"One of the most important lessons that I’ve gained so far from my time at HBM is that it is important to create relationships with people at the portfolio company for a project you’re assigned," says Dan Soucy, MBA'15, in this interview about his first year on the job.

At age 3, Shea Gouldd knew who Emeril Lagasse was. “When I was a toddler, I used to watch cooking shows instead of cartoons,” says the class of 2017 entrepreneurship major. By the time she was in seventh grade, Gouldd was an avid baker.

“Everyday, I would come home from school and I’d start baking,” she says. “I’d bring [what I had baked] to school and just give it away to everyone.” Soon her mother asked her to either stop baking or start making some money from it, so Gouldd could pay for ingredients. Gouldd sold a cheesecake to a family friend in October 2008. By that Thanksgiving, she had 30 orders. Gouldd realized she might have a business on her hands, so she incorporated as an LLC and applied for permits. At 14, she became the owner of Shea’s Bakery.

shea'sbakeryThe bakery would stand out on its own (Urbanspoon and The Knot both recommended it), but Gouldd’s youth also attracted attention.

She won the 2010 Young Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners, was named the 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Foundation for Independent Businesses, and was a national finalist in the Guardian Life Insurance Company Girls Going Places Scholarship Program.


Custom-made cookies from Shea’s Bakery made for an Olin event.

Gouldd took a step back from the bakery after high school to come to WashU, where she could learn to improve on her entrepreneurship skills in a supportive environment. A team runs Shea’s Bakery back in her native Florida, leaving Gouldd free to found an entrepreneurship club and, with the help of three other girls in the club, start a second business on campus, Bear-Y Sweet Shoppe.

Here she talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and lessons she’s learned along the way.

What advice do you give other young people who want to start a business?
I always think to myself, I’m not a crazy circumstance. The only thing that’s unique is that I just went for it. I think being a younger person is honestly the best time to try out a business because you don’t have to pay rent, you don’t have a mortgage, all that stuff. So there’s less to lose, and [I think] you’re more creative when you’re less inhibited. So just to go for it is the first step.

Bear-y Sweet Shoppe Opening

Bear-y Sweet Shoppe Opening. Instead of a ribbon-cutting, the owners cut a candy necklace.

How was it starting your candy store, Bear-Y Sweet Shoppe, on campus?
It was really tough. No food business has ever been started by students before. And at first, whenever we brought the idea up to advisers, they were like, “No, there’s no way. You’re not going to be able to pull that off.” And we were like, “Mm-hmm.” It pushed us harder and harder I think. And it was an adventure, and we definitely had to build a lot of groundwork that hadn’t been done before. But maybe the best part was that we really got to pave our own way, and now there are other businesses coming in, student run, that are going to be selling different food products. So it’s really awesome to have started that movement.

What impact has being an entrepreneur had on you?
I think being an entrepreneur has made me feel limitless in a way. I think that being able to create something from nothing has made me feel that if you really focus, you really put your head into it, you can pull it off. So I think I’ve had an amazing past. I’m very fortunate to have the experiences that I’ve had, and I think that that pushes me to think there are no boundaries in the way — and to go about life in that way where I think if I really want something, I will fight tooth and nail to accomplish it.

This post was originally published on the WashU Fuse site.

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life

LinkedIn is a window to potential employers, and it is often the first place recruiters will look when seeking talent. Making connections on LinkedIn is also a great way to build your professional network and form relationships with potential mentors. Career Consultant Anne Petersen provides these tips for making professional connections on LinkedIn:

1. Introduce yourself and draw a connection—or two

Point out what you have in common, such as an alma mater, extra-curriculars, or similar internship experiences.

If you are contacting an alumnus, start by saying “I see you earned your degree from Olin” or “I am a student at Olin Business School.” Then say “I came across your profile on the University Page. Like you, I am pursuing a career in  ___.” Close by saying “Let’s stay connected on LinkedIn.”

In your subsequent conversation, get to know your connection (and share your own background/ interests) so that you develop a professional and personal connection.

2. Seek counsel, not a job referral, when making connections on LinkedIn

It’s important to get advice on things like how they found their job, what’s their function/ industry really like, and how they describe their company’s culture.

Once your invitation to connect is accepted, you are a first-degree connection and can send a message. Start building a relationship by sending a message with these points:

Subject: Thanks for accepting my invitation to connect.

In the body of the message, write something like: “I see you currently work at ABC technology in ___. As I pursue a career in ____, I would like to learn more about your work and the company culture.” Or, alternatively, if you are working on a school project that is relevant to your new connection, say “I am working on a research project on ____ and would value your input.” Close by asking for a call or short meeting: “Do you have 15 minutes for a call next week? If so, any afternoon is good for me. Let me know when is best for you.”

Remember: LinkedIn is a community that is for building relationships. If you ask for a job, you will certainly turn off potentially valuable members of your network.

3. Keep your communication concise

Your contact probably gets hundreds of digital communications daily. Be sure to stay on point.

4. Write your introduction in a conversational way

It shouldn’t sound like a formal cover letter or a casual note to a friend. If in doubt, share with another student or advisor in advance, to make sure it sets the right tone.

5. Commit to taking no more than 15-20 minutes of their time

Acknowledge that they are busy and that you won’t take more than 15-20 minutes of their time. Let them know when you hit the 15 minute mark in your conversation, and they will typically offer to talk a bit longer.

6. Show courtesy

Send a thank you expressing gratitude for the time your contact invested in sharing their experiences and providing advice.

7. Continue to stay in contact after connecting on LinkedIn

Stay in contact with your new connection by sending pertinent articles, providing a progress update, or looping back regarding conversations with their networking leads.

Anne Petersen is a career consultant at the Weston Career Center, specializing in marketing, innovation, and leadership training and assessment. Anne has industry experience in consumer package goods and advertising.


There are many appealing aspects about the Olin experience: The world class faculty, small class size, supportive students, and intellectually stimulating curriculum. But one area where Olin truly excels is at its job placement rate, where 96% of its Full-Time MBA graduates receive job offers within 3 months after graduation with a median salary of $100,000. However, the caveat to this is that the onus is on the student to put himself or herself in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.

Personally, from outset of the fall semester, I was actively searching for internship opportunities.

I got my resume and LinkedIn profiles proofread from the WCC as soon as possible, and immediately was looking for opportunities on MBAFocus. I also reached out to those from whom I received business cards from at MBA networking events. These information sessions I scheduled were incredibly informative. In addition, I prepared well in advance for the MBA Veterans Career Conference in October in Chicago, which proved to be an embarrassment of riches as far as internship/job opportunities were concerned.

With regards to translating my military experience into my resume and interviews, there are some keys to remember. First, it is imperative to jettison military jargon and use civilian-speak when talking about your experiences. That will make the company you are targeting more keen on hiring you. Second, emphasize the leadership and managerial responsibilities you had while on active duty. This is what gives you a competitive advantage over many of your civilian peers. Finally, emphasize any awards and decorations you received, as employers want to know examples of when you stood out from your peers.

If I could do something differently, I would have started preparing for case interviews much sooner.

Regardless of the platform you may choose, many firms in all areas will have a case interview in addition to a behavioral interview. In both of these, you need to come across as polished and prepared if you expect to receive an offer.

The book “Case in Point” is a great way to prepare. Also, utilize your peer network and the great resources at the WCC, as they will be more than willing to put you in a position to succeed. Read up on your desired company’s history, its financial statements, and leadership changes, if any, at the company. This will be a great indication of how much you want to work at said company. But at the end of the day, BE YOURSELF. Companies are seeking corporate fit in addition to qualifications annotated on the resume, and if you’re not a fit for the company, it’s not going to be beneficial to either party for you to work there.

All of my preparation culminated in me receiving an Corporate Finance internship offer at Intel in Portland, Oregon. I look forward to applying all I learned at Olin at Intel. And while I’m there, I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions as you start your internship search. Feel free to drop me a line.

Guest Blogger: Ravi Balu, MBA ’18


Alex Blustein graduates Dec. 3 with a double major in systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and finance at Olin.

Blustein has visited home less than 40 days since arriving at Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. The Tampa native has spent every summer of his undergraduate years either traveling or working.

“It’s a Jewish mother’s nightmare,” Blustein said with a laugh. “But WashU offered me so many opportunities and experiences that I wanted to take advantage of. I love the classroom, but my time outside of the classroom has really helped me better understand the world.”

Early next year, he will begin Anheuser-Busch InBev’s 10-month rotational Global Management Trainee Program. “I’ll learn about everything from marketing to supply to brewing,” said Blustein, who will take a management position with the company after his rotation. “It’s perfect for a person who likes to understand multiple facets of a business from more than one angle.”

Blustein said he chose Washington University for a couple of reasons. One, the university accommodates students who want to complete different majors in different schools. To Blustein, who gives tours to potential engineering students, that just makes sense.

“I always tell people on my tours that college is the time to follow their passion and to try new things,” Blustein said. “Using two different parts of your brain is not only mentally exciting, it makes you more competitive in the job market.”

The second reason: One of the people Blustein most admires also picked Washington University — his brother Zachary Blustein, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in chemical engineering and now works for Emerson Process Management.

“He is just the first in a long line of amazing role models,” said Blustein, who counts fellow members of business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and social fraternity Sigma Nu as key mentors. “From the moment I arrived, I met so many motivated and talented upperclassmen who mentored me throughout my years at WashU.

“Many would  say to me , ‘Alex, you have to apply to this program,’ or ‘Alex, you must study abroad.’  I am most grateful to my brother and older friends for their advice. Their guidance has served me well.”

The summer after his first year, Blustein participated in Olin’s Israel Summer Business Academy, where he worked for an agriculture technology startup in Tel Aviv. He spent the next two summers working for AB InBev, first in St. Louis and then in New York. And spring of his junior year, he studied in Hong Kong — a systems engineer’s paradise.

“Their metro system? I could talk forever about its efficiency,” Blustein said. “Traveling helps you see what’s possible.”

And not just technologically, Blustein said.

“Every day abroad you make a new friend or better understand a different culture,” Blustein said. “My travels have strengthened my faith in humanity. People are good.

Guest Blogger: Diane Toroian Keaggy, Class Acts series originally published on WashU’s The Source.

CATEGORY: Career, Student Life