Tag Archives: Class of 2016

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.

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Class of 2016 Summer BBQ

Classmates and their families pose for a group photo at the Class of 2016 Summer BBQ.
Classmates and their families pose for a group photo at the Class of 2016 Summer BBQ.

The Evening MBA Association recently hosted a family-friendly BBQ for the Class of 2016. Classmates enjoyed meeting each other’s families in the beautiful sunny weather. The Class of 2016 has had a total of 21 babies since beginning the Evening MBA Program, thirteen of whom were at the BBQ. There is a special camaraderie among these students, many of whom are first-time parents. Foster has seen these bonds last long beyond graduation.

Members of the Class of 2016 reflect on the event:

Karena Teves, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Karena Teves, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“Foster’s Evening MBA Program has welcomed parents and non-parents alike, and I couldn’t have felt more welcomed than at the family-friendly BBQ that my class hosted this summer. As a parent of young ones, I don’t get to go to all the social events that I’d like to, and it felt great to go somewhere and see my MBA classmates and know that my children were welcome as well! It was also great to see so many non-parents there supporting us! Thanks guys!”



Cy Berryman, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Cy Berryman, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“It was great to see everyone out at the Baby-Q and all of the amazing kids in our program. With 21 babies born and counting, our class has shown that you can have kids, go to school, and develop your career simultaneously. These choices don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We have so much support from our families and the Foster community that makes the challenge possible.”



Jarrod Job, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Jarrod Job, Evening MBA Class of 2016

“The beauty of the Evening MBA Program is that it promotes ‘whole-life’ learning.  For Evening MBA parents, learning does not end at 9:30 PM after class, leaving little time for networking with one another the way we would like.  Foster saw this opportunity and brought together the parent community for a mid-summer BBQ.  This event served my family.  Specifically, it served my wife, who was able to meet fellow candidates, especially fellow professional and MBA moms with their kids.  Meeting the other families, who are stretched across several responsibilities and still making the most of the Program, fosters a camaraderie that was definitely felt at the event.  I hope that future classes can continue this event.”











Student Spotlight: Shane Kigin ’16

Shane Kigin, MBA Class of 2016
Shane Kigin, MBA Class of 2016

Name: Shane Kigin
Age: 32
Graduation Year: 2016
Profession: US Navy Pilot

My background: I’ve been in the Navy for eight years since graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2006. After two years of helicopter flight training in Florida, I was stationed in San Diego, California. I deployed twice: first in 2010 off the coast of Central America to conduct counter-narcotics trafficking operations, then again in 2012 to Afghanistan part of a provincial reconstruction team. I began working at the University of Washington Naval ROTC in January, 2013.

Shane Kigin '16 during a military execise
Shane Kigin ’16 is a helicopter pilot for the US Navy

What has been your most valuable academic experience at Foster?: Establishing a firm foundation in basic financial language and practices, including accounting, finance, economics, and statistical analysis.

What lead you to pursue an MBA?: Faced with decreasing budgets and a “do-more-with-less” mindset from our congressional financiers, the US Navy needs men and women with sound financial understanding. Given that my profession operates in a “move up or move out” promotion system, an MBA will hopefully help me promote within my organization and serve the nation and its Navy in the best way possible.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at Foster?: I CAN trust other people — the teamwork-centric approach to learning at Foster was daunting, as we’ve all had bad luck with teams in the past… but it turns out our teams are pretty awesome and we produce high-quality products.

Summer Plans?: Between working a full time job and taking an extra MBA class this past quarter, I haven’t been this excited for summer since I was a kid! I’ll still be working, but plan to enjoy plenty of free evenings and weekends of Seattle’s beautiful summer weather. We’ll also head out of town once or twice to introduce our seven-month-old son Oliver to his extended family and to the world.

Shane Kigin '16 during a military operation
Shane Kigin ’16 during a military operation


Student Spotlight: Sumit Pahwa ’16

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

Age: 31

Graduation Year: 2016

Profession: Program manager

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

How are you involved with Foster outside of the classroom?

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

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

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