Author: Olin in the Media

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About Olin in the Media

Posting the latest on Olin student, alumni, faculty, and staff stories from business and news outlets locally, nationally, and around the world.


Dean Mark Taylor addressing the Century Club on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Saying WashU Olin’s newly rebooted full-time MBA program offers “a larger menu of options and opportunities to students,” Poets & Quants has named the school first among its “top 10 business schools to watch” in 2019.

In a post released Sunday, the online magazine covering business education cited Olin’s plans to launch an around-the-world global immersion in the first six weeks of the next MBA class among the reasons its program is worth watching (see Olin Blog’s “Desk of the Dean” column about the MBA revamp).

As Poets & Quants reported:

Olin first-years are meeting up in St. Louis for orientation before heading to Washington DC, where they receive intensive training from the Brookings Institution, the most cited think tank in the areas of foreign policy and global economic development. From there, candidates spend the next month in Barcelona and Shanghai, taking classes, conducting research, and delivering projects on behalf of corporate partners.

“It will be more than academic tourism,” Dean Mark Taylor said in the Poets & Quants piece. “It will be a chance to begin to understand doing business in Europe and Asia.”

In the post, P&Q also cited the school’s plans for a more flexible program, offering an accelerated 14-month MBA, and its investment in a revamped Weston Career Center, with an expanded staff and industry representatives stationed on both coasts and the far east.

The publication listed Olin Business School first among its top 10 schools, which included Michigan’s Ross School of Business, USC’s Marshall, The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs, and the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.

Read more of the P&Q article citing Olin Business School as a top 10 to watch.

Pictured above: Dean Mark Taylor addressing the Century Club on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, where he elaborated on plans for the revamped full-time MBA program.




Jerry Steiner, EMBA

A St. Louis-based ag tech startup led by a WashU Olin alum has closed another round of financing as it moves toward the commercial launch of a new cash crop in 2021.

Jerry Steiner, EMBA ’92, is CEO of CoverCress, a post he’s held since January 2015, two years after the company was founded as Arvegenix. Steiner has 15 years’ experience previously with Monsanto.

CoverCress closed its latest $2 million round of funding November 14. Two prominent organizations co-led the funding round, Bayer Growth Ventures, the venture capital arm of Bayer and formerly Monsanto Growth Ventures; and BioGenerator, the investment arm of local nonprofit BioSTL. The round brings the company’s total funding to nearly $8 million, according to the St. Louis Business Journal (subscription required).

The company at the same time rebranded to CoverCress, reflecting its focus on developing a cash crop based on the native plant pennycress. According to the firm’s news release, “CoverCress is a new winter oilseed cash crop designed to provide winter and early spring soil cover between corn harvest and soybean planting, while producing an oilseed crop. CoverCress oil and protein meal are similar to that of canola.”

“Many farmers have told us that they want to do more to protect soil and water as well as find new sources of income from their land,” Steiner said in the release. “We are responding with CoverCress, a unique product to deliver both benefits to farmers.”




Arch Grant recipients Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15, Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.

Three startups spawned on the WashU campus joined the latest class of 20 companies to receive Arch Grants worth $50,000 each. All three companies were launched through Olin’s Hatchery course, one of the longest-running entrepreneurship courses in the United States.

The three Arch Grants recipients established at WashU are:

Balto, founded by Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15. The company markets software that uses artificial intelligence to improve the success rate of sales reps working in call centers.

CheckTheQ, founded by Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17. The company has created a monitoring system that delivers real-time information on wait times at airport security to airport operations.

GiftAMeal, founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The company markets a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo on its app at a partner restaurant.

“The entrepreneurial drive of these young alums, and the progress they are making with their companies is really remarkable,” said Cliff Holekamp, professor of practice in entrepreneurship, who teaches the Hatchery course. “It wasn’t that long ago that these students were sharing their new business ideas with me in my office, now to see them win Arch Grants is very exciting and a meaningful validation of the traction they are making with their companies.”

The three companies, along with 17 others, learned they’d each receive the $50,000 grant on November 16 at the Arch Grants gala, according to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Arch Grants organization does not take an ownership stake in the companies it supports, but does require them to operate for at least a year from St. Louis in order to qualify for the money.

The Olin Hatchery course involves student teams that work on a commercial or social venture idea proposed by a student or community entrepreneur. The students work to produce two presentations to a panel of judges and a complete business plan for the startup enterprise. The course is open to any WashU student who has taken the prerequisites.

Watch the Arch Grants video about all the 2018 grant recipients.

Pictured above: Arch Grant recipients Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15, Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.




April Powell

Going back to school mid-career to earn an executive MBA is a tremendous accomplishment. Then, there’s April Powell. The recently named general manager for Bon Appétit Management Company at Washington University did earn her EMBA in 2017.

But she also had her second daughter in the middle of the program. While parenting her eldest daughter, 3. And she’s just recently had a third.

All this during a meteoric rise with Bon Appétit, where she started five years ago. Three years ago, she was promoted to director of operations for the 13-café Danforth campus before her most recent promotion.

To top it off, she recruited her boss into the WashU Olin EMBA program.

“She has an incredible engine,” District Manager David Murphy told the Bon Appétit blog. She has “huge confidence, but she’s a deep thinker—she has an insatiable appetite for understanding why things fail. That’s what a leader wakes up every day and thinks about. She never assumes that ‘good’ is good enough.

Read more about April Powell in a profile on the Bon Appétit blog.




Poets & Quants has released its latest update highlighting members of the WashU Olin Business School—this time focusing on the MBA class of 2020. The online business education magazine provided in-depth profiles of 12 members of the class, including two US servicemen, a former consultant, and a banker.

“The quality that comes to mind in describing my MBA classmates is ‘eager,'” said Erik Andrew, a US Marine from St. Louis. “Everyone in the class embraces the community at Olin and is excited to begin the journey.”

The students were effusive in their support for Olin.

“I wanted to attend a top-quality program that would provide great career opportunities after graduation,” said Claudia Ortiz Albert, who came to WashU after working as a corporate and investment banking analyst for Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. “Olin also stood out to me because from the first interaction I had with the admissions team, they made me feel like I belonged here.”

Poets & Quants took note of several key metrics related to the class.

It includes 135 members, 10 less than the previous class. That may be a product of two factors. First, the school received 59 fewer applications. That said, the school accepted nearly 100 fewer applications, resulting in the acceptance rate falling seven points to 33 percent. In other words, it will likely be harder for applicants to get into Olin going forward…. Demographically, the growth of women (was) the biggest change. The 2020 Class broke the coveted 40 mark, with women comprising 42 percent of the class.

Read the full report on Poets & Quants or click on the names below to see their profile online.

Student Hometown Alma Mater Last Employer
Erik Andrew St. Louis, MO University of Missouri US Marine Corps
Kris Fenn Salt Lake City, UT Wesleyan College University of Utah (Eccles School of Business)
Brinda Gupta Naperville, IL Saint Louis University Washington University (Brown School)
Abraham Kola-Amodu Lagos, Nigeria Bowen University KPMG
Felicia Kola-Amodu Oyo, Nigeria Bowen University Enterprise Holdings
Lizaveta Miadzvedskaya Krichev, Belarus University of Texas-Dallas Baker Botts
Bruno Moreira Yamamura São Paulo, Brazil University of Campinas Ponta Iluminação
Richard Obiora Atlanta, GA Emory University Logicworks
Claudia Ortiz Albert Valencia, Spain Campbell University Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A.
Jessica Sanchez Chavez Havana, Cuba University of Havana Citibank
Justin Smith Granite City, IL Southern Illinois University United States Army
Shaun Brij Vaid St. Louis, MO George Washington University BJC Healthcare