Tag: Executive Education

David Jackson, Executive MBA  class 43, started working full-time in government affairs at 19, making him the youngest registered lobbyist in Missouri at the time. David is now the managing partner of the Gate Way Group, the lobbying division of national public affairs and media firm Pelopidas, LLC based in St. Louis. He will turn 27 this month. Many EMBA students are mid-career, having been in business for fifteen years or more, which makes David the youngest student in our class. He doesn’t dwell on this fact. “When I asked how I could improve in my first annual review, my boss said, ‘Your age. That’s your weak point. You spend too much time worrying about your age. If you don’t let it be an issue, nobody else will.”  Not surprisingly, this approach to his career resulted in The St. Louis Business Journal recognizing him in 2014 as one of St. Louis’s 30 under 30.

Jackson bends over backwards to bring himself up to speed in areas where he believes he needs to focus. Students in the EMBA program can opt to get career advice from Frans VanOudenallen, an executive career consultant who is widely known for his work as a Vice President with General Mills where he was responsible for naming and branding the Chewy Granola Bar.  Jackson met Frans at a conference and hired him privately as a career coach. Jackson said, “I was in the process of taking over as the managing partner of a new division, and really wanted to learn how to best brand our advocacy services and compete with other Missouri lobbying firms. Frans’ first words of advice were to look into the Executive MBA at Olin Business School.

David Jackson

David Jackson

The Olin EMBA appealed to Jackson because he wanted to get a broad business perspective from a wide variety of people, including the Olin faculty. “Learning from 50 other executives is invaluable,” he said. “Discussions in class are extremely engaging. The combined experiences of the executives in the classroom adds a powerful layer to the content taught by world class professors.” David said Pfizer District Manager Greg Steinkamp and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital’s Chief of Radiology Vamsi Narra, MD have been two influential classmates over the last 18 months. “Greg has helped me understand how to manage teams, he has a remarkable ability to listen and lead. Vamsi and I are polar opposites, he has taught me how to focus and manage my time.”

Jackson says the most valuable aspect of the program for him has been applying what he learns in class directly to his work in leading public policy campaigns.  “The part that is unique about this program is that you can apply what you learn in real time.  We’ve won a few big public policy battles and grown our division by 100% in a year; there is no doubt that the advice I received from my team has been a huge part of that success. I have literally given a presentation in class on Saturday, and delivered it again in the board room on the following Monday. It has changed the way I think and exposed my strengths and weaknesses. Before doing the EMBA, I spent a lot of time being busy, but wasn’t sure there was any synergy in what I was busy doing. Now thanks to the EMBA, my tactics match my strategy. “

Jackson also notes how, right from the start, the EMBA program emphasizes the importance of family support for incoming students. “None of this would be possible without the support of my fiancée, Claire Vatterott. As early as the initial welcoming, they made her a part of the EMBA family. She pushes me harder in school than anyone. I couldn’t do it without her…but I think she’s excited for me to graduate so I can help a little more on the wedding planning!”

Regardless of his next move, he will be ready.





CATEGORY: Career, Student Life

Olin Executive Programs and Johnna Beckham, EMBA 39, co-hosted a booth at the the St. Louis Business Journal’s 10th Annual Women’s Conference, held at Union Station Double Tree Hotel in downtown St. Louis on Friday, January 30.  LadieseditedJohnna launched her custom suit line, Johnna Marie, at the conference.

About the idea, Johnna said, “I had a suit custom made in China when my class went for the global residency, and it was ok, but when I got home I couldn’t find anyone who was doing that in the US. Now I know why–it’s hard!”

Executive Program staffers working at the conference booth wore Johnna Marie suits, a living fashion show of the line. The entire ordering process can be completed online, or individual help is also available.

Related post: the story behind the launch of Johnna Marie.

In April, the partnership between Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM) at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and Washington University in St. Louis will officially launch its Executive MBA program, the only one in the world to confer a degree from both an Indian and an American university.

In preparation for the launch, Kurt Dirks, Bank of America Professor of Leadership and Olin Business School Senior Associate Dean of Programs, and Angie Bauman, Director of Admissions Operations traveled to India to engage with prospective students, conduct interviews and continue preparations for the inaugural cohort.

In addition, Professor Dirks, hosted an interactive and engaging seminar titled “Trust: A Leader’s Key to Success” on the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay campus.

FullSizeRenderThirty guests, including  corporate friends, SJMSOM faculty and Executive MBA candidates joined the hour-long sessions where they walked away with several key takeaways from Professor Dirks’ research, including:

  • Trust plays a pivotal role in a leader’s success
  • Three elements of trust are competence, character and caring
  • You can develop trust in a leader through behavior and orientatio
  • You can develop a culture of trust through leader behavior and structural factors
  • And, your orientation is pivotal – trust is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Following the presentation of his research, the audience engaged in an active Q&A session, which generated excitement for the soon to launch EMBA program. Over the next several months, key leaders from the Olin team, including Dean Mahendra Gupta and Professor Stuart Bunderson, will visit Mumbai to finalize preparation and continue the interview process.

Classes in Mumbai begin with orientation residency on April 22, 2015.

Olin celebrates the accomplishments of students from its Executive MBA (EMBA) programs and Brookings Executive Education in a ceremony at 2 p.m., Dec. 12, in Graham Chapel. After completing their capstone coursework in St. Louis this week, the students from Shanghai, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Washington D.C.-based programs will don full academic regalia and participate in a diploma and awards ceremony together with Dean Mahendra Gupta, Chancellor Mark Wrighton, Associate Dean Zhiwen YIN from the Fudan University School of Management, faculty, friends, and family present.

The candidates for graduation include:

EMBA-Shanghai, class 12

EMBA-St. Louis and Kansas City, class 42

Master of Science in Leadership, inaugural class

The MS in Leadership degree is granted by Washington University and delivered via Brookings Executive Education in Washington, D.C. through Olin’s partnership with the Brookings Institution.

The EMBA-Shanghai program is offered in partnership with Fudan University.



Olin Business School’s joint Executive MBA (EMBA) program with Fudan University in Shanghai is #7 in the 2014 Financial Times (FT) survey and remains among the most highly ranked programs globally. Among EMBA programs based in Mainland China, the Olin-Fudan program ranks #2.

“As one of the first western schools to partner with a Chinese university and introduce executive education to the Asian market, Olin is extremely proud of more than 800 highly successful alumni from our program with Fudan University,” said Mahendra R. Gupta, dean of Olin Business School. “Our excellent faculty are dedicated to preparing global leaders who can manage the challenges of doing business in the 21st century.”


Prof. Jim Little chats with EMBA students in Shanghai.

Based on surveys of alumni who graduated in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and information provided by the business schools, The FT rankings are based on multiple criteria from students’ salary increases to the volume of research published by faculty.

Candidates accepted to the Olin-Fudan program are among the most highly experienced and accomplished executives. The majority are at a directorship level or higher when they enter the program. When compared to all the schools in the FT survey, Olin-Fudan incoming students rank at #11 on the global scale of work experience.

The Shanghai-based program is taught in English by tenured faculty of Washington and Fudan universities. Students attend intensive monthly sessions for 22 months with a rigorous and demanding curriculum. Graduates report salary increases of more than 50% according to the new FT survey. Olin-Fudan alumni are not only prepared to take their careers to the next level upon completion of the EMBA program but they continue to benefit from the global alumni networks of two highly respected universities.

In the category of research, the Olin-Fudan program ranked #11 globally, reflecting the important role that faculty research plays in Olin’s mission to create knowledge and use research as a teaching tool. This category is calculated according to the number of articles published by a school’s current full-time faculty members in 45 academic and practitioner journals between January 2011 and August 2014. The rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.

The Olin-Fudan premier EMBA program attracts a diverse cohort of students each year from multi-national companies based in China and throughout Asia. Nearly half (49%), of the international EMBA candidates in the Shanghai program are women, the highest percentage among the top-tier schools in the FT survey.

Washington University launched its Executive MBA program 30 years ago in St. Louis and it continues to grow in recognition and reach. The Shanghai-based program was established in 2002 and more recently, the program has expanded to Kansas City (2009), and Denver (2013). In 2015, Olin and the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay’s Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management will launch the first joint EMBA program of its kind in Mumbai, India.

The Financial Times’ 14th annual ranking of executive MBA degrees included 132 programs from 32 countries, including 17 offered jointly by more than one school.
To view the rankings and methodology, please click here.