Career

Filling up warehouse-size buildings with trampolines and charging customers to jump and fly through the air may have sounded like a crazy idea 10 years ago, but it's turned out to be a game changer in the fitness and entertainment industry. Jeff Platt, BSBA'06 shares his startup story.
CATEGORY: Career, News


Before the food truck phenomenon, there were food carts. You can still see them on many corners in New York City. Now, try to imagine Dean Mark Taylor, as a teenager, outside a stadium in England hawking hot dogs to hungry football fans. We realize it may not be the most glamorous first job (few are), but Dean Taylor tells Poets & Quants that the experience probably inspired his career in business and finance. Here’s the dean’s description of his first foray into commerce:

Mark P. Taylor, Dean of Olin Business School.
James Byard / WUSTL Photos

“During my teenage years in England, I used to sell hot dogs on the weekend from a street cart outside pubs and outside the local stadium during soccer matches. I worked on a commission of twenty percent of the gross takings, but I figured out that the overall margin was probably two or three times that. I was always among the top sellers, so I tried to negotiate a pay raise with my employer but they did not want to pay me more because they would have had to pay all of the other hot dog sellers more. Quite rightly, they pointed out that while I was selling more on average, I was getting twenty percent of that extra amount, so I was already being rewarded for exceptional performance.

“Nevertheless, perhaps a little arrogantly, I accepted a job with higher commission at a new, rival company. However, the new market entrant did not have the top locations for their carts and overall sales were lower, leading to a lower sales commission. I was forced to go back to my original employer and ask for my old job back. However, when I did, I suggested that I could train some of the other sales people and help with accounting, to save the owner time at the end of a shift. My business takeaways from this experience were numerous; in fact, it probably pushed me into a career in business and finance.”

Link to P&Q’s article on Deans’ First Jobs here.

Photo: Sculpture by Seward Johnson, “Relish, too?” Celebrating the Familiar series

CATEGORY: Career, News



In its inaugural year, The George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center has hosted a number of events in which accomplished leaders have shared their wisdom and experience with our students, faculty, and alumni. One example is our Defining Moments signature course that features exemplary leaders from a range of industries sharing their defining leadership experiences. A common theme was the importance of personal values and ethics in a career and in the success of a company. We are documenting these stories in video vignettes that can be used to inspire students, researchers, and the business community.

The Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School develops values-based leaders—leaders who measure their success both by the results they achieve and the values they demonstrate.

We have spent much of this first year reaching out to different people to understand how we can work together with like-minded others to advance our mission. For example, we developed a proposal for a “community of practice” that brings together faculty and administrators engaged in leadership development across the Washington University campus. We are learning best practices from one another and discovering the potential for collaboration on common goals.

SAVE THE DATE: September 20, 2017
“The Value of Values for Founders and Entrepreneurs”
The Bauer Leadership Center is partnering with the Entrepreneurship Organization (EO) and the Executive MBA program to kick off the Values and Leadership forum series.

In the fall, we will unveil an exciting and unique program called “Bauer Fellows” in partnership with Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. Students leading consulting teams across the globe will be working on their leadership capabilities at the same time they are delivering value to clients. We are currently exploring other ways to build values-centered leadership into Olin courses and programs.

Finally, none of this would be possible without the generous support of George and Carol Bauer. Their vision, example, and energy for our mission have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration. We offer our sincere thanks to the many people and organizations that are working with us—together we can change the way we teach and practice leadership!

For more information or to join our mailing list, contact Marcianne Gagliardi at mgagliardi@wustl.edu or 314-935-2943  Link to website.

 




Jerry Kent is a recognized entrepreneur and trailblazer in the telecommunications and technology industries with an outstanding track record for customer service and delivering superior returns for investors. Prior to assuming the role of TierPoint’s CEO, he served as its chairman. He also serves as CEO of Cequel III, which he co-founded in January 2002.

Cequel III is a technology management company. Previously, the Cequel III team built AAT Communications into the largest privately owned cell tower company in the United States before selling that enterprise in 2006. Cequel III and Jerry also managed Suddenlink Communications, building it into the seventh largest U.S. cable company with operating results among the best in its industry before it was sold to Altice Group in 2015 for an enterprise value of $9.1 billion.

Jerry began his career as a CPA with Arthur Andersen in 1979, and in 1983 left to head up acquisitions and finance for an upstart cable company, Cencom Cable Associates, Inc. He later became CFO of Cencom, which grew by acquisition and eventually served 550,000 customers in the U.S. before it was sold in 1991.

Jerry and Judy Kent sponsor the Kent Scholarship Fund which currently provides partial-to-full tuition scholarships for 18 BSBA students.
©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

After serving a year with Cencom’s acquirer, Jerry left and co-founded Charter Communications, Inc., in January 1993. He led Charter to become one of the 10 largest cable operators in the U.S., serving 1.3 million customers. In 1998, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen acquired Charter, providing substantial rewards for Charter’s private investors. Jerry continued as President and CEO, growing Charter to serve more than 7 million customers and making it the nation’s fourth largest cable company at the time. The company went public in November 1999, in what was then the third-largest IPO in U.S. history. Charter consistently led the industry in superior operating results and from the IPO date until September 2001, the month Jerry left, Charter’s was the best performing public cable stock.

A native of the St. Louis metropolitan area, Jerry is very active in the community, serving on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee for his alma mater, Washington University, and on the Olin National Council from which he earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA. He is Vice Chairman of The Magic House/St. Louis Children’s Museum Board. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Zoo and Chairman of the St. Louis Zoological Park Subdistrict Commission.

Source: Cequel III




“When I found out that our offices were literally across the street from each other,” Amanda Signorelli, BSBA’13, said, “we had to meet.” The newly named CEO of Chicago-based TechWeek, a conference and media company focused on building startup communities, couldn’t wait to meet Rick Weisberg, BSBA’81. After all, he had made it possible for her to graduate from Washington University.

Signorelli had just been named one of the Top 20 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2017 by CIO.com and was preparing to share her success story at the Scholars in Business dinner last fall. Meeting Weisberg would provide an important piece of the story from her undergrad days.

During her sophomore year, Signorelli learned that her family was in financial straits and could not afford to pay for college; she would have to drop out of WashU. “It was terrifying,” Signorelli recalls. The prospect of leaving the school she had worked so hard to attend, and where she was happily pursuing interests in languages and entrepreneurship, was devastating.

Signorelli was unaware of the Scholars in Business Program and the generations of students, like her, that it has helped since 1979. She was overwhelmed when she learned that she qualified for a scholarship and would be able to stay in college and earn her degree at WashU. “It was amazing to see how connected the Olin network was, to sense I needed help, and they were there,” she said.

Signorelli was a recipient of the Lawrence Krulik Memorial Scholarship created in 1991 by Rick and Sheryl (BA’81) Weisberg in honor of her father. More than 25 students have benefited from the fund. Each year, the Weisbergs have received notes of appreciation and thanks from grateful Olin students, but until this past year, the Weisbergs had never actually met one of their scholarship students in person.

At their first meeting in a Chicago coffee shop, Signorelli told Rick Weisberg, “I don’t think you have a sense of just how important this scholarship was for me.” Amanda remembers the meeting as, “Very surreal. It was a really special moment for me.”

Amanda Signorelli and Rick Weisberg chat during video shoot for Scholars in Business Dinner.

The feeling was mutual for Weisberg. “Frankly it really hit me in a very, very positive way. I was very touched that she reached out to me. I never really fully understood the impact that the scholarship had made on her and others who received it because I never saw the outcome.”

Weisberg is quick to add that he takes no credit for Amanda’s success. “If I helped her on her path that’s one thing, but you know it’s up to the individual to find their path and be successful at it.” Weisberg found his path and passion in finance while at Olin. He says he will never forget the support and encouragement he received from Dean Bob Virgil when applying to graduate school at New York University. “Dean Virgil set up an interview for me with the dean of NYU’s business school. Thanks to that conversation, I was accepted into the MBA program right out of WashU and it changed my life.”

On Giving

“I’ve been involved in a lot of organizations, whether it’s been in in the theater, religious, or otherwise, but I have not found a better organization than Washington University both in terms of the purpose of donations and in terms of the operational side of the equation. The attention to detail in terms of the care that you feel from the university prior to the contribution, during the contribution, and after, it seems seamless and effortless and actually makes it a very pleasurable experience, and it’s just a great place to be a part of.”   – Rick Weisberg

After 26 successful years with Goldman Sachs, Weisberg continues to work as a private investor. He has remained connected to WashU through the Eliot Society and the regional cabinet in Chicago where the Weisbergs have lived since 1988. Meeting Amanda, Weisberg admits was a learning experience. “It has re-motivated me in a very positive way to re-think my philanthropic process. When you give to a large organization you know you’re doing something good, but you never directly see the outcome. In the case of the scholarship program, you know there is a proportionate and direct impact from what you provide.”

Amanda Signorelli will never forget the impact that the Weisberg’s generous gift had on her life. And now that she has connected with the fellow alumnus and donor who made it possible, she realizes she is a part of the Olin network that will be there to support the next generation of students with time, money, mentoring, and friendship.

Link to Entrepreneur’s Business Rockstars video with Amanda Signorelli.

Link to 2016 Scholars in Business Dinner video featuring Bob Virgil and Amanda Signorelli.

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life