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Graduate Student Programs

Board Fellows Program

The Board Fellows Program places Foster MBA and Evans MPA students as non-voting board members of local nonprofit organizations. With 75+ graduate students and over 2.5 million people impacted annually, this is one of the largest Board Fellows Programs in the country and serves nonprofits throughout Washington, California, and New York.

What to Expect

Students develop board leadership skills through three channels:

Board Service
Students attend regularly scheduled meetings of the board (generally monthly) from September to May and actively participate in one board committee. Students are non-voting board members but are encouraged to participate in discussions and share their unique knowledge and perspectives.

Board Project
Each board will be assigned two student board fellows, and together, the students will complete a board-level project for their nonprofit. Students work with their board mentor to identify a project important to the board of directors, use the fellows’ skills, and further the work of a board committee or the board.

Board Leadership Class Webinars

The Board Leadership Class Webinar assists the student in maximizing their learning by matching best-practice frameworks they apply through their board service. Among topics covered are:

  • The fundamental responsibilities of board members
  • The challenges faced by board members during these present times
  • The ways boards shape the organization’s strategic direction
  • The ways that board members can strengthen their organization’s financial management and stability
  • The strengths and limitations of various board governance structures

Why be a Board Fellow?

Seeing your knowledge in action is one of the most important and rewarding experiences you can have as a student. No matter where you are in your educational career, the Board Fellows Program is a great way to use your business education to make a meaningful impact in our local communities. Here are some of the things you can look forward to during the program:

  • Develop a solid foundation in board governance and professional consulting practices through board projects with nonprofits
  • Build effective and creative skills for community leadership through board service and committee participation
  • Make an impact that will be felt way beyond the time you serve on the nonprofit board through the work you do and the people you meet
  • Earn credit to fulfill MBA/MPA electives
  • Projects can be used for practical experience credits upon approval

Check out one of our prerecorded information sessions for more details about the program.

Application Timeline and Notification Dates

The Foster Board Fellows Program offers one per year—each fall. You may apply on March 11, 2024, after all the nonprofits have been selected for the upcoming academic year.

January 29, 2024 Nonprofit application opens Nonprofits
February 26, 2024 Nonprofit application closes CBDC & Nonprofits
March 6, 2024 Nonprofits be notified CBDC & Nonprofits
March 11, 2024 Board Fellows application opens Board Fellows candidates
April 15, 2024 Board Fellows application deadline Board Fellows candidates
April 19, 2024 Board Fellows applications & resumes sent to nonprofit CBDC
April 29, 2024 Nonprofits review & select the top 6-8 students they wish to interview Nonprofits
May 1, 2024 Students are notified if they are selected to be interviewed CBDC & Board Fellows candidates
May 3, 2024 Interview schedule available CBDC, Board Fellows candidates & nonprofits
May 10, 2024 Interview/ Matching Day CBDC, Board Fellows candidates & nonprofits
May 15, 2024 Last day to turn in nonprofit ranking & student ranking Nonprofits & Board Fellows candidates
May 24, 2024 Matching announcements to nonprofits & students CBDC
May 31, 2024 Last day to accept Board Fellows offer Board Fellows candidates


Board Fellows Program is available to students completing their second or third year of studying, including full-time MBA, evening MBA, hybrid MBA, TMMBA, and MPA.

The 2024-2025 Board Fellows Program opens to the Class of 2025 (2-year programs) and 2026 (3-year programs).

The application will be open on Monday, March 11, 2024.

Apply Here

Application Requirements

  • Complete an online application
  • Complete a short essay question
  • Resume

Matching Process

Matching Process



Vy Nguyen, [email protected], (206) 543-3681

The Power of Access: Impact Lending to Underserved Communities (FIN 579)

Do you want to gain valuable career skills?  Expand your professional network through a unique opportunity for firsthand experience in financial consulting! Apply to our MBA Lending Course this winter, The Power of Access: Impact Lending to Underserved Communities (FIN 579 E/F)!

Class Purpose: Engage our MBA students in working with small BIPOC businesses to gain access to business loans. Teams of students will perform financial assessments, risk analyses, and forecasts and create loan packages for these businesses to submit to The Commerce Bank of Washington for approval. In addition to helping businesses secure debt financing, MBA students will learn how systemic bias can play into the gaps in access to capital.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Conduct comprehensive financial assessments.
  • Perform risk analyses and financial forecasts.
  • Create a tailored loan document for BIPOC businesses.
  • Collaborate with business owners to project their financing needs.
  • Understand and address systemic biases in access to capital.
  • Expand your professional network within the industry.

Course Highlights:

  • Gain hands-on experience in financial consulting.
  • Work in teams to develop a unique loan document.
  • Submit loan document to The Commerce Bank for approval.
  • Collaborate with BIPOC businesses to bridge the gap in access to capital.

Course Details:

  • Class Title: The Power of Access: Impact Lending to Underserved Communities (FIN 579 E/F)
  • Duration: Winter Quarter 2024
  • Instructor: Michelle Purnell-Hepburn
  • Location: PCAR 393
  • Credits: 4 (Practical Experience Credit) 

For More Information:

If you’re excited about making a real impact and want to learn more about this course, contact Kennedy Cockrel, Assistant Director of the Consulting & Business Development Center at the UW Foster School of Business, at [email protected].

Apply Here

Graduate Student Programs

Ascend Fellowship

Ascend Fellows will work with Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) during the 2023-2024 academic year. Each MBA Ascend Fellow will work with 1 or 2 companies and complete a project that will take approximately 50 hours of work per company over a six-month period (October 2023-March 2024). These MBA Ascend Fellows will also connect with other MBA Ascend Fellows nationwide in support of the Consulting and Business Development Center’s Ascend National Cohort. Strong candidates for this position will be those with interest or experience in business consulting.

MBA Ascend Fellows can receive a stipend ($1,500 per company) or practical experience credit (2 credits per quarter).


  • Work with C-suite leaders to develop and implement solutions to operations, financial management, supply chain, technology, and marketing challenges. This work will help MBEs develop and implement strategies and capabilities to support enterprise-wide decision-making that will lead to measurable improvements. MBA Ascend Fellows will also be paired with business coaches supporting these businesses.
  • Analyze issues, interview staff, formulate and make recommendations, and help MBEs implement leading practice solutions.
  • Leverage a ‘business first lens’ across functional and industry topics to shape strategic agendas, drive enterprise transformations, and deliver innovative solutions to clients. And have a passion for tackling a variety of business, technological, and organizational challenges head-on.
  • Work both independently and collaboratively with a team.
  • At the end of the program:
    • Students will receive critical constructive feedback head-on. Work they have done over the last six months with the assigned businesses.
    • Students are required to conduct an oral presentation and submit a written deliverable to their assigned businesses after their projects.


  • A critical thinker, tech-savvy innovator, entrepreneur, and purpose-driven leader who thrives in ambiguity and enjoys working in a team environment.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and professionalism with co-workers and customers.
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, spelling, grammatical and proofreading abilities.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office products (Excel, Word, Outlook) and other presentation/ analysis tools.
  • Must be a self-starter with great initiative, multi-tasking activities, customer service, and problem-solving skills.
  • Able to meet deadlines and work under pressure.
  • Experience working with business owners of color.
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States without needing employer sponsorship, now or at any time.

February 28: Application Opens

May 1: Application Closes

May 5: Applicants will be notified if they are selected for an interview.

May 8 – 11: Interviews

May 15: Fellows selected and notified.

May 22 – 26 (exact date TBD): Welcome Session I (In-Person at UW Foster)

September 5 – 8: MBE matching

September 18 – 22: Matching announced.

September 25- 29 (exact date TBD): National Cohort Opening (meeting MBEs) In-person.

October – May: Progression and completion of the Fellow’s Project. Fellows will be communicating with MBEs on the scope and requirements of their project- through remote meetings. Expect a mid-point check-in with CBDC and a final presentation at the end of the project.

End of May: National Cohort Closing (with MBEs) In-Person at UW Foster.

Fill out the application with your basic contact information, submit a resume and cover letter, and address your relevant experience.


Martha Flores Perez
[email protected]