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.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, collaborated with Ridhima Kaushal, MBA ’19, on this post on behalf of the Graduate Business Student Association. Lu is president of the organization.

Class of 2019: Summer Catch-up Series No. 5

Ridhima Kaushal, MBA ’19

Ridhima Kaushal, MBA ’19

Olin’s full-time MBA program boasts 30 to 40 percent international students each cohort—and I’m one of them! For those who didn’t grow up in the States or with experience in US corporations, what’s it like to work in an American business environment for the first time? Ridhima Kaushal, who has worked both at home in India and in France, adds a new chapter to her cultural experiences this summer.

Where were you this summer?

Over the summer, I worked for the supply chain strategy department at Express Scripts. Contrary to general belief, supply chain at Express Scripts has less to do with logistics and drug fulfillment and more with the contracts that are set up for their clients—health insurance providers, corporations, etc.). These contracts are a part of the networks, also known as products at Express Scripts. Confused already?

One of the first challenges as an intern at Express Scripts was to understand the complicated business structure of the pharmacy benefit managers and the way the US healthcare industry functions.

So, what did you have to do?

Express Scripts has grown exponentially over the years and thus the processes can get complex and confusing very easily at this $53 billion firm. This is why my team charged me with the task of streamlining some of their processes and implementing efficiencies. I was a part of the product team and devised a SharePoint solution that integrated more than 2.5 million data points in a single place.

My project had an effect on three teams directly and gave the product owners an opportunity to gain a high-level picture on one front while being able to access the details on the other. During those 12 weeks, I worked with a wide variety of people from product owners to communication managers to IT experts, but one thing was common among all of them: their willingness to help and be approachable!

And how was it, aside from all the cool deliverables you just described?

My internship was an amazing way to discover what the American business culture is like. Apart from the kaffeeklatsches and the water-cooler clans, I got to experience the openness to authority that this culture encourages.

During the executive speaker series organized for the intern batch, I got a 30-minute one-on-one meeting with Everett Neville, the executive vice president of the supply chain department. The internship program also exposed us to a host of community efforts that the company engages in. From making cards for children in hospitals to volunteering at a nearby forest for clean-up, I’ve really experienced it all now with Express Scripts!

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of the Graduate Business Student Association and collaborated with Naveh Malihi, MBA’19, on this blog post.

We’re almost back in classes, those of us who are called second-year MBA students. The first year’s certainly flown by! There’s still time for a fourth entry in our summer series though! I asked Naveh Malihi to recount his entire internship journey and share a bit about what motivated him to earn an MBA. Naveh, who calls Israel home, found himself in Idaho this summer.

Class of 2019: Summer Catch-up Series No. 4

Naveh Malihi

Naveh Malihi

[incoming call, unrecognized number]

“Hi, am I speaking with Naveh?”

“Hi, yes.”

“Great, my name is Jordan, I’m from HR in Micron Technology. I wanted to tell you we decided to extent you an offer for a summer intern product manager in our headquarters in Boise, Idaho.”

Product management? In tech? Hell yeah, that’s exactly what I want to do – possibly the main reason I went to get an MBA. I also remember interviewing for Micron and I felt “the click” with my potential boss.

“Hi, Jordan, sounds great! Could you please email me the offer then?”


The second I hung up, I googled “Boise, Idaho.” You might say I should’ve done this before, but I interviewed like crazy during recruiting season. As far as my internship was concerned, the role was way more important than the location.

A couple of weeks later, my partner and I started our 32-hour drive to Boise. We drove 13 hours on the first day to get to Denver. The NBA finals were on, so we went to watch the game at a local sports bar. The next day, we drove through beautiful Colorado and Utah, stopping at Arches National Park and for the night at Salt Lake City.

The next day, it was time. After around five hours in a complete desert, we arrived in Boise. Downtown looked amazing and vibrant. After a couple of beers, we called it a night and started our summer in Boise.

After going through the desert

The internship experience in Micron was outstanding. The project I led was approved through a feasibility study and hopefully will generate revenue for Micron soon.  The opportunity I got was incredible. My supervisors were super supportive along the way. They let me think big and creatively, but also let me deal with all the obstacles and challenges that inevitably arise when trying to drive big initiatives.

One of the main reasons I am pursuing an MBA is to move to the business side of tech and lead complex cross-functional processes. Knowing my desire and excitement about technology, I knew I couldn’t stay too far from the bits and bytes.

The product management role is exactly that. I was required to develop a deep understanding of the technologies I was working on within a very short time, and then collaborate with cross-functional team members to execute initiatives we believe are critical for the current semi-conductor market. Project management is a lot of communication, a lot of selling, and tons of learning as you go.

I also had the opportunity to meet many fellow interns and hike throughout the summer. I’m into the outdoors big time and Idaho is among the most beautiful states I have traveled to.

Now it’s definitely time to go back to school and finish up this MBA. Yo, Olin 2019, here I come!

Angela Lu and Meredith Owen, MBA ’19, co-wrote this post on behalf of the Graduate Business Student Association. Lu is president of the organization; Owen is vice president of social programs.

Angela Lu, MBA '19, president of GBSA.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19

What’s student government for, anyway? What’s the fun in introducing pseudo-political squabbles and contextually overrated power grabs?

The Graduate Business Student Association exists to improve the MBA student experience. Our guiding mission is to continuously improve the two-year journey so each cohort discovers more value than the one before. Well, what better way to do so than to start from the very beginning—and redesign new student orientation?

Meredith Owen led a team to completely revamp the Gateway Olin (GO!) experience for the Class of 2020 over the course of the summer. Let’s catch up with how that process went!

Your team had less than four months to completely overhaul GO! Week as we—the Class of 2019—experienced it. Can you walk us through this intensive project?

Meredith Owen, MBA ’19

Along with two members of GBSA senate—Jin Hwang and Ony Mgbeahurike—and vice president of international student affairs, Ashish Joy, I started by collecting feedback on past GO! Weeks from our peers. Instead of sending out yet another electronic survey, we set up a table with coffee and doughnuts and spent a week gathering in-depth responses from our passionate Class of 2019 classmates. (We had a 60 percent participation rate!)

We then pored over the feedback and formed six main categories of GO! Week activities: academic courses, professional development, celebrating culture, social activities, team-building exercises, and education around diversity and inclusion. We individually researched strategies on how best to improve the experience in each category based on the student feedback. It was a priority for us to weave GBSA’s strategic goals—Increasing Olin Pride, Connectivity, and Accountability—as well as the five Olin values into each activity of the two-week official orientation.

Over the course of the summer months, we worked closely with different administrative bodies on campus, including the Olin dean’s office, graduate programs office, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the Olin Partners Association.

Brief us on some of the cool new aspects the team introduced to GO! Week.

Some of the core updates from the past GO! Programming include:

  • A history-themed bus tour of St. Louis;
  • A series of “diversity in the workforce” sessions hosted by Mastercard;
  • An “unconscious bias” session hosted by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Cultural agility sessions orchestrated by Judy Shen-Filerman;
  • Culturally themed lunches (one for each day).

    Students enjoy team-building activities as part of MBA GO! Week. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

We also made a special effort to more proactively involve students’ partners as part of orientation. We added a family-friendly meet-and-greet, and invited international students’ partners to the first day to become more acquainted with St. Louis and its resources.

Let’s hear from everyone on the team! What are your thoughts on this GO! Week project now?

Jin Hwang: “I wanted to find a way to welcome our first-year classmates and the GO! Week Initiative was a good way to do that. Also, I found more school spirit within myself by doing this. I am thankful to have been part of the team to have an opportunity to welcome the Class of 2020!”

Students enjoy a culturally themed lunch.

Ony Mgbeahurike: “It was truly gratifying to have the freedom to introduce new activities, such as culturally themed days with lunches showcasing cuisines from different regions, and a diversity and inclusion panel with Mastercard employees that highlights the importance of diversity within business. Getting such extensive support from administration for these changes really topped the experience for me.”

Ashish Joy: “The best part for me was getting the opportunity to showcase the cultural diversity at Olin through the GO! Program.”

Meredith Owen: “Working on the GO! Week Initiative has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me thus far in the MBA program. We were able to truly shape the GO! experience for our incoming classmates thanks to the receptive Olin administration team. Our ability to offer input and work on such a personal level with the administration at Olin is extremely rewarding.”

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of the Graduate Business Student Association and co-authored this with Vanessa Redensek, MBA ’19, on behalf of the organization.

Vanessa Redensek

Vanessa Redensek

All right, all right! Let’s keep this #humblebrag ball rolling and find out what the energetic Vanessa Redensek has been up to in the bustling home of Broadway and Central Park. We spied her on TV not so long ago. What was that all about?

Vanessa, what brings you to the Big Apple this Summer?

I am working for Cognizant Technology Solutions as a summer associate within the healthcare consulting business unit. My client for the summer is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health plan providers headquartered in New York City. It is a $10 billion company with 3.1 million members.

As a summer associate, I relocated to NYC to work directly with the client as we get ready to launch new applications across the business, which will directly impact their entire healthcare system from members, to providers, to employers and beyond.

What was it like to ring the closing bell at Nasdaq?

Since the first day I was accepted into the Cognizant family, I have been treated as an equal. Cognizant is a very flat organization. I have had the opportunity to meet other associates at all levels, from business analysts to C-suite executives.

I had the very unique opportunity to go celebrate Cognizant’s 20-year anniversary as a publicly traded firm on Nasdaq. We celebrated in Times Square at Nasdaq’s headquarters, cheering on live TV as Karen McLoughlin, the CFO, rang the closing bell (10:32 mark on this video). Our photos and live video were also broadcast on a giant billboard in Times Square, which was thrilling to see and also hilarious because people on the street started taking our photos thinking we were celebrities.

When you’re not busy being in the news with them, what are you doing with Cognizant this summer?

Cognizant is developing multiple applications from a standard “out of the box” solution into a customized app, specific to our client’s needs. I was thrown right in the trenches with my team in operational readiness.

I work in the middle of many moving parts. I verify that all the pieces and stakeholders are aligned at go-live to prevent delays in delivery or acceptance. My role is so critical to the success of the project that my internship was extended for two extra weeks to ease the pain of my roll-off and expedite the onboarding of my replacement resource! To my knowledge, this is a first for Cognizant internships.

I have also joined Embrace—Cognizant’s group for LGBTQIA+ and allies—focused on creating an environment where all people can develop and grow to their full potential. As a very new group, the formal global announcement for Embrace is set for late August.

I helped create this global announcement, along with an internal survey and census to understand the kind of support and professional development that our LGBTQIA+ associates are seeking and in need of.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that I do nothing but work! In addition to exploring the city on the weekends, I definitely have enjoyed lots of team bonding experiences outside of work, including happy hours at rooftop bars, dinners at amazing restaurants, and even a Yankees game. This isn’t special treatment for interns; this is normal life as a consultant at Cognizant.

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of the Graduate Business Student Association and co-authored this with Oscar Vasco, MBA ’19, on behalf of the organization.

Class of 2019: Summer Catch-up Series No. 1

No one gets an MBA because they want to dive deeply into the study of microeconomics. We get MBAs because we are after more fulfilling and impactful careers – right? Well, the summer internship is an integral part of a traditional two-year MBA program, but it’s never all work and no play!

Let’s right back to the #humblebrag I promised, and check out what Oscar Vasco, GBSA’s vice president-finance, has been doing as the only MBA intern with Yum! Brands (yep, that’s KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) in Louisville, Kentucky.

Oscar, what are you doing for Yum! Brands this summer?

I am interning with the investor relations team and my project will be preparing a Q&A document to help prepare our executives for the second-quarter earnings call.

Yum! Brands has more than 45,000 restaurants worldwide, with about a 40/60 split between domestic and international locations, so there’s a lot to keep track of! It’s incredible that a company with that much international reach could be headquartered in Louisville.

Work aside, what’s cooking in Louisville?

After networking with some Consortium interns at another Fortune 500 company headquartered in Louisville, Humana, I was invited to an outing at Churchill Downs in the Humana suite. I enjoyed seeing world-class horse-racing at the world’s most famous track.

Watching the races from the suite meant that I had to adhere to a strict business casual policy, but dressing up in business casual on a Saturday was well worth it! Once I entered the suite, there was all the food and drink (hooray for buffets) you could ask for, as well as an in-room gambling machine.

I ended up watching 10 races and unfortunately, went home empty handed, as I lost bets on “My Wynter Rose” and “Shanghai Rain.” I guess I will have to find another winner to bet on the next time I’m at the track.

You’re going to be a pro when the Kentucky Derby comes around next year! It sounds like Consortium has given you some great opportunities this summer, right?

One of the highlights of my internship was getting to attend The Consortium’s Orientation Program (“OP”) in Orlando, Florida, as a Yum! representative. The Consortium, founded by WashU management professor Sterling Schoen, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing representation of underrepresented minorities at MBA programs and the ranks of global management.

Each year, The Consortium hosts the OP conference to allow incoming MBA students an intense, hands-on opportunity to get real career advice and opportunities from the best institutions and corporations in the country. It was great getting to return to the conference that was so influential in setting the stage for my MBA journey.

Olin Business School Blog Olin Business School Blog