Category Archives: Student Life

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 2

Our second installment of the Moms in the Evening MBA Blog Series: Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016, talks school, work, family, fun, and how she makes it all happen!

Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.
Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.

Pre-MBA Profession?

Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016

My undergrad and early professional career was in structural engineering of buildings, which I enjoyed, but it never seemed like a complete fit, especially in the wake of the 2008 Recession. When I had twins, I kept doing engineering for the stability (no pun intended). I had worked at different engineering consulting groups around the Puget Sound and decided that what I enjoyed the most was working on teams and solving problems – just not necessarily the way I was doing it as an engineer.

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

The Foster Evening MBA program was the first on my list since I went to UW as an undergrad and along the way of the application process I just kept getting more and more excited about the program and never looked anywhere else. I knew that I learned more in a classroom environment rather than online and the team setup was great! Even with a family I knew I could do two nights of class per week. My husband was supportive of me going back to school and that made it work. The opportunities for growing my Seattle network and going on a global study tour was really enticing as well. 

Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.
Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

Two years in and I’m still poking around for what will fit me best in my post-Foster life, but I have no doubt with my classmates and coursework that I will have fun doing it! I’m really interested in helping people – back to that “working on teams and solving problems” I mentioned before, but I’m working on crafting the niche that I will do it in long-term. I love being involved in the Diversity, Women, and Out in Business groups as they really build a community trying to grow in the business world. I’m also excited to be able to attend the Net Impact conference in November – I think that will be a great experience!

Libby's second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.
Libby’s second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.

How do you balance it all?

Right now, it’s not really about balance for me. It’s about ME!! Okay, that’s only mostly true; usually I give credit to my husband and family. With three kids all in school, I knew it was a good time to show them that Mom isn’t always going to be grumpy when she gets home from work – that it was time to demonstrate a mid-career change for them and to do it for myself. My oldest daughter is in high school and will graduate with me in the spring, so she’s got her own track going; my younger girls just started third grade and love going to Boys & Girls Club in the afternoons when I’m at work and school. The kids are as excited about me being in school as I am, so that helps a lot. I also make sure to have quality time with them and also bring them along to school events when I can. This summer we spent time backpacking, going to Sounders FC games, reading Harry Potter, and playing with Legos. I know it’s a relatively short-term period that I’m doing the school “thing”, so we’re making it work!

Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.
Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.

Balance for me is making sure my kids have good memories of this time (I’m not worried about me – Foster is FULL of great memories!!!) and that as few important things fall through the cracks as possible. I’m still making their Halloween costumes, attending PTA events, and watching their band concerts. Being organized brings me sanity! I’ve used Cozi for everything – calendar, shopping lists, to do lists; I can see everyone’s activities and stay synced with my husband. Marty and I have also been better about “date nights” since I started the program – whether it’s doing the Huddle tailgate before Husky football games, the C4C auction, or just hanging out, we make sure we keep communicating and stay on the same path.

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

Two words: Tim Hossain. Seriously. He’s been through the program, he knows what’s going on, and he’s supportive when I come to my senses and take that step back, breathe, and say that I can’t add on one more thing. Tim has a full support crew in the program office and they are all amazing!

The other resource that helped me in this program is my wonderful classmates! Between my teams, Japan Study Tour cohort, and the folks sitting around me in class, the students at Foster are really great and we all know we’re in it together, so we’re all super supportive of each other.

And again, my husband has been my rock through it all!

Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.
Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.

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

I think one of the reasons that the Foster Evening MBA program is such a good fit for me is that many of my “outside” interests can be found within Paccar Hall or on the UW campus. The Huddles support my love of Husky football, C4C and all of the fundraising during the year feed my spirit of giving and of supporting kids, the Happy Hours force my introverted self to remember how to pretend to be an extrovert, and the classroom conversations are all about my love of learning. Being in Seattle, many classmates across the daytime and evening programs share my interest of hiking, backpacking, karaoke, good food, and this summer I even started practicing yoga! The nights I’m not on campus, I make sure to eat dinner with my family and check in with my kids often.

Time flies so fast, I’ve really been making a priority of the MBA student experience. It’s one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Japan Study Tour in March 2015.
Japan Study Tour in March 2015.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to see more student experiences.

Fostering Friendship

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

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

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

How did you become friends?

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

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

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

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

What makes Evening MBA friendships unique?

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

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

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

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

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

What else would you like to share about your friendship?

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

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

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

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

Class of 2016 Summer BBQ

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

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

Members of the Class of 2016 reflect on the event:

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

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



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

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



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

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











Building a Community: Admitted Student Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Foster MBAs do Bollywood

The monthly TG* usually draws a big crowd but none larger than the annual “Indian TG.” Hosted by current students, this TG is popular because it is always filled with delicious food, fun music and, of course, a Bollywood dance! Check out this year’s student dance, performed during the Indian TG on April 10th.

* The origin of the “TG” event name has been explained differently over the years, but it is most commonly explained as a shortening of T.G.I.F. (Thank goodness it’s Friday). These events happen monthly throughout the year and each one always has a theme associated with it.

2014-15 MBAA Board President passes the torch to next year’s MBAA Board

Adam Rubens, always representing Foster and c4c, is bottling wine at a winery in Leavenworth.
Adam Rubens, always representing Foster and c4c, is bottling wine at a winery in Leavenworth.

Each year, the outgoing MBAA President offers a “State of the Program” at the conclusion of his or her tenure. This year’s president, Adam Rubens, gave his concluding remarks at the transition meeting on April 4th. Read what he shared below!

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” ― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

At the beginning of anything, it’s critical to have a direction, a plan of action, and a great team of people to work with.  On April 5th of last year, the 2014-2015 MBAA Board met for the first time to try work on developing those three elements and add new events and value to our members and the Evening MBA Program in general.    It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with that team.  I am proud of the way we embraced the challenges presented and set an example for future students by stretching the boundaries of what a volunteer board can accomplish.  Going from where we were to where we are had a lot to do with incremental growth, willingness to take some risks, and openness to ideas from all areas of student life.

Two years ago, the board was able to accomplish some significant inroads into evening student participation in social events and community building.  There were some herculean efforts from many board members, but it was challenging because we didn’t have the level of collaboration that kept the board cohesive, team-oriented, and accountable to each other.  We did a lot of good things on that board, but there was room for improvement.

Last year, we wanted to put more of a focus on building a support structure within the board so that we could function more as a team and hold each position to a higher standard while providing the tools to help get it done.  We wanted to improve the level of transparency, the quality of events, and impact on the Foster community and the community at large.  We sought to increase the value of the Foster experience and the participation of each student in the available academic and social events by following what we dubbed “the 4 Ps” – Planning, Promoting, Producing, & Pushing the Envelope.

Some of those initiatives were wildly successful, others provided good building blocks, and others were a struggle.  In hindsight, three things stand out as areas we could have improved on.  First, it was challenging to keep to the consistent organized structures that we created for ourselves.  Finding consistent and effective communication mediums also continues to be one of the greatest difficulties facing the MBAA.  Lastly, finding a better way to measure and track progress through various metrics would have been very helpful.

That said, we saw great progress in the last year:

  • We made changes to the EC titles that better reflect corporate board positions
  • We added further transparency and communication on what it means to be an MBAA Member
  • We had on Campus Happy Hours Galore!
  • We created fun, revenue generating events
  • We saw the largest number of evening students to C4C sports weekend ever
  • We won Fundraising at C4C – a big win for the evening program
  • We kicked off #OneFoster + the Scavenger Hunt and had some sweet swag
  • We had a huge evening turnout that was critical to the success of the C4C Auction this year
  • We launched a beautiful new website
  • We had a super-efficient election process
  • We had more evening club reps than ever before
  • We had another successful St. Jude’s Service Day
  • We created a new Alumni event in Wine Tasting with Alumni
  • We received extremely useful feedback for faculty from the mid-quarter reviews
  • We planned really fun and well attended on-campus BBQ for the new students & a great M’s Game
  • We had the biggest Foster Fun Run to date (double last year’s size and funds raised)
  • We saw MBAA membership grow to nearly 70% of the student population
  • We threw two parties that were probably a little “too good” in Frosters and Fosters with some amazing turnout
  • We planned a stand-up comedy act based on economics (don’t miss it on April 9th)
  • We had an evening driven effort to ratify The Out in Business Club that was the catalyst for a whole new VP Diversity position on the board and Diversity Council within Foster
  • We laid a foundation for future boards to continue to push the limits for an evening MBA program.

There is still room for improvement.

That said, you do have a solid foundation on which to grow and add your own flavor to the MBAA Board.  I have had a chance to meet and talk with all of you and I am truly excited to see what you can accomplish.

I will leave you with this advice based on two+ years of perspective:

  1. There is a delicate balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt, and holding them accountable. Everyone has a lot going on and everyone deserves to be cut a little slack sometimes.
  2. There are going to be moments where you have to say no to something you really want to do so that you can put the finishing touches on an event, come in for a Saturday meeting, or help out a board members with something they need you for. Make sure to make your position a priority more often than not.
  3. You are responsible for your position, but you are also responsible for your function as a team member on the board – its encouraged to ask questions, be an extra set of hands, and provide constructive feedback.
  4. Have fun! All work and no play makes for a tough year. Learn quickly from any struggles and move on. Celebrate your accomplishments. You will have lots of them. Keep pushing the envelope.


China Study Tour: Evening MBA Students explore business in China

A group of Evening MBA students stop to have drinks above Shanghai's famous Bund.
A group of Evening MBA students stop to have drinks above Shanghai’s famous Bund.

In December, a group of MBA students took part in the Global Study Tour to China. Accompanied by staff and faculty, they visited Shanghai and Beijing and visited 12 companies while exploring the cultural and economic landscape of China. Below is a recap written by current student Ryan Osher (Eve MBA ’16)

Growth. Scale. Partnership.

These were common themes noticed by 8 Foster MBA’s as they traveled across China last December. Their visit included 12 companies and 3 days worth of free time to enjoy all the best Beijing and Shanghai had to offer. Students were eager to dive in to China’s culture and present themselves on behalf of Foster. What they didn’t expect, however, was just how meaningful the company visits would be and the lasting friendships that were made.

Sampling local cuisine on the China Study Tour
Sampling local cuisine on the China Study Tour

The two week trip included visits to Microsoft, Amazon, and Nike, to name a few. Students learned Boeing’s strategy to maintain growth in China, directly from the President of Boeing China. They met with the CFO of Starbucks China to better understand how the world’s largest coffee company was able to successfully enter and thrive in a tea drinking country. In addition, Directors at Apple explained their strategy to navigate around counterfeit products and maintain their growth rate. Students also met with foreign service agents from the United States Embassy to better understand trade relations and diplomatic efforts between the US and China.

The two week trip provided rich experiences and a lifetime of insight. More than anything, the company visits left each traveler with a greater understanding and appreciation for China as the country continues to drive the world’s economic growth. It is incredible that Foster provides students with the opportunity to experience culture and business first-hand as they develop into the global business leaders of the future.

Ryan and Michaela visit Beijing's Forbidden City
Ryan Osher, Evening MBA 2016, poses with his fiancé, Michaela Byrne, Evening MBA 2017, outside the Forbidden City

The Three Things That Stand Out

Daniel rooting on the Seattle Sounder's at CenturyLink Field.
Daniel rooting on the Seattle Sounder’s at CenturyLink Field.

Daniel Webb recounts the three things that stood out to him upon completing his first quarter as an Evening MBA Student.

Looking back at the first quarter of business school, three things stand out: 1) I really like going to class, 2) I love my study team and 3) the resources Foster provides from academic, to career management, to extracurricular activities are outstanding.

Looking forward to class…

During undergrad, I enjoyed classes to some degree but really focused my energy on activities outside of class. Since starting the Foster Evening MBA, I have been massively impressed with the quality of each and every class. Because we are all working during the day, our time is obviously very limited. This makes time in class super important. Even when we’ve had a long day and are beat by the time class starts, everyone is engaged in the class discussion. The faculty are fantastic. People ask good questions and its clear that everyone really wants to understand the content. Not to mention, each student brings a different perspective and work experience to the course content. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next quarter brings.

My team rocks…

During the recruitment process, staff and students shared that study teams and group assignments were an important part of the learning process at Foster. I enjoy working with groups so was happy to hear this but I couldn’t have imagined how great my team would be! We come from very different backgrounds with different skillsets and have meshed perfectly over the last few months. My team is a study resource. It’s a close-knit support network for getting through the tough parts of the quarter and it now includes some of my closest friends! 

Daniel Webb and his team run in the Foster Fun Run.
Daniel Webb (right) and his 1st year team run in the Foster Fun Run.

Sign me up… 

As many of us were looking into to attending Foster, we also heard that there were plenty of extracurricular opportunities to take part in. It turns out, this aspect of the program is way above and beyond what I envisioned and I haven’t yet begun to tap into this set of resources. I’m very excited about taking part in the mentor program next quarter. The incredible quality of the list of Foster alumni and friends who signed up to mentor us highlights the huge upside this program brings. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved with clubs and other non-class activities like lectures, career management sessions, etc.

One down, eight to go!  

Lessons in teamwork

Meredith is a Molecular Biologist in Seattle.
Meredith is a Molecular Biologist in Seattle.

Meredith Heestand just finished her first quarter of the Evening MBA Program. Below she discusses what she learned about teamwork and how she’s excited that this is only the  beginning.



It’s not always easy, but the reward is worth the work.

You might think that this point is fairly obvious. Come on, it’s an MBA program! But for a molecular biologist that mostly works independently and has played individual sports her entire life, let’s just say the learning curve was rather steep.

Team 7 strikes a pose after finishing the Foster Fun Run 5K.
Team 7 strikes a pose after finishing the Foster Fun Run 5K. (L to R) Meredith, Mariko, Ray, and Chris. Not pictured Cary.

Thankfully, my team: 7, aka “Seventh Inning Stretchers” (named for our shared love of music and sports), have been unconditionally patient and encouraging since day one. Looking back, I keep wondering how on earth I got so lucky to be chosen as a member of this group of intelligent, witty, and hard-working individuals who were even game to do awkward yoga poses in front of our entire class two days after meeting each other.

I also remember how scary the thought of relying on other people for certain projects and assignments was. What if someone didn’t pull his or her weight? What if someone just dropped the ball and didn’t show up to a team meeting? Oh, the horror!

Well, honestly, these things happen. LIFE happens. And that is why you have a team. There is an imbued sense of reciprocity that if paired with the right people happens pretty organically. Being newbies to the whole MBA thing, many of us overscheduled our lives in the beginning, thinking this program was something we would just fit into the mix. WRONG. But you have to accommodate. You have learn to be a willow that bends but does not crack in what feels at times like the biggest windstorm you’ve ever endured.

New beginnings are immense times of change and my teammates were there for each other through it all. At times when people get sick or are out of town, you have to improvise. Getting a group of five adults that work full time and have family/life obligations together can sometimes be a challenge likened to herding cats. Thankfully, with Skype and shared Google Docs (and snacks) we made it work!

But your team is not just there to catch you when life runs its crazy course. They push you to think outside the box in new ways. I surely would still be scratching my head about economics if it weren’t for outside of class discussions on approaches to homework. Even if the only reason I showed up in the first place was for the snacks. Good thing I now realize incentives change behavior…

Teamwork is also about celebrating your successes. One of the best moments of the quarter came right after finishing our Economics final where I found myself singing karaoke alongside my class of 2017 team and the one and only Professor Ed Rice. We work hard but play harder!

The Class of 2017 singing karaoke with Prof. Ed Rice at Dante’s to celebrate the end to their first quarter.
The Class of 2017 singing karaoke with Prof. Ed Rice at Dante’s to celebrate the end to their first quarter.

To sum it all up, it feels like I just finished the first quarter of the rest of my life, not just the next three years. My Team 7 comrades and the entire evening class of 2017 have showed me the enduring power that good teams hold.

And when I say the work is worth it?

Let’s just say I’m exhausted but I can’t stop smiling.

Bring it on, winter quarter!

Class of 2017 ladies out for a night on the town after making it through our first midterms!
Class of 2017 ladies out for a night on the town after making it through our first midterms!

1st quarter reflections

Reflections on my first quarter
By Nick Pernisco

As the days shorten and we head into the holiday break, I think that now is a good time to reflect back on my first quarter as an Evening MBA student at Foster. To say that I’ve been challenged in new and interesting ways would be an understatement. I hadn’t been in a degree program in over 10 years and it took some time to adjust, but with the finish line in sight I can say without a doubt that I’ve had an incredible time.

Here are some of the things I learned this quarter.

    • Ambiguity is the order of the day. As with life, things are not always clear cut and tidy in business. There’s almost never one right solution or approach, and sometimes you need to make decisions without having all of the relevant information. Our first quarter classes really delivered this message – to succeed, get comfortable with not having all of the answers.
    • There’s no “I” in team. Most everything we do is team based – even when you’re not working on a team assignment you study as a team. Reaching consensus in a group of smart and experienced people can be a really difficult task, but my team has been amazing – Aaron, Darius, Pete’ and Bing are the best teammates I could ask for. In fact, most of my classmates love their team as much as I do. We build on each other’s strengths and are better as a team than alone.
    • Leading in partnership. My classmates elected me and my classmate Tyson as class representatives, and we’ve had a blast working together to make the MBA experience as amazing as it can be. Two people with different ideas but with a common goal can work together, and thrive.
Nick Pernisco poses with a group of first year students during a Wednesday night Happy Hour
Nick Pernisco poses with a group of first year students during a Wednesday night Happy Hour
  • Socializing – it’s what’s for dinner. Academics is only about 50% of the MBA. The other 50% is socializing with classmates, alumni, and business leaders. My classmates are going to be my primary professional network for my entire career, and I love getting to know everyone. Happy hours every week, class-sponsored sports, monthly TGs, random trips to the bar after a team meeting, even a scavenger hunt – all necessary if you want to maximize your experience.
  • You get what you give. If you’re just there for the piece of paper you get in three years, you’re going to miss out on a lot. The more effort, time, and energy you put into the experience, the more you’ll get out of the program. I made it a point to attend every career management workshop (although I’m not looking for a job), go to as many networking events as possible, join the clubs that looked the most interesting, and connect with people in other classes and programs. The more you put yourself out there, the higher the chances of having a serendipitous encounter that just may change your life.

And here is some advice I received from upperclassman and which I think helped immensely.

  • Be sure to make time for yourself. Between family, school, and work, you need to find time to just turn off your brain. Don’t feel guilty taking a weeknight to just veg in front of the TV or play a board game. You’ve earned it.
  • Don’t take it so seriously. We are all committed and want to do well, but don’t lose perspective – it’s just school. This is where you can make mistakes with minimal consequences. One low score won’t make or break you. Stop yourself once in a while and make sure you’re enjoying yourself.
  • Don’t be afraid to keep your options open. There are so many opportunities in the program, if you close yourself off to new experiences you are selling yourself short. I came in laser-focused on entrepreneurship and global business, and though that’s still my focus I also never thought I’d actually like accounting. I’m also looking forward to learning more about careers in consulting and marketing.

Overall, it’s been a fantastic experience. Yes, I’m exhausted and look forward to the winter break, but I’m also excited about what awaits us in winter quarter.

Nick Pernisco, second to left, and his first year study team meet during the Orientation Boat Cruise.
Nick Pernisco, second to left, and his first year study team meet during the Orientation Boat Cruise.