Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Foster Langsdorf, University Of Michigan (Ross)

Foster Langsdorf

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“My parents decided I would play soccer growing up because it was cheaper than therapy.”

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I won three straight D-1 NCAA National Championships as a member of the Stanford Men’s Varsity Soccer team.

Undergraduate School and Major: Stanford University. B.S. in Management, Science, and Engineering.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: I played forward position in Major League Soccer for the Minnesota United Football Club. While playing, I worked (full-time in the offseason, part-time during season) for Capital Pacific, a commercial real estate investment sales company, as a financial analyst.

What word best describes the Michigan Ross students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Selfless. I worked my first formal internship at a consulting firm while playing professional soccer post-college. At the beginning of the internship, my Excel/coding skills were slow to come back to me (kicking a ball professionally for the previous six months had not helped) and I was nervous about how to carry myself in a work environment where my colleagues had years of work experience over me. I expected my boss, a Michigan Ross graduate (class of 2000), to be impatient and annoyed when I struggled understanding and building financial models in the first months. If he was angered, he did not show it. Instead, he took the time to walk me through models he had built and took an interest in helping me improve. His selflessness to take the time teaching and getting to know me has been perennially emulated in each Ross alum and student I have reached out to with questions.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I thought that the MAP project aligned with my educational needs by allowing me to get more work experience than other MBA programs I was applying to. Gaining work experience was extremely important to me as I have relatively less of it on my resume compared to my peers. This, coupled with the fact that Ross’ alumni network spans 111+ countries with 50,000+ members, would give me access to high-performing individuals who would be willing to give me their time (I was not so sure this treatment would be the same coming from distinguished alums of H/S/W).

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross? I am applying first to the Ross Sports Business Association. They attract an impressive array of senior industry leaders in sports to their annual “Sports Tech Conference” and I want to help host it someday so I contribute an ex-professional athlete perspective and begin exploring potential career paths working for the front office of a Major League Soccer team.

When you think of Michigan Ross, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Ann Arbor. It was one of the first questions I always asked Ross alums: “How did you like Ann Arbor?”. As someone who grew up in Washington, attended college in California, and then played professionally for clubs in Oregon, Nevada, Minnesota, Florida, Scotland and Denmark, I have lived in so many places both good and bad. I wanted to be sure I could call Ann Arbor home. From the outdoor recreation, food, the Big House, and more, every alum I spoke with was seemingly enamored by Ann Arbor’s college town charm.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment in my career has been playing 67 minutes in Major League Soccer. Albeit a small amount of time to play when spread over 3.5 seasons, it was more than I ever dreamt I would play as someone who walked on the Stanford University Men’s Varsity Soccer team. I now plan to take my talents to the intramural soccer team at Ross. Hopefully, I make the team…

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? It reminded me of the importance of smiling and greeting strangers and friends. For over a year I avoided people on the streets of downtown Minneapolis and was apprehensive of communicating with masked strangers. Social distancing furthermore complicated an internship resulting in me never meeting my boss face-to-face. These experiences have made me realize that I want a job where I am working and learning in person and that it is important to always greet one another to build rapport.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I want to earn an MBA so that I can bolster my technical skills to support a career change. It was difficult reaching my dream playing professional soccer, but it was more difficult deciding to retire mid-season (imagine playing the same game six days a week since the day you started kindergarten). With four years of professional soccer playing experience and little work experience, I felt unprepared to begin a career in a demanding and highly technical job right after playing. My hope is that with a MBA from Ross, I can gain real work experience through MAP to explore careers in both real estate and sports to find out what I want to do without the long-term commitment while gaining valuable work experience.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford, Wharton, Tuck, Kellogg, Booth, Yale, Sloan, Haas.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? There is no cookie-cutter solution. What worked best for me was putting effort and deep thought into what I hoped to achieve with earning an MBA and what I could also in turn add to Ross’ community that it did not already have. Spending this time to think greatly helped me interview with Ross and write my application essays in a genuine and unique way.


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