SMALL CLASS SIZES DISTINGUISH FOSTER FROM THE REST
Aside from Columbia and NYU, whose culture reflects New York City’s competitive ethos, no business school better mirrors its host city’s cosmopolitan spirit than Foster. It carries a youthful, egalitarian vibe – one born from a sense of freedom, openness, wonder, and opportunity that comes with growth. During the week, Foster students can relax with the brightest minds in technology and operations over coffee. On weekends, they can ferry to Bainbridge Island to bike; kayak along the Whale Trail; hike the lush forests of Olympic National Park; or snowboard down Mission Ridge.
For many 2017 class members, the Seattle region was a major plus for Foster. “Seattle is geographically isolated from every other top MBA program outside of UW,” says Joshua Rodriguez, a former U.S. Army squadron commander who studied Russian and French at the U.S. Military Academy. “The Foster School of Business has incredible influence in the city and its economy. The top employers for Foster are the same ones you’ll find MBAs on the East Coast competing to get (Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, etc.) and Foster has the home field advantage.” And this location comes with an added benefit says Dina A. Fomina Yadlin, who holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Harvard and hopes to become a player in Seattle’s biotech industry. “Many Foster graduates tend to stay in the area following graduation, which has created an extensive local alumni network that keeps growing.”
The program’s small class size, where students are lavished with personal attention from faculty and staff, also steered many 2017 class members to Foster. “It is a relatively small program with a boutique feel, where everyone knows your name,” Yadlin observes. Elisa Yuen, a UCLA-trained engineer who climbed the ranks at Qualcomm, also saw Foster as a chance to thrive in a different environment. “Foster’s emphasis on a tight knit, engaged community and focus on a collaborative rather than competitive approach to success was refreshing and particularly attractive to me after years of working in the competitive corporate work culture.”
And such a congenial atmosphere is the hallmark of the Foster experience, says Town. “The environment here at Foster encourages students to learn from one other, and our small class size allows students to develop lasting relationships with all of their classmates, not just those who share similar backgrounds or interests. This year we saw these connections happening well before the start of school as incoming students began to meet up in cities around the world and help each other get settled once they arrived here in Seattle. It’s exciting to see this camaraderie developing already.”
Logan Jacobs, a Tennessee native who worked as a financial advisor at Raymond James, treated his selection process the same way as an adcom would. In his mind, Foster was the best candidate for the job. “I hired Foster for a job. A job whose responsibilities include better positioning me for success in any direction I choose to take. I chose Foster because they were the best applicant and would work the hardest to earn my tuition.”
Now that the Class of 2017 has started their journey, what do they hope to do and end up? Mike Greene, a Georgetown alum looking to transition into the tech sector, plans to get in front as many influential people as he can. “As an MBA candidate, almost anyone will take your call. Regardless of whether or not I ultimately plan to work in a particular industry, I’d like to meet leaders in as many organizations as I can, so I can bring that knowledge with me wherever I end up.”
Yadlin, on the other hand, intends to complement her scientific background with business skills. “While at Foster,” she points out, “I expect to gain applied business development experience and explore many facets of operations management, entrepreneurship and technology commercialization. In addition, I look forward to enhancing my leadership skills and building relationships within a community of highly motivated individuals.”
Of course, some 2017 class members are still looking to find their calling. “I plan to work in sustainability with either a focus on energy or water issues, says Anna Daron Bacheller, a communications guru from Montana. “But [I] haven’t yet figured out if I’d be more fulfilled working as a consultant or starting my own business. I plan to try consulting via an internship, compete in entrepreneurship competitions, and leverage Foster’s curriculum to fill gaps in my knowledge and find my path, whether it’s entrepreneurship, consulting, or something in between.”
To read profiles of incoming Foster students – along with their advice on tackling GMAT, applications, and interviews – click on the student links below.