For Foster MBA, practical experiences add real-world perspective

Nick Amland sees himself as a hands-on problem-solver, but he combines a practical approach to business with a streak of idealism.

Majoring in business administration and finance as an undergraduate at the University of Puget Sound, Nick developed an interest in microfinance. That led him into the social sector. After graduation, he worked for organizations involved in implementing global health programs, traveling to places like Mozambique and Tanzania. The experience opened his eyes.

“I’d never been to Africa before,” he recalls. “I’d never had any exposure to those cultures, or had the opportunity to work closely with people in those countries. That was super rewarding.”

“That motivated me to earn an MBA,” he says. “I was able to see where a broad MBA skill set could be applied, where knowing how to look at a complex problem and how to break it down could make a difference.”

Why did he choose the Foster MBA?

“One reason was that it has a very good reputation for being collaborative and entrepreneurial, especially in terms of social entrepreneurship,” he says. “I’m really passionate about that.”

“And secondly,” he continues,” the Foster program is known for having a strong network in Seattle. I grew up here, and that’s something I wanted to come back for.”

Nick especially values the opportunities to gain practical experience that a Foster MBA offers.

“You know, MBAs are ruthlessly practical,” he says. “It’s really nice to learn something in the classroom, but you really want to apply what you’re learning in a real-life setting. Foster provides lots of opportunities to do that.”

Nick lists the Applied Strategies course, the Net Impact Service Corps consulting program, and a research fellowship with the Global Business Center as practical experiences that have given him a chance to apply what he’s learning and test his skills.

“All three of those experiences put me in a consulting environment, where I’ve had to deliver results,” he says. “That has prepared me for what life is going to be like after school.”

From the beginning, Nick’s plan was to put his business knowledge and problem-solving skills to work in the consulting industry after graduation.

“I came into the Foster program really interested in consulting,” he says. “I thought that going into consulting, I could take advantage of the natural momentum that I had coming out of the program and hit on some of the skill sets that I really wanted to build.”

Nick achieved his goal, landing a job with Alvarez & Marsal, a prominent management consulting firm with offices in a number of cities, including Seattle. But he admits that he had a lot of help.

“I couldn’t have done it without support from MBA Career Management, other members of the Consulting Society who helped me with practice case interviews, and just the students around me,” he says.