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Curriculum and Faculty

Foster School faculty are consistently recognized for top quality research, considered thought leaders in many subject areas, and excellent educators as evidenced by university, school, and global level recognition.

The Business Management Certificate Program combines lectures, discussions, interactive simulations, team exercises, and a case competition capstone—working with a team to present a solution to a real-world business problem. Participants will gain knowledge, tools, and a valuable network to help them achieve their career goals.

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Watch an interview with the Business Management Certificate Program Faculty Director Leta Beard

Business Strategy

  • Be able to assess a situation from a long-term perspective and make decisions based on alternatives and justifications.
  • Evaluate the core competencies and competitive advantages that drive the success of a firm.
  • Consider what opportunities and challenges will impact the future of your business.


  • Recognize customer needs and learn how to best market your product or service.
  • Understand your customers and how best to reach them.
  • Discover product, branding, promotion, and segmentation strategies.
  • Evaluate the impact of environmental factors that affect marketing strategies.

Effective Leadership

  • Explore and develop critical leadership attributes, qualities, skills, and competencies needed to create and sustain dynamic organizational success.
  • Gain a deeper understanding and insight into the roles, requirements, and expectations of leaders.
  • Understand the role of leaders as agents of change capable of using effective leadership processes to help reshape your organization to meet the challenges of a global economy.
  • Develop the managerial skills to facilitate transforming your organization and creating a culture of shared responsibility.
  • Improve your understanding of effective decision making as a means of creating an achievement-oriented culture.

Finance and Accounting

  • Learn about financial statements and accounting principles that guide financial reporting.
  • Use financial data for planning, decision-making and financial reporting.
  • Enhance your understanding of finance principles and practices, including cash flow analysis, capital budgeting, risk, and return.
  • Learn about stocks, bonds and return on investment metrics.

Communications and Soft Skills

  • Explore how communications and soft skills impact your leadership and team interactions.
  • Understand the nuances of cultural differences as they relate to teamwork, negotiation, and leadership.
  • Improve your presentation skills.

Business Case Analysis

  • The program concludes with a business case competition. You will work in a team to use the skills you gained throughout the program and apply them toward a real-life business problem, presenting your team’s solution to the class.

All faculty are affiliated with the Foster School of Business, teaching in various graduate, undergraduate and executive education programs. Many faculty have both academic and professional experience – through careers and/or through consulting with many major corporations.

Leta Beard is the Faculty Director for the Business Management Certificate Program. She is also an award-winning Associate Teaching Professor in the Marketing and International Business department at the Michael G. Foster School of Business. In addition to her 24 years teaching experience, she has 12 years of industry experience working for AT&T Network Systems (Lucent Technologies). Leta regularly receives teaching awards in courses such as Marketing Principles, Strategic Marketing Management, Retailing, Global Business Perspectives, and Tribal Gaming. In addition to teaching undergraduates, she has taught in the Professional and Continuing Education, Executive MBA, and Business Consulting and Development programs.


Wendy Baesler received an undergraduate and masters’ degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and a PhD in Business Administration with an accounting emphasis from the University of Washington.  She has taught for the University of Washington for more than 20 years.  Her education is primarily in accounting, psychology, finance, and economics.  She has completed many consulting projects helping businesses with complex accounting issues and lawsuit response.  She has also helped the Washington State Department of Health with program evaluation.


Patrick Bettin is an internationally respected faculty, consultant, researcher, and educator in the field of leadership and management development. His efforts focus on creating and sustaining organizational effectiveness by enhancing the performance of leaders and managers.
He is a Senior Lecturer in the Foster School of Business and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. He is a twenty-three time recipient of the Business School’s “Excellence in Teaching Award.” While on the faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Dr. Bettin was also recognized for his exceptional teaching abilities. As a senior faculty member, he was responsible for developing, coordinating, teaching, and supervising the leadership and management elective programs.


Jean Choy is an Associate Dean of Executive Education at the University of Washington Foster School of Business responsible for developing long-term strategic partnerships to promote new business development and collaborative initiatives with corporations, academic institutions, and government offices. She teaches about soft skills in the Global Executive MBA Program as well as in numerous executive education programs primarily for working professionals. Some aspects of soft skills can be applied universally, but at the same time, understanding the different cultures and challenges becomes an integral part of teaching topics such as presentation skills, cross-cultural communications, and managing team dynamics. Jean has been successful in bridging these gaps and consistently receives top teaching ratings.


Jennifer Graves is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Operations Management and an Affiliate Instructor of Finance at the UW Foster School of Business. She has taught courses on the topics of personal finance and operations management. Professor Graves was previously at Keystone Strategy (a consulting firm that specializes in AI/ML and digital operations) and co-led the Seattle office, where she expanded the Pacific Northwest presence. She brought a wealth of knowledge in operations, innovation, and digital transformation with a focus on expanding the firm’s offerings and leveraging AI/ML within supply chain, inventory, manufacturing processes, and distribution networks. Professor Graves’ other past roles include leading store inventory at Starbucks for all 10,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada and working at Bain & Company in private equity, consumer products, retail, manufacturing, and education. A graduate of the University of Washington Foster School of Business, she holds a B.A. in finance and marketing. She earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


Rick McPherson is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the UW Foster School of Business. Rick spent 25 years in business in the telecommunications industry, rising to the position of Vice President at both AT&T Broadband and T-Mobile USA. Rick “retired early” and took up a passion for teaching and coaching others and has been at the Foster School for the past 15 years. Rick continues to consult with businesses and is on the Board of Directors of Alpine Evergreen Co. Inc. Rick teaches strategy, business planning, organizational behavior, decision making, leadership and ethics, combining the academic courses with his business experiences. He teaches in both the Undergraduate and MBA programs at Foster. Rick has authored, co-authored or advised on the development of 21 live business cases in conjunction with Seattle based large companies, and been the instructor/advisor on over 250 business plans and over 70 business consulting projects.


The program is split into two modules. Module 1 will take place from February 1, 2024 to March 28, 2024. Module 2 will take place from April 2, 2023 to May 28, 2024 with the final case competition taking place on June 1st. Typically, Tuesday classes will meet in-person on UW Campus in Seattle, and Thursday classes will meet remotely as live virtual sessions. Students are required to meet attendance criteria in order to successfully complete the program. Final schedule is subject to change but refer to current at-a-glance schedule.

Business Management Certificate

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-8:00pm
Note: Subject to Changes

Module 1: February 1 – March 28, 2024

Week &
PM Times
Week 1 January 30 February 1
6:00-8:00 Optional Virtual Orientation Welcome Dinner
6-8pm at UW
Week 2 February 6 February 8
6:00-8:00 Marketing 1
Marketing 2
Week 3 February 13 February 15
6:00-8:00 Marketing 3
Marketing 4
Week 4 February 20 February 22
6:00-8:00 Strategy 1
Strategy 2
Week 5 February 27 February 29
6:00-8:00 Marketing 5
Strategy 3
Week 6 March 5 March 7
6:00-8:00 Strategy 4
Accounting 1
Week 7 March 12 March 14
6:00-8:00 Accounting 2
Accounting 3
Week 8 March 19 March 21
6:00-8:00 UW Spring Break (No Class) UW Spring Break (No Class)
Week 9 March 26 March 28
6:00-8:00 Accounting 4
Accounting 5

Module 2: Module 2: April 2 – June 1, 2024

Week &
PM Times
Week 10 April 2 April 4
6:00-8:00 Comms Skills 1
Comms Skills 2
Week 11 April 9 April 11
6:00-8:00 Introduction of Case Competition Strategy 5
Week 12 April 16 April 18
6:00-8:00 Finance 1
Finance 2
Week 13 April 23 April 25
6:00-8:00 Finance 3
Finance 4
Week 14 April 30 May 2
6:00-8:00 Leadership
Week 15 May 7 May 9
6:00-8:00 Leadership
Bettin (6-9pm)
Work on Team Case Competition
Week 16 May 14 May 16
6:00-8:00 Presentation Skills
Work on Team Case Competition
Week 17 May 21 May 23
6:00-8:00 Optional Feedback on Team
Work on Team Case Competition
Week 18 May 28 June 1 (Saturday)
Case Coaching
McPherson (5-8pm)
Case Competition and Graduation (9am-1pm)

At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  1. Formulate or evaluate business strategy to gain competitive advantage
  2. Discover product, branding, segmentation and promotion marketing strategies
  3. Elevate your ability to influence
  4. Develop essential soft skills
  5. Work more effectively in teams
  6. Create operational advantages
  7. Differentiate between winning and losing business ideas
  8. Comprehend financial statements and use financial data to make informed decisions
  9. Propose financing strategies
  10. Prepare a budget projection to conduct cost-benefit analysis
  11. Evaluate investment opportunities
  12. Become a more effective manager and leader within your organization

Get Hands-on Experiential Learning

This program will end with a capstone project whereby participants will take what they have learned and apply it in a case competition, presenting a solution to a real-world business problem. Participants will be assigned a team and will work closely with faculty throughout the course.

Business Management Certificate news

Business Management Certificate: Relaunching a Great Program

from Jean Choy, Associate Dean of Executive Education & International Initiatives How do you improve upon a great program? This was the question that came to my mind when UW Foster Executive Education was asked to take over the management…

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June 14, 2021

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