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Sheena Seibert-Nelson: Post-Graduation Advice

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave an inspiring, lighthearted speech to her fellow graduates at Commencement. Read on to learn the advice Sheena shared with classmates as they begin an exciting new chapter post-graduation.

Sheena Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016

Hello everyone!  I’m Sheena Nelson, and am beyond proud to speak to you today and represent the evening Class of 2016.  Our class is filled with amazingly intelligent, fun, and caring men and women, and mothers and fathers, and not a week went by where I wasn’t genuinely impressed by what you all do.

Before I go any further, I want to take a minute and explain for those who might not be aware what the difference is between the Daytime and Evening MBA programs at the Foster School of Business.  As many of you may have guessed, we go to class AT NIGHT!  Shocking, I know! But the largest difference between our two programs are that evening students are inherently insane, or extremely efficient, depending on how you look at it.  (It’s a very thin line between the two.)  Rather than quit our jobs and take two years for our MBA studies, WE all decided to keep our full-time and professional jobs and take THREE years for the same amount of coursework! Two years with no job pressures, or three years with job pressures…makes TOTAL sense!  Ok, somehow the math seems off, but I promise, we feel like it was the better of the two options for us.

What we lacked in sleep and personal lives during those three years we made up in amazingly rich life experiences.  We pursued areas of study in fields we weren’t as well versed in, we wrote papers and sat exams, some of us traveled abroad together, and most importantly – we shared jello shots with Ed Rice (Core Faculty, Economics Professor) at Dantes.

When I think back at how we started this three-year journey, I remember our first weekends of ePrime and eLead.  I don’t know if you guys remember, but during eLead we were at a conference building at Anthony’s waterfront.  It was a beautiful Friday and Saturday, so what better time to sit inside for full-days in a conference room…in our suits. On our second day, we arrived to see a Norwegian Cruise ship was docked right outside our room.  We were even happier when about an hour into our work the ship started blaring “CELEBRATE good times…COME ON!” for the remaining 6-hours, nonstop, while passengers laughed, had cocktails, and sang along….right outside of our balcony.  It was a great indication of the types of compromise we’d experience during the program – the dilemma of “I really need to study” against the pull of “I want to not be in class right now”.

But, here we are!  We survived! And as we move forward with the next stages of our lives, I’d like to introduce my Foster School of Business, Evening MBA exit program — eLeave.  Yes, extremely creative name…that’s what an MBA will bring to the table!  Dan Poston, feel free to use this if you like, by the way.  eLeave is this – what to do with ourselves now that school is over.  Well, after becoming reacquainted with friends, spouses, maybe children who didn’t see you as much during these three years…I recommend the following three steps.

IMG_3719
Sheena is all smiles as she celebrates this significant accomplishment.

First, remain a learner.  So many of us commented the best part of being in school again was learning outside of our jobs and companies.  So don’t let that stop!  It doesn’t mean you have to sign up for coursework in the fall, but continue to read, question, analyze in whatever way you like.  Maybe Mark Westerfield (Core Faculty, Finance Professor) will let you do his taxes!  Mark??  No??  Ok, maybe something else then.

Secondly, one of the greatest strengths of this program is its cohort model, and while you might not be helping a teammate with homework, you could help volunteer or serve on the board of a non-profit.  Being a leader doesn’t just mean having all the business answers, it also means having compassion for others around you.  We can give back in so many ways, and as we look for things to fill our newly found free time, let’s keep in mind ways we can continue to help pay it forward….outside of C4C Weekend.

And third, let’s not be strangers! An MBA is so much more important than the paper, it’s us! Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram, LinkedIn, oh yeah, and actually meeting IN PERSON, it’s on us to make that happen.  And I hope we will.

So that’s it!  We’re done!!  Thank you all again for letting me laugh and learn with you during this amazing experience, and letting me speak to you all today.  And Congratulations!! With that, there’s really only one more thing I need to remind you all – with our futures so bright, always wear your shades.

Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and her fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates
Sheena looks to the bright future that awaits her and fellow Foster Evening MBA classmates.

Sheena is employed at Microsoft where she works as a World-Wide Product Marketing Manager for Surface, creating strategies to sell Surface products through online partners globally.  She lives in Ballard with her husband and Shih Tzu and can be found most mornings with an espresso in her hand.

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 to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Foster Evening MBA Commencement 2016

The Class of 2016 Commencement

The commencement of the Class of 2016 was bittersweet, with poignant speakers, awards recognizing exceptional students, and a general feeling of community as the graduates embark on a new chapter in their careers and lives. Above all, a common theme throughout the commencement festivities was the concept of servant leadership.

Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks International

Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks International, was the commencement speaker. In his speech, he recounted the story of an elderly customer who walked into the same Starbucks store every day and ordered the same coffee drink and muffin. When the customer did not show up one day, a barista on the team went to his residence to check on him and bring him his usual order. The barista was told that he had passed on. The Starbucks team went to the customer’s funeral and set up a table full of his usual order, and on each muffin bag was one of the personalized messages the team would write for the customer every morning. This story illustrates that business is not simply a series of transactions that lead to profitability and beating out one’s competition. It is about building meaningful relationships by serving others wholeheartedly. Mr. Behar models this service mindset, giving back via the Foster MBA Mentor Program and serving on several non-profit boards.  He addressed the graduating Class of 2016 saying, “What you have just given yourself is the opportunity to serve others.” By earning an MBA from the University of Washington’s prestigious Foster School of Business, all the learning the students gleaned has effectively become a lifelong obligation to serve others with their honed talents and skills.

Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016
Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016

Sheena Seibert-Nelson, Evening MBA Class of 2016, gave student remarks on behalf of the graduating class. Building on the service theme, she advised her peers to “remain lifelong learners and give back to the community.” Indeed, the students in the graduating class embodied this attitude throughout their three years at Foster. Dan Poston, Assistant Dean for Masters Programs, commended the Class of 2016 for standing out not just in academics, but also in the extracurricular activities through which they served each other and the community. In what was arguably the best illustration of the Foster MBA brand, he asked students to stand up who had been involved in the Peer Mentor Program, then those who had served on the MBA Association, Challenge for Charity- Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics, the Board Fellows Program, and several other service activities through the Foster School. Dan Poston asked the students to remain standing as he listed the rest of the organizations in which students participated. By the end of the list, nearly every student was standing. It was a proud moment for the students, their families, and the Foster community.

Dan Poston, Assistant Dean- Masters Programs
Dan Poston, Assistant Dean- Masters Programs

On a lighter note, Dan Poston also shared that the Class of 2016 was exceptional for yet another reason. Previously, the Class of 2012 held a record of 12 babies born during the three-year curriculum of the Foster Evening MBA Program. The Class of 2016 broke that record with 23 babies over the course of their studies at the Foster School, thereby “redefining productivity.” The laughter that ensued was reminiscent of the laughs that students shared during team meetings and study sessions throughout the challenging curriculum at Foster.

The Class of 2016
The Class of 2016

It is no secret that Foster Evening MBA graduates are hard-working and ambitious, and they will go on to make the niche they occupy in the world a better place. But beyond that, they understand that the greatest takeaway from the program is the network of genuine friendships they gained. They know they can lean on each other, they celebrate each other’s milestones, serve the community together, and bring others along when they find success. This, service and community, is Foster.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to stay up to date on all things Foster Evening MBA.

Reflections: Class of 2015 Graduates

The Foster Evening MBA is known for its collaborative culture, thanks to its students who enjoy helping others succeed. In true Foster form, recent graduates from the Class of 2015 share their takeaways from the Evening MBA Program.

Greg Uratsu

Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Greg Uratsu, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “I found that the best way to enhance your experience at Foster is to trust your classmates and get out of your comfort zone with them – both in and outside of the classroom.”

Advice for incoming students: “Time stops for no one; if you have time and interest in a Foster event – do it now!  A future unforeseen event may occur and you may never be able to attend later.”

Owen Ho

Owen Ho, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Top Foster Evening MBA takeaway: “Stay curious. Always be helpful to your friends, classmates, and people around you.  Relationship is the key.  Like Dan Poston & Tim Hossain mentioned at orientation, focus on mastering the 3Cs (Competency, Connection, Confidence) and live the Foster values.”

Advice for incoming students: “Be resourceful, take interesting risks, make amazing mistakes, and don’t let people’s opinions drown out your inner voice.”

2015 Foster Evening MBA Service Awards

A portion of commencement is dedicated to recognizing one student and one faculty/staff member with the Service Award, as voted on by the Class of 2015. This year, there was a tie between two incredible faculty/staff. Congratulations to Adam Rubens, Lloyd Tanlu, and Tim Hossain!

Class of 2015  Commencement
Class of 2015 Commencement

Chris Cunningham shares his appreciation for his fellow classmate at commencement:

Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Adam Rubens, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Each year, the evening MBA votes on the student service award. This year, our recipient is a good friend and familiar face to so many in the program. Students describe Adam Rubens as “involved in all things foster,” ” friendly, welcoming and kind without ever exhibiting ego.” I personally can attest to his willingness to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. He takes care to make everyone feel included, contributes thoughtful, creative work in the classroom, and his contributions on the MBAA board have been recognized across campus.

Adam Rubens describes what makes Foster Evening MBA faculty & staff unique:

Top tier MBA programs are reliant on faculty and staff who make a profound impact on the educational trajectory of the students.  In the Evening MBA program we measure that impact in terms of passion, connection, knowledge, and a willingness to go beyond the classroom to engage our minds in our concurrently progressing careers.  A great staff or faculty member challenges us like Apple to “Think Different”, like Nike to “Just Do It”, and like Sprite to “Obey Your Thirst”…for knowledge.

Lloyd Award
Lloyd Tanlu, Professor of Accounting, accepts his Service Award.

The winner of this year’s faculty/staff award exemplifies all of these criteria and more.  Professor Lloyd Tanlu is known for driving the Foster student experience both inside and outside the classroom. While his reputation is sometimes synonymous with a generous love of red meat and uncanny ability to remember all of his students, there are few people who can make quarterly budgeting, balanced scorecards, and corporate governance as interesting and meaningful as this professor.

Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Class of 2015 graduates celebrate Tim Hossain and Lloyd Tanlu.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.
Naomi Sanchez, Assistant Dean for MBA Career Management, congratulates Tim Hossain on his award.

This year, we had an honest to goodness tie in the voting for this award.  For our second winner I think this quote from a nominating student sums it up well-  “I’ve never had a faculty/staff member that cared so much about the lives, goals, and accomplishments of individual students.  He really shows how much he cares daily and goes well above and beyond to support this program”.  I am proud to personally call Tim Hossain a mentor and am joined by the rest of the 2015 Evening MBA class when I thank him for all the hard work he puts in on a regular basis to make this an incredible and valuable experience for all of us.

Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his Service Award.
Tim Hossain, Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs, accepts his award.

Outstanding Students from the Class of 2015 Recognized at Graduation

One of the highlights of the academic year at Foster is the opportunity to recognize students who represent all that Foster stands for and who consistently strive to make a difference.

2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Student Award

Every year, the faculty and staff have the pleasure of nominating a graduating student who has, during her or his time in the program, exhibited a broad range of qualities which are held in high esteem by the University of Washington, including contribution to the UW Foster MBA community; contribution to the community at large; business professionalism; leadership; and class representation.

The two recipients of the Outstanding Evening MBA Student Awards made major contributions to the Foster Evening MBA Program inside and outside of the classroom.  They truly embody what it means to be a Foster MBA. Foster is proud of them and has previously highlighted their experience in spotlight videos. Congratulations, Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell!

Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.
Lisa Dahlby and Allison Waddell, the 2015 Evening MBA Outstanding MBA Award recipients.

Lisa Dahlby

Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Lisa Dahlby, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Lisa took it upon herself to forge strong relationships with all of her professors.  She worked hard with both administration and faculty on creating a strong academic experience for her classmates.  She  instituted a standardized mid-quarter feedback session for all core faculty and facilitated the discussion with strong professionalism.  Economics professor Ed Rice had this to say about her:

“She served her fellow students as a strong advocate for academic excellence.  Lisa is as an example of how to make the most of the program by having a positive attitude, caring about fellow students and challenging yourself. ”

Allison and Lisa with fellow classmates on graduation day.
Lisa and Allison with fellow classmates on graduation day.

Outside of the classroom, Lisa served as the Evening MBA representative to the Master’s Program Committee, a superstar Ambassador and  a Vice-President in the MBA Association.

Beyond her leadership, she will be remembered for her constant professionalism and dedication to the Foster School of Business.

Lisa shares why she chose Foster: “I knew this was my calling. The MBA makes you look at the world in a different way and it makes you a much better citizen of the world.”


Allison Waddell

Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Allison Waddell, Evening MBA Class of 2015

Many in the Evening MBA Program call Allison “THE Face of Foster”.  When Allison started the program she knew the MBA Program was not just a set of academic courses, but an overall experience that reached beyond the classroom.  This quote from her nomination sums it up:

“She arrived at Foster and quickly became a face of the program. Her ebullient personality, willingness to roll up her sleeves and work with anyone to get the job done, and her genuine interest in learning more about people made her well-liked by her classmates. As she went through the program, she continued to shine as a leader. Whether it was finding effective ways to communicate to all Evening students or just lending a helping hand, her presence was felt by everyone during her time at Foster. She has the knack and drive to go anywhere and be extremely successful in her future endeavors – and Foster’s Evening MBA Program will be extremely lucky to count her as an alumna.”

Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.
Allison joins Tim Hossain, Director of Evening MBA Student Affairs, on stage to accept her award.

Allison shares the most memorable aspect of her Foster experience: “I will never forget the people I met through Foster. The faculty, staff, students, and alumni are what make Foster great and it is those relationships that I will never forget.”

Graduation 2014: a short summary of 3 years

Saloni Sonpal, Evening MBA Class of 2014
Saloni Sonpal, Evening MBA Class of 2014

Saloni Sonpal is a 2014 graduate from Foster’s Evening MBA Program. She has her B.E. in Information Technology from the University of Mumbai and an M.S. in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has been a Software Development Engineer at Microsoft for the past 7 years. Below is a post that she shared with her social network on graduation day.

 

Some things that will stick with me after the nine quarters of Foster’s Evening MBA program:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Incentives change behavior
  • Positive NPV projects
  • Statistical significance
  • Sunk Costs
  • 4Ps and 3Cs
  • Leadership
  • Bottlenecks, Kanban and Kaizen Bursts
  • Decision Trees
  • Value Prop
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • GDP and volatility
  • Conjoint and bundles
  • Listen to your customer
  • What’s your BATNA?
  • It depends…
  • Segregate gains, aggregate losses
  • Be Lean and Agile!
  • Less is more.

Oh wait, did I mention the awesome people, life-changing experiences and the endless fun?! That stuck more than anything else!

#Graduation2014 #EveningMBA2014 #UWFoster

MBA Graduation Collage Saloni

Passing the Torch, State of the MBAA

As the old MBAA board transitions to the new, the outgoing President presents a “State of the Union” to the old and new boards. The following was written by Ben Flajole, President of the MBAA during 2013-14, and presented to the boards at the beginning of April.

Ben Flajole, Evening MBAA President 2013-14
Ben Flajole, Evening MBAA President 2013-14

I wanted to start at the beginning. I found out about my acceptance to the Evening Program at the Foster School on March 18th, 2011. I remember because I was at my friend’s bachelor party in Las Vegas. I was standing in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and I’ll say this much: there are fewer prouder moments of my live. Along with the other members of the Class of 2014, I am now preparing for the next milestone in my journey: June 14th- graduation.

I mention these specific dates and events because they are some of the most important moments of my Foster experience. I submit another date: March 31, 2014, the first day of Spring Quarter, and the official commencement of your term. As I’ve come to realize after sitting in your shoes last year, you all now sit on the precipice of one of the most valuable and memorable experiences of your time here at Foster.

Our board hosted the biggest Evening MBAA end-of-the-year function to date, with nearly 250 people in attendance. We chilled at the “Frosters”, our winter function, which marked an early performance of Adam’s brother as DJ, or “the next Skrillex” as I like to think of him. We hosted professional events and ordered the business cards that were exchanged there. We awarded Students of the Month, to show Foster how important community-builders are to us. We even created an Evening MBAA gear order, which generated a $600 donation to our C4C efforts. Our board realized that students didn’t always know how much the MBAA was responsible for doing, so I charge you all with always thinking about MBAA branding.

There are few things that people love more than me “monologue-ing.” So I’ll be as brief as possible as I share some of the key learnings from my time on the board. You are all here because you see Foster as something greater than the sum of its parts. You see an opportunity to grow a community that is rich, vibrant, and dynamic. And for all the times that this experience will be about others, be sure to also make it about you.

You will be called upon to run errands, to arrange tables, and stack chairs. You’ll wake up too early, stay up too late, check names off of lists, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll obtain banquet permits. The buck stops with you. The MBAA is a volunteer, student-led organization that depends on you all to function to its greatest capability. Be accountable for yourself. If you cannot fulfill your commitments, reach out to your colleagues. You will all have moments of feeling challenged by all of your non-academic responsibilities. If you need assistance, let someone know.

Some of you joined the board for specific reasons. You already have a vision, and see the possibilities of implementing your initiatives. If you don’t, you will- Adam and Tim will see to it. Be mindful of creating timelines and sticking to them. Deliverables matter. Twelve months goes by very quickly, so I urge you to take advantage of the summer and get a jumpstart. The summer is crucial for hitting the ground running in the fall. Being behind in the fall means you’re struggling to catch up for the winter and spring quarters. Commit to organization. Use the existing structures and build on them where needed.

Finally, have fun. Enjoy this experience- you will make some great friends, grow existing connections, and expand your network. You will learn about leadership, working with others, and the importance of vision. You will accomplish great things. Refer to the transition documents for notes on your specific positions, but feel free to reach out to your predecessor if you haven’t already. If there is anything that I can do to help you, I’m always a phone call or email away. I wish you all the best in this journey. And here’s a little nugget to file away: March 30th, 2015, the start of spring quarter next year and the beginning of YOUR successors’ MBAA board. So do your best to make the next 12 months count.