Club Spotlight – Foster Finance Society

The Finance Society (TFS) of Foster is a MBAA Association club for students interested in the world of finance and pursuing a career in the field. In this feature, alumni Xuqi Chen, Evening MBA class of 2023, ex Executive Vice President of TFS shares her insights.  

What is the Foster MBA Finance Society all about?

The Foster MBA Finance Society is a vibrant and inclusive club dedicated to bringing together like-minded students who share a passion for finance. We aim to provide you with invaluable resources and experiences that will enhance your knowledge, skills, and networks in the finance industry.

What does TFS offer Full-time and Evening MBA students like you?

Networking: The opportunity to network is an invaluable aspect of the Foster MBA Finance Society. As someone without a finance background, I truly understand the significance of connections. The Finance Society allows me to gain access to a vast network of finance professionals, alumni, and fellow students. UW Foster MBA has an impressive alumni base with professionals working at esteemed organizations such as Goldman Sachs, Amazon, Microsoft, and Boeing. Through the networking events hosted by Finance Society, I built meaningful relationships that open doors to Finance opportunities.

Student and Alumni Panels: Every year the Foster MBA Finance Society hosts info sessions consisting of accomplished Foster MBA graduates who have made their mark in finance. I heard firsthand experiences and insights from foster alumni \in finance. Additionally, former and current students also provided valuable perspectives on their internship experiences across various corporate finance roles. The opportunity to learn from their journeys and engage in interactive discussions proved to be immensely valuable in shaping my own career path.

Corporate and Academic Guest Speakers: The Finance Society has co-hosted multiple events with EVCC (Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital club), Data & Analytics Club,  WiB (Women in Business) to bring renowned industry experts, thought leaders, and professors to campus, giving me the chance to learn from the best in the business. The club event helps me stay up to date with the latest trends, developments, and innovative strategies in finance.

West Coast Company Visits: Every year, the Seattle Finance Collective and Pitchbook join forces to organize an event that provides an immersive experience in the Seattle Investment Landscape. Attending this event has allowed me to broaden my exposure and deepen my understanding of the finance community in Seattle. That event has also provided a valuable platform for networking with key players in the private equity (PE), venture capital (VC), and angel investment sectors in Seattle. One aspect that I particularly appreciate about this event was the special focus on empowering women MBAs to foster stronger relationships with Seattle’s investment community. By attending, students can experience the buzz and energy of the financial hub, while connecting with professionals and gaining firsthand insights into how finance operates in real-world settings.

Recruiter Information Sessions: The UW Finance Society (TFS) offers valuable internal resources to support students in their recruiting efforts. Career Management Coach Bronica Sam is a great resource to provide students with valuable insights into the recruitment process, industry expectations, and the essential skills necessary for success. TFS goes the extra mile by offering interview preparation sessions, conducting mock interviews, and providing valuable feedback. These resources are designed to help students enhance their skills, refine their interviewing techniques, and excel in their pursuit of a finance career.

 What unique role does TFS play in promoting students’ goals at Foster? 

The networking opportunities provided by the UW Finance Society (TFS) are undoubtedly its most valuable asset. A prime example of this is the experience of our current VP of Alumni Affairs, Catherine Sandstrom. Catherine had the opportunity to meet Jack Percival, a former Alumni Relations member, during one of the TFS networking events. As a result, Jack became Catherine’s peer mentor and shared his invaluable experience interning in Goldman Sachs’ wealth management team. Inspired by his guidance, Catherine is now embarking on her own journey by joining the Goldman Sachs wealth management team after graduating. This powerful connection and mentorship opportunity was made possible through TFS events, where like-minded finance professionals come together to share their stories and support each other’s journeys.

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

We recognized the limited involvement of previous Foster Evening MBA students in the UW Finance Society (TFS) due to scheduling constraints and a lack of awareness about the club, so we have taken steps to address this issue. TFS has actively sought out more Evening MBA members to join the club’s leadership board, ensuring representation and a voice for the Evening MBA program. Moreover, TFS has proactively worked towards inclusivity by making events accessible and engaging for both Evening and Full-time MBA students. To further enhance the accessibility of TFS to the Evening MBA program, we have established partnerships with other clubs, collaborating to co-host events. This strategic collaboration has expanded the reach and impact of TFS, making it more appealing and relevant to Evening MBA students.

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

Our flagship event, the Stock Pitch Competition, held during the fall quarter, has consistently been our most popular and successful event. This competition provides students an opportunity to select, analyze, and pitch a stock (either long or short) to a panel of financial professionals from the Seattle area and faculty members. 

Stock Pitch Competition

The Stock Pitch Competition’s success can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, for students, this competition serves as excellent practice for future fundraising endeavors, as successful Foster MBA graduates are highly likely to raise capital for their businesses in the future. The competition allows them to hone their pitching skills and receive valuable feedback from industry experts.

Secondly, the Stock Pitch Competition serves as our biggest networking event of the year, attracting senior professionals from various sectors, including Finance, Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, Asset Management, and M&A Advisory Services. The panel of judges comprises senior professionals from renowned institutions such as Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Kosmos Management, JP Morgan, Fulcrum Capital, Elliot Cove Capital, and Ascent Private Capital Management. This convergence of industry experts and aspiring finance professionals creates an environment conducive to building meaningful connections and fostering valuable relationships.

Both students and professionals have consistently provided positive reviews and feedback for this event, further cementing its reputation as a standout success within our club. The Stock Pitch Competition has become a cornerstone of our offerings, providing a platform for students to showcase their financial acumen, gain exposure to industry professionals, and receive constructive input on their investment strategies.

Stock Pitch Networking Night 

What have you learned about leadership while in this role?

During my tenure as the Executive Vice President (EVP) of the Finance Society, I have gained valuable insights and learned important lessons about leadership.

  1.     Vision and Strategy: As a leader, it is crucial to develop a clear vision for the organization and set strategic goals. I learned the importance of aligning the club’s objectives with the broader goals of the Foster MBA program. Which event, hosted in which quarter, would best serve the students’ interests and recruiting needs? This is the top priority of club leadership. By outlining a compelling vision with the club president and implementing a well-defined event plan, I was able to guide the Finance Society towards growth and success.
  2.     Empowering Others & Leading by Example: Leadership is not just about delegating tasks, but also about empowering others to take ownership and make meaningful contributions. I learned to trust my TFS board members and delegate responsibilities, allowing them to grow, learn, and contribute to the overall success of the Finance Society. Providing guidance, feedback, and recognizing their achievements were vital in cultivating a sense of empowerment and motivation among team members. In addition, I learned that my actions and behaviors as an EVP had a significant impact on the team. By modeling professionalism, dedication, and a strong work ethic, I was able to inspire and motivate others to give their best.
  3.     Adaptability and Resilience: In a dynamic and ever-changing environment, I realized the importance of adaptability and resilience as a leader. Circumstances and priorities can shift unexpectedly, requiring quick decision-making and flexibility. I learned to navigate challenges, embrace change, and maintain a positive attitude, which inspired confidence and resilience within the team.

What were your expectations and intentions as you took on the role? Did your experience line up? What has been enjoyable? Challenging? Surprising?

As I took on the role in the club, my expectations were to represent the needs of Evening MBA students to the TFS leadership and organize events that catered to their schedules and interests. I also intended to bridge the gap between Evening MBA students already working in the finance industry and TFS students, creating additional networking opportunities. Fortunately, my experience in TFS has exceeded my expectations.

Working with the TFS board has been highly enjoyable, as everyone is actively engaged and dedicated to hosting events that benefit the entire MBA student cohort. The collaboration and enthusiasm within the team have been rewarding, and I have witnessed the positive impact of our efforts in supporting students’ finance-related aspirations.

One of the challenges I faced as an Evening MBA student was finding compatible times to join TFS board meetings, which are usually scheduled on weekdays. However, with the support of the TFS president, I was able to participate virtually and actively contribute to the meetings despite my scheduling constraints.

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

When reflecting on my time with TFS, it’s challenging to pick just one favorite memory. However, if I had to choose, it would undoubtedly be the time spent with the incredible people in the club. The friendships, connections, and camaraderie built during my involvement with TFS have been invaluable.

From the lively discussions during board meetings to the shared excitement and sense of accomplishment at our successful events, every moment spent with the TFS community has been memorable. Whether it was brainstorming event ideas, collaborating on projects, or simply enjoying casual conversations, the bonds formed with like-minded individuals have made my experience truly special.

The people I have met through TFS – Aaron Valenta, Catherine Sandstrom, Writu Kakshapati, have not only inspired and motivated me, but they have also become lifelong friends and professional connections. Together, we have shared laughter, supported each other’s aspirations, and celebrated our achievements. These moments and relationships have left a lasting impact on me, reminding me of the power of collaboration and the value of a strong community.

Which students or why do students join the club? 

Students who are interested in pursuing a career in finance and want to connect with like-minded individuals should consider joining the club. By becoming a member, you will have the opportunity to engage with students who share a passion for finance and create valuable connections within the industry. Additionally, taking on a leadership role within the club provides even greater benefits. As a club leader, you will have firsthand access to all the events, gain exposure to recruiting leads, and have the chance to build valuable leadership experience. Joining the club not only expands your network but also provides a platform to enhance your professional development in the finance field.

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

For incoming Evening MBA students, I highly recommend considering joining TFS’ leadership. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience:

  1.     Fulfillment and Interest: Joining the TFS board can be an incredibly fulfilling experience, especially if you have a keen interest in finance. By becoming a leader, you will have the opportunity to work closely with like-minded individuals who share your passion for the field. It’s a chance to deepen your knowledge, build meaningful connections, and contribute to the finance community within the MBA program.
  2.     Transparent and Prompt Communication: Communication is key in any leadership role. Be proactive and transparent in your communication with other board members. Share your ideas, thoughts, and concerns openly, as this will foster a collaborative environment and encourage innovative thinking. Promptly address any issues that may arise and ensure effective communication channels are established within the team.
  3.     Sharing Event Ideas: Don’t hesitate to share your event ideas with others on the board. Your unique perspectives and ideas can bring a fresh and exciting touch to the club’s activities. By contributing your event concepts, you have the potential to create unforgettable experiences for fellow students. Be open to collaboration and seek feedback from the team to refine and enhance your ideas.

Remember, being a leader in TFS is not just about what you gain but also about what you can give. The more you invest in your role and actively participate, the more rewarding and enriching your experience will be. Take the opportunity to make a positive impact, expand your network, and create lasting memories with your peers.