Interview with Erin Ernst - Foster MBA Admissions Director

F1GMAT: Foster Full-time MBA focuses on building a strong business fundamental before allowing students to pick their elective courses. How is the curriculum structured to help MBA students?

Erin Ernst Foster MBAErin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): The first-year integrated core curriculum provides students with a strong foundation in business fundamentals and, most importantly, shows students how these fundamental business concepts interrelate.  The core is designed to give students the tools they need to solve complex problems by drawing upon multiple areas of expertise. The second year of the program is primarily comprised of elective coursework, and is highly customizable. By choosing their electives, students are able to develop greater expertise in the areas directly related to their post-MBA career while continuing to increase their ability to take on cross-functional assignments. In addition to the core and elective curriculum, students are required to complete three practical experience activities (such as a project for a company, an internship, participating in the business plan competition, etc.) Students are also required to complete two international perspective activities, such as participating in a study tour, completing an internationally-focused project, or studying abroad.

F1GMAT: How is the student life at Foster School of Business?

Student Life at Foster School of BusinessErin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): The Foster MBA has a small class size (on average 100-120 students each year), which encourages collaboration and an extremely supportive environment. Our students truly get to know one another on a personal level. This not only creates a close-knit environment while students are in the program, it also provides for an outstanding network well beyond graduation. Foster MBAs maintain very close relationships with one another long after the program ends.

Students are highly involved in student organizations, which provide an opportunity to develop leadership skills and to interact with classmates who share common interests. Life as a Foster MBA is extremely busy, but students make a point to divide their time between academics, professional development, taking time to give back to the community and, of course, having fun. Seattle offers incredible culture, entertainment and outdoor activities and students have a great time experiencing all that Seattle offers during their time here.

A great way to get to know our students and our culture first-hand is to connect with our Student Ambassador Program. Current students are happy to chat with you over e-mail and answer any questions you might have about student life. When you’re researching programs, students are often your best resource!

F1GMAT: The Foster MBA Mentor program looks interesting. Will the students get the opportunity for one on one mentorship?

Mentor Program Foster MBAErin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): The Foster MBA Mentor Program offers an incredible opportunity to interact on a personal level with executives from the Seattle business community. On average we have around 75 mentors participating in the program each year, from a wide variety of industries and organizations. During the first year students are matched with mentors in groups. During the second year generally three students are assigned to each mentor. Despite how busy these executives are, we have found them to be incredibly approachable and giving of their time. Some mentors may offer time to meet one-on-one, and many students in the past have developed lasting relationships with their mentors, and have continued after the program to seek their advice and guidance as they advance in their careers. 

F1GMAT: What are some of the post-MBA opportunities available for MBA graduates?

Post-MBA Foster MBAErin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): The Foster MBA Program is unique in that our students tend to have a very wide variety of interests and land at a very wide variety of organizations post-MBA, from large companies like Microsoft and Amazon, to small local startups, to non-profit organizations. Our career center offers personalized, one-on-one coaching, skills workshops, resume reviews, mock interviews and a multitude of networking opportunities, all designed to help students develop the tools they need to move closer to their unique post-MBA goals. You can review our recent employment statistics, including a list of our most recent hiring companies.

F1GMAT:  Can you give our readers a snapshot of the latest class?

Class 2013 Foster MBA Profile
Class Statistics - Foster School of BusinessGeographical Distribution

F1GMAT:  What are some of the unique courses and activities offered in the MBA program?

Erin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director):  One of the most popular opportunities to take advantage of at Foster is the Entrepreneurship program offered through our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which offers courses, workshops, networking opportunities and mentorship opportunities, as well as the chance to participate in our annual Business Plan Competition. There are a number of outstanding electives offered through CIE, including Entrepreneurial Decision-Making and Venture Capital Investments.

Another unique elective at Foster is “Women at the Top”, which offers dynamic sessions focusing on the exploration of issues related to female leadership. Students hear personal accounts from accomplished women who have been making their own kind of difference in the world.

Throughout the two years at Foster there is a strong focus on practical, hands-on learning opportunities, ensuring that students understand how to apply the skills they are learning in the classroom to real world issues. During the first year core, students take a class called “Applied Strategy” which involves teams of MBAs working on projects for real companies. Students can opt to participate in another project during their second year through our Field Studies Program. Other opportunities to put your skills to the test include:

• The Board Fellows Program
– a unique opportunity for students to sit on the board of a local non-profit as a non-voting member.

• The Leadership Fellows Program
– offers second-year students the opportunity to mentor first-year student teams.

• The India Global Consulting project – gives students hands-on strategy consulting experience with the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), using business principles to make a difference in the lives of poor women in India.

• The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic – a joint venture between the UW School of Law and Foster’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the Clinic teams law and business students with pro bono attorneys and business advisors to provide critical early stage legal and business counseling to local start-ups and small businesses.

These are just a few examples of the ways that students at Foster can specialize their studies and gain hands-on experience that will bolster their resumes and better prepare them for post-MBA job opportunities. For a complete list of electives click here, and for more information on project and other hands-on activities click here

F1GMAT:  What are the entry criteria in terms of the number of years of experience/GMAT/GPA for the Full-time MBA program?

Erin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): We do not have minimum requirements for work experience, GMAT or GPA but our averages tend to be quite competitive – the average work experience is generally around 5 years, average GMAT around 670 and average GPA 3.4. In terms of work experience, we are looking at both the quantity and quality of a candidate’s professional background, as well as how much thought they have put into their post-MBA goals and how realistic these plans are considering their pre-MBA work experience. In terms of GMAT and GPA, we use these to determine whether a student can handle our rigorous coursework. We do not require students to come from any particular academic background, and we do not have any specific course prerequisites. For this reason, the GMAT is particularly helpful in determining whether a candidate is capable of MBA-level academics and, in particular, some of the more quantitative aspects of the curriculum.

F1GMAT:  What are some of the defining characteristics that you look for in a Foster Full-time MBA candidate?

Unique Courses Foster MBAErin Ernst (Foster MBA Admissions Director): Like most top level MBA programs, at Foster we are looking for students who have the academic capabilities, professional experience, employability, communication skills and leadership potential to succeed in our program and beyond.

More specifically, we are looking for students who genuinely want to engage with the Foster MBA community – this is a highly interactive program that works best when students are involved in and out of the classroom, learning from one another and supporting one another. Foster MBAs must be able to work effectively within their study teams and within a very diverse community. We are looking for candidates who show curiosity and drive – a willingness to ask questions, step out of one’s comfort zone and try new things. We are looking for candidates who have a history of successfully balancing several different demands at once – the MBA is so much more than class assignments and tests. We are looking for people who are passionate about their careers and about business in general.

Finally, we are looking for people who want to make a positive influence on their community – at Foster we believe that business leaders have an incredible opportunity to enact change and to make a difference, and it is important that our students embody this during their time at Foster and well into the future as alumni of our program.  

About Erin Ernst

Erin Ernst Foster MBA
Erin Ernst is the Director of MBA Admissions at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Western Washington University, she joined the Foster School of Business in 2001. She has been serving as Director of Admissions for the past four years. Erin is a Seattle native and enjoys taking advantage of the many outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest has to offer year round.

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Only 1 in 900 gains admission to Harvard MBA program. If you write your essay focused only on your achievements, post-MBA goals, and your pre-MBA experience, you will be among the 899 rejected applicants.

ATTENTION is the secret ingredient. How will you get the attention of the essay reviewer?

You know why parables shared 1000 years ago are still shared among us?


Yes, the art of storytelling has won presidency for Obama, transformed Apple from an unknown start-up to a brand synonymous with Quality, and gained admission for the average MBA Applicant.

F1GMAT's Winning MBA Essay guide will teach you how to transform your essay to an epic life journey with trials and tribulations that will move the admission team.

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If you don't know how to review your essays, our Winning MBA Essay Guide will demonstrate how to improve readability with the power of iteration, and maintain your original voice by removing review biases.

Pages: 618

Winning MBA Essay Guide Includes
+Harvard MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay – Gratitude & Giving Back   
    Sample MBA Essay – Entrepreneurship (Influence of Childhood)   

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample Essay A
+ Chicago Booth MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    #1. Modern Art = Make you Think   
    #2. Teamwork and Individual Ambition   
    #3. Adventure   
    #4. Diversity = Creativity   
    #5. Classroom Experience   
    #6. Harper Center   

+ Columbia MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Most Passionate About   
     Sample MBA Essay – Free Day   

+ MIT Sloan MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Cover Letter
+ Kellogg MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample Essay - Leadership and Challenges   
     Sample Essay - How you have grown and intend to grow   

+ Insead MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
   Sample Essay 1: Candid Description, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Sample Essay 2: Achievements and Failures
    Sample Essay 3: Extra-Curricular and How enriched you are

MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay: Non-Profit   
     Sample MBA Essay: Technology   
     Sample MBA Essay: Marketing   
     Sample MBA Essay: Getting Fired   
     Sample MBA Essay: Diverse and Inclusive Culture   
     Sample MBA Essay: Leadership   
     Sample MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goal & How Pre-MBA Experience will help  
+ Yale SOM MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample MBA Essay – Investment Banker
     Sample MBA Essay - Consultant  
     Sample MBA Essay - Technologist  
     Sample MBA Essay - Marketer  
     Sample MBA Essay - Entrepreneur  
+ Ross MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance Professional who was a former member of a rock band   
    Sample MBA Essay: Technologist (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Creative Marketing (Idea to Action)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Consulting (Made a Difference)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Losing a Client (Resilience)   
    Sample MBA Essay: Finance to Marketing (extra-curricular)   
    Sample MBA Essay: I am Aware that I am different   
    Sample MBA Essay: I find it Challenging when People   
    Sample MBA Essay: A valuable thing I have taught someone   
    Sample Essay – Part 2 (Short-term & Long-Term Goals, skills relevant to your career goals and how Ross  
    prepares you for the goals)   
+ Wharton MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    8 Professional Gains

London Business School
MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    London as the Financial Hub   
    London as the Technology Hub   
    London as the Consulting Hub   
    How to Cite the Curriculum (Example)   
    Sample LBS MBA Essay: Post-MBA Goals - How Prior Experience & LBS MBA will contribute (486   
+ Darden MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Case Study Method   
    What is valued at Darden?
    Framework for Answering the Darden Essay Question   
    Sample Darden Essay: When your opinion evolved through discussions (499 Words)

+ Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua Short-Answer Essay Questions   
    Sample Short-term Goals Essay – Technology to Consulting (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Consulting for Government (100 Words)   
    Sample Long-term Goals Essay – Plan B (89 Words)   
    Framework for Answering the Duke Fuqua 25 Random Things   
    Sample Duke Fuqua Essay: The Fuqua community and you (Max 2 Pages)  
+ NYU Stern MBA Essay Tips (2018 Entering Class)
     Sample NYU Stern Essay 1: Goals (498 Words)    
     Essay 3:  Personal Expression (a.k.a. "Pick Six")    
          5 Examples with Images

+ Sample Essays
+ The Art of Storytelling 
+ Leadership Narratives
+ Review Tips
+ Persuasion Strategies
+ The Secret to "unleashing" your unique voice
+ How to write about your Strengths
+ How to write about your Weaknesses

Download Winning MBA Essay Guide (2018 Entering Class)

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

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