Skip to main content

Epic Climb


Epic Climb

Charting Foster’s astonishing rise in the rankings, the product of a decade-plus of unparalleled engagement, expansion, and innovation.


Epic Climb

Charting Foster’s astonishing rise in the rankings, the product of a decade-plus of unparalleled engagement, expansion, and innovation.

Current Foster MBA Rankings

  • Businessweek: #16 (#4 public)
  • U.S. News: #21 (#7 public)
  • Financial Times: #25 US (#9 public)

Updated January 2019

line graph

Foster’s ascent among American business schools, averaged across the rankings of U.S. News & World Report, Financial Times, and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Charting Foster’s Epic Climb

Sometimes perception takes a while to catch up to reality. Sometimes it needs a little push.

The Foster School’s phenomenal rise in the rankings since the turn of the century is perhaps the result of a bit of both.

And “phenomenal” is no overstatement. Since the year 2000, the Foster School has risen 31 places, on average, across the three leading MBA rankings—considered the key indicators of overall school quality.

In the momentum game, no one else comes close. During the same period, no other American b-school has advanced even 20 places, on average, and only 26 have moved up at all.

As remarkable as the slope of Foster’s upward trajectory is its steadiness—sustaining forward progress even into the rarefied air of the nation’s top 30, where there is precious little movement in or out, historically.

And still, Foster continues to rise.

There is no deep secret to this success. No marketing gimmick. No gaming the system. Foster’s big move is simply the product of continual improvement and market-driven innovation across the board.

And certainly a surge of energy since becoming the Foster School of Business in 2007 has elevated, expanded or enhanced every aspect of business education at the University of Washington (some of which are illustrated below). Perception is catching reality. And reality is improving every year.

An unprecedented ascent, powered by Foster.

Climb on.


Foster draws increasingly high caliber of students

  • Freshman Direct admits 250 students per year with average GPA 3.88 and 1350 SAT
  • Foster leads the UW in four-year graduation rate and percentage of students studying abroad
  • Incoming MBAs bring an average GMAT of 696 (up from 652 in 2001)


Renaissance of scholar-educators as past masters retire

  • 50 faculty hires since 2007
  • Average teaching rating at an all-time high
  • Research rankings – Foster ranked #3 in the world, #1 in management, #5 in finance, #11 in marketing, #11 in accounting, #22 in ISOM
  • Nearly half of research faculty serve on editorial boards of top journals

New Degree Programs

Market-driven launches boost master’s program enrollment to over 1,200 (from 750 in 2007)

  • MS in Information Systems (reboot 2012)
  • Master of Supply Chain Management (2016)
  • MS in Entrepreneurship (2017)
  • MS in Taxation (renamed 2017)
  • Hybrid MBA (2017)
  • MS in Business Analytics (2018)


Nation-leading employment rates and innovative career management

  • MBA Career Management expands staff, recruiter connections, multiple employer advisory boards; establishes Professional Development and Brand Essence programs
  • MBA job placement rate of 99% in the full-time program for 2018 is #1 in the nation in The Financial Times
  • Average MBA starting salary + bonus in the full-time program is $157K (up from $74K in 2001)
  • EY Center for Career Advancement (2013) serves undergrads and specialized masters
  • BA internship rate of 85% and placement rate of 80% within 90 days of graduation
  • Average BA starting salary $62K (up from $48K in 2007)


Extending opportunities of a lifetime to increasingly diverse student population

  • Undergraduate Diversity Services introduces Young Executives of Color (2006), Business Bridge (2010), Women’s Leadership Summit (2016)
  • Expansion of mentor programs, case competitions, student consulting opportunities
  • Princeton Review rates Foster #1 in resources for women (2018)
  • Foster joins several partnerships dedicated to promoting greater diversity and inclusion in business education, including the Forte Foundation (2016), MLT (2017), and The Consortium (2018), while continuing to support veterans and the LGBTQ community through campus initiatives
  • Foster awards $4M in scholarships in 2017 (up from $1.9M in 2007)


Constructing a world-class campus

  • PACCAR Hall (2010) – 19 classrooms; 135,000 square feet
  • Dempsey Hall (2012) – 9 classrooms; 65,000 square feet
  • Founders Hall (2021 planned) – 5 classrooms; 100,000 square feet


New and ever-expanding to enhance scholarship and student experience

  • Global Business Center – Global Health Case Competition (2016), Russell Investments Case Competition expands, 400 students study abroad; 300 compete in global case competitions
  • Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship – Lavin Entrepreneurial Action Program (2007), Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (2009), Jones + Foster Accelerator (2012), Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge (2016)
  • Consulting and Business Development Center – Tribal Enterprise partnerships (2007), Minority Business Executive Program (2011), National conference (2013), Ascend 2020 nationwide initiative (2017)
  • Professional Sales Program – 125 students (doubled from 2007), placement rate > 90%, ranked among top programs nationwide for 10+ years, National Team Selling Competition champs two of the past three years
  • Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (2008) – initiatives in MBA leadership, consulting contracts with US Military and other orgs, gamification of leadership development
  • Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy (2014) – applying academic research in the service of Washington businesses, more than 15 projects completed through 2017
  • University of Science and Technology of China-UW Institute for Global Business and Finance Innovation (2017) – Foster’s partnership with a top 5 Chinese university houses three research centers: finance, data analytics and management of innovation

Private Support

Donors step up, through recession and funding cuts

  • Foster School of Business named to honor $50M in giving from The Foster Foundation (2007)
  • “Creating Futures” Campaign – $181M raised, from 13,000 donors
  • Current “Be Boundless” Campaign (through 2020) – $200M raised, from 12,000 donors—so far

Learn more about the programs featured here