Tag Archives: connections

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.

?
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.

Peer Mentors Welcome Incoming Class of 2019

Evening MBA Class of 2018 Peer Mentors
Evening MBA Class of 2018 Peer Mentors already having a blast developing into leaders for the incoming Class of 2019

Fall Quarter is around the corner, but the incoming Class of 2019 is not the only one attending orientation events and prepping for the academic year. Selected members of the Class of 2018 are preparing for the arrival of the new class via the Evening MBA Peer Mentor Program. A recent Saturday workshop armed Peer Mentors with the tools and resources that will empower them to guide the incoming class throughout their first year.

Sharing and learning from each other at the Peer Mentor Workshop
Sharing and learning from each other at the Peer Mentor Workshop

The Peer Mentor Program develops in students the confidence to lead their peers and organically facilitates authentic connections even before the academic year begins. Mentors attend orientation events such as ePRIME and continue to be part of the first year experience as they coach their peers to help them get the most out of their time in the Evening MBA Program. They are each assigned a first-year team of 5-6 students and meet regularly with their mentees, as a team and one-on-one. Having just finished their first year, the Class of 2018 Peer Mentors are in a prime position to provide advice to their peers who are about to embark on the same challenge.

Third-year evening students who served as Peer Mentors the prior academic year share about their experience. Collaboration is intertwined in everything we do at Foster.
Third-year evening students who served as Peer Mentors the prior academic year share about their experience. Collaboration is ingrained in everything we do at Foster.

A strong sense of community drives the now second-year students to give back just as they benefited from the guidance and support of their peer mentors. Upperclassmen gain leadership experience, new students receive the guidance and coaching they need to be successful as they transition back into the academic world, and the Foster Evening MBA network continues to expand and prosper.

Evening MBA Class of 2018 Peer Mentors
Evening MBA Class of 2018 Peer Mentors

Looking to develop your leadership skills? 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.

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

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 mba@uw.edu.

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.

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!”

IMG_2900

 

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.”

IMG_2915

 

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.”

11742888_10153555698128060_2813294036632615643_n

11755848_10153555697903060_8414357990904118842_n

11752524_948941918496454_8668604762592548643_n

11745858_10153555697698060_1915238629952369476_n

11011457_10104330204951468_3859452657374697873_n

10982399_10153555698013060_9143950256280136164_n

11750694_10104330204811748_5050556874276675449_n

11742784_10153555697478060_1070574091455024854_n

11738137_10153555697533060_2834077741732571630_n

 

Building a Community: Admitted Student Events

The Foster Evening MBA Program offers several summer events to welcome new students and engage them in building a strong community long before classes commence.

The Evening MBA Program welcomes the Class of 2018 at the Admitted Student  Happy Hour.
The Evening MBA Program welcomes the Class of 2018 at the Admitted Student Happy Hour.

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions, describes the value of the Admitted Student Events.

Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions
Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions

The goal of Admitted Student Events is to bring recently admitted students together in a more informal setting. For those who are still deciding whether Foster is the right choice for them, this is a great way to get a feel for who they would be spending the next three years with. In a program as rigorous as Foster, it’s essential that you feel inspired, supported and encouraged by your classmates. And for those who have already decided to join us in the fall, these events offer a great opportunity to begin building lasting relationships with their future classmates. Many students say that they look back on the admitted student events as the start of their Foster MBA journey.

These events have been very popular with the admitted students – we’ve had great turnout this year! Many of the attendees have already accepted their offers of admission, but some like to attend the events first in order to get a better feel for the student body before making a decision. It’s so important that you engage with the program and with the community as much as possible prior to joining a program. For some, these events can be incredibly influential in their decision to join Foster. Also, over the last few years we’ve noticed an increase in student involvement outside of class, and we believe these events have played a role in this, since students begin getting to know each other “beyond the classroom” well before they even set foot in the classroom!

Members of the Evening MBA Class of 2018 meet their classmates, current students, and the Admissions Team at the second Admitted Student Happy Hour.
Members of the Evening MBA Class of 2018 meet their classmates, current students, and the Admissions Team at the second Admitted Student Happy Hour.

The most common feedback that I hear is, first and foremost, how impressed everyone is with their future classmates. Many of our students are surprised by how incredibly diverse the student population is here at Foster, and these events increase their excitement about joining the program. Also, the admitted students enjoy being able to relax and get to know each other in a casual setting, without the pressure of still being “under review”. (Plus this gives everyone an opportunity reminisce on Evaluation Day!)

The Foster Evening MBA program is very unique in that it is a program designed to fit around a busy work/life schedule, but at the same time it is an incredibly engaging experience, and the students develop close relationships with one another that last well beyond graduation. Similarly, the admissions team seeks to get to know our candidates and students well beyond the application, and these events are just another way for us all to become better acquainted with one another. Your will make lifelong friends in this program – guaranteed! These events are just the beginning of what will be an unforgettable and transformational experience.

Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, shares how these events allows students to build meaningful connections with their classmates.

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

We began organizing summer events because we discovered that they are a catalyst to get students more excited about the journey they are about to embark on – and get them connected with other admitted students, many of whom they met during Evaluation Day. Admitted students love the chance to start interacting with other admits as soon as they can – after all, these will be their fellow students for the next three years! When September rolls around and ePRIME starts, students quickly shift into school-mode so the summer events also allow for a bit more laid-back environment for people to get to know each other.

The Evening MBA Program hosts social events outside of academics– whether it is events prior to school starting, weekly happy hours, winter formals and end of the year parties or sporting activities.  This sets Foster apart from other part-time programs. To my knowledge, no other part-time program promotes a wide range of activities like Foster does. All of these events lend themselves to creating a strong sense of community and, even better, a more solidified network. These are major benefits of business school that the Evening MBA Program is proud to offer its students.

Mike Bersos and Zach Hokett Members of the Evening MBA Association welcome the Class of 2018 at the MBAA Admitted Student BBQ.
Mike Bersos and Zach Hokett, members of the Evening MBA Association, welcome the Class of 2018 at the MBAA Admitted Student BBQ.

 

The Class of 2018 mingling at the Evening MBA Association Admitted Student BBQ
The Class of 2018 mingling at the Evening MBA Association Admitted Student BBQ

To stay up to date on everything Foster Evening MBA, follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram.

Going Full Circle

Going Full Circle
by Nick Pernisco

The day was Evaluation Day in early 2014. I was nervous about the group activities we’d be participating in. Lots of questions rushed through my mind. What kind of things will they have us work on? Will I work well with the group? What will the evaluators think of me? All of these anxieties were put to rest when I stepped into the room and met the people who would be evaluating us. All three evaluators, a program director and two students, seemed genuinely interested in learning about each prospective student, and paid attention to our ideas during the exercises.  A particularly friendly face that day was Connor Kilpatric, a second-year evening student who I’d later learn was very involved in school activities. After being accepted into the program, I’d see Connor at the various admitted students happy hours and we would say hello to each other. He introduced me to others on the student board over the summer and made me feel at home around the upperclassman in the program.

Before I go on, I should say that I can’t remember a time in my adult life when I didn’t have some involvement in my community, and I knew the MBA would be no different. As soon as I entered the program, I sought out information about leadership opportunities, and I learned that I could make an early impact on my class by becoming class representative, so I ran in the fall election and was elected by my classmates.

Being class rep meant I had a seat at the table with the student board – one of the best places to be if you really want to make a profound difference in the program. I had the opportunity to meet more great student leaders along the way, like Adam Rubens (President), Chris Cunningham (VP of Academic Affairs), and Briana Rubens (VP of Community Outreach), just to name a few.

When board elections came around this March, I knew that I wanted to stay involved after my class rep term was up, so I learned about the various board positions and decided to run for VP of Program Relations. Coincidentally, this was Connor’s position the year before, so I met with him to learn more about it. He gave me some ideas of what had worked for him and what still needed to be improved upon. I communicated these ideas to my classmates and I was fortunate enough to get elected, and this spring I’ll be taking over for the same person who evaluated me, and who had a say as to whether I would even join the program.

It’s interesting to reflect on the changing dynamics of relationships in the program. One day you find yourself being evaluated by someone, then they become your peer and friend, then they become your mentor. There are many stories just like this one at every turn at Foster. We’re a tight-knit community where everyone gets to know everyone else. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet some new prospective students at the latest evaluation day, and perhaps, as often seems the case, we’ll end up going full circle once again.

Connor and Nick
3rd Year Connor with 1st Year Nick