Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Alex Macintosh, University of Washington (Foster)

Alex Macintosh

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“Enthusiastic, curious, and driven. Loves being active outdoors in all seasons and any weather.”

Hometown: Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: My wife and I performed a karaoke version of “Shallow” at our wedding this summer for all our guests. We’re still waiting for a record label to reach out for a contract.

Undergraduate School and Major: Harvard College, History

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Director, US Origination at Natural Capital Exchange (NCX)

What makes Seattle such a great place to earn an MBA? I could go on for a while in response to this question, but here are two big ones: first, the business community in Seattle is eager to engage with Foster students in a wide range of industries represented by firms of many different sizes. Seattle is home to major companies in engineering, tech, retail, and natural resource management and they are all open to connecting with passionate MBAs. Second, Seattle has unparalleled access to the outdoors, which is especially appealing for people that are committed to an active lifestyle. The proximity to the Cascades and Olympic Peninsula means that you have endless options in a PNW outdoor playground. I’ve already been skiing before class on a weekday, and it’s not even January! Bonus answer: the brewery options are world-class.

Aside from your location and classmates, what was the key part of Washington Foster’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I am someone who “learns by doing”, and the emphasis on Experiential Learning at Foster is something that I found really appealing during the admissions process. We have our Applied Strategy project in Winter Quarter of our first year, where we work in project teams with a local business. I think it’s fantastic that we get to do this so early-on in our MBA timeline. It’s great to have an opportunity to apply classroom learning to real business problems and apply the content in a practical way. I am looking forward to taking additional Applied Strategy electives in future quarters for the same reasons.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Washington Foster? My favorite course thus far has been our core Corporate Finance class, with Financial Accounting a close second. Finance and accounting were two areas that I wanted to focus on right away in my MBA experience. I found it exciting and very satisfying to learn so much in just one quarter. Both courses, taught by excellent professors, blended interesting lectures with a combination of group projects and individual work. The opportunity to work together in a team environment and then build the confidence to tackle individual assignments was a great learning progression. I’m looking forward to taking electives in both areas in upcoming quarters.

Washington Foster operates off a philosophy of We>Me. Give us an example of how you’ve seen that among your classmates so far. I’ve seen many examples of We > Me exhibited by my classmates, but the one that comes to mind first is how supportive our class is to each other with anything related to internships and job interviews. MBA internships are extremely competitive and it’s not uncommon for five or more members of our class to apply for the same role. When interview invitations are sent out for roles. there are inevitably people that don’t get selected; rather than being focused on their own situation, these folks are often the first ones to celebrate their colleagues who did get an interview invitation. This kind of positive and collaborative spirit embodies the UW Foster student experience.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In my most recent role prior to school, I was responsible for implementing a nationwide program that pays American forest landowners to reduce their harvesting to store more carbon. Under my leadership, we grew from zero to over 10,000 landowners representing 4.5M acres in only 16 months. My biggest accomplishment in this capacity was constantly learning at a rapid pace about forest management and forest economics so we could ensure our program was being adopted by key stakeholders. I was a regular speaker at state and national forestry conferences. I loved building partnerships with the many landowners and foresters that we worked with as part of the early rollout phase of the program.

Describe your biggest achievement in the MBA program so far: This might be a bit of a boring answer, but I’m proud of how my commitment to my academics has translated into strong performance and comprehension. My classmates are thoughtful and hard-working, and this motivates me to bring my A-game to class discussions, group projects, and assignments. Foster’s rigorous academic program was a major draw for me, and I have enjoyed working hard toward building new skills and expertise.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? This doesn’t necessarily qualify as “recent” because I read it several years ago, but I would highly recommend Yvon Chouinard’s memoir Let My People Go Surfing. It’s an entertaining and inspiring view into the early days of Patagonia and the core attitudes that have endured through the decades-long life of the company. I read this book near the start of my professional career and it gave me insight into how business leaders can and should use deeply rooted principles and values to drive decision-making and the development of their company and team. Identifying values and principles that motivate and inspire you is crucial for establishing frameworks for business questions, big and small. Building on this strong foundation creates enduring resilience in the face of challenges.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Washington Foster’s MBA program? Talk to alumni who are working in your desired field and talk to professors who teach courses in subject areas that you are planning to focus on during your time in school. This will help you come in with a clear plan for how you’ll design your MBA experience in a way that sets you up to be effective and successful in your career post-MBA. There are countless ways to tailor the Foster MBA toward your achieving your goals. Having additional insights from Foster community members is invaluable as you put together your blueprint for getting the most out of your two years. The admissions team was incredibly helpful in introducing me to alumni and professors during my application process.

DON’T MISS: MEET WASHINGTON FOSTER’S MBA CLASS OF 2024

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