Foster Futures: Lauren Krainski

Lauren Krainski

Lauren Krainski (MBA 2018) is fearless. Or rather, she’s more then willing to face her fears.

A few years ago, for instance, she enrolled in a mountaineering course to overcome her terror of heights. A while earlier she left the familiarity of her longtime home in Erie, Pennsylvania, to work in consulting for Deloitte and internal consulting for Alcoa.

And when she wanted to pivot from manufacturing to technology, she traveled across the country to the Foster School, arriving with the expressed intent of climbing out of her comfort zone at every opportunity.

Case in point: an investment banking internship at Deutsche Bank in New York last summer, where she did M&A and fin-tech and media industry coverage. “I believe in the value of taking calculated risks,” Krainski says. “I’m lucky that Foster has given me opportunities like this.”

For this Forte Fellow, other growth opportunities at the Foster School have come through leading the Finance Society and serving on the boards of Women In Business and the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital Club. She’s also worked on a go-to-market strategy for Amazon and is currently interning at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence start-up incubator.

She plans to eventually marry her past and future, using technology to solve big problems in large-scale industries such as manufacturing and agriculture. “I want to take part in the next industrial revolution—this time built around automation and artificial intelligence.”

More about Lauren:

What has been your most impactful experience at Foster?

Before I even started my first year, our core finance professor, Thomas Gilbert, took a 45 minute call with me to help me make a decision about my internship while he was on vacation in Europe. We had never met, but he still took the time to give me advice that I haven’t forgotten. Unconditional willingness to help is a key characteristic of the Foster community, and this pre-school conversation really set the tone for how I’ve approached my time at Foster.

Krainski heads to the mountains whenever she has free time.

How are you leveraging your Foster experience to prepare for future success?

Foster—and Seattle—provide many opportunities for students to engage with technology. Apart from coursework and leveraging my classmates’ experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a go-to-market strategy with Amazon and visit local and Bay Area companies. Transitioning from manufacturing to technology is not easy, and I’m happy that the Foster community gives me so many interfaces with the industry.

What aspect of Foster’s culture do you believe will prove particularly valuable in your career?

Foster’s priority on experiential learning was a major driver for me choosing the program, since I learn best by doing. Foster not only builds in hands-on experience into coursework, but it also makes the curriculum flexible enough to enable students to find their own opportunities. For example, I’ve been working part-time since last year with a start-up advisory company which helps software start-ups grow sales and find exit opportunities. This has been an excellent opportunity for me to be close to technology and engage with the local start-up community, and I’m glad I can juggle it with my other Foster commitments.

Do you have a favorite professor or class?

My favorite class (so far!) was Lance Young’s Mergers & Acquisitions. His teaching method and ability to focus discussions on the critical business drivers is unique, and he changed the way I think about a company’s value.

Climbing out of her comfort zone is a way of life for Krainski.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Being in the mountains! I hike and backpack whenever I have free time. I hope to hike the Washington section of the Pacific Coast Trail (500 miles) and conquer my fear of heights to get back into mountain/rock climbing.

What is a “fun fact” about you?

My husband and I owned, renovated, and operated an apartment building when we lived in Pittsburgh.

Foster Futures is a series highlighting some of the students who are leading the Foster School into its second century—and themselves into promising careers. The series began in the winter issue of Foster Business magazine.