Tag Archives: Evaluation Day

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.

Evening MBA Application Tips

The April 20th application deadline for the Evening MBA Program is approaching. Have questions about putting the finishing pieces on your application? Check out our application tip videos from members of the Admissions Team.

Resume and Work Experience
As an MBA applicant, you’ll need to submit a résumé describing your work experience and other relevant background. Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions, describes what the admissions staff wants to see on your résumé.​

Academic Record
Your undergraduate academic track record, including your grade point average, is a useful indicator of your ability to succeed in a graduate program. If you weren’t a straight-A student and think there are some weaknesses in your record, there are ways to boost your chances of admission, advises Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs.​

Letters of Recommendation
As part of the application process for the Evening MBA Program, you’ll need to submit two letters of recommendation. Who should you ask to write the letters? How do you ensure that recommendations reflect your capabilities and motive for pursuing an MBA? Sarah Eytinge, Associate Director of MBA Admissions, has some tips for applicants.

GMAT and Standardized Tests
If you haven’t taken a lot of tests lately, admissions exams may cause some anxiety. Erin Town, Director of MBA Admissions, notes that many applicants take the test more than once and offers tips for preparing for the test so you can submit your best score.

Essays
The essays you write as part of your application to the Evening MBA Program help the admissions staff learn about who you are and why you want to earn an MBA. How should you approach writing the essays application to the Evening MBA Program? Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, offers some suggestions.​

Evaluation Day
On Evaluation Day, applicants who are being considered for admission to the Evening MBA Program are invited to participate in group interviews. These interviews help the admissions staff assess your ability to present, to work on a team, and to lead. Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, gives an overview.

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