Sparking the entrepreneurial spirit at home and abroad

When nearly 100 WashU Olin full-time MBA students spanned the globe this year to launch their studies, they started with a strong dose of the entrepreneurial spirit—and they carried it with them through the 38-day journey.

As students recount in the attached video, a portion of their global studies included an examination of entrepreneurship and whether a startup dining concept in St. Louis would translate overseas in the competitive market of Shanghai.

Tyler Edwards, MBA ’21, was one of the students on the global immersion. He’s eager to work in a field where he can help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Here are a few of his reflections since returning to the United States and diving into his core classes this semester.

In retrospect, weeks past your return from China, can you describe how the global immersion has influenced your approach to class?

The global immersion was a great way to ease students into the class format at WashU Olin. This experience has given me momentum and familiarity when approaching my courses. From our time abroad, I now look at cases from the point of view of a student, a client and as a consultant.

Rather than seeking the answers to case issues, I’m thinking about alternative routes of strategy and decision making on the business side, and applying what I know outside of class into the dialogue to better shape my experience.

I don’t think I’d be in the same position if I were only two months into school rather than having experienced the global immersion.

What did you gain from the experience that you’ve been able to apply already—particularly as it might related to your interest in entrepreneurship?

I’ve been able to gain perspective on client expectations in short-term projects and executables. The global immersion was a crash course in executing very short-term projects for clients in fields that we know very little about.

Taking these experiences out of the classroom, I have enhanced my abilities to synthesize company goals and founder visions quickly, and produce solutions that align with those visions and goals. This enhanced ability to dive into projects and get hands-on quickly has been a great addition to my experience.

Have you been able to use this experience yet in any preparation for your career next step?

I have been able to point to these experiences in my interviews and conversations with employers. It’s great to have the experience of helping an entrepreneur explore a completely different country and market in the manner that the global immersion program exposed us.

Employers are blown away when I can tell them about client empathy and customer research when I tell them about figuring out whether customers in Shanghai would eat sugary donuts. These experiences are great for applicability in problem solving, and provide for a great story to break the ice.

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