Natalie Faust Q&A: ‘Hit the ground running’

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

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

I have been working for Walmart Ecommerce at the Moosejaw Mountaineering office outside Detroit, Michigan, for the last 10 months. I am the category specialist for camp furniture and camp airbeds across all the Walmart e-commerce platforms (Walmart.com, jet.com, Hayneedle.com, and of course Moosejaw.com!).

Olin had a big impact on my career by providing me the necessary tools to be able to network, learn on the job and then succeed in my career. One class in particular I am grateful for was the required operations and supply chain management course.

It taught me so much about inventory management and pricing, which is what I deal with every day, and at scales I never would have imagined.

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

I guess I touched on it above, but operations and supply chain management influenced my life and career a lot. I took it second semester junior year when I was already majoring in marketing and finance. I had thought I wanted to go into marketing or consulting, but fell in love with the material in Professor Nan Yang’s intro course.

I ended up changing my major from finance to OSCM because of it. Now, as a category specialist, I work closely with the supply chain and planning teams to develop inventory strategy, and I manage pricing for a large part of the outdoor business on Walmart.com.

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

Some of the friends I made in Delta Sigma Pi are my best friends after college. I don’t live in the same city as a lot of them anymore, but I love to visit NYC to see them, and we speak regularly. I highly recommend undergraduates look into business fraternities for both the professional development and the incredible friendships you will make.

Why is business education important?

So many reasons! Studying business as an undergraduate allowed me to hit the ground running in my career. It helped prepare me for interviews, introduced me to tools and theories, and helped me understand how to succeed in the workplace.

The case competitions and group assignments were one of the most valuable parts. In both of the jobs I have had, being able to work well with others has contributed greatly to my success.

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

Explore your options. It is never too late to find what you are interested in studying. You are not locked into a major. You won’t be locked into a job.

And along the same lines, try things outside of the business school (that aren’t required). One of my favorite classes at WashU was Witches and Wizards in Greco-Roman Literature. I took it because I am a Harry Potter nerd, and it ended up being a quintessential college class with a tiny class size, great discussions and an eccentric/passionate professor.

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