The monthly TG* usually draws a big crowd but none larger than the annual “Indian TG.” Hosted by current students, this TG is popular because it is always filled with delicious food, fun music and, of course, a Bollywood dance! Check out this year’s student dance, performed during the Indian TG on April 10th.
* The origin of the “TG” event name has been explained differently over the years, but it is most commonly explained as a shortening of T.G.I.F. (Thank goodness it’s Friday). These events happen monthly throughout the year and each one always has a theme associated with it.
Each year, the outgoing MBAA President offers a “State of the Program” at the conclusion of his or her tenure. This year’s president, Adam Rubens, gave his concluding remarks at the transition meeting on April 4th. Read what he shared below!
At the beginning of anything, it’s critical to have a direction, a plan of action, and a great team of people to work with. On April 5th of last year, the 2014-2015 MBAA Board met for the first time to try work on developing those three elements and add new events and value to our members and the Evening MBA Program in general. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with that team. I am proud of the way we embraced the challenges presented and set an example for future students by stretching the boundaries of what a volunteer board can accomplish. Going from where we were to where we are had a lot to do with incremental growth, willingness to take some risks, and openness to ideas from all areas of student life.
Two years ago, the board was able to accomplish some significant inroads into evening student participation in social events and community building. There were some herculean efforts from many board members, but it was challenging because we didn’t have the level of collaboration that kept the board cohesive, team-oriented, and accountable to each other. We did a lot of good things on that board, but there was room for improvement.
Last year, we wanted to put more of a focus on building a support structure within the board so that we could function more as a team and hold each position to a higher standard while providing the tools to help get it done. We wanted to improve the level of transparency, the quality of events, and impact on the Foster community and the community at large. We sought to increase the value of the Foster experience and the participation of each student in the available academic and social events by following what we dubbed “the 4 Ps” – Planning, Promoting, Producing, & Pushing the Envelope.
Some of those initiatives were wildly successful, others provided good building blocks, and others were a struggle. In hindsight, three things stand out as areas we could have improved on. First, it was challenging to keep to the consistent organized structures that we created for ourselves. Finding consistent and effective communication mediums also continues to be one of the greatest difficulties facing the MBAA. Lastly, finding a better way to measure and track progress through various metrics would have been very helpful.
That said, we saw great progress in the last year:
We made changes to the EC titles that better reflect corporate board positions
We added further transparency and communication on what it means to be an MBAA Member
We had on Campus Happy Hours Galore!
We created fun, revenue generating events
We saw the largest number of evening students to C4C sports weekend ever
We won Fundraising at C4C – a big win for the evening program
We kicked off #OneFoster + the Scavenger Hunt and had some sweet swag
We had a huge evening turnout that was critical to the success of the C4C Auction this year
We launched a beautiful new website
We had a super-efficient election process
We had more evening club reps than ever before
We had another successful St. Jude’s Service Day
We created a new Alumni event in Wine Tasting with Alumni
We received extremely useful feedback for faculty from the mid-quarter reviews
We planned really fun and well attended on-campus BBQ for the new students & a great M’s Game
We had the biggest Foster Fun Run to date (double last year’s size and funds raised)
We saw MBAA membership grow to nearly 70% of the student population
We threw two parties that were probably a little “too good” in Frosters and Fosters with some amazing turnout
We planned a stand-up comedy act based on economics (don’t miss it on April 9th)
We had an evening driven effort to ratify The Out in Business Club that was the catalyst for a whole new VP Diversity position on the board and Diversity Council within Foster
We laid a foundation for future boards to continue to push the limits for an evening MBA program.
There is still room for improvement.
That said, you do have a solid foundation on which to grow and add your own flavor to the MBAA Board. I have had a chance to meet and talk with all of you and I am truly excited to see what you can accomplish.
I will leave you with this advice based on two+ years of perspective:
There is a delicate balance between giving people the benefit of the doubt, and holding them accountable. Everyone has a lot going on and everyone deserves to be cut a little slack sometimes.
There are going to be moments where you have to say no to something you really want to do so that you can put the finishing touches on an event, come in for a Saturday meeting, or help out a board members with something they need you for. Make sure to make your position a priority more often than not.
You are responsible for your position, but you are also responsible for your function as a team member on the board – its encouraged to ask questions, be an extra set of hands, and provide constructive feedback.
Have fun! All work and no play makes for a tough year. Learn quickly from any struggles and move on. Celebrate your accomplishments. You will have lots of them. Keep pushing the envelope.
The day was Evaluation Day in early 2014. I was nervous about the group activities we’d be participating in. Lots of questions rushed through my mind. What kind of things will they have us work on? Will I work well with the group? What will the evaluators think of me? All of these anxieties were put to rest when I stepped into the room and met the people who would be evaluating us. All three evaluators, a program director and two students, seemed genuinely interested in learning about each prospective student, and paid attention to our ideas during the exercises. A particularly friendly face that day was Connor Kilpatric, a second-year evening student who I’d later learn was very involved in school activities. After being accepted into the program, I’d see Connor at the various admitted students happy hours and we would say hello to each other. He introduced me to others on the student board over the summer and made me feel at home around the upperclassman in the program.
Before I go on, I should say that I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I didn’t have some involvement in my community, and I knew the MBA would be no different. As soon as I entered the program, I sought out information about leadership opportunities, and I learned that I could make an early impact on my class by becoming class representative, so I ran in the fall election and was elected by my classmates.
Being class rep meant I had a seat at the table with the student board – one of the best places to be if you really want to make a profound difference in the program. I had the opportunity to meet more great student leaders along the way, like Adam Rubens (President), Chris Cunningham (VP of Academic Affairs), and Briana Rubens (VP of Community Outreach), just to name a few.
When board elections came around this March, I knew that I wanted to stay involved after my class rep term was up, so I learned about the various board positions and decided to run for VP of Program Relations. Coincidentally, this was Connor’s position the year before, so I met with him to learn more about it. He gave me some ideas of what had worked for him and what still needed to be improved upon. I communicated these ideas to my classmates and I was fortunate enough to get elected, and this spring I’ll be taking over for the same person who evaluated me, and who had a say as to whether I would even join the program.
It’s interesting to reflect on the changing dynamics of relationships in the program. One day you find yourself being evaluated by someone, then they become your peer and friend, then they become your mentor. There are many stories just like this one at every turn at Foster. We’re a tight-knit community where everyone gets to know everyone else. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet some new prospective students at the latest evaluation day, and perhaps, as often seems the case, we’ll end up going full circle once again.
On April 1st, rising third-year student Briana Rubens will be assuming the role of President of the Evening MBA Association (MBAA).
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.
In December, a group of MBA students took part in the Global Study Tour to China. Accompanied by staff and faculty, they visited Shanghai and Beijing and visited 12 companies while exploring the cultural and economic landscape of China. Below is a recap written by current student Ryan Osher (Eve MBA ’16)
Growth. Scale. Partnership.
These were common themes noticed by 8 Foster MBA’s as they traveled across China last December. Their visit included 12 companies and 3 days worth of free time to enjoy all the best Beijing and Shanghai had to offer. Students were eager to dive in to China’s culture and present themselves on behalf of Foster. What they didn’t expect, however, was just how meaningful the company visits would be and the lasting friendships that were made.
The two week trip included visits to Microsoft, Amazon, and Nike, to name a few. Students learned Boeing’s strategy to maintain growth in China, directly from the President of Boeing China. They met with the CFO of Starbucks China to better understand how the world’s largest coffee company was able to successfully enter and thrive in a tea drinking country. In addition, Directors at Apple explained their strategy to navigate around counterfeit products and maintain their growth rate. Students also met with foreign service agents from the United States Embassy to better understand trade relations and diplomatic efforts between the US and China.
The two week trip provided rich experiences and a lifetime of insight. More than anything, the company visits left each traveler with a greater understanding and appreciation for China as the country continues to drive the world’s economic growth. It is incredible that Foster provides students with the opportunity to experience culture and business first-hand as they develop into the global business leaders of the future.
Have you seen all the Powered by Foster billboards around town? Check-out Molly Moore, Business Development Manager, Cambia Health Solutions, Evening MBA 2012
Investing in healthcare start-ups isn’t what you’d expect as a function of the parent company of Regence BlueShield. But that’s just what Molly Moore does, and she’d be the first to tell you that her Evening MBA helped get her there.
“When I entered the MBA program, I worked for Regence BlueShield negotiating provider contracts and managing specialty provider networks,” says Moore. “I had been in similar roles for Aetna and United Healthcare dating back to 2002.”
Moore moved forward with two things in mind: 1) She had acquired a deep knowledge of the healthcare industry over 17 years and wanted to stay in the field, 2) She wanted options for pursuing a different role than what lay ahead.
Her success in meeting both goals is evident in her role at Cambia Health Solutions, the parent company of Regence BlueShield in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. As part of a special division called Direct Health Solutions (DHS), Moore has a key role on a health care investment team.
DHS invests in (and builds) healthcare companies that create a more economically sustainable and person-focused health system. Her role within DHS is to work with invested companies, building the value of the portfolio. “I help our companies explore business opportunities with the Regence health plans, other Blue plan partners, consumers and employers within our four-state footprint,” says Moore.
Promising healthcare start-ups attract a lot of potential investors, but one of Cambia’s differentiators is taking the long-term investment view. DHS needs its business development people to be versed in everything from sales and channel development to acquisitions and partnerships. Moore’s years in the business play a big part in getting it right. What she learned as an MBA student has paid dividends as well.
“The two aspects of the Evening MBA Program that most prepared me for my current role were my participation in the UW Business Plan Competition and Lance Young’s entrepreneurial finance class,” says Moore. “When my job opportunity came along, I was fluent with the financial discussions as well as the healthcare context. I felt confident in tackling all the other aspects of the role such as interacting with the C-suite of my company, presenting to large rooms of people, strategic planning and project management.”
Now, Moore’s work powers innovations in healthcare, builds returns for investors and creates opportunities for new businesses.
Daniel Webb recounts the three things that stood out to him upon completing his first quarter as an Evening MBA Student.
Looking back at the first quarter of business school, three things stand out: 1) I really like going to class, 2) I love my study team and 3) the resources Foster provides from academic, to career management, to extracurricular activities are outstanding.
Looking forward to class…
During undergrad, I enjoyed classes to some degree but really focused my energy on activities outside of class. Since starting the Foster Evening MBA, I have been massively impressed with the quality of each and every class. Because we are all working during the day, our time is obviously very limited. This makes time in class super important. Even when we’ve had a long day and are beat by the time class starts, everyone is engaged in the class discussion. The faculty are fantastic. People ask good questions and its clear that everyone really wants to understand the content. Not to mention, each student brings a different perspective and work experience to the course content. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next quarter brings.
My team rocks…
During the recruitment process, staff and students shared that study teams and group assignments were an important part of the learning process at Foster. I enjoy working with groups so was happy to hear this but I couldn’t have imagined how great my team would be! We come from very different backgrounds with different skillsets and have meshed perfectly over the last few months. My team is a study resource. It’s a close-knit support network for getting through the tough parts of the quarter and it now includes some of my closest friends!
Sign me up…
As many of us were looking into to attending Foster, we also heard that there were plenty of extracurricular opportunities to take part in. It turns out, this aspect of the program is way above and beyond what I envisioned and I haven’t yet begun to tap into this set of resources. I’m very excited about taking part in the mentor program next quarter. The incredible quality of the list of Foster alumni and friends who signed up to mentor us highlights the huge upside this program brings. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved with clubs and other non-class activities like lectures, career management sessions, etc.
Meredith Heestand just finished her first quarter of the Evening MBA Program. Below she discusses what she learned about teamwork and how she’s excited that this is only the beginning.
It’s not always easy, but the reward is worth the work.
You might think that this point is fairly obvious. Come on, it’s an MBA program! But for a molecular biologist that mostly works independently and has played individual sports her entire life, let’s just say the learning curve was rather steep.
Thankfully, my team: 7, aka “Seventh Inning Stretchers” (named for our shared love of music and sports), have been unconditionally patient and encouraging since day one. Looking back, I keep wondering how on earth I got so lucky to be chosen as a member of this group of intelligent, witty, and hard-working individuals who were even game to do awkward yoga poses in front of our entire class two days after meeting each other.
I also remember how scary the thought of relying on other people for certain projects and assignments was. What if someone didn’t pull his or her weight? What if someone just dropped the ball and didn’t show up to a team meeting? Oh, the horror!
Well, honestly, these things happen. LIFE happens. And that is why you have a team. There is an imbued sense of reciprocity that if paired with the right people happens pretty organically. Being newbies to the whole MBA thing, many of us overscheduled our lives in the beginning, thinking this program was something we would just fit into the mix. WRONG. But you have to accommodate. You have learn to be a willow that bends but does not crack in what feels at times like the biggest windstorm you’ve ever endured.
New beginnings are immense times of change and my teammates were there for each other through it all. At times when people get sick or are out of town, you have to improvise. Getting a group of five adults that work full time and have family/life obligations together can sometimes be a challenge likened to herding cats. Thankfully, with Skype and shared Google Docs (and snacks) we made it work!
But your team is not just there to catch you when life runs its crazy course. They push you to think outside the box in new ways. I surely would still be scratching my head about economics if it weren’t for outside of class discussions on approaches to homework. Even if the only reason I showed up in the first place was for the snacks. Good thing I now realize incentives change behavior…
Teamwork is also about celebrating your successes. One of the best moments of the quarter came right after finishing our Economics final where I found myself singing karaoke alongside my class of 2017 team and the one and only Professor Ed Rice. We work hard but play harder!
To sum it all up, it feels like I just finished the first quarter of the rest of my life, not just the next three years. My Team 7 comrades and the entire evening class of 2017 have showed me the enduring power that good teams hold.
And when I say the work is worth it?
Let’s just say I’m exhausted but I can’t stop smiling.
As the days shorten and we head into the holiday break, I think that now is a good time to reflect back on my first quarter as an Evening MBA student at Foster. To say that I’ve been challenged in new and interesting ways would be an understatement. I hadn’t been in a degree program in over 10 years and it took some time to adjust, but with the finish line in sight I can say without a doubt that I’ve had an incredible time.
Here are some of the things I learned this quarter.
Ambiguity is the order of the day. As with life, things are not always clear cut and tidy in business. There’s almost never one right solution or approach, and sometimes you need to make decisions without having all of the relevant information. Our first quarter classes really delivered this message – to succeed, get comfortable with not having all of the answers.
There’s no “I” in team. Most everything we do is team based – even when you’re not working on a team assignment you study as a team. Reaching consensus in a group of smart and experienced people can be a really difficult task, but my team has been amazing – Aaron, Darius, Pete’ and Bing are the best teammates I could ask for. In fact, most of my classmates love their team as much as I do. We build on each other’s strengths and are better as a team than alone.
Leading in partnership. My classmates elected me and my classmate Tyson as class representatives, and we’ve had a blast working together to make the MBA experience as amazing as it can be. Two people with different ideas but with a common goal can work together, and thrive.
Socializing – it’s what’s for dinner. Academics is only about 50% of the MBA. The other 50% is socializing with classmates, alumni, and business leaders. My classmates are going to be my primary professional network for my entire career, and I love getting to know everyone. Happy hours every week, class-sponsored sports, monthly TGs, random trips to the bar after a team meeting, even a scavenger hunt – all necessary if you want to maximize your experience.
You get what you give. If you’re just there for the piece of paper you get in three years, you’re going to miss out on a lot. The more effort, time, and energy you put into the experience, the more you’ll get out of the program. I made it a point to attend every career management workshop (although I’m not looking for a job), go to as many networking events as possible, join the clubs that looked the most interesting, and connect with people in other classes and programs. The more you put yourself out there, the higher the chances of having a serendipitous encounter that just may change your life.
And here is some advice I received from upperclassman and which I think helped immensely.
Be sure to make time for yourself. Between family, school, and work, you need to find time to just turn off your brain. Don’t feel guilty taking a weeknight to just veg in front of the TV or play a board game. You’ve earned it.
Don’t take it so seriously. We are all committed and want to do well, but don’t lose perspective – it’s just school. This is where you can make mistakes with minimal consequences. One low score won’t make or break you. Stop yourself once in a while and make sure you’re enjoying yourself.
Don’t be afraid to keep your options open. There are so many opportunities in the program, if you close yourself off to new experiences you are selling yourself short. I came in laser-focused on entrepreneurship and global business, and though that’s still my focus I also never thought I’d actually like accounting. I’m also looking forward to learning more about careers in consulting and marketing.
Overall, it’s been a fantastic experience. Yes, I’m exhausted and look forward to the winter break, but I’m also excited about what awaits us in winter quarter.
Briana Rubens is a 2nd year student and VP for Community Outreach on the Evening MBAA. Below, she recaps the various ways in which Foster Evening MBA Students gave back to the community during Fall Quarter.
The Foster Evening MBA Program has been busy this past quarter with a wide variety of Challenge for Charity events.
To provide a little background, Challenge for Charity (C4C) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that draws on the talents, energy, and resources of MBA students from the top West Coast business schools to support Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other family-related local charities. The purpose of the organization is to develop business leaders with a lifelong commitment to community involvement and social responsibility. Since C4C’s inception in 1984, the students of Foster have volunteered more than 19,000 hours and raised more than $1,000,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County, Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) and the University Food Bank. This year’s challenge promises to once again be filled with epic fundraising, social, volunteer, and athletic events in pursuit of the coveted ‘Golden Briefcase.’
We started off the school year with our annual Foster C4C 5k Fun Run on October 11th, and were thrilled to have over 200 participants this year as we kicked off our run at Paccar Hall! The run was a great opportunity for students from the daytime and evening MBA programs, family and friends to come together and support our Challenge for Charity efforts. The race kicked off at 9am, and participants were rewarded at the finish line with treats provided by Honest Tea, ClifBar, Naked Juice and Apex Fun Run. Orion Entertainment was also on-site to play some motivational tunes to energize the runners, and we capped off the event by awarding metals and prizes from Super Jock ‘n Jill and Mod Pizza to our top three women and top three men runners. The event helped raise over $8,000 for our Challenge for Charity efforts.
November’s TG (Thank Goodness it’s Friday) Event benefitted C4C through a raffle for fun prizes ranging from lunch with our favorite professor to choosing how a guy’s facial hair should look (since many were participating in Movember) This TG was Hoedown themed, and everyone decked out in great western wear. At our TGs Foster MBA students, family and friends are able to get together and celebrate the end of the week and spend time outside of the classroom to get to know each other.
Evening MBA students recently participated in the first Service Day of the school year. We assisted St. Jude with its annual Give Thanks Walk that took place at Seattle Center on November 22nd. Armed with coffee and energetic cheers to share with participants, we arrived at Seattle Center at 7:00am and headed off to our stations on the race course. It was extremely motivating to see so many family members and friends of those who have benefitted from St. Jude’s services and support out for the walk, and many shared their appreciation for our cheering and support on the race course.
There is a lot more in store during Winter Quarter – including the annual C4C auction and the Polar Plunge, so stay tuned!