Local high school students gain a global perspective at Foster

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Each April, excitement fills the air as teams of business school students from prestigious universities around the world descend on the Foster School of Business for the annual Global Business Case Competition (GBCC).

Since 2008, the Foster School Global Business Center has been partnering with the Seattle Public Schools Academy of Finance (AOF) program to bring almost 100 juniors from Ballard, Chief Sealth International, and Franklin high schools on campus to interact with the GBCC teams. This experience always aims to:

  1. Provide the AOF students with an opportunity to explore the idea of global business.
  2. Engage them in thinking about how to internationalize their college career.
  3. Motivate them to think about how their future as a business leader working in the global economy will be impacted by the experiences they exposed to throughout high school and college.

In addition, during this field trip many of the high school students are introduced for the first time to case-based learning, which is an integral facet of the classroom experience at the Foster School, and many business schools across the country.

This year’s program included a variety of activities to engage the AOF students with the GBCC visiting international students, and expose them to opportunities available at the Foster School of Business. The day started off with a warm welcome to the University of Washington by an enthusiastic group of Foster School volunteers, who then provided a walking tour of campus. After the campus tour, the AOF students integrated with the GBCC students for a business case exercise focused on MOD Pizza’s international expansion. This case exercise facilitated energized discussions surrounding cultural similarities and differences that can impact doing business in a foreign country.

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The afternoon was concluded with a panel discussion in which Foster School students spoke about their international experiences and study abroad. The AOF students listened intently as the panelists spoke, and at the end of the discussion asked a variety of insightful and thoughtful questions.

As the day came to a close, the international students representing the GBCC expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to interact with local high school students to learn about American culture, and the high school students enjoyed learning from the GBCC students who represented countries from all corners of the world.

The collaboration between GBCC and AOF is an opportunity that the Global Business Center looks forward to each year because this unique event exposes the AOF students to a variety of experiences that they might not gain independently. The AOF student population is incredibly diverse, driven, and deserving of this unique visit to the University of Washington. The most currently reported numbers (2014-15) indicate that 69% of AOF students identify as a minority, and 61% qualify for free or reduced lunch. Additionally 100% of AOF seniors graduated from high school in 2014, and 98.6% of those students planned to attend college.

This learning experience would not have been possible without Wells Fargo’s generous sponsorship.

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