Foster Hybrid MBA Program students Christina Green (MBA 2022) and Evan Kim (MBA 2022) were recently recognized among the top 25 nationwide “Business Leaders of Tomorrow” by the Online MBA Report. The annual honor invites the most prestigious business schools in the country to nominate outstanding students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership qualities, and a commitment to bettering their communities.
Green is a Senior Product Manager at Microsoft, and comes to Foster with a career in technology spanning multiple startup roles in companies in both San Francisco and Seattle. She began her career as a science teacher after having studied Physics at UC Irvine, but later transitioned to the technology industry where she brings together technical details with customer empathy to make software products valuable and viable.
Prior to enrolling in the Hybrid Program, Green taught a product management class through the UW Professional Continuing Education Department. When the pandemic hit, with much of the world on pause, she took it as an opportunity to enroll at Foster to increase her business skills. To that end, she is studying everything from macroeconomics to mergers and acquisitions.
Green says her classes at Foster are proving helpful in her current career as well as positioning her for the future. “I’m taking a business strategy class, as a lot of product manager roles involve helping to develop the strategy for either their product or a broader line of business. Strengthening those skills is a benefit that I’m using now. I’ve learned so much from each class. And the compassion of the professors has been great.”
Another goal Green has in getting her MBA is developing the leadership skills to increase the diversity in the technology industry. Her personal experience as a woman in a predominately male field has ignited the passion to bring multiple viewpoints to the table to make the best products. She is on the Founding Student Advisory Board for the Product Management Center at Foster which supports diversity and inclusion in the profession, leveraging her skills to support others to become product managers themselves. She sees this as an opportunity to make a dent in a larger issue exacerbating by the pandemic: “We’re seeing so many women who have left the workforce because our society is set up so that they have to take care of their kids. It can hurt the careers of women in all industries, but is detrimental to families struggling to get by.”
Green credits her Macroeconomics class with her fascination to understand and articulate how this scenario impacts our whole economy and is not just a women’s problem – “being able to look at that through the lens of macroeconomics has been fascinating, especially with Alexis [León] who is a trained labor economist and his infectious enthusiasm for the subject.”
It’s this initiative and commitment to bettering the business community that Hybrid Program Director Jodey Farwell was celebrating in nominating Green. “Christina practices inquiry because she believes it will help future business leaders embrace and leverage the diverse world we live in and make sure the best ideas move forward, and not just the ones from the most established voice in the room,” Farwell says. “She strives to model senior leaders who do an excellent job of this, and really dig deep into a topic by asking questions to get to the heart of the discussion.”
“For my specific learning style, the Hybrid Program checked all of the boxes and really fit well with my professional life. I am able to successfully work a traditional 9-to-5 while still participating in and learning so much from the program,” says Kim, a senior technical program manager at F5 Networks.
Prior to Foster, Kim studied supply chain management at Western Washington University, a topic especially relevant in the COVID-19 era. “Supply chain has been in a steady state of optimization along these well-known paths for quite a while,” he says. “And now we are seeing what a black swan type of event can do to that. We are living history in real-time.”
Kim has had several product management roles, including at Boeing, before he recently started at F5. Product managers need a broad range of skill sets, and Kim takes a holistic view of the job description: “I’ve always taken the approach that everyone has their own approach. It varies from product to product, from team to team. My specific role requires me to be deeply technical because we’re dealing with a lot of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and designing scalable backend systems that are also user-friendly on the frontend. But I also have a customer-focused perspective that is informed by business objectives.”
Like Green, Kim is taking a variety of different courses at Foster, some immediately applicable to his current position, others that broaden his overall abilities. “One of my favorites classes has been accounting,” says Kim. “I know it sounds like not the most exciting class. But Professor Weili Ge showed how amazing the Foster school is, taking what might be seen as a traditionally less engaging class and making it a really exciting, hands-on kind of experiential learning.”
Farwell noted this enthusiasm and acumen in recognizing Kim: “Evan values three major things as a business leader of tomorrow: a growth mindset, authenticity, and empathy.”
Looking ahead, Kim plans to continue to build great products, while also dedicating time to sustainability issues. Environmentalism is especially important to him, as he is an avid traveler and outdoorsman who frequently makes the most of the Seattle area’s abundant natural resources. “I like to spend most of my time outside, surfing, sailing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding. Really, anything that puts me out in nature and potentially lets me go fast!”