Category Archives: Women In Business

Rita Jabbouri: How to THRIVE in the Evening MBA Program

Incoming students often ask what they should do to prepare for the Evening MBA Program, and how to best navigate the three years of the curriculum while working full-time and balancing other competing priorities. Rita Jabbouri, Class of 2017 alumna, shares her top 10 tips to thrive in the Foster Evening MBA.

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

Rita Jabbouri is in Airplane Product Development Finance at Boeing where she is a trusted business partner to chief engineers, program leaders, and directors. When she’s not dreaming about the future of aerospace, she loves to run, hike, cook healthy meals from scratch, read articles from a variety of sources to satisfy her curiosity on a range of different topics, and do anything that involves making memories with loved ones. Rita spends a considerable amount of time with Foster classmates and alumni who have become close friends.

Here are my top 10 tips for successfully navigating the Foster Evening MBA. A huge thank you to classmates, professors, fellow alumni, and mentors who taught me so much over the course of the program!

10. What to read during the program (besides what’s required). If you read nothing else, make sure to review the Weekly Newsletters that the Program Office sends to all evening students. This will have the latest updates on academics and extracurricular activities and will keep you on top of administrative items such as managing your elective courses. Second, sign up for a journal subscription so you can stay up to date on business news. As a student, you get a discount through the University of Washington for a Wall Street Journal subscription, for example. Professors will often bring in news articles that apply to the course to discuss in class, and they invite students to do the same. It will help reinforce what you learn in the classroom.

Rita with her Case Competition team
Rita with her Case Competition team

9. Take time to slow down. The next three years of your life will be extremely busy. It’s important to take time to rest, to reflect, and to remind yourself why you started this program in the first place. Do whatever keeps your mind sharp and helps you manage stress. For me, it was jogging. Although I couldn’t do it as often as I would like with how crazy my schedule got, I would fit in 20-minute workouts that made a world of difference in my energy level and how alert I was in class and team meetings. Do it for you! You owe it to yourself to get the most of out of this program, and you won’t be able to do that if you don’t take care of yourself first. The basics apply more than ever during these three years- get at least seven hours of sleep per night, drink lots of water, and make sure to eat three meals a day. You would be surprised how easy it is to skip one because of back to back commitments. You will likely develop a new appreciation for Jimmy John’s sandwiches delivered directly to your classroom on those especially busy days.

Hiking with fellow Huskies
Hiking with fellow Huskies

8. Plan on everything taking at least a half hour longer than expected. Building in buffers in the second year of the program was a lifesaver for me. Whether it’s meetings running over, traffic being …well…worse than usual, parking being full, etc., you’ll save yourself a lot of worrying if you budget at least 30-minute buffers in between your various commitments. And if everything goes as planned, you’ll get to your next class, team meeting, informational interview, academic advising session, MBA Association meeting- you name it- early and can review content or grab a coffee and catch up with a classmate prior. Pat yourself on the back! You’re running your day, not the other way around.

Rita presenting to VCs, judges, entrepreneurs, and community leaders in the final round of the UW Business Plan Competition
Rita presenting to VCs, judges, entrepreneurs, and community leaders in the final round of the UW Business Plan Competition

7. Pencil in family and friend dates at least a month in advance. Expect busy weekends and plan accordingly. This might seem a little silly at first, but talk to any current students or alumni and they will most likely agree. It’s tough to schedule only a week in advance- not to mention on the spot- because your calendar will fill up quickly with MBA-related commitments, whether they’re required or you sign up for them. Life doesn’t stop during the MBA- there will be numerous engagements, weddings, newborns, career changes, etc. You will start to notice your friendship and classmate circles overlapping and this community will be your support system throughout the program.

Attempting a mid-air shot with friends at The Color Run!
Attempting a mid-air shot with friends at The Color Run!

6. Take advantage of the experiential learning opportunities. Step outside your comfort zone. There are so many Experiential Learning opportunities available to you throughout your three years at Foster. Whether it’s a field study, independent study, an internship, the Business Plan Competition, case competitions, study tours, Mentor Program, consulting project with a nonprofit, leadership experience via the MBA Association—each of these will add to your education in a way no book or lecture ever can. When you apply what you learn by doing it, that’s when it truly starts to sink in. Not sure where to start? Talk to Jean Gekler and Sally Templeton in MBA Career Management, Connie Bourassa-Shaw and Amy Sallin at the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, or Jennifer Bauermeister at the MBA Strategic Consulting Program. They love working with students and they will connect you to contacts who can help you reach your goals.

Rita with Business Plan Competition (BPC) partner and classmate Ellyce Shulman. As first-year MBA students, they placed 4th out of 103 teams in the BPC.

5. Be intentional. This applies to your daily routine, as well as the three-year outlook.

Daily Routine: When do you do your best work? For me, it’s in the morning- before emails, work, and before the ubiquitously connected world we live in starts to pull you in different directions. Pick one or two things you want to accomplish and commit to those before you answer any emails. Whether it’s reviewing a tough lecture, getting a heavy reading done, or researching your next career move, plan your toughest work when you are most alert.

Three-year Outlook: Be intentional in goal-setting for each of the three years. How to get started? Meet with Kara Fichthorn, the Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs. I recommend at least once a year, although I can tell you I met with staff a lot more often than that. The staff members at Foster are so helpful and they want to see you succeed. Get to know them, share your goals, and they will help you focus your energy and prioritize your time at Foster to achieve what you set out to accomplish each of the three years.

Snacks- the usual centerpiece at Foster MBA team meetings
Snacks- the usual centerpiece at Foster MBA team meetings

4. Be a “resource hog.” I can’t take credit for this one- Professor Mark Westerfield is known for this phrase, advice he shared with us at eLead. There are so many opportunities, contacts, and resources available at Foster- take advantage of as many as you can. If your team is struggling with a particular topic in a lecture, don’t hesitate to ask your questions in class. The rest of your classmates will benefit from the discussion. If you’re still struggling on a topic after working through it with your team, reach out to your professor to set up some one-on-one time to walk through your questions. Foster professors are so passionate about what they do, and they really are experts in their field- having done the research and the work in the real world that informs their teaching. They are in the business of creating futures: they want to help and are there for you when you need them.

Professor Ed Rice (Business Economics and Finance) never disappoints with his jokes
Never a dull moment with Professor Ed Rice (Business Economics and Finance)

3. Get involved. Go to Wednesday night happy hour, join a club, run for a position with the MBA Association, become a Peer Mentor, volunteer to help with Challenge for Charity, or simply spend time with classmates outside of class. Your experience will be that much more enjoyable if you get involved and make an effort to get to know the talented people around you. The network you build at Foster is priceless both during and after the program. And it goes without saying that authenticity is critical: yes, be yourself. You are supposed to be part of this program- you were selected amongst a pool of talented individuals. Be confident in your strengths and open about what you would like to improve. Your classmates can’t help you if you’re not honest with yourself first and foremost.

Rita with her #OneFoster Scavenger Hunt team!
Rita with her #OneFoster Scavenger Hunt team!

2. Invest in your teams. This is important throughout the program, but especially so in your first year as you’re still getting to know your class. Your teammates will likely become some of your best friends- your strengths and weaknesses will complement each other and you will help each other get through the most challenging parts of the program, together. Ask yourself how you can help your teammates. What do you bring to the table that is different from everyone else? And, more importantly, how will you leave Foster better than you found it?

Rita's first year team at the annual Foster Fun Run. As the MBA Association VP of Community Outreach, Rita led the planning of the Foster Fun Run benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Rita’s first-year team at the 4th annual Foster Fun Run. As the MBA Association VP of Community Outreach, Rita led the planning of the event, benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs.

1. Remember your “why.” What was the reason you wanted to get your MBA at Foster? Write it down now. You’ll want to revisit it often to keep yourself grounded and focused. That and your teammates will help you not only survive in the program, but THRIVE in it. Don’t jump into everything because you don’t want to miss out, but don’t sit on the sidelines either your first year to “scope things out.” How do you choose where to invest your time? That brings us back to your why. This will probably evolve over your time at Foster. There won’t be an “aha” moment that will tell you exactly what you should be doing. But the culmination of the coursework, workshops you attend, people you meet, skillsets you develop, and experiences you have will point you in the right direction for you post-MBA.

Rita with her Peer Mentees at the annual Frosters MBA event
Rita with her Peer Mentees at the annual Frosters event

The Foster Evening MBA Program isn’t for the faint of heart. Getting into the program says a lot about who you are. Whether you aspire to change up, move up, or start up, embrace this opportunity! Challenge yourself, invest in your classmates, focus on shared success, and have fun along the way. Before you  know it, you’ll be a master at navigating ambiguous business problems and you’ll have a massive network to tap into. Best of luck and enjoy the program!

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

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.


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.

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

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

Foster MBA Program Earns Forté Foundation Membership, Expands Opportunities for Women MBA Students

Foster Evening and Full-time MBA students, alumni, and the MBA Admissions team at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference

As a Forté Foundation partner school, Foster’s prestigious program offers its female students access to an expanded network, impactful leadership development opportunities, and accelerated career trajectory. According to Forté, only 17% of Fortune 500 Board members are women. Women make up 14% of Senior Executives and only 4% of CEOs. A Catalyst and University of Michigan research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, highlights opportunities for improvement in making the business corporate and academic environment more inclusive for women. This sparked the founding of the Forté Foundation, which began in 2002, when female enrollment in MBA programs was only 28%. Since then, that number has increased to 36%, as Forté membership has climbed to 70,000 women with a cross-section of career stages, and 53,000 participants attended Forté Forums.

Forté aims to increase the representation of women in business, and an alliance with the Foster MBA Program promotes that mission in Seattle and wherever Foster’s graduates choose to pursue their post-MBA careers. Foster’s work-compatible MBAs, such as the Evening MBA Program, provide a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to each student’s demanding schedule. Together, Foster and Forté are firmly focused on providing women access to the tools and resources to pursue their passions and thrive in business.

Erin Town, MBA Admissions Director, and Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, reflect on their experience at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference and what a Forté partner school designation means for Foster students.

Erin Town

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

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our alliance with the Forté Foundation, a leading non-profit organization that is focused on increasing the number of women who hold significant roles in business. Forté is dedicated to directing women toward leadership roles in business and industry, and to enabling corporations to more effectively attract and retain female talent. As a sponsor school, the Foster community can now take advantage of the Forté Foundation’s series of professional development and networking events, scholarship opportunities, and online career planning resources.

For many years, the Foster MBA program’s small size and personalized, hands-on approach to learning has offered students from a wide variety of backgrounds the chance to make a real impact, transform their careers, and to make lifelong connections and friendships. This welcoming and empowering culture is one of the reasons we have generally seen higher percentages of women in our programs than the typical MBA program. Now, as a Forté partner school, women at Foster will have even more opportunities for professional development and, most importantly, access to a powerful network of female business leaders from around the globe.

Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, and Erin Town, Director, MBA Admissions

In June, my colleague Megan Lewis and I attended our first Forté Foundation Women’s Leadership Conference along with a group of incoming and current Foster MBA students. The conference was filled with inspiring moments and learning opportunities, but what struck me most was the fact that every session, every keynote, every discussion, was led by a woman. The presenters were incredibly honest and uninhibited. At the end of every session there was a line of women waiting at the microphone to ask questions and to present their thoughts. While the conference offered incredible opportunities for professional development, being surrounded by so many ambitious women was what really left me feeling inspired. I can’t wait to bring a new group of students to the conference next year!

Anna Nordstrom

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

I was so inspired by my time at the Forté Conference!  The women in attendance were all so impressive, and the organization brought in speakers who were accomplished and eloquent and shared their own experiences and practical advice to help prepare the women in attendance for greater success in the business world. It truly energized me and got me excited about heading into my final year of the program!

Photo credit: Anna Nordstrom

I had three major takeaways from the conference. One was how rigorous the process was for Foster to be accepted into Forté, and what that means about Foster’s commitment to support women in business.  Another was that it is important to think about what you are excited to do for work, and to pursue that field – it shows when you are passionate about your work versus when you just show up each day and put in your hours.  Finally, I came away from the conference with a sense of responsibility – to pay things forward for future women, and to not undervalue the impact each one of us can have on others.

View highlights of the 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference:

Want to learn more about the Foster advantage? Connect with us at the Seattle Forté Forum on August 22. We will also be in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 23; Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 24; and Houston on Thursday, August 25.


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

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.

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

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 3

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

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

Pre-MBA Profession?

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

Post-MBA Aspirations?

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

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

How do you balance it all?

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

Nordstrom Family
The Nordstrom Family

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

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

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

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

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

E and A Spring
A change of scenery for finals prep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 2

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

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

Pre-MBA Profession?

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

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

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

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

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

Post-MBA Aspirations?

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

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

How do you balance it all?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to see more student experiences.

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.

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

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

Briana Rubens takes helm as President of the Evening MBAA

On April 1st, rising third-year student Briana Rubens will be assuming the role of President of the Evening MBA Association (MBAA).

Briana Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2016, is President of the Evening MBAA for 2015-16
Briana Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2016, is President of the Evening MBAA for 2015-16

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA, especially a part-time program at Foster?

There were many driving factors in my decision to pursue a Foster MBA.  My desire to learn from those around me and share my enthusiasm for what I do was one of the primary reasons I decided to pursue a MBA with Foster’s Evening program.  When I was initially contemplating applying to Foster, I had a few opportunities to meet current students in the Foster program and was extremely impressed, not only with their professionalism, but with their enthusiasm for their peers and their stories about the collaborative environment in the program.  I made the decision to pursue a part-time program instead of a full time program because I wanted to tackle the challenge of learning useful skills in a classroom environment, and then immediately apply and practice these skills in my job.  Also, I found it very appealing that the Foster Business School emphasizes a connection with the broader Seattle/Washington business community, because maintaining that connection with the community during and after my time in the program is extremely important to me.  Foster is also a leader in business and is an organization that values international input and a diverse student body.  All of these key characteristics significantly align with my career aspirations and personal values.

What motivated you to be involved in MBA student leadership?

I distinctly recall showing up at a welcome BBQ before the program had officially started, and meeting members of the student leadership team, the MBA Association (MBAA). I remember having a conversation with one of the MBAA board members, who said she joined the leadership team because while she wanted to have a valuable experience in the program, she also wanted to end the program knowing that her fellow classmates also felt the value of the MBA experience. This memory has stuck with me, and I’m motivated to keep the tradition of creating value for students alive with this year’s MBAA and carry this over to future years of the leadership team.

What goals do you have for the MBAA this next year?

My primary goal for the MBAA this year is to advocate on behalf of evening students, so that we all have the opportunity to leave this program having accomplished what we set out to do during our three years with Foster.  My goal is to continue to grow the broad mix of new experiences and leadership this past year’s MBAA team has provided.  I believe it’s important to make sure that the offered experiences and resources continue to expand, and in a way that is explicitly tailored for us evening students.

What has been your experience with being in the Evening MBA Program?

My favorite experiences in the Evening MBA Program have been meeting, and sharing academic and social moments with the women and men in the program with me. I am constantly impressed with my classmates, and while learning from the professors is exceedingly valuable, participating in discussions with my peers in the classroom has made the experience extremely worthwhile. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there have been challenging moments as well, especially with adapting to the lifestyle change that comes with pursuing an MBA while also working. Having a core student team where we’ve helped each other through the challenges and being able to share this experience with my peers has alleviated quite a bit of the stress.

What advice would you give someone looking at pursuing an MBA?

My advice would be to carve out a healthy amount of time to consider both why you want to pursue your MBA and what you hope to get out of your MBA experience.  Three years flies by quickly, and I believe it’s important to know what you plan to do during those three years, and what you want your MBA to do for you when you’ve graduated from the program.  I also would highly encourage connecting with either current or former students from Foster, scheduling a classroom visit and attending the MBA application workshops to get a better sense of what makes Foster unique and what the MBA experience will be like.