Foster grads on the Future

A few of Foster’s finest from the class of 2022 share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities of an uncertain world

The class of 2022 has already accomplished so much, through extraordinary intellect and drive, purpose and humanity, and a resilience forged in a global pandemic.

Yet the future they’re facing is fraught with uncertainty—and a litany of social, political, economic and environmental challenges that range from elemental to existential.

Graduates of the Foster School of Business are up to the task. Through rigorous academic and experiential preparation, they have equipped themselves with the skills to find opportunity in every challenge. To create solutions. To collaborate. To lead. To better humanity through business.

How does the class of 2022 view the world ahead? Upon their commencement, we asked six new Foster grads to share their perspectives—and their plans to shape a brighter future.

Arun Solanky has graduated cum laude with BAs in finance and political economy and a minor in history. The son of immigrants, Arun is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and a recipient of the Rotary Club Consulting Scholarship. He served as president and senior managing director of the UW Consulting Association and was a fellow of the Gorton Leaders Program at the National Bureau of Asian Research. While at Foster, he worked as an associate at Boston Consulting Group and an analyst at Accenture Strategy, and is the co-founder of Model United Nations Northwest. He also writes about economics, psychology and public policy in Medium. After graduation, Arun is joining Boston Consulting Group.

Christine Pham has graduated with an MBA and leaves an indelible legacy of leadership across the Foster School. Christine served as VP of diversity in the MBA Association, co-president of Diversity in Business, VP of operations for Level Up! and COO of Foster Venture Fellows. She helped create a Students of Color Town Hall, the Prospective Student Buddy Program, Mentoring Circles for MBA Students of Color, Diversity & Dine, MBA affinity groups and an undergraduate mentoring program. She served on the board of Communities in Schools of Seattle and was a Venture Fellow at M12 (Microsoft’s venture fund). Additionally, she  won the AT&T SheCounts Finance Case Competition with classmate Xianjin Cai.  Christine was a Consortium Fellow, a Forté Fellow, and a William H. Gates Sr. Fellow in Innovation and Entrepreneurship through the Technology Alliance. And Poets & Quants named her among its “Best & Brightest” of the MBA class of 2022. After Foster, Christine is joining Starbucks as a technical product manager.

Pompilio Gomez Sierra has graduated with an MS in Entrepreneurship. A first-generation college graduate born in Honduras, Pompi came to Foster with experience in big telecom and a wide array of startups in education technology, retail, e-commerce and SaaS. At Foster, he competed in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge and won the Best Sustainable Business Prize at the Dempsey Startup Competition with Vita Beads, a revolutionary wastewater treatment technology he co-founded with classmate Owen (Pei-Hsuan) Chen. After being selected to speak at his class graduation ceremony, Pompi is joining the Amazon Pathways operations leadership development program. As a true entrepreneur, he plans to leverage the experience for his own future ventures, while continuing to develop Vita Beads on the side.

Carrie Bustamante has graduated cum laude with a BA in English, a minor in diversity studies, and a Professional Sales Certificate from the Foster School through the Jack and Ann Rhodes Professional Sales Program—which opened doors to a promising management career. Carrie served the past two and a half years as president of the UW chapter of the American Marketing Association, leading the organization to consistent top 25 status and earning the AMA Impact Award. She also was honored for Excellence in Public Relations by the UW Panhellic Leadership Council. After interning at Eddie Bauer and Highspot through the Rhodes Program, Carrie is joining Highspot as an account development representative after graduation.

Ezra Tilaye has graduated with an MBA from Foster, where he made a big career transition. After playing NCAA Division I football at West Virginia University, where he earned a BS in architecture, Ezra spent a decade contributing to the renaissance of Baltimore’s historic core. He was the owner/operator of Ware House 518, a restaurant and catering business, and founder of E.A.T. Management, a sustainable business consulting firm, as well as vice-president and board member of the Historic Charles Street Association. Coming into Foster as a Consortium Fellow, he was featured by Poets & Quants as one of the “Promising Candidates of the Class of 2022.” He lived up to his billing, serving as a Fritzky Leadership Fellow and engaging actively in the Marketing Association, Technology Club, Net Impact and Consulting Society. After graduation, Ezra will be joining Accenture as a senior strategy consultant.

Shubhangi Bansal has graduated with a BA in information systems from Foster. A first-generation college student from India, Shubhangi started the University of Washington’s first International Student Welcome program and led international student advocacy as a member and chair of the UW International Student Advisory Board. At Foster, she helped launch a new Technology Consulting Program (in partnership with EY and HP Enterprise) as an assistant program manager and was a teaching assistant for the corresponding course. As a technology consultant at the Consulting and Business Development Center, she helped numerous small businesses owned by people of color improve their operations through tech solutions. Her work for students and in the larger community landed her a spot on the Husky 100 in 2021. After graduation, Shubangi is joining EY as a technology consultant.

Videography by Paul Gibson.

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array of people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.