Tag Archives: Confidence

Foster Women at Forté: Career Development and Lessons in Leadership

Earlier this summer, in June 2017, 52 Full-Time and Evening Foster MBA female students attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Foster had one of the largest groups of students to attend the event! Last year the conference was hosted in Austin, Texas, but this year Amazon, here in Seattle, hosted the National Conference. Over 500 female MBA students from across the country, and even from schools abroad, came to Seattle for this two-day, action-packed conference. I was lucky enough to attend both days of the conference and enjoyed each day for very different reasons.

Foster daytime and evening MBA students pose for a picture at the Forté MBA Women's Leadership Conference
Foster daytime and evening MBA students pose for a picture at the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference

The Forté Foundation (fortefoundation.org) is a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women. The UW Foster School of Business was accepted as a Forté Foundation partner school in the Spring of 2016.

Foster evening students Renate Kroll, Melissa King, and Loretta Black at the Conference.
Foster evening students Renate Kroll, Melissa King, and Loretta Black at the Conference.

The conference hosted over 100 speakers and presenters and 45 companies. Panels and presentations included career insight sessions ranging from Management Consulting to Finance, as well as development workshops around interviewing, leadership, and personal branding.  The theme of the conference was Women in Leadership. It was motivating and exciting both from a personal and professional perspective, and left attendees and myself with a greater sense of purpose, drive, and focus as we returned to our personal and professional lives.

 Conference Highlights

 My favorite part of the conference was hearing from the inspiring female leaders that spoke throughout the conference. Claire Shipman, the keynote speaker, especially moved me with her passion for transforming the way leadership is viewed, and her desire to improve the way girls interact with risk and create confidence from a young age. In addition to the variety of speakers sprinkled throughout both days, the conference focused on career growth and professional development. The career panels on Friday were primarily Insight Sessions that shared more information about certain career tracks, and post-MBA programs. Panelists were current and past Forté members who were able to give a first-hand perspective about their field. My favorite sessions were the “Day in the Life” panels that gave attendees an understanding of various post-MBA positions available from sponsored companies like T-Mobile and IBM. After the Insight Panels, Forté held a Career Expo & Networking session where 45 companies and MBA recruiters set up booths in the Amazon Meeting Center. It was both exciting and intimidating walking from booth to booth sharing resumes, meeting recruiters, and chatting with fellow Forté attendees.

HEIM GROUP flyer noting the gender differences between men and women.
HEIM GROUP flyer noting the gender differences between men and women.

Saturday focused on Professional Development. I really enjoyed these sessions because they motivated us to bring a thoughtful, growth mindset to our own personal development as a leader and professional. The sessions I particularly enjoyed were Nailing an Interview, which highlighted new techniques to engage your audience, Creating Your Leadership Brand, which helped the audience formulate a personal brand message, (with questions like, “what is your leadership superpower?” to really make us think), and the Gender Differences Seminar, which gave us lots of examples, mainly from Twin studies, about the early differences in males and females that shape how we lead differently.

Keynote Speech

As I mentioned, one of my favorite parts of the conference was hearing from Claire Shipman, the keynote speaker. Shipman is a regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and most recently she co-authored the New York Times best seller, The Confidence Code with Katty Kay. Shipman’s research about female confidence is science-based, and I found it extremely motivational and thought-provoking. In one of her main topics, she pointed out that something changes after grade school with girls and boys. Early on in school, girls continually outperformed boys in the classroom, and it makes sense as to why: girls are generally better at coloring inside the lines, people pleasing, following directions, and listening. However, boys generally have a much tougher time focusing, they screw up more, get into trouble, and disappoint. The takeaway? Girls are constantly trying to be perfect and do everything they can do not to fail while boys are failing over and over . Young boys learn that it’s okay to fail, and equally as important, learn how to succeed after failure. These are valuable lessons and help to explain why men look at risk differently, and generally have more confidence than woman in ways like raising their hand for a promotion, taking on a difficult assignment, and trying again after a failed start-up venture. The biggest message from Shipman during her keynote speech was that as a society we must teach girls to fail from a young age, to struggle, and not to be perfect. Girls and women should be getting uncomfortable much more often, which means taking more action, and making decisions that seem impossible.

1200x630bbShipman closed her keynote speech by insisting that women remain authentic to themselves and that we don’t lose our natural female strengths as we focus on gaining confidence. Female leadership looks different than male leadership: women are problem solvers, process-focused, carefully analytical, and more collaborative/ less hierarchical. Shipman was clear that neither male or female leadership is better or worse, simply different. We all know that companies want female leaders, but she stressed that people have to understand that female leadership will look and behave differently than male leadership. Those at the top must value these differences in behavior, and the definition of what leadership looks like has to change.

Takeaways

 Overall, the Forté Foundation Conference left me motivated and excited. I ordered several of the speakers’ books before I left on Saturday, and I have been reading them throughout the summer. I talk about female leadership all the time, excitedly sharing my learnings from the conference about the science behind female confidence and leadership. I gained a solid understanding of several career paths presented, and some of my peers and I have been working with recruiters from companies represented at the conference. I also feel more prepared to talk about my own leadership brand and message and I am excited to put these tools into practice during on-campus interviews this Fall at Foster. Thank you to the Forté Foundation for hosting an awesome event!

Maggie Olson is in the Foster Evening MBA Class of 2018. Additionally she is the Foster Evening Class Social Media Coordinator and Blog Author. 

Foster evening students Sara Mosiman (left) and Maggie Olson (right) at the Forté Women's Leadership Conference.
Foster evening students Sara Mosiman (left) and Maggie Olson (right) at the Forté Women’s Leadership Conference.

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.

V1 C4C2
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.