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Foster Business Research Group

The Foster Business Research Group (FBRG) is a partnership between the Foster School of Business and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is an opportunity for currently enrolled Foster MBA students to gain hands-on experience conducting short-term research and data analysis on current issues for the Gates Foundation’s staff.

Our program has two goals:

  • Train and increase capacity of University of Washington students to engage in and produce timely and relevant applied research for use in a real-world setting.
  • Provide high-quality research and analysis that will support the development of strategic planning and project execution in the field of K-12 U.S. Education.

FBRG is a partnership with the U.S. Programs/Education division within the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Via this partnership, students and their faculty mentors conduct research and analysis on current topics for the College Ready and Postsecondary Success teams of the U.S. Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. FBRG undertakes these projects alone but could potentially partner in the future with the UW’s College of Education.

Projects can last one to several academic quarters and vary greatly in format, content, and skills required, ranging from landscape analysis to quantitative modeling. Projects topics are protected by a nondisclosure agreement, and only very basic information about the topics can be shared outside of those who are working on each project.

Click on the headings to learn more.

The application for Fall Quarter 2023 FBRG projects is now open. Please see application instructions and the job description here. The deadline to apply is 11:59PM on Sunday, September 17.

Program Overview: The University of Washington has a collaborative program with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that pairs students and faculty from multiple schools at the University of Washington, including the Foster School of Business, the Department of Global Health (START), Evans School of Public Affairs (EPAR), and College of Education to provide research and analytical support to the Foundation’s Global Health, Global Development, and U.S. [Education] Programs. The Foundation requires high quality, expeditious data and analysis to meet the daily information needs and the longer-term objectives of their strategic plans. The Global Business Center works specifically with the Gates Foundation U.S. Programs/Education division.

Position Summary: These are exciting opportunities to develop practical skills in applied research and analysis, and work closely with faculty members to receive training, support and guidance. Specific projects depend on foundation requests, but may include research briefs (4-6 pages), literature reviews or background research, and data support related to the foundation’s strategies or grant-making programs in U.S. Education. Work also often includes data or financial analysis, presentations, market research and/or analysis, and creation or improvement of toolkits or data frameworks.

Faculty Mentors

Kevin Steensma
Professor of Management and Michael G. Foster Endowed Professor
Steensma is a Professor of Management at the University of Washington, Seattle. Prior to his appointment in 2000, Professor Steensma was on the faculty at the Pennsylvania State University. Steensma received a bachelor’s of science in chemistry and an MBA from Washington State University. He worked in software industry prior to returning to Indiana University for his Ph.D. in Strategic and International Management. Steensma teaches Global Strategy in the MBA, Executive MBA, and executive education programs at the University of Washington. His research focuses on the formation of technology and manufacturing alliances, and intellectual property strategy. He has published articles in many leading management and strategy journals.

Program Administration

Angela Shelley 
Assistant Director, FBRG Partnership Advisor
Angela Shelley has been with the Global Business Center since 2016 and in the role of managing MBA Global Programs since 2020. The Global Business Center transforms students into global business problem solvers through innovative programs and opportunities for hands-on experience with global markets of the future. Angela’s previous experience includes working with international students in the UW’s Continuum College, serving as a legal assistant at various Seattle law firms, and teaching English in Hokkaido, Japan with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. Angela holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Wyoming and an MS in Global Studies and International Relations from Northeastern University.

Learn about previous FBRG Student Researchers:

Nick Amland, MBA 2015

Anand Ankur, MBA 2014

Jonathan Bannick, MBA 2022

Joelle Bassily, MBA 2012

Jake Berg, MBA 2021

Xianjin Cai, MBA 2022

Otis Chantharangsy, MBA 2019

Katie Collier, MBA/MPA 2013

Sam French, MBA 2018

Haid Garrett, MBA 2013

Sasha Gourevitch, MBA 2015

Kyle Graves, MBA 2018

Stephanie Graves, MBA 2020

Rob Hackleman, MBA 2013

Ken Horenstein, MBA 2016

Jorie Kirshbaum, MBA 2018

Krish Lakshmipathy, MBA 2014

Morgan Leinberry, MBA 2021

Nancy Li, MBA 2020

Amy McCluskie, MBA 2014

Cynthia Miller, MBA 2012

Graham Mills, Evening MBA 2015

Anna Nordstrom, MBA 2017

Ingrid Osei, MBA 2014

Ryan Osher, MBA 2015

Maggie Polachek, MBA 2020

Dayna Polstein, MBA 2022

Carly Presho-Dunne, MBA 2021

Prashanthi Shankar, MBA 2021

Manasa Ashok Shivanna, MBA 2014

JB Simpkins, MBA 2020

Eric Slagle, MBA 2013

Nick Smith, MBA 2017

Trevor Smith, MBA 2020

Diana Sobers, MBA 2021

Walter Thorn, MBA 2013

Kris Weum, MBA 2013

Jay Winzler, MBA 2013

Christie (Youde) Baird, MBA 2013

Eugenia Yang, MBA 2023

Brandon Young, MBA 2022