Author: Kiva Runnels


About Kiva Runnels

Kiva is a WashU student studying comparative literature and French. She has worked as a production intern with the School of Arts & Sciences' podcast Hold That Thought and is a member of various media clubs on campus, including Storyscope, KWUR and WUTV. Kiva loves telling meaningful stories through writing, visual media and podcasts. Outside of school and work, you can find her on long walks in the neighborhood with her friends, listening to music, or re-watching her favorite TV shows.

Dr. Patrick Aguilar, EMBA

The QuikTrip Corporation, a convenience store company with more than 50 locations in the St. Louis area and 850 stores in 11 states, has begun to expand into the healthcare market with the help of Dr. Patrick Aguilar, EMBA’20.

Aguilar is spearheading a new class of customer service-minded urgent care clinics as the chief medical officer for MedWise Urgent Care, the burgeoning healthcare company launched in September by QuikTrip.

Dr. Aguilar has been a celebrated member of the Washington University community for years; he was formerly an assistant professor of medicine and the director of medical critical care at the Washington University School of Medicine and worked to develop an MD-MBA program there. Aguilar, a pulmonologist and medical intensivist, has also held positions at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Aguilar’s addition to the MedWise team is driven by his interest in the application of organizational psychology principles to the world of healthcare, as well as his experience in medical education and organizational leadership. In his position as chief medical officer at MedWise clinics, Dr. Aguilar will be managing clinical strategy, supporting a team of medical professionals to provide a top-notch customer experience.

MedWise’s first urgent care clinic opened in September in Oklahoma, and the company plans to open 15 additional locations in the Tulsa area during the next two years. The goal of these clinics is to apply the same principles used in successful convenience stores—quality service, cleanliness, and friendliness—to the world of healthcare.

“We think healthcare needs to re-conceptualize the experience from the eyes of the patient,” Aguilar said in a story by KMOX radio in St. Louis. “Our goal is to take the retail principles that made QuikTrip a success in the convenience store market and apply those to healthcare.”

MedWise hopes that these tenets will set their clinics apart from the often-frustrating experience of going to urgent care. Along with general physical exams, treatments of illnesses and injuries, and vaccinations, the clinics will offer COVID-19 testing, a service that becomes increasingly important as the global pandemic rages on.

MedWise will certainly shake up the healthcare market, and perhaps the Washington University community will be seeing their clinics crop up here in St. Louis in the coming months.

Jordan Finkelstein, BSBA

Students in Steve Malter’s Business of Presidential Elections course were given an exciting window into the real-life application of class material on November 16. They took part in a discussion with Olin alum Jordan Finkelstein, part of the team for one of the most-watched political campaigns of the century.

Students heard Finkelstein, BSBA ’16, discuss his time as the chief of staff on the paid media team on Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and were able to ask him questions about subjects ranging from the logic behind the advertising team’s creative decisions, to how Finkelstein’s time at Olin prepared him to work in a creative business environment.

After a brief introduction and recap of his experiences following election night, Finkelstein kicked off his presentation with a bit of encouragement for business students interested in politics. Political campaigns, Finkelstein says, aren’t just interesting to political science majors; they can also be described as “the fastest growing startups in America.”

He compared the fundraising speed of the Biden campaign to various popular startups, such as Squarespace and Twitter. Finkelstein explained how the campaign raised and spent a billion dollars in seven months, whereas conventional startups take at least a year just to raise the money.

Biden’s digital strategy team definitely wasn’t driven by political knowledge alone, says Finkelstein; in fact, it required a business mindset to create and run an $875 million TV, digital, and radio program, a feat accomplished mostly in-house and largely without the help of an advertising agency.

Raising and spending money—fast

The speed with which political campaigns must raise money, create useable concepts, and spend money is shocking, and lead Finkelstein’s team to produce over 800 advertisements for TV alone over the course of the campaign, just 300 of which were actually aired.

A sizeable portion of these advertising programs, Finkelstein explained, were directed toward voter mobilization and education, including an entire ad campaign centered on teaching voters how to return mail-in ballots in their respective states. These efforts contributed to a voter turnout that is higher than the country has seen in over a century.

After describing how the Biden campaign’s digital strategy team worked, as well as their general advertising strategy, Finkelstein opened the floor to questions from students.

Valuing Olin’s marketing preparation

Students grilled Finkelstein about subjects from the genesis of the campaign’s flyswatter merch following the infamous vice presidential debate to his opinions on the Trump campaign’s marketing strategy, but toward the end of the discussion, the class asked how Finkelstein’s time with Olin prepared him to work in a creative business environment.

He mostly credited his practical education to learning he pursued outside the classroom. Dedicating yourself to working with peers in on-campus programs, Finkelstein says, prepares you for working with other young people on a campaign.

Finkelstein swears by his notes from a market research class he took while at Olin, saying he still looks back at them to this day.

Finkelstein’s experience can be used as a model for any Olin student interested in politics, and is an exciting example of how an Olin education can be leveraged in any field.

Pictured at top: Jordan Finkelstein, BSBA ’16, speaking to students in Steve Malter’s Business of Presidential Elections course in November 2020.

Olin’s Weston Career Center has begun an initiative to identify international job opportunities for Chinese students in its programs—as well as any other students seeking employment in Asia—by expanding the school’s network of communication among Olin alums abroad. The initiative recently garnered accolades from a consortium of universities.

Last month, Olin’s Weston Career Center hosted a virtual event based in China called the Specialized Master’s Program Summit as one of the first steps in this exciting initiative. The summit was the first event of its kind for the Olin community, connecting students and alumni around the world virtually and featuring panels, speakers and direct meetings between students and companies across various industries.

Di Lu, the corporate manager for the Weston Career Center out of Asia, has accepted three American Universities’ China Association (AUCA) awards on behalf of Olin Business School this year, and is a crucial part of Olin’s drive to increase engagement in China.

She was excited about the outcome of Olin’s first virtual SMP Summit and believes that its newly virtual format “helped make [the event] happen,” because it allowed facilitators to connect “more people across more locations.” Thanks to the unifying force of the internet, the SMP Summit featured almost 20 alums located in cities across Asia who were involved in one-on-one networking sessions with students, as well as multiple guest speakers from high-profile companies.

The WCC’s interest in connecting students with alumni in China comes from a pre-existing, strong network across the United States that continues to provide resources for students to build a career domestically. However, according to Lu, many students’ career interests are starting to shift to companies and firms in Asia.

According to Lu, this initiative is a prime example of how the WCC and Olin are “a student-centered school and career center” that are willing to make big commitments in order to serve students’ needs. She also sees it as evidence that Olin is an increasingly “globally minded” school that seeks to provide students with opportunities around the world, while also keeping them connected to resources and opportunities here in St. Louis.

The WCC is also expanding its initiative to provide student resources and alumni networks across China with various programs and events outside of the recent SMP Summit. Lu explained that the center is promoting a joint alumni engagement and corporate partner program to develop relationships between hiring partners, alumni, and current Olin juniors and seniors in cities across China.

The center is putting on four virtual career fairs, more than 20 company information sessions, and a series of industry panels throughout the school year in collaboration with the AUCA.

Lu hopes that this WCC initiative will “help maintain a strong connection between the Olin community and students/alums even after they leave the US.” She believes that events linking Olin’s current students with alums and community members based in Asia will “cultivate the culture of Olin people helping each other,” a culture that is so important to every member of the Washington University community.

For students and alums interested in connecting with industry and community members across China, visit the WCC to take advantage of these exciting new programs.

Pictured above: Di Lu accepts AUCA awards on behalf of WashU Olin.