Global  Entrepreneurship Week continues with the first Urban Youth Startup Challenge to be held Friday, November 20 at Olin. 60 high school students from Normandy and U-City High Schools will be on campus for an all-day event of educational workshops, lunch, and a campus tour. Dean Gupta will be the keynote speaker.


Michael McLaughlin founded Unite4Kids organization while a student at Olin. He hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (and others), to raise funds and bring attention to the needs of abused and abandoned children around the world.

Michael McLaughlin, MBA’14, organizer of the event with Ricardo Perez, BSBA’17, said, “Best of all, we are fortunate to have WashU student entrepreneurs, as well as WashU professors, leading the workshops to share their expertise with these high school students.”

The workshops will prepare students for the final startup competition that will take place in April 2016. According to McLaughlin, “The Urban Youth Startup Challenge has been made possible by generous contributions from the Olin MBA Program and the Institute for School Partnership.”

For additional information, please contact:

Ricardo Perez (

Michael McLaughlin (



The Prosper Startup Accelerator hosted its Fall 2015 Demo Day in Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall on Wednesday, November 12, sponsored by the Olin Executive MBA Program. The program included pitches from the five CEOs in the Fall 2015 cohort of the accelerator.

Meg Shuff, EMBA Alum and Assistant Dean of EMBA Recruiting and Admissions, opened the program with an introduction and acknowledgement of EMBA alum Mary Jo Gorman, Lead Managing Partner of Prosper Capital. Shuff said, “It’s truly a treat to be part of the energy that’s going on right now in this community. I so applaud Mary Jo and the other founders of Prosper for the energy and excitement you have brought around women’s entrepreneurship, and we’re thrilled to host this. I actually am an entrepreneur myself. I have a communications consulting business that I started six years ago so I am well-equipped to know the challenges of juggling many things and to be supportive of your efforts.”

Gorman introduced the five CEOs of the Fall 2015 cohort, but began with a thank you to their families. She said, “Without you they wouldn’t be here, and they wouldn’t be presenting. So a big thank you to all of you.”

Gorman then explained the mission of the accelerator. “The goal of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator is really to promote the success of women by investing in them and also helping them to get success in receiving early stage capital.

“You may know that women only get 1% of the venture capital. There is a lot of research on why that happens, despite the fact that they start many,many companies. Part of what we do in the accelerator program is help our entrepreneurs understand how to navigate through those sorts of areas and work on their business models in a way that will be fit for investment and will encourage investment.”

Potential investors listening to the Prosper Demo Day pitches.

Potential investors listening to the Prosper Demo Day pitches.

The five pitches heralded a broad range of products including a firewall product from Bandura Systems LLC, medical tourism services through SkyMedicus, Inc.  a pharmaceutical intelligence software tool through EDIS Solutions, LLC, a hospital discharge tool through JanusChoice, LLC and a transparent LCD product through Taptl.

For example, Suzanne Magee, CEO of Bandura Systems said, “15 years ago I co-founded a company in direct response to a call from the White House to join the effort to secure the critical infrastructure of the United States. We built a team and some technology in collaboration with the Department of Defense and then spun out the technology in order to bring the Polliwall to the commercial marketplace. And that is through Bandura.”

Each presenter introduced potential investors to the current state of their company, and how venture capital could take them to the next level.

The next Prosper Demo Day will be in April 2016.




CATEGORY: Career, News

What do you get when you mix and match four WashU/Olin students, representing three different graduate programs, from two different schools, and send them off to one of the most competitive MBA case competitions of the year?  When you send these four young women you get a picture of the team standing proudly on the winners’ podium.

The Washington University – Olin Business School Team comprised of Aditi Saxena, MBA’16, Beryl Py Lee, PMBA Class 40, Catherine Briggs, MS Biostatistics – Medical School, and Grace Velker, MBA’17, nabbed 3rd place at the Energy in Emerging Markets case competition held on November 10 at Duke University – Fuqua School of Business. This fantastic outcome was achieved competing against thirteen other teams, including nine representing top-20 MBA programs in the US. Curiously, ten of the 13 teams were all-male teams.

The Energy in Emerging Markets Case Competition (EEMCC), sponsored by the MBA Energy Club, engages diverse and creative teams to address real energy challenges affecting the developing world. The one-day competition connects students, academia, and industry in pursuit of unconventional business-based solutions that expose unrecognized opportunities with positive social and environmental impact. Showcasing analytical and presentation skills, future leaders in the energy industry can demonstrate their global mindset, innovative thinking, and passion.

Our congrats to the members of Team Wash U/Olin!  You give us good reason to be proud.

The Case
This year’s case content was sponsored by Off.Grid:Electric (OGE), the world’s first massively scalable “solar as a service” company. Under its MPOWER brand, Off.Grid:Electric distributes high-quality lighting and energy services to communities that cannot access or afford the electrical grid. They employ local agents who specialize in matching their offerings to customer needs and providing all necessary maintenance, with the aim of making renewable energy services available to millions of households across Africa.  Established in Arusha, Tanzania, Off.Grid:Electric has built a thriving business that employs hundreds of Tanzanians to serve the bottom of the pyramid.  Tech and energy giants in US are taking notice, with Off.Grid:Electric receiving investments from Solar City, Vulcan Capital, and the Omidyar Network. For more information, please visit

This year’s case focused on Off.Grid:Electric’s aspirational product line and how to best serve customers that are looking to access services like television.

For more details on the competition, click here.


EMBA alumnae and current students from classes 41 through 47 met at the Knight Center with the EMBA staff on Tuesday, November 10 to discuss the possibility of forming an EMBA Ambassadors group. Meg Shuff, Assistant Dean of EMBA Recruiting and Admissions, explained that in participating in the Executive MBA Council, which shares best practices for EMBA programs globally, the Olin EMBA staff heard about an EMBA Ambassadors group at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She said, “We just want to open the door for the conversation right now, but we did feel that while EMBA is represented at the Olin Board level, that we could create a hybrid of what Chicago Booth is doing and fill the void we are lacking now by not having a dedicated group of specifically EMBA alums supporting specifically the EMBA Program.” She also noted that Barb Braun, EMBA 42, had volunteered to organize and bring the group together to begin the conversation.

EMBA attendees of the meeting shared the reasons they would want to participate in an EMBA Ambassadors group at Olin. Dave Davis, EMBA 42 said, “I got a lot from the program so I feel like reinvesting my time in the program is important. We all invested in a brand and I want to continue to invest in that brand, and I also miss my friends.”  Asked about the most memorable thing for her about her EMBA, Sandy Schlict, EMBA 44, said, “I think the connections have been the best thing for me and I would love to stay in touch with the great people I’ve met. It’s really opened up a whole new world for me, and I see the world in a different way, and if I can help that expand I would like to be a part of that.”

EMBA Ambassadors conversations are ongoing, If you are interested in participating, please contact Angie Bauman at





In honor of Veterans’ Day, we offer a video preview of an article in the upcoming issue of OlinBusiness magazine about two soldiers separated by generations and wars who were united by a generous scholarship at Olin Business School. It’s a moving story about the meeting between Army Major Rodney Lynch, MBA’15, and Col. John H. Von Der Bruegge, a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

Photos by Leland A. Outz. Videography by Tucker Pierce, BFA’15, Ross Arkin and Ricardo Solis, BSBA’17

Veterans Day Celebration

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11

Where: Crowder Courtyard, Anheuser Busch Hall

Sponsored by Washington University Student Veterans Association, Olin Veterans Association and Washington University Law Student Veterans Association, the Second Annual Veterans Day Celebration features a keynote address from Maj. Gen. David G. Clarkson, chief of staff, U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base All members of the university community are invited to attend.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11

Where: Room 276, Danforth University Center

The Gephardt Institute, the Woman’s Club, the Red Cross and the St. Louis Rams invite the university community to make a card or write a letter to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

CATEGORY: Career, News