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.

Evening MBA Program Staff Spotlight: Jenny Forbes

Ever wonder how Foster does it all? Dedicated staff members are committed to this prestigious program and its students’ success, working hard behind the scenes to ensure an exceptional experience for every applicant. Meet Jenny Forbes, Foster MBA Admissions Program Coordinator.

Jenny Forbes, Program Coordinator, MBA Admissions
Jenny Forbes, Program Coordinator, MBA Admissions

What brought you to Foster? What are your responsibilities as a member of Foster’s Admissions team?

I began my Foster career working as the Student Affairs Assistant, which was a great way to learn about the program from the ground up.  I appreciated all aspects of working with the current students, from welcoming the new students to the program in the fall to celebrating the graduating classes as they walked across the stage to collect their diploma.

The opportunity to work at Foster was particularly special because of my familial connection with the business school.  Not only did my sister, Emily Warren, work at Foster, but my grandfather, John Wheatley, was a marketing professor at UW for over thirty-five years.  My Papa once said that he enjoyed almost every day of his career, and it means a lot to me to be able to continue his legacy here at UW.

I was excited to take on a new challenge and join Foster’s Admissions team this winter as the Event Coordinator.  In this role I work with members of the A-Team on recruiting, and admission events including Evaluation Day, Campus Night, the Insider Series and other admissions related events.  I support the Student Affairs team with their big events in September and with Graduation.

Jenny and her sister Emily
Jenny and her sister Emily Warren

Why did you choose Foster as a professional?

I had been a stay-at-home-mom for eleven years but my children were in college and high school and I was looking to return to work.  While staying at home with them I volunteered heavily with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at the local, district, region, and state level, so I knew that I would like to do something to support learning and education.  Since beginning here I have been thoroughly impressed with the caliber of the students, staff, and faculty.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Without a doubt the people I get to work with.  The students and MBA Program staff are the absolute best and they make coming to work each day a pleasure.  I’m happy to do whatever I can to help make a student’s experience at Foster the best that it can be and help them reach their full potential.

The MBA Admissions Team
The MBA Admissions Team

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part is having to say goodbye to amazing students every year after they graduate.  It’s hard to say goodbye to people I enjoy working with.  The silver lining is that because Foster is like a family, students return often to visit and support the school.

What do you appreciate the most about the Foster community?

I love the engaged and supportive community that we have here at Foster.  Everyone is so willing to lend a hand or support the program in so many ways. Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work,” and that really describes life at Foster.

What is one interesting fact most people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

I mentioned that I was heavily involved in volunteering with the PTA.  I began my service with this amazing organization while my kids were in elementary school (over a decade ago!), and I still enjoy supporting it whenever I can.  Each year I return to the elementary school to help the PTA with Science Day.  I am affectionately known as the “Squid Lady” because I teach squid dissection with third graders.  Around 130 third graders rotate through my classroom and get the chance to dissect a small squid.  We discuss habitat, movement, defenses, and diet of squid, and then we learn about some of their basic anatomy.  The highlight of the day is removing the cuttlebone and using it to write their name using squid ink.  It’s so much fun, and the students and teachers really enjoy it.

The Admissions Team
The MBA Admissions Team

Foster is ________.

Family.  Not only because of my family connection, but because of the impressive close-knit culture at Foster.  Everyone associated with the program is so supportive and willing to collaborate that it truly feels like a family.





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.

Foster Evening MBA Commencement 2016

The Class of 2016 Commencement

The commencement of the Class of 2016 was bittersweet, with poignant speakers, awards recognizing exceptional students, and a general feeling of community as the graduates embark on a new chapter in their careers and lives. Above all, a common theme throughout the commencement festivities was the concept of servant leadership.

Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks International

Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks International, was the commencement speaker. In his speech, he recounted the story of an elderly customer who walked into the same Starbucks store every day and ordered the same coffee drink and muffin. When the customer did not show up one day, a barista on the team went to his residence to check on him and bring him his usual order. The barista was told that he had passed on. The Starbucks team went to the customer’s funeral and set up a table full of his usual order, and on each muffin bag was one of the personalized messages the team would write for the customer every morning. This story illustrates that business is not simply a series of transactions that lead to profitability and beating out one’s competition. It is about building meaningful relationships by serving others wholeheartedly. Mr. Behar models this service mindset, giving back via the Foster MBA Mentor Program and serving on several non-profit boards.  He addressed the graduating Class of 2016 saying, “What you have just given yourself is the opportunity to serve others.” By earning an MBA from the University of Washington’s prestigious Foster School of Business, all the learning the students gleaned has effectively become a lifelong obligation to serve others with their honed talents and skills.

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

Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave student remarks on behalf of the graduating class. Building on the service theme, she advised her peers to “remain lifelong learners and give back to the community.” Indeed, the students in the graduating class embodied this attitude throughout their three years at Foster. Dan Poston, Assistant Dean for Masters Programs, commended the Class of 2016 for standing out not just in academics, but also in the extracurricular activities through which they served each other and the community. In what was arguably the best illustration of the Foster MBA brand, he asked students to stand up who had been involved in the Peer Mentor Program, then those who had served on the MBA Association, Challenge for Charity- Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics, the Board Fellows Program, and several other service activities through the Foster School. Dan Poston asked the students to remain standing as he listed the rest of the organizations in which students participated. By the end of the list, nearly every student was standing. It was a proud moment for the students, their families, and the Foster community.

Dan Poston, Assistant Dean- Masters Programs
Dan Poston, Assistant Dean- Masters Programs

On a lighter note, Dan Poston also shared that the Class of 2016 was exceptional for yet another reason. Previously, the Class of 2012 held a record of 12 babies born during the three-year curriculum of the Foster Evening MBA Program. The Class of 2016 broke that record with 23 babies over the course of their studies at the Foster School, thereby “redefining productivity.” The laughter that ensued was reminiscent of the laughs that students shared during team meetings and study sessions throughout the challenging curriculum at Foster.

The Class of 2016
The Class of 2016

It is no secret that Foster Evening MBA graduates are hard-working and ambitious, and they will go on to make the niche they occupy in the world a better place. But beyond that, they understand that the greatest takeaway from the program is the network of genuine friendships they gained. They know they can lean on each other, they celebrate each other’s milestones, serve the community together, and bring others along when they find success. This, service and community, is Foster.

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!


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.

Meet the Evening MBA Core Faculty: Professor Mark Westerfield

Who are the faculty who teach the Evening MBA core courses? In this Blog Series, these leading scholars share with us what they enjoy about the Evening MBA Program and provide some background on their cutting edge research.

Our first featured faculty member is Professor Mark Westerfield. Students describe Professor Westerfield’s Business Finance course as challenging, but “definitely a positive NPV project.” His dedication to his students is evident from the very first lecture when he shares the outcomes of the course and invites students to provide input on the teaching structure. Professor Westerfield welcomes questions and encourages curiosity, whether it’s in the classroom or during office hours, in teams or individually. He often makes himself available on the weekends before a group case is due for his class, popping into Paccar Hall team rooms to answer questions. Whether he is encouraging students to lead a complex case, giving an interactive lecture on the Financial Crisis, or providing an engaging glimpse into Behavioral Finance, Professor Mark Westerfield is creating futures as a member of Foster’s esteemed faculty.

Professor Mark Westerfield
Professor Mark Westerfield

Teaches: Business Finance (FIN 502)

What do you enjoy the most about teaching Foster Evening MBA students?

I most enjoy the level of professional engagement from my Foster Evening MBA students. Students bring their own knowledge and context with them in to the classroom, and they are willing to fully engage with the class material and the knowledge of their classmates. Even better, the students naturally do this with a professional manner, taking responsibility for exploiting all of the opportunities they have for work the next day or their career in ten years. The result is a potent mixture where everyone (including me) leaves with much more than they entered with.

 Why is the MBA core course you teach an important part of the knowledge base for an MBA student?

Valuing assets and decisions is important for all managers. Business Finance teaches the fundamental tools of valuation and decision making: Should we undertake a particular project or investment? What is an asset or opportunity worth? How do we assess risk and return? At the end of the class, students have a structure for thinking about potential projects and investments and the ability to analyze opportunities in a systematic way.

What is the focus of your current research? What are the key issues and questions that interest you?

My current research focuses on contracts and liquidity, particularly in settings like private equity and venture capital funds. If investments cannot be traded and there is no clear price, investors will require a return premium to compensate them for the additional risk and uncertainty; how much do they require, and how much should they require? Contracts and payment schemes provide incentives to fund managers; how do different contract forms generate incentives and how do those forms affect performance?

Is there anything else you’d like students to know about your MBA core course or approach to teaching?

This course uses a combination of lectures and case studies. The lecture is intended to provide students with rigorous analytical tools; the cases are an opportunity to use those tools in practical settings. I believe that `learning’ and `doing’ must be integrated. It is the fact that students must create solutions–rather than simply hearing and repeating what others have done–that provides the crucial link between theory and action. In combination, the lectures and cases are intended to turn students from consumers of information to producers of rigorous analysis.

To learn more about Professor Mark Westerfield and his research:

Evening MBA Program Staff Spotlight: Tim Hossain

There are many reasons the Foster Evening MBA Program continues to offer the best in business education. The faculty and the students are certainly part of the equation. However, the program would not be the same without the dedication of the MBA Programs Office staff. In the first installment of this new blog series, we learn about Tim Hossain, the Director of Student Affairs for the Evening MBA Program, who brings passion and commitment to everything he does at Foster. Students, faculty, and staff agree, Tim embodies Foster’s unique values that set it apart from other MBA Programs.

Tim Hossain at an MBA Association Alumni event.
Tim Hossain showing his support at an MBA Association Alumni event.

Why did you choose Foster as a student?

In 2004, I joined the University of Washington in Admissions and Recruitment for the Foster School of Business. I focused on navigating my role, but felt like I was working harder for limited results. I spoke with Dan Poston (Assistant Dean, Masters Programs) whose insights made me realize that the challenges I was wrestling with were organizational and business-related. I knew that the MBA would allow me to develop the business foundations and negotiation skills that could accelerate my career. I knew Foster’s collaborative and friendly culture was what I was looking for in an MBA Program. After winter quarter in my first year of the Evening MBA Program, I could already see a significant change in my problem-solving and time management skills. I found that Foster’s emphasis on team-driven learning facilitates an exceptional academic experience, one that is focused on the collective success of the group through the growth and development of each of the individuals. Thanks to the structure of the Evening MBA Program, I was able to apply classroom learnings the very next day at work. Today, I continue apply my takeaways from the Evening MBA Program as a professional.

Tim with Foster classmates at a Husky game.
Tim with Foster Evening MBA classmates at a Husky game.

Why did you choose Foster as a professional?

Nine years ago, when I joined Foster, I was drawn to the opportunity to work with smart and talented students, faculty, and staff. It is very rewarding to see the impact of the work the MBA Program does to change the lives of our students. As an alumnus of the Evening MBA Program, I feel a strong responsibility to ensure every student has the chance to take advantage of the opportunities the Foster School of Business offers. I enjoy connecting students and alumni for mentorships, career opportunities, or shared interests. The Foster Evening MBA accelerated my career, expanded my network, and allowed me valuable experiences that I love sharing with students.

What sets Foster Evening MBA students apart?

The community of the Evening MBA Program is unique. Students are not just coming in, taking classes, and leaving. A wide offering of extracurricular and social activities keeps students involved and engaged. For example, we have a standing Wednesday night happy hour where students share laughs and learnings. Our students appreciate the variety of student leadership opportunities and conferences available to them, and they take pride in representing Foster in giving back to the community. Foster has a great reputation- people in Seattle, the U.S., and the world are paying attention. This reputation would not be possible without the commitment of our exemplary students.

Tim poses with Foster MBA students at the Conference.
Tim poses with Foster Evening and Full-time MBA students at the Annual ROMBA (Reaching Out LGBT MBA  & Business Graduate) Conference.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

My relationships and interactions with students. I have the privilege of forming amazing connections with these bright individuals. These relationships mean I have a responsibility to be honest with my students. I celebrate their accomplishments with them, but I also give them direct feedback on topics ranging from team dynamics to living up to their individual potential. The trust I build with my students makes them receptive of these tough conversations- they know I have their best interest in mind. I make a point to meet with every single student in our program. In order to serve as an advisor, I need to have context and understand each individual’s story so I can tailor my advice to each student’s needs.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Same as above. Tough conversations with students are often the most challenging, but I have high expectations of them and have a responsibility of ensuring they have the resources they need to be successful. I want to help them reach meaningful milestones in their MBA and career, and sometimes a dose of tough love is necessary.

At the MBA Association Annual Challenge for Charity Auction
At the MBA Association Annual Challenge for Charity Auction with Naila Akileh, Evening MBA Class of 2016.

Looking back on your experience as a Foster MBA student, one

Do: Focus on more than just class- the Evening MBA Program is more than just a set of classes; it’s a series of experiences. Attack what you want to do. The knowledge you gain is more important than the final grade. The MBA will arm you with tools to help achieve your goals. Make sure you are taking advantage of all the opportunities provided to you.

Don’t: Never second-guess why you’re in the program. Our rigorous admissions process makes us confident you can handle this. You belong here. Once you join Foster, you may feel that you are no longer the smartest person in the room, but you can learn a lot from your peers. Everyone has something unique to offer and you were admitted for a reason.

At the Foster Fun Run with Megan Seeb, Evening MBA Class of 2017.
At the Fourth Annual Foster Fun Run with Megan Seeb, Evening MBA Class of 2017.

What is Foster’s competitive advantage?

The people. Foster is a diverse group of intelligent, driven people looking for a collaborative environment. The University of Washington also has a great connection to the Seattle business community. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks seek out Foster candidates for projects, internships, and jobs. Seattle’s entrepreneurship community is another competitive advantage that Foster leverages through the Buerk Center.

What do you appreciate the most about your Foster experience, personally and professionally?

The Foster experience has made a major impact in my life. The connections I made while in the program are some of the strongest I have. I don’t go a week without seeing or connecting with someone from my class (granted many weeks it’s my husband). On a regular basis, I connect with individuals starting companies, at the forefront of iconic organizations, and on the verge of disruptive product launches. My MBA classmates are doing amazing things and I get to be a part of that world.

Making memories with Foster classmates at Tim's wedding.
Making memories with Foster classmates at Tim’s wedding.

What is one interesting fact most people don’t know about you that you would like to share?

I am first generation American. My parents emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s where Dad got his PhD. Education was always an important part of my upbringing. My parents instilled that value in me and it changed my career trajectory. Every day, I get to empower people’s lives. While I had a great time in my undergrad, I know I didn’t take school as seriously as I should have. The Foster MBA was an opportunity to redeem myself. It requires a significant amount of time and energy, but you get out of it what you put in. If I can do it, anyone can.

There are times I wish someone had said that to me. There were times I was intimidated by the level of excellence on my team, especially during the challenging second quarter of my first year in the MBA. I did not ask for help when I should have. I hope I can help others in the long run by sharing about the struggles I personally overcame as a student.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Remember when you join the Foster Evening MBA Program that you are joining a community. The Foster MBA is only as strong as the people who are part of it. Each person has a story to tell and value to bring. As you look at your fit for the program, ask yourself, “What will you bring to the program?”

At an Alumni event with Evening MBA students.
Tim poses with current Evening MBA students at an MBA Association event.

Members of the Foster community enthusiastically share their appreciation for Tim:

“Tim is the quintessential ‘go-to guy’. Co-workers and MBA students alike come to Tim with everything from technical issues to ‘What should I do with my life??’ issues. Tim is always there to lend an ear and offer you straightforward advice without judgment. He’ll give you his undivided attention and he’ll make you feel like your problem is the most important thing in the world at that moment. When Tim became the Director of Student Affairs for the Evening MBA program, he started sitting in the hall just inside the front door of Paccar during the 5:00 hour so that Evening students couldn’t miss him as they entered the building before class. Having graduated from the Evening program himself, Tim knows just how busy our students are, so he literally places himself right in front of the students so that they don’t have to come to him. He can also be seen at virtually every Evening MBA event, from the annual leadership celebration to the Foster Fun Run, supporting and celebrating our students. Tim truly cares about the people around him and about this program – Foster is fortunate to have him!” –Erin Town, MBA Admissions Director

Tim Hossain with Erin Town at the Foster Evening MBA Winter Masquerade.
Tim Hossain with Erin Town at the Foster Evening MBA Winter Masquerade.

“The thing that I appreciate most about Tim is his willingness to speak frankly about difficult topics. He has an ability to cut to the core of an issue, speak honestly about what matters, and put challenges in perspective. This made a difference for me when I was looking for a job this fall. He counseled me not to panic, but to use the resources available to me at Foster and focus on getting as much out of my business school experience as I could.” Britt Staniar, Evening MBA Class of 2018

“One thing that makes Tim so helpful to all of us students is that he is a walking rolodex. Whatever your interest, passion, or goal, he can think of someone who you can connect with to discuss and learn from. Tim is a key part of accessing the Foster Alumni Network!” –Janice Javier, Evening MBA Class of 2017

“Tim has a rare combination of enthusiasm and patience that makes him an amazing mentor and advisor to students in the Foster Evening MBA Program.  He regularly shows his passion for all the things that make the Foster School of Business great, while helping me to realize the full value of my education.  His candor is constantly refreshing and he always goes above and beyond for every student to make his/her experience the best it can be.” –Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Alumni, Class of 2015

Tim poses with members of the Class of 2018 at the Fourth Annual Foster Fun Run.
Tim poses with members of the Class of 2018 at the Fourth Annual Foster Fun Run.

“What’s great about Tim is that I feel completely comfortable to go to him with anything — a question, feedback, a complaint that the bathrooms are closed yet again.  He’s absolutely approachable and understands what it’s like to balance work, school, and the little bit of a personal life Evening MBA students at Foster try to maintain.  He’s not only our fearless leader, he is our friend.” –Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“When I first met Tim, I was working on my application to the Full-time MBA Program. Since I am in the U.S. on a work visa, I was concerned about how I could do the program with either a full-time or part-time job. I was focusing on the Full-time MBA option because of its shorter duration, which would have allowed me to join my family in Italy again sooner. Tim spent a considerable amount of time patiently explaining the alternatives. I especially remember his honesty about time commitments and workload. He laid out all the cards on the table so that I could make an informed decision. He guided me towards the best solution for me and the career path I am seeking. Tim actually cares about the students. He helps us get the most out of the program by tailoring his advice to each individual’s unique situation.” –Sara Ortolani, Evening MBA Class of 2018

“Working with Tim is truly one of the best parts of being in the MBA Programs Office.  He knows what you are capable of and pushes you to grow.  His confidence in me inspires me to do my best and continually improve. I always feel safe knowing that if I was to fail or fall short that he would be there to offer support and constructive criticism without judgement to get me back on track.  That is an extraordinary skill of his, or as we call it, his superpower.” –Jenny Forbes, Student Affairs Assistant- MBA Programs Office

Puppy Fun Run

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 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.

GMAT Prep: Advice from Current Students and MBA Admissions

If you are considering an MBA, the GMAT is one of the first hurdles in the application process. How should you prepare and set yourself up for success on exam day? Here are some tips from those who have been there.

What is your #1 piece of advice for prospective students regarding GMAT prep?

Emily Sherry, Senior Business Analyst at Starbucks

Emily Sherry, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Emily Sherry, Evening MBA Class of 2016

I would recommend planning on taking at least a couple of practice tests, beginning with one early on in the studying process. I had been stressing out about how little time I would have to do each question, but when I took my first practice test, I actually had more time than I imagined I would. That took the pressure off a little bit and helped me pace better. Taking one early on can also help guide your preparation strategy by showing you which areas and types of questions you need to spend the most time studying. I would also recommend opting to spread the practice tests out, and not save them until immediately before taking the actual exam; it’s easy to get burnt out doing them and you don’t want to feel that way when it comes time to sit for the real thing.

Logan Fouts, Design Engineer at Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Logan Fouts, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Logan Fouts, Evening MBA Class of 2017

The GMAT isn’t hard; it’s just material you probably haven’t reviewed in a long time.  Take the time to refresh yourself on the skills needed for the GMAT, which you likely learned in high school.

I studied for about six weeks.  I used a guidebook and just worked my way through it.  I went with the strategy of doing a lot of practice problems and I believe that helped me.

Mike Mulligan, Account Executive- Advertising at Amazon

Mike Mulligan, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Mike Mulligan, Evening MBA Class of 2017

My #1 piece of advice for taking the GMAT is DO IT!  I’ve found that the single largest barrier to getting an MBA is deciding you’re serious enough to invest time/money in studying and taking the GMAT.  I talk to countless peers who are thinking about getting an MBA but never get around to the GMAT.  I was fortunate to have access to an online GMAT prep class which, while not critical to success, gave me deadlines to be accountable to studying and practice tests.  Really, the accountability to move forward is the most important part whether it is a class, test date, study buddy, or something else.  You need to set yourself up for success with a positive and motivating environment.  I probably gave myself three months to prepare, study, and practice before I took the GMAT, and that felt like a good amount of time.  The most valuable element of studying was taking practice tests in the actual allotted time that they were designed for and going through the areas of opportunity identified in those tests.  The GMAT is like a video game and each answer is like a level that you beat or lose, taking you up or down a level.  Just like a video game, the more you practice the levels, the more likely you are to get the high score.  Have fun and go get the high score!

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions
Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions

The best thing you can do to perform well on the GMAT or GRE is to practice. There is a direct correlation between amount of prep time and standardized test scores so make sure you put the time and energy into preparing to take the test. I think understanding the format of the test is one of the first steps all candidates should know – how long does it take, how is it broken down, how many questions in each section. Being comfortable in the exam room can be simply accomplished by knowing what will be coming over the course of the four hour exam – and that, in return, can easily help your score. As for specific study tips:

  • Figure out when you are going apply and work backwards to schedule your test prep: I always tell candidates that they should figure out to which admissions deadline they plan to apply and then at least take the GMAT one month before that deadline. Since you can only take the GMAT or GRE once every 30 days, planning  to take the test at least a month in advance gives you the security in knowing that if you aren’t happy with your first score, you can still take it again before the admissions deadline. Also, if you are happy with your score, then you can spend the last month fine tuning your essays, resume and other application requirements.
  • Come up with a study plan: Once you decide the deadline to which you will apply and you have a good sense of what is on the test, come up with a study plan:  when will you study, what will you study how will you measure your progress. This is where you have to figure out what will keep you motivated the most: some people benefit from signing up for a prep course, where a study schedule will be created for you.  Others can work independently through a test prep book. Make sure you take into account personal or work commitments when devising your study plan: if you know that a personal commitment is going to take up a lot of time or will keep you away from studying, accommodate for that.
  • Think outside the traditional test-prep options: I’ve heard from a lot of students that they’ve found benefit in taking a class in a related subject, like calculus, economics or statistics. While these courses may not directly feed into a study curriculum for a specific standardized test, they do help in becoming more comfortable with quantitative problem solving.
  • Practice, practice practice: Whatever your study plan may be, make sure that you periodically check in with how you are doing. There are a lot of free resources that you can use to test yourself and many resources will break it down in to the specific types of questions in each section. Thus, if you are having a difficult time with the geometry questions on the Quantitative sections, you know you probably should spend more time reviewing concepts that will help you in that area.
  • Foster will take your best score – so don’t be afraid to sit for it more than once:The question I get most often regarding the GMAT or GRE is if it looks bad if candidates have to take the GMAT more than once. The answer is an NO! In fact, we respect that you are making efforts to improve your scores: Foster will take your best overall score when evaluating your candidacy and we want you to apply with a score which you feel best reflects your abilities and strengths. If you’ve taken the test multiple times and are still not satisfied with your score, schedule a one-on-one appointment with an Admissions Team member. We are happy to answer your questions and discuss your preparation strategy so you can demonstrate your academic proficiency on the GMAT and throughout the application process.
  • And Remember: the GMAT or GRE is not an indicator of your self-worth nor does it determine your fate: The Foster Admissions team considers many different factors when we evaluate candidates so your future does not rest on the results of a four hour test. If you have concerns about your score and how it will be evaluated, schedule a one-on-one appointment with an Admissions Team member so you can learn how to accentuate other areas of your application.

Every candidate is different. Whether your GMAT prep plan is six weeks, three months, or longer, make sure to take into consideration your learning style and your schedule, and follow the strategy that works best for you.

For questions regarding GMAT prep and the application process, make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office. Give us a call at 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.

Moving to Pursue the Foster Evening MBA

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

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

Why did you choose the Foster Evening MBA Program?

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

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

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

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

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

 What is your assessment of the program so far?

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

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

What is your favorite thing about Seattle?

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

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

Any advice for prospective students?

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

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

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

Fostering Friendship

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

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

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

How did you become friends?

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

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

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

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

What makes Evening MBA friendships unique?

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

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

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

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

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

What else would you like to share about your friendship?

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

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

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

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

Everything Foster Evening MBA