Club Spotlight – Foster Consulting Society

The Foster Consulting Society (FCS) is a student-run organization that serves both Full-time MBA and Evening MBA students. With close to 100 active members, FCS is one of the largest and most active clubs on campus. Foster Consulting Society supports members who wish to recruit into the consulting industry through three distinct value propositions:

  1. Orientation: In the first five weeks of the program, the club, through its bootcamp series, strives to orient everyone to what a consulting job involves, potential career roadmaps and the finer nuances of how various consulting firms operate.
  2. Coaching and Interview Preparation: One of the club’s most valuable resources is providing members the opportunity to prepare and practice for case interviews. Almost all consulting firms use case interviews as an evaluative measure of how well applicants can think about real-world business problems. In 2022, second-year MBA student coaches collectively volunteered a record 850 hours of 1:1 peer coaching, several weeks of group casing, resume reviews and behavioral interview preparation sessions.
  3. Networking Opportunities: FCS hosts events throughout the year in partnership with several consulting firms, giving its members the opportunity to network with consultants, recruiters and Foster alumni. Events range from formal information sessions to informal coffee chats and cocktail hours.

The club also has several new goals going forward including facilitating recruitment opportunities with newer firms and offering dedicated mentorship opportunities for members.

FCS Bootcamp

In this feature, the outgoing presidents of the club Siddharth Kanandale (FTMBA 23) and Bob Agiro (EMBA 24) share their experiences leading the club.

Please tell us a bit about yourselves.

Siddharth (Sid): I grew up in Bangalore, India. Following the completion of my undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, my passion for working on complex and diverse business challenges across industries steered me towards a career in management consulting. Outside of work, I find joy in exploring the outdoors and immersing myself in the realms of world history. My time at Foster, especially with the Consulting Society, has been transformative – offering me invaluable insights that will be fundamental to my first post-MBA career.

Bob: I grew up and studied in Kenya up until my early college years before moving to Michigan and ultimately Washington. I’ve spent my career primarily in two industries: pharmaceuticals manufacturing and aerospace/aviation, both as a reliability engineer with an interest to generally understand how things fail and mitigate this outcome. I absolutely love cooking and hosting, during which my next favorite thing tends to come up – talking philosophy and exploring what it’s like being a modern-day human. I have a profoundly positive attitude towards life and earnestly wish to share this with everyone I meet. Post Foster, I hope to end up at a management consulting firm or do something related to corporate strategy.

How has your club influenced the continued evolution of the Foster MBA program? 

Sid & Bob: We have witnessed a steady rise in interest among Foster MBA students to recruit into the consulting industry. Foster Consulting Society has rapidly evolved and scaled its offerings to ensure our members realize their career goals. FCS works very closely with and relies on the support of the MBA Career Management office to maintain relationships with recruiters and consultants, and to also stay updated on any upcoming recruiting opportunities.

The club has also made a conscious effort to plan programming with Evening MBA students’ availability in mind since most students in the evening cohort still have daytime jobs. Adding multiple Evening MBA representatives to the board has also helped in being more inclusive with communications, dispersing resources from the club, and expanding networking opportunities.

Which club events have been most popular or successful with students and why? 

Bob: In the past year, the Bootcamp (orientation) series and the Fall Formal had the most engagement from all students. These events have had a significant impact in developing consulting skills and offer the much-desired networking opportunities that are a foundation of the consulting experience.

What have you learned about leadership while in this role? 

Sid: In my role, I have learned that leadership is about recognizing and harnessing the strengths of the individuals around you. I was lucky to have some of the most accomplished and dedicated peers serve on the board of the club. By empowering them and fostering a culture of collaboration, we were successful in unlocking the full potential of FCS, which was reflected in both the number of events hosted as well as the recruiting numbers this year.

What were your expectations and intentions as you took on the role? Did your experience line up?

Bob: My expectations at a minimum were to help evening students interested in consulting get access to more FCS resources by being a more accessible point of contact. Furthermore, I was looking to align more events with Evening MBA students’ availability. My experience for the most part did align with these goals but as the saying goes, ‘there’s always room for improvement’. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of a support group of students with similar interests and upbeat personalities. The recruitment season was the most challenging. By design, a lot is happening around you while trying to navigate the difficult multi-layered recruitment process.

Do you have a favorite memory of your time with FCS?

Bob: A favorite memory with FCS is my first FCS Formal event, I loved the low-stress environment while still getting the much-needed networking opportunities. Plus, it was probably the easiest way to meet other awesome FCS members and non-members in the community.

Siddharth: FCS operates as a well-oiled machine and a lot of credit goes to the processes, timelines, and relationships that have been built over the past several years. One of the most exciting memories for me was meeting with the board even before the start of the academic year, detailing out our calendar of events, and planning the logistics almost six months ahead. This level of early planning translated to better member engagement and higher quality events.

FCS Bootcamp

FCS Formal 2022

How have you worked with other clubs or UW Graduate Schools to provide networking opportunities? 

Sid: Consulting as a career track is gaining traction not just within the Foster MBA program, but beyond. Over the past two years, FCS has offered support and guidance to UW Graduate Consulting Club (GCC), Foster Undergraduate Consulting Society and UW Bothell (UG) Consulting Association in setting up their respective organizations. As these clubs evolve, we expect more cross-collaboration and sharing of networking opportunities.

Why do students join the club?

Sid: We believe FCS has a lot to offer to everyone regardless of their prior work experience or future career goals. The club ensures we bring all members up to speed before diving into the deep end of recruitment preparation. Additionally, case interview formats are important not just in consulting but also in the technology industry (for example, product management roles). FCS will help equip you with all the skills you need to ace these interviews.

Beyond recruiting, FCS hosts several events to celebrate both the wins and rejections in the recruiting journey and ensures we contribute towards the strong collaborative culture at Foster.

What tips do you have for incoming MBA students as to why they should join FCS’s leadership?  

Sid: Taking up a leadership role at FCS can be an immensely rewarding decision for several reasons. Firstly, the recruiting process for consulting roles is known to be demanding, time consuming and competitive. In this regard, the club heavily relies on dedicated case coaches who play a pivotal role in guiding first-year students through the intricate journey of internship recruiting. Their support is invaluable, and by assuming a leadership position, individuals have the opportunity to pay it forward by providing guidance and assistance to future cohorts.

Moreover, leadership within the club can take many forms. It encompasses a diverse range of opportunities, including serving on the board or contributing innovative ideas to enhance the club’s overall functioning. By actively participating in a leadership role, individuals can influence the club’s growth and development, making a lasting impact on its success and creating a legacy of positive change.

Ultimately, taking up a leadership role at FCS also provides individuals with a chance to develop valuable skills, broaden their network, and foster personal growth. It is an invitation to be part of a community that values collaboration, mentorship, and continuous improvement, making it an excellent choice for those seeking to contribute, learn, and make a meaningful difference.