Real Humans of the University of Washington Foster School of Business
Jouni Welander, UW Foster Hybrid MBA
Age: Somewhere between “Young at heart” and “An elephant’s memory”
Hometown: Issaquah, WA
Undergraduate Institution & Major: Computer Science (Haaga-Helia in Finland)
Pre-MBA Work Experience: I started out my career as an engineer and then moved into various sales and business development leadership roles in technology companies—both small and large (Edgeware, Nokia Networks, Siemens)
Why business school? Why now?
- Deepening my business knowledge I had learned in practice by strengthening the “street experience” with academic fundamentals, and also expanding my network of like-minded professionals.
- MBA has been my long-time goal and UW Foster School of Business provided an ideal opportunity to pursue the degree.
- Also, I’ve always been curious to expand out of my current “bubble” and an MBA program seemed like a natural way to expand my career path.
Why the UW Foster Hybrid MBA program? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
- One of the key factors for me was being able to accommodate academic studies with my busy travel schedule at work.
- The reputation of UW Foster School of Business was also a key factor for me.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? I enjoy the diversity within my class and especially in my study team where I feel that I can provide my perspective when analyzing business problems together. Similarly, I get to enjoy other classmates’ viewpoints which enhances the understanding of topics discussed.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? As soon as I graduated (with my CS degree) I convinced a buddy of mine to buy a small business together in Florida. So, I became an entrepreneur without any real experience with much of anything in the corporate world. The best success out of that journey was probably that we sold the business a couple of years later by recovering our original investment. And surely earned the first strides of my street-MBA along the way. Going back to the old wisdom of … had I known back then what I know now ;-).
Post-MBA career interests? I’m interested in furthering my sales and leadership role in a global business environment, and also looking deeper into the real world implications of mergers and acquisitions. I’d also like to define my success in terms of helping people around me and in my organization to become successful.
Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants:
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? Reach out the admissions office and ask questions. The team there is absolutely amazing.
One thing you would change or do differently? Reach out to the previous class cohort students early on for guidance.
Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? I don’t think I would’ve skipped anything. Well if possible, maybe just “slow time” a bit to be able to absorb and do even more.
Greatest highlight so far at UW Foster? So many highlights that it is almost impossible to pick—I could go anywhere from having extremely engaging professors to creative immersion classes (like Improv for business).
One thing about the UW Foster that you didn’t expect before arriving? The wealth of resources available through UW Foster.
Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? Time management (and how you will find the time as well as learn to leverage the on-line tools like video class recordings very efficiently).
Thing you were most excited about in your first year? Learning extremely useful topics that I can apply at my work. Also, the exposure and insight to different industries and network of professionals otherwise outside of my normal scope. The well-organized treks (company visits) were spectacular.