Next in a series of Olin Blog features on recent alumni.
Franklyn Nnakwue, MBA 2020, has fond memories of—and continues to make great use of—several courses he took while he was a student at WashU Olin. And a major lesson from the pandemic serves him well: be adaptable.
What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?
I manage market P&L and provider partnerships for Oscar Health. The Olin education has prepared me to lead teams and leverage data-driven processes to solve problems.
What Olin course, “defining moment” or faculty influenced your life most, and why?
It is tough to choose as Olin is comprised of excellent teachers and enriching courses. I particularly enjoyed the Introduction to Management Strategy and the Competitive Industry Analysis classes by Dan Elfenbein and Stephen Ryan. I have found the Negotiations Class taught by Hilary Elfenbein and the Game Theory class taught by Mariagiovanna Baccara very helpful in my career.
How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?
I try to grab time with colleagues whenever I visit a new city where my classmates are domiciled. We also have an online group to stay in touch. I also attend virtual Olin events such as the Healthcare Symposium whenever I can. Recently, I was part of a group of alums who supported the Weston Career Center to provide interview coaching to first-year students.
Why is business education important?
Business education provides an unmatched opportunity to meet and learn from ambitious and bright colleagues, gain new exposure from faculty and classmates and develop the leadership skills necessary to make a global impact.
What advice would you give current Olin students?
I’d advise them to be insatiably curious, build deep relationships and have fun along the way.
How has the pandemic influenced your thinking about doing business locally or globally—or your career?
My biggest lesson from the pandemic is that only the adaptable survive. It was Max McKeown who said, “All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.” Leaders had to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing environment and embrace new work paradigms to comply with public health measures and keep their businesses running. Looking back, it is incredible to think about how we acclimatized to new ways of working and living in such a short time. These days, I find myself asking, “Which pervasive behavior are we clinging to due to tradition even though it can easily be supplanted by technology? What needs to change for us to realize this on a massive scale? Can this change be engineered? What will this potential reality mean for business and culture?”