Tag Archives: Women in Business

Foster Women at Forté: Career Development and Lessons in Leadership

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

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

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

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

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

 Conference Highlights

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

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

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

Keynote Speech

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

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

Takeaways

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

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

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

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

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

 

 

 

 

Rita Jabbouri: How to THRIVE in the Evening MBA Program

Incoming students often ask what they should do to prepare for the Evening MBA Program, and how to best navigate the three years of the curriculum while working full-time and balancing other competing priorities. Rita Jabbouri, Class of 2017 alumna, shares her top 10 tips to thrive in the Foster Evening MBA.

Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Rita Jabbouri, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Rita Jabbouri is in Airplane Product Development Finance at Boeing where she is a trusted business partner to chief engineers, program leaders, and directors. When she’s not dreaming about the future of aerospace, she loves to run, hike, cook healthy meals from scratch, read articles from a variety of sources to satisfy her curiosity on a range of different topics, and do anything that involves making memories with loved ones. Rita spends a considerable amount of time with Foster classmates and alumni who have become close friends.

Here are my top 10 tips for successfully navigating the Foster Evening MBA. A huge thank you to classmates, professors, fellow alumni, and mentors who taught me so much over the course of the program!

10. What to read during the program (besides what’s required). If you read nothing else, make sure to review the Weekly Newsletters that the Program Office sends to all evening students. This will have the latest updates on academics and extracurricular activities and will keep you on top of administrative items such as managing your elective courses. Second, sign up for a journal subscription so you can stay up to date on business news. As a student, you get a discount through the University of Washington for a Wall Street Journal subscription, for example. Professors will often bring in news articles that apply to the course to discuss in class, and they invite students to do the same. It will help reinforce what you learn in the classroom.

Rita with her Case Competition team
Rita with her Case Competition team

9. Take time to slow down. The next three years of your life will be extremely busy. It’s important to take time to rest, to reflect, and to remind yourself why you started this program in the first place. Do whatever keeps your mind sharp and helps you manage stress. For me, it was jogging. Although I couldn’t do it as often as I would like with how crazy my schedule got, I would fit in 20-minute workouts that made a world of difference in my energy level and how alert I was in class and team meetings. Do it for you! You owe it to yourself to get the most of out of this program, and you won’t be able to do that if you don’t take care of yourself first. The basics apply more than ever during these three years- get at least seven hours of sleep per night, drink lots of water, and make sure to eat three meals a day. You would be surprised how easy it is to skip one because of back to back commitments. You will likely develop a new appreciation for Jimmy John’s sandwiches delivered directly to your classroom on those especially busy days.

Hiking with fellow Huskies
Hiking with fellow Huskies

8. Plan on everything taking at least a half hour longer than expected. Building in buffers in the second year of the program was a lifesaver for me. Whether it’s meetings running over, traffic being …well…worse than usual, parking being full, etc., you’ll save yourself a lot of worrying if you budget at least 30-minute buffers in between your various commitments. And if everything goes as planned, you’ll get to your next class, team meeting, informational interview, academic advising session, MBA Association meeting- you name it- early and can review content or grab a coffee and catch up with a classmate prior. Pat yourself on the back! You’re running your day, not the other way around.

Rita presenting to VCs, judges, entrepreneurs, and community leaders in the final round of the UW Business Plan Competition
Rita presenting to VCs, judges, entrepreneurs, and community leaders in the final round of the UW Business Plan Competition

7. Pencil in family and friend dates at least a month in advance. Expect busy weekends and plan accordingly. This might seem a little silly at first, but talk to any current students or alumni and they will most likely agree. It’s tough to schedule only a week in advance- not to mention on the spot- because your calendar will fill up quickly with MBA-related commitments, whether they’re required or you sign up for them. Life doesn’t stop during the MBA- there will be numerous engagements, weddings, newborns, career changes, etc. You will start to notice your friendship and classmate circles overlapping and this community will be your support system throughout the program.

Attempting a mid-air shot with friends at The Color Run!
Attempting a mid-air shot with friends at The Color Run!

6. Take advantage of the experiential learning opportunities. Step outside your comfort zone. There are so many Experiential Learning opportunities available to you throughout your three years at Foster. Whether it’s a field study, independent study, an internship, the Business Plan Competition, case competitions, study tours, Mentor Program, consulting project with a nonprofit, leadership experience via the MBA Association—each of these will add to your education in a way no book or lecture ever can. When you apply what you learn by doing it, that’s when it truly starts to sink in. Not sure where to start? Talk to Jean Gekler and Sally Templeton in MBA Career Management, Connie Bourassa-Shaw and Amy Sallin at the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, or Jennifer Bauermeister at the MBA Strategic Consulting Program. They love working with students and they will connect you to contacts who can help you reach your goals.

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Rita with Business Plan Competition (BPC) partner and classmate Ellyce Shulman. As first-year MBA students, they placed 4th out of 103 teams in the BPC.

5. Be intentional. This applies to your daily routine, as well as the three-year outlook.

Daily Routine: When do you do your best work? For me, it’s in the morning- before emails, work, and before the ubiquitously connected world we live in starts to pull you in different directions. Pick one or two things you want to accomplish and commit to those before you answer any emails. Whether it’s reviewing a tough lecture, getting a heavy reading done, or researching your next career move, plan your toughest work when you are most alert.

Three-year Outlook: Be intentional in goal-setting for each of the three years. How to get started? Meet with Kara Fichthorn, the Evening MBA Director of Student Affairs. I recommend at least once a year, although I can tell you I met with staff a lot more often than that. The staff members at Foster are so helpful and they want to see you succeed. Get to know them, share your goals, and they will help you focus your energy and prioritize your time at Foster to achieve what you set out to accomplish each of the three years.

Snacks- the usual centerpiece at Foster MBA team meetings
Snacks- the usual centerpiece at Foster MBA team meetings

4. Be a “resource hog.” I can’t take credit for this one- Professor Mark Westerfield is known for this phrase, advice he shared with us at eLead. There are so many opportunities, contacts, and resources available at Foster- take advantage of as many as you can. If your team is struggling with a particular topic in a lecture, don’t hesitate to ask your questions in class. The rest of your classmates will benefit from the discussion. If you’re still struggling on a topic after working through it with your team, reach out to your professor to set up some one-on-one time to walk through your questions. Foster professors are so passionate about what they do, and they really are experts in their field- having done the research and the work in the real world that informs their teaching. They are in the business of creating futures: they want to help and are there for you when you need them.

Professor Ed Rice (Business Economics and Finance) never disappoints with his jokes
Never a dull moment with Professor Ed Rice (Business Economics and Finance)

3. Get involved. Go to Wednesday night happy hour, join a club, run for a position with the MBA Association, become a Peer Mentor, volunteer to help with Challenge for Charity, or simply spend time with classmates outside of class. Your experience will be that much more enjoyable if you get involved and make an effort to get to know the talented people around you. The network you build at Foster is priceless both during and after the program. And it goes without saying that authenticity is critical: yes, be yourself. You are supposed to be part of this program- you were selected amongst a pool of talented individuals. Be confident in your strengths and open about what you would like to improve. Your classmates can’t help you if you’re not honest with yourself first and foremost.

Rita with her #OneFoster Scavenger Hunt team!
Rita with her #OneFoster Scavenger Hunt team!

2. Invest in your teams. This is important throughout the program, but especially so in your first year as you’re still getting to know your class. Your teammates will likely become some of your best friends- your strengths and weaknesses will complement each other and you will help each other get through the most challenging parts of the program, together. Ask yourself how you can help your teammates. What do you bring to the table that is different from everyone else? And, more importantly, how will you leave Foster better than you found it?

Rita's first year team at the annual Foster Fun Run. As the MBA Association VP of Community Outreach, Rita led the planning of the Foster Fun Run benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Rita’s first-year team at the 4th annual Foster Fun Run. As the MBA Association VP of Community Outreach, Rita led the planning of the event, benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs.

1. Remember your “why.” What was the reason you wanted to get your MBA at Foster? Write it down now. You’ll want to revisit it often to keep yourself grounded and focused. That and your teammates will help you not only survive in the program, but THRIVE in it. Don’t jump into everything because you don’t want to miss out, but don’t sit on the sidelines either your first year to “scope things out.” How do you choose where to invest your time? That brings us back to your why. This will probably evolve over your time at Foster. There won’t be an “aha” moment that will tell you exactly what you should be doing. But the culmination of the coursework, workshops you attend, people you meet, skillsets you develop, and experiences you have will point you in the right direction for you post-MBA.

Rita with her Peer Mentees at the annual Frosters MBA event
Rita with her Peer Mentees at the annual Frosters event

The Foster Evening MBA Program isn’t for the faint of heart. Getting into the program says a lot about who you are. Whether you aspire to change up, move up, or start up, embrace this opportunity! Challenge yourself, invest in your classmates, focus on shared success, and have fun along the way. Before you  know it, you’ll be a master at navigating ambiguous business problems and you’ll have a massive network to tap into. Best of luck and enjoy the program!

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

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Stacy Hanks

Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Stacy Hanks, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Recent Class of 2017 alumna Stacy Hanks delivered an energetic and passionate graduation speech to her classmates and the Foster community. The Class of 2017 voted  (in a landslide) for Stacy to represent them at graduation. They describe her as “confident (inspires everyone around her), insightful (asks the tough questions that benefit the entire class), and generous (shares her marketing expertise with classmates and her time with the community), doing it all with a smile.”

After beginning her career in B2B and CPG sales, Stacy started at Amazon textbooks in Vendor Management, tasked with disrupting and strategically growing Amazon’s oldest book business.  She then moved on to running the marketing team, growing new customer accounts by more than 10%.  Her current role is in Amazon global vendor management where she seeks to leverage the strength of Amazon in the US to grow top vendors  around the world.  She works with America’s most iconic brands in emerging countries like India, Japan and focuses on global expansion efforts with Australia and the Middle East. Stacy continues to be passionate about marketing:  “Nothing else matters if you don’t move product.”

Post-MBA, she is interested in continuing her growth at Amazon and pursuing board service.  Her super power is presenting in front of large groups and maximizing growth, especially in challenging industries. Stacy looks forward to spending more time on her hobbies, like yoga and making stationery.  

Stacy’s Key Foster takeaway? How to bring it all together and be a master of all, jack of only a couple – but know exactly what those couple are and how to fill in the gaps with the right people!

Watch Stacy’s speech or read on to see Foster from Stacy’s perspective.

Great things happened in 2017.

The Husky football team kicked off January playing for a national title.

The University of Washington Foster School of business raised over $153K and volunteered 3,600 hours for the Special Olympics & Boys & Girls Clubs, more than every other top west coast business school to bring the GOLDEN BRIEFCASE back to UW.

Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster's annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs
Stacy with classmates and blue dots (significant others) at Foster’s annual Challenge for Charity Auction benefiting Special Olympics and Boys & Girls Clubs

2017 also marks the moment the incredible group of people behind me are coming together to graduate with our MBAs, armed with new knowledge, new friendships and destined for even greater success.

Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition
Stacy led the dance and cheer teams at the annual Sports Weekend competition

When we entered this program we were individuals, unsure of what we might find, classmates unknown.  To our surprise we found a reason to get out of bed early on weekends – classmates that would become teammates, and more importantly, friends.

These friends are the reason we made it here today, because they brought out the very best in each one of us.  They challenged us to learn concepts and disciplines we never thought possible.  They challenged us to be better versions of ourselves, better versions that stood up for our convictions when pushed and better versions that learned to concede when needed.

Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour
Stacy with classmates on the India Study Tour

When we doubted ourselves, every single person in this class was there to support us, to demand we brought everything we had left, even if we doubted there was anything more for us to give, especially during those early mornings and late nights.

The life of an evening student is not easy, but you would never know if from talking to my classmates, who literally did it all.

If I had to summarize our entire class is just a few words, I would say the Evening Class of 2017 is the coolest, most laid-back bunch of overachievers you’ve ever met.

Stacy organized annual Derby trip for classmates, bringing everyone together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends
Stacy organized annual Derby trips for classmates, bringing first, second, and third-year students together for an excuse to wear fancy hats and have a good time with friends

Because over-achieve we did, both inside and outside the classroom.

Numerous placements and awards in the Business Plan Competitions, participation in many field studies with top Seattle companies, putting our classroom learnings directly to work, capped off by our stellar all-female-team taking second place in the Venture Capital Investment Competition Western Regional, beating out USC, Berkley and others.

Not to mention the countless businesses formed, career changes, and promotions.

Outside the classroom, we may have faced challenges but we also found and shared tremendous joy, whether babies, engagements, weddings or even that time Gonzaga played in the final four.

V1 C4C2
As the program progresses, friendships are formed and classmates end up spending as much time together outside the classroom as inside. Stacy poses for a photo with friends on a trip to Palo Alto, CA.

We leave Foster today, forever thankful to the professors, staff and everyone who made this journey possible.  Everything you did for us contributed to our success and we promise to continue the tradition of excellence and community found at Foster.

To everyone in the audience out there- you know we couldn’t have done it without you.  But it’s safe to say – To the spouses and significant others, there’s a good chance your graduate owes YOU at least one home-cooked meal.  To the friends and families, your graduate probably owes you a phone call when they aren’t driving TO or FROM school or a team meeting.  And to the children and the pets, well you should have been asleep anyways, so you don’t actually know how late we stayed out at happy hour.

Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session
Members of the Class of 2017 at happy hour with Professor Mark Forehand after their last Consumer Marketing and Brand Management class session

And to the class of 2017, if this was high school, I would sign off with a “Stay Cool” and “Don’t ever change”. But it’s not – so KEEP changing, keep growing, and keep asking the hard questions that make you better with every passing day, even if those questions drove our professors crazy.  Our time at Foster may have come to an end, but we still have a lifetime to use what we learned here to refuse acceptance of average, continue to exceed all expectations and finally, accept the fact that our futures will always be #SOBright.

Thank you.

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

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Maggie Olson: “Foster is so invested in you”

Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018
Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018

Meet our new Social Media Coordinator, Maggie Olson, Evening MBA Class of 2018. Maggie currently works for Nordstrom, where she has been a Buyer for the past five years and recently made the transition into Business Technology. Post-MBA, she is looking to move into a Management and Leadership focused Rotational Program, or into a Strategy/ Consulting role. In her spare time this summer, when she’s not with her friends, family, or godson, she can be found outside on the volleyball court!

Pre-MBA Profession:

Buy Planner, Nordstrom, Women’s Apparel: Special Occasion Dresses

In my most recent role as the Buy Planner for Special Occasion Dresses I was responsible for the strategy, quantification, selection, and allocation of a $200 million dollar annual budget which applied to all stores and online.

Forté MBA Women's Leadership Conference
Maggie attended the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference with classmates and Admissions staff

Current Profession:

Business Process Specialist, Nordstrom

One of the biggest parts of my job is working with engineers to help them understand the business requirements for the reports, tools, and queries they are coding. Additionally, I am responsible for the business process surrounding the inventory, reporting, and price components of Nordstrom’s off-price channels.

Hometown:

Seattle, WA

What brought you to Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

I always knew I wanted to go back to school for a graduate degree. My parents are life-long learners, both with PhD’s, so the question was more surrounding “when” for me. I have also always been a very curious person, wanting to better myself and learn more at every opportunity. As I was settling into my career at Nordstrom I knew that an MBA was the right move for my future goals.

I had been at Nordstrom for about three years, and I knew that I wanted to expand my qualifications should I move out of Buying. The timing was right from a personal perspective, so I took the plunge. I knew that I wanted to stay in this region and keep working at Nordstrom, and I knew that I wanted to attend a top-school. Foster is so focused on your success, and so invested in you. I love the cohort approach, and I have always bled purple thanks to family ties at UW. I didn’t apply anywhere else.

Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity volleyball game in Palo Alto.
Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity volleyball game in Palo Alto

It was a hard adjustment during my first year in the program as I was still in Buying and I was traveling to New York every six weeks for week-long buying trips. On school nights in NYC, I was skyping into class after vendor dinners, and on east coast time (thanks team!). My success strategy my first year was literally just to take it one day at a time, and it worked. I felt very supported by my teams at work and school and I learned to really lean on my network. I also learned that I had skills and traits that I could help my team with, and I became more confident to own them and share my value.

Maggie with classmates and friends at the Fosters, Foster's annual end of year celebration.
Maggie with classmates and friends at The Fosters, Foster’s annual end of year celebration

What is your favorite part of the program so far?

My favorite part about Foster (aside from the amazing content, professors, and learning environment) is definitely the people I have met. You don’t necessarily go back to school for the purpose of making friends, but without a doubt I have found life-long friends at Foster. Foster sets up a great environment to network in; we have fun while working hard, give back, and pursue so many extracurricular opportunities together. It’s really meaningful to do all of this with people you are in school with and who are experiencing the same things as you (work, school, personal life, families, etc.). It creates super strong bonds and it’s absolutely one of the most special things about Foster.

At Challenge for Charity in Palo Alto with close friends in the Foster Evening MBA Program
At Challenge for Charity in Palo Alto with close friends in the Foster Evening MBA Program

What are you looking forward to in the last year of the program?

During my last year in the program, I am looking forward to being more involved. In my first year, I was focused on getting through each day. In my second year, I had a pretty big workload based on an extra class, so I wasn’t as involved as I had planned to be. So this year I am going to be focused on taking advantage of more clubs, networks, seminars, and activities offered at Foster. There is absolutely no way to be involved in everything, but I am excited to work with career services more this year, attend more Leaders to Legends series, and join a club or two.

C4C
Maggie with fellow Fosterites at a Challenge for Charity game in Palo Alto

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

Wondering if the Foster Evening MBA Program is the right fit for you? To make an appointment with the Foster MBA Programs Office, call 206-543-4661 or toll free at 1-866-778-9622, or email us at mba@uw.edu.

Get to know us!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Admissions Team and check out our upcoming Evening MBA Admissions Events.

Meet the Evening MBA Class of 2017: Chelsey Roney

Congratulations to our recent Evening MBA Class of 2017 graduates! Get to know them via a series of spotlight stories: What does earning a Foster MBA mean to them and what advice do they have for those considering a work-compatible program? Learn more in our first feature, Chelsey Roney, who tailored her MBA to develop expertise in her areas of interest.

Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate
Chelsey Roney, Evening MBA Class of 2017 Graduate

Pre-MBA Profession: Financial Analyst at Boeing and Small Business Owner

Current Profession: University Recruiter at Microsoft and Small Business Owner/Entrepreneur

A former Texan turned Washingtonian, Chelsey Roney works full-time as a University Recruiter at Microsoft and part-time as an entrepreneur. She recently spent several years as a Board Member for Nature Consortium. Chelsey is passionate about developing new business ideas. She currently runs Select-A-Sis, a company focused on streamlining sorority recruitment and recently launched Collectabl, a company that creates seasonal capsule wardrobes for purchase.  Outside of work, Chelsey enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling and working out.

Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at the annual Challenge for Charity competition
Chelsey with classmates after completing a 5K at Sports Weekend

Looking back on your Foster experience, what was your most memorable challenge and success, respectively?

The most memorable challenge was trying to balance school, full-time work, a part-time business, and a personal life. When you are in an MBA program and working, a multitude of tasks that each appear to be as important as the next pull your attention in varying directions.  Like my classmates, I became an expert in prioritization and simplifying processes during my time in the program. I think the key to success is planning the tasks that must be completed at the beginning of each week and staying on task as much as possible. I also learned to include buffer time in case of delays and plan periods that are designated as ‘rest’. I was pushed to my limits, but I also learned more (both educational content and about myself) than I could have dreamed possible.

My most memorable success was learning content in a deeper way than I have before.  The Foster MBA program uses case studies for most lessons. This approach forces you to think more critically and take a step further than you may have in the past. Rather than caring primarily about grades, I cared about how I could apply the content to my work. I honed in on my ability to truly learn material so that I could more impactful at work. The Foster MBA Program also helped me develop curiosity, which is an important aspect to learning. Because the solution associated with each case was often vague, you must learn how to ask the right questions to be successful.

Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with locals on the Cuba Study Tour

Foster MBA students are empowered to move up, change up, or start up. Which path did you choose?

I love that Foster MBA students are encouraged to think about how their experience in the program will enable them to change the trajectory of their careers in one of several different ways. Because the Foster MBA Program discusses potential career changes from the first day of orientation, it empowers students to begin planning what their careers might look like upon completion of the program. This forethought sets students up for success because they can map out what coursework and extracurricular activities they might want to take on to make these changes happen.

I both ‘changed up’ and ‘started up’ because of the program. Midway through my coursework, I made the transition from Finance at Boeing to Recruiting at Microsoft. I knew that I wanted to move to a company that focused on innovative technology and into a role that focused on people. My experiences and coursework at Foster allowed me to successfully navigate into my new role at Microsoft because I could discuss strategy and industry trends at an MBA level.

I have served as the Managing Partner of a small business in addition to my full-time job for about six years. While my business has captured a significant portion of a niche market share, the revenue is not significant enough to consider it a full-time job. Given that I was bitten by this ‘entrepreneurial bug’, I would like to ‘start up’ another business that might allow me to go full-time. I am currently working on two business ideas that have potential to scale. I credit any forward movement in these endeavors to my time at Foster. My courses in entrepreneurial finance, marketing, and strategy helped me to better understand how to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Chelsey on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey looks forward to more travel adventures post-MBA.

How has Foster impacted your outlook on entrepreneurship? How have you developed as an entrepreneur over the course of the Evening MBA program?

Before I started at Foster, I was managing my small business with only a background in finance. I developed as an entrepreneur as I took classes outside of my previous area of expertise. Foster has well-rounded course offerings in entrepreneurship that will help you run your business better.

Foster impacted my outlook on entrepreneurship by making full-time entrepreneurship seem more attainable. Sometimes, it feels like being full-time entrepreneur is out of reach. Entrepreneurship courses at Foster teach you how to seek, eventually spot, and solve problems in a certain marketplace. These courses also teach you best practices in terms of how to monetize your solution. Furthermore, professors often bring in guest entrepreneurs to share their experiences with the class. Each of these learnings made starting up your own full-time business seem attainable.

You chose to accelerate the program and complete your MBA one quarter early. What do you think of this flexibility in the curriculum and how did you tailor your MBA?

I loved the flexibility the Foster Evening MBA program provides. Students can tailor their schedules in the second half of the program to either speed up or slow down their coursework. I chose to accelerate the program because I found the areas I was passionate about and could not wait to dedicate 100% of my time and expertise to them.

I chose to concentrate most of my electives on either marketing or entrepreneurship since my background is in finance. I wanted to expand my breadth of knowledge so I could better operate strategically as a business-person.

How has the Evening MBA program contributed to your career trajectory?

The Foster Evening MBA program has contributed to my career trajectory in several ways. First, it helped me hone in on my passions. I tailored my classes so that I could explore, then narrow down, areas that I might be passionate about. Second, the Evening MBA program helped me grow my network. In the program, you will have dozens of classmates who are all top-level professionals that you work with throughout your three years at Foster. We can leverage on one another’s expertise as we navigate into new careers, research other companies and negotiate business deals. Finally, the well-rounded coursework Foster offers helps you provide value to a business because you can take a step back to evaluate the overall strategy and any potential risks that may lie ahead.

Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition at Stanford
Chelsey with classmates at the annual Challenge for Charity competition in Palo Alto

Are you where you thought you would be when you started the Evening MBA?

Absolutely not!

In terms of specific job content, I thought I would continue my work as a Financial Analyst at Boeing. The Evening MBA helped me narrow down other industries and roles that I may be interested in. This led to a change in profession, company I work at, and where I want to direct my career.

In terms of my ability to grow professionally, I could not have imagined how much I would have developed in the program. Of course, I had hoped to make strides in this area, but the amount of growth I experienced was exponentially more than I expected. I advanced in the breadth and depth of knowledge I can bring to the table, the ability to think more critically, and level of professionalism demonstrated in everyday interactions.

What advice do you have for those considering a work-compatible MBA program?

  • Examine why you want a work-compatible MBA program. Spend some time thinking about the pro’s and con’s of an Evening Program. The Foster Evening MBA program allows you to continue advancing your career while you are expanding your knowledge base. Next, an evening program allows you to apply what you are learning in class immediately! Not only does this help you remember what you learned, but it also helps you make an impact at work right away. The classmates in your evening program can help you network during the program instead of waiting until the end. On the other hand, during the Evening Program your ‘free time’ is extremely scarce.
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
Chelsey with classmates on the Cuba Study Tour
  • Evaluate how you will reprioritize your time. Getting an MBA while you work will necessitate that you decide on aspects of your life that will become deprioritized during your time in the program. You should understand if you are willing to let go of things you spend time on now to go to class and complete assignments after work. It is also helpful to talk to both your family and friends ahead of time so that they know sometimes you will have to say ‘no’ due to program obligations.

How does it feel to earn your MBA from Foster?

Empowering. The Foster Evening MBA provides challenging coursework meant to expand the breadth and depth of your knowledge. If I can dive this deep into difficult classes while working for three years, I feel like I can take on any challenge!

Chelsey Roney, Foster Evening MBA Class of 2017
Chelsey celebrates being done with MBA coursework by spending more time outside in the beautiful PNW

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.

Foster MBA Program Earns Forté Foundation Membership, Expands Opportunities for Women MBA Students

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Foster Evening and Full-time MBA students, alumni, and the MBA Admissions team at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference

As a Forté Foundation partner school, Foster’s prestigious program offers its female students access to an expanded network, impactful leadership development opportunities, and accelerated career trajectory. According to Forté, only 17% of Fortune 500 Board members are women. Women make up 14% of Senior Executives and only 4% of CEOs. A Catalyst and University of Michigan research study, Women and the MBA: Gateway to Opportunity, highlights opportunities for improvement in making the business corporate and academic environment more inclusive for women. This sparked the founding of the Forté Foundation, which began in 2002, when female enrollment in MBA programs was only 28%. Since then, that number has increased to 36%, as Forté membership has climbed to 70,000 women with a cross-section of career stages, and 53,000 participants attended Forté Forums.

Forté aims to increase the representation of women in business, and an alliance with the Foster MBA Program promotes that mission in Seattle and wherever Foster’s graduates choose to pursue their post-MBA careers. Foster’s work-compatible MBAs, such as the Evening MBA Program, provide a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to each student’s demanding schedule. Together, Foster and Forté are firmly focused on providing women access to the tools and resources to pursue their passions and thrive in business.

Erin Town, MBA Admissions Director, and Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, reflect on their experience at the June 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference and what a Forté partner school designation means for Foster students.

Erin Town

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

We are absolutely thrilled to announce our alliance with the Forté Foundation, a leading non-profit organization that is focused on increasing the number of women who hold significant roles in business. Forté is dedicated to directing women toward leadership roles in business and industry, and to enabling corporations to more effectively attract and retain female talent. As a sponsor school, the Foster community can now take advantage of the Forté Foundation’s series of professional development and networking events, scholarship opportunities, and online career planning resources.

For many years, the Foster MBA program’s small size and personalized, hands-on approach to learning has offered students from a wide variety of backgrounds the chance to make a real impact, transform their careers, and to make lifelong connections and friendships. This welcoming and empowering culture is one of the reasons we have generally seen higher percentages of women in our programs than the typical MBA program. Now, as a Forté partner school, women at Foster will have even more opportunities for professional development and, most importantly, access to a powerful network of female business leaders from around the globe.

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Mēgan Lewis, Senior Associate Director, and Erin Town, Director, MBA Admissions

In June, my colleague Megan Lewis and I attended our first Forté Foundation Women’s Leadership Conference along with a group of incoming and current Foster MBA students. The conference was filled with inspiring moments and learning opportunities, but what struck me most was the fact that every session, every keynote, every discussion, was led by a woman. The presenters were incredibly honest and uninhibited. At the end of every session there was a line of women waiting at the microphone to ask questions and to present their thoughts. While the conference offered incredible opportunities for professional development, being surrounded by so many ambitious women was what really left me feeling inspired. I can’t wait to bring a new group of students to the conference next year!

Anna Nordstrom

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

I was so inspired by my time at the Forté Conference!  The women in attendance were all so impressive, and the organization brought in speakers who were accomplished and eloquent and shared their own experiences and practical advice to help prepare the women in attendance for greater success in the business world. It truly energized me and got me excited about heading into my final year of the program!

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Photo credit: Anna Nordstrom

I had three major takeaways from the conference. One was how rigorous the process was for Foster to be accepted into Forté, and what that means about Foster’s commitment to support women in business.  Another was that it is important to think about what you are excited to do for work, and to pursue that field – it shows when you are passionate about your work versus when you just show up each day and put in your hours.  Finally, I came away from the conference with a sense of responsibility – to pay things forward for future women, and to not undervalue the impact each one of us can have on others.

View highlights of the 2016 Forté MBA Women’s Conference:

Want to learn more about the Foster advantage? Connect with us at the Seattle Forté Forum on August 22. We will also be in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 23; Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 24; and Houston on Thursday, August 25.

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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.

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.

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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.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 3

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017, tells us what it’s like juggling all her responsibilities as a Mom in the Evening MBA Program.

Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017
Anna Nordstrom, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Pre-MBA Profession?

 I’ve had a few different professions pre-MBA. I was an elementary school teacher for the first part of my professional career, and I also coached high school rowing and kids running. When I left teaching, I started working independently as an organizational consultant/coach, which I still do.  Most recently, I worked as the Operations Manager and then Business Manager for a local company, and that led to my interest in getting an MBA.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

 At this point, I think I’d like to continue consulting in the realm of Organizational Effectiveness, or perhaps Organizational Development, though I am also finding Marketing very interesting.  I want to help businesses solve their problems, and I’m still narrowing down what my exact focus might be.

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The Evening MBA Program allows Anna the flexibility to balance a demanding schedule and still make time for family.

How do you balance it all?

I don’t know that I do!  I have a very supportive husband and extended family, and I focus on tackling the most important things on my agenda each day.  There are definitely things that I am not doing as well as I’d like, but I try to keep perspective on why I am doing this program and give myself the grace to let extraneous things go.  And, after a previously caffeine free life, I finally caved in and started drinking coffee…This year I promised my husband I would try to focus my extracurricular activities to only my highest priorities because there is so much going on at school that I want to be a part of and I have a tendency to try to do it all.  I know he’ll hold me to my promise!

Nordstrom Family
The Nordstrom Family

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

I chose Foster because I knew that wherever I went, we would need help from extended family for me to make it through the program, and my family is here in Seattle.  I didn’t even look at other schools in Seattle, because UW is by far the best!  I chose the Evening program because, as a career changer, I wanted to be able to gain work experience while going to school so that my experience would match up with my degree by the end.  What I didn’t know was how perfect the Evening MBA Program would be for my busy home life.  The people in the program are all busy, so everyone has a good perspective on how to maintain some semblance of balance.

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Mini golf with members of the Class of 2017 and their significant others

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?

 My team, for sure.  Without them, I would have never survived my first year, and this year’s team has been just as fantastic!  I talked to my professors and TAs as I had questions or needed help with assignments.  The MBA Programs Office team is amazing and great to talk with about the program and what you want to get out of it, and I’ve found alumni to be very welcoming and open to talking to me.  I’ve also utilized MBA Career Management a bunch, once for a practice job interview, which I ended up having to do over the phone, while sitting in my car, with my daughter screaming in the background…Sally Templeton (Senior Associate Director, MBA Career Management) didn’t even flinch!

E and A Spring
A change of scenery for finals prep

How do you make time for family/friends and hobbies/interests outside of the Program?

 It’s hard to make time for many other things, but I definitely prioritize family time.  My team was very accommodating when scheduling our meetings so that Diane (another mom) and I usually got one full day of the weekend to spend with our families, and I tried to involve my kids and my family whenever I could so that we all feel like we’re doing it together.  I have a standing date with my running partner to ensure I get some exercise each week, and I’ve told other friends, “I’d love to see you, but you have to come to me!”  Luckily they do!

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Anna and classmates Kathleen Hillenbrand and Ellyce Shulman get together for a play date!

 Your team won the second year case competition and you recently were recognized for your work on the Health Innovation Challenge. What do you think has contributed to your success in team settings?

Foster does such a great job of setting us up for success in teams – the thought put into our teammates for First Year and Second Year, the assignment of our Peer Mentor, eLEAD at the beginning of our first year, reLEAD that Winter, eLEAD part 3 to start our second year, and our core class on Management and Leadership.  I’ve tried to remember what I’ve been taught from all of these experiences when I’m in team settings, particularly to:

Be clear with the team about expectations from the start – With our 2nd year team, we made a goal in our first group phone call that we wanted to win the Case Competition, so we all knew we were working towards that common goal.  But we were also clear about the time boundaries we had with our busy lives outside of school, so that helped us to maximize the time we were together.  With the HIC, Ellyce ( HIC teammate and 2017 classmate) and I made it clear the ways that we could contribute to the group with our business knowledge, what the other members of the team would need to contribute, and how much time we could devote to the competition.

Recognize individual strengths and contributions – Everyone brings something different to the team, and it’s all valuable.  Acknowledging and recognizing what others do well helps elevate the sense of teamwork. I was so inspired by each of my teammates in both competitions!

Anna's team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.
Anna’s team earned 1st Place in the second year Case Competition.

Don’t take things personally – This means working for the greater good even if it’s not my idea that goes forward, and knowing that feedback someone gives me is not a personal attack, but a way to make me a better manager, teammate or businessperson.  Disagreements are just opportunities to figure out what isn’t clear or what isn’t working.

Apply the concepts we’re learning in classes – We are here to learn, but it’s easy to fall back on your old habits when you are under time pressure.  In each situation, we thought back to what we were taught and thought about how that related to our task.  I can’t stress how important this is!

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Anna’s daughter has her sights set on Foster!

 

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.

Moms in the Evening MBA: Installment 2

Our second installment of the Moms in the Evening MBA Blog Series: Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016, talks school, work, family, fun, and how she makes it all happen!

Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.
Libby enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Quad with her daughters.

Pre-MBA Profession?

Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2015
Libby Waterbury, Evening MBA Class of 2016

My undergrad and early professional career was in structural engineering of buildings, which I enjoyed, but it never seemed like a complete fit, especially in the wake of the 2008 Recession. When I had twins, I kept doing engineering for the stability (no pun intended). I had worked at different engineering consulting groups around the Puget Sound and decided that what I enjoyed the most was working on teams and solving problems – just not necessarily the way I was doing it as an engineer.

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?

The Foster Evening MBA program was the first on my list since I went to UW as an undergrad and along the way of the application process I just kept getting more and more excited about the program and never looked anywhere else. I knew that I learned more in a classroom environment rather than online and the team setup was great! Even with a family I knew I could do two nights of class per week. My husband was supportive of me going back to school and that made it work. The opportunities for growing my Seattle network and going on a global study tour was really enticing as well. 

Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.
Libby with her first year team, the Lucky Tigers.

Post-MBA Aspirations?

Two years in and I’m still poking around for what will fit me best in my post-Foster life, but I have no doubt with my classmates and coursework that I will have fun doing it! I’m really interested in helping people – back to that “working on teams and solving problems” I mentioned before, but I’m working on crafting the niche that I will do it in long-term. I love being involved in the Diversity, Women, and Out in Business groups as they really build a community trying to grow in the business world. I’m also excited to be able to attend the Net Impact conference in November – I think that will be a great experience!

Libby's second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.
Libby’s second year team secured a spot in the Case Competition Finals.

How do you balance it all?

Right now, it’s not really about balance for me. It’s about ME!! Okay, that’s only mostly true; usually I give credit to my husband and family. With three kids all in school, I knew it was a good time to show them that Mom isn’t always going to be grumpy when she gets home from work – that it was time to demonstrate a mid-career change for them and to do it for myself. My oldest daughter is in high school and will graduate with me in the spring, so she’s got her own track going; my younger girls just started third grade and love going to Boys & Girls Club in the afternoons when I’m at work and school. The kids are as excited about me being in school as I am, so that helps a lot. I also make sure to have quality time with them and also bring them along to school events when I can. This summer we spent time backpacking, going to Sounders FC games, reading Harry Potter, and playing with Legos. I know it’s a relatively short-term period that I’m doing the school “thing”, so we’re making it work!

Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.
Libby with her family on UW day at the Sounders.

Balance for me is making sure my kids have good memories of this time (I’m not worried about me – Foster is FULL of great memories!!!) and that as few important things fall through the cracks as possible. I’m still making their Halloween costumes, attending PTA events, and watching their band concerts. Being organized brings me sanity! I’ve used Cozi for everything – calendar, shopping lists, to do lists; I can see everyone’s activities and stay synced with my husband. Marty and I have also been better about “date nights” since I started the program – whether it’s doing the Huddle tailgate before Husky football games, the C4C auction, or just hanging out, we make sure we keep communicating and stay on the same path.

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?

Two words: Tim Hossain. Seriously. He’s been through the program, he knows what’s going on, and he’s supportive when I come to my senses and take that step back, breathe, and say that I can’t add on one more thing. Tim has a full support crew in the program office and they are all amazing!

The other resource that helped me in this program is my wonderful classmates! Between my teams, Japan Study Tour cohort, and the folks sitting around me in class, the students at Foster are really great and we all know we’re in it together, so we’re all super supportive of each other.

And again, my husband has been my rock through it all!

Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.
Libby with her husband, Marty, at a Husky football game.

How do you make time for family/friends and hobbies/interests outside of the Program?

I think one of the reasons that the Foster Evening MBA program is such a good fit for me is that many of my “outside” interests can be found within Paccar Hall or on the UW campus. The Huddles support my love of Husky football, C4C and all of the fundraising during the year feed my spirit of giving and of supporting kids, the Happy Hours force my introverted self to remember how to pretend to be an extrovert, and the classroom conversations are all about my love of learning. Being in Seattle, many classmates across the daytime and evening programs share my interest of hiking, backpacking, karaoke, good food, and this summer I even started practicing yoga! The nights I’m not on campus, I make sure to eat dinner with my family and check in with my kids often.

Time flies so fast, I’ve really been making a priority of the MBA student experience. It’s one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Japan Study Tour in March 2015.
Japan Study Tour in March 2015.

Follow FosterEveMBA on Instagram to see more student experiences.

Moms in the Evening MBA

The Foster Evening MBA Program is more than a “work-compatible” MBA- it’s a “life-compatible” MBA. Students juggle a variety of demanding responsibilities in their personal and professional life while in the program. In the first installment of “Moms in the Evening MBA” blog series, Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017, shares how she does it all.

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Diane Dettling, Evening MBA Class of 2017

Name: Diane Dettling

Graduation Year: 2017

Pre-MBA Profession: Oil/Hazmat Spill Responder with the US. Environmental Protection Agency

Post-MBA Aspirations: Undecided

 How do you balance your academic, personal, and professional responsibilities?
I have a very strong support system. I rely heavily on my husband, family, and close friends.

What resources have been helpful in making the Evening MBA Program manageable?
It’s definitely all about the people. My 1st year study team, team mentor, and classmates were an essential resource providing constant motivation and support. Also, the professors and advising staff are always available and willing to help.

Members of Diane’s first year MBA team decided to enter the 2015 UW Business Plan Competition together and won the Best Marketplace Idea Prize. The team shares her sentiment:

“Diane is amazing! Not only is she a fantastic project manager who always kept our team on track, she also hosted other Foster moms at her house to chat classes and careers amidst a flurry of kids. She was a key member of our Business Plan Competition team, designing our PowerPoint and presenting with poise and charisma.” -Anna Nordstrom

“Diane was a model teammate during this past school year. She came prepared to every group meeting and contributed her unique perspective to every discussion while even offering up her home for group meetings and making breakfast. I couldn’t have asked for a better teammate!” -Jay Chang

“Diane could be busy with class and family, and still put in extra hours for the UW Business Plan Competition with a smile on her face.” -Daniel Johnson

“Diane is super smart and always calm, cool and collected. Working with Diane was great. Whatever the task, she did an incredible job setting the pace and- just by her example- challenging us to meet the standard she set. But the best thing about working with Diane is her sense of humor- it’s always fun to hang out with her at happy hours and team get-togethers.” -Justin Meith

“Diane has an inner kindness as well as a strong sense of responsibility towards her team members.” -Bo Gao

Diane's first year MBA team
Diane’s first year MBA team

What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies/interests outside of the program?
I like to cook (and eat), try new restaurants, get outdoors, run, go to Sounders games, and spend time with family and friends.

How do you make time for loved ones?
I make it a priority to always spend at least one of the days on the weekend doing something fun with family or friends.

Why did you choose Foster? Why did you choose the Evening MBA Program?
I chose Foster because I wanted the best MBA program in the area. I chose the Evening Program because it provides the flexibility for me to raise my daughter and work toward my future career.

Diane, enjoying quality time with her family.
Diane, enjoying quality time with her family