Author: Olin in the Media


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.

In a world of Skype meetings, virtual offices, and conversations over collaboration tools such as Slack, is it time to consider moving back to real-world brainstorming around a white board—with an in-house cartoonist to help?

That’s the philosophy of Filament, a downtown St. Louis collaboration space profile recently by HEC-TV, the independent educational channel, as part of its “Innovations” series. In a piece entitled “Meetings Go Back to the Future,” the network highlights the founder of Filament Matt Homann, whose business model is based on the philosophy that “corporate meetings suck.”

HEC interviewed Andrew Knight, associate professor of organizational behavior, for a researcher’s perspective on Filament, which “designs, hosts, and facilitates amazing meetings, conferences, retreats” for corporate clients—complete with plenty of board games on the shelves, Play-Doh on the tables, a giant white board, and a on-staff cartoonist to graphically represent ideas.

“This is an interesting cycle that we see in many businesses that today are actually moving back to bringing folks in house, drifting away from maybe an emphasis on virtual work,” Knight says in the video. “We’ve now had a period of time where maybe we can see some of the challenges that that’s brought.”

Watch more in the attached video.

Jared Ogden—Navy SEAL, veteran, private contractor to the military, and startup entrepreneur—is the brains behind a St. Louis-based firearms training program that’s seen 70 percent year-over-year revenue growth in its past fiscal quarter.

Ogden, EMBA ’18, is founder of Triumph Systems, which launched in 2015 to create a motorized, remote-controlled targeting system that provides dynamic training for law enforcement agencies around the country and the world. The system is more portable and more affordable (at $399) than other systems on the market, according to a Valentine’s Day feature on Ogden in the St. Louis Business Journal (subscription required).

“We can mitigate the accidents that happen in the field through better training that induces stress for officials,” Ogden told the Journal. “These training scenarios are vital to making our communities safer.”

Ogden, named a member of the Journal‘s “40 under 40” class of 2018, told the newspaper his company had booked $500,000 in revenue last year and 70 percent growth year-over-year in its fourth quarter.

Triumph employs four people and a college intern at its downtown St. Louis office. In a four-minute 2016 video posted by “Kevin theTacDaddy” on YouTube, Ogden demonstrated his product in a media demonstration.

Ogden is also founder and a member of the board of directors for Phoenix Patriot Foundation, dedicated “to creating opportunities for combat wounded veterans and assisting in their return to a life of service.”

According to his bio on the Phoenix website, Ogden was inspired by a teammate and friend who was severely injured in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device that resulted in the amputation of both of his friend’s legs.

That was during Ogden’s second deployment to Afghanistan. As a SEAL officer, he has served there and in the Arabian Gulf and has been awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for Valor while at SEAL Team ONE.

Andrew Glantz, GiftAMeal

Conceived on a lunch break, born in undergraduate school and funded before Andrew Glantz’s graduation, GiftAMeal has made headlines and garnered attention from the startup world before. Now, the company’s cofounder and CEO has been featured with a Q&A in the St. Louis Business Journal outlining how the idea came about and why it’s expanded into three cities since its 2015 launch.

In a Dec. 21 piece on the Journal’s website (subscription required for full article), Glantz, BSBA ’17, said the company was conceived as a way to help promote restaurants and contribute to a social good at the same time. “It’s a free way to give back to the community and be a part of the solution to the hunger problem,” Glantz told the Journal.

GiftAMeal operates a mobile app that makes it easy for diners to “turn a photo into food.” They can find restaurants they love and donate a meal to an area food pantry by simply posting a photo as they have their meal.

The Journal feature covers how the idea launched, its early efforts to get funding, the challenge of signing on its first restaurant partner and the biggest challenge it faces today: “Figuring out how to scale GiftAMeal from what we have, to being a nationwide company.”

The company now serves Operation Food Search in St. Louis (where it has 75 restaurant partners), Lakeview Pantry in Chicago (25), and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit (six). Glantz said the company is at a breakeven point—though he’s not yet taking a salary yet—with monthly revenue up 195 percent over last year.

Olin Professor Cliff Holekamp told the Journal the app’s values goes beyond what it provides to the pantries, but also to the participating restaurants.

“Not only does it position them as a socially conscious business,” said Holekamp, senior lecturer in entrepreneurship and academic director for entrepreneurship, “but it delivers them tangible marketing value in the process. It’s a win-win for both the restaurants and for the people who are being helped by the meals donated through the platform.”

The online business education magazine Poets & Quants highlighted members of Olin’s MBA Class of 2019 in an extended profile of the students and the program published on Saturday.

The piece quoted students such as Ashia Powers, who said her visit to campus during admitted students weekend really sold her on Olin’s program: “The community here is everything, and everyone takes pride in it. They made me feel special, important, and valued.”

The detailed article also took note of application and admission trends that resulted in a group of 2019 MBA prospects with strong academic credentials:

Like many American MBA programs, Olin’s 2016-2017 recruiting cycle could be boiled down to fewer applications but higher caliber students. This year, applications fell off from 1,579 to 1,174 – a near 26% drop. Despite this, the class is actually 17 students larger than its predecessor, with an acceptance rate that jumped 10 points to 40%. Still, the average GMAT score climbed seven points to 694 with the Class of 2019 – a score higher than those produced by new classes at small school gems like Notre Dame Mendoza, Vanderbilt Owen, and Emory Goizueta.

The article featured extended profiles of 14 students. “Everyone who comes to Olin has a name and a story,” Dean Mark Taylor said in the piece. “You are well known by the faculty and supported by an excellent staff.”

Read the full story at Poets & Quants.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership highlighted the Center for Experiential Learning’s community work in a recent feature on Olin’s Small Business Initiative.

The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the Regional Business Council have partnered with the CEL to identify small businesses in the recovery areas—also referred to as the Promise Zone—of Ferguson, Dellwood, and Jennings and assist with business development.

Olin’s Small Business Initiative connects WashU students to small business owners in the St. Louis community. Through a 12-week, team-based management consulting project, students provide actionable recommendations in areas including market research, branding, financial assessment, and operations. The projects help students build their consulting competencies and apply classroom learning to real-world issues facing small businesses.

“We have an immense resource in our students who have passion, raw intelligence, and incredibly quickly developing leadership skills, and the question was, ‘What are the best ways to leverage that for the greater good in the community?’” Program Director Daniel Bentle told the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “In the end, this initiative is simply focused on supporting our small business leaders in the local economy, which we have a responsibility to do.”

To date, more than 50 students and 13 small businesses have participated in the program.

Check out the full story on STLPartnership, and learn more about the Small Business Initiative on the CEL’s website.

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