IKEA International Case Competition

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Here at the Foster School of Business, we have many opportunities to be more involved in the school. I personally think that one of the most interesting and fun ways to incorporate concepts learned in class are by competing in case competitions. My team of 3 friends (Melly, Katie, and Michelle) and I decided to work together on the IKEA International Case Competition held here at Foster. Over the course of 2 days, we were given the task of developing an international expansion plan for a Chinese herbal beauty products company, Herborist. We did extensive research and used our individual talents to put together a solid strategy for Herborist, which we then put in PowerPoint form and presented to two separate panels of judges in the preliminary and final rounds. Our hard work paid off and we won the first place $1000 IKEA prize, but perhaps more importantly, the connections with the executive panel of judges and the ability to put the win on our resumes.

I would encourage all students to try at least one case competition while here at Foster. It is a great way to practice public speaking in a business context and is a fantastic way to highlight your strengths. With such a time crunch, you and your team have to be able to work efficiently together and avoid falling prey to group level biases (MGMT 300 will teach you about that). I will admit that I was nervous presenting, but the benefits of putting myself out there and stepping up to the challenge dispelled any hesitations I had. There are many cases held throughout the year by different organizations and companies, so try one out for yourself soon. I guarantee it will be worth the effort!


- Justin C.
Senior, Accounting


2011 Business Leadership Celebration and Scholarship Reception

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

On November 2, 2011, I attended the Foster School of Business Leadership Celebration and Scholarship Reception at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle. All the scholarship recipients were invited to come out and meet those who have graciously donated funds to financially assist us to obtain college degrees. The Foster School of Business awards hundreds of dollars annually to business school students.  All the students that were awarded a scholarship were able to have a seat at the Leadership Celebration dinner. The event was followed up with dinner with keynote speaker Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. The event also honored various leaders who have graduated from the Foster School and created their own success stories, including John and Bruce Nordstrom. I had the opportunity to sit at the table with many representatives from Alaska Airlines and sat next to Bill Ayers, the CEO of Alaska Airlines. What was fascinating about the entire night was that I was in a room full of successful leaders and was able to gain valuable insight from them.
This particular conversation I had in with Bill Ayers was what stuck with me. We talked about the importance of mentoring others and how it is important that we share the knowledge we have accumulated with others so that we can together continue to better the world, instead of trying to do it on our own. He explained that it starts in college and that it then transitions into the work world. By taking on leadership positions in college and mentoring/coaching younger students, we prepare and empower them. I felt deeply connected to this, because I strive to do this daily and coach those that come after me, which shows through my involvement in YEOC (a college readiness program from high school students) and my leadership involvement in the business school. This was vital information to hear from a CEO, because it showed that we, as college students, can really prepare ourselves for the real world if we take the opportunities to do so.

The Foster School of Business does an excellent job of placing students in environments outside the classroom to expand their networks to gain real world insights, and this was just one of the examples of them doing so. I have been fortunate enough to be a scholarship recipient for the past 3 years. I am very thankful for the financial support that the Foster School of Business offers its students. For more information on their scholarships go to this link and check it out for yourself! http://www.foster.washington.edu/academic/undergrad/Pages/UndergradScholarships.aspx




A Few Words From a Young Executives of Color (YEOC) Mentor

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

I am a mentor for Young Executives of Color (YEOC), which is a series of business exploration workshops for local high-school students of color. Students from public and private high schools throughout the Puget Sound area come to the UW campus the first Saturday of every month for YEOC workshops. Business, as an academic and career choice, is explored monthly through different activities.

This is my second year being a mentor, and the first year the program has accepted 144 students.  My team consists of 12 high-school students in 9th to 12th grade.  Just recently, my seniors applied to different colleges and fortunately, some students have already been accepted to colleges and universities.  Although I only meet with my students at our monthly sessions, we are in constant communication about varies topics pertaining to school, social life, and family situations.

Out of all the college readiness programs offered around the world, I wish I would have had an opportunity to participate in YEOC as a high-school student.  The quality of students that YEOC produces is mind blowing.  These students are challenged at an early age and always surpass any expectations that are set for them.  Although I will not be a mentor a next year, I still plan on being closely connected with the program.


- TraVonne I., Senior, YEOC Mentor


Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) Autumn Update

Friday, December 30th, 2011

I love the Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB), not only because it is the 6th highest ranked international business program amongst public schools in the nation, but because it is additionally moving toward becoming a more social club. The combination of cultural and educational insight was exactly what I was looking for when I moved here to attend the UW from the Kingdom of Bahrain in Fall Quarter of 2008.

CISB offers students a community that has a passion for international business and travel in the Foster School. We gain access to international internships, consulting courses, and a network of skilled alumni and mentors. The program is aimed to mold each business student into a capable and internationally equipped businessman/woman who will be able to work wherever he/she pleases.

The new school year entailed a new student executive board, of which each member was extremely excited to serve for this program. Each and every student selected was passionate about improving the program both socially and educationally, by continuing to challenge CISB students.  The executive board that I serve on works well because we all believe that, to be truly competitive in the business field, one must be internationally prepared in all aspects.

Fall Quarter Featured Events:

International Business Career Panel - We were excited to have directors, managers, and trade specialists from companies such as Starbucks, REI, JP Morgan Chase, Bryant Christie, and Expeditors International at this event. They offered some insight on international business career paths along with personal stories of how they got to be so successful.

Pub Crawl - This was the event I worked on this quarter as the VP of marketing. It was a great night where students (21+) were able to socialize off campus and build more informal relationships with one another. It’s all about networking! CISB’s first ever pub crawl would not have been as successful without A Pizza Mart’s sponsorship.


International Night - Japanese octopus balls (takoyaki) mingled with French potato au gratin and Spanish omelets on the same buffet line as our colleagues soothed their international taste buds. Everyone brought in dishes representing different countries and cultures and played a game of trivia testing our group’s cross-cultural knowledge.  Recipes went into a recipe book that is currently being put together by CISB’s executive board.


Alumni Night - This event focused on inviting CISB alumni back to talk to the program’s current students about the true rewards and struggles of the business paths they have found themselves on. Bringing professionals who have recently graduated from the program helped the students relate better to the panel and to the opinions and advice that circulated. Our VP of Alumni Relations had the board’s full support when he presented this idea. Having presenters we can actually relate to is correlated to the level of motivation we feel after an event which is why such events are extremely beneficial and relevant to our students.


-Yara M.
VP Marketing, CISB


2nd Annual Gingerbread House Competition

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
May the best team win!

May the best team win!

On November 30, 2010, the Association of Black Business Students (ABBS) and ALPFA hosted the 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Competition, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the big four accounting firms.  The goals of the Holiday Bash were not only to create interconnections and relationships within the business community but also to invite and unite the general UW population as well.  The event was also created to promote diversity by inviting an expansive range of organizations with various concentrations in business (Ascend, Undergraduate Business Council, Social Entrepreneurship Club) to cultural (Black Student Union, Sisterhood, RETRO, etc.).  By opening the event to the general public, our goal was to attract individuals who may have not had the same opportunities as the business community in being able to explore the business field to their liking. This event enabled both business and cultural organizations to intermingle, creating new networks and bonds otherwise unforeseen. Around 80-90 individuals, including participating organizations, representatives from PWC, and unaffiliated attendees, comprised the spectators at the event. The winning organization was Motivated Undergraduates Succeeding Honorably (Mush), with a double decker house, complete with accessories, such as hot tubs, a sunroof and many other goodies.  The 2010 2ndAnnual Gingerbread House Competition Holiday Bash was created to benefit the UW and served as an enjoyable time for UW’s students and staff before finals and the holiday season.

Louie Tran, Sophomore
Association of Black Business Students – V.P. of Campus Relations

Out in the Workplace!

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Out in the workplace Panel @ ECC Do Seattle companies measure up to the city’s liberal reputation? Last Tuesday night, the Ethnic Cultural Center hosted a panel on the queer (or not) friendly environments of several Puget Sound workplaces, not excluding the University of Washington. Other organizations included Amazon, Adobe, Tacoma School District, and Pacific Medical Centers. Panelists D.A. Clements, Nan Leiter, Jill Seidenstein, David Sumerlin, and Thomas Yetman contributed their perspectives. 

What was the verdict? Turns out our corporations, for the most part, do live up to the cities gay-friendly image with domestic partner benefits, non-discrimination policies, and open-minded employees. Highlights: 

1. Before seeking employment, did you research the company culture to specifically understand their stand on sexual orientation? If so, what resources did you use to research?

 a. Numerous panelists utilized hrc.org, the website for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay and transgender civil rights organization that promotes equal rights in the workplace and community.

2. How do you navigate cultural differences when they arise in the workplace? And by cultural differences I mean the different life experiences held as queer versus straight?

Jill: Not an issue at Amazon. The real problem arises within the queer community itself. There is a lot of misguided animosity and impatience within our environment towards the straight community.

Nan: I’ve had to suppress aspects of myself to conform to the “norm” image. However, people will listen to you more if you’re professional rather than radical.

3. Have you experienced harassment at the workplace?

Nan: Not outright harassment. Rather, I find I don’t have that automatic trust from those other teachers who come from the “straight with kids” lifestyle.

David: I have in past positions, yes. But I find that it also helps to diffuse harassment if you’re out and proud.

A common theme permeated the night: respect. My favorite quote from the evening was “Being out is a manifestation of respect for yourself and your interactions with others.” The panelists made the point that “living out is a political statement.” What statement will we make at Foster? In our futures? Our generation, generation y, is pegged as one that embraces diversity—we were a driving force behind the election of America’s first African American president. Let’s continue to live up to that image, both at Foster and in our future careers, in promoting the rights of all our diverse peers.

-Elizabeth Comley (Senior, Marketing & International Business)

Insider Tour at Safeco Field

Monday, February 1st, 2010
Certificate of International Studies Japanese Track on the field

Certificate of International Studies Japanese Track on the field

Students at the Press Box

Students at the Press Box

On the afternoon of Friday, 22nd of January, 2010, a group of 50 Michael G. Foster School of Business students (including over 25 CISB students) had the opportunity to visit Safeco Field for a meet-and-greet with the team—not the one on the field, but the businessmen and businesswomen who run the company. The visit was jam-packed with insightful Q&A sessions and expert stadium tours. Our gracious hosts—Mr. Gregg Greene (Director of Marketing, UW ’95), Ms. Ingrid Russell-Narcisse (Director of Corporate Business, UW ’88), and Mr. Ken Barron (Interpreter of Ichiro Suzuki, UW CISB ‘03)—gave us the insider tour including the press box, the visitor’s clubhouse, and the field itself.

The highlight of the visit was the Q&A session with our hosts. All three were able to discuss exactly how they rose to their current positions and their path to success. They also stressed the importance of internships and a hard work ethic. Mr. Greene’s story was particularly interesting as it turns out that he originally began his career at the Mariners by helping out a friend who did DJ work for the team. It shows just how important networking is.

All of us would like to thank our gracious hosts again for this great experience—it was an amazing event and we hope that those who missed out can also get the opportunity to see the inside operations of Safeco Field in the future.

- Satomi Wakana (Sophomore, Accounting)
CISB Japanese Track

Marketing makes the world go round – YEOC Marketing Session

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Marketing makes the world go round—well, at least the business world. And marketing just so happened to be the focus for December’s Young Executives of Color program. As one of my focuses at the Foster School, I was especially excited to lead this month’s session. Marketing is an incredibly dynamic subject, encompassing nearly all of a company’s strategic decisions making it incredibly difficult to decide what to include in an hour long introduction to the topic. The final product touched upon the basics—4P’s, target markets, mission statements—then moved on to the more specific areas of brand management and advertising. Students were also able to take a peek into the research of Brian Wansink and Robert Cialdini, prominent academics in the marketing world.

Peter Doubleday, a partner at Ernst & Young, as well as his colleague Bob Hilton, graciously made a visit to the YEOC group again leading an analysis on the visual identity of their company. With them were fellow Ernst & Young’ers Debbie Shih, Valerie Burris, and Kiyosha Baird who spoke about the importance of personal branding and networking. Although students should always be true to their personalities, they learned that certain elements could be emphasized depending on the situation—professional, social, academic. You wouldn’t joke around the same way with your boss as you do with your friends, would you?

Building on the earlier marketing lecture, students were able to employ what they learned about advertising in order to construct a commercial for future YEOC recruiting efforts. In true competitive spirit, teams had only 20 minutes to design a one minute video that would be used to attract new YEOC applicants. Musical numbers, classroom reproductions, and program value-adds all made appearances.

The college admission process again took the lead as our college prep topic. Seniors completed a workshop on writing personal statements with Jennifer Shoen. While Pamela Lacson and Jessica Rush led sophomores and juniors on the elements of analyzing and admitting college applicants – the roles were reversed and students decided who got admitted or denied into a mock university through an admissions case study.

Until January, wishing everyone a wonderful and restful holiday from the YEOC group!
-Elizabeth Comley, YEOC December Session Leader (Senior, Marketing & International Business)

Working the Room

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Jack Rhodes talks to students about how to "work a room".

Jack Rhodes talks to students about how to "work a room".

The BUILD Program kicked off the Winter quarter on January 20th with a workshop on effective networking. Jack Rhodes, Director of the Sales Program, spoke to a packed room of 75 students about the importance of expanding and building networks.

The hour-long program was full of tips like preparing an “elevator pitch”,  how to remember names (repetition!), how to extricate yourself from a conversation, and some basic networking etiquette.  Jack also stressed the need to follow up after meeting someone for the first time, as relationships are about give and take. Hand written notes, gifts or even articles sent to your contacts can be thoughtful ways to stay in touch. “Remember the past is really your foundation for the future,” he said.

Freshman through seniors signed in for the event, and the high attendance was no surprise as networking is one of the most popular workshop topics each year. Many students heard about the program through friends or in class, and others were there to prepare for the annual Foster Career Networking Night , which will be held on January 27th, where undergraduates are invited to network with Foster alumni who have graduated in the past ten years.

2009 DECA Leadership Conference – Reflections from a Undergrad

Monday, November 9th, 2009


Although the DECA Leadership Conference, held on Monday October 26, was early in the academic year, the early timing didn’t hold back the eager high school DECA students. With business hopes and dreams, the students came loaded with questions looking for advice and any knowledge they could attain.

A DECA leader and national champion myself, I remember the fall being an overwhelming time of year, applying to colleges and putting time into the DECA competitions.  Representing the Foster School our team gave students relatable guidance as many of us were in their shoes only a few years ago.   Without a huge difference in age we were able to help build their confidence at a stressful time of the year and talk to them about the Foster School of Business.  It was nice to be able to give them the advice I  wish I had received.  I am very thankful for the experiences I had being part of DECA and hope to see them on campus in the near future!

Submitted by Brandon Barron’12 – Foster School of Business Student Ambassador