focused on innovative technology and into a role that focused on people. My experiences and coursework at Foster allowed me to successfully navigate into my new role at Microsoft because I could discuss strategy and industry trends at an MBA level.

I have served as the Managing Partner of a small business in addition to my full-time job for about six years. While my business has captured a significant portion of a niche market share, the revenue is not significant enough to consider it a full-time job. Given that I was bitten by this ‘entrepreneurial bug’, I would like to ‘start up’ another business that might allow me to go full-time. I am currently working on two business ideas that have potential to scale. I credit any forward movement in these endeavors to my time at Foster. My courses in entrepreneurial finance, marketing, and strategy helped me to better understand how to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Chelsey on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey looks forward to more travel adventures post-MBA.

How has Foster impacted your outlook on entrepreneurship? How have you developed as an entrepreneur over the course of the Evening MBA program?

Before I started at Foster, I was managing my small business with only a background in finance. I developed as an entrepreneur as I took classes outside of my previous area of expertise. Foster has well-rounded course offerings in entrepreneurship that will help you run your business better.

Foster impacted my outlook on entrepreneurship by making full-time entrepreneurship seem more attainable. Sometimes, it feels like being full-time entrepreneur is out of reach. Entrepreneurship courses at Foster teach you how to seek, eventually spot, and solve problems in a certain marketplace. These courses also teach you best practices in terms of how to monetize your solution. Furthermore, professors often bring in guest entrepreneurs to share their experiences with the class. Each of these learnings made starting up your own full-time business seem attainable.

You chose to accelerate the program and complete your MBA one quarter early. What do you think of this flexibility in the curriculum and how did you tailor your MBA?

I loved the flexibility the Foster Evening MBA program provides. Students can tailor their schedules in the second half of the program to either speed up or slow down their coursework. I chose to accelerate the program because I found the areas I was passionate about and could not wait to dedicate 100% of my time and expertise to them.

I chose to concentrate most of my electives on either marketing or entrepreneurship since my background is in finance. I wanted to expand my breadth of knowledge so I could better operate strategically as a business-person.

How has the Evening MBA program contributed to your career trajectory?

The Foster Evening MBA program has contributed to my career trajectory in several ways. First, it helped me hone in on my passions. I tailored my classes so that I could explore, then narrow down, areas that I might be passionate about. Second, the Evening MBA program helped me grow my network. In the program, you will have dozens of classmates who are all top-level professionals that you work with throughout your three years at Foster. We can leverage on one another’s expertise as we navigate into new careers, research other companies and negotiate business deals. Finally, the well-rounded coursework Foster offers helps you provide value to a business because you can take a step back to evaluate the overall strategy and any potential risks that may lie ahead.

Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition at Stanford
Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition in Palo Alto

Are you where you thought you would be when you started the Evening MBA?

Absolutely not!

In terms of specific job content, I thought I would continue my work as a Financial Analyst at Boeing. The Evening MBA helped me narrow down other industries and roles that I may be interested in. This led to a change in profession, company I work at, and where I want to direct my career.

In terms of my ability to grow professionally, I could not have imagined how much I would have developed in the program. Of course, I had hoped to make strides in this area, but the amount of growth I experienced was exponentially more than I expected. I advanced in the breadth and depth of knowledge I can bring to the table, the ability to think more critically, and level of professionalism demonstrated in everyday interactions.

What advice do you have for those considering a work-compatible MBA program?

  • Examine why you want a work-compatible MBA program. Spend some time thinking about the pro’s and con’s of an Evening Program. The Foster Evening MBA program allows you to continue advancing your career while you are expanding your knowledge base. Next, an evening program allows you to apply what you are learning in class immediately! Not only does this help you remember what you learned, but it also helps you make an impact at work right away. The classmates in your evening program can help you network during the program instead of waiting until the end. On the other hand, during the Evening Program your ‘free time’ is extremely scarce.
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
  • Evaluate how you will reprioritize your time. Getting an MBA while you work will necessitate that you decide on aspects of your life that will become deprioritized during your time in the program. You should understand if you are willing to let go of things you spend time on now to go to class and complete assignments after work. It is also helpful to talk to both your family and friends ahead of time so that they know sometimes you will have to say ‘no’ due to program obligations.

How does it feel to earn your MBA from Foster?

Empowering. The Foster Evening MBA provides challenging coursework meant to expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge. If I can dive this deep into difficult classes while working for three years, I feel like I can take on any challenge!

Chelsey Roney, Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017
Chelsey celebrates being done with MBA coursework by spending more time outside in the beautiful PNW

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

The Golden Briefcase: A Legacy of Social Responsibility

Dan Stone, MBA VP of Challenge for Charity, accepts the Golden Briefcase at Stanford
Dan Stone, Foster MBAA VP of Challenge for Charity, accepts the Golden Briefcase at Stanford

If you are friends with a Foster Evening or Full-time MBA student, you may have noticed a golden briefcase floating around social media recently, and posts teeming with Husky pride. What is this all about and why are Foster students and alumni SO excited? Short answer: a worthy cause. Long answer:

Every year, MBA students from Foster and eight other top West Coast business schools convene in Palo Alto at Stanford for the Challenge for Charity  (C4C) Sports Weekend. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Challenge for Charity benefits Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Clubs through the efforts of MBA students who are passionate about giving back while building lasting relationships with their peers. Evening and Full-time Students at Foster fundraise and volunteer throughout the year as they look forward to celebrating the culmination of their efforts in the athletic and social competitions at Sports Weekend, including basketball, soccer, swim, tennis, trivia, challenge races, cheer, dance, musical performances, a 5K, and many more (pool time not scored). The overall winner across the volunteering, fundraising, and sports/social categories takes home the Golden Briefcase which has engraved on it all the winners from prior C4C years.

Foster basketball team! Photo credit: Jenny Nowierski
Foster basketball team- no shortage of school spirit here! Photo credit: Jenny Nowierski
Dance team!
Dance flashback to the 90s! Photo credit: Rene Tate

It was 2006 the last time UW won the C4C competition. The Class of 2017 nears graduation ecstatic about the legacy of bringing the Golden Briefcase back to Seattle. School bragging rights are of course fun, but the win is about so much more. The impact, the memories made with new friends, and collaboration with other schools in the name of social responsibility makes this event one of the most meaningful for Foster students.

Foster Evening and Full-time MBAs encouraging each other at Sports Weekend
Evening & Full-time MBAs encouraging each other at Sports Weekend. Photo credit: Rene Tate
Poolside fun in between the sports competitions! Photo credit: Ann Hiers
Poolside fun in between the sports competitions! Photo credit: Ann Hiers

Foster’s performance was impressive, fundraising $153.9K (over $656 per capita!!), and volunteering over 3600 hours. Even more impressive was the collective effort of the nine schools combined: more than $460K fundraised and over 28K hours volunteered. The best part: the camaraderie forged amongst students from all the different schools, knowing they are united in a common, noble, and ongoing cause.

Pull!!!
Pull!!! Photo credit: Rene Tate
Emily Garrett, Evening MBAA VP of Community Outreach celebrates with fellow Fosterites
Emily Garrett, Evening MBAA VP of Community Outreach, celebrates with fellow Fosterites

Emily Garrett, Evening MBA Association Vice President of Community Outreach was beyond thrilled for the win and thankful for the Foster community: “HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported us all year – students, the MBAA Board, alumni, Kara Fichthorn (Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs) and the whole Program Office. The #OneFoster love was so strong at Sports Weekend.”

When asked what it was like the moment he went up on stage to accept the Golden Briefcase, Dan Stone, Full-time MBA Vice President of Challenge for Charity said, “It was one of the most incredible feelings to be up on stage and see how excited so many people were to finally bring the Golden Briefcase back to Washington. After a year of a lot of work from an incredible team, it was so rewarding to see it pay off with a victory. People tend to come to Foster because of the close relationships we form as a community. I think C4C is a reflection of how important our community is and why it was such a momentous occasion to win.”

Photo credit: Rene Tate
Photo credit: Rene Tate
Past and present Foster MBAA Presidents and VPs of Community Outreach huddle around the Golden Briefcase
Past and present Foster Evening MBA Association Presidents and VPs of Community Outreach huddle around the Golden Briefcase

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

A Week in the Life: Ellyce Shulman

One of the most frequently asked questions from prospective students is how current students successfully balance academic, professional, and personal life during the three-year Evening MBA program. What’s a week in the life of an Evening MBA student really like? We asked one of our third year students who is a master at the work hard/play hard philosophy to share with us highlights from a typical week.

Ellyce Shulman, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Ellyce Shulman, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Ellyce Shulman is currently a member of the Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017 and a Senior Consultant at Lenati, a marketing strategy consultancy. Her studies have emphasized marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship, and she has participated and won awards in many activities outside of class including the Business Plan Competition, the Health Innovation Challenge, and the Venture Capital Investment Competition. She has also built community by serving as the Honor Council Representative for her class and organizing everything from study groups to brunches with current students and alums. In her spare time, Ellyce enjoys training for triathlons, biking the backroads of Washington with her husband, and exploring the world through travel.

Working with Microsoft

MSFT2

My client is Microsoft, so I spend a lot of time out there. Many folks who work on Xbox are in the same building. Minecraft is a popular title for Xbox and PC gaming.

Working with Foster Alums

Foster Alums

This is Eric Shuai, Foster MBA ’12. We worked together to launch Microsoft Rewards, a new loyalty program that allows you to get free movies, apps, games and more when you search and shop with Microsoft. Foster’s alumni network is exceptional, and it’s always a treat to work with fellow Fosterites (yes that’s a word).

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

We learned about the importance of the growth mindset in Crystal Farh‘s Management and Leadership core class. These frameworks are in use today at companies like Microsoft.

Jazzed about Entrepreneurial Finance

Edward

One of my favorite classmates, Edward Galloway, and I are taking Entrepreneurial Finance (ENTRE 557) this quarter with Lance Young. I’ve gotten so much out of my classes through study sessions with classmates like Edward.

Student Life

Student Life

Typical class setup: name tag, water bottle, printouts of slides, and lots of colorful pens to take notes. Not pictured: dinner from PCC Deli. Yes, everyone is usually eating during lecture- our professors know we just finished a full day at work when we walk into class, and they are supportive and understanding.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Students pictured: Rita Jabbouri, Chris Edelbrock, Phil Christy, and Logan Fouts
Students pictured: Rita Jabbouri, Ellyce Shulman, Chris Edelbrock, Phil Christy, and Logan Fouts

We do a ton of group projects at Foster. These provide an opportunity to get to know your classmates, as well as bring diverse perspectives to the work. This is my team for Consumer Marketing and Brand Management with Professor Mark Forehand (MKTG 512). The best part about courses at Foster is that we are encouraged to apply what we learn in the classroom in real-time. In Professor Forehand’s class, we did several “live cases” that challenged us to solve branding problems for real companies. Working well as a team is essential to not only delivering high quality work, but also learning as much as possible and having fun along the way. We got to present to judges with extensive agency backgrounds and gleaned valuable insights.

An Athlete’s Life

Athlete

For the past 4 years, I’ve trained for and competed in triathlons. After a busy week of work and school, one of my favorite things is the 90-minute Masters swim workout at my gym on Saturday mornings. I love the challenge of pushing myself athletically and the social nature of swimming with pool and tri friends. No matter how busy you are, it’s so important to carve out time for the activities that energize you. Being an athlete has made me more resilient in my academic and professional life.

Leadership All Around

Coach

This is Coach Bob. He is one of the most inspirational leaders I’ve ever met. He has this amazing ability to see your potential – far beyond what you may even see – and unlock this potential while he’s pushing you and cheering you on – literally. I’ve PR’d in the 100 and 200 as the direct result of swimming with Coach Bob. Foster has allowed me to grow and develop my leadership skills, as well as recognize great leadership when I see it.

Always Smiling

Entre Fin

Students like Ellyce don’t just survive the program, they thrive. Why? She has a relentless positive attitude and is willing to push herself to learn and grow every day to meet the challenges ahead, stopping along the way to “smell the roses” with classmates, professors, friends, family, and mentors.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

 

Staff Spotlight: Matthew Unruh & Nathan Bright

The Foster community doesn’t just consist of students and faculty, but also the staff that support the MBA program. These individuals are working hard behind the scenes to ensure events and systems are in order so that students have the resources they need to be successful. When you visit the MBA Program Office, it’s likely you’ll be greeted by MBA Student Affairs Program Assistant Matthew Unruh, or MBA Admissions Program Assistant Nathan Bright.

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Matthew Unruh and Nathan Bright keep everything running smoothly in the MBA Programs Office and are the first point of contact for current and prospective students

 What brought you to Foster? What are your responsibilities as a member of Foster’s MBA Program Office team?

Matthew: I came to Foster initially as a temporary worker through the UTemp Program. I had just returned to the Pacific Northwest and was looking for new opportunities to keep up with the rapidly changing Seattle environment. A friend recommended me to the UTemp Program, which had an almost immediate opening for part-time work at the front desk for the MBA Program Office.

My responsibilities at Foster vary. I work for the MBA Program Student Affairs department. As a Program Assistant it is my job to support all other members of the Student Affairs team, as well as Admissions as needed, in any role where they need support. This means that on a day-to-day basis my position responsibilities vary widely. This includes planning, advising, and coordinating students in the development of certain events, working with the student MBA Association, answering student inquiries, directing students towards available resources, and maintaining office operations.

Usually for any student inquiring, I say: “I might not be able to solve your issue, but I am certainly willing to help, and am likely to know who to ask.”

Nathan: I was an undergrad in Foster and really love the community here. It’s a great place to start my career in higher education. What sets Evening MBA students apart is their relentless commitment to the Foster community and to their personal and professional development. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to complete this program and they have ambitious dreams. My job is to make sure that students have everything they need right when they need it.

Fill in the blank: Foster is ________.

Matthew: Foster is People. What would Foster be without the people who make it?

Nathan: Home! I’ve lived in Seattle for most of my life and want to keep calling this beautiful place my home.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Matthew: The most rewarding part of my job is getting to be even a small part of an academic institution that meant so much to me in my early twenties and that I still hold in high regard.

Nathan: Working with students.

What is Foster’s competitive advantage?

Matthew: From my experience Foster’s competitive advantage is loyalty. The community at Foster breeds alumni who are eager to give back and remain part of Foster long after they have finished classes. Furthermore they seem very eager to develop and support the efforts of new students whenever they can.

Nathan: Definitely the network that we have with local business and industry. We have strong connections with the Seattle business community.

What do you appreciate the most about the Foster community?

Matthew: What I appreciate the most about the Foster community is how welcoming it is to other disciplines, backgrounds, and communities. Despite not having any background in Business to speak of, I’ve felt that everyone, have been exceptionally welcoming and supportive. It’s really a great atmosphere to be surrounded with at work every day.

Nathan: I love how the Foster community is diverse, supportive, and active throughout the region.

What is one interesting fact most people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

Matthew: One of the things that I do to relieve stress is read non-fiction books, particularly on the topics of history, politics, and mythology, and prepare lectures or presentations on what I’m reading. I especially find it a good way to keep my mind busy while driving long distances.

Nathan: My biggest passion is rock climbing and pursuing outdoor adventures. Ask me anything about getting outdoors around WA and the PNW and I’ll have some great ideas and destinations to share!

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram & Twitter, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Foster’s International Opportunities

Lacey Lowber, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Lacey Lowber, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Lacey Lowber is a member and Class Representative of the Evening MBA Class of 2017. She currently works at Starbucks in Category and Marketing Finance, supporting the Espresso and Brewed businesses in US Retail. When not at work or at school, she enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, and spending time with her fiancee, friends and family. In this blog post, she shares with us her international experiences through the Foster Evening MBA Program.

Why did you decide to go on the India Consulting Trip?

When I first learned about the India Consulting Trip during Women at the Top (Foster MBA elective course), it sounded like an opportunity too good to pass up. I also owe it to my friend and classmate Stacy Hanks for encouraging me so strongly to consider the trip! I hadn’t had a chance to do any sort of a field study with a local organization through Foster, and was excited at the prospect of doing consulting work on site for such an incredible organization as SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association). The timing worked out well right before the Christmas holiday and was a very compelling way to earn four credits. I had never previously traveled to India but had always been interested in the culture and people – this trip was the perfect opportunity to gain valuable work experience, earn class credit, give back to a worthy organization, and experience a country I’d always wanted to visit.

SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC) team with Master Artisans in Radhanpur, India
SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC) team with Master Artisans in Radhanpur, India

What was your favorite part of the trip? What did you bring back with you?

My favorite part of the trip was undoubtedly the people we met and interacted with, from our fabulous guide, Sanjay Mishra, to the inspiring women who are members and leaders of SEWA. I brought back with me a true sense of appreciation for the opportunities I’ve had as a woman born and raised in the United States. The women of SEWA have faced incredible challenges and succeeded in spite of them – they helped me realize how truly fortunate I’ve been!

Artisan showing Foster MBA students how pieces of mirror are incorporated into hand sewn garments
Artisan showing Foster MBA students how pieces of mirror are incorporated into hand sewn garments

As far as physical items, I brought back a lot of tea, incense, and handmade clothing items purchased from my group’s SEWA client, the SEWA Trade Facilitation Center (STFC). You can see some of these beautiful garments in the group photo of my teammates with some of the master artisans we visited with in Radhanpur village.

Some of the beautiful products made under the Hansiba brand
Some of the colorful products made under the Hansiba brand

How do you think this experience will impact you (personally, professionally, academically) moving forward?

Lacey and her teammate Elizabeth Adams with the CEO of SEWA, Savitabel Patel
Lacey and her teammate Elizabeth Adams with the CEO of SEWA, Savitabel Patel

This experience was certainly once in a lifetime and one that I know will continue to have an impact on me.  Personally and professionally, it’s given me a true appreciation for how challenging it can be to do business in a culture completely foreign to your own. It also reinforced my belief that a positive outlook, an open mind, and a kind, caring heart are some of the most important things you can bring to any situation. Even though many of the folks we interacted with spoke little to no English and we spoke no Hindi, our smiles and caring affect were perfectly understood.

Jess Rush
Jessica Rush, Assistant Director of MBA Global Programs at Foster’s Global Business Center, led the group of students on the India trip

Academically, this experience challenged me to keep learning and to stay curious! When our client clarified for us that their ultimate goal was to fully employ its artisan members, not to maximize profitability, it was a great reminder that our business school paradigms may not apply to every situation.

What did you think of the client, SEWA? How are Foster MBA students making an impact?

SEWA is a first class organization of talented, hardworking and brilliant women. Formally organized as a trade union, SEWA empowers its members to first and foremost be self-sufficient and earn an income, and additionally gives members access to banking services, education, childcare, and a host of other opportunities that would be nearly impossible to come by otherwise.

Lacey and classmate Mary Dennis
Lacey and classmate Mary Dennis
Lacey and her fiancé Tyson Hunter, both members of the Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017, at the Taj Mahal
Lacey and fiancé Tyson Hunter, both members of the Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017, at the Taj Mahal

Foster MBA students are making a lasting impact on this organization by continuing to contribute each year to various SEWA initiatives ranging from sanitation and hygiene to website development to branding strategy. By remaining flexible and working hard on SEWA’s behalf, Foster MBA students are providing valuable insights and work product that the organization would not have sufficient resources to complete otherwise.

 

You also went on last year’s study tour. How did that experience differ from this one? Which one would you recommend?

I went on the study tour in Cuba as a second year evening student, and while the experience was amazing, it was also completely different than the consulting trip in India. The purpose of each trip was quite different – Cuba was more experiential and aimed at education and immersion in Cuban culture and industry, while India was focused on serving our client.

Car
Vintage car and the beautiful sky in Varadero, Cuba

We were fortunate to visit Cuba at a historic time – the country’s borders had just been re-opened to tourism and relations with the United States were somewhat normalized. President Obama was visiting the same time as our group, and though we weren’t able to get a meeting (ha) we did hear overwhelming positivity from many Cuban citizens who dreamed to experience life outside of the island. It was fun to practice speaking Spanish and to leave small gifts for our taxi drivers, maids, and waiters as many items that we take for granted are not widely available.

Team 3 touring the sugar cane mill in the countryside!
Team 3 touring the sugar cane mill in the countryside!

We had the opportunity to visit the Havana Club distillery, hear from the president and directors of the Cuban baseball federation, learn about the architecture and history of Havana, tour a sugar cane mill and even cut some ourselves, visit an art exhibition in Havana, share a hand prepared meal with a Cuban family that we befriended during our trip that invited us to their home, and smoke many a fine cigar. I will never forget sitting in a sports bar in Cienfuegos watching the Tampa Bay Ray’s play the Cuban national team with members of our group as well as some locals.

A home cooked family feast!
A home cooked family feast!
Cuban hospitality
Members of the Evening MBA Class of 2017 experience Cuban hospitality

In summary – I would recommend both study tours! They were both fantastic experiences that I would not have been able to take advantage of if not for Foster.

Streets of Havana
Streets of Havana

Overall, what do you think of the Evening MBA Program’s study abroad opportunities? How do they set Foster apart?

I definitely consider myself an advocate for the Evening MBA’s international opportunities!  I sought out chances to study abroad while completing my undergraduate education and was happy to have the opportunity to continue to do so as a graduate student. Seeing and experiencing other parts of the world truly make you appreciate what you have, and Foster does a great job of organizing meaningful international programs that allow for great exposure and learning.

Beautiful Cuban music
Beautiful Cuban music

Anything else you’d like to share?

Go Dawgs!

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Learn more about our short-term programs abroad through the Global Business Center and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

MBA Strategic Consulting Program: Experiential Learning at Foster

Foster offers students numerous opportunities to apply concepts learned in the classroom in the real world. One example is the MBA Strategic Consulting Program, which allows students to analyze challenges facing leading companies and provide them with insightful, innovative recommendations. Just last year, Foster MBA students completed the following projects:

  • Market research and positioning for Nissan in the PNW market.
  • Carbon offset strategies to stabilize emissions with carbon-neutral growth for Alaska Airlines.
  • Customer journey mapping and marketing recommendations for Office 365.
  • Marketing strategies to drive small business refresh of Microsoft/Dell products.
  • Expansion strategy and framework to evaluate new market opportunities for a lunch delivery start-up.
Jennifer Bauermeister, Director of the MBA Strategic Consulting Program
Jennifer Bauermeister, Director of the MBA Strategic Consulting Program

Jennifer Bauermeister leads the MBA Strategic Consulting Program. A Foster graduate herself, she is uniquely positioned to connect students with companies to strategically address business challenges while enriching the MBA academic experience.

What brought you to Foster? What are your responsibilities as the Director of the MBA Strategic Consulting Program?

One reason I came to Foster is I was interested in pursuing an advanced degree myself and thought that it might be easier if I worked on campus. I started at Foster in 2011 working with the Consulting & Business Development Center managing several programs including Board Fellows and undergraduate consulting internships. I started the Foster Executive MBA program in 2013, but while finishing my MBA had the opportunity to transition to work for the Strategic Consulting Program. As the Director of that Program I am responsible for sourcing, managing, and evaluation of consulting projects for MBA students.

 Why did you choose Foster as a professional?

I chose Foster because I felt drawn to working at an educational institution. I stayed at Foster because I truly enjoy working with students and because Foster has continually provided me opportunities to grow in my own career.

What sets Foster Evening MBA students apart?

Foster evening students are some of the hardest working students I meet. They are willing to take on numerous challenges and somehow balance it all.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to watch students present their final recommendations to companies, and the companies are incredibly impressed with how well our students have performed. It is especially wonderful when our students outperform paid consultants who have worked on the same issue, often for years! (Yes- this does happen.)

Second and third-year Evening MBA students presented a joint marketing strategy for Dell and Microsoft in the spring of 2016
Second and third-year Evening MBA students presented a joint marketing strategy for Dell and Microsoft in the spring of 2016

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Many companies reach out to me looking for students to help them with their businesses. Sometimes MBA students are a great fit for the challenges they face. Other times, the companies are not quite ready for the type of work MBAs can perform. I am always working to find other resources for these companies, whether it is inside or outside the Foster and UW community.

What is Foster’s competitive advantage?

Our students. We attract a diverse, intelligent and thoughtful group of students who are consistently willing to help each other, their school, and the community.

What do you appreciate the most about the Foster community?

The Foster community does a great job of nurturing a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

What is one interesting fact most people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

I am a top level reviewer on Trip Advisor.

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Evening MBA Admissions Staff Spotlight: Megan Lewis

Ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at Foster’s MBA Admissions team? Why do they do what they do? What drives them? What do they appreciate about Foster? Meet Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions.

What brought you to Foster? What are your responsibilities as a member of Foster’s Admissions team?

Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, MBA Admissions
Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, MBA Admissions

In late 2012, I transitioned back to Seattle to be near my family. I had lived abroad in Mexico City for five years, where I led a small EducationUSA advising center funded by the U.S. Department of State that facilitates international student exchange. Through EducationUSA, among a wide range of responsibilities, I supported recruitment for MBA Admissions staff from various MBA programs across the U.S. I became very familiar with the world of MBA Admissions and knew that it would provide an exciting new professional adventure. After a stint in public K-12 education and experience with education in both the non-profit and public sectors, I was eager to learn more about the world of business. I was also seeking an opportunity to creatively solve problems and implement new programs while connecting with students and traveling.

I’m primarily responsible for marketing and recruitment strategy for the Full-time and Evening MBA Program, which includes working with our marketing and communications team on print and digital media, overseeing our recruitment event calendar, and managing use of our customer relationship management technology. I also lead work on diversity recruitment and recruitment in Latin America. I share responsibilities in recruitment travel, reading applications, interviewing applicants, and event planning.

Megan at Amazon China
Mēgan at Amazon China

Why did you choose Foster as a professional?

I wanted to work for a highly reputed public higher education institution that would challenge me to learn new knowledge and skills in a supportive environment. I don’t have a business background and I was hoping to gain a business mindset by joining a community of powerful business leaders. Once I dug into the depth and breadth of the Foster MBA program offerings, met the staff in the MBA Program Office, and learned about the Foster culture, I was certain I would love working here. I also wanted to work on a beautiful campus in Seattle proper. It was the obvious choice!

Fill in the blank: Foster is ________.

Fluid. It’s a balance of independent individuals engaged in a strong community with amazing access to resources. Students define their goals, form their own program of study, and choose how to best take advantage of the plentiful opportunities available at Foster. The program is constantly adjusting to the needs of students as our business climate grows and changes, following industry trends and keeping abreast of the latest research informing business practices.

Diversity and Inclusion leaders at corporations like Nordstrom, Microsoft, and T-Mobile have spoken at our FOSTERing MBA Access events.
Diversity and Inclusion leaders at corporations like Nordstrom, Microsoft, and T-Mobile have spoken at our FOSTERing MBA Access events.

What sets Foster Evening MBA students apart?

Foster Evening MBA students are walking miracles. I still can’t wrap my mind around how they are able to juggle family, work, school, participation in clubs, volunteering, giving back to the Foster program as Student Ambassadors, gifting the MBA Program staff Christmas cards and treats, etc., etc., etc. The most amazing part is that when I run into them they are usually smiling.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Education and business are both incredibly powerful forces for socioeconomic mobility, the passion that drives me. At my core, I’m motivated by playing a part in others’ success and I’m happiest when I am connecting with people who are pursuing their aspirations, especially in cases where I can provide information resources or advising to first-generation college students or under-resourced applicants.

What is Foster’s competitive advantage?

There are many, but the highly capable tight-knit community is our best asset. This community is made up of students and faculty, but also alumni and the local business community. They genuinely care about supporting one another and generously spend time building each other up in tangible ways: taking care of each other’s’ children, taking on the larger burden of a team project when necessary, tutoring each other, forming small student support groups, and the list goes on. Our students achieve because they share their knowledge, connections, ideas, time, energy and resources. They are sharp and hardworking, so the sum of these parts results in each student achieving far beyond what they could accomplish on their own.

What do you appreciate the most about the Foster community?

Our entrepreneurial mindset. While relatively few students are setting out to own their own business, there is a Wild West influence on the culture of the program. Our students are optimistic while focusing on what matters and paying careful attention to the bottom line. They demonstrate high tolerance for risk and ambiguity, and welcome change. They are resourceful in listening for and testing new ideas. They love a challenge and they take action. If it’s not working, they recover quickly, collect information and feedback and throw themselves into the next solution. Many of our students feel a bit non-traditional as business students. They are quirky, unique, and confident in what they bring to the table. This creates a rich and open learning environment and results in bigger and better business ideas.

What is one interesting fact most people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

I love dancing Cumbia with my husband!

Megan dancing Cumbia at her wedding
Megan dancing Cumbia at her wedding

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.