Tag Archives: Alumni Reflections

Parent Spotlight: Doing it All as Evening MBA Students and Parents – Part Two

In this Parent Spotlight, four third-year evening MBA students share with us what it is like to be a parent in the program. Part Two highlights the second two students, Natalie and Altaf. Their stories, outlook, and work ethic is inspiring, and their support systems strong! It’s been a special experience learning more about each of their families and lives… enjoy!

 Thank you so much for agreeing to open your lives a bit, and share with us what it’s like for you to be a parent and an Evening MBA student at Foster. To start, can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your family?

 Natalie: My husband, Evan, and I have been married for seven years and we just had our daughter, Bryn Amelia Cook. Bryn is brand new, born on June 30, 2017.  I found out I was pregnant early in fall quarter of my second year in the Evening program. Luckily, my due date (June 18) was ten days after Spring quarter ended and I didn’t need to adjust my schedules too much to accommodate. My husband is self-employed and works from home and will care for Bryn while I’m in class.

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Altaf: We are a family of three. Along with me, there’s my wife Yakuta and our two-year-old son Arhaan. Arhaan was born three months before our first year at Foster began. So yes, I knew what was in store when I applied and accepted the MBA admission at Foster. Fortunately for Yakuta and I, we had a few months to prepare before I started the program and get through the initial jolt of cluelessness, sleepless nights, and constant diaper changes. I think I, and more importantly Yakuta, had mentally prepared ourselves for a hard first year of my school. I think having Arhaan as an infant during the first year of school was a little easier than if we had landed ourselves into starting a family in the middle of the program.

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You’re now in your third year of the program. How have you made it through thus far? What can you share about your support system?

 Natalie: My husband is a saint and took wonderful care of me through my pregnancy. He constantly reminded me I could keep going without having to take time off school, made sure I was fed, and told me to rest when I needed to. Additionally, all my classmates were very understanding, especially my team. Bryn was exactly three months old when Fall quarter started and I have had no plans to take time off from school. I’m also fortunate to have excellent parental leave and I won’t be returning to work until after graduation.

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Altaf: We have had a great support system. In keeping with Indian culture, we had both sides of the family visiting and helping in the house for the first six months after Arhaan was born, and with my brother living a couple miles away there was always a helping hand when needed. That level of support definitely took some of the edge off.

Natalie, you just had Bryn this summer! What resources at Foster have you taken advantage of? How have the students, the MBA office, and the professors supported you?

Natalie: When I learned I was pregnant, I made a point of talking to Kara Fichthorn (Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs) about any contingencies I may need. The evening program at Foster is very supportive of families. Taking a quarter off or taking less credits per quarter is easy and supported. I also made a point of talking to my professors early in that quarter. They were more than willing to accommodate in case of any emergency or early delivery.

I have yet to meet anyone in the program that isn’t supportive of their classmates who are parents. I’ve had a few teammates bring their children to group meeting and most people are willing to work around parent schedules to get projects done. I’ve also participated in several conversations on where to get the best prices on diapers (for anyone interested Amazon wins most of the time)!

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Altaf, you juggled a lot your first year, and you and your wife still made it a priority to attend many Foster events, even when Arhaan was an only a few months old. You are always having so much fun!

Altaf: It’s been a roller coaster! There have been times when one of us has reached a breakdown point, especially the first year when I was juggling demanding coursework and weekend team meetings, and while Yakuta was managing having a baby at home and juggling a job change.  But we have both made a conscious effort to try and do as much as possible at Foster to make sure that we don’t miss out on some of the unique experiences. There have definitely been some amazing moments through the past two years including dressing our little baby as superman for the Halloween TG (the TG’s are monthly parties for Full Time and Evening MBA students) as well as dancing through the night at the Bollywood TG with him in the baby pouch the entire time. It’s been a busy schedule for the two of us between work, school, and time at home with the little one, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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Huge thank you to Natalie and Altaf for their thoughtful responses!

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

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

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

Rita Jabbouri: How to THRIVE in the Evening MBA Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hiking with fellow Huskies
Hiking with fellow Huskies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Stacy Hanks

Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Recent Class of 2017 alumna Stacy Hanks delivered an energetic and passionate graduation speech to her classmates and the Foster community. The Class of 2017 voted  (in a landslide) for Stacy to represent them at graduation. They describe her as “confident (inspires everyone around her), insightful (asks the tough questions that benefit the entire class), and generous (shares her marketing expertise with classmates and her time with the community), doing it all with a smile.”

After beginning her career in B2B and CPG sales, Stacy started at Amazon textbooks in Vendor Management, tasked with disrupting and strategically growing Amazon’s oldest book business.  She then moved on to running the marketing team, growing new customer accounts by more than 10%.  Her current role is in Amazon global vendor management where she seeks to leverage the strength of Amazon in the US to grow top vendors  around the world.  She works with America’s most iconic brands in emerging countries like India, Japan and focuses on global expansion efforts with Australia and the Middle East. Stacy continues to be passionate about marketing:  “Nothing else matters if you don’t move product.”

Post-MBA, she is interested in continuing her growth at Amazon and pursuing board service.  Her super power is presenting in front of large groups and maximizing growth, especially in challenging industries. Stacy looks forward to spending more time on her hobbies, like yoga and making stationery.  

Stacy’s Key Foster takeaway? How to bring it all together and be a master of all, jack of only a couple – but know exactly what those couple are and how to fill in the gaps with the right people!

Watch Stacy’s speech or read on to see Foster from Stacy’s perspective.

Great things happened in 2017.

The Husky football team kicked off January playing for a national title.

The University of Washington Foster School of business raised over $153K and volunteered 3,600 hours for the Special Olympics & Boys & Girls Clubs, more than every other top west coast business school to bring the GOLDEN BRIEFCASE back to UW.

Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster's annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs
Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster’s annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs

2017 also marks the moment the incredible group of people behind me are coming together to graduate with our MBAs, armed with new knowledge, new friendships and destined for even greater success.

Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition
Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition

When we entered this program we were individuals, unsure of what we might find, classmates unknown.  To our surprise we found a reason to get out of bed early on weekends – classmates that would become teammates, and more importantly, friends.

These friends are the reason we made it here today, because they brought out the very best in each one of us.  They challenged us to learn concepts and disciplines we never thought possible.  They challenged us to be better versions of ourselves, better versions that stood up for our convictions when pushed and better versions that learned to concede when needed.

Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour
Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour

When we doubted ourselves, every single person in this class was there to support us, to demand we brought everything we had left, even if we doubted there was anything more for us to give, especially during those early mornings and late nights.

The life of an evening student is not easy, but you would never know if from talking to my classmates, who literally did it all.

If I had to summarize our entire class is just a few words, I would say the Evening Class of 2017 is the coolest, most laid-back bunch of overachievers you’ve ever met.

Stacy organized annual Derby trip for classmates, bringing everyone together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends
Stacy organized annual Derby trips for classmates, bringing first, second, and third-year students together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends

Because over-achieve we did, both inside and outside the classroom.

Numerous placements and awards in the Business Plan Competitions, participation in many field studies with top Seattle companies, putting our classroom learnings directly to work, capped off by our stellar all-female-team taking second place in the Venture Capital Investment Competition Western Regional, beating out USC, Berkley and others.

Not to mention the countless businesses formed, career changes, and promotions.

Outside the classroom, we may have faced challenges but we also found and shared tremendous joy, whether babies, engagements, weddings or even that time Gonzaga played in the final four.

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As the program progresses, friendships are formed and classmates end up spending as much time together outside the classroom as inside. Stacy poses for a photo with friends on a trip to Palo Alto, CA.

We leave Foster today, forever thankful to the professors, staff and everyone who made this journey possible.  Everything you did for us contributed to our success and we promise to continue the tradition of excellence and community found at Foster.

To everyone in the audience out there- you know we couldn’t have done it without you.  But it’s safe to say – To the spouses and significant others, there’s a good chance your graduate owes YOU at least one home-cooked meal.  To the friends and families, your graduate probably owes you a phone call when they aren’t driving TO or FROM school or a team meeting.  And to the children and the pets, well you should have been asleep anyways, so you don’t actually know how late we stayed out at happy hour.

Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session
Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session

And to the class of 2017, if this was high school, I would sign off with a “Stay Cool” and “Don’t ever change”. But it’s not – so KEEP changing, keep growing, and keep asking the hard questions that make you better with every passing day, even if those questions drove our professors crazy.  Our time at Foster may have come to an end, but we still have a lifetime to use what we learned here to refuse acceptance of average, continue to exceed all expectations and finally, accept the fact that our futures will always be #SOBright.

Thank you.

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

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

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

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Ahmed ElAyouty

The Class of 2017 is an exceptional group of graduates, each with her or his own Foster story and takeaways from the program. Our second Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduate feature is Ahmed ElAouty, founder of Pacific Hyperloop, the team of UW students who want to make a 15-minute Seattle to Portland trip a reality. Ahmed will present at the 27th Annual PNWER (Pacific NorthWest Economic Region) Summit next week in Portland, where policymakers from all over the region will come together to share advances in infrastructure and transportation.

Ahmed ElAyouty, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Ahmed ElAyouty, Evening MBA Class of 2017

How did you first get involved with Pacific Hyperloop?

Hyperloop One (California) is developing the technology and they launched a crowdsourcing challenge to select the first regions to use hyperloop tech. I teamed up with an undergraduate in Economics to submit the proposal for Seattle-Portland-Vancouver, BC. Two thousand regions submitted and we were selected as one of 38 semi-finalist teams, one of 12 from U.S. teams.

What is your idea and how is it different from the competition?

Compared to the other U.S. teams, we are the only region that has the aerospace supplier base/cluster that can build the PODs (passenger vehicle).

Where is Pacific Hyperloop now? What challenges do you face?

We are building up the team and preparing our funding package to engage with investors. The most challenging work ahead of us is swaying the minds of policy makers (in Seattle and Olympia) to accept the technology risk and favor hyperloop over high speed rail.

Ahmed & Team
Ahmed and Charlie Swan co-founded Pacific Hyperloop and are looking to grow their team

How has the Foster Evening MBA Program helped you in your entrepreneurial endeavors?

The variety of electives at the Foster MBA program helped me customize my curriculum to strengthen my weaknesses. For example, Finance 555 (Financing Decisions, Payout Policy and Corporate Control) armed me with the framework to understand and develop Public-Private Partnerships to fund today’s expensive infrastructure with future cash flows.

What is your best takeaway from the program?

Confidence to take on bigger projects.

Ahmed & Team 2
Ahmed presenting at the Hyperloop One event in Washington D.C. The Foster curriculum allowed Ahmed to develop his leadership skills and gave him the confidence to take on a project like Pacific Hyperloop.

What does the future hold for Pacific Hyperloop?

We are building up the founding team to refine the value proposition, execute and eventually seeking funding. The target is to create demand for and win the contract for the local route worth $4-$6 billion. Then we will expand to the global market worth $100 billion.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Helping the region finance the buildup of hyperloop infrastructure between cities and scaling up production of hyperloop PODs.

Pacific Hyperloop local route- Seattle to Portland in 15 minutes
Pacific Hyperloop local route: Seattle to Portland in 15 minutes

For more information on Pacific Hyperloop, visit https://www.pacific-hyperloop.com/.

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

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

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

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Chelsey Roney

Congratulations to our recent Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduates! Get to know them via a series of spotlight stories: What does earning a Foster MBA mean to them and what advice do they have for those considering a work-compatible program? Learn more in our first feature, Chelsey Roney, who tailored her MBA to develop expertise in her areas of interest.

Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate
Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate

Pre-MBA Profession: Financial Analyst at Boeing and Small Business Owner

Current Profession: University Recruiter at Microsoft and Small Business Owner/Entrepreneur

A former Texan turned Washingtonian, Chelsey Roney works full-time as a University Recruiter at Microsoft and part-time as an entrepreneur. She recently spent several years as a Board Member for Nature Consortium. Chelsey is passionate about developing new business ideas. She currently runs Select-A-Sis, a company focused on streamlining sorority recruitment and recently launched Collectabl, a company that creates seasonal capsule wardrobes for purchase.  Outside of work, Chelsey enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling and working out.

Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at the annual Challenge for Charity competition
Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at Sports Weekend

Looking back on your Foster experience, what was your most memorable challenge and success, respectively?

The most memorable challenge was trying to balance school, full-time work, a part-time business, and a personal life. When you are in an MBA program and working, a multitude of tasks that each appear to be as important as the next pull your attention in varying directions.  Like my classmates, I became an expert in prioritization and simplifying processes during my time in the program. I think the key to success is planning the tasks that must be completed at the beginning of each week and staying on task as much as possible. I also learned to include buffer time in case of delays and plan periods that are designated as ‘rest’. I was pushed to my limits, but I also learned more (both educational content and about myself) than I could have dreamed possible.

My most memorable success was learning content in a deeper way than I have before.  The Foster MBA program uses case studies for most lessons. This approach forces you to think more critically and take a step further than you may have in the past. Rather than caring primarily about grades, I cared about how I could apply the content to my work. I honed in on my ability to truly learn material so that I could more impactful at work. The Foster MBA Program also helped me develop curiosity, which is an important aspect to learning. Because the solution associated with each case was often vague, you must learn how to ask the right questions to be successful.

Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour

Foster MBA students are empowered to move up, change up, or start up. Which path did you choose?

I love that Foster MBA students are encouraged to think about how their experience in the program will enable them to change the trajectory of their careers in one of several different ways. Because the Foster MBA Program discusses potential career changes from the first day of orientation, it empowers students to begin planning what their careers might look like upon completion of the program. This forethought sets students up for success because they can map out what coursework and extracurricular activities they might want to take on to make these changes happen.

I both ‘changed up’ and ‘started up’ because of the program. Midway through my coursework, I made the transition from Finance at Boeing to Recruiting at Microsoft. I knew that I wanted to move to a company that focused on innovative technology and into a role that focused on people. My experiences and coursework at Foster allowed me to successfully navigate into my new role at Microsoft because I could discuss strategy and industry trends at an MBA level.

I have served as the Managing Partner of a small business in addition to my full-time job for about six years. While my business has captured a significant portion of a niche market share, the revenue is not significant enough to consider it a full-time job. Given that I was bitten by this ‘entrepreneurial bug’, I would like to ‘start up’ another business that might allow me to go full-time. I am currently working on two business ideas that have potential to scale. I credit any forward movement in these endeavors to my time at Foster. My courses in entrepreneurial finance, marketing, and strategy helped me to better understand how to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Chelsey on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey looks forward to more travel adventures post-MBA.

How has Foster impacted your outlook on entrepreneurship? How have you developed as an entrepreneur over the course of the Evening MBA program?

Before I started at Foster, I was managing my small business with only a background in finance. I developed as an entrepreneur as I took classes outside of my previous area of expertise. Foster has well-rounded course offerings in entrepreneurship that will help you run your business better.

Foster impacted my outlook on entrepreneurship by making full-time entrepreneurship seem more attainable. Sometimes, it feels like being full-time entrepreneur is out of reach. Entrepreneurship courses at Foster teach you how to seek, eventually spot, and solve problems in a certain marketplace. These courses also teach you best practices in terms of how to monetize your solution. Furthermore, professors often bring in guest entrepreneurs to share their experiences with the class. Each of these learnings made starting up your own full-time business seem attainable.

You chose to accelerate the program and complete your MBA one quarter early. What do you think of this flexibility in the curriculum and how did you tailor your MBA?

I loved the flexibility the Foster Evening MBA program provides. Students can tailor their schedules in the second half of the program to either speed up or slow down their coursework. I chose to accelerate the program because I found the areas I was passionate about and could not wait to dedicate 100% of my time and expertise to them.

I chose to concentrate most of my electives on either marketing or entrepreneurship since my background is in finance. I wanted to expand my breadth of knowledge so I could better operate strategically as a business-person.

How has the Evening MBA program contributed to your career trajectory?

The Foster Evening MBA program has contributed to my career trajectory in several ways. First, it helped me hone in on my passions. I tailored my classes so that I could explore, then narrow down, areas that I might be passionate about. Second, the Evening MBA program helped me grow my network. In the program, you will have dozens of classmates who are all top-level professionals that you work with throughout your three years at Foster. We can leverage on one another’s expertise as we navigate into new careers, research other companies and negotiate business deals. Finally, the well-rounded coursework Foster offers helps you provide value to a business because you can take a step back to evaluate the overall strategy and any potential risks that may lie ahead.

Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition at Stanford
Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition in Palo Alto

Are you where you thought you would be when you started the Evening MBA?

Absolutely not!

In terms of specific job content, I thought I would continue my work as a Financial Analyst at Boeing. The Evening MBA helped me narrow down other industries and roles that I may be interested in. This led to a change in profession, company I work at, and where I want to direct my career.

In terms of my ability to grow professionally, I could not have imagined how much I would have developed in the program. Of course, I had hoped to make strides in this area, but the amount of growth I experienced was exponentially more than I expected. I advanced in the breadth and depth of knowledge I can bring to the table, the ability to think more critically, and level of professionalism demonstrated in everyday interactions.

What advice do you have for those considering a work-compatible MBA program?

  • Examine why you want a work-compatible MBA program. Spend some time thinking about the pro’s and con’s of an Evening Program. The Foster Evening MBA program allows you to continue advancing your career while you are expanding your knowledge base. Next, an evening program allows you to apply what you are learning in class immediately! Not only does this help you remember what you learned, but it also helps you make an impact at work right away. The classmates in your evening program can help you network during the program instead of waiting until the end. On the other hand, during the Evening Program your ‘free time’ is extremely scarce.
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
  • Evaluate how you will reprioritize your time. Getting an MBA while you work will necessitate that you decide on aspects of your life that will become deprioritized during your time in the program. You should understand if you are willing to let go of things you spend time on now to go to class and complete assignments after work. It is also helpful to talk to both your family and friends ahead of time so that they know sometimes you will have to say ‘no’ due to program obligations.

How does it feel to earn your MBA from Foster?

Empowering. The Foster Evening MBA provides challenging coursework meant to expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge. If I can dive this deep into difficult classes while working for three years, I feel like I can take on any challenge!

Chelsey Roney, Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017
Chelsey celebrates being done with MBA coursework by spending more time outside in the beautiful PNW

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

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

Reflections: Class of 2015 Graduates

The Foster Evening MBA is known for its collaborative culture, thanks to its students who enjoy helping others succeed. In true Foster form, recent graduates from the Class of 2015 share their takeaways from the Evening MBA Program.

Greg Uratsu

Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “I found that the best way to enhance your experience at Foster is to trust your classmates and get out of your comfort zone with them – both in and outside of the classroom.”

Advice for incoming students: “Time stops for no one; if you have time and interest in a Foster event – do it now!  A future unforeseen event may occur and you may never be able to attend later.”

Owen Ho

Owen Ho, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “Stay curious. Always be helpful to your friends, classmates, and people around you.  Relationship is the key.  Like Dan Poston & Tim Hossain mentioned at orientation, focus on mastering the 3Cs (Competency, Connection, Confidence) and live the Foster values.”

Advice for incoming students: “Be resourceful, take interesting risks, make amazing mistakes, and don’t let people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.”