Category Archives: Student Spotlight

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.

SienaKathryn

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.

 

 

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.

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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.

A Week in the Life: Ellyce Shulman

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

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

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

Working with Microsoft

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

Working with Foster Alums

Foster Alums

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

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

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

Jazzed about Entrepreneurial Finance

Edward

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

Student Life

Student Life

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

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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

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

An Athlete’s Life

Athlete

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

Leadership All Around

Coach

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

Always Smiling

Entre Fin

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

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

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

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

 

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.

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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.

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.

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.

dettling
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

2015 Foster Evening MBA Service Awards

A portion of commencement is dedicated to recognizing one student and one faculty/staff member with the Service Award, as voted on by the Class of 2015. This year, there was a tie between two incredible faculty/staff. Congratulations to Adam Rubens, Lloyd Tanlu, and Tim Hossain!

Class of 2015  Commencement
Class of 2015 Commencement

Chris Cunningham shares his appreciation for his fellow classmate at commencement:

Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Each year, the evening MBA votes on the student service award. This year, our recipient is a good friend and familiar face to so many in the program. Students describe Adam Rubens as “involved in all things foster,” ” friendly, welcoming and kind without ever exhibiting ego.” I personally can attest to his willingness to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. He takes care to make everyone feel included, contributes thoughtful, creative work in the classroom, and his contributions on the MBAA board have been recognized across campus.

Adam Rubens describes what makes Foster Evening MBA faculty & staff unique:

Top tier MBA programs are reliant on faculty and staff who make a profound impact on the educational trajectory of the students.  In the Evening MBA program we measure that impact in terms of passion, connection, knowledge, and a willingness to go beyond the classroom to engage our minds in our concurrently progressing careers.  A great staff or faculty member challenges us like Apple to “Think Different”, like Nike to “Just Do It”, and like Sprite to “Obey Your Thirst”…for knowledge.

Lloyd Award
Lloyd Tanlu, Professor of Accounting, accepts his Service Award.

The winner of this year’s faculty/staff award exemplifies all of these criteria and more.  Professor Lloyd Tanlu is known for driving the Foster student experience both inside and outside the classroom. While his reputation is sometimes synonymous with a generous love of red meat and uncanny ability to remember all of his students, there are few people who can make quarterly budgeting, balanced scorecards, and corporate governance as interesting and meaningful as this professor.

Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.

This year, we had an honest to goodness tie in the voting for this award.  For our second winner I think this quote from a nominating student sums it up well-  “I’ve never had a faculty/staff member that cared so much about the lives, goals, and accomplishments of individual students.  He really shows how much he cares daily and goes well above and beyond to support this program”.  I am proud to personally call Tim Hossain a mentor and am joined by the rest of the 2015 Evening MBA class when I thank him for all the hard work he puts in on a regular basis to make this an incredible and valuable experience for all of us.

Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his Service Award.
Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his award.

Outstanding Students from the Class of 2015 Recognized at Graduation

One of the highlights of the academic year at Foster is the opportunity to recognize students who represent all that Foster stands for and who consistently strive to make a difference.

2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Student Award

Every year, the faculty and staff have the pleasure of nominating a graduating student who has, during her or his time in the program, exhibited a broad range of qualities which are held in high esteem by the University of Washington, including contribution to the UW Foster MBA community; contribution to the community at large; business professionalism; leadership; and class representation.

The two recipients of the Outstanding Evening MBA Student Awards made major contributions to the Foster Evening MBA Program inside and outside of the classroom.  They truly embody what it means to be a Foster MBA. Foster is proud of them and has previously highlighted their experience in spotlight videos. Congratulations, Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell!

Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.
Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.

Lisa Dahlby

Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Lisa took it upon herself to forge strong relationships with all of her professors.  She worked hard with both administration and faculty on creating a strong academic experience for her classmates.  She  instituted a standardized mid-quarter feedback session for all core faculty and facilitated the discussion with strong professionalism.  Economics professor Ed Rice had this to say about her:

“She served her fellow students as a strong advocate for academic excellence.  Lisa is as an example of how to make the most of the program by having a positive attitude, caring about fellow students and challenging yourself. ”

Allison and Lisa with fellow classmates on graduation day.
Lisa and Allison with fellow classmates on graduation day.

Outside of the classroom, Lisa served as the Evening MBA representative to the Master’s Program Committee, a superstar Ambassador and  a Vice-President in the MBA Association.

Beyond her leadership, she will be remembered for her constant professionalism and dedication to the Foster School of Business.

Lisa shares why she chose Foster: “I knew this was my calling. The MBA makes you look at the world in a different way and it makes you a much better citizen of the world.”


Allison Waddell

Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Many in the Evening MBA Program call Allison “THE Face of Foster”.  When Allison started the program she knew the MBA Program was not just a set of academic courses, but an overall experience that reached beyond the classroom.  This quote from her nomination sums it up:

“She arrived at Foster and quickly became a face of the program. Her ebullient personality, willingness to roll up her sleeves and work with anyone to get the job done, and her genuine interest in learning more about people made her well-liked by her classmates. As she went through the program, she continued to shine as a leader. Whether it was finding effective ways to communicate to all Evening students or just lending a helping hand, her presence was felt by everyone during her time at Foster. She has the knack and drive to go anywhere and be extremely successful in her future endeavors – and Foster’s Evening MBA Program will be extremely lucky to count her as an alumna.”

Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.
Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.

Allison shares the most memorable aspect of her Foster experience: “I will never forget the people I met through Foster. The faculty, staff, students, and alumni are what make Foster great and it is those relationships that I will never forget.”

Rita Jabbouri: “It’s all about the team”

Meet Rita Jabbouri, the Admissions Team’s new Social Media & Blog Coordinator for the Evening MBA program. An important aspect of Rita’s position is connecting prospective students with the Foster community through social media. Rita is a “Double Dawg,” having earned her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Foster. She is passionate about the value of a Foster MBA and is happy to give future students an inside look at Foster through the perspective of current students, faculty, and staff. Rita will assist with Admissions events and looks forward to meeting you!

Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Rita Jabbouri
Graduation Year: 2017
Pre-MBA Profession: Branch Manager at U.S. Bank
Post-MBA Aspirations: Finance or Marketing at an industry-leading organization

What is your favorite part of the Foster MBA experience?

My team! Foster places an emphasis on teamwork and collaboration because that is what employers expect upon graduation. To be successful, leaders must not only understand how to work effectively in teams, but actually live it. It has been a pleasure working with Daniel Webb, Edward Galloway, Logan Fouts, Nhi Le, and our peer mentor Mark Smedley. I learn just as much from them as I do from the classroom. They are some of the smartest, most down-to-earth people I have ever met and I know these friendships will last beyond the program.

My favorite thing about each of my teammates:

Daniel Webb: Daniel is our “big idea” person. When we get lost in the details, we can always count on Daniel to help us see how everything fits into the big picture.

Edward Galloway: We call Edward “the consultant in the room.” You’ll never see him without a smile on his face, but if we start to get sidetracked during a team meeting, Edward will jump in to keep us focused.

Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program
Rita and her team at the Frosters, the annual winter ball for the Evening Program

Logan Fouts: Logan is great at finding alternative methods to explain a concept. He will sometimes draw a picture on the whiteboard to illustrate a point that may have been difficult to grasp otherwise. Logan also has a great sense of humor- you might hear a roar of laughter if you walk past our team room.

Nhi Le: Nhi is our accounting and finance expert. We say she has “magical Excel powers” because she really is that good! She will also throw in a joke or two when we least expect it, which makes our team meetings even more engaging and fun.

Mark Smedley: Mark has been a fantastic peer mentor. As a second year student, he has already been through the challenging first year experience. Mark provides advice to help us get the most out of the program. He is also instrumental in encouraging us to explore ways we can get involved in extracurricular activities at Foster.

How did we create excellent team dynamics? We built a team culture based on respect and focused on learning. When one person on the team is stuck on a concept, the rest of the team is eager to provide different explanations that lead to a deeper understanding of the material. Our goal as a team is to help each other be successful by offering each other advice, bringing out the best in each other, and making the Foster MBA experience a fun and memorable one. When we come across a challenge on a marketing or finance case, someone will jump in with some humor and have the entire team laughing and energized to complete the rest of the case. We all know we can count on each other and we are committed to each other’s success. Meeting these unique individuals and learning from them inspired me to get involved in the MBA Association as Vice President of Community Outreach. Every single student at Foster has a story to share and expertise to offer. My goal is to discover others’ strengths, showcase what makes each student unique, and help make the Foster experience meaningful for everyone.

Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita, her team and their Peer Mentor Mark, get ready for the Foster Fun Run
Rita's team meets to go over a marketing case
Rita’s team meets to go over a marketing case