Larry Thomas, BSBA'77, is celebrating 40 years with Edward Jones this year and shared some memories of his student days in honor of the school's Centennial. Have you shared a memory yet? #Olin100

Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, MBA 2002, Chief Business Officer and Co-founder, Shopclues, is featured as one of five “women-led startups smashing the glass ceiling in India,” in a column by Suparna Dutt D’Cunha, a contributor to Forbes.

“She’s the first Indian woman to break into the unicorn club. Valued at over $1 billion, Shopclues is one of India’s home-grown e-commerce stars. Started in 2011, along with Sanjay Sethi (CEO), ShopClues becomes the ninth startup to join India’s unicorn club by raising about $150 million from Singapore government’s GIC and its existing investors Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners last year. What started with a team of 10 is now a 1,000-strong organisation.

“Prior to starting Shopclues, Aggarwal, a management graduate from Washington University, worked for diverse sectors including retail, e-commerce, fashion and lifestyle with companies such as Nordstrom and Goldman Sachs in the U.S. She looks after branding, marketing, acquisitions, sales, hiring and product mix at ShopClues.

“There has never has been a better time than now to do any kind of business in India,” said Aggarwal. The e-tailer has about 350,000 small and medium sellers on the platform, and 14 million registered users.

“But, do people still stereotype the woman entrepreneur? ‘It’s not as much about stereotyping. The challenges are the same in entrepreneurship, man or woman. The only challenge is that because there are so few of us, people end up asking questions like, ‘How do you ensure work-life balance?’ You need a support system at home and work as your responsibilities grow.'”

Link to Forbes article.

CATEGORY: Career, Global

Recruiting events are usually large occasions and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at such an event, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few tips from the WCC about navigating recruitment events. (Be sure to check out Part I.)

Sometimes recruiters won’t accept paper résumés

This doesn’t mean they’re not interested in you; instead, they are adhering to compliance policies and online recruiting procedures. Ask for a business card, and follow up with recruiters after the fair to let them know that you have applied, or plan to apply, online.

First impressions are very important

At recruiting events, employers are not trying to figure out how to screen you in.

Recruiters are looking for things that will screen you out. Your energy level, handshake, dress, and résumé can make you a success or failure in seconds.

Think of talking to the recruiter as an audition

What can you say and do in the first minute of conversation that will make him or her want to grant you an interview? Make sure to smile, have a firm handshake, and look recruiters in the eye.

Keep your energy high, be assertive, and ask engaging questions—especially ones that demonstrate your knowledge of the company.

Ask questions that reflect your research

Do not ask what the company does, what kinds of jobs they have, or what they can do for you. The recruiter will expect you to have done your research and to know these basic facts.

Dress as if you were going to an interview

A common mistake at recruiting events is to dress too casually. Both men and women should wear suits. If you have questions about professional attire, speak with a career advisor.

And last but not least, don’t eat, chew gum, use heavy fragrance, or smoke during a recruiting event.

Collect business cards from recruiters

Also be sure to jot notes about them and the company on the back of the card. Use these cards to send personalized thank-you notes after the event.

Thank recruiters

Write a thank-you note to every recruiter you speak to at the event; save contact information for future networking opportunities and to develop a target list of employers.

If you’re not looking for full-time employment at the time of the event, let the recruiter know.

Recruiting events are valuable—even for students who are not pursuing full-time jobs or internships. They’re a good way to meet recruiters and make early networking contacts. The senior-year job search begins in your freshman year—students who start building networks and identifying potential employers early are the most successful at getting internships and job offers later.


The next Century Club event will be held in Emerson Auditorium, Knight Hall, March 22, starting at 7:30 a.m. with complimentary breakfast. Carl Casale (EMBA’92), CEO of CHS Inc. will be the speaker. Link to RSVP.

This article was originally published in Olin Business Magazine in 2013, written by David Sheets.

Carl Casale

Carl Casale (photo courtesy of CHS)

Carl Casale talked while driving to a meeting outside St. Paul, Minn. It was the only chance he had to sit still.

Life moves fast when you’re president and chief executive officer of CHS Inc., a multi-billion dollar Minnesota-based Fortune 100 cooperative with interests in food processing and wholesale, farm supply and financial services, among many others.

Besides that, Casale and his wife run a commercial blueberry farm in his home state of Oregon, and the busy season is just winding down. When he’s not in St. Paul, he trades his suit and tie for a pair of comfortable jeans and heads to the berry fields to get his hands dirty.

“I go out every two weeks when they’re harvesting,” he said by hands-free phone. “My wife’s there watching things, of course, but it’s my chance to get back out in the fields, because that’s my life’s work.”

Executive decision
Casale grew up on an Oregon vegetable farm, studied agricultural economics at Oregon State, then signed on with Monsanto in Washington state to sell herbicides. From there, he worked his way up to chief financial officer, though finance was not his chief interest or skill. Monsanto offered to help him out.

Through its Executive MBA program, “Olin had a partnership with Monsanto. The leadership at the time thought I should take advantage of that, and I jumped at the chance,” Casale said. “Whenever you have an opportunity to expand your skill base, what you probably don’t appreciate at the time is the ability to also expand your perspective.”

The Executive MBA commitment took up many of Casale’s Fridays and Saturdays, several hours of study-group work each week, plus two hours of book study a night, on top of long days at Monsanto. The program, which he finished in 1992, presented one of the biggest challenges he ever faced, he said.

Olin’s impact
Yet Casale gained more from his Olin studies than he expected.

“The knowledge I gained at Olin … not only allowed me to be an effective CFO, it gave me an appreciation and understanding of how to do it better,” Casale said.

That in turn boosted his management profile and made him the optimum choice to head CHS, known as Cenex Harvest States until changing its legal name in 2003.

“(Casale) has a really impressive and broad scope of business experience,” then-Chairman Michael Toelle told the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis upon Casale’s hiring in 2010. Plus, he has “rural values and a commitment to agriculture.”

But Casale credits Olin for making him a better manager.

“The broader growth through my study group was every bit as valuable to my degree as the hard skills I learned in the classroom, and probably had a greater influence on me over time,” said Casale, who has the distinction of being the first chief executive CHS hired from outside the cooperative.

“You know, you can learn skills by reading a book but you can’t gain perspective by doing that, right? You have to interact with others in order to gain that,” he continued. “In my view, what really differentiated Olin when I went through is that a bunch of members of my study group I still consider to be my best friends.”

CATEGORY: Career, News

When Richa Gangopadhyay walks across the stage to receive her Olin MBA diploma in May, the flashing cameras and applause probably won’t faze her. The former Bollywood A-list actress left a 5-year film career in India, millions of fans and paparazzi to return home to Michigan, finish college, and go to business school. Richa shares her exceptional journey from suburban Indo-American girl-to-actress-to-Olin, in a profile on the Poets and Quants website. Here are some excerpts:

Behind the glitz and glamour of Bollywood: hard work

“There’s a lot of glamour, glitz, and money (of course), but being an actress was very, very intense. There was a lot of hard work. You were “on,” quote-unquote, 24-7…I used to have 17-hour workdays. It was incredibly demanding. There were actually times when I would find myself shooting four films simultaneously and that was in addition to doing celebrity appearances, modeling for ramp shows, and traveling internationally for shoots. That was a whirlwind, in and of itself.”

Richa’s first movie called Leader (trailer above) was an international box-office hit. Leader. It was a political drama where she played the role of a news reporter who was also the love interest of the protagonist. It was released in 2010 and made her famous overnight in India.

Why Richa chose Olin:

Richa's first year MBA team at Olin.

Richa’s first year MBA team at Olin.

“I actually came to Olin to do my interview in person. That is what helped me narrow in only on Olin as my top choice. There is something to be said about the Olin community. It’s incredibly close-knit and there’s just this sense of camaraderie among the students and the faculty that really appealed to me. It has a real eclectic blend of students from different backgrounds. It wasn’t just different professional backgrounds, but different thought leaders as well. For me, an appeal was being able to share my unique experiences in a business realm as a film actress. I have a really divergent perspective to share through the practical learning opportunities that I had. I felt that Olin would really help me bring out my out-of-the-boxness (if that’s a word) and let me gain some critical business skills at the same time.”

On competition vs. collaboration:

JFW-Magazine-feature-pg1One thing that I’ve learned is that it is really important to encourage your peers instead of being in constant competition with them — and Olin has really provided that kind of environment. Everyone is incredibly collaborative and the networking here is just insane.


CATEGORY: Career, Global, Student Life