The Foster School of Business at the University of Washington in Seattle came in at No. 24 this year, down only slightly from last year’s No. 22, back at the same ranking for 2020. The B-school ranks pretty well, and looking back one more year, Foster has improved much since its No. 32 ranking in 2019 and held its rankings in the low 20’s since. Of the three methodological categories, the B-School scored highest in the Career Outcomes category, placing 20th.
With an acceptance rate of 39.08% this year, Foster was slightly less selective in admissions compared to last year’s 34.24%. All-in-all, the Seattle-based B-school is more selective than it was in 2019, when they accepted 52% of applicants. This year’s average SAT score was 1319, down from last year’s average of 1412.
In terms of employment outcomes, the Foster School performs very well. About 96% of the Class of 2021 had a business-focused internship before graduation, up 1% from last year’s 95% for the Class of 2020, and 96.39% of the Class of 2021 secured a full-time position within three months of graduation — up from last year’s 94.71%. Despite COVID-19, Foster students were able to and still continue to 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).”
When asked if they believe if their business degree was worth their time and resources, 2019 alumni gave a strong 9.1 score.
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.
“My marketing management class was run like a consulting class, and it was so beneficial to my education to get to work closely and hands-on with a local Seattle company! We were able to develop and present an in-depth business strategy to this company (that they then implemented!), and it was a great learning experience to analyze real business documents (e.g. financials) and then develop and present strategic marketing, finance, and business operations recommendations that we knew would have real-world implications.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Teamwork & real clients made the difference in the capstone case competition. It helped me grow my network and was an excellent education in business analysis, teamwork, creative problem solving & presenting.”
“My senior project capstone was the first time I had to truly look at a company at all angles. As something that I now do every day at work, that first experience was incredibly helpful.”
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