It’s telling of Sandra Mumanachit’s (MBA 2018) humble character that she counts her biggest failure at Foster as one of her most indelible learning experiences. Overstretched with other commitments, her startup team never made it to last year’s UW Business Plan Competition.
But missteps have been rare for this talented daughter of Thai immigrants. After spending her youth helping out in the family’s Philadelphia restaurants, Mumanachit graduated from Harvard College with a degree in neurobiology.
“Growing up as the child of immigrants and witnessing their exploration of a new language and culture has taught me so much about empathy and compassion, and ingrained in me the work ethic and adaptability required to earn a dollar and sustain a business,” she says. “Completing my MBA makes me respect my mother and father that much more to know that they accomplished so much with so little.”
Mumanachit is making the most of the assets before her at Foster. She has been president of the Healthcare & Biotech Association, MBA Association VP of Diversity & Inclusion, and an Alliance of Angels fellow. Last summer she worked at VICIS, a Seattle company developing state-of-the-art protective helmets used by NCAA and NFL teams.
She’s plotting an impactful career in the healthcare and wellness industry, would love to work with an early-stage startup, and hopes to master the things she’s passionate about enough to teach someday.
More about Sandra:
How are you leveraging your Foster experience to achieve your career aspirations?
With so much of Foster being student-led, it has given me the opportunity to test and grow different leadership skills. In college, I didn’t make as much time to be involved with clubs and student-led groups. Coming into Foster, I aimed to change this and be a part of groups that are very important to me. It has been an incredible opportunity to work with smart and driven peers who want to plan and bring in great resources to other classmates in the clubs and associations. I have been able to leverage my experience by trying different styles of communication and project management.
What aspect of Foster’s culture do you believe will prove particularly valuable in your career?
Having experiential learning be a big part of the Foster culture has helped me grow in ways that I didn’t anticipate prior to starting school. It has allowed me to find out more about my own personality, work-style, communication-style, and leadership tendencies in all sorts of settings. This has helped me figure out my work environment preferences, and what I need to build a team and move an idea forward.
Do you have a favorite professor or class?
My favorite professor thus far has been Christina Fong. In the spring quarter, I took a negotiations class with her which was taught incredibly well and something I incorporated immediately in my life.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to explore the outdoors by foot or on my mountain bike. I am new to the state of Washington so taking time to visit new towns and cities in the Pacific Northwest is something I enjoy doing when there’s time. I also grew up in a family that has own and operated several restaurants, so seeking out and trying new foods is always on my mind. Finding new ways to use local ingredients for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is something I love doing. Finally, I love learning new sports and activities. I grew up playing a bunch of sports but focused on squash while in college which I’m trying to pick back up again.
What are your aspirations beyond work?
I have a personal bucket list of about 150 items that I am working through. They include visiting all Seven Wonders of the World as well as learning how to build a house someday. My goal is to see as much of the world as possible and learn about different cultures and lifestyles during my lifetime.
What is a “fun fact” about you?
Five years ago, I auditioned for the TV cooking show, Master Chef. I love to cook and wanted to see if I could do something completely unrelated to my career.
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.