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.

Performance-based pay plans for corporate executives are becoming more popular as stockholder activists and board members demand more accountability. Gopalan, tells Nicklaus,”that’s a big step forward from the days when insider-dominated boards often handed out discretionary bonuses based on little more than a desire to keep the big boss happy.” Gopalan also notes that the executive labor market has become more competitive.

Link to article: “It was a good year for St. Louis CEOs, but not for all of them”

In another column, Nicklaus predicts executive pay could become a hot political issue in 2018. A new rule under the Dodd-Frank Act goes into effect next year that requires “companies to compare their chief executive’s pay to that of an average worker.”

Professor Gopalan says the ratio doesn’t have much merit. “It will give political fodder to politicians who don’t like corporations, but I don’t think it’s an economically meaningful number to focus on,” he says.

Link to article: “Pay ratio will be hot political issue next year”

“Open. Passionate. Imaginative. Steadfast.” These are the adjectives that the website Poets & Quants uses to describe their 2017 list of Best & Brightest MBAs. And it should be no surprise that two Olin MBAs are on the list. Congratulations to Markey Culver and Conn Davis! We’ve cut and pasted some excerpts here. Click on their names to link to complete profile on Poets & Quants.

Markey Culver


What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? 

Competitive Industry Analysis with John Horn. I had two key takeaways: 1) the value in corporate strategy and strategic planning, and 2) competitive advantage can be not only formulaic (strategic and intentional), but differentiating. It was fascinating.

Why did you choose this business school?

I imagine I was a rather atypical applicant to Olin, coming from 3 years of living and working in East Africa and starting a social enterprise in Rwanda. My background was unconventional at best and while I had business experience, it was in my own business. Still, I chose to apply to Wash U because I seek to fuse the non-profit and for-profit sectors and Olin’s programs merit such fusion by embracing, incubating and launching entrepreneurs of all kinds. Olin’s robust entrepreneurship platform, too, is supported by a city (St. Louis) with an ever-growing, collaborative startup scene. Moreover, Olin puts emphasis on cultivating the business leader through holistic leadership training (i.e.: sharpening “soft” skills to enhance “hard” skills).

What did you enjoy most about business school in general?

My class – we have an incredible class.

Conn Davis


“I  knew I wanted to go to business school when…

I saw how much happier my wife, also a recovering lawyer, was at her new job after she finished her MBA. Her experience taught me that there were opportunities I did not know were available.”

Why did you choose this business school?

I chose Olin because its smaller class size gave me the opportunity to get to know everyone in the school. I have developed great relationships with my classmates and with the students in the class before and after me. I have also gotten to know and developed relationships beyond the classroom with many of my professors. The close-knit community at Olin is unique and very valuable.

What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?

My favorite MBA Course was the core Introduction to Management and Strategy taught by Prof. Dan Elfenbein. I learned two key things in this class – (1) that I truly enjoyed working through business issues and (2) that having the right answer to a business question is less important than understanding what the answer means for the business.

To compile the 2017 Best & Brightest MBAs, P&Q reached out to 63 full-time MBA programs, with only SDA Bocconi (due to a missed deadline) and Harvard Business School (citing what it believes is a conflict with internal awards) declining to participate. Schools were chosen based on their Poets&Quants’ ranking, with each program limited to four students for consideration.

CATEGORY: Career, News

The 2017 finalists for EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year awards for the Central Midwest include two Olin alumni: David Dresner, BSBA ’10, and Chuck Cohn, BSBA ’08. The annual awards program, now in its 31st year, recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Cohn was honored this month as an Emerging Leader at Olin. Link to related blog post.

This year, there are eight finalists from the St. Louis area, up from three in 2016:

  • Scott Scully of Abstrakt Marketing Group, a full-serve marketing company;
  • Allan Connolly of Aclara, which offers smart infrastructure solutions (SIS) to gas and electric utilities;
  • Dan Geraty of Clearent, a merchant services company;
  • David Dresner of Sleeve a Message, which produces custom coffee sleeves;
  • Adam Tilford and Jason Tilford of Tilford Restaurant Group, which runs Mission Taco Joint and other Mexican restaurants in the region;
  • Charles “Chuck” Cohn of Varsity Tutors, which offers one-on-one, personalized tutoring services;
  • Bruce Holland of Holland Construction Services, based in Swansea, Ill.
  • Donald Welge of Gilster-Mary Lee Corp. a private-label food manufacturer based in Chester, Ill.

David Lockton, chairman of the board of Creve Coeur-based Lockton Companies, will be recognized and presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. St. Louis area award winners will be announced at a reception on May 17.

Source: EY news release

CATEGORY: Career, News

Jackson Nickerson, Frahm Family Professor of Organization & Strategy, has developed a series of training seminars to help business school faculty develop leadership skills. Developed in conjunction with the AACSB International, Leading in the Academic Enterprise® (LAE) is providing training that many business school deans say is needed for faculty who are asked to take on leadership roles.

Jackson Nickerson

Nickerson who is also a Brookings Non-resident Senior Scholar in Government Studies and Associate Dean and Director of Brookings Executive Education, developed the training series after extensive interviews with business school deans and administrators, and a survey of more than 400 experienced and new deans.

In an article in the current issue of BizEd, Nickerson outlines the areas identified in the survey where faculty require training before taking on leadership roles:

  • ability to lead organizational change
  • ability to think strategically and solve problems creatively
  • ability to develop new leaders and communicate effectively

“These themes appeared whether their schools were public or private; large or small; in Europe, the U.S., or anywhere in the world,” according to Nickerson.

Too often faculty are thrown into the deep end of the pool and expected to swim or sink in the turbulent waters of leadership—an expensive way to develop new leaders. — Survey Response

Leading in the Academic Enterprise® (LAE), the three-part series developed by Nickerson and offered by AACSB International, was launched in the summer of 2014. Nickerson says the need for effective leaders within academia is crucial at this time and attainable.

“Perhaps the most important lesson we learned from our research is that while many academics do not have the skills to lead successfully in challenging environments, this does not mean they cannot develop them. Our interviewees agreed that schools that invest in training, mentoring, and development are likely to see great returns, both for their leaders and the larger academic enterprise.”

Link to article.

Alumni in the news

David A. Peacock, former President of Anheuser-Busch and active community leader, has been named President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Schnuck Markets, Inc., Schnucks Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck announced today [May 4, 2017].

“Dave’s entrepreneurial spirit, vision and drive, along with his extensive business background will help us set a strong course for the future,” Schnuck said. “His counsel and leadership on our company’s Advisory Board have been instrumental in positioning Schnucks for growth. Further, his commitment to St. Louis and the region is aligned with Schnucks’ commitment to superior customer experience and community support. Dave also has strong values and a leadership style that will fit well within the Schnucks’ culture.”

Schnucks benefits from a highly experienced management team with an exceptional track record of managing the business. Peacock joins a management team with an average industry experience of over 20 years and that is well respected in the industry.

Among his duties, Peacock will manage Procurement/Merchandising, Operations, Marketing/Communications and Supply Chain for a company whose 100 stores and 14,000 teammates span five states.

“This is a tremendous company and opportunity. Our teammates are focused on serving customers, delivering quality products and making Schnucks the best grocery shopping experience in the region,” Peacock said. “I am excited to work with Todd and his management team more directly on continuous improvement and innovation that will assure industry leadership, customer service and community support for the long term.”

Peacock managed U.S. operations for Anheuser-Busch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, from 2008 through early 2012, and was responsible for the commercial success of Anheuser-Busch during its integration with InBev in the United States. In 2008, Peacock led the negotiating team for Anheuser-Busch during the merger with InBev – the largest all-cash transaction in history at the time.

Peacock joined Anheuser-Busch in 1992 and served many roles in management, finance and marketing. At various times, he led the financial planning, mergers and acquisitions, information technology, procurement and route-to-market development as well as several groups within marketing. In 2007, he was named Vice President of Marketing for Anheuser-Busch and in that role led the revitalization of the company’s marketing approach.

Peacock is dedicated to the St. Louis community and region and he serves on the board of directors of several charitable and civic organizations. Peacock is chairman of the St. Louis Sports Commission and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. He is a member of St. Louis’ CityArchRiver Board where he co-chaired the initial campaign helping raise $180 million for the new Arch grounds revitalization. Peacock formerly served as chairman of the Beer Institute, the U.S. beer industry’s policy organization in Washington DC and was also previously chairman of the St. Louis chapter of the American Red Cross.

Peacock’s Vitaligent, LLC owns 78 Jamba Juice stores in Northern California and Missouri.  Vitaligent has reported $61 million in sales and is Jamba Juice’s largest franchisee. He is also an investor in Crushed Red, an elevated fast-casual restaurant with locations in St. Louis, Denver, Columbia and Kansas City. Peacock served as a member of Schnucks’ Advisory Board beginning in July 2013 and will give up that role in his new position. A native of St. Louis, Peacock holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, from which he received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and three children.

About Schnucks

Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned grocery/pharmacy retailer committed to nourishing people’s lives. The company takes pride in its community partnerships and gives more than $13 million annually in food to food pantries and more than $1.7 million to not-for-profit organizations through the company’s My Schnucks Card program. Schnucks currently operates 100 stores in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. Privately held, Schnucks employs 14,000 teammates and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Follow Schnucks on Facebook at

Source: Schnuck Markets, Inc. Press Release

CATEGORY: Career, News