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Short-term programs abroad

The Global Business Center currently offers two short-term study abroad options for MBA students, Global Consulting Projects and Study Tours. Continue reading to learn more.

Global Consulting Project

A select group of MBA students will travel to India in March to get a first-hand look at social entrepreneurship and how it works. During their time in the country, MBA’s will help rural people build the kind of businesses that can lift their families and villages out of poverty, a practical global experience that cannot be found in any textbook.

Trip overview

The group will meet for 4-5 mandatory meetings during winter Quarter, two of them on Saturdays, two to three on weekday evenings. Students will fly from Seattle on Friday March 9 and begin work with SEWA Monday morning, March 12 (India is 13.5 hours ahead of Seattle in March, so you will lose a day en route). After nine days of intense project work, the group will have several days of sightseeing. See the itinerary below for more information.

Once back in Seattle, MBAs develop solutions in a required four-credit IBUS 579 class spring Quarter. Recommendations will be presented via teleconference in May 2018, with the client providing feedback.

The Client

The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)

The Self-Employed Women’s Association – (SEWA – pronounced SAY-va) – represents 1.9 million self-employed Indian women, most supporting families on less than $2 per day. SEWA organizes these women into collective businesses and helps them feed their families, educate their children and improve the health of their communities. This group that believes that business is the answer to poverty. Former U.S. Ambassador Melanne Verveer calls them “a model for the world” in providing livelihoods. We will be working with SEWA’s excellent staff – one Indian magazine has called them “power women” – in the group’s headquarters in Ahmedabad as well as surrounding villages. More info on the SEWA website


Trip itinerary
 Fri 3/9 Depart Seattle
 Sat 3/10 Arrive Mumbai
 Sun 3/11 Light Mumbai sightseeing, fly to Ahmedabad early evening
 Mon 3/12
 Tue 3/13 SEWA Project Activities near Ahmedabad
 Wed 3/14
 Thur 3/15
 Fri 3/16
 Sat 3/17
 Sun 3/18
 Mon 3/19
 Tue 3/20 Final Presentations to SEWA. Fly to Jaipur
 Wed 3/21 Ride elephants. Visit Amer Fort and Pink Palace. On to Agra
 Thu 3/22 Visit Taj Mahal. On to New Delhi for a big city evening
 Fri 3/23 Tour New Delhi. Fly home. Most flights leave late evening.
 Sat 3/24 Arrive home by noon if you take a midnight flight.

You have the option to explore more of India on a supplemental itinerary before school starts again on March 26.

The Spring Quarter Class

IBUS 579 will meet on the first six Thursday evenings of Spring Quarter to develop solutions with the help of local mentors from PATH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other organizations. Final presentations will take place in early May, at which point the class ends. IBUS 579 is a required four-credit class.

Degree requirements met>

For full-time MBAs, this program counts as a practical experience and also meets one international perspective requirement. For the Global Business Certificate, it can meet either the experiential requirement or the global business course elective requirement, but not both.

The projects

Students may select from the following strategy projects for SEWA.

    1. Marketing Strategy for a Handicrafters Cooperative. The SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre (STFC), a cooperative fully-owned by its 35,000 handicrafter members, follows an established production plan enabling women in multiple far-flung villages to produce quality work in specific designs. STFC needs a strategy for marketing the goods handicrafters produce. The MBA group will look at international as well as Indian markets. Marketing or Operations interest helpful. More info:
    2. Business Plan for SEWA Handicrafts Stores. SEWA handicrafters sell some of their work through two stores under the brand name Hansiba, one in Ahmedabad and one in New Delhi. The MBA group will review the sales and marketing techniques of these stores, determine the level of sales required for the stores to be self-sustaining, and provide ideas for increasing sales. Marketing, Merchandising, or Finance interest helpful. More info:
    3. Route Planning and Product Distribution for a Rural Agribusiness Cooperative. Building on the excellent work of a previous MBA team, a Foster group will develop operations strategy for RUDI, a business packaging and selling the produce of small shareholder farmers. RUDI depends upon grassroots door-to-door Avon-type saleswomen to market and deliver their products. What is the most efficient and cost-effective distribution route and method? Operations or Sales interest helpful. More info:
    4. Financing of Solar Panels and Pumps for a Salt Farmers Collective. Salt farming is a grueling livelihood with its practitioners in Gujarat living off the grid and barely earning enough to live. They depend on moneylenders to survive until they can sell their salt…often at a vastly reduced price determined by those who have loaned them the money. Building on the work of last year’s MBA team, a group of students will examine the feasibility of multiple households financing solar panels and pumps to save money on fuel – perhaps enough to free themselves of the moneylenders. Finance and Green Energy interest helpful.
    5. Green Energy Incentives, Financing, and Training. Working with SEWA’s Hariyali Green Energy group, an MBA team will create a system for village and household energy planning integrating marketing, skill-building and microfinance. They will build a module to help villagers determine the true current cost of energy for their homes and trades compared to renewable solar energy, which has no recurring cost. The team will then strategize incentives for (sometimes resistant) villagers to use clean energy products to improve their health and access to better lighting and other capabilities. Interest in Finance, Marketing and Environmental issues helpful.
    6. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in the Desert. Water and sanitation are big issues in the dry Dungarpur area of Rajasthan with its population of struggling farmers. SEWA and leaders in 11 villages have implemented a number of grassroots initiatives to provide enough water for basic home and livelihood needs. Building on the work of one of last year’s MBA teams, a group of MBAs will assess the quantitative/qualitative impact of these initiatives to determine which contribute to sustainable employment and quality of life. Global Health and Development interest helpful.
    7. Determining the Breakeven Point for a Tools & Equipment Library. Building on the great work of a previous MBA team, a new Foster group will work with SEWA managers to implement the business model recommended by the previous team. The tools library provides equipment to farmers who cannot afford to purchase the tools they need. The new team will analyze ongoing operations and make recommendations, including whether new equipment such as solar pumps and drip irrigation systems should be included in the library. Finance or Operations interest helpful.
    8. Branding Refresh for SEWA Website. SEWA’s website is complicated, difficult to navigate, and does not do the group justice. The group would like its vision statement and slogan to be understandable to people who do not already know SEWA, particularly foreigners like us. Working with SEWA’s (small) IT team, a group of MBAs will strategize the look and feel and content of the website, suggesting an appropriate infrastructure. Eventually SEWA would like to have the capability to sell goods and register visitors. The team can build that into the plan. Marketing and Technical Project Management interest or expertise helpful.

The GCP application will ask for your top choices. It’s best to choose more than one, as we will only take on 4-5 of these projects. Applicants will be matched to specific projects based upon preference. Project groups will have 3-5 students each.

The application process

To apply, you will need to complete the application by October 27th. You will be required to provide one reference e-mail or letter by the same date. Applicants will be asked to take part in a short interview the following week. If selected, you will need to secure your spot in the program with a non-refundable $1000 down payment by November 13th. The remainder of the fee ($1600) is due by December 13th.

If you have questions, please e-mail Program Directors Cate Goethals ( or Jess Rush (

Founder of this program, Cate is a longtime Foster lecturer and leadership development coach who also directs several other programs related to women in leadership. She holds two passports and has led 14 previous student trips to India and one to South Korea. An unabashed enthusiast of all things Indian, she has led workshops on Indian commerce and business culture for Boeing and other companies. She considers working with SEWA a highlight of each year.

Jess is the Assistant Director of MBA Global Programs in Foster’s Global Business Center. She has led student trips to Brazil, China, South Africa, and notably, India. In 2013, on an undergraduate student trip, India captured her heart (and challenged and taught and pushed her at the same time). In 2016, with this program that relationship with India grew stronger. Jess is a yoga teacher and life-long student. She plays the harmonium (used in Indian music), practices mantra and meditation, and after December will be a certified life coach.


2014 Student 1: Culturally, India blew my expectations out of the water. I remember being told that all my senses would be working overtime, but I did not understand what that meant until we actually arrived in Mumbai. Beyond some of the “normal” traveling cultural learnings, like how to walk on the streets without being run over (turns out you just…walk), or which foods to try (all of them), my most meaningful cultural learnings came from interacting with SEWA members. The sheer diversity was amazing. …This leads me to my professional development. In this consulting atmosphere, we were tempted to present the best possible solution to the problem. In other words how could Hariyali best scale up sales of solar lanterns. The reality is that the question we should be asking is how can we best add value to Hariyali in order to help them scale of sales of solar lanterns. While I think we had some idea of this going in, we really didn’t grasp it’s full meaning until working with Anurag a bit more. I think the former approach is so ingrained in my mind that it is difficult to let go. It was telling for us that we did not decide as a group to drop a full strategy document until the last couple weeks of the project. I would classify this as my surprising take away. It’s not that I am surprised that we had to change our approach, but that it was so difficult to do so even knowing that we had to.Additionally, it was wonderful being able to apply some of the skills and knowledge that I’ve learned in my Foster classes to this project. I remember going over the re-order point formula from operations and some of the marketing frameworks. Applying these, really enhanced the learning from these classes, deepening my knowledge on these topics.

2014 Student 2: On an individual basis, my main take away was that I learned to make the most of the information and resources we had, which mostly came in a qualitative format. Since most of my career has been in the finance and accounting field, I am used to receiving data in a specific format, and I usually greet numerical data and excel spreadsheets with delight! During our focus groups and team meetings, we often encountered numbers changing – which could have been due to translation or communication issues, or simply inaccurate data. What I came to realize was that I was searching for something I was comfortable or familiar with, and not necessarily something that would aid in the project. I then had to push myself to let go of my “need” for numbers and instead embrace words, experiences, stories, which ultimately helped shape our project in a way I had not perceived or valued before.

2014 Student 3: India was truly an eye opening experience for me; I have never been to a place as overwhelming yet incredible as India before. When family and friends asked about the trip upon my return home, I had a hard time explaining to them just how different it was in a way that made them fully understand the frustrations but also convey that it was truly amazing. I think this trip was the perfect introduction to such a complicated, but rich country.

Study Tours

Global Business Study Tours are fast-paced academic trips that allow students to experience business and culture first-hand through personal meetings with executives and local business leaders, company visits and cultural excursions. Tours last 8 to 14 days and will take place between March 11 and 22.

Curious about the kinds of things you’ll take away from a study tour? Check out a presentation (with photos) done by a couple of the students who went to Argentina. Study Tour itinerary updates, potential company visits, travel tips, cultural information will be shared on the Study Tours Facebook page. So stay connected.Questions? Send an email to Select the headings below for more information.

2017-2018 Study Tour destinations

  • Israel
  • China/Japan

More information on cost, itinerary, and application will be available early fall.

Student application process

Study Tour applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on October 22nd. The application includes a nonrefundable application fee of $50. Applicants will be assigned to their first choice by the priority system outlined below. If there are more applicants than there are spaces available on the tours, a lottery will be held within each priority tier to determine which applicants get their first (or second, third etc) choice. All applicants will be notified of their placement (on a Study Tour or a waitlist) on the date listed above. Notifications will be made via email only. No notifications will be given in person or over the phone.

The priority and lottery tiers are as follows:
First: Graduating MBA students who need the Global Business Study Tour to fulfill the Global Business Program certificate requirements. Certificate eligibility will be assessed during the application process.
Second: Other graduating Foster MBA students who have not yet been on a tour and non-graduating Foster MBAs who have applied to the Global Business Certificate.
Third: All non-graduating Foster MBA tour applicants who have not participated on a Global Business Study Tour.
Fourth: Other Foster MBAs who have participated previously.
Fifth: All UW graduate student (non-Foster School) applicants who have not participated previously.
Sixth: All UW graduate student (non-Foster School) applicants who have participated previously.Deposits are required by the dates listed to confirm a space on the tour. Failure to pay program fees (deposit and balance) by the set deadlines will result in a loss of your space on the tour. That space will be given to a student on the waitlist. Please notify the Global Business Center immediately by email if you must cancel from any GBC-sponsored trip.$500.00 of the Study Tour deposit is non-refundable, regardless of the cancellation reason or date. Because the program fees are disbursed on students’ behalf to overseas vendors, the refund policy is not negotiable. See the costs tab for the payment schedule.


Global Business Study Tours are an extra-curricular program, and the cost of the tours is not included in UW tuition. However, it can be covered by financial aid. The flat rate Study Tour fee includes all accommodations (double-occupancy), group in-country transportation, some meals and cultural excursions. Some tours may include more in-country incidentals than others.Participants in the Study Tours will travel on international flights as a group from/to Seattle to reduce airfare costs. This cost will be added to the Study Tour fee to be paid by each student.The cost of entrance visas, required immunizations, personal expenses, optional cultural events, tuition for IBUS 570, and some meals is not covered in the price.


Participants engage in a study tour for their own personal benefit, and with any travel program participants may encounter unexpected risks. These risks include, but are not limited to sickness, exposure to disease, political upheaval, accidents, the forces of nature, travel dangers on the air or ground, and property loss and damage. All students participating in UW study abroad programs will be required to purchase the UW Study Abroad Insurance, or demonstrate equivalent coverage. The insurance plan is specific to the needs of study abroad students and affordable: the cost is approximately $2 per day and the policy includes major medical coverage as well as emergency evacuation for medical, political or natural disasters. Students can enroll and pay online. More detailed information about this policy and the link to purchase is available online. Waiver requests should be directed to


The Global Business Study Tours are sponsored by the Global Business Center with support from the Foster School. Jess Rush, Assistant Director for MBA Global Programs, oversees the study tour application process, develops tour itineraries through third-party services, coordinates the pre-departure orientation sessions, assists staff and faculty representatives with tour logistics, manages tour finances, and acts as a liaison to the MBA Program Office and other UW graduate departments for tour related issues. Questions regarding the study tours should be directed to Jess at, 206.616.9565 or in Mackenzie 137.

A faculty representative accompanies and helps to plan each tour. The faculty person oversees the business visits and theme development of each tour as well as the academic content for IBUS 570, assigning the project/paper to the students who take the study tour for credit. The faculty member also takes the lead on developing content for and teaching both pre-departure sessions. They are the official representative of the Foster School of Business and act as a tour resource for the business and/or cultural climate of the country(s) visited during the tour.

A Foster staff representative also accompanies each tour. The staff representative is an official Foster School representative during the tour and responsible for the general well-being and safety of student participants. The staff representative helps shape the overall Study Tour experience by assisting with pre-departure sessions, arranging social activities before tour departure, providing in-country leadership during the tour, and serving as the liaison between the in-country guide and students during the tour.

A student lead(s) is selected for every Study Tour. The student lead(s) is responsible for assisting the faculty with planning and coordinating the business aspects of the trip. They will also assist with trip marketing and recruiting their classmates. While on the trip, the student lead will serve as a touch point for both the faculty and staff person on issues the group may be dealing with.

Pre-departure sessions

Pre-departure sessions are scheduled during the quarter prior to the trip. All tour participants must attend each scheduled orientation session. These sessions are intended to provide industry, business, cultural, historic, and political background information prior to tour departure. The sessions are facilitated by the tour leadership and include guest speakers from the Seattle business community and the University of Washington.Participation is important during pre-departure sessions. All tour participants may be asked to prepare business or cultural presentations or provide a list of possible questions for a specific company visit. The amount of out-of- classroom time required to prepare for these presentations will be minimal. Interactive and participatory pre- departure sessions are valuable learning experiences for everyone. The sessions are informal and are a great opportunity to meet fellow tour participants before departure and may include opportunities to sample foreign cuisine, or practice useful foreign language phrases before leaving Seattle.

IBUS 570

Tour participants have the option of receiving two academic credits in the quarter prior to the trip by registering for IBUS 570: Global Study Tour. To receive academic credit the following requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Attendance at the 2 mandatory pre-departure orientations.
  • Complete project/paper under advisement from faculty representative.

Students who have already taken a prior Study Tour for credit are not eligible to take another Study Tour for credit.

Add Codes
Add codes will be distributed to daytime MBAs by the GBC in December. Evening MBAs will need to notify the GBC if they intend to take IBUS 570. GBC will send the list of Evening MBAs taking IBUS 570 to the MBA office before the start of the quarter. Students enrolled in any program other than the daytime MBA program must wait until the first week of the quarter to register for IBUS 570. Students from the Tacoma and Bothell campuses should consult with an advisor on how to register for a course offered on the Seattle campus.

Study Tour Regulations and Expectations

Arrangements for group travel require special considerations. We appreciate your understanding in abiding by the following important tour expectations.

Reservations are made with hotels located in business districts and are hotels that meet the overall tour budget. Attempts are made to stay in hotels with a variety of amenities including internet access, workout facilities, and even breakfast, but depending on the country and/or hotel, these items may not be available. All rooms are double occupancy unless specified by the tour leaders. Requests for single rooms will be considered and will require an extra fee.

Participants in the Study Tours will travel on international flights as a group from/to Seattle to reduce airfare costs. The cost of airfare will be paid with the fee balance in December.

Attendance for company visits
The foundation of Study Tours is company and organization visits. Participants are required to attend all planned visits. Companies expect a certain number of participants to attend and any number less than an expected amount reflects poorly on the Foster School and disrespects the efforts made to arrange the company visit. Future study tours, employment, and internships can depend on the impression left by tour participants on company executives and even on fellow tour participants. Therefore, we require all participants to treat these events in the same professional manner you would a job interview.

Attire & Grooming
A professional appearance sets an example and distinguishes UW study tours from other travel groups. Business attire is required for all company visits or evening networking events. Jeans (blue or any other color) or shorts are not permitted for company visits. Country specific expectations for attire and footwear will be discussed in pre- departure tour sessions.Children
Children are not permitted on any international GBC-sponsored program.

Company Presentations
Every attempt is made to identify interesting and dynamic presenters for company visits. However, the quality of presentations is beyond the control of the Global Business Center and the faculty. Interesting corporate presentations are directly related to the involvement and attentiveness of tour participants. Please be prepared with questions to engage the presenters.Finals
Participants must complete all coursework and final exams prior to tour departure. Participants are also required to notify their professors of an early departure for a study tour. The MBA Program Office will provide a list of study tour participants to Foster School faculty.

Free time
Free time is scheduled during the study tour. Group activities may be organized during this time, but participation is completely optional.

Luggage is limited to one carry-on and one checked suitcase. Keep in mind that you are your own porter for the duration of the trip. Not all countries have elevators, escalators, or even ramps. Packing suggestions will be covered in a pre-departure session.

Non-UW people joining the tour
The tour is organized and scheduled for UW graduate students only. Friends, family, or work colleagues residing in the tour country cannot participate on organized tour activities, including cultural excursions or company visits. Use
free time to visit acquaintances living in-country.

Spouses & Significant others
Spouses and significant others can join a study tour if they are a matriculated (registered) graduate student at the University of Washington. They must apply for a tour and be selected through the study tour lottery. No special consideration of any kind is given to participants who wish to participate on the same tour.Timeliness
The effectiveness of group travel is directly related to timeliness. Participants are expected to be on time for all group events and meeting times. Students who do not meet up with the tour as directed will be left behind and will
risk forfeiting academic credit for IBUS 570.

Tourist/Entry Visas
Depending on nationality and country requirements, participants may be required to obtain entry visas prior to departure. The cost of any tourist/entry visas and traveling to obtain a visa (if required) is not covered by the tour budget. Non-American citizens will need to check with their embassies to determine visa requirements for their destination.



Q. Why is there a lottery?
The lottery selection system is used when there are more applicants than spots available. The lottery system is a fair way to assign spots on tours.

Q: Can my spouse or significant other join a study tour?
Spouses and significant others may join a tour only if s/he is a UW matriculated graduate student, turns in the necessary application materials by the deadline, and is selected for a tour through the lottery system. No guarantees or special consideration can be given.

Q: Can my spouse or significant “shadow” a study tour?

Q: What is the role of the Global Business Center staff member on the tour?
The University of Washington requires all UW sponsored group study abroad programs to include two university representatives for risk management purposes. As employees of the UW, the faculty and staff have the authority to act on behalf of the university. The staff representative is responsible for the general well-being and safety of students in-country. The staff representative helps shape the overall Study Tour experience by assisting with pre- departure sessions, arranging social activities before tour departure, providing in-country leadership during the tour, and serving as the liaison between the in-country guide/logistics provider and students during the tour.

Q: What happens to my Study Tour payment after I pay?
Study Tour program fees are used to cover approved in-country expenses of all students. Once students pay their Study Tour program fee, the funds are deposited into the Global Business Center Study Tour account. The funds are subject to the rules and regulations of the University of Washington which includes prohibiting their use for alcohol, gambling, charitable donations and other non-education related activities. Those funds are used to pay third-party providers for their services including accommodation, in-country transport, meals, tour guides, and meeting arrangements. The Global Business Center staff representative will ensure that study tour funds are used appropriately in-country.

Q: What is the withdrawal policy?
Depending upon the cancellation date, a student withdrawing from the program before December will be refunded 100% of the program fee, less the non-refundable $500 program deposit. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing to the Global Business Center. No refunds will be given for cancellations after
December 27th.

Q: When is it too late to add individuals to a study tour from the wait lists?
Final payments to vendors, airline tickets and visa arrangements are finalized approximately 3 months prior to departure. At that time, it is too late to add a new participant to the study tour based on group travel regulations and time needed to obtain a travel visa. If the necessary arrangements can be made, the Global Business Center will make every attempt to accommodate individuals from the wait list on a space available basis.

Q: Can I either go ahead of the tour group for personal travel? May I stay late?
The MBA Program Office does not permit continuing students to miss any classes before or after the Study Tour time period. The MBA office and Foster faculty work together to arrange early exams for students attending Study Tours. If you chose to disregard these rules, you will put future Study Tour programs at risk for cancellation.

Q: Why are the pre-departure sessions mandatory?
The Global Business Center has found that tour participants who do not attend the pre-departure sessions are ill- prepared for the rigors and uneducated about the purpose of the trip.

Q: Will I need to obtain immunizations?
Maybe. You might be required to obtain certain immunizations based on the tour destinations. Most travel immunizations can be obtained from UW Hall Health or through King County Health. It is important to be current on general immunizations (Measles, Tetanus, and Hepatitis) regardless of your travel destination. Connect with Hall
Health to determine which immunizations you need for travel.

Q: Why should my passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond the tour date?
A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of travel is a required for entry by foreign countries. Check the expiration date and available pages of your passport, or apply for one immediately if you don’t already have one. Recent changes in travel regulations have significantly extended passport processing times. In addition, all passports and related travel documents must be in acceptable condition for regulations imposed by both the destination country as well as the roundtrip airline carrier. Students have been refused the right to board flights due to insufficient number of blank passport pages and poor passport quality. It is the sole responsibility of the traveler to be knowledgeable of the criteria (visas, passport condition, documents, etc.) necessary for international travel.