Meet Foster’s MBA Class of 2018

The University of Washington's Foster School came in second only to UCLA's Anderson. Here is a spring time picture of the university quad.

The University of Washington’s quad.


For Erin Town, the program’s director of MBA admissions, the 2018 class represents a banner year in recruiting. “This year, we are excited to welcome one of the most geographically diverse classes we’ve ever seen at Foster,” she says. “We are also happy to report a record number of women entering the program this fall, and credit this in part to our recent partnership with the Forté Foundation. We are equally thrilled to welcome a record number of veterans into the program (nearly 16% of our class!); their work ethic, leadership capability and impressive team experience fit right in at Foster.”

Overall, the school received 1,032 applications for the 2015-2016 cycle, accepting 247 and ultimately enrolling 125 (down five students from the previous year). That said, average GMAT scores rose 688 to 691, putting Foster in the same company as U.S. stalwarts like Emory, Vanderbilt, and Carnegie Mellon (along with international powers like Cambridge and HEC Paris).  The median GMAT reached 700, with scores ranging from 630-740 in the mid-80% range.

The big news, however, involved the percentage of women, which jumped 10 points to 43% — equal to Harvard and Yale and placing Foster just a point below Wharton and Tuck. At the same time, the percentage of international students climbed from 33% to 39%. Academically, social sciences undergrads comprised the largest bloc of students at 28%, followed by business (23%), engineering (21%), economics (16%), and math and science (7%).

Erin Town

Erin Town

“Our incoming student hail from an impressive list of companies and industries this year,” Town adds, “but since we also encourage applicants to share their passions outside of work, we can say with certainty that we have some very talented musicians, athletes, foodies, mountaineers and artists joining Foster who are excited to share their talents with one another.”


Thinking about applying to Foster? Here’s an important point to know: Expect to be coached. Throughout the first year, students receive personalized training from career coaches on everything from interpersonal communication to teamwork. Come second year, the tables turn, with students expected to “learn by teaching” by mentoring first years. As a result, Foster MBAs forge strong ties with three classes instead of just one.

If there is one trait that defines the 9.300 Foster MBA alumni — half of whom live in the Seattle metro — it would undoubtedly be their willingness to help students following in their footsteps. “When I asked to connect with Foster alumni to discuss their experiences in the program,” Wenneborg shares,I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response. Everyone I spoke with offered candid feedback on their experiences at Foster, and provided additional contacts for me to reach out to. It was tremendously apparent that the culture of this program creates a community that persists both within and beyond the MBA program.”

Indeed, it is a program known for going above-and-beyond — and expecting its MBA candidates to follow suit. “Because our MBA program is small by design,” Town adds, “every student is expected to dive into their experience and fully engage with their classmates. Study teams are arranged so that students work alongside classmates who have very different backgrounds. The more variety represented among our students, the more they’ll learn from one another.”



Seattle, Washington

An MBA program is a transformational experience. By the time graduation rolls around, many will have changed their outlook, if not their aspirations entirely. Nelson, for one, hopes to advance an interconnected triple bottom line (aka people, planet, and profits) in his career. “Through better environmental strategies and products, companies can restore both environmental and social conditions, which will continue to deteriorate globally if business leaders do not recognize and understand the broader impacts of decisions that are only driven by profit.”

Gilroy, on the other hand, hopes to make the leap from consulting to leadership, with the goal of helping a small company take a leap to the next level while also providing value to its community. While Wenneborg hasn’t exactly defined her dream job, she has proven to be a master of MBA-speak in just a semester: “I see myself working in a cross-functional role with emerging businesses to develop durable strategies that transition seamlessly as the business scales and iterates.”

As they evolve over their time at Foster, the 2018 Class also hopes to leave the program even better than what they found it. For Krainski, that means being “always up for a challenge and never too busy to lend a hand.” Gilroy plans for her big contributions to come during class. “Whether through our discussions, questions, or team projects, “ she states, “I want my peers to say I pushed the conversation to interesting places, incited constructive dialogue, and made them laugh once or twice.” Nelson takes a big picture approach to his legacy. His goal is for his peers to remember him as someone who thrived by living in the here-and-now: “He is always giving his absolute most in the present moment, recognizing that the future is determined by the impact that he has right now.” 


To read profiles of incoming Foster students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Oluyinka Awobiyi / Lagos, Nigeria

Robert A. Della-Moretta / Leavenworth, KS

Julia M. Gilroy / Taos, NM

Lauren Krainski / Erie, PA

Amanda Lowe / Atlanta, GA

Scott Mackenzie / Cupertino, CA

Sandra Mumanachit / Philadelphia, PA

Robert Nelson / Mystic, CT  

Ami Shastri / Indore, India

James Souza / Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Troy Strandquist / Washington, DC

Courtney Wenneborg / Sammamish, WA

Page 2 of 14