Alumni board president offers advice for recent grads

This article was originally published in the 2017 Olin Business Magazine.

Alex Borchert, BSBA ’06, is managing director of investments at Altus Properties and Olin Alumni Board president (2017-18 academic year). He was the keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Programs graduation recognition ceremony in May.

Olin just wrapped up graduation celebrations for 2017, with recognition ceremonies on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8. What better time to revisit Alex’s advice for staying connected?

What advice did you share with the BSBA Class of 2017?

I was honored and quite humbled to speak at graduation. I shared a few guiding principles I’ve come to live by over my career.

The first dealt with protecting one’s integrity. We’ve all heard the platitude: “It takes a career to build a reputation of utmost integrity, but only one dishonest decision to destroy it.” Integrity is one of the only things I’ve found to be completely within one’s personal control in business. I can only hope that I enlightened a few graduates to its importance—and its fragility.

Another related to the value of embracing challenge and learning from failure. I hope that Olin’s 2017 graduates continue to seek fresh challenges as their careers mature—and don’t give into the comfort that success can breed.

I also assured them that the value they receive from WashU doesn’t end at graduation, but continues to grow as alumni.

How can alumni take advantage of the school’s global network?

Should any graduate desire to reconnect with the school or broaden their professional network via alumni connections within a city or industry, I encourage them to reach out directly to our tremendous Alumni & Development department. Don’t be shy; simply call them. They enjoy nothing more than working with alumni to ensure that we are maximizing the value of our incredible network. The alumni network at Olin is as strong as it has ever been. I encourage all of my fellow alums to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity it can provide.

What are the easiest ways to stay in touch or reconnect with Olin?

Some of my favorite opportunities for connection include joining the alumni mentorship program through the Alumni & Development department, providing mock interviews or “lunch and learns” via the Weston Career Center, notifying the Office of Corporate Relations that you’re available to speak to a class or student club about your industry or company, and the easiest of all involves attending one of the many alumni events hosted by our active alumni chapters from coast to coast.

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