Category Archives: Student Reflections

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.

 

 

 

 

Maggie Olson: “Foster is so invested in you”

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

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

Pre-MBA Profession:

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

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

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

Current Profession:

Business Process Specialist, Nordstrom

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

Hometown:

Seattle, WA

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Foster’s International Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Car
Vintage car and the beautiful sky in Varadero, Cuba

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

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

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

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

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

Streets of Havana
Streets of Havana

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

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

Beautiful Cuban music
Beautiful Cuban music

Anything else you’d like to share?

Go Dawgs!

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

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

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

Sheena Seibert-Nelson: Post-Graduation Advice

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave an inspiring, lighthearted speech to her fellow graduates at Commencement. Read on to learn the advice Sheena shared with classmates as they begin an exciting new chapter post-graduation.

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016

Hello everyone!  I’m Sheena Nelson, and am beyond proud to speak to you today and represent the evening Class of 2016.  Our class is filled with amazingly intelligent, fun, and caring men and women, and mothers and fathers, and not a week went by where I wasn’t genuinely impressed by what you all do.

Before I go any further, I want to take a minute and explain for those who might not be aware what the difference is between the Daytime and Evening MBA programs at the Foster School of Business.  As many of you may have guessed, we go to class AT NIGHT!  Shocking, I know! But the largest difference between our two programs are that evening students are inherently insane, or extremely efficient, depending on how you look at it.  (It’s a very thin line between the two.)  Rather than quit our jobs and take two years for our MBA studies, WE all decided to keep our full-time and professional jobs and take THREE years for the same amount of coursework! Two years with no job pressures, or three years with job pressures…makes TOTAL sense!  Ok, somehow the math seems off, but I promise, we feel like it was the better of the two options for us.

What we lacked in sleep and personal lives during those three years we made up in amazingly rich life experiences.  We pursued areas of study in fields we weren’t as well versed in, we wrote papers and sat exams, some of us traveled abroad together, and most importantly – we shared jello shots with Ed Rice (Core Faculty, Economics Professor) at Dantes.

When I think back at how we started this three-year journey, I remember our first weekends of ePrime and eLead.  I don’t know if you guys remember, but during eLead we were at a conference building at Anthony’s waterfront.  It was a beautiful Friday and Saturday, so what better time to sit inside for full-days in a conference room…in our suits. On our second day, we arrived to see a Norwegian Cruise ship was docked right outside our room.  We were even happier when about an hour into our work the ship started blaring “CELEBRATE good times…COME ON!” for the remaining 6-hours, nonstop, while passengers laughed, had cocktails, and sang along….right outside of our balcony.  It was a great indication of the types of compromise we’d experience during the program – the dilemma of “I really need to study” against the pull of “I want to not be in class right now”.

But, here we are!  We survived! And as we move forward with the next stages of our lives, I’d like to introduce my Foster School of Business, Evening MBA exit program — eLeave.  Yes, extremely creative name…that’s what an MBA will bring to the table!  Dan Poston, feel free to use this if you like, by the way.  eLeave is this – what to do with ourselves now that school is over.  Well, after becoming reacquainted with friends, spouses, maybe children who didn’t see you as much during these three years…I recommend the following three steps.

IMG_3719
Sheena is all smiles as she celebrates this significant accomplishment.

First, remain a learner.  So many of us commented the best part of being in school again was learning outside of our jobs and companies.  So don’t let that stop!  It doesn’t mean you have to sign up for coursework in the fall, but continue to read, question, analyze in whatever way you like.  Maybe Mark Westerfield (Core Faculty, Finance Professor) will let you do his taxes!  Mark??  No??  Ok, maybe something else then.

Secondly, one of the greatest strengths of this program is its cohort model, and while you might not be helping a teammate with homework, you could help volunteer or serve on the board of a non-profit.  Being a leader doesn’t just mean having all the business answers, it also means having compassion for others around you.  We can give back in so many ways, and as we look for things to fill our newly found free time, let’s keep in mind ways we can continue to help pay it forward….outside of C4C Weekend.

And third, let’s not be strangers! An MBA is so much more important than the paper, it’s us! Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram, LinkedIn, oh yeah, and actually meeting IN PERSON, it’s on us to make that happen.  And I hope we will.

So that’s it!  We’re done!!  Thank you all again for letting me laugh and learn with you during this amazing experience, and letting me speak to you all today.  And Congratulations!! With that, there’s really only one more thing I need to remind you all – with our futures so bright, always wear your shades.

Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and her fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates
Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates.

Sheena is employed at Microsoft where she works as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager for Surface, creating strategies to sell Surface products through online partners globally.  She lives in Ballard with her husband and Shih Tzu and can be found most mornings with an espresso in her hand.

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.

Moving to Pursue the Foster Evening MBA

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

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

Why did you choose the Foster Evening MBA Program?

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

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

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

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

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

 What is your assessment of the program so far?

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

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

What is your favorite thing about Seattle?

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

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

Any advice for prospective students?

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

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

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

Fostering Friendship

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

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

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

How did you become friends?

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

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

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

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

What makes Evening MBA friendships unique?

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

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

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

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

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

What else would you like to share about your friendship?

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

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

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

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

Class of 2016 Summer BBQ

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

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

Members of the Class of 2016 reflect on the event:

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

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

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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.”

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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.”

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Moms in the Evening MBA

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

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Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Diane Dettling

Graduation Year: 2017

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

Post-MBA Aspirations: Undecided

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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