Author: Jennifer Krupp


About Jennifer Krupp

I joined Olin Business School as a Corporate Relations Coordinator in December, 2014. It has been a pleasure to meet students, faculty and corporate partners of amazingly high caliber and integrity.

A mosaic of the 20 career coaches from Weston Career Center.

All of Weston Career Center’s 20 coaches embarked on a rigorous 30-hour training program this summer designed to empower our students and alums to reach their highest career potential.

“The accredited coaching training provided our team with the toolkit needed to partner with students and alums at any point in their career journey,” said Jen Whitten, the WCC’s associate dean and director. “All of our coaches have rich backgrounds and experiences, plus knowledge in core coaching strategies.”

Every coach earned the designation of Certified MBA Career Coach/Certified University Career Coach. The WCC is now one of fewer than 10 programs globally to provide its entire team with this level of training.

The team embarked on training led by The Academies, where coaches had an opportunity to practice new skills through the online coaching sessions and, between training sessions, to pair up to practice on a biweekly basis.

Each coach committed to a demanding five-month training program that included diving into professional coaching competencies founded in neuroscience research coupled with career management strategies. The team had weekly classes and daily homework while actively implementing these skills in their daily coaching appointments and reporting insights each week. Not only did they need to practice, but also each coach was required to reflect on their coaching while also receiving feedback from our instructors multiple times.

A focus on student empowerment

A job and internship search can be stressful, so it was important the team know how to best support our students and alumni. A crucial part of our learning was recognizing and helping the student who is in the red zone (emotionally “hot”) get to the blue zone (emotionally “available”), where they can think more clearly. Overall, the course helped coaches focus less on giving advice and more on student empowerment.

The coaches were trained to ask powerful, open, empowered-future questions (e.g., “What do you think would motivate someone to say yes to your request?”), helping students to be curious, to make connections on their own, and to own the idea they have come up with.

They learned to avoid closed questions, giving advice slipped into a question itself, and leading students to a particular answer.

“This training provided me with a coaching structure and strategy which has elevated my conversations with students in an incredibly meaningful way,” said Karissa Rusu, career coach for students in Olin’s specialized master’s programs. “I have noticed that students are walking away from an appointment with a specific action step and greater confidence in their own skills and abilities.”

Propelling forward the job search

Amy Johnson, a career coach for Olin’s BSBA students, noticed a renewed focus on the development of students’ career search skills throughout the self, story, strategy and journey model.

“The result is further student empowerment to propel their job search forward in the days and weeks that follow,” she said.

Susan Britton, founder and president of The Academies, said she was impressed with the group’s willingness to be vulnerable and with the solid questions they brought to each lesson about the process. She also remarked on their determination to participate, think strategically and remain highly engaged.

“The coaches were willing to take risks,” she said. “They recognized the change management taking place and still had an eye on the big picture.”

Eight core competencies

The International Coaching Federation has defined eight core competencies taught throughout the training:

  • Demonstrates ethical practice
  • Embodies a coaching mindset
  • Establishes and maintains agreements
  • Cultivates trust and safety
  • Maintains presence
  • Listens actively
  • Evokes awareness
  • Facilitates client growth

Pictured above, WCC career coaches from left to right, starting at the top row: Lenore Albee, Nan Barnes, Janelle Brooks, Taylor Burns, Chris Collier, Don Halpin, Mary Houlihan, Chesley Hundley, Meg Hunt, Amy Johnson, Christine Keller, Danny Kim, Jennifer Krupp, Anne Petersen, Sally Pinckard, Karissa Rusu, Mark Schlafly, Molly Sonderman, Molly Thompson and Jennifer Whitten.

One of the biggest challenges aspiring entrepreneurs face is how to build an effective team to advance an early stage venture idea. The lead entrepreneur is not only responsible for assembling a skilled team, but he or she must also strike a delicate balance as guardian of the original idea for the venture while encouraging team members to adopt a sense of ownership and commitment to the project.

Markus Baer and Andrew Knight

Markus Baer and Andrew Knight, associate professors of organizational behavior at Olin, found a unique way to observe the behavior of leaders in the crucial early stages of a venture that, in turn, predict success or failure for the startup. Using a multi method research approach, the professors observed teams participating in entrepreneurship competitions and teams participating in Washington University’s startup launch course, The Hatchery.

Baer and Knight identify three behaviors of successful lead entrepreneurs in the earliest stages of a venture.

  1. Psychological ownership. A lead entrepreneur must foster a shared sense of ownership among new team members, helping them develop the feeling that the venture idea is “ours.” In the absence of feelings of collective ownership, new team members are unlikely to invest significant time, effort, and energy in the venture—all of which a fledgling business needs to survive and grow.
  2. Idea marking refers to behaviors that communicate and signal to new team members those aspects of the venture idea that the entrepreneur holds dear and is unwilling to change.
  3. Help seeking refers to behaviors that encourage and invite new team members to suggest ways to change and improve the venture idea.

If effectively communicated by the lead entrepreneur, behaviors #2 and #3 will provide the clarity needed for team members to develop shared feelings of ownership over the venture idea. When an entrepreneur communicates which aspects of the venture idea are sacred and which are open to change, it creates an optimal environment for success.

The research finds that these behaviors are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it appears leaders must use both directive (idea marking) and participative (help seeking) leadership behaviors in tandem if they want to succeed. When a lead entrepreneur engages in both behaviors, an early stage venture team is likely to prosper, elicit favorable reactions from potential investors, and breed commitment to the future of the venture among new team members. Marking ideas and help seeking behaviors work in concert, with each behavior mitigating the weaknesses of the other; they are important ingredients for startup success.

KEY TAKEAWAYS for Managers

  • Lead entrepreneurs need to use both directive and participative leadership. Together, these two approaches provide the clarity needed for team members to develop shared feelings of ownership over the venture idea. When leading a fledging venture, an entrepreneur should communicate which aspects of the venture idea are sacred and also which are open to change.
  • When a lead entrepreneur takes a “hands off” approach, conflict erupts, the team performs especially poorly, and people quickly disengage from the venture. When putting together a fledgling venture team, an entrepreneur must take an active role in leading the team.
  • Entrepreneurship programs should teach aspiring entrepreneurs the benefits of using even a short process to resolve ambiguity about team members’ roles and the entrepreneur’s expectations.

This research was presented as part of the Olin Research that Impacts Business Series on June 26. The research paper, “Whose idea is it anyway? How lead entrepreneurs foster collective ownership in provisional founding teams,” is currently under review and is authored by Professors Baer and Knight and their former student Steven Gray, (Olin PhD graduate, May 2017), who is currently an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin.

Link to more research from Olin faculty.

Dean mark Taylor introduces Markus Baer and Andrew Knight at the recent Research Impacts Business presentation.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming research presentations:

September 12, 2017 – Doing Well by Making Well: The Impact of Corporate Wellness Programs on Employee Productivity
by Lamar Pierce, Associate Professor of Organization & Strategy

November 7, 2017 – Intermediary Asset Pricing: New Evidence from Many Asset Classes
by Asaf Manela, Associate Professor of Finance

January 11, 2018 – The Performance Effects of Organizational Architecture
Mahendra R. Gupta, Former Dean and Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of  Accounting and Management

All events will be held in Bauer Hall from 7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Complimentary breakfast included.


The Friends of Olin reception is one of the highlights of the year. It allows Olin to thank the many volunteers who help shape our students’ development. The event took place on May 12, a week before Commencement.

Dean Mark Taylor kicked off the event by thanking our guests for being judges, mentors, speakers, volunteers, advisory board members, and employers.

Over the course of the school year, nearly 2,000 individual volunteers provided insights and guidance to help students develop to their maximum potential.

More than 300 guest speakers shared their expertise in and out of the classroom, and over 125 companies networked with our students at our Meet the Firms events throughout the academic year.

Poets & Quants celebrated two of our BSBA students, Colton Calandrella and  Jessica Landzberg, and two of our MBA students, Markey Culver and Conn Davis, this year.

Todd Milbourn introduced our three featured speakers: Lillie Ross, BSBA’17, Professor Dan Elfenbein, and IBM’s Jerry Lis. Each speaker shared their perspective on the role and impact of Olin’s many friends.

Speakers: Dan Elfenbein and Lillie Ross.

Lillie spoke of mentorship and the meaningful relationship with a Friend of Olin that she developed her sophomore year and will last beyond her graduation.
Professor Elfenbein waxed poetic on the value of having classroom speakers who help illustrate the key learnings from his class.

Jerry Lis shares from the heart how IBM is a Friend of Olin.

Finally, Jerry Lis spoke of how important it has become for IBM to have a strong relationship with Olin and how both his company and the University have benefited from the partnership. It was a beautiful afternoon and a great way to celebrate our corporate partners and their help in creating the Olin experience.

Friends of Olin take home gift

Special thank you cookies for Friends of Olin.

©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

Students in EMBA Class 47 spent their Leadership Residency week in St. Louis meeting with top execs in different fields to discuss current business issues across a wide range of topics.  Human resources was the topic of a panel discussion that included guests from leading companies. Vikki Schiff, Vice President of Human Resources for Ball Aerospace & Technologies, Carra Simmons, Vice President of Learning and Development at State Farm, Ray Kleeman, Vice President of Human Resources at Monsanto, and Wendy Livingston, Vice President of Talent & Leadership at Boeing participated in the evening dialogue, sharing their extensive knowledge of HR with the EMBA 47 cohort.

Wendy Livingston answers a student question as part of the EMBA Leadership Development Panel.

Wendy Livingston answers a student question as part of the EMBA Leadership Development Panel.

The panel was convened to bring real world solutions into the academic setting, and the student questions reflected the students’ immediate learning. One student posed the question based on an earlier classroom discussion, “How do we acquire and keep talent when the talent pool is shrinking?”

Livingston answered, “Be O.K. with people leaving, but on good enough terms that they want to come back later.”

Students also wanted to know to what these executives attribute their personal growth.

Carra Simmons

Carra Simmons

Simmons said, “throw me in a snake pit!” She believes that learning how to problem-solve has made the most impact on her personal growth.

Ray Kleeman

Ray Kleeman

Kleeman replied, “take a risk and bet on yourself, have a good network, and know your worth on the market.”

Livingston’s comments included “never saying no to a job. This makes people you work with very grateful. Know your worth. Know the business.” Then she commented on when mentoring, male mentors will talk about business and female mentors will talk about being aggressive or pursuing dreams. “I can watch TED talks for that!”

Vikki Schiff

Vikki Schiff

Some companies are using data analytics to determine potential leaders internally. Others are utilizing new self and departmental evaluations. Once a potential leader is determined, each company has its own method for developing their leaders, and these methods are continually being updated and challenged as the workforce changes.

Olin is grateful for friends like these who are willing to share their time and expertise to further our mission to create knowledge, inspire individuals, and transform business.

Kathy Button Bell

Kathy Button Bell connected with Emerson in 1999 after being president of her own company, Button Brand Development, a marketing consulting firm. She was executive director of worldwide marketing communications for North Andover, MA-based Converse Inc. and director of advertising and public relations for Wilson Sporting Goods Co., in Chicago.

Among other things, Button Bell has been a wonderful contributor in the classroom, judged multiple times, and has been part of the success of Olin’s Women’s Leadership Forum. Through these efforts and more, she exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. Friends are those who are giving of their time, their knowledge, share their years of experience, and who open the doors of their companies to students and faculty to help Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for Friends of Olin:

What has been one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School? 

I have really enjoyed my experience with the Women’s Leadership Forum. Faculty members, such as Hillary Sale and Michelle Duguid, regularly share the latest and greatest on leadership research while the Forum provides opportunity for women to tap the great advice from our community’s business leaders. The access to and partnership with these female leaders has been outstanding.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has done for you?

David Farr, Emerson’s CEO, has always been an unflinching supporter of our most progressive marketing efforts. He has placed an enormous amount of trust in our marketing teams, offering all of us ‘creative runway’. His willingness to push marketing boundaries inspires us to constantly seek ways to make Emerson more unique and modern.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?

• Short-term focus of the market
• Global / political instability
• The modern work environment. In the last several years, workplace dynamics have changed dramatically. Companies are expected to develop meaningful relationships with their employees like never before. This pressures internal communication to be more transparent and in tune to employees’ needs.

What is the one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?

Personal insulation. The easiest way to fall behind is to get trapped in your own bubble.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career.

Joining Emerson. Coming from a consumer marketing background, the industrial world was an underdeveloped environment. It has been fun to introduce sound and color to a company in the BtoB space. Most gratifying of all is helping to accelerate change in an established, successful culture.

What are you grateful for today? Why?

A happy, healthy child (in college). Better than any other accomplishment, I’m grateful to have raised an independent young man.

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?

Keith Yamashita, the founder and chairman of SYPartners. He wrote the book on corporate anniversaries, and his ideas completely turned around my perspective on corporate milestones. He took the notion of a moment in time and turned it into a deep meaningful lesson on corporate ethos and growth.