The actor, director, and comedian Cheech Marin kicked-off the 20th Anniversary Celebration for the Consulting and Business Development Center, complimenting Washington for its outstanding agricultural products before he got to the serious matter of underlining the importance of growing educational and business opportunities for a broad diversity of people as the demographics of the US are undergoing dramatic changes. He complimented the Foster School for its foresight in launching the Consulting and Business Development Center in 1995 with the mission of accelerating student careers and growing businesses in underserved communities. Among the center’s historic achievements is the creation of the nation’s first endowed scholarship for Latino MBA students and establishing the Foster School’s first endowed scholarships for African American MBAs and undergraduates, and Asian Pacific Islander undergraduates. The center has also created a national network of business schools, including half of the top 25 ranked schools, that have centers with a similar mission.
Since its inception, the center has helped to create more than 100,000 jobs in Seattle/King County, the Yakima Valley, and the Tri-Cities. In 2015 alone, 350 students and a dozen faculty worked with 100 small businesses and nonprofits. Collectively the small businesses that were assisted by the center this year grew their revenues by $8.9 million, which means that, on average, their revenue growth rate was 10%. But its real impact is on the lives that the center has changed. “It’s honestly really difficult to put into words what the center has meant for me. It has been such a huge part of my experience here at the University of Washington and at the business school that I literally can’t imagine my experience as a student or as an alumni without the center. The center matters because it has a transformative impact on the lives of students and businesses,” reflected Raychael Jensen (BA, Finance, 2006), who is now the Deputy of Strategy & Special Projects at the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City.
Brianna Rubens (BA, Business Administration, 2005), who is now an Associate at BlackRock, found her experience with the center as a student so powerful that she has continued as an advisor to the undergraduate student consulting teams for the last decade. “I first started off with my involvement with the center in my junior year here at the Foster School of Business when I took the class and then decided to carry on as a member of the Leadership Team in my senior year. When I graduated with my degree I made the decision that I had such a great experience with the center that I wanted to come back in an alumni capacity.” It’s this long-term commitment by people like Brianna and her husband Adam Rubens (MBA, 2015), who is the Senior Sales Executive at GeekWire, that make the center’s impact in creating futures and transforming lives possible.
More than 650 people joined in celebrating the center’s success donating a record $90,000 to build the center’s program endowments.
Guest post by Michael Verchot, Director of the Consulting and Business Development Center.