Meet Madisen Kovell, Class of 2023

Photo of Madisen Kovell

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I hail originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and I have lived in Seattle for eight years.  I moved to Seattle for work as a business analyst, supporting development and acquisition efforts for my company, and I now oversee the department.   Leisure Care is one of the nation’s largest privately held retirement and assisted living companies.  Leisure Care owns, manages, develops, and consults.  My company is my second family and I travel for work quite frequently to look at dirt and hopefully build a retirement community one day. 

I am married, and we have a 14 year old Golden Retriever named Duke.  My husband and I enjoy taking day trips around Seattle and one of our favorite places to visit is Whidbey Island.  When not traveling around we enjoy hosting friends for a game night, cheering on the Cleveland Browns (yes, I said the Browns), and spending time with family when they come to visit.  I enjoy volunteering with Commercial Real Estate Women CREW, United Way, and the alumni chapter from my alma mater. 

Fun facts:

  • I have lived in 6 places since moving to Seattle
  • I cannot whistle
  • I hope to take a tour of the best libraries in the world one day
  • I like to sing, but am afraid to karaoke (except with Foster friends)
  • I have recently started waltz lessons 
  • I am running out of audible credits with all the great books recommended by classmates
  • I love nothing more than a solid wine tasting with friends

Where did you start your career and what led you to choose the Evening MBA program at the UW Foster School of Business?Class of 2023 at Big Time

I started as an analyst for the Development and Acquisitions department at Leisure Care, one of the largest privately held 3rd party operations companies in the Seniors Housing Industry.  I was a Health and Long Term Care major as an  undergrad and always knew I would pursue higher education.   As I progressed through my career to now oversee the Development and Acquisitions department, I quickly realized that I wanted to know how the business world worked outside of my industry.  After pursuing a certificate in commercial real estate through UW,I decided to get serious about my MBA path. I had developed a very specific list of criteria I knew I needed to be successful in an MBA program. Foster not only hit them all, but also added more to my checklist. I am an application-based learner so being able to continue working and apply class material to my current role was key for increasing my knowledge depth. I also wanted a program that had a sense of community and an established culture. The relationships with classmates, faculty, and program staff will be part of your network forever and opportunities to connect and engage with them on a regular basis are essential.

How do you balance family/friends, work and school?

Members of Evening MBA Celebrating

Balancing family/friends, work, and classes is definitely challenging.  My friends and family were a big part of my application process and acceptance into the program and they continue to be my biggest support now into my second year.  My first year I leaned heavier into the coursework, my Foster team, and continued dedication to work.  My industry, Seniors Housing, was heavily impacted during the pandemic so my focus had to remain on supporting my company, which included travel and some late nights.  This put some of my social life on the back burner, but I made an effort to schedule time to see friends and family.  My scheduled hangouts required working ahead on assignments and setting some boundaries for myself, but my support system was encouraging. They celebrated midterm grades, completed assignments, and even geeked out over some of our course content.  My husband got looped into our first year team’s statistics assignments since he tutored the subject in undergrad.  As I moved into my second year, I set a better balance goal for myself between class, work, and a social life. I time-blocked my study  hours, after observing the success of some of my classmates, and I brought my class and friend groups together. This quarter I am taking an elective class so my usual Tuesday pasta night had to be switched to Thursdays.  The balance is all about communication and setting expectations, but even more, it is about rolling with the punches and making adjustments along the way.  I feel like I am going to get the hang of it right when I graduate, but I will have set myself up for success with whatever adventure comes next. 

Tell us about your experience participating in extracurricular activities or clubs. Which ones would you recommend to other students and why?

Members of MBA Class of 2023 at Optimism Brewing Social Event

In my first year, I was an Evening C4C rep.  I remembered the story of the Golden Briefcase from when I was applying to the program and knew I had to participate in defending the honor of Foster through volunteering and raising money for Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, and other family-related local charities. Additionally, I applied to be an ambassador to the Foster program for potential applicants.  This was particularly important to me because a member of the Ambassador program helped me during my admissions process. I have enjoyed partnering with other Ambassadors, hearing their stories and sharing my experience with prospective students. Moving into the second year of the program I was elected as the VP of Membership for the Evening MBAA. I am responsible for communicating the value of the Evening MBAA to incoming Evening MBA Students as well as non-members of the MBAA. This has been my favorite position as it has provided me an opportunity to connect with students in other classes. I am also a Peer Mentor this year for a first year team!  Involvement in extracurricular activities at Foster allows you to give back to the program, meet new people, take on a leadership role, and try something new.

What are some of your favorite memories of the Evening MBA program so far?

One of my favorite memories so far in the program is the first time my cohort was able to meet in person. We started the program during the height of the pandemic, and our first year was entirely online. While we connected via chat channels, virtual happy hours, and inside jokes, it was nothing compared to being in person.  It was pretty wild to go from a one inch by one inch screen to seeing people in real life.  We were full of nervousness and excitement.  The next few weeks that followed were packed with social engagements, laughter, and new friendships. 

Class of 2024 Outside Social