Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Kenta Keleher, University of Washington (Foster)

Kenta Keleher

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“Having lived in Japan and the US, I love to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds.”

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Fun Fact About Yourself: My Japanese calligraphy piece has been displayed in the Tokyo National Museum as part of the National High School Japanese Calligraphy Competition.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Washington, BA in Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EV Motors International, Inc., Analyst

What makes Seattle such a great place to earn an MBA? Seattle has some of the largest tech companies in the world such as Microsoft and Amazon, well-known brands such as Starbucks and Costco, and many other companies that Foster has a great network with. Moreover, the Seattle area has a great mix of city and nature, with the ocean, lakes, and mountains being in proximity of the city. It is an ideal area for settling down in a welcoming and nature-rich environment.

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? Foster has an emphasis on tech and consulting, which aligned with my career goals after my MBA. Additionally, the smaller cohort of around 100 people makes the environment more intimate and cultivates long-term camaraderie.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Washington Foster? I have particularly enjoyed my Finance course during my first quarter. Despite majoring in finance during my undergraduate studies, my understanding of finance grew exponentially by taking this course. The professor took a unique stance by assigning diagrams to visualize financial concepts and approached finance with a more wholistic view, which can be easily applied to real life situations.

Washington Foster operates off a philosophy of We>Me. Give us an example of how you’ve seen that among your classmates so far. Students are assigned to “core” teams each quarter to work on assignments, projects, and presentations. Within the core teams, we have full autonomy on how we want to approach these deliverables. It is a great way to work through our individual strengths and weaknesses while supporting each other in academics and recruiting. For example, when certain members of my core team had recruiting events, other members put extra work in. Throughout the 3 months we were able to balance each member’s contribution.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Leading account teams and collaborating internationally to propose drastic business transformations that lead to selling million-dollar software projects.

Describe your biggest achievement in the MBA program so far: Being accepted as a first-year representative of the tech club has been a proud achievement so far. I will be managing corporate relations, and plan to foster better relationships with our corporate partners. Additionally, I would like to use this opportunity to better support my colleagues who are transitioning into the tech industry.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? The book The Complete Start-to-Finish MBA Admissions Guide helped me prepare for all aspects of my MBA application, including writing essays, asking for recommendations, and preparing for the interview. Consider it a general guidebook for applying to an MBA program. Also, the book Start with Why is worth a read to understand more about how to articulate your values and goals better. It is a useful book to use when thinking through potential life decisions. 

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Washington Foster’s MBA program? Start by thinking about Why an MBA?, Why Now?, and Why Foster?. Be honest about what you want to do after the MBA program, reflect on what you do now, and identify the skills and knowledge that are needed to move forward. Make sure that these skills and knowledge match what the Foster school can offer. You can reach out to the Foster admissions team and be connected with current students as well as alumni to get a better idea of what Foster is like. Remember, taking the time to speak with associate people will give you a more accurate representation of the school than any information found online. Lastly, Foster places a large emphasis on diversity and inclusion, so be sure to approach part of your essays from that perspective.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.