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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the benefits of Foster’s Evening MBA program is the ability to take electives in areas that are most interesting to you. From advanced accounting to a class about finding your authentic voice, electives offer the opportunity to dig deeper and grow further.
We asked current student and alumni what their favorite electives were and why (and note, names like Koski, Forehand and Stearns are fan favorites):
Class of 2014
Lance Young’s Entrepreneurial Finance! Hard but gave me a confidence I never would have believed.
Class of 2012
I second Jana’s choice but would also include Stearns’s Advertising class! Excellence is demanded (similar to Lance), worked on a real world problem, fascinating subject matter, cases, and speakers! We had a VP from Charles Schwab come and critique our solutions to the HBR business case written about Schwab. Class would regularly continue past 9:30 at the students discretion because of the great discussions.
Class of 2013
Jennifer Koski’s Problems in Corporate Finance. Koski’s interactive teaching style keeps students engaged (and dare I say excited) about corporate finance. Course content centers around cases that depict business issues that actually occurred, making the class takeaways applicable in the real world.
Class of 2014
Two classes come to mind: I loved Entrepreneurial Marketing with Andy Boyer. While I didn’t plan on pursuing my own entrepreneurial venture, I love how the class gave us the opportunity to develop an idea from infancy into a full fledged business plan and create a marketing plan for it. Throughout the quarter, we heard from dozens of individuals who have successfully, and unsuccessfully, started their own companies. At the end of the quarter, teams presented their ideas to a panel of potential investors. It was great hands on learning and I was surprised at how I learned so much that could be attributed to my own career. I also loved Women at the Top with Cate Goethals. Cate brings in awesome speakers who are not only extremely successful, but who are also incredibly open to sharing their stories with the class. I took this elective in my first year and found it to be incredibly inspiring and a great way to frame my next three years in business school.
Class of 2015
Direct Marketing has been my favorite elective so far for two reasons:
Elizabeth Stearns is one of the most knowledgeable, dynamic, passionate, and tough teachers the school has. She will make you work for it, but you are going to learn a lot.
Direct marketing is pretty much what marketing is all about. It combines the strategy, creative, and execution elements of marketing, and focuses on how you get people to actually make the purchase. The guest speakers are fantastic, and Stearns makes sure you are prepared for real world expectations.
Class of 2012
My favorite elective was MGMT 545: Leading and Managing High-Performance Organizations. This course addresses leadership as a topic separate from management. Effective leadership involves setting a tone, a focus, and a direction for an organization, its members, and other stakeholders. In contrast, effective management involves executing against the direction and tone set by the leadership. Individuals are not either leaders or managers, but a mixture of leadership and management, and the exact mix depends upon the situation, the role, and the person. In this course you learn about your own leadership style and how you best relate to members of your organization. It’s a must take!
Allison Waddell Class of 2015
I would say Brand Management (Marketing 512) with Mark Forehand. The class was interesting, thought provoking, and challenging. Mark’s lecture style is informative and entertaining, making a 3.5 hour class fly by! The course was also full of practical/experiential learning that allowed us to apply the lecture learning to live cases throughout the quarter. The cases were then judged by marketing professionals who are working in the industry and who gave incredibly insightful feedback. Overall, this was one of the best courses I have taken at Foster and was surprised when I did not want the quarter to end.
Ben Flajole Class of 2014
My favorite elective was Jennifer Koski’s Problems in Corporate Planning and Financing. Going into the MBA program, I wanted to strengthen my understanding of finance. In taking two of Professor Koski’s electives, I graduated having accomplished my goal. The case method required a high level of preparation for each session, which pushed my comfort zones and enhanced my learning. She is so skilled at making advanced ideas immediately accessible and teaches topics in a clear and logical progression. At times I was in over my head, but that was exactly what I wanted!
Lisa Dahlby Class of 2015
Brand Management with Mark Forehand. Great lectures, reading that made sense, projects that actually advanced the learning and a really enjoyable weekly 3 hours. Also a great class for better understanding your company brand and integration even if you never want to work in marketing.
Terence Yeung Class of 2015
Professor Jennifer Koski brings enthusiasm and energy to her Finance classes (e.g. FIN 552) every single night that is unmatched by any other faculty at Foster. The class and Koski gave me invaluable finance knowledge and much improved business acumen.