Foster jumps five spots in Poets and Quants rankings of best undergrad business programs

Program cracks the top 20 for the first time based on strong employment rates and high admission standards

The UW Foster School of Business Undergraduate program rose five places to #19 in the annual Poets and Quants rankings of the top business schools nationwide. This is the first time the program has made the publication’s top 20, which is determined by school’s admissions standards, academic experience, and career outcomes.

“This result is a reflection of the quality and dedication of our students, faculty and staff,” says Associate Dean Christina Fong. “Foster undergraduates enter the workforce with the skills and will to make a genuine impact at their workplaces and beyond.”

Foster’s rise in the rankings was primarily due to the school’s increased selectivity in admissions standards. Foster had the biggest jump in this metric of any ranked school, from 20.98% last year to 8.50% for the most recent class. Poets and Quants classifies that rate as “incredibly selective.”

“We are fortunate to have among the nation’s most talented, diverse and socially conscious applicants,” says Assistant Dean Vikki Day. “I’m inspired by young people applying to Foster. Our admission rate is a reflection of the strength and depth of our applicant pool.”

The school also performed very well on employment metrics. The class of 2024 saw a 97% rate of one or more business-focused internship before graduation. That led to the same percentage of students accepting a full-time position within three months of graduation, consistent with last year’s numbers. The program’s top 15 employers include Amazon, Microsoft, PwC, and Tableau among other industry leaders. The average starting salary for graduating seniors was $74,633.

“Our faculty are preparing students to excel in their careers,” Day says. “Our EY Center for Career Services helps graduates secure meaningful positions at the most important and innovative companies in the region and nationwide. Mentorship, internships and case competitions all contribute to student success.”

Emphasis on real-word challenge and societal benefit

The school’s faculty put an emphasis on real-word challenges in the curriculum, incorporating guest speakers, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and leveraging the school’s close ties to industry leading companies and start-ups alike. Examples include the school’s business consulting courses, which partner student teams with domestic and international clients to work on projects including foreign market entry strategy to comprehensive marketing plans.

“My marketing management class was run like a consulting class, and it was so beneficial to my education to get to work closely and hands-on with a local Seattle company!” said one student quoted by Poets and Quants. “We were able to develop and present an in-depth business strategy to this company (that they then implemented!), and it was a great learning experience to analyze real business documents (e.g. financials) and then develop and present strategic marketing, finance, and business operations recommendations that we knew would have real-world implications.”

While Foster students are advancing in their own careers, they are continually seeking opportunities to fulfill the school’s mission of bettering humanity through business. Sustainability, economic equality and social justice are core components of a Foster business education. Each year, more than 100 businesses and 30 nonprofit organizations are paired with the Consulting and Business Development Center’s student consulting teams or complete the Center’s business education programs.

The Foster Undergraduate program educates over 2,000 students. Students choose from eight majors, and complete at least 72 business credits. Over half are first generation college students, and students receive over $1 million in undergraduate business scholarships.

Learn more about the Foster Undergraduate program here.