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Build Experience


Build your career experience with Foster Undergrad Career Services. Select the tabs below to learn more about networking opportunities and internships.

Student Experience

What you learn outside the classroom is just as important as what you learn in class. Academics at Foster are the foundation on which you can build a portfolio of experiences to complement and enhance your degree. Students are encouraged to learn and build skills in the classroom, engage with a variety of businesses through structured experiences (internships, case competitions, consulting projects and student organizations), reflect on what they have achieved and apply their new knowledge to future experiences and their careers.

Seize as many opportunities to grow personally and professionally while at the Foster School of Business to create a stellar experience!

There are many ways to meet and network with Foster School students.

  • 28 undergraduate student clubs and organizations give students many ways to network and enhance their business skills.
  • Business Community student housing gives Foster School students the opportunity to participate in social, academic enrichment, and career-development events.
  • Business Undergraduates in Leadership Development Program (BUILD) helps students enhance their leadership skills. BUILD focuses on four areas of leadership development: professionalism, self-discovery, skill development, and community and culture.
  • Student ambassadors are a diverse group of students who assist with special events, campus tours, off-campus recruitment efforts, high school college fairs, and provide student staffing at college and alumni programs.
  • The Foster Undergraduate Mentoring Program connects current students with alumni and other professionals to gain both career guidance and personal development.

Internships give you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve learned in the classroom. Learn more about the internship resources Foster has to offer below.

  • Career Services helps students learn the skills needed to select and pursue the right career—from job-search coaching and resume building to talent development and interview techniques.
  • Internships abroad (Certificate of International Studies in Business) allow students to gain valuable skills while spending a summer working abroad.
  • Summer Internship Program (Consulting & Business Development Center) has interns work with three companies and provide, on average, 130 hours of consulting services over a ten-week period to each firm.

Classes and programs with consulting components pair students with actual businesses to solve real-world issues. Students gain experience in working with time constraints on deliverables, industry research analysis, and business communications—including delivering formal presentations. All skills are immediately transferable to the working world.

The Consulting and Business Development Center is a learning laboratory that gives students real-world consulting experience they can use to jumpstart their careers and grow businesses in under-served communities.

The Global Business Center offers you a wide range of opportunities to acquire the global perspective and cross-cultural knowledge and skills valued by today’s employers. Foster School students can also participate in programs offered by the UW Study Abroad Office.

The Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship promotes entrepreneurship to students across the University of Washington campus and beyond. Our students become leaders who challenge the status quo and change the way business is done.

Gain hands-on leadership experience through competitions which allow you to solve real-world problems, network with business leaders, and collaborate with peers in an intense team environment.

How do I get involved in competitions?

  • Visit the links below to learn more about the competitions.
  • Talk to faculty about your interest in upcoming competitions.
  • Graduating seniors: Sign up for MGMT 430 and you will do a case competition as part of your final grade.
  • Keep an eye out for postings around PACCAR and Dempsey Halls.
  • Participate in student organizations; many of the clubs sponsor case competitions.
  • Form a team.

Entrepreneurship Competitions

Entrepreneurship competitions offer student teams a chance to tackle a new venture or prepare for starting a new business. Entrepreneurship competitions organized by the Foster School of Business:

  • Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge (Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship) invites interdisciplinary student teams to define an environmental problem, design a solution, produce a prototype, and create a business summary that demonstrates market opportunity and the potential for impact.
  • Dempsey Startup Competition (Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship) promotes student start-up ideas and venture creation by bringing together students with judges from the entrepreneurial community in a multi-stage, real-world challenge.

Case Competitions

A case competition is an event in which teams of students have the opportunity to analyze real-life business problems and make recommendations to a panel of corporate executives and business leaders. Analyzing the same case, each team competes against the others to present the most feasible, comprehensive, and creative solutions.

By participating in a case competition you will:

  • Become a better future business professionals through the direct experience of analyzing and making recommendations on real-life strategic issues.
  • Obtain the experience of formally presenting to business managers, answering questions under pressure and receiving feedback about your team’s ideas in relationship with real world expectations.
  • Develop practical analytical skills by performing outside research on the case or business idea.
  • Build your resume with applicable business skills.
  • Practice leadership skills in a team environment.
  • Network with company representatives who may be impressed with you and request your resume.

Case competitions organized by the Foster School of Business:

  • Consulting Challenge (Consulting & Business Development Center) matches teams of students with businesses from a local underserved community in the Seattle area. The student teams are given a week to analyze the companies’ financial and operating performance and develop a one-year growth plan that includes steps to improve the viability of the business.
  • Global Business Case Competition (Global Business Center) is an annual international case competition that brings together students from the United States and 12-14 other countries to compete in a fast-paced and challenging business case study.
  • Russell Investments International Case Competition (Global Business Center) is an annual event in which teams of students apply their knowledge and skills to a real-life international business problem.
  • Strategy Development Case Competition (Undergraduate Programs Office) is a required capstone course. Students work on forward-looking, customized cases centered on a current strategic issue a Seattle-area company is trying to solve.

Internship Guide

An internship is a time-limited, intensive learning experience outside of the classroom, typically connected to career and academic goals. Internships extend knowledge learned in coursework, provide an opportunity to put theory into practice, and expose students to industry. An internship is a structured opportunity for you to learn, grow, and contribute in a professional setting.

There are many variations of internships: They might be paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time, taken for credit or no credit and could occur locally, nationally, or abroad.

The Foster School of Business views internships as opportunities for win-win situations. Students gain new skills, new perspectives and a new context for their education and employers gain as well. Select the headers below to learn more about applying for internships, earning academic credit and more.

  • A structured learning experience
  • Provides opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in a “real world” professional environment
  • Encourages you to develop and refine skills that are transferable to a variety of work settings
  • Includes a position description with relevant and clearly defined learning objectives
  • Provides for supervision/feedback from a professional
  • Includes resources, equipment, facilities that support learning goals

An internship is NOT:

  • Primarily clerical or unskilled labor
  • An experience you gain nothing from
  • A vague, undefined experience
  • An unguided/unsupervised experience

The principle reason you may wish to participate in an internship is to gain experience. Your experiences while at the Foster School will shape your professional identity. The more experiences you have, the more opportunity to learn about yourself and build skills. Additional reasons include:

  • Develop new skills and refine the skills and strengths you already possess.
  • Apply your knowledge in a practical setting.
  • Build your resume!
  • Develop great examples of your skill sets for future job interviews.
  • Explore one or more of your career interests in a realistic professional setting.
  • Learn about particular industries, companies, and organizations.
  • Develop great examples of your skill sets for future job interviews.
  • Consider whether a particular career direction or industry is a good fit for you.
  • Develop professional relationships (network) that will be mutually beneficial in the future.
  • Enter the talent pipeline at the business you are interning with. On average, 56.5% of interns are offered full-time positions upon completion of their internship.

Professional Identity

It’s never too early to start planning for your internship. Planning well in advance will maximize on the opportunities available to you. Some internship opportunities and businesses may move quickly, so it is advised to get prepared early. Below is a general timeline to assist you with the planning process.

internship timeline

You may wish to begin your internship search by thinking about careers you are considering, employers that appeal to you, industries you would like to explore and/or specific work-related activities or tasks you would like to try. Consider various work settings (large corporations, start-ups, competitive workplaces, etc.) to help you evaluate options you would like to pursue. Reflect on skills you would like to refine or develop and consider goals you have for an internship. Speaking with a Foster Career Coach may be useful as you consider these topics.

Although most major companies have internship programs, employers of all sizes can offer valuable opportunities. The key is to pursue the positions that will give you the experience you are looking for. The most important step is for you to clarify your objectives prior to seeking internship opportunities. Doing so will help you determine whether a particular position will be of value to you. You may wish to reflect on the following questions:

  • Why do I want an internship?
  • What experiences do I want to have?
  • What skills do I want to develop?
  • Do I prefer a structured or unstructured environment?
  • Do I care how well-known the company is?
  • What would I like to accomplish during my internship?

With clear goals and objectives in mind, begin to prepare yourself so you can act quickly when you find appealing positions. Once prepared, you can begin to research companies, scour databases, and tap into your network.

Action Items (listed in order of priority):

1. Create a resume and have it critiqued by a Career Coach or a Peer Advisor. On-line resources, event information, resume and cover letter templates are available to assist you in this process.

2. Meet with a professional Career Coach to help guide you through the process.

3. Create a Handshake account. Go to: Handshake and click on UW Student to create your account using your UW e-mail address.

4. Start your internship search (see more details below).

5. Practice doing a mock interviews via InterviewStream, Employer Mock Interview events or with a Career Coach.

6. Arrange informational interviews with individuals who you have networked with.

7. Attend job fairs.

When searching for existing internships it is best to use a variety of resources and search strategies:

  • Define where you would like to do your internship. City? Corporation? Industry?
  • Start researching internship opportunities. Obtain general information about the company, internship programs, contact people, and deadlines.
  • (Networking with friends, advisers, family) is an excellent strategy to learn about possible opportunities and let people know you are seeking an internship.
  • Handshake provides students with access to a high volume of quality internship postings and an on-campus events where you can connect with employers.
  • Watch your inbox for Foster Futures eNews, which spotlights key internships, full-time positions and other related career events.
  • Foster academic advisors and Career Services Coaches are excellent resources regarding internships and events.
  • Student organizations and professional associations great sources for internship postings and networking contacts.
  • Students often find great internships by visiting specific employer’s career or employment websites.
  • Search for positions on sites such as: Internmatch.com, indeed.com, and simplyhired.com. Seeking an opportunity with a non-profit? Try searching: idealist.org and makingthedifference.org.
  • Opportunities to intern abroad can be found at: iE3 Global and Going Global.

Requirements to apply for an internship will vary for each employer – but typically include a resume and cover letter. Target your documents to each by highlighting how your interests, skills, education, projects and work/volunteer experiences align with what they are seeking. You will usually learn what qualifications and skills employers seek in applicants, and sometimes even what types of projects interns will help with, by reviewing the position description.

In addition to applying for posted internships, creating one yourself is possibility. This is not especially common, but it is an option that could lead to a unique and dynamic experience. Creating your own internship will take time, planning, research and follow-through.

Usually students begin this process by thinking about the kind of learning experience they would like to have, and where they would like to intern.

If you need ideas to get started, it can be helpful to speak with Career Coaches, friends, relatives, advisers and former employers.

Conducting informational interviews with professionals in your field(s) of interest will aid in the information-gathering process.Using LinkedIn, Iloveseattle.org and other professional/social media sources will help you find contacts.

On and off campus events, meetings and networking socials are are good opportunities for meeting contacts and learning about possible places to intern. Many students create an internship in an environment where they have worked or volunteered before.

When you have identified a project or type of experience you would like to engage in, write-up a proposal outlining your vision, goals, expectations and timeline. Present this proposal (along with your resume) to someone who could potentially mentor or supervise you at the internship site.

If they do not accept your proposal, do not let this deter you. Thank them for considering it and then take action to pursue your internship idea somewhere else.

Internship 495 is a course where Foster students may receive general elective credits for their internship. This credit is only open to current Foster students who have already secured an internship offer. To read more about the process, view the Internship 495 Guide.

The following Internship 495 courses are available to business students:

  • ACCTG 495
  • BA 495
  • MKTG 495
  • IBUS 495
  • IS 495
  • FIN 495
  • OP MGMT 495
  • MGMT 495

Guidelines for Registration:

  • The course is taken as Credit/Non-Credit.
  • Credit cannot be given for past internships; this applies to summer quarter deferrals.
  • Credits must be taken during the same quarter as the internship. Exception: students have the option to do an internship during SUMMER quarter and defer credits to AUTUMN quarter. All internship registration steps must be taken with Foster Career Services before the last day to add a course through MyUW for SUMMER quarter.
  • All Internship 495 registration steps must be taken before the last day to add a course through MyUW of the quarter you are registering for (follow the steps on the back side of this handout).
  • Students may earn 1-4 credits per internship AND up to a total of 8 internship

Course Requirements:
In addition to completing the hours at the internship, all assignments must be completed by the assigned deadlines to receive credit. Detailed instructions and due dates will be available on Canvas after you register for the course.
Late assignments will not be accepted. Failure to complete assignments by due dates will result in not receiving credit.

  1. Reflection paper (s): Complete a response to an internship prompt for every credit you are taking (e.g. 3 credits = 3 prompts).
  2. Updated resume: Update your resume to include your internship experience.
  3. Student evaluation about internship.
  4. Debrief meeting: Schedule an appointment with a Foster Career Coach to discuss your internship experience, takeaways and updated resume.

Getting Started:

  • Set obtainable goals based on your aspirations and the employer’s needs. Regularly refer back to goals as you progress in the internship. This will allow you to draw connections between your internship, academic coursework, and future career interests.
  • If not clearly stated in the internship position description, determine the time commitment of the internship with your supervisor. How many hours per week would you like to work and what does your employer need? How long will the internship last?
  • Have a clear understanding of the compensation for the position. Internships should be paid positionsunless you are working for a non-profit.
  • At the outset, you may wish to create a learning agreement or contract with your supervisor. This can be an informal conversation in which you discuss expectations, clarify your work assignments and begin to get a sense for the work culture (dress code, training opportunities and other office protocol).

At the Internship:

  • Communicate with your supervisor on a regular basis to update them on progress you make or roadblocks you run into.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you aren’t sure how to do something or need clarification – ask! This is a learning experience – be open to new ideas and procedures and remember you are not expected to know everything. Asking questions will also demonstrate your interest in the company and the industry and prove that you want the work done right.
  • Know and utilize the preferred communication style of the office. Do employees email each other, use instant messaging, or walk around to each other’s desks?
  • Pay attention to “unspoken rules.” These rules are important for fitting in at the office. What is the protocol for lunch? Does everyone stick to a strict schedule or is the office more flexible?
  • Take initiative and show interest in the work you are doing, and how it contributes to the overall organization.
  • Take advantage of being on the “inside” and schedule informational interviews with employees of interest to you at the company.
  • Measure your progress and document your work – Make notes for yourself as you go work on projects and keep copies of your work to include on your LinkedIn profile or e-portfolio.
  • Be professional, positive and productive – Arrive at your internship on time, dressed in clothes appropriate for the setting. Don’t take or make personal calls or check personal email, except on lunch break if approved by your organization. Be a positive and friendly presence in the office.
  • Challenge yourself, but don’t overextend – While it is understandable that you want to ‘show what you can do’ in an internship, one way to have an unsatisfactory experience is to get yourself involved in so many tasks or projects that you aren’t able to complete them with quality results.
  • Most employers look at internships as a mutually beneficial experience. Ensure you are learning and consciously developing skills while also working hard to advance the mission and work of the organization for which you are interning.
  • Thank your employer and colleagues. While you have provided valuable support to an organization through your internship, they have also provided you with experience and the beginnings of your professional network. For those with whom you worked closely (direct supervisors) a handwritten note is appropriate. When an employer has a positive experience with an intern, they are more likely to serve as a reference for you, and, may remember you when permanent positions are available.
  • Keep track of your duties and accomplishments – Write down your primary responsibilities; projects you worked on; things you particularly enjoyed, felt good about, received positive feedback for, or for which you received constructive criticism. These are great building blocks for planning your career.
  • Consider a portfolio – Collect examples of the work you did, to showcase your contributions on-line or in interviews. When exiting your internship, be sure to get approval from your supervisor to use these materials in a portfolio. Some companies have confidentiality which may prevent you from sharing your work with other employers.
  • Update your resume – Highlight projects, outcomes, skills you developed, and the major components of the internship. Not sure how to incorporate an internship experience into your resume? See a career counselor at Career Services.
  • Nurture your connections – The end of an internship does not have to mean the end of communication with your colleagues from the organization. The contacts you met at your internship can now be part of your growing professional network.
  • Ask the employer to be a reference – Before leaving your internship ask your employer if they would be willing to act as a reference for you. Always inform them if you apply for a job and list them as a reference, and provide them with some background on the position for which you have applied. The more they know, the better they can tailor their recommendations to that specific position.

International students with F-1 Visas are required to obtain Curricular Practical training (CPT) AND 12 academic credits in order to maintain their visa status while completing an internship. Details on CPT are listed below and pages 4-5 of this manual include information on obtaining academic credit for internships. Specific suggestions on options for how to obtain 12 academic credits are listed below.

After filling out the Internship Credit Form on Handshake, please fill out the online CPT form. See the Getting academic credit for internships (Internship 495) tab above for more information.
For the “academic adviser” part of the form, list the career coach you had the initial 495 meeting with:

What is Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. “Practical training” can include employment, internship experience (paid or unpaid), cooperative (co-op) education experience, practicum participation, etc. This work can be either requirement of your degree program or can be optional, but it is integral to your educational experience.

CPT is authorized by the International Student Services (ISS) office in accordance with the F-1 regulations. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year (you must remain registered full-time) and during your annual vacation quarter.

CPT may be part-time (20 hours per week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week). If you accumulate 12 months of full-time CPT authorization, you lose your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT), another type of employment authorization for F-1 students. Part-time CPT and fewer than 12 months of full-time CPT authorization does not affect your OPT eligibility.


You may be eligible for CPT if you:

  • Are currently in valid F-1 status.
  • Have been enrolled at a college or university in the U.S. on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year. (“One academic year” at UW is defined as three full-time quarters per the academic calendar, including final exams week. )
  • Are enrolled in a major (Premajor students, who are not yet admitted into a major, are not eligible for CPT).
  • Will earn your degree from UW (visiting exchange students are not eligible for CPT).

CPT Application
You must apply for CPT through the International Student Services office (ISS) and/or Career Center?

To apply on-line and for more detailed information on the application process visit the International Student Services Office (ISS) website. The ISS office requires 3-5 business days to review and approve your application.

Upon approval, you will be issued an I-20 form which you will bring to your internship employer for proof of your eligibility to work.

Credit Requirement
ISS requires you to receive academic credit from an internship in order to authorize CPT. The credit must be earned in the same quarter for which CPT is authorized, though exceptions may be granted for students pursuing CPT during their vacation quarter. You must earn at least one CPT-related credit for each quarter of authorization granted

You are required to maintain full-time student status (12 credit) to meet the requirements of your F-1 Visa. This includes time when you may be completing an internship (full-time or part time). It is your responsibility to determine how you would like to gain the 12 required credits. Options can include:

  • Register for General Studies 391 (no credit limit)
  • Register for 495 (internship) designated course through your department (i.e. MGMT 495, FIN 495, IS 495, etc.) (credit limit of 4)
  • Register for on-line courses
  • Register for credit course which meets during times that enable to you to work in your internship (i.e. evenings)

For further advice and counseling, you may wish to meet with a Career Center adviser.

6 Month Internships

International Students Considering a 6 month internship:

  • Any international student considering a 6 month internship must meet with their ISS advisor to see if they are eligible for the internship
  • Federal regulations require international students to be registered for a minimum of 12 credits per quarter. However, depending on the circumstances, international students can utilize 1 of the 2 quarter internship as a vacation quarter
  • Foster School of Business Career Services will continue to approve a maximum of 4 academic internship credits (course 495)
  • Students have the flexibility to determine the remaining 8 credits required for full-time status as dictated by federal regulations. This could include, but not limited to, General Studies 350, Independent Study courses (499), courses for double majors, online courses, etc. (No more than 1 online course may be taken per quarter).
  • ISS requires that at least one CPT-related credit be earned for each quarter of internship participation. In situations in which the student applies for internship authorization during their vacation quarter, ISS will allow the vacation quarter CPT credit to be deferred to the following quarter. Therefore, for a 6 month internship, the first quarter must be the vacation quarter for International students. Example: Student who has an Amazon internship spring and summer quarters will need to register full-time spring quarter, take the summer quarter off, and then register for a CPT-related credit autumn quarter.

Internship Documentation

All interns are encouraged to document their work, this is especially advised for international students who may consider applying for OPT (for suggestions on how to document your internship see page 6). Federal Immigration requirements may include proof of your work during CPT/internship as part of your OPT application. It is easiest to have this documentation prepared in advance from your immediate internship experience rather than to have to create it during the OPT application process.

Foster Excel Credential

See information for the Foster Microsoft Excel Credential here.

Whether you want to be an accountant, analyst, consultant, product manager, or even a recruiter, Excel is an essential tool for nearly all business positions post-undergrad. Excel is an extraordinary tool and being an expert will help you discover insights quicker, become an asset on your team, and even distinguish you from a sea of entry level employees.Daniel Park | Financial Analyst Intern-Amazon | Foster Class of 2016
Only about a week into my first job (an International Marketing and Product Development role), I had to do a lot of research and self-teaching on Excel to be able to perform some of my every day duties. Mastering things like the VLOOKUP function and creating/manipulating PivotTables are skills that would take anyone from the fumbling intern to a valuable asset on any team.Grace Jung | Marketing Coordinator-L'Oreal | Foster Class of 2013

Where Does It Go on Your Resume?

Example 1:
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration: Finance & Marketing (Expected June 2016)

  • Completed online course to develop Microsoft Excel skills applicable for building spreadsheets for business
  • Enhanced Excel skills in areas such as: PivotTables and advanced chart types for functional use in spreadsheet manipulation

Example 2:
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration: Finance & Marketing (Expected June 2016)

  • Completed a 5-module online course, confirming Microsoft Excel skills on a variety of topics including:
    PivotTables, advanced chart types and mathematical functions
  • Passed online course with a cumulative score of 89%

Example 3:
Foster Microsoft Excel Credential (93% Cumulative Score │ Completed Nov 2014)

  • PivotTables, advanced chart types and mathematical functions

Additional Computer Skills: Access, Publisher, and Prezi
Language: Conversational Japanese

Excel is an extremely valuable skill set. Understanding how to use it properly makes your time in the workplace more efficient and productive.Benjamin Peven | Senior Business Analyst-Accenture | Foster Class of 2013
Excel is an extremely powerful tool, particularly in the business world, and one we encourage all students to learn. For almost any internship or job, students will be asked to use Excel in some capacity to complete tasks. Not only are we impressed when students understand how to use the program, but it allows them to take on more advanced work at an earlier stage.EY Recruiting Team

Career Services: Undergraduate and Specialty Master’s Students

Phone: 206-221-6858
Email: [email protected]