MBA transformers: Seth Eisner

Once: Chef, Etta’s, Dahlia, Harvest Vine

Now: General Manager, Microsoft Financing

Seth EisnerFood to finance. This odd trajectory is the story of Seth Eisner’s (MBA 2001) professional life.

His epicurean nature activated by a stint teaching English in Paris, Eisner returned to the States to attend the New England Culinary Institute. Then, in the late 90s, he worked at the newly opened Etta’s Seafood, Dahlia Lounge, and Harvest Vine, cooking alongside some of Seattle’s top young chefs.

But Eisner, who studied history at Washington University, also harbored feelings for financial markets. Faculty in the Foster MBA Program helped him explore this growing interest, and an internship at Microsoft proved that his perfect job exists in the corporate world. In fact, it exists at Microsoft.

So out of the frying pan and into the fire. In his decade-plus at Microsoft, Eisner has directed foreign exchange, capital markets, and investments and acquisitions units. Today he leads the complex enterprise of Microsoft Financing.

He still cooks whenever possible, and carves out a few weekends to make duck confit, cure meats or pickle vegetables. And lessons from the professional kitchen are seared in his psyche.

“That experience helped me find order in chaos, develop productive working relationships under pressure,” he says. “The parallels to what I do now are striking.”

Update: Eisner’s passion for Microsoft continues. Today he has moved from Microsoft Financing to Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, managing company financial decisions that have a global impact.

Find out about the other alumni who transformed their careers via the MBA Program.