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Team-driven Difference


Team-driven difference

All work is teamwork. That’s why business education at Foster includes a comprehensive teaming methodology so that students learn how to be outstanding team members and team leaders. Below you’ll find stories and testimonials from across the Foster community about our unique approach to teams and collaboration and how it equips students for real world success.


Team-driven difference

All work is teamwork. That’s why business education at Foster includes a comprehensive teaming methodology so that students learn how to be outstanding team members and team leaders. Below you’ll find stories and testimonials from across the Foster community about our unique approach to teams and collaboration and how it equips students for real world success.

Featured story

Professor Greg Bigley during lecture, students listening attentively

Effective collaboration is a matter of discipline and drive

Extraordinary teamwork is not easily achieved through a few simple tips or quick fixes when problems arise. It’s the product of a deliberate and disciplined process that relentlessly builds the capacity for collective effectiveness.

Greg Bigley, associate professor of management and the Longbrake Endowed Professor in Innovation, explains the Foster approach to effective teamwork:

Students enrolled in the programs in which I teach use the Team Performance Model, which I developed as a diagnostic framework for initially building and further developing their teams. It applies to teams in any situation-from a b-school study team to a corporate board.

Read the full story to learn more about how the Foster School teaches teamwork and how organizations can promote effective teams

Team formation and team building

Whether it’s for a competition or simply a study group, team formation is at the heart of the action at the Foster School, and many programs have developed unique ways to jumpstart the process.

TMMBA students learning rowing techniques

The Technology Management MBA class of 2017 participated in the inaugural TMMBA Leadership & Teamwork Practicum in September 2016. This special learning opportunity challenged students to a day of rowing out on the waters of Lake Union. Watch the video for more on this experiential opportunity where students learned the importance of bonding, organizing and working in unison–all while rowing together as a team.

Watch the TMMBA Leadership & Teamwork Practicum video

Hybrid MBA posing with Husky statue outside of UW Stadium

A major component of the MBA curriculum is helping students build the skills necessary to be an effective collaborator and leader. However, unlike most MBA programs, 95% of Foster’s Hybrid MBA program is online. This means that the vast majority of learning and collaboration occurs virtually-team work being no exception. Check in with one of the teams to see how they divvy up the assignments, keep each other accountable, and get to know each other despite having thousands of miles between them.

How online teams work: The Hybrid MBA experience

Teams inside the classroom


Andrew Clapp

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely career path. You are often doing something never done before and run up against roadblocks at every turn. Having a group of people who are going through the same experiences has been an invaluable experience. We have an instant network of other entrepreneurs in the trenches. We share in our successes and failures and lend our diverse backgrounds to help each other solve problems as we grow ourselves and our businesses.

Andrew ClappMS ENTRE alumnus

Claudia Gutierrez, MSCM student

I am extremely fortunate to be studying with a very diverse and intelligent group of people and it makes the connections invaluable. We have folks who have started and run their own businesses, who are coming from different industries looking for a career change, and folks who have worked in this industry for a while and are looking for more. Their experiences shape the way they look at problems and present solutions, and it expands the way I think about challenges that I face at work and elsewhere.

Claudia GutierrezMSCM alumna

Kerry Driscoll, Evening MBA student

The team experience is the best part of the Foster MBA program. My first-year team was fantastic and looking back, I wouldn’t have survived Finance or Microeconomics without them. There were so many times we’d be camped out in a team room working on a Finance case, and I would be challenging our model because it didn’t make sense. A teammate would explain it to me and only then did it click. I appreciate the thoughtfulness the program office put into organizing our teams to pull together groups of people from different backgrounds. Each one of my teammates brought something different to the table, and it was cool to see how we all meshed together to create awesome results throughout the year.

Kerry DriscollEvening MBA student


All of us in school had to figure out how to make the pieces of our lives fit. So we did. On my team, we knew each other’s kids. We knew about each other’s families. We felt like our own family… I was in a group with an entrepreneur, someone from the banking industry and an airline executive. Being in a class of all leaders was interesting. They all had different skills. To work collaboratively in that environment meant that we had to learn in new ways.

Bev WyseExecutive MBA alumna

Jonathan Ng, Full-time MBA student

In my first three quarters at Foster, the program would assign us to different teams, typically with a mix of background experience, international/domestic students and male/female. This imitates the reality of an actual work environment where you will end up on a team with people that you have never met before. You will need to collaborate effectively to leverage each individual’s strengths and weaknesses to achieve that common goal, in this way the Foster culture has given me that practical experience.

Jonathan NgFull-time MBA student

Courtney Wenneborg, Full-time MBA student

When I think about the culture of Foster, two words come to mind: gratitude and grit. Foster takes pride in its collaborative environment, and I think an underlying contributor to this collaborative spirit is that students here are grateful—grateful to be part of this program, grateful for the diverse value their peers bring to the table, and grateful for the community that we share. Paired with this gratitude is a willingness to roll up sleeves, dive in, and get stuff done. Seeing these two characteristics so well married in a professional environment has been inspiring and will have a profound impact on how I think about building and working with teams throughout my career.

Courtney WenneborgFull-time MBA student

Teams outside the classroom


MBA students with trophy

Working with this team and with our client has been one of my fondest memories at Foster. It was a rare moment when a group of people were able to come together, learn a new subject area, use our strengths to complement each other, and deliver value to our client that would be used to make business decisions for one of the world’s most influential companies.

How six foster MBA students helped Amazon with sustainability

Foster’s Consulting and Business Development Center connected Tiny Tots with a team of Foster undergraduates who performed a comprehensive review of the organization, from mission statement to policies to financials to marketing. They produced a strategic plan that streamlined operations, clarified financial accounting, and recommended more robust marketing of their deep well of life-changing stories.

Foster students help Tiny Tots develop the business of non-profit childcare


Team standing in formal attire

After winning the 2017 Russell Investments International Case Competition, Rose Jao, Cody Ng, Skye Scofield and Davin Yeom received a special opportunity: a visit to the Washington State Wine Commission’s downtown headquarters and the chance to present their winning pitch to Steve Warner, Washington State Wine’s President, and his team.

Russell Investments International Case Competition winners present their ideas to WA State Wine



Robert Moehle, TMMBA alumnus

After gaining the courage to leave my corporate job to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors, the Dempsey Startup Competition was where I directed my efforts. Our team, Hook, won third place. Each stage was exciting, fun-filled, and a ton of work, but we were growing closer as a team and learning a great deal. The Dempsey Startup gained us exposure to well-respected members of the entrepreneurship community to tap for advice and to grow our customer base when we launched.

Robert MoehleTMMBA alumnus

Success stories

Startup staff standing near bicycles

Foster graduate and cycling enthusiast Aaron Mass worked with a team of fellow students to transform their capstone project–a tangible business plan and a go-to-market strategy to solve a customer experience pain point–into a successful startup.

Student startups: reinventing the Seattle cycling model

Sales team

Paulina Klemm, Tim Nelson, Madison Shinn, and Thea Snow represented the Foster Professional Sales Program at the National Team Selling Competition (NTSC) hosted by Indiana University at the Kelley School of Business. Teams participated in a three-sales-call process in front of judges from sponsoring corporations 3M and Altria. The Foster team took top division honors and advanced to the finals, ultimately achieving a 1st place victory.

Foster students win National Team Selling Competition

Competitors celebrating

Every year, MBA students from Foster and eight other top West Coast business schools convene in Palo Alto at Stanford for the Challenge for Charity (C4C) Sports Weekend. Students at Foster fundraise and volunteer throughout the year as they look forward to celebrating the culmination of their efforts in the athletic and social competitions at Sports Weekend. In 2017, Foster was the overall winner across the volunteering, fundraising, and sports/social categories and brought home the Golden Briefcase.

The Golden Briefcase: A Legacy of Social Responsibility

Learn more about the programs featured here: