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consulting and Business Development CEnter

Learning that matters ... Jobs where they‘re needed the most

Think differently. Make a difference. It’s the Washington Way.



Experiential learning with a bottom-line impact

The Consulting and Business Development Center takes business education out of the classroom and puts it to work in communities across Washington. Through the center’s programs, students build skills and gain experience in consulting and solving business challenges. The students provide valuable consulting to small businesses and non-profit organizations in underserved communities. Business owners and non-profit leaders gain access to business education that creates jobs and changes lives. Combining academic rigor with business relevance and job creation is a bottom-line proposition that has resulted in more than $90 million in new revenue generated and more than 10,000 jobs created and retained across Washington state over the past 18 years. Yet the need and demand for the center’s programs continues to grow. We invite you to learn more about the Consulting and Business Development Center and join us in this important work.



“The best part about these consulting projects is that I get to use my classroom skills in real life. I’ve worked with real clients, and I’ve gotten feedback on my work, and been able to see its impact on the community.” Amanda Baker, (center), BA 2014, with Sunishchal Dev

“When I was in my junior year at UW, I realized I needed some real world hands-on experience to have on my résumé and to build confidence in my abilities. I found the student consulting program to be one of the most valuable experiences in my undergraduate education, and I still carry a lot of those lessons in my career. I really believe it helped me get where I am today.” Nicole Tillotson,

Marketing Manager, Sealaska Corporation, BA 2006

We turn class lessons into real-world experience To succeed in today’s competitive economy, students need experience applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to the challenges and opportunities of managing a real business. Through strategic consulting projects, these future leaders put their knowledge and skills to work and learn how to communicate ideas, work in teams, set and meet project deadlines, manage time efficiently and present themselves professionally. They discover how exciting and rewarding it can be to find solutions to real business problems­— and see them put into action. These lessons keep inspiring them to excel in their careers long after they graduate. In all, more than 1,800 students

have participated in the center’s programs. In a recent survey, 76% of alumni involved in these programs said the experience helped them get their first job after graduation, and 92% of them said it helped them perform better in their first job. Nicole Tillotson gained experience as a student consultant for the center that helped her launch a successful career in marketing. She’s now creating opportunities for current students like Amanda Baker and Sunishchal Dev to get the same experience she had by bringing in student consulting teams to work on Sealaska projects.

We help businesses The center was founded on research that showed a strong relationship between the success of small businesses and the employment opportunities available in underserved communities. That’s why student consulting projects with small businesses are at the heart of the center’s mission. Since its inception, more than 1,400 businesses have benefited from the center’s programs. Retail Lockbox, Inc., is a case in point. Founded in 1994, the company has evolved into an industry leader in remittance processing, credit card processing, and document management

compete and grow services. Starting in 2001, president Craig Dawson sought business planning assistance from student consulting teams that subsequently developed two five-year strategic plans and helped the business identify new opportunities in digital services. Craig and his management team worked closely with the student consultants and followed many of their recommendations, setting the company on the path to sustained growth. Serving an expanding list of business customers, including retailers, utilities, banks and government agencies, the company now supports jobs for more than 90 employees.



“The UW Consulting and Business Development Center model is unique for a couple of reasons. One, it brings the students a real-life case study. They’re able to walk into a business with real issues and dig their teeth into it and try to help solve those issues. On the business owners’ side, it’s unique because they may not have the resources to get those kinds of services—to actually have an independent third party come in and look at what they’re doing, give them that independent research, the recommendations to follow through, and the opportunity to increase their business. That’s what makes student consulting so valuable.” Craig Dawson, President, Retail Lockbox, Inc.

“We decided to support the Consulting and Business Development Center for two reasons. First, we have a long history of giving, especially in support of education. Second, it’s a necessity. Today’s workforce needs to be highly skilled to compete in a fast-moving world. You have to be entrepreneurial today just to maintain a job in a big company, and you need a lot of continuing education to develop your personal skills.” Bob Kershaw, (center), and Ed Kershaw, co-founders, Domex Superfresh Growers, with Cindy Alarcon

“Continuing education unlocks the potential in our valley. Access is the key. By bringing the Business Certificate Program to Yakima, the University of Washington and the center are helping develop our community and the industry here.” Cindy Alarcon, Sales Manager, Domex Superfresh Growers

We offer services throughout Washington An important part of the center’s mission is working in communities across Washington that would not otherwise have ready access to the resources of the region’s leading business school. That’s why the center offers consulting services and faculty-led courses in Seattle, Yakima, Everett, Spokane and the Tri-Cities. The Business Certificate Program, taught in both English and Spanish, advances the management skills of business owners and managers. They study proven business fundamentals, apply them to their companies, and network with successful local

business owners. Businesses in more than 20 cities across Washington have participated. Bob and Ed Kershaw, principals of the Kershaw Companies and co-founders of Domex Superfresh Growers in Yakima, have always been committed to developing employees’ potential. When the Kershaws discovered the Business Certificate Program, they knew it could have a major impact on the Yakima Valley. Through their support, the program is now offered three times a year in Yakima and is open to business owners and managers throughout the community.



“I’ve worked with staff, students and volunteers at the Consulting and Business Development Center over the past six years, and I’ve been continuously impressed with their knowledge, integrity and willingness to engage. Their work with the Rainier Chamber and local businesses has consistently produced high quality deliverables.” Susan Davis , (left), Executive Director, Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce


connect people

Key to our success are the partnerships we build with alumni, business community leaders and others who share our commitment to launching students’ careers, growing businesses and creating jobs in communities where they’re needed most. The center’s unique alliance with the Seattle Rotary Club is an example of the partnerships we build throughout Washington. In the center’s Business Management Consulting Program, student teams work under the guidance of an experienced mentor from the Seattle Rotary Club and professional consultants. Rotary Mentor Jennifer Ridewood guided several student consulting teams through the center’s


partnership with the Seattle Rotary Club. As a mentor, she advised a team of student consultants that recently completed a marketing project for the Rainier Valley Chamber of Commerce, focused on increasing outreach to businesses and improving the organization’s website. In all of the center’s student consulting programs, business leaders and professionals mentor and coach students to maximize business impact, enhance student learning, create and retain jobs, and grow businesses. Through the center’s programs, students have completed more than 300 consulting projects and internships.

consulting projects and internships

“As a Rotary Mentor, I find it rewarding to advise student consulting teams. It’s a good partnership. I treat students like they’re working for me—it’s a different tone than they might get from their parents or teachers. They gain confidence from applying what they’ve learned in the classroom to real business problems.” Jennifer Ridewood, (right), Rotary Mentor, with Susan Davis and Travin Keith (BA 2013),

a former student consultant

“Board Fellows venture out into the non-profit sector to make an impact. The Consulting and Business Development Center equips them with tools they can use and guidance on observing a board. At the Boyer Children’s Clinic, their participation has been phenomenal in terms of their observations on strengths and weaknesses of the board, bringing a fresh perspective to our work and spotting potential strategic issues to add to our agenda.” Jacob Burns, (left), President of the Board, Boyer Children’s Clinic, MBA 2008 and former Board Fellow,

with Mike Stewart (center), Executive Director, and MBA Student Justin Deese

“I’ve always wanted to serve on a non-profit board. It’s just something I have a calling to do. I work in healthcare, and I felt I could add value at the Boyer Children’s Clinic because I’m already in the industry.” Justin Deese , MBA 2014, Board Fellow

We prepare students for leadership The center helps students reach their potential as leaders not only in business but in the community as well. The Board Fellows Program places MBA and other graduate students on the boards of nonprofit organizations like the Boyer Children’s Clinic. Students bring their business expertise to the table, learn how boards work, and gain

experience that positions them for future nonprofit and for-profit board leadership. It’s a unique opportunity, founded on the trust the center has built with organizations and the excellent reputation of Foster business students. Through this program, students have an impact on the lives of more than 600,000 people in the Puget Sound region every year.

600,000+ people served

William Bradford

Thaddeus Spratlen

Michael Verchot

Business and Economic Development Endowed Professor of Finance, serves as the center’s faculty director.

emeritus Professor of Marketing, was the center’s founding faculty director.

(MBA 1995) is the founding director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.


lead the way

Since the center’s founding in 1995, we’ve built a dynamic network of students, alumni, faculty, business owners, non-profit organizations, corporate partners, donors and supporters. In the process of learning and growing, the center has become a leader in its field and a model for other university based student consulting programs focused on underserved communities nationwide. Our Minority Business Executive Program, just one of three of its kind in the US, draws minority-owned, women-owned, and other diverse businesses to the Foster School each summer. These companies, typically suppliers to Fortune 100 firms, have seen their sales grow by

tens of millions of dollars because of what they’ve learned. Looking to the future, the center is building an expanding national network of business schools to engage students and faculty in a mission to address the country’s economic divide by growing businesses and jobs in underserved communities. Through publishing research and textbooks and convening national conferences, the center is taking a leading role in a movement that includes the top 50 business schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minorityserving institutions, as well as regional business schools.

Together, we can

make a difference

You can help advance the Consulting and Business Development Center’s mission in many ways. • Mentor undergraduate or MBA students • Judge or advise at the Consulting Challenge • Make a contribution to continue the center’s work • Sponsor companies to participate in the center’s programs • Participate in business education classes • Request a Foster student consulting team • Attend the annual Minority Business of the Year Awards • Engage with the Board Fellows Program • Hire Foster graduates with consulting experience • Create an endowment

Visit the website or contact the center to learn more.

consulting and Business Development CEnter

Michael G. Foster School of Business University of Washington Box 353200 Seattle, WA 98195-3200 Phone 206.543.9327 Email

Think differently. Make a difference. It’s the Washington Way.

Consulting and Business Development Center brochure  

The Consulting and Business Development Center at the UW Foster School takes business education out of the classroom and puts it to work in...