Friendly, inclusive Foster MBA culture embraces international student

Jessica Green’s relaxed, approachable manner might lead you to think she’s a Seattle native. You might not guess that she was born in Great Britain and has lived much of her life in London, Tokyo and New York.

“My mother is Japanese and my father is British,” she explains. “I grew up in both England and Japan in my younger years. I came to the US originally for my undergraduate education. After graduating, I went back to Japan to work for a while before getting my MBA.”

Jessica worked for four years as an equity trader for Merrill Lynch before she moved on to a sales account management job for Expedia, also in Japan. But she began to see that her career prospects would be limited without more education and a change of scene.

“Being female and in Japan, it’s a fairly traditional culture,” she says. “I felt it was very difficult to move up in the ranks. I also felt that earning an MBA would help accelerate my career trajectory.”

Jessica’s search for the right MBA program led her back to the US, with a focus on the West Coast.

“I was looking around at West Coast schools and Seattle popped up to me as a location, and Foster eventually came to be my top choice,” she says, “mostly because of the smaller school fit. It was also a smaller community, a better environment for me.”

“Seattle was a big draw for me,” she continues. “I knew there were a lot of good tech companies in the area. That industry would be an option for me going forward. But what ultimately made my decision was when I visited and met students, faculty and some of the staff at Foster.”

At a “welcome weekend” event, she made an immediate connection with current Foster students.

“I felt like I had known them for a week or two already, though it was just the first day,” she recalls.

With her diverse background, Jessica wanted a school—and a community—that welcomed international students. Foster, and Seattle, turned out to be a good fit in that respect, too.

“Foster has a very diverse student body, especially in terms of international students,” she says. “There are communities within the international student body that offer you a home away from home, which keeps international students from missing their real homes too much.”

Visiting Seattle’s International District, where she saw street signs in Japanese, and discovering a great sushi restaurant, Sushi Kappo Tamura, in the nearby Eastlake neighborhood made her feel at ease in her new community.

While Jessica ranks students and courses at Foster among her favorite aspects of the MBA experience here, leadership development has been her biggest challenge.

“I haven’t managed people before,” she says. “In the MBA program, I’ve led more within teams, and in the various activities I’ve been involved in, than ever in my life.”

To develop leadership experience and give back to her fellow students, Jessica took on a leadership role as the voice of international students within the MBA Association and committed her second year to serving as a Fritzky Leadership Fellow.

In the classroom, Jessica developed an interest in marketing, and scored a marketing internship with Amazon.com during the summer between her first and second year. The internship led to an offer of employment after graduation.

She won’t be alone.

“As an intern, I helped organize a happy hour for Foster alumni and current Foster student interns,” she says. “Looking at the list of Foster alumni at Amazon, I just had to keep scrolling. I think that’s part of the reason why Amazon keeps coming to Foster to recruit. Foster grads stay and work and do great things there.”