Mitch McMahon Q&A: In love with data-driven decision-making

Part of a series of Q&As with Olin BSBA alumni. Today we hear from Mitch McMahon, BSBA ’16.

What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

I’m working at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis as the senior manager of fleet and facilities for North American Distribution Operations. I would say I continually look back at two things when I connect my Olin experience to my current job.

The first is the strong analytical foundation that Olin helped me build. At AB, we are always focused on data-based decision-making and I felt that was a focus in my time at Olin. The other was the collaborative experience I had during my courses at Olin.

One of the 10 principles at ABI references judging performance on the quality of our teams. The continued focus on group work and team deliverables at Olin is a skill set I now use daily.

What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

Hmm. This is a tough one. It might be Operations and Supply Chain Management 230—the first course where I realized I was in love with data-driven decision-making and creating models to drive efficiency in everyday business decisions. This course has had a significant influence on my career path today.

Or Professor Judi McLean Parks. I never actually was enrolled in her course, but I spent four years as a teaching assistant for her MBA negotiations course. As a part of the job, we would occasionally participate in the simulated negotiations.

The lessoned I learned in her course about growing the size of the pie, incentive alignment and not treating negotiation as a zero-sum game have helped me work through contracts with our vendors and in some cases add value to both parties. Working with contracts is now one of my favorite activities at work!

How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?

Two things make it very easy for me.

  1. I’m dating one of my Olin classmates—Brooke Hofer.
  2. I’ve been roommates with two of them since graduation. It’s great to continue our professional lives together.

I also try to make it back for football games and basketball games when I can.

Why is business education important?

Business education is important because it puts the relational aspect of an industry on the same pedestal as technical capability. The psychological, as well as analytical aspects of a business education are what drew me in and are the reasons I believe it continues to be such as staple as an area of study.

Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?

Enjoy your time in school and make as many friends as possible. You will be shocked at how many industries you could end up having connections with in the new future, purely based on what jobs your friends end up taking.

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