The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in Seattle improved this year by two spots to land at number 22 in our rankings. Looking back one more year, Foster has moved up 10 spots since 2019. It’s an impressive increase but the school still has ample room for improvement as the school placed 57th in the Academic Experience portion of the ranking, which is based on the alumni survey.
With an acceptance rate of 34.24% this year, Foster was much more selective in its admissions. Last year, the Seattle-based B-school accepted 52% of applicants who applied. Additionally, this year’s average SAT score was 1412, as compared to last year’s average score of 1394.
In terms of employment outcomes, the Foster School performs very well. About 95% of the Class of 2020 had a business-focused internship before graduation with 94.71% securing a full-time position within three months of graduation — numbers that are on par with the Class of 2019. Despite a COVID-19 economic downturn, Foster students still graduate with high employability, which probably has to do with the brand as well as its location in tech-rich Seattle.
The Foster education is best characterized by a quality curriculum that emphasizes group work and an abundance of resources and opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in the real-world.
A “TWO-YEAR” BUSINESS EDUCATION
Foster is technically a two-year undergraduate business program, with standard admission to the B-school taking place at the end of sophomore year once a student has been admitted to UW. Although students have the option to apply as a direct admit as a freshman applicant, which continues to be an increasingly popular path to the school.
Admitted students can choose from the following business majors: accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, general business, human resources management, information systems, marketing, and operations and supply chain management.
Additionally, Foster also offers a Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB), a rigorous and integrative supplement to its business degree. CISB students take part in study abroad, foreign language immersion, and area studies coursework.
For ambitious students, the Fosters Honors Program offers an intensified academic experience with opportunities for research and class-based projects, honors sections, and greater access with researchers and practitioners. Honors students graduate from the Foster School “With Distinction.”
All Foster business students need to complete 72 business credits, of which a minimum of 53 need to be upper division. Additionally, because the B-school requires a large portion of the curriculum come from upper division courses, many of the classes that Foster students take require a group project and presentation — a characteristic that alumni speak highly of.
“As I was coming to university mid-career, I thought this was great practice for both public speaking and working in diverse teams,” one 2018 alumni told us.
HIGH-QUALITY RESOURCES, CASE COMPETITIONS, AND CAPSTONE PROJECTS
Where Foster really shines as a B-school is in its opportunities for students to apply their studies to real-world situations. Foster is home to six state of the art centers that drive innovative research and enable students to gain real-world, hands-on experiences. Foster centers include Consulting and Business Development, Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, Global Business Center, Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking, Center for Sales and Marketing Strategy, and USTC-UW Institute for Global Business and Finance Innovation.
“The resources and extracurricular opportunities were far more valuable than any in person class I took, in all reality (at least relative to my early professional experience),” one 2018 alumni told us. “The experiential learning opportunities and autonomy to drive my college experience and career path, coupled with the resources to explore so many areas of interest were unparalleled.”
Additionally, Foster hosts a number of case competitions that allow students the opportunity to solve real-world problems, join a team, network with business leaders, and collaborate with peers in an intense team-driven environment.
One 2018 alumni, who now works as a consultant at Deloitte, highlighted his experiences in both the Deloitte Case Competition and Environmental Case Competition as key signature experiences during his time at Foster.
“Case competitions allowed me to do research, prep, and present in a timeframe that is very similar to consulting in real life,” the alumni told us.
“Throughout my time at the business school, I participated in multiple school-level, national and international case competitions that provided me the unique opportunity to apply my full business toolkit to a problem, forcing me to fine-tune my technical and soft skills for a neat summary and presentation, respond to critique from real-world professionals., etc.,” another 2018 alumni said. “I’ve leaned significantly on this skill set in my career in presenting to executives.”
Other alumni highlight their experience in quality capstone courses that center primarily around case studies and require students to apply knowledge from their core business curriculum.
“This was much more of a ‘real world’ like simulation of course content, focused on studying real companies and outcomes of business decisions,” one 2018 alumni told us about their capstone experience. “The culmination of our work ended in a case competition across all capstone courses, where we presented to judges from industry and the specific company that was chosen for that year (in my case, Mod Pizza).”
If you’re looking for a B-school education that places heavy emphasis on group work with plenty of resources and opportunities to apply your knowledge outside of the classroom, the Foster School of Business is a great choice.
“The capstone project allowed us to evaluate a real issue that a company was faced with and encouraged us to think diligently and creatively to resolve it.”
“Learning real world applications vs. theory (i.e consulting with real companies on actual issues).”
“The teachers I had were incredible. They made my experience worth it and taught me how to work with adults. Being a young financial advisor, I have the skills necessary to speak with people much older than me and to have intellectual conversations.”
Where the Class of 2020 Went to Work:
- Deloitte – 25
- Amazon – 22
- EY – 21
- PwC – 16
- Microsoft – 13
- Highspot – 11
- KPMG – 10
- Accenture – 8
- Boeing – 6
- Moss Adams – 6