Author: Heather Reinhardt


About Heather Reinhardt

Heather Reinhardt is a second-year full-time MBA student at Olin. Originally from the East Coast, Heather is excited to spread her wings west of the Mississippi as she embarks on her new journey here in St. Louis. Heather went to Georgetown University and majored in Marketing and International Business. Upon graduating in 2011, she worked for Lilly Pulitzer from 2007-2011 in various positions that included everything from store management to account management to operations and fulfillment. Heather is currently interested in Marketing and Consulting. She is one of her class Senators and is excited to get further involved with the school over the next two years.

I wasn’t sure it would be possible to spend time abroad. Exploring new international places was something I always enjoyed doing, but since I had graduated college, extensive travel was never a reality due to the nature of working full-time.

So when I started researching the Olin MBA, I was delighted to find that studying abroad was not only possible, but highly encouraged.

I write this blog post from an Amsterdam train bound for Germany. While in Germany, I will study at one of the premier institutions for Management studies called WHU. Not only will I be able to graduate from Olin on time, but I also will have exhausted all requirements prior to my last quarter of study, leaving me to enjoy my last two months in St. Louis before moving.

At Olin, you quickly realize you are the catalyst of your own fate. You can get involved in whatever way is best suited for your wants and needs. I knew I wanted to study abroad so the administration worked with me to make that a reality.

Because of the personalized experience Olin offers, I had resources at my disposal in every way. As in the real world, all you need to succeed is to have a support system—which is pretty easy when you know everyone and everyone knows you. From someone to help through the application and nomination process, to people helping set up my health insurance, I never felt like I was making a blind decision. I’m not sure this would have been as possible if it weren’t for Olin’s unique ability to make everyone feel like a name.

I’m excited for what I’ll learn during my time abroad—from cultural to classroom education. And I am eager to share these learnings with my classmates and the greater Olin community upon my return to St. Louis.

To say I was inspired by those around me at the Net Impact Conference would be an understatement. Graduate and undergraduate students from around the globe gathered to learn, network, and arm themselves with tools to strengthen and grow their Net Impact chapters.

“We should be inspired by people…who show that human beings can be kind, brave, generous, beautiful, strong- even in the most difficult circumstances.”

The Career Expo buzzed as students and employers met to discuss careers focused on impact work and companies who invested capital and energy into making an impact within their firms and their communities.

The Co-Founder of #BlackLivesMatter illustrated how the challenges we face cannot be solved alone. We need to engage one another. Senior leadership from major corporations like Toyota, Walmart, and Campbell’s explained their 10-year plans on a variety of challenges and then discussed how those goals would affect our world. To hear from the change-makers themselves is powerful enough to send chills down your spine.

etsy-quotesHowever, my most poignant realization at the conference came when I realized who surrounded me in the audience. In particular, those sitting within my row. Of course everyone at the Net Impact Conference had the passion, energy, and ability to make communities stronger and the world a better place. But some of the biggest heroes in my life are the ones that I see on the frontlines every day, working to continue shaping the Olin Business School, the Washington University community, and the city of St. Louis.

As I listened to some of the keynote speakers deliver their messages, I can assure you there is no denying they have a gift for communication. But I see that same gift in my fellow classmates who joined me for the Net Impact Conference. It was an honor to attend the NI Conference on behalf of Olin and WashU; but it was even more of an honor to sit with my fellow classmates, who I know are the change-makers in the ‘now’; not the “change-makers of tomorrow”—a moniker often given to millennials.

I submit that my classmates are making this community and world a better place. Maybe they do not have the megaphone to bring to light what they are doing. Or maybe they do not have the traction or manpower necessary to create a revolution. But I know they will prove me right as they continue on their missions.

Heather Reinhardt, MBA’17, is a former Walmart intern who introduced CEO Doug McMillon prior to his remarks at the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia. At the event, McMillon outlined a series of commitments that will benefit customers and communities – learn more about his speech here.

About Net Impact:

Net Impact is a global community of students and professionals who aspire to be effective drivers of social and environmental change. Visit

CEL group in Japan

Most of us have been on some sort of team throughout our lives. Whether it be sports-related or not, the sense of camaraderie associated with being on a team is an inexplicable feeling. For most, it’s a feeling that has positive emotions.

As I interviewed the GMS teams who traveled to Cuba, Colombia, and Japan over spring break, a common answer to the question “What will you remember 10 years from now as you look back on your GMS experience?” was “the people I traveled with.”

It’s an interesting thought. As people, we remember the way people make us feel. We remember stories, and often it is the feelings and emotions of engaging with people that are the most vivid.

In coming to Olin Business School, we once again are parts of teams. We learn in the classroom how to effectively communicate, negotiate, handle power and politics in the workplace, and lead teams. And, of course, these lessons will serve us well. But the GMS trip is simply a microcosm to the greater idea of what business school truly is—a time to engage with like-minded people and those drastically different from oneself. And while you may learn the hard management skills, at the end of the day you are connecting with people. Those relationships with classmates will be the most powerful memories for us students as we embark on careers after Olin.

The GMS trips traveled far across the world. But it’s particularly interesting to hear that it’s the fellow Olin students from St. Louis that we engage with each and every day that truly left the lasting impact on my classmates. They will always share this bond and connection. They will always be part of that GMS team.

Learn more about the Global Management Studies course.

Become a CEL partner.

Photos from the GMS trip to Cuba (click to enlarge):

Photos from the GMS trip to Japan (click to enlarge):

Photos from the GMS trip to Colombia (click to enlarge):

The three hour-long trek to the small rural town of Bushoga in Northern Rwanda took us away from modern civilization and toward a village populated with houses made of clay.

Bushoga1Without any electricity for simple cooking or air conditioning, or bathrooms, I witnessed the discomfort that our hosts must bear every day. For them, it is life; yet, I was inspired that our classmate Markey Culver spent over two years in such living conditions and was able to grow accustomed to their ways.

Despite the fact that our living conditions are so very different, my group and I quickly felt at home in Bushoga. The kind-hearted nature of Markey’s friends made it seem as if we had walked down the street to a neighbor’s house. Yes, the language barrier existed, but we laughed when they made jokes in English and they eagerly exchanged business ideas with us.

Bushoga3I quickly became aware of the universal power of sharing a meal, without borders or stereotypes. Markey’s friends created African dishes that would satisfy our appetites without leaving our stomachs uneasy (yes, it is easy for your stomach to feel upset!). The mashed plantains, frites, beans, eggplant, and maize satiated our cravings and gave us the energy to continue our adventure touring their village.

To enjoy a meal while eating on the cement floor of the small 250 square foot house surely was a contrast from what we are familiar with in America. This was their only living space  other than their two bedrooms, and only six of us could fit in the room at one time.

Our hosts prepared the meal in their backyard over a couple small pots above open fires. Nonetheless, our hosts were so gracious to welcome us and Markey reminded us that it was an honor for them to serve us a meal. Yes, on the surface life in this small rural town differs quite drastically from life in America. But it is quite simple to identify connections with their people and we were honored to have shared this day with them.

Bushoga2Heather traveled to Africa with the CEL Practicum team consulting with The Women’s Bakery. The team’s client is a fellow-MBA student, Markey Culver, a former Peace Corps volunteer who created a blended for-profit and non-profit business, The Women’s Bakery, to teach women in rural Rwanda how to bake and create a self-sustaining business model to improve nutrition and income for their families.

Here are some fantastic photos from our grand opening of The Women’s Bakery yesterday in Remera, Rwanda. 15 women graduated from the program and they are eager to start selling in the next few days.

Many of these women walk one hour each way just to get to work and most of them bring their children with them. Just a subtle reminder of how committed they are to earning some money.

Women's bakery with certificates

The Women’s Bakery is one of 14 CEL practicums this semester. With a team of four 1st year MBA students, we are helping our client and fellow-MBA student, Markey Culver, take her blended for-profit and non-profit business, The Women’s Bakery, to the next level in terms of growth. By meeting with her and her team in Rwanda, we will gain the insights that we need to help propel them forward. We will continue this practicum throughout the semester but we know this travel abroad will be invaluable for us!

Link to related blog post.Womens Bakerypassing out bread


Women's bakery with flour