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GMAT Prep Courses Taught by Foster MBAs Raise Money for Kids in Paraguay

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Non-traditional MBA candidates at the University of Washington Foster School of Business now have a new way to prep for the GMAT. In collaboration with PrepCorps, a test prep company designed for MBA candidates without a business background, several Foster MBA students are teaching GMAT courses to raise funds for to The Superkids Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education for children in Paraguay.

The fundraiser was set up by Estee Katcoff, a ’17 Foster MBA student and the founder of The Superkids Foundation. Her idea was to combine two things she knew and enjoyed.

“I was both GMAT tutoring and fundraising for my non-profit as separate side projects on top of my MBA,” Katcoff explains. “Then, one day I wondered whether there could be a way to do both together. I loved the idea that GMAT courses could not only be a lucrative way to fundraise, but could add value by giving prospective MBAs the chance to study with students who are just a few years ahead of them.”

This is just one example of how Foster MBA students give back.

“Many Foster MBA students want to pursue business opportunities that produce both value for customers and value for our society,” says Dan Poston, Assistant Dean of Master’s Programs at Foster. “This effort is one of several being pursued by both current students and alumni.”

About the GMAT Prep Courses

Foster MBA students must have scored in the 99th percentile to be eligible to teach the GMAT courses, and some Foster MBA instructors have additional teaching experience with more established test prep companies. This is part of the PrepCorps philosophy, which combines “highly qualified tutors with tailored curriculum,” according to its website.

“Right now, we have eleven MBA student tutors and are growing fast,” Katcoff says. “We are in the process of reaching out to other MBA programs to make this a nationwide effort! We just recruited our first MBA outside of Seattle, at Boston University.”

MBA applicants will have the opportunity to register for two sets of eight GMAT prep courses offered in both the summer and fall—the summer session kicked off on August 1, and the fall series will begin on September 9. Candidates can choose to register for the entire course schedule, or for just math (15 hours) or just verbal (12 hours) courses. There is also the opportunity to sign up for individualized tutoring either in-person or online.

Each course is three hours long and is offered once a week (on Tuesday nights from 7 – 10 p.m.) during the summer and on Saturday mornings from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. during the fall). The curriculum includes a unit on GMAT Strategy, which covers topics such as question types, timing, and test-taking tips, as well as more focused units about GMAT question types such as Critical Reasoning, Sentence Correction, Reading Comprehension and Statistics.

“Students should take advantage of the GMAT courses because our tutors are students at their target schools,” Katcoff describes. “Students benefit not only from GMAT instruction, but also from informal peer-to-peer advice.”

To register for one of the courses, visit the PrepCorps website. One hundred percent of the funds raised will go to support The Superkids Foundation.

About Estee Katcoff

Estee Katcoff started the Zero Violencia Foundation after she spent three years in Paraguay with the Peace Corps. “I’ve wanted to start an NGO since college,” Katcoff shared in a blog post. “During my work in the Peace Corps, I became passionate about solving the management issues I saw in international development via best practices in business.”

However, before Estee could solve those problems, she felt that she needed some business experience. So, for a year, she worked at Amazon, which she considered an Operations Management boot camp. Then, she joined the Foster full-time MBA program to further develop her strategic mindset and technical skills.

Estee’s experiences at Amazon and within the MBA program have helped her grow her NGO and improve its reach. “Foster gave me the confidence and skills to dream big,” says Katcoff. “My non-profit friends are often shocked when I tell them that I think PrepCorps could make $1 million by its third year. It won’t be easy, but I’m so excited to see what Superkids can do with enough resources at its disposal to scale.”

About The Superkids Foundation

Superkids is a non-profit that seeks to raise the quality of primary education in Paraguay, where education has been ranked as the worst in the world (last among 140 countries) by the World Economic Forum. Its mission is to increase academic performance and reach 6,000-plus students within three years by partnering with three groups:

    • Children: By collaborating with children, Superkids empowers and engages learners.
    • Teachers: Superkids teaching fellows are trained in care, clarity, conversation, curiosity and control.
    • Institutions: Superkids supports partner organizations that develop talent, reward performance and emphasize accountability.

“Our chief goal is to advocate customer obsession in education, meaning that we include kids as decision-makers in our program,” Katcoff says. “We let kids interview and hire their own teachers. We found that this simple action not only empowered kids as active stakeholders in learning, but also resulted in the recruitment of better teachers who made kids excited to go to class. With locals donating 498 hours of time in just three months, Superkids became more than an NGO. It became a movement. We’ve had great success so far. Since April, our group has raised enough for the Superkids Foundation to hire sixteen teachers for two months!”

This article was edited and republished with permissions from MetroMBA.