2023 MBA To Watch: David Lynch, University of Washington (Foster)

David Lynch

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“Determined leader driven to use my experiences and abilities to improve my community.”

Hometown: Rockford, IL

Fun fact about yourself: My favorite food is hot dogs.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA Political Science & BA Economics, Southern Illinois University, 2015

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Senior Client Success Analyst at Civis Analytics in Chicago

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Gartner Consulting’s Seattle Office

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning to Gartner as a Consultant working primarily with the public sector.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

President, MBA Association

2022 Fellow, Purposeful Growth Institute

Dean’s List, Fall 2022

First-Year Representative, Business & Policy Group

2022-23 Glen and Lucille Legoe MBA Fellowship

2021-23 Michael G Foster Students First Scholarship

70+ hours of community service work over 2 academic years

Active participant in MBA Challenge4Charity

Member of 12 MBA clubs over 2 years

Captain, MBA Huddle

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As president of Foster’s MBA Association, I’m most proud of how we’ve navigated the extracurricular student experience in the first year fully back in-person following the COVID lockdown. During this time, we held over 200 events, prioritized DEI in our budget and decision-making, increased collaboration across UW MBA programs, and created an independent study program for student leaders to receive academic credit for their leadership development work.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m proud of GOTV weekend and Election Day 2018. I was a field organizer for a US Congressional race and managed our campaign’s satellite office. I managed over 75 volunteers to help with canvassing and phonebanking, with my teams completing over 300 shifts in 4 days en route to our campaign overperforming polls by ~4%. I had been building a volunteer team over 5 months, and I was so proud to see the culmination of all the time and effort I had put in and the relationships I had developed.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Foster because they stood out for their student community of individuals seeking to collaborate and develop together as leaders who use business and the tools of business to make a meaningful impact on the communities around them.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MBA professor was Mark Hillier, who teaches a couple of Quantitative Methods courses that I took. He made his classes engaging and practical, provided excellent resources, encouraged feedback, and challenged his students to stretch themselves.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite course I’ve taken as an MBA was Advanced Budgeting in the Public Sector. This class was thoughtful and engaging, combined my current education and career with my interests and experience, and was taught in a way that brought a potentially mundane topic to life.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I loved service and tailgating Saturdays with my program. We would meet early at a large park less than a mile from school to pick up trash, working our way across the park and to the stadium where we would tailgate with classmates and alumni. I loved this tradition because on top of it being a chance to connect with our community and root on the Huskies (Go Dawgs), it also shows the dedication of our students to giving back and finding small ways to make an impact.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I wish had worried less about connecting with classmates, meeting my academic expectations, and finding ways to contribute to my community. Looking back, I’m happy with how all those areas turned out, and all my worrying did was increase my stress and decrease my enjoyment of the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Foster is more than just a strong Tech/PM program. It also excels in its development of consulting, sustainability, and marketing analytics. And when people say Seattle is rainy, it’s really more like a heavy mist most of the time.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love how green Seattle is. There are parks and trees everywhere, and we sit next to multiple bodies of water and in between two mountain ranges.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was pleasantly surprised at the level to which the Foster community lived up to its billing as supportive and collaborative.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I attended informational sessions and current-student networking opportunities as a prospective student. This not only showed my interest to the school, it also gave me the chance to get a better understanding about the school and its culture from active students. That, in turn, made me more excited to attend Foster and helped me better prepare for my essays and interviews.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I really look up to Rocio Arellano. She works incredibly hard to give back and to support future students. She has overcome incredible adversity, she’s a leader in our student community, and she easily forms connections with people.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I’d love to run for local elected office, and I want to run a company.

What made David such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“As someone who has been teaching leadership for over 20 years, David is easily one of the most impressive leaders I have encountered in print or in person. He brings out the best in others, makes others feel seen and heard, facilitates consensus, and gently manages execution of others to achieve great things. As President of the MBA Student Association, charged with rebuilding the fully in person student experience with little institutional knowledge on partial processes and infrastructure, he led the community, in partnership with the administration, to outstanding results. Opportunities to connect, learn, and create value abound, and students avail themselves of these opportunities – in large part, due to his strong leadership.

David cultivated his leadership skills early as an Eagle Scout, then as the top student leader at his undergraduate institution, recognized with not one but two awards for his contributions – the Lincoln Student Laurate and Service to Southern Awards. During his time teaching in a small town in Paraguay while in the Peace Corps, he started a youth development organization locally that then grew into a national organization under his leadership. His work in an innovative tech startup, Civis, focused on analytics to support campaigns, and his grassroots campaign support work, fed his passion for effective public service.

David came to Foster with the clear intention to practice his leadership development by serving as a 1st year student representative, and did a wonderful job providing consolidated actionable insights about the priorities of his peers. He continued this work as the MBAA President, but also in the Business and Policy Group student club, and many other clubs. Recognizing the need for infrastructure building, he proposed an independent study to support succession planning, outreach to source candidates, role transmittal documents, onboarding, and also the creation of stronger feedback loops and survey tools to consolidate student priorities. His problem solving with administration always started from a place of mutual respect and building towards shared understanding and deepening our relationships while we improve the program.

Some of his accomplishments as MBAA President include increased transparent fiscal responsibility with a balanced sustainable budget, the prioritization of DEI with funding for execution, and the streamlined event support to enable more than 80 events each quarter for a program of 221 students. He and his executive committee insisted on more involvement of the Evening MBA students with leadership roles, and events scheduled when they can attend, leading to much deeper engagement and a larger and healthier student community.

In addition to taking on an independent study to leave a strong legacy of support to future classes, he spearheaded the renovation of the MBA Lounge, and volunteered over 30 hours each year in the local community. And on top of his Gartner internship last summer, he served as a Fellow at the Purposeful Growth Institute to develop more tools to make an impact as a leader. David has truly lived the mission of his Consortium student membership.

As a Gartner consultant to the public sector, he will extend his impact and I would not be surprised if, one day, we see him running for public office. He will likely be moved to take action on his priorities of affordable housing, developing trust in public institutions, and environmental conservation – so look for his name attached to effective solutions in these domains. I believe without a doubt that David Lynch is one of the best and brightest MBAs of the global class of 2023 and he will have a meaningful impact on our shared future.”

Wendy Guild, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of MBA Programs
Adjunct Management Faculty


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