Category Archives: Blog Series

Parent Spotlight: Doing it All as Evening MBA Students and Parents – Part Two

In this Parent Spotlight, four third-year evening MBA students share with us what it is like to be a parent in the program. Part Two highlights the second two students, Natalie and Altaf. Their stories, outlook, and work ethic is inspiring, and their support systems strong! It’s been a special experience learning more about each of their families and lives… enjoy!

 Thank you so much for agreeing to open your lives a bit, and share with us what it’s like for you to be a parent and an Evening MBA student at Foster. To start, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your family?

 Natalie: My husband, Evan, and I have been married for seven years and we just had our daughter, Bryn Amelia Cook. Bryn is brand new, born on June 30, 2017.  I found out I was pregnant early in fall quarter of my second year in the Evening program. Luckily, my due date (June 18) was ten days after Spring quarter ended and I didn’t need to adjust my schedules too much to accommodate. My husband is self-employed and works from home and will care for Bryn while I’m in class.

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Altaf: We are a family of three. Along with me, there’s my wife Yakuta and our two-year-old son Arhaan. Arhaan was born three months before our first year at Foster began. So yes, I knew what was in store when I applied and accepted the MBA admission at Foster. Fortunately for Yakuta and I, we had a few months to prepare before I started the program and get through the initial jolt of cluelessness, sleepless nights, and constant diaper changes. I think I, and more importantly Yakuta, had mentally prepared ourselves for a hard first year of my school. I think having Arhaan as an infant during the first year of school was a little easier than if we had landed ourselves into starting a family in the middle of the program.

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You’re now in your third year of the program. How have you made it through thus far? What can you share about your support system?

 Natalie: My husband is a saint and took wonderful care of me through my pregnancy. He constantly reminded me I could keep going without having to take time off school, made sure I was fed, and told me to rest when I needed to. Additionally, all my classmates were very understanding, especially my team. Bryn was exactly three months old when Fall quarter started and I have had no plans to take time off from school. I’m also fortunate to have excellent parental leave and I won’t be returning to work until after graduation.

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Altaf: We have had a great support system. In keeping with Indian culture, we had both sides of the family visiting and helping in the house for the first six months after Arhaan was born, and with my brother living a couple miles away there was always a helping hand when needed. That level of support definitely took some of the edge off.

Natalie, you just had Bryn this summer! What resources at Foster have you taken advantage of? How have the students, the MBA office, and the professors supported you?

Natalie: When I learned I was pregnant, I made a point of talking to Kara Fichthorn (Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs) about any contingencies I may need. The evening program at Foster is very supportive of families. Taking a quarter off or taking less credits per quarter is easy and supported. I also made a point of talking to my professors early in that quarter. They were more than willing to accommodate in case of any emergency or early delivery.

I have yet to meet anyone in the program that isn’t supportive of their classmates who are parents. I’ve had a few teammates bring their children to group meeting and most people are willing to work around parent schedules to get projects done. I’ve also participated in several conversations on where to get the best prices on diapers (for anyone interested Amazon wins most of the time)!

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Altaf, you juggled a lot your first year, and you and your wife still made it a priority to attend many Foster events, even when Arhaan was an only a few months old. You are always having so much fun!

Altaf: It’s been a roller coaster! There have been times when one of us has reached a breakdown point, especially the first year when I was juggling demanding coursework and weekend team meetings, and while Yakuta was managing having a baby at home and juggling a job change.  But we have both made a conscious effort to try and do as much as possible at Foster to make sure that we don’t miss out on some of the unique experiences. There have definitely been some amazing moments through the past two years including dressing our little baby as superman for the Halloween TG (the TG’s are monthly parties for Full Time and Evening MBA students) as well as dancing through the night at the Bollywood TG with him in the baby pouch the entire time. It’s been a busy schedule for the two of us between work, school, and time at home with the little one, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Huge thank you to Natalie and Altaf for their thoughtful responses!

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.

Parent Spotlight: Doing it All as Evening MBA Students and Parents – Part One

In this Parent Spotlight, four third-year evening MBA students share with us what it is like to be a parent in the program. Part One highlights our first two students, Kerry and Paul. Their stories, outlook, and work ethic is inspiring, and their support systems strong! It’s been a special experience learning more about each of their families and lives… enjoy!

Thank you so much for agreeing to open your lives a bit, and share with us what it’s like for you to be a parent and an Evening MBA student at Foster. To start, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your family?

Kerry (2)

Kerry: My family is my 6-year-old daughter, Fiona, and me! Some days are hard – being a single mom means that on the days I have my daughter I’m doing it alone, with no back-up support for the days when I don’t feel well or woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But most days are pretty great – her and I have formed a bond and relationship that would look different if our lives were different. She is the best human, and I’m so grateful she’s mine.

Paul: My wife, Shavonne, and I have two beautiful daughters named Siena (age 2) and Kathryn (age four weeks). Both of them were born during the MBA program. Our first was born just a couple of days before our very first Accounting midterm and our second was recently born over the summer. The topic of 1) when was the right time to have a family and 2) when was the right time to get my MBA came up many times over the years. We ultimately decided that neither could fully be planned around and, rather, we would just roll with the challenges and do our best to balance both.

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You’re going into the third year of the program. How have you made it through it thus far? What can you share about your support system?

Kerry: I am very lucky in that my daughter is with her dad at the Kerry 4beginning of the week, which aligns perfectly to when classes are offered for the Evening MBA at Foster. The tricky part with scheduling comes into play with group meetings/assignments/projects. It takes a lot of planning ahead of time for me to arrange who will watch my daughter on a weekend day. I am very lucky to have a fantastic support system in my parents and one of my best friends, Jenny, who committed to being there for Fiona and me prior to me ever being admitted to the program. The others in my support network are there for me when I’m exhausted, emotional, and feel like giving up. It takes an army to go back to school.

Paul: I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a partner who is willing to deal with an (at times) absentee father and husband and bear most of the day-to-day parenting duties. I will also give a shout out to my two cohort teams in the first and second year of the program. Both were more than accommodating and understanding of the demands of having a young family. I am very thankful to those groups.

Siena and Mom

Kerry, your daughter is six years old, and will remember this time in her life. What have been your goals as a parent through this experience?

 KerryKerry: As a parent, you’re constantly looking to use situations to teach a lesson to your child. Going back to school is the ultimate lesson for my daughter. I’m trying to teach her that she can do anything – there are no limits to her dreams. She just needs to set attainable goals, focus on the task at hand, and be herself. That’s how I got into UW! She sees how hard I work for school when I have to take off for school meetings on the weekends, or when I put her down for bed and she asks me what I’m going to do and I say homework. She sees how tired I am, but I tell her it’s all worth it because I really want this. She doesn’t necessarily understand that I’m doing this for us, that I want better opportunities and to be able to provide for her more, but she will eventually.

 Paul, you have had two kids during the program! What has that been like for you? How do you prioritize?

Paul: Getting an MBA at Foster while being a parent really adds a unique dynamic to the experience. We made a conscience decision to have our kids at an age where they wouldn’t remember me being in school and busy every weekend. We hope that by the time I graduate my older daughter will just be ready to form those core memories with Dad around! Summers are especially important and I have intentionally not taken classes during this time so that I can devote my non-work time to family and friends.

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As a new parent, I feel more driven than I have ever felt. That drive carries over to my day job as well as the classroom. On the other hand, I often feel a tug-a-war for the limited amount of time I have—which has been the most difficult part of it all. I’d love to get to know my peers on a deeper level and fully immerse myself in all that Foster has to offer, but finding balance is a day-to-day challenge.

I am sure you have learned so much about being a parent through this process. What is your advice to other parents who go back to school?

 Kerry: One thing I’ve learned is to try not to get lost in being in school mode 24/7. It is important to take a night or two to not do homework, and to be with friends or family. Halfway through my Kerry3second year, I felt like I wasn’t connecting with my daughter enough, so I established “Fancy Dinner Fridays.” This is a designated time where we sit at our table over a “nicer than usual” dinner, sparkling water in our wine glasses, and toast to the week we just finished. Setting aside this time has brought us closer together, and allows us to slow down this crazy fast life we’re in to focus on us and reconnect!

Paul: I think one of the things that has been transformational for me personally is weekly planning. Devoting an hour every week to planning and introspecting has helped me to live with more intent and direction. I think our classes in behavior science and leadership have been the most important in being a better parent and balancing everything. Having a toddler is like have a tough employee at times. How do you motivate them? How do you make sure they feel you value them? The leadership classes also helped me identify my core values. I find weekly planning centers myself around those core values and guides time allocation.

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Huge thank you to Kerry and Paul for their thoughtful responses!

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.

 

 

Foster Women at Forté: Career Development and Lessons in Leadership

Earlier this summer, in June 2017, 52 Full-Time and Evening Foster MBA female students attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Foster had one of the largest groups of students to attend the event! Last year the conference was hosted in Austin, Texas, but this year Amazon, here in Seattle, hosted the National Conference. Over 500 female MBA students from across the country, and even from schools abroad, came to Seattle for this two-day, action-packed conference. I was lucky enough to attend both days of the conference and enjoyed each day for very different reasons.

Foster daytime and evening MBA students pose for a picture at the Forté MBA Women's Leadership Conference
Foster daytime and evening MBA students pose for a picture at the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference

The Forté Foundation (fortefoundation.org) is a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women. The UW Foster School of Business was accepted as a Forté Foundation partner school in the Spring of 2016.

Foster evening students Renate Kroll, Melissa King, and Loretta Black at the Conference.
Foster evening students Renate Kroll, Melissa King, and Loretta Black at the Conference.

The conference hosted over 100 speakers and presenters and 45 companies. Panels and presentations included career insight sessions ranging from Management Consulting to Finance, as well as development workshops around interviewing, leadership, and personal branding.  The theme of the conference was Women in Leadership. It was motivating and exciting both from a personal and professional perspective, and left attendees and myself with a greater sense of purpose, drive, and focus as we returned to our personal and professional lives.

 Conference Highlights

 My favorite part of the conference was hearing from the inspiring female leaders that spoke throughout the conference. Claire Shipman, the keynote speaker, especially moved me with her passion for transforming the way leadership is viewed, and her desire to improve the way girls interact with risk and create confidence from a young age. In addition to the variety of speakers sprinkled throughout both days, the conference focused on career growth and professional development. The career panels on Friday were primarily Insight Sessions that shared more information about certain career tracks, and post-MBA programs. Panelists were current and past Forté members who were able to give a first-hand perspective about their field. My favorite sessions were the “Day in the Life” panels that gave attendees an understanding of various post-MBA positions available from sponsored companies like T-Mobile and IBM. After the Insight Panels, Forté held a Career Expo & Networking session where 45 companies and MBA recruiters set up booths in the Amazon Meeting Center. It was both exciting and intimidating walking from booth to booth sharing resumes, meeting recruiters, and chatting with fellow Forté attendees.

HEIM GROUP flyer noting the gender differences between men and women.
HEIM GROUP flyer noting the gender differences between men and women.

Saturday focused on Professional Development. I really enjoyed these sessions because they motivated us to bring a thoughtful, growth mindset to our own personal development as a leader and professional. The sessions I particularly enjoyed were Nailing an Interview, which highlighted new techniques to engage your audience, Creating Your Leadership Brand, which helped the audience formulate a personal brand message, (with questions like, “what is your leadership superpower?” to really make us think), and the Gender Differences Seminar, which gave us lots of examples, mainly from Twin studies, about the early differences in males and females that shape how we lead differently.

Keynote Speech

As I mentioned, one of my favorite parts of the conference was hearing from Claire Shipman, the keynote speaker. Shipman is a regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and most recently she co-authored the New York Times best seller, The Confidence Code with Katty Kay. Shipman’s research about female confidence is science-based, and I found it extremely motivational and thought-provoking. In one of her main topics, she pointed out that something changes after grade school with girls and boys. Early on in school, girls continually outperformed boys in the classroom, and it makes sense as to why: girls are generally better at coloring inside the lines, people pleasing, following directions, and listening. However, boys generally have a much tougher time focusing, they screw up more, get into trouble, and disappoint. The takeaway? Girls are constantly trying to be perfect and do everything they can do not to fail while boys are failing over and over . Young boys learn that it’s okay to fail, and equally as important, learn how to succeed after failure. These are valuable lessons and help to explain why men look at risk differently, and generally have more confidence than woman in ways like raising their hand for a promotion, taking on a difficult assignment, and trying again after a failed start-up venture. The biggest message from Shipman during her keynote speech was that as a society we must teach girls to fail from a young age, to struggle, and not to be perfect. Girls and women should be getting uncomfortable much more often, which means taking more action, and making decisions that seem impossible.

1200x630bbShipman closed her keynote speech by insisting that women remain authentic to themselves and that we don’t lose our natural female strengths as we focus on gaining confidence. Female leadership looks different than male leadership: women are problem solvers, process-focused, carefully analytical, and more collaborative/ less hierarchical. Shipman was clear that neither male or female leadership is better or worse, simply different. We all know that companies want female leaders, but she stressed that people have to understand that female leadership will look and behave differently than male leadership. Those at the top must value these differences in behavior, and the definition of what leadership looks like has to change.

Takeaways

 Overall, the Forté Foundation Conference left me motivated and excited. I ordered several of the speakers’ books before I left on Saturday, and I have been reading them throughout the summer. I talk about female leadership all the time, excitedly sharing my learnings from the conference about the science behind female confidence and leadership. I gained a solid understanding of several career paths presented, and some of my peers and I have been working with recruiters from companies represented at the conference. I also feel more prepared to talk about my own leadership brand and message and I am excited to put these tools into practice during on-campus interviews this Fall at Foster. Thank you to the Forté Foundation for hosting an awesome event!

Maggie Olson is in the Foster Evening MBA Class of 2018. Additionally she is the Foster Evening Class Social Media Coordinator and Blog Author. 

Foster evening students Sara Mosiman (left) and Maggie Olson (right) at the Forté Women's Leadership Conference.
Foster evening students Sara Mosiman (left) and Maggie Olson (right) at the Forté Women’s Leadership Conference.

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: 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.

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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.

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.

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.

Evening MBA Program Staff Spotlight: Jenny Forbes

Ever wonder how Foster does it all? Dedicated staff members are committed to this prestigious program and its students’ success, working hard behind the scenes to ensure an exceptional experience for every applicant. Meet Jenny Forbes, Foster MBA Admissions Program Coordinator.

Jenny Forbes, Program Coordinator, MBA Admissions
Jenny Forbes, Program Coordinator, MBA Admissions

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

I began my Foster career working as the Student Affairs Assistant, which was a great way to learn about the program from the ground up.  I appreciated all aspects of working with the current students, from welcoming the new students to the program in the fall to celebrating the graduating classes as they walked across the stage to collect their diploma.

The opportunity to work at Foster was particularly special because of my familial connection with the business school.  Not only did my sister, Emily Warren, work at Foster, but my grandfather, John Wheatley, was a marketing professor at UW for over thirty-five years.  My Papa once said that he enjoyed almost every day of his career, and it means a lot to me to be able to continue his legacy here at UW.

I was excited to take on a new challenge and join Foster’s Admissions team this winter as the Event Coordinator.  In this role I work with members of the A-Team on recruiting, and admission events including Evaluation Day, Campus Night, the Insider Series and other admissions related events.  I support the Student Affairs team with their big events in September and with Graduation.

Jenny and her sister Emily
Jenny and her sister Emily Warren

Why did you choose Foster as a professional?

I had been a stay-at-home-mom for eleven years but my children were in college and high school and I was looking to return to work.  While staying at home with them I volunteered heavily with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the local, district, region, and state level, so I knew that I would like to do something to support learning and education.  Since beginning here I have been thoroughly impressed with the caliber of the students, staff, and faculty.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Without a doubt the people I get to work with.  The students and MBA Program staff are the absolute best and they make coming to work each day a pleasure.  I’m happy to do whatever I can to help make a student’s experience at Foster the best that it can be and help them reach their full potential.

The MBA Admissions Team
The MBA Admissions Team

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part is having to say goodbye to amazing students every year after they graduate.  It’s hard to say goodbye to people I enjoy working with.  The silver lining is that because Foster is like a family, students return often to visit and support the school.

What do you appreciate the most about the Foster community?

I love the engaged and supportive community that we have here at Foster.  Everyone is so willing to lend a hand or support the program in so many ways. Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work,” and that really describes life at Foster.

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

I mentioned that I was heavily involved in volunteering with the PTA.  I began my service with this amazing organization while my kids were in elementary school (over a decade ago!), and I still enjoy supporting it whenever I can.  Each year I return to the elementary school to help the PTA with Science Day.  I am affectionately known as the “Squid Lady” because I teach squid dissection with third graders.  Around 130 third graders rotate through my classroom and get the chance to dissect a small squid.  We discuss habitat, movement, defenses, and diet of squid, and then we learn about some of their basic anatomy.  The highlight of the day is removing the cuttlebone and using it to write their name using squid ink.  It’s so much fun, and the students and teachers really enjoy it.

The Admissions Team
The MBA Admissions Team

Foster is ________.

Family.  Not only because of my family connection, but because of the impressive close-knit culture at Foster.  Everyone associated with the program is so supportive and willing to collaborate that it truly feels like a family.

 

 

 

 

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 to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 3

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, tells us what it’s like juggling all her responsibilities as a Mom in the Evening MBA Program.

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Pre-MBA Profession?

 I’ve had a few different professions pre-MBA. I was an elementary school teacher for the first part of my professional career, and I also coached high school rowing and kids running. When I left teaching, I started working independently as an organizational consultant/coach, which I still do.  Most recently, I worked as the Operations Manager and then Business Manager for a local company, and that led to my interest in getting an MBA.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

 At this point, I think I’d like to continue consulting in the realm of Organizational Effectiveness, or perhaps Organizational Development, though I am also finding Marketing very interesting.  I want to help businesses solve their problems, and I’m still narrowing down what my exact focus might be.

Summer pic
The Evening MBA Program allows Anna the flexibility to balance a demanding schedule and still make time for family.

How do you balance it all?

I don’t know that I do!  I have a very supportive husband and extended family, and I focus on tackling the most important things on my agenda each day.  There are definitely things that I am not doing as well as I’d like, but I try to keep perspective on why I am doing this program and give myself the grace to let extraneous things go.  And, after a previously caffeine free life, I finally caved in and started drinking coffee…This year I promised my husband I would try to focus my extracurricular activities to only my highest priorities because there is so much going on at school that I want to be a part of and I have a tendency to try to do it all.  I know he’ll hold me to my promise!

Nordstrom Family
The Nordstrom Family

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

I chose Foster because I knew that wherever I went, we would need help from extended family for me to make it through the program, and my family is here in Seattle.  I didn’t even look at other schools in Seattle, because UW is by far the best!  I chose the Evening program because, as a career changer, I wanted to be able to gain work experience while going to school so that my experience would match up with my degree by the end.  What I didn’t know was how perfect the Evening MBA Program would be for my busy home life.  The people in the program are all busy, so everyone has a good perspective on how to maintain some semblance of balance.

Mini Golf
Mini golf with members of the Class of 2017 and their significant others

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?

 My team, for sure.  Without them, I would have never survived my first year, and this year’s team has been just as fantastic!  I talked to my professors and TAs as I had questions or needed help with assignments.  The MBA Programs Office team is amazing and great to talk with about the program and what you want to get out of it, and I’ve found alumni to be very welcoming and open to talking to me.  I’ve also utilized MBA Career Management a bunch, once for a practice job interview, which I ended up having to do over the phone, while sitting in my car, with my daughter screaming in the background…Sally Templeton (Senior Associate Director, MBA Career Management) didn’t even flinch!

E and A Spring
A change of scenery for finals prep

How do you make time for family/friends and hobbies/interests outside of the Program?

 It’s hard to make time for many other things, but I definitely prioritize family time.  My team was very accommodating when scheduling our meetings so that Diane (another mom) and I usually got one full day of the weekend to spend with our families, and I tried to involve my kids and my family whenever I could so that we all feel like we’re doing it together.  I have a standing date with my running partner to ensure I get some exercise each week, and I’ve told other friends, “I’d love to see you, but you have to come to me!”  Luckily they do!

K A and E Dec 14
Anna and classmates Kathleen Hillenbrand and Ellyce Shulman get together for a play date!

 Your team won the second year case competition and you recently were recognized for your work on the Health Innovation Challenge. What do you think has contributed to your success in team settings?

Foster does such a great job of setting us up for success in teams – the thought put into our teammates for First Year and Second Year, the assignment of our Peer Mentor, eLEAD at the beginning of our first year, reLEAD that Winter, eLEAD part 3 to start our second year, and our core class on Management and Leadership.  I’ve tried to remember what I’ve been taught from all of these experiences when I’m in team settings, particularly to:

Be clear with the team about expectations from the start – With our 2nd year team, we made a goal in our first group phone call that we wanted to win the Case Competition, so we all knew we were working towards that common goal.  But we were also clear about the time boundaries we had with our busy lives outside of school, so that helped us to maximize the time we were together.  With the HIC, Ellyce ( HIC teammate and 2017 classmate) and I made it clear the ways that we could contribute to the group with our business knowledge, what the other members of the team would need to contribute, and how much time we could devote to the competition.

Recognize individual strengths and contributions – Everyone brings something different to the team, and it’s all valuable.  Acknowledging and recognizing what others do well helps elevate the sense of teamwork. I was so inspired by each of my teammates in both competitions!

Anna's team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.
Anna’s team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.

Don’t take things personally – This means working for the greater good even if it’s not my idea that goes forward, and knowing that feedback someone gives me is not a personal attack, but a way to make me a better manager, teammate or businessperson.  Disagreements are just opportunities to figure out what isn’t clear or what isn’t working.

Apply the concepts we’re learning in classes – We are here to learn, but it’s easy to fall back on your old habits when you are under time pressure.  In each situation, we thought back to what we were taught and thought about how that related to our task.  I can’t stress how important this is!

L Nord
Anna’s daughter has her sights set on Foster!

 

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 to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Meet the Evening MBA Core Faculty: Professor Mark Westerfield

Who are the faculty who teach the Evening MBA core courses? In this Blog Series, these leading scholars share with us what they enjoy about the Evening MBA Program and provide some background on their cutting edge research.

Our first featured faculty member is Professor Mark Westerfield. Students describe Professor Westerfield’s Business Finance course as challenging, but “definitely a positive NPV project.” His dedication to his students is evident from the very first lecture when he shares the outcomes of the course and invites students to provide input on the teaching structure. Professor Westerfield welcomes questions and encourages curiosity, whether it’s in the classroom or during office hours, in teams or individually. He often makes himself available on the weekends before a group case is due for his class, popping into Paccar Hall team rooms to answer questions. Whether he is encouraging students to lead a complex case, giving an interactive lecture on the Financial Crisis, or providing an engaging glimpse into Behavioral Finance, Professor Mark Westerfield is creating futures as a member of Foster’s esteemed faculty.

Professor Mark Westerfield
Professor Mark Westerfield

Teaches: Business Finance (FIN 502)

What do you enjoy the most about teaching Foster Evening MBA students?

I most enjoy the level of professional engagement from my Foster Evening MBA students. Students bring their own knowledge and context with them in to the classroom, and they are willing to fully engage with the class material and the knowledge of their classmates. Even better, the students naturally do this with a professional manner, taking responsibility for exploiting all of the opportunities they have for work the next day or their career in ten years. The result is a potent mixture where everyone (including me) leaves with much more than they entered with.

 Why is the MBA core course you teach an important part of the knowledge base for an MBA student?

Valuing assets and decisions is important for all managers. Business Finance teaches the fundamental tools of valuation and decision making: Should we undertake a particular project or investment? What is an asset or opportunity worth? How do we assess risk and return? At the end of the class, students have a structure for thinking about potential projects and investments and the ability to analyze opportunities in a systematic way.

What is the focus of your current research? What are the key issues and questions that interest you?

My current research focuses on contracts and liquidity, particularly in settings like private equity and venture capital funds. If investments cannot be traded and there is no clear price, investors will require a return premium to compensate them for the additional risk and uncertainty; how much do they require, and how much should they require? Contracts and payment schemes provide incentives to fund managers; how do different contract forms generate incentives and how do those forms affect performance?

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about your MBA core course or approach to teaching?

This course uses a combination of lectures and case studies. The lecture is intended to provide students with rigorous analytical tools; the cases are an opportunity to use those tools in practical settings. I believe that `learning’ and `doing’ must be integrated. It is the fact that students must create solutions–rather than simply hearing and repeating what others have done–that provides the crucial link between theory and action. In combination, the lectures and cases are intended to turn students from consumers of information to producers of rigorous analysis.

To learn more about Professor Mark Westerfield and his research: http://www.markwesterfield.com/.