Meet Washington Foster’s MBA Class Of 2020

Matt Bishop

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

Reflective, creative Northwesterner who believes in the power of empathy and vulnerability in all things.”

Hometown: Snohomish, WA

Fun Fact About Yourself: Voting member of The Recording Academy. Travelled to all 50 states.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, English Literature

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Hey Marseilles, lead singer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Playing Firefly Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and Newport Folk Festival, all in a ten day period, and driving from San Diego to Rhode Island in three days to make it happen.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?  The Foster classmates I’ve met seem ambitious, curious and accomplished, but also grounded. That combination of characteristics seems to reflect the Northwest ethos well.

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? I love Seattle, even as I’ve traveled elsewhere extensively. The Northwest’s sense of community, its culture of openness and curiosity, and the ingenuity found in the business community make it feel like an ideal environment to get your MBA. With Foster’s record of job placement success, there really wasn’t any other school I strongly considered.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Foster Marketing Club. I’m excited to learn a lot.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am ready for a new challenge and excited about using different parts of my brain after years of writing and singing songs. When the business aspects of being in a band felt more grounding than the creation and performance of music, I knew I needed to do something different. Going to business school was as far on the other end of the spectrum from touring musician as I could imagine.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I decided I would only do the MBA if I could get into a program that was reputed and had a proven track record of job placement success. The back-of-napkin calculations for Foster made it a pretty easy choice when considering their placement rate and average starting salary.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Only the Foster Evening MBA. I looked at Haas and McCombs, but was applying Round III to Foster as it was, so decided to focus my energy this year on UW. I would have applied to more had I not been admitted to UW this year.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Being from the area, I actually had a handful of friends who completed the Foster MBA and they were people I respected and related to. The more I engaged alumni, current students, and faculty (and an amazingly helpful admissions staff), the more I felt at home.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Stepping away from music as a career, even if temporarily, was a challenge. It was my identity and my community. But through the course of that decision, and struggling to be the person I wanted to be while living that life, I really came to terms with the idea that nothing is permanent, that reality is as much a product of perspective as anything else, and that I can find my identity and use my skills in a lot of different ways. That experience has put me in a place where I feel so much more flexible, grounded, and capable to ably confront any circumstance or challenge.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? Part of the appeal of an MBA program was having a structured environment in which to develop foundational skills I don’t yet have and to be able to explore. So I have general aspirations in the realm of marketing or product management, but I’m intentionally making a career pivot and am very much in place of openness and curiosity.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to be at a company I love, working with people I respect and enjoy, doing something that challenges and engages me. My best guess right now is product management, but I’m very open.

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