Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Travis Strawn, University of Washington (Foster)

Travis Strawn

University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business

“Optimistic and motivated problem solver, with a passion for learning and the outdoors.”

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Fun Fact about yourself: I was born in Aschaffenburg, Germany.

Undergraduate School and Major: Business Administration (Finance), University of Washington

Most recent employer and job title: Carta, Valuations Associate

What makes Seattle such a great place to earn an MBA?

Seattle is a major business hub that is home to some of the top blue-chip companies in the world. This naturally brings top talent to Seattle, which means the city is thriving with a diversity of backgrounds and talents. This makes the city a great place to start a new network. I think what makes Seattle unique, in comparison to other major business hubs, is that it is still in the early-stages of growth, so there is an extraordinary amount of opportunity, and the degrees of separation to CEOs, founders, and investors might be smaller than what you find in a New York or Chicago.

Aside from your classmates and your location, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?: I have found that I learn best by doing. My learning style directly matches Foster’s commitment to transforming learning into action through experiential learning opportunities. The Board Fellows Program, Applied Strategy Projects, and Executive Mentorship Program are all hands-on approaches to learning, which means I gain invaluable experience outside of the outstanding curriculum.

What club or activities excites you most at this school? Outside of the already mentioned experiential learning opportunities, I am excited about the Net Impact Club. The clubs offer a unique opportunity to partner with the Evans School of Public Affairs, the College of the Environment, and the College of Engineering to explore new opportunities on how to drive social and environmental sustainability.

Describe you biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my relatively short career, I think my biggest accomplishment has been getting accepted into Foster, and stepping aside and dedicating my next two years to a full-time MBA program.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I always intended to pursue an MBA, and after 3 years in the workforce, I thought it was an appropriate time to take the initiative.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process: “What would you make for a dinner party and why?” While the question itself was not difficult to answer, the format was unique. The 2-minute recorded videos, with no preparation or idea of the oncoming questions was intimidating, and a challenging experience. The question was relaxed, but the pressure for the answer felt high.

How did you determine fit at various schools? I looked at curriculum and clubs/activities to understand how the MBA would be structured, and ensure I could succeed in the school’s format. I also looked at class size and resources available to students, and of course, cost.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My undergraduate experience at UW was a defining moment in my life that was fundamental in my development both personally and professionally. I was able to build a network that has been paramount to my professional success. As a Double Dawg, I have an intimate understanding of Foster’s culture and ability to propel its student successfully into the professional world. I am extremely excited to build on the development and network from my undergraduate experience.

What special ingredient do you see yourself bringing to the class of 2022? How will that enrich the MBA experience?I see myself as a team driver, someone who can mediate dissenting opinions in a respectable but productive way. With a curriculum that is heavily focused on teamwork, I believe this special ingredient will allow my classmates to speak and think candidly.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? The Walt Disney Company is a visionary company that teaches a valuable lesson on staying relevant and adapting through time. The company has engrained itself as an institution of American culture while being able to succeed through various means such as acquisitions, new products, and new stories. Bob Iger is also a tremendous case study in a successful track record as a CEO.