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Applied Strategy Projects

students on Mariners field


Applied Strategy is a full-time MBA core curriculum course each of our first-year students participates in during their second quarter. This is a hands-on, consulting-type applied learning experience where teams of MBAs drive and deliver creative solutions to a critical business challenge proposed by a company.


At Foster, we prioritize learning-by-doing and offer Applied Strategy as a way for our MBAs to:

  • Expand industry knowledge and skills
  • Grow leadership capabilities and executive presence
  • Network and receive mentoring from industry and business experts

Foster partners with businesses of interest to our students – as you can see in the long list below – to engage in projects they propose for teams of MBAs to address their current and relevant needs.

See a select list of past client companies below.

Alaska Airlines
Alliance of Angels
Boys & Girls Club
CDK Digital Marketing
Code Fellows
Dell EMC
Dry Soda Co.
Eddie Bauer
Egencia, an Expedia Company
Evolent Health
Expeditors International
F5 Networks
Foss Maritime
Getty Images
GM Nameplate
Group Health Cooperative
Holland America Line
Isernio’s Sausage
K2 Corporation
La Panzanella
National Park Service
Outdoor Research
Planetary Power
Providence Health & Services
Puget Sound Energy
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Seattle Opera
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Talking Rain
Volt Athletics
Wells Fargo Bank
West Monroe Partners

How it works

You get to select the projects you’re interested in…

MBA Students will be given the list of project companies and scope descriptions to identify the projects that align with their careers interests and select those their top choices to apply. Project teams and assignments will be announced before the winter break so students can be introduced and start driving their projects as soon as the winter quarter begins!

You’ll focus time on driving your project while receiving the support you need…

Rather than a regularly scheduled set of class sessions, students will meet directly with their client sponsors to drive the project while receiving targeted team support for our Foster Faculty Advisor, Professor Russell Walker.

Students draw from their prior work experience and new MBA skillsets, bringing an outside perspective and immediate value to the sponsoring organizations.

Select Quotes from our Winter 2022 MBA Student Experience…

This was my first time working in a consulting capacity – I feel like I can scope projects and give recommendations with more confidence now!
The Applied Strategy project gave real-world experience with an amazing company. It gave me an excuse to deepen my knowledge in a new industry, and it provided the opportunity to build unmatched connections with representatives within the company.
Applied strategy not only gave us unrivaled access and partnership with Seattle’s top global companies but thoughtfully taught us how to collaborate with future clients and potential employers.
Being able to jump into industry-leading organizations and interact with decision-makers, on a project that they find valuable, has been so empowering. The work was fascinating; I learned a ton about a technical industry and the business-level strategies involved in successful product planning.
Arranged by functional scope


  • New business and product assessment, including design, packaging, and distribution channels
  • Customer/user experience journey mapping
  • Identifying socially responsible and sustainable business solutions
  • Cost benefit analysis of strategic initiatives

Finance/Business Planning

  • Pricing optimization
  • Industry payment terms benchmarking for policy and practice optimization
  • Asset lifetime value optimization
  • Landscape assessment and recommendations for increased profitability
  • Strategic growth plan for international expansion
  • Cash flow management optimization
  • Carbon offset program identification and emissions stabilization strategy with carbon-neutral growth

Market Research / Marketing Strategy

  • Market research and new product positioning
  • Optimized target customer segmentation and market-sizing
  • New Product or service channel optimization
  • Competitor marketing analysis and messaging recommendations
  • Strategic launch, including e-commerce and store openings
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV) analysis and recommendations for growth
  • Communications and marketing plans for strategic initiatives

Operations & Supply Chain

  • Cost optimization for supply chain delivery services
  • Production efficiency and efficacy assessment with recommendations for improvement
  • Outsourcing optimization assessment

Organization Governance/HR

  • Employee satisfaction and long-term part-time employee retention optimizations
  • Succession planning guide and employee training plan
  • Performance metrics scorecard/dashboard toolkit
  • Organization structure assessment

Read about previous Applied Strategy projects