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From time to time we have professors, students, staff, alumni, or friends who are not regular contributors, but want to share something with the community. Be sure to look at the bottom of the post to see the author.


Ally Gerard, BSBA ’22, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

Ally Gerard

A team of Olin Business School undergraduates came out on top of this fall’s WashU Business of Sports Society (BOSS) competition. Olin partnered with local Major League Soccer expansion team St. Louis CITY SC, which hosted a national sports business case competition.

The competition, sponsored by the Olin Business School and the Weston Career Center, featured a case from CITY SC on subscription-based consumer loyalty programs and possible marketing activations for its local kit sponsor, Purina.

Six teams across four universities (WashU, Duke, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill) participated in the two-month competition. They were evaluated on blind submissions.

The idea for the competition began in April 2021, after organizers noticed the success of other collegiate sports business case competitions. As a student in the Olin Sports Business Program and former president of BOSS, I knew a comparable event would appeal to our students and to sports business students across the nation.

After I pitched the concept to the undergraduate office, I secured a generous $3,000 donation from Olin and the WCC for prize money. With this funding in place, the next step was to find a partner for the actual case material.

CITY SC was the obvious choice because of its ties to the St. Louis community and the start-up business environment in advance of their 2023 inaugural season. With the help of CITY SC Chief Brand Architect Lee Broughton, we developed the case material and competition logistics to launch at the end of the summer.

Throughout August and September, teams compiled and recorded a virtual presentation for CITY SC leadership detailing how the club could develop a subscription-based membership program to drive monetary and brand value beyond ticket sales. Student recommendations placed a strong emphasis on ideals like community and loyalty, and they focused on ways to meet the needs of all fan profiles.

‘Blown away’

Jeremy Tripp

Broughton and CITY SC’s Director of Loyalty Jeremy Tripp evaluated the blind submissions. Tripp, PMBA 32, recounted he was “genuinely blown away” by the quality of the students’ presentations and their clear understanding of the club’s strategy.

“The presentations were polished and well-researched, and each brought a creative perspective to solving key problems that would not only set our club apart but would do so by improving our entire region,” he said.

Jeanette Smith

In the end, the winning team of five Olin undergraduates included team lead Jeanette Smith, BSBA ’24, Quade Pohlman, BSBA ’24, Spencer Min, BSBA ’24, Larry Liu, BSBA ’24, and Tommaso Maiocco, BSBA ’24.

Reflecting on their participation, they found this experience valuable for applying their coursework and professional skills to actual business situations. Smith described feeling “very fulfilled … and that the experience had greatly contributed to my professional development.”

For a business school that places experiential learning opportunities at the forefront, this competition was both professionally and personally rewarding for its nationwide participants.

I cannot thank St. Louis CITY SC, the Weston Career Center and Olin Business School’s undergraduate office enough for taking a chance on this new event. I hope to see future generations of sports business students continue the partnership in the future!


Ally Gerard, BSBA ’22, wrote this blog post for Olin.

A team of Olin Business School undergraduates came out on top of this fall’s WashU Business of Sports Society (BOSS) competition.

Olin partnered with local Major League Soccer expansion team St. Louis CITY SC, who hosted a National Sports Business Case Competition.

The competition, sponsored by Olin and the Weston Career Center, featured a case from CITY SC on subscription-based consumer loyalty programs and possible marketing activations for its local kit sponsor, Purina.

Six teams across four universities (WashU, Duke, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill) participated in the two-month competition. They were evaluated on blind submissions.

The idea for the competition began in April 2021, after organizers noticed the success of other collegiate sports business case competitions. As a student in the Olin Sports Business Program and former president of BOSS, I knew a comparable event would appeal to our students and sports business students across the nation.

After I pitched the concept to the undergraduate office, I secured a generous $3,000 donation from Olin and the WCC for prize money. With this funding in place, the next step was to find a partner for the actual case material.

CITY SC was the obvious choice because of its deep ties to the St. Louis community and start-up-like business environment in advance of their 2023 inaugural season. With the help of CITY SC Chief Brand Architect Lee Broughton, wdeveloped the case material and competition logistics to launch at the end of the summer.

Throughout August and September, teams compiled and recorded a virtual presentation for CITY SC leadership detailing how the club could develop a subscription-based membership program to drive monetary and brand value beyond ticket sales. Student recommendations placed a strong emphasis on ideals like community and loyalty, and they focused on ways to meet the needs of all fan profiles.

Blind submissions

Broughton and CITY SC’s Director of Loyalty Jeremy Tripp evaluated the blind submissions. Tripp, an Olin alum (PMBA 32), recounted being “genuinely blown away” by the quality of the students’ presentations and theCir clear understanding of the club’s strategy. Here is what he had to say:

“The presentations were polished, well-researched, and each brought a creative perspective to solving key problems that would not only set our club apart, but would do so by improving our entire region.” So, apparently, the competition was steep.

In the end, the winning team comprised of five Olin undergraduates was:

  • Team lead Jeanette Smith (BSBA 2024),
  • Quade Pohlman (BSBA 2024),
  • Spencer Min (BSBA 2024),
  • Larry Liu (BSBA 2024),
  • and Tommaso Maiocco (BSBA 2024).

Reflecting on their participation, they found this experience valuable for applying their coursework and professional skills to actual business situations. Smith described feeling “very fulfilled … and that the experience had greatly contributed to my professional development.”

Experience is important at Olin. Olin places experiential learning opportunities at the forefront, and this competition was professionally and personally rewarding for its nationwide participants.

 I cannot thank St. Louis CITY SC, the Weston Career Center and Olin Business School’s undergraduate office enough for taking a chance on this new event. I hope to see future generations of sports business students continue the partnership in the future!




To become successful entrepreneurs and industry leaders, WashU students must first become high-level problem solvers. And what better way to do that than to solve problems faced by the US Department of Defense? That is the premise of the class “Innovating for Defense,” where the DoD turns to a select group of 20 WashU students for their ingenuity in addressing a variety of issues.

“Innovating for Defense” is co-taught by Peggy Matson, program director of graduate studies in Engineering Management and Project Management in the McKelvey School of Engineering, and Doug Villhard, professor of practice in entrepreneurship and academic director for entrepreneurship at Olin. Read the full story.

Pictured: C-21 pilot Capt. Chandler Thorpe (left), 458th Airlift Squadron, and Washington University graduate student Kyle Gero go through a pre-flight checklist. Gero is collaborating with Scott’s Elevate innovation team and the squadron on a C-21 cockpit trainer project. 


There are two truisms about the tech field. One is constant change; the other is it’s a man’s world. Women make up about 25% of all IT employees, a seemingly low number except for the fact that it has been steadily growing over the past decade.

So what’s the secret for women to break into tech-related business? How can they be successful? And what leadership skills will keep them at the top?

On September 9, Olin welcomed Lisa Nichols, CEO and cofounder of Technology Partners, a provider of premier IT staffing, solutions and software, for the Leadership Perspectives event “Reality Bytes: The real story on women and leadership in the tech space.”

Nichols also hosts the interview podcast Something Extra, which shines a light on each guest’s distinct leadership qualities.

Nichols sat down with Staci Thomas, Olin professor of practices for communications, for a conversation that touched on many aspects of business in the technology space, including female representation (or, more appropriate, the lack thereof), innovation, entrepreneurship and values-driven leadership.

Watch a recording of the event here.




Five students in a grid format who were named to the Inno Under 25 list of entrepreneurs.

Nancy Nigh contributed this post to the Olin Blog. She is the communications and events manager at the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

On September 16, 2021, the St. Louis Business Journal announced its first “Inno Under 25” list of up-and-coming founders in St. Louis’ startup community.

According to author Nathan Rubbelke: “Our inaugural Inno Under 25 feature is designed to spotlight some of those up-and-coming innovators. The list includes college students balancing studies while building promising startups as well as recent grads and young adults focused full-time on their ventures. Unsurprisingly, this list features many with ties to Washington University, which has had an outsized role in boosting St. Louis’ entrepreneurial economy.”

The WashU entrepreneurs recognized for their contributions to the St. Louis startup ecosystem, include Joe Beggs with Hive Medical and GenAssist, Chiara Munzi with Closet Switch, Lloyd Yates with Tylmen Tech, Ayana Klein with 3Dux Design and Owen Zhang with Caralyst.

“The diversity of these founders—including students studying in Olin, McKelvey and Arts & Sciences—creating startups to solve unique problems is at the core of how WashU approaches entrepreneurship,” said II Luscri, managing director and assistant vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship at the Skandalaris Center.

In addition, to support them through their academic programs, the Skandalaris Center worked with each of these young entrepreneurs as they established and continued to grow their startups through advising, mentoring, competition preparation and funding.

“We are beyond excited for these founders to be recognized and look forward to helping them and others elevate their ventures at WashU and in St. Louis.”

Learn about each of these founders below and read St. Louis Inno’s article here.

Joe Beggs HIVE Medical and GenAssist: HIVE incorporates a wireless sensor into IV lines to improve medication adherence and prevent expensive unplanned readmissions. Founding member Joe Beggs (BME ‘2020) received the first place Skandalaris Venture Competition trophy in spring 2021 and a $10,000 cash prize. Joe’s other venture, GenAssist, was started with the intent to commercialize the biomimetic sponges so that muscle loss may be healed in human patients.

Chiara Munzi, Closet Switch: Closet Switch is an online and mobile platform that makes getting trendy clothes affordable and social by facilitating nationwide clothing trades between high school and college-aged girls. Founded by Chiara Munzi, BS ’23, and Cosima Munzi. Chiara earned a finalist position for Closet Switch in the spring 2021 Skandalaris Venture Competition.

Lloyd Yates, Tylmen Tech: Tylmen Tech integrates technology, sustainability, and accessibility to create the best fitting, custom-tailored suits available on the market. Founder, Lloyd Yates, MBA ’22, was a featured panelist for the event Black Entrepreneurship in St. Louis, a panel discussion with veteran and rising innovative entrepreneurs from the St. Louis area organized by the Olin Black MBA Association. He has competed in the Skandalaris Center Venture Competition and Skandalaris’ IdeaBounce events.

Ayana Klein, 3Dux Design: Founded by current WashU student Ayana Klein, LA ’22, 3Dux Design supplies children around the world with the educational materials and academic skills they need to succeed. Anna was a Skandalaris Center Global Impact Award winner in 2020 earning an award of $20,000. She also competed in Olin’s Big IdeaBounce in spring 2020 and took home the top prize of $2,500 in the undergraduate category for her architectural modeling system, consisting of cardboard connectors and curriculum, which supports STEM education globally. Ayana planned to use a portion of the prize money to employ her fellow Washington University students as interns with 3Dux Design and offer educational opportunities to children.

Owen Zhang, Caralyst: Caralyst is a healthcare innovation startup, focused on increasing the quality of healthcare by matching patients and physicians based on preferences like communication style and personal characteristics. Caralyst allows patients to find physicians based on shared identities, communication styles, and personal characteristics. Founded by Owen Zhang, EN ’23, BSBA ’23, an undergraduate student at Washington University studying in the joint business and computer science program, and his team of Havisha Pedamallu, LA ’21, BSBA ’21, and Matthew Millet, ME. Caralyst placed third in the spring 2020 Skandalaris Venture Competition, winning $5,000.

The Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship is the home of Entrepreneurship at Washington University. We support startups at all stages by providing opportunities and resources from idea to launch and beyond. We are dedicated to providing programs, services, and opportunities for all members of the WashU community. We encourage individuals, startups, ventures, and teams to connect with us for help throughout their entrepreneurial journey at sc@wustl.edu.