Student Spotlight: Kim Hickey ’14

Kim Hickey, Evening MBA Class of 2014
Kim Hickey, Evening MBA Class of 2014

 

Name: Kim Hickey
Age: 32
Graduation Year: 2014
Pre-MBA Profession: Human Resources
Post-MBA Profession: Sr. Specialist, Veterinary Systems at Trupanion

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: I have a bachelor’s degree in biology but my career has led me into the corporate world. In order to move forward I knew it was necessary to get a solid business education that would serve as the foundation for my professional growth and development. I appreciated that Foster balanced elective and core classes and felt that this program offered the most balanced experience. In coming to the end of the program, I can say that it has exceeded my expectations.

What did you do prior to the Evening MBA Program and what do you do now? How did the Foster Evening MBA program impact your career?
My career path has had several twists and turns, but with the support of the Foster Evening MBA program I was able to combine my past experience with my education to get the job of my dreams. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2003, I managed a veterinary hospital in Phoenix, AZ for five years. Upon moving to the Northwest, I transferred those skills to work in human resources. While I enjoyed the strategic planning and business insight that came with the role, I knew I wanted to get back to my roots and return to the veterinary industry.

Throughout my time in the Evening MBA program I attended most of the workshops hosted by Career Services. During these sessions I improved my networking, interviewing, and communication skills that were critical to switching careers. I also had several one-on-one meetings with Career Services to map out my job search strategy. I started researching Trupanion, a pet health insurance company based in Seattle, in winter quarter of my last year and with the help of Career Services I was able to connect with an alumni at the company. Two months later I had my job offer and I successfully moved from a human resources position to my current role, which focuses on growing a new product that Trupanion offers to vet hospitals. My experiences in the Evening MBA program, including taking advantage of all that Career Services has to offer, definitely gave the confidence to pursue and make a career change!

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: Aside from gaining exposure to accounting and finance, my most memorable class has been Finding Your Voice. I was not comfortable with public speaking coming into Foster and it was a goal of mine to improve upon this skill. Despite being nervous before presenting in each class, I knew it was a safe environment to practice the public speaking tools we were learning. The feedback I received from the instructor and my classmates, both constructive feedback and positive recognition, helped me gain confidence in my presentation capabilities. Although I still get a little nervous, I often reflect back and pull from those experiences to help me give an impactful presentation. This class not only gave me vital business tools but also helped me grow personally as well.

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?(i.e. Clubs, Groups, Programs, Activities, Committees): Student Ambassador (2nd and 3rd year) and Group Mentor (2nd year); travelled to India on the Global Consulting Trip.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: That it is possible to work and get an MBA! It seemed like such a daunting task at the beginning but the time has flown by. It’s amazing to look back and see what has been accomplished.

Kim Hickey (left) with two Evening MBA classmates on the annual Global Consulting Trip to India in December, 2013
Kim Hickey (left) with two Evening MBA classmates on the annual Global Consulting Trip to India in December, 2013

 

PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF GOOD

This post was originally posted on October 18, 2013 on the Foster Blog. The next Evening MBA Case Competition for the Class of 2016 will be on Saturday, September 20, 2014.

The Evening MBA Program recently hosted its first ever case competition for the second-year Evening MBA students. The competition served as an opportunity for students to apply what they learned in their first-year core classes toward a simulated business case. This year’s case was developed by Sadie Raney, a third-year Evening MBA student. The winning team, comprised of Garin Wedeking, Abhi Thinesh Rathinavelu, Michael Pamphlet, Brad Waidelich and Derek Zahajko, has shared what helped them succeed.Case Competition Winners

What did you learn from the competition? This felt like a round of “speed-dating” with our new group. It gave us an opportunity in a week’s time to identify team members’ strengths and quickly discover how to best work together. The best trait we share is that none of us needs to be in charge for any reason other than to get the project done. We have quickly learned how to let each other take the reins, as well as to give each other space and time at one’s discretion with the understanding that everyone is overbooked. It’s a fact of grad school.

What made your team successful? We set early expectations of what we were going to do, and then each executed on our commitments. Those expectations were not equal in work load, but that didn’t matter. When you start keeping score you make room for excuses. To quote a teammate “All (five) of us should be pulling 25%.” The trick is actually doing that.

How could you apply what you learned in the competition to your job? Since the case intentionally provided little detail, it forced our team to quickly and rationally make assumptions and move forward. We could have chosen to jump down rabbit holes in order to make real-world parallels, but we didn’t think that would create a better product in the end. This parallels the real-world in that sometimes time-sensitive situations or opportunities arise where rapid action is required and time is not available to acquire more data or more data may simply not exist.

Did it teach you to think about business issues in a different way? Often times we have the inclination to think there is only one right answer. In this case, all three options could have been viable options for the company. It came down to the rationality behind the option and ultimately the ability to execute on the idea within the time frame. Parfait est l’ennemi du bon.

 

School’s out for summer

The following is a message sent out to the student body by Adam Rubens, President of the Evening MBAA. Adam has just finished his second year in the program; his wife, Briana, has just finished her first.

Adam Rubens '15 (right) with his wife Briana Rubens '16 (left).
Adam Rubens, EveMBA’15 (right) with his wife Briana Rubens, EveMBA ’16 (left). This picture is from the annual C4C Auction which is organized by Foster MBA students to benefit the Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics.

A Message from the Evening MBAA President:

Few things benchmark the magnitude of the change that we go through during the school year like Summer Break.  It never ceases to amaze me how “just working” can feel like a vacation from all the sprints during the school year.  It’s critical that you enjoy the time off from school – spend time with friends you haven’t seen in what seems like forever, take a trip somewhere, read a good book, hit the gym, binge watch all those episodes of Game of Thrones that you missed because you had assignments to turn on Sunday nights.

I think that part of that summer enjoyment comes from re-balancing life a bit and redirecting the newly available academic energy into some of the things that fall to the bottom of the priority list.

Still thinking about switching jobs but haven’t been “Green-Lit” yet?  Career Services is offering workshops all summer long to help you (check the newsletter for the schedule).  Want to get a head start on next year’s Business Plan Competition?  Take some time to think about that brilliant idea that you haven’t had the bandwidth to explore.

Whatever activities you decide to pursue in the next 3 months, know that the MBAA board will be planning some fun things for you this summer and some new events to help you reengage in being a student when you get back to school in the Fall.

Until we meet again,
Adam Rubens
EveMBAA President

Learning to Lean In

A Post by Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA Class of 2014

Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA 2014
Jana Morrelli, Evening MBA 2014, with her copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

As a woman with big career ambitions, I’ve known for some time that Foster was the place for me. In the MBA program, I’m gaining the tactical skills I need to make a difference in a company. I’m learning how to think strategically and see the bigger picture. I’m meeting the people that will be business partners and mentors for life. But there was one problem in my grand plan. I wasn’t sure I could achieve it.

For my whole professional life, there has always been a niggling sense in the back of my mind that no matter how hard I worked or how much I learned, I was not qualified for the big jobs. How could I promise an employer that I could be a top performer if I’d never done it before? That lack of confidence, the lack of trust in myself to learn new things caused me to take jobs I was overqualified for, and I ended up getting incredibly bored very fast.

Enter Lean In. Lean In is the 2013 book by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. Sandberg has been a widely known advocate for women in leadership since her TED talk in 2010. Among other things, she shows (using mountains of scholarly research) that women are far more likely to doubt their own abilities and decline to take on huge career challenges- the challenges that typically lead to top leadership roles.

It was amazing to me that this could be a gender issue and not a “me” issue. Are you telling me that other women feel this way, and yet no one is talking about it? Well, it turns out that’s exactly true.

Leanin.org is a non-profit organization Ms. Sandberg set up with the proceeds from Lean In. One of the goals of Leanin.org is to help women set up professional development support groups, called Lean In Circles. Think book club, but instead of a book, we focus on Lean In created content like videos and discussions around Negotiations, Managing Difficult Conversations, and Power & Influence.

I founded a Lean In Circle in July 2013. The group was about half Foster classmates and half former colleagues of mine and friends. From the first meeting, we were spellbound. This was finally a place we could talk about our career ambitions freely, in an incredibly supportive environment. For example, when someone was going to bat for a promotion, we’re there to share things that have worked for us and work through the details of a salary negotiation. But most importantly, we’re there to cheer her on, remind her she deserves this and when needed, tell her the self-doubt she’s feeling is simply not true.

Some members from Seattle's first Lean In Circle
Some members from Seattle’s first Lean In Circle at a meeting in summer of 2013

That circle grew so quickly, we split into 2 groups, then added new circles with growing demand. We now have 8 circles with almost 80 members and are working with Lean In headquarters to develop a scalable model to on-board new circles, which will be distributed world-wide soon. Our circle members are getting huge jobs, promotions, raises and taking on massive challenges. Most importantly, we are believing in our own ability- raising our hands for projects where we have little experience and rising to the occasion.

Our circle leaders had the amazing honor of meeting Sheryl Sandberg last week at Facebook Seattle. She was incredibly impressed with the progress the members have made and how we are embracing our leadership potential. She is an inspiring role model for us as leader, as a business person and as a woman.

Leaders from several Lean In Circles meet with Sheryl during May 2014 visit to Seattle
Leaders from several Lean In Circles meet with Sheryl during May 2014 visit to Seattle

With the support of our Lean In Circles, we have stopped putting limits on ourselves and are open to the possibility of opportunity bigger than we could have imagined. I can’t wait see what is around the corner!

Want to get involved in Lean In? Visit www.leanin.org to learn more or feel free to email me at jana3@uw.edu. Additionally, the Foster Women in Business group is forming a Lean In group- contact Kelsey Ingram at kingram@uw.edu for details!

Student Sportlight: Jason Roberts ’15

Jason Roberts, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Jason Roberts, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Age: 33
Graduation Year: 2015
Profession: Program Manager

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?
Although I’ve found something in every class to apply to my job directly, I think the most valuable academic experience at foster has been valuing projects from corporate finances, particularly projects with reasonably long timelines.  It has given me a framework to quantify trade-offs that used to be made from ‘gut feel’.  These lessons have been immediately applicable to both my professional life and my personal life.

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?
I’ve participated in case competitions, visiting speakers, and the weekly happy hour.

What lead you to pursue and MBA?
I had a strong background in technology and so I felt I was reasonably strong on my ‘depth’ skills, but as almost all of my formal education and work experience was in Computer Science, I wanted to establish a wider breadth of knowledge to develop into a more ‘T-shaped’ individual.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?
The value of a strong personal network cannot be understated, Since moving to Seattle in ’05 most of my network are people that had grown out of connections through work, which led to a reasonably heterogeneous set.  Foster has given me an opportunity to directly meet many more diverse people, and an opportunity to reach out to those I haven’t met, but share the Foster bond with.

Bronze Never Looked So Good

-By Garin Wedeking

A little about the NSCC:

This was the first year of the international case competition in Vancouver, BC hosted by NSCC. It has and MBA and an undergraduate component. The conference is also held in tandem with the competition over the weekend. The grand prize for first place was a cash purse and first round interviews with Deloitte. The conference is full over networking opportunities, dinners and luncheons, and happy hours.

Our team, Osprey Consulting consisted of Dan Le, Connor Kilpatric, Jason Roberts and myself. We submitted a slide deck for the first round regarding a turnaround strategy for Blackberry, and subsequently were invited to the main event in Vancouver.

It’s a pretty big deal to get accepted to the second round of an international case competition! We had some time to get coaching from Dan Poston and others about what it would be like to go through with this experience. We had all completed the Foster case competition at the beginning of the year, but this was different. This was outside our walls, and we were representing Foster and the UW at large. We had to bring it, and bring it we did. The four of us headed up to the great snowy north on Thursday night. The competition started early on Friday, so we got our beauty sleep and got started right.

The first round was a five-hour case revolving around a BC based healthcare company with several locations and how they should approach the future of their business. We knocked it out of the park!… or at least we think we did. One way or another, we advanced.

The next round was a 20-hour case, revolving around the BC chapter of Habitat for Humanity, which went over night and into the next day. Some teams stayed up, probably mostly the undergraduates. A strategic play on our part was to shut the laptops at midnight, share a round of gin and tonics, and head to bed. We woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to bring home the gold. We submitted our slide deck and presented with aplomb.

We thought that this was the last round and felt good about our performance. We all gathered into a room toward the end of the day expecting to hear who won, but it turns out that the top two teams would be competing in a lightning-round death-match and be presenting to the main judges (who were also the representatives from consulting companies including Deloitte) as well as the rest of all the competitors and delegates for the weekend.

This was it. The end. Victory was within sight.

We went first. We did well, faltering on only a few details when we were put to intense scrutiny by the judges during the question round. We sat down, very happy with our performance.

As we sat ourselves, it hit us one by one. If we didn’t get first place, then we actually got last. No steak dinner. No cocktail hour. No networking or workshops or seminars. And no purse, no interviews – Nothing.

We had whittled our time in Vancouver at this year’s NSCC down to nub and the payoff all rested on this.

The next team came on stage, they presented, upon which I will recuse myself from commenting, they sat as well. Some “good lucks” and “good jobs” were exchanged between the two with meaning, but with trepidation. No one knew what to expect.

The judges left the room… they came back… they said things like “razor thin difference,” “everyone did great,” and other such pleasantries, but the four of us and the four of them had no breath to breathe.

Say, it. Say it out loud. Osprey consulting. Say it. Say University of Washington.

“Northern Consulting from University of Manitoba Asper School of Business!”

– Second.

Last…

…and I would do it again in a heart beat.

Passing the Torch, State of the MBAA

As the old MBAA board transitions to the new, the outgoing President presents a “State of the Union” to the old and new boards. The following was written by Ben Flajole, President of the MBAA during 2013-14, and presented to the boards at the beginning of April.

Ben Flajole, Evening MBAA President 2013-14
Ben Flajole, Evening MBAA President 2013-14

I wanted to start at the beginning. I found out about my acceptance to the Evening Program at the Foster School on March 18th, 2011. I remember because I was at my friend’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. I was standing in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and I’ll say this much: there are fewer prouder moments of my live. Along with the other members of the Class of 2014, I am now preparing for the next milestone in my journey: June 14th- graduation.

I mention these specific dates and events because they are some of the most important moments of my Foster experience. I submit another date: March 31, 2014, the first day of Spring Quarter, and the official commencement of your term. As I’ve come to realize after sitting in your shoes last year, you all now sit on the precipice of one of the most valuable and memorable experiences of your time here at Foster.

Our board hosted the biggest Evening MBAA end-of-the-year function to date, with nearly 250 people in attendance. We chilled at the “Frosters”, our winter function, which marked an early performance of Adam’s brother as DJ, or “the next Skrillex” as I like to think of him. We hosted professional events and ordered the business cards that were exchanged there. We awarded Students of the Month, to show Foster how important community-builders are to us. We even created an Evening MBAA gear order, which generated a $600 donation to our C4C efforts. Our board realized that students didn’t always know how much the MBAA was responsible for doing, so I charge you all with always thinking about MBAA branding.

There are few things that people love more than me “monologue-ing.” So I’ll be as brief as possible as I share some of the key learnings from my time on the board. You are all here because you see Foster as something greater than the sum of its parts. You see an opportunity to grow a community that is rich, vibrant, and dynamic. And for all the times that this experience will be about others, be sure to also make it about you.

You will be called upon to run errands, to arrange tables, and stack chairs. You’ll wake up too early, stay up too late, check names off of lists, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll obtain banquet permits. The buck stops with you. The MBAA is a volunteer, student-led organization that depends on you all to function to its greatest capability. Be accountable for yourself. If you cannot fulfill your commitments, reach out to your colleagues. You will all have moments of feeling challenged by all of your non-academic responsibilities. If you need assistance, let someone know.

Some of you joined the board for specific reasons. You already have a vision, and see the possibilities of implementing your initiatives. If you don’t, you will- Adam and Tim will see to it. Be mindful of creating timelines and sticking to them. Deliverables matter. Twelve months goes by very quickly, so I urge you to take advantage of the summer and get a jumpstart. The summer is crucial for hitting the ground running in the fall. Being behind in the fall means you’re struggling to catch up for the winter and spring quarters. Commit to organization. Use the existing structures and build on them where needed.

Finally, have fun. Enjoy this experience- you will make some great friends, grow existing connections, and expand your network. You will learn about leadership, working with others, and the importance of vision. You will accomplish great things. Refer to the transition documents for notes on your specific positions, but feel free to reach out to your predecessor if you haven’t already. If there is anything that I can do to help you, I’m always a phone call or email away. I wish you all the best in this journey. And here’s a little nugget to file away: March 30th, 2015, the start of spring quarter next year and the beginning of YOUR successors’ MBAA board. So do your best to make the next 12 months count.

Student Spotlight: Sumit Pahwa ’16

Sumit Pahwa, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Sumit Pahwa, Evening MBA Class of 2016

Age: 31

Graduation Year: 2016

Profession: Program manager

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?
Learning the immediately and practically applicable tools in the Stats class

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?

  • Participated in the winter 2014 case competition – a great experience and excellent way to connect with fellow students.
  • Weekly happy hour. Great way to blow off some steam while getting to know classmates outside of the classroom
  • Upcoming C4C weekend at Stanford

What lead you to pursue an MBA?
Seeking the ability to view the holistic world of business forces at work in an organization so as to be able to better leverage the focused skills developed during the last few years of my career.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?
*Everyone* has something valuable that they bring to the table. The better we get at recognizing the value of people’s experiences, the more effective we all will get at achieving success.

Welcome to the Foster Evening MBA Blog

stevens way

Welcome to the Foster Evening MBA Blog!  We hope that you stop by frequently to get an updated look at our students, our program and our opportunities.

The Evening program enrolls over 300 students and each week we hope to highlight some of them.  From our highlights and insiders perspectives, we hope to provide to provide a unique glimpse into life of a Foster Evening MBA student.

Foster is a place of truly enriching diversity and we are very proud of our students and their accomplishments.  Read and enjoy!

Everything Foster Evening MBA