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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.


Reid Petty has been President of the Class of 2017 since sophomore year and before he graduates, he will address his classmates, and thousands of guests and graduate students in Brookings Quad at Commencement. The Source talked to Reid who is an Olin marketing major about what he plans to say and his post-graduation plans in the advertising industry.

Why did you decide on a career in advertising?

Growing up, I was always plopped in front of the TV with my family. That’s how we bonded — watching “The Office,” “Lost” and probably some questionable stuff like “The Sopranos.” I loved the shows, but I also loved the ads. I would challenge myself to come up with a better ad than the one I saw on TV.  It clicked that this is what I should do with my life. Last summer, I worked at Team One, an advertising firm in Los Angeles, where I wrote copy that will appear in an upcoming Lexus ad. And after graduation, I will be working in the Chicago office of DigitasLBI in a dual project management and account management role. I also studied film at WashU and I am hoping, at some point, to merge these two loves by going into advertising for film.

You spent a summer in Copenhagen and a semester in Singapore. How did your study-abroad experiences impact your education?

Those experiences are some of the best things that ever happened to me. In Copenhagen, I took a class on the Roskilde Festival, the world’s largest nonprofit music festival. We learned about festival management and festival culture. It concluded with us spending a week at the festival where we were just immersed in Danish culture. The week shaped my understanding of what it means to travel, to get outside of your comfort zone and discover new people and places. I then chose to go to Singapore because I wanted a totally different experience, and I loved it. Being abroad is challenging, fun, sometimes lonely and always exciting.

So what words of wisdom will you be sharing with graduates?

I’m 22 years old. I don’t have that much wisdom to offer to my peers. But I have thought a lot about why this place is so special. And it comes down to the people. And sure, you could say that about a lot of universities. But I found this school very different than the other ones I visited. As a tour guide, I would talk about the campus culture here — that Washington University is super-collaborative and very friendly. And I think that imparting those words on visiting students gives them the idea that this is a very welcoming place. And they make it so. Their expectations shape reality. And so this sense of community is passed down from class to class. For us seniors, it may feel like it’s all ending, but it’s not. This community will stay with us wherever we go in life.

CATEGORY: Career, News, Student Life



Sustainability champions Nick Annin, Elise Fabbro and Nicola Salzman graduate this month from Washington University in St. Louis poised to fight the globe’s most pressing problem with a powerful tool: the free market.

Though these students support laws and treaties that protect the environment, they also recognize that markets can move faster. And, in this battle, every second counts.

Nick Annin plans to pursue a Masters in Finance at Olin after earning his undergrad degree. Majors: Environmental policy and writing in Arts & Sciences. 

“There is a myth that the economy and the environment are inherently at odds,” said Annin, a senior in the environmental studies program in Arts & Sciences. “We know, in fact, the opposite is true. A healthy economy depends on a healthy environment.”

The three advocates share much in common, including an early admiration for former vice president Al Gore. Each said Gore’s 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” transformed climate change from a vague cause for concern into, for each of them, a call to action.

Annin remembers watching the film in fourth grade with his father Peter Annin, a renowned environmental journalist. Annin felt as if he might vomit.

“All my life, I had gone camping and the woods were my home,” said Annin, a native of Madison, Wis. “The idea that all of that was threatened was horrifying.”

Nicola Salzman Majors: Environmental policy in Arts & Sciences and leadership and strategic management in Olin Business School.

Salzman, also a senior in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences, was in high school in Boston when she read a book version of “An Inconvenient Truth.” She remembers looking at the adults around her thinking, “Wait? You knew about this? And you’re not doing everything you can to fix it?”

And Fabbro, a law student, remembers her Palo Alto, Calif., high school inviting Gore to deliver his “Inconvenient Truth” presentation live.

“I walked out of there changed,” Fabbro said. “Since then, the environment and our impact on it is what I think when I go to bed at night, and when I wake up in the morning.”

In 2013, they would all arrive at the same time at the Danforth Campus. Annin came to play football for Coach Larry Kindbom; Salzman liked the campus culture; and Fabbro transferred to the School of Law when an admissions officer serendipitously called the day she learned her current program was losing two environmental law experts.

Once here, they all applied to participate in the international climate negotiation seminar. They also each attended the global climate talks, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences of the Parties (COP) as a delegate from Washington University.

Elise Fabbro Degrees: JD, School of Law and MBA, Olin Business School

It’s a unique opportunity, one that few universities extend to undergraduates, said Beth Martin, senior lecturer in environmental studies in Arts & Sciences. At the conferences, the students tracked specific articles of the agreement such as mitigation or finance, and attended negotiations and forums featuring climate leaders such as Gore and former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

“They see how diplomacy works and how words matter,” said Martin, who teaches the international climate seminar and leads the Washington University observer delegation. “The students also meet people whose daily lives and homes are profoundly impacted by climate change. It is both an incredible educational and emotional experience.”

All three students consider the conference the capstone of their academic careers. “We participated in history,” said Fabbro, who attended COP 21 in 2015 in Paris with Annin.

“I asked myself over and over again, ‘How am I here?’” said Salzman, who attended COP 22 in Marrakesh in 2016. “It was an experience unlike one I could ever have in a classroom.”

Fabbro, Annin and Salzman left their respective conferences buoyed. The innovations of engineers, the research of scientists, the resolve of diplomats — the gains were real. And yet each returned, more convinced than ever, that global talks and international treaties can only take us so far. The private sector can — and must — play a pivotal role.

For a closer look at Washington University’s leading sustainability champions and their vision for world for a healthy environment and economy, link to their Class Acts profiles.




With pension payouts skyrocketing, tax credits expiring and the inability to pay operating expenses, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy protection May 3. The U.S. territory owes an estimated $73 billion to assorted creditors, including Wall Street firms. This makes the bankruptcy the largest-ever American municipal debt restructuring in history.

A senior lecturer in finance at Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin Business School says the situation should serve as a dire wake-up call to the municipal bond market.

Ryffel

“Earlier this year, when the bankruptcy of the fictitious town of Sanidcott became the subject of the hit Showtime series ‘Billions’, I knew we had reached a new low point in the municipal bond market,” said Rich Ryffel, who advised governments, corporations and more about financing and capital structure in his 30-year career in investment banking and asset management. “So common had the once-unheard of notion of municipal bankruptcy become, that it would now be understandable to the television audience and fodder worthy of acting out on the small screen. Well, now the folks in Puerto Rico have given us an even better subject.  Reminiscent of CSI Las Vegas, CSI Miami, CSI Whatever, we now have – Municipal Bankruptcy: Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico has become the U.S. municipal bond market’s own little Greece, seeking from the courts what it could not find the will nor the way to do on its own; change its profligate ways and pay its creditors.  Its move to the courts lowers the recovery floor in its negotiations with creditors and gives it remedies heretofore unavailable… . Years of preferential tax and trade treatment failed to create an island economic paradise, so after seeking new assistance from Congress last year, Puerto Rico is now adding itself to the list of those expecting others to suffer the hangover after they they enjoy the bender; think Greece, Argentina, Wall Street.  Where does this end?”

Ryffel says the long-held assumption that governments could repay their debt has eroded, and that’s changed the playing field for lenders.

“Not that long ago, the municipal bond market used two standards when considering whether to open the lending tap to borrowers — one’s ability to pay and one’s willingness to pay,” Ryffel said. “The first threshold was fairly easy to assess. The second was always more difficult to gauge — being more qualitative in nature — but it was assumed that governments would only borrow what was needed to provide essential public services and would take all necessary means to repay its obligations. Default, let alone bankruptcy, was a remote thought.

“Now, however, we see with growing and concerning frequency borrowers treating repayment as optional, as the redemption provision in their bonds themselves. The problem is that the markets depend on this second lending standard and as it erodes, the availability of municipal credit will both shrink and become more expensive for all market participants.”

The Puerto Rico bankruptcy dwarves that of Detroit, which was previously the U.S.’s largest municipal bankruptcy. The city filed for Chapter 9 protection in 2013, with $18 billion in debt. While studies are underway to assess the impact of Detroit’s financial woes, Ryffel says the Puerto Rico situation could send even more shockwaves, not just because of the amount owed, but also for the way it could change laws allowing massive debt forgiveness.

“Puerto Rico may have even larger impacts on the market because they have not only moved to the Doomsday scenario, they successfully had law changed to allow them to do so,” Ryffel said. “In essence, they not only started the markets down the slippery slope, they had a slippery slope built for them.

“To be fair, Puerto Rico is only doing what they need to do to protect their citizens, and they have used every tool available to them. One can’t blame their leadership for that.  While there may not be enough money to go around, there is plenty of blame to go around.  Healthy portions of it go to prior administrations which borrowed without a plan to repay and which borrowed to pay operating expenses rather than invest in the future. Still too, blame must also go to the municipal bond markets, which for years knew of Puerto Rico’s increasing lack of ability to pay, yet still lent it money.”

Guest blogger: Erika Ebsworth-Goold, WashU’s The Source

CATEGORY: News



The Olin Veterans Association (OVA) hosted their 4th Annual Dining Out Ceremony at the prestigious St. Louis Racquet Club. The crowd included thirty current MBA Veterans from all five branches of service, representation from thirty-six St. Louis companies including sixty prominent executives. The guests of honor were Jack Senneff, the President of the Mess, an Army Ranger Regiment Officer and current Managing Director at Thompson Street Capital Partners; the Keynote Speaker Jason Frei, a Marine Officer and current Director at Boeing Defense; and Mark Taylor, Dean of Olin Business School.

The Olin Veterans Association Military Dining Out Ceremony is an annual event to celebrate the partnership between the OVA and St. Louis business leaders who support Veterans with their time, expertise, and mentorship. Danny Henry, the OVA President and McKinsey Consultant, along with Joe Piganelli, the incoming OVA president, spent countless hours leading student and faculty teams to orchestrate the event and successfully doubled the headcount from the 2016 event.

Dean Mark Taylor was impressed with his first dining out experience, “I was deeply honored to host this event with the Olin Veterans Association…this momentous occasion celebrated the service of our military veterans and the tremendous support of our business community.”

The evening incorporated time honored military traditions such as Washington University’s ROTC Color Guard posting the American flag, a Washington University a capella group singing the National Anthem, and attendees raising their water glasses for a silent toast to remember our fallen comrades.

A crowd-favorite tradition was chastising guests who violated the Rules of the Mess. For example, one rule states, “Thou shalt not murder the Queen’s English.” If found guilty of murdering the Queen’s English, a penalty could include a monetary fine that supported Veteran scholarships and a trip to the “Grog Bowl”. The grog bowl was a combination of symbolic liquids and solids mixed together to represent the sacrifices of the Veterans both in combat and the MBA program. The crowd enjoyed the good-natured revelry as guests cited each other for violations.

Several current student OVA members to were able to enjoy the evening with their employers. Joe Rieser dined with his future supervisor Chip Hiemenz, the Director of Business Development at Hunter Engineering, and Dan Vitale sat with his former boss Rob Godlewski, Vice President of Commercial and Residential Solutions at Emerson. Dan enjoyed connecting with Rob again, “From the first day Rob ensured me that Emerson and the St. Louis Business community were committed to helping Olin Veteran Association members transition.”

The highlight of the night, was the guest speaker, Jason Frei. Jason, Director of Ethics and Business Conduct at Boeing Defense, a Purple Heart recipient, and an Eisenhower Fellow, centered his speech around his tenure as a Marine Artillery Officer. Jason was a natural born leader and the Marine Corps discipline and desire to bring the fight to the enemy was one of the main reasons he joined the Corps. He emphasized that his success was a result of his desire to lead Marines and he took every measure possible to keep them alive.

Unfortunately, Jason’s convoy was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), an event that physically and mentally changed his life and altered his career. After losing part of his arm, he decided to leave the Marine Corps and find a different path to lead and make an impact. He immediately enrolled in the MBA program at Notre Dame to launch him on his new career. Jason may have stopped serving in the Marine Corps however he took the lessons and leadership and brought them to Boeing Defense.

The OVA would like to thank the many guests that attended and to express our appreciation of the ongoing support of our faculty, staff, alumni, and honored guests. We look forward to the continued impact our veteran students make to our program and our community. Thank you to all our active duty service men and women for their continued sacrifice. We are grateful for those veterans who have served, many who are no longer with us today, and honor them with this event.

Guest Blogger: James Jacobs
VP of Communications, Olin Veteran’s Association
MBA ’17

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life



WashU’s The Source profiles a few of the entrepreneurs and innovators who also happen to be graduating this month and three Olin students are among those featured. All of these students have launched businesses and developed innovative technologies that are improving human health, addressing global issues and helping investors achieve their goals.

We’ve been following these students since they arrived at Olin and chronicling their success here on the blog and in Olin Business Magazine. We can’t wait to see what they do next! Congratulations to all!!

Mary-Brent Brown

Mary Brent Brown (second from left), cuts the candy ribbon at the Bear-y Sweet Shoppe opening with co-founders: Jessica Landzberg, Kaiyley Dreyfus, and Shea Gouldd.

B.S. Healthcare management, Olin Business School

Co-founder, Bear-y Sweet Shoppe and Kids Wanna Help

Responding to pent-up student demand for gummy worms, Brown co-founded the South 40 candy store  Bear-y Sweet Shoppe with fellow Olin seniors Jessica Landzberg and Shea Gouldd, and Kailey Dreyfus, who graduated in 2016. Brown also is still active in Kids Wanna Help, the nonprofit she started at age 12 to promote fundraising among young people.

Markey Culver

Markey Culver teaches intro to baking bread class in Rwanda.

MBA, Olin Business School

Founder: The Women’s Bakery

Through her social enterprise, The Women’s Bakery, Culver has created economic opportunities for women in Rwanda and Tanzania by training them to build, operate, manage and sustain their own bakeries. Related blog post.

 

Andrew Glantz

Jacob Mohrman , BSBA’16, (left), and Andrew Glantz of GIftAMeal app were featured in Olin Business Magazine 2016.

B.A., Leadership and Strategic Management, Olin Business School

Founder & CEO: GiftAMeal

Glantz founded mobile app GiftAMeal in 2014 as a way to fight hunger and promote St. Louis restaurants. GiftAMeal has since expanded to Chicago and Detroit and has provided 50,000 meals to those in need. Users simply snap and post of photo of their meal, and GiftAMeal funds a meal through a partner food bank.

Read more Class Acts of 2017 here.

Guest Blogger: Diane Toroian Keaggy, WashU’s The Source

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life