Meet Washington Foster’s MBA Class Of 2020

Marc Pujol

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Loyal and honest; love traveling and eating amazing food; Niners, Giants and Warriors, oh my!”

Hometown: Berkeley, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m half Catalan on my father’s side, and I took advantage of the summer between work and business school to get married at our family’s house outside Barcelona this past July.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.A.s in Political Science and Economics from University of California, Berkeley

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Edison Energy, Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In early 2014, when I was with Edison International in Los Angeles, I worked on a project focused on searching for new growth opportunities in the regulated utility and non-regulated power sectors. This was four or five people sitting in a room a couple hours each week brainstorming around some specific topics with which we each had varying levels of expertise. Two of those initiatives became real projects – one became a $300 million effort to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure to Edison’s on behalf of Edison’s utility customers. The second became a new Edison subsidiary focused on investments in the water sector. Both turned out to have positive and continuing impacts on the people involved as well as on my own professional growth, and I’m proud to be able to say I was involved in the genesis of those efforts.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Humility, which was a quality I required in a business school. I want to be with classmates that appreciate not just their potential as leaders but also the opportunity to learn from past MBA graduates and experts in business, regardless of background and education.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor for me was actually location. My wife and I had already decided to move to Seattle for her work, so I was most likely either going to elect to pursue an MBA at Foster or find a job at a Seattle-area company. I also grew up outside San Francisco, so it was important for me to go to a school with a strong west coast presence. The combination of the strength of Foster’s program and the opportunities available in the San Francisco and Seattle areas ended up being a perfect fit for me.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m really looking forward to the Environmental Innovation Challenge hosted by Foster’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. With my background in energy and a special interest in clean energy-powered infrastructure, I’m looking forward to getting on a team with other Washington students to advance ideas that help make communities more sustainable.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? For me, it was as much of a life decision as it was a decision to go back to school and get an MBA. My wife graduated in May 2018 from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and we were planning to move to Seattle for her to begin working. Consequently, I was either going to find a new position in Seattle or go back to school for an MBA of my own. I had always wanted to and expected that I would get an MBA, but I had enjoyed my work and wasn’t ready to leave in prior years. The move to Seattle offered an excellent opportunity to take advantage of our moving situation by pursuing an MBA at Foster.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? As a “Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis,” I of course began with a few spreadsheets based on some simple assumptions. However, I didn’t want my spreadsheet speculations to affect my willingness to at least apply, so I mostly reserved judgment on the value proposition until after I had applied, been admitted and done the school-specific review of the investment requirement and expected salary after graduation. Foster offered an excellent combination of investment and employment prospects, as well as all the intangibles of the experience and education, so it ended up being an easy decision for me to pursue an MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB and Berkeley (Haas).

How did you determine your fit at various schools? My priorities were the following, in this order: (1) people, (2) employment, and (3) location. To gauge cultural fit, my primary objective after being accepted to Foster was to talk with as many prospective classmates as possible during Foster’s welcome weekend. Luckily, Foster’s small class size meant I could not just get a sampling of the people and culture, but that I could actually meet a significant share of my future classmates. For employment, Seattle (of course) has great, established companies, as well as plenty of earlier-stage companies and start-ups that make it hard to top in terms of employment opportunities. And location was of course key, as my wife’s job was taking us to Seattle, and being on the west coast is a priority for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The most singularly defining moment was when I met my future wife; my relationship with my wife has shaped every one of my life decisions over the last seven years, no matter how significant. Together, we’ve moved across the country twice and traveled all over the world. Her perspective has helped me make tough decisions in both my professional and personal life. We make an effort to remain our own people and maintain our own interests, but she helps push me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to tackle issues and challenges that I wouldn’t otherwise pursue on my own.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I’m very interested in private-sector participation in transportation infrastructure development. My eight years of experience with energy and regulated utilities has led me to believe there’s an opportunity to apply utility finance and clean energy to new infrastructure for people and goods movement. I would love to work for an infrastructure investment or development company that is taking a progressive view on how to advance this concept.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to be at a company that I love – hopefully the company that I began with after business school – and I hope I’ll feel that my work is contributing in a positive way to society.

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