Author: Graduate Business Student Association


About Graduate Business Student Association

GBSA is the governing body which serves students of the full-time MBA program at Olin Business School. We are dedicated to facilitating the planning and implementation of student activities (including educational, cultural, and social programs) to enhance the Olin experience. GBSA is divided into three branches, with an 8-person elected Executive Committee, 10 elected Senators, and 3 appointed justices.

GBSA membership for 2018-2019.
Angela Lu, MBA '19, president of GBSA.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, president of GBSA.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of the Graduate Business Student Association and wrote this on behalf of the organization.

Is there a hashtag for B-school ironies yet? You know, for that moment when you look around the room and say, “We’re business school students. Should we be better at this?”

Like when we put out a survey to solicit peer feedback…only to realize we have no idea how to boost participation rates, nor can we make much sense of the data we gather. How do we come up with actionable insights again?

So this time, we decided to do better. This year, Graduate Business Student Association had a transitional strategy planning session. We wanted to take a look at our mission and think carefully about how we can best achieve what we want to achieve within the limited year we have.

Together, members of GBSA leadership established three goals to guide our decisions and efforts for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Increase Olin Pride

Yeah, yeah, we know—Olin isn’t HBS, and St. Louis isn’t as sexy as New York. We’re pushing that inferiority complex to the side, and that’s not just cheerleading pep talk. The students who come to Olin Business School at the Washington University in St Louis are smart, passionate, and hard-working—and we’ll leave our own marks on the world, thank you very much!

It’s time we recognized our achievements for what they are; it’s time we gave ourselves some credit for how much we have already and will continue to contribute. We’re from Olin—not just WashU St. Louis—and we’re proud of the school we call home.

Did you know about Olin coming in third place for Notre Dame’s MBA Tech Innovation Challenge this year, beating out Cornell, Dartmouth and NYU? You’ll hear about that and more in the coming year, because we’re going to start becoming better at that #humblebrag!

Increase Connectivity

No, the Wi-Fi’s working fine. The network we care about is beyond virtual. It’s the real deal, with flesh and bones. In business school, we can’t escape talk about “networks”—the strength of our alumni network, complaints about the necessity of networking, bemoaning the lack of networking skills…it goes on and on.

If we do not capture the full value of being part of an in-person MBA program that allows us to physically meet and work with classmates from very different backgrounds than our own, we would have failed to take advantage of one of the most precious opportunities we’re paying for.

Increasing connectivity is about making sure we, as a school, truly get to know each other. That we maintain the momentum of curiosity and the appetite for discovery that we all had in the first few days of orientation, before everyone’s faces became familiar and everyone’s names known.

In both social and professional events, we want to be conscientiously including perspectives from our diverse student body. This means proactively including more child-friendly activities into our social programming, so our classmates with families can feel truly welcome to bring everyone along.

It means making sure we not only include vegetarian and allergy-free options in our catering choices, but that we label sensitive ingredients properly and consistently so our classmates can enjoy themselves without worrying about what they’re consuming.

Becoming more connected makes business sense: only when we make the most of the diversity that exists within our program do we become a truly inclusive and supportive community.

Increase Accountability

B-school is about making choices. It’s about forming clear priorities—personally and professionally—and taking actions in alignment with what’s important to us. Being busy, however, is never an acceptable excuse for being flaky.

We know almost all classmates share in our collective exasperation that some students will RSVP for events and not show up (or not RSVP, but show up for the food and beverage). How? Because we all talk about it and acknowledge that it is a problem. Therefore, we believe we would all benefit from being held more accountable for our conduct and commitments.

To this end, we will implement stricter adherence for RSVP policies and deadlines, as well as develop comfort around having tough conversations with those who do not meet agreed-upon expectations. We’re not saying this is comfortable, but we can guarantee that these will be highly valuable transferrable skills—well worth the investment.

BranchOut members and Olin allies posting at the OWIB auction in February 2018.
Members of BranchOut at the organization's annual picnic.

Members of BranchOut at the organization’s annual picnic.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of the Graduate Business Student Association and wrote this on behalf of the organization.

Happy Pride Month! At the risk of tooting our own horn, I have to share how proud I am of the subtle queer student takeover that’s been happening in Olin’s MBA student government and community.

Olin BranchOut is the graduate business student organization dedicated to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. We have 10 self-identified queer students in the MBA Class of 2019 cohort; that’s 7 percent of the total. Meanwhile, 40 percent are directly involved as student leaders in the Graduate Business Student Association, while another 20 percent as Olin representatives to the greater WashU community — and that’s not counting the leaders of student clubs, because then we’d really be just bragging, wouldn’t we?

In the spirit of Pride, here’s a quick introduction to several of the Class of 2019 BranchOut members who play key leadership roles:

  • Kevin Lin: A fellow of Reaching Out MBA and BranchOut president, Kevin was elected to the newly vacated seat on the Student Senate in March 2018. He is the dedicated curator of BranchOut’s social media presence – give him (and us all) a holler @washuolinlgbtq on Instagram!
  • Angela Lu: GBSA president and former senator, Angela is still struggling to catch up to every other BranchOut member’s impeccable grooming and spot-on fashion sense.
  • [name omitted]: Our vice president of diversity is suave and humorous and brimming with great ideas about broaching difficult conversations more frequently and with more depth.
  • Meredith Owen: Vice president of social programs and chief wine aficionado, Meredith is a high-beam ray of cheery energy guaranteeing a good time. Enthusiastic, organized and mischievous, she’s the life of the party that everyone can depend on.
  • Mukund Birje and Vanessa Redensek: Olin representatives to the Graduate Professional Council, Mukund and Vanessa are tasked with being the voice for Olin graduate students.
  • Dan Ho: But wait, there’s more! Dual-degree candidate Dan (M.Arch/MBA) is president of the Graduate Architecture Council. Enviably multi-talented, Dan dazzles everyone with his ability to do it all and still make flawless look effortlessly easy.

So, here’s a toast to Olin Pride, something to celebrate both this month and beyond. I’ve got it, and I hope you do too! Stay tuned to hear more about how Olin Pride fits into GBSA’s larger goals for the coming year!

Pictured above: BranchOut members and allies posing at the OWIB auction in February 2018.

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