Student Life

Olin's second annual Impact Investing Symposium attracted a large crowd representing community partners, investors, lenders, and organizations that want to redefine traditional finance and return on investment in terms of impact.


A team of operations and supply chain management graduate students from Washington University’s Olin Business School came in second place at the regional finals of the Supply Chain Finance Community’s Global Student Challenge on Thursday, March 9. The competition, held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, was designed to promote awareness on the topic of supply chain finance and risk management.

“The Challenge engages participants to consider corporate strategy and business objectives and to manage cross-functional trade-offs in the value chain. Cross-functional understanding and collaboration are key components, as teams work together to turn their company around.” ~ globalstudentchallenge.org

The competition was based on a business simulation called The Cool Connection. According to the competition’s website, this simulation “provides insight in the complexities and inter-dependencies in supply chains operating under uncertain and volatile market conditions.”

The Olin team, composed of Xingxing Chen, Fasheng Xu, Yu Li, and Yunzhe Qiu, performed consistently well over multiple rounds, and stayed within reach of winning throughout the competition. Unfortunately, they were ultimately edged out in the final round of play. However, they placed ahead of strong competitors from Duke, USC, Maryland, and other top universities. They will find out in the coming weeks if they will advance to the global final to be held in the Netherlands in April.

On behalf of the Olin community, The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation would like to congratulate the team on its excellent performance! All of them have sharpened their supply chain management skills through their participation in mini-consulting projects that BCSCI conducts with its member companies. Our students’ success at the Global Student Challenge serves as another validation of their capabilities.

By Evan Dalton

For more supply chain digital content and cutting-edge research, check us out on the socials [@theboeingcenter] and our website [olin.wustl.edu/bcsci]

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A Boeing Center digital production

Supply Chain // Operational Excellence // Risk Management

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This is the second post in a two-part series. Read part 1 here

One thing we witnessed throughout our meetings was how the people of central Africa work tirelessly to carve out a living within a complex market (we literally saw people selling beside the road at 2 a.m.). We also saw how they developed an impressive business sense through experimentation and determination. They taught us a lot.

The sitatunga or marshbuck is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. - Wikipedia

The sitatunga or marshbuck is a swamp-dwelling antelope found throughout central Africa, centering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. – Wikipedia

Despite the long days of site visits and nightly debriefings, it never felt like work. For one, absorbing the culture and sights of a new country was a thrill for all of us. We had plenty of fun as we crossed the country for different meetings. We couldn’t help but soak up the gorgeous scenery of forested mountains, tea fields, Serenghetti-like plains and even a sign that marked the equator. In fact, we basically had a DIY safari as we saw baboons, antelope, sitatunga, a rhino, and elephants! And after our enlightening work week we relaxed with our clients at a jazz club featuring amazing live music every Friday. But not even that late night could temper the adrenaline on our last morning in Uganda as we crossed off something that should be on everyone’s bucket list: white water rafting the Nile!

When we recover from both the plantains and the rapids and reconvene in St. Louis, our Center for Experiential Learning consulting team will be armed with a better understanding of Mavuno’s operations and the plantain industry which they intend to enter. We can’t begin to convey all the things we learned from our international business crash course in beautiful Uganda and with our amazing clients, but one lesson stands out.

Whether in the halls of WashU or a farm in western Uganda, business can serve as a tool to break down some of the world’s toughest problems and lift entire communities.

We are honored to have the opportunity to use our developing MBA skill sets to contribute to the work Mavuno is doing and lift up people of eastern Congo.

Guest blogger: Cole Donelson, MBA ’18 Team Lead for Mavuno

CATEGORY: Global, Student Life



Our last day with The Women’s Bakery started off a little bit differently than the rest of our week in Rwanda. Instead of waking up and looking out over Kigali, we woke up to the sun rising over the hazy Congo, just barely visible across the beautiful Lake Kivu.

RELATED: Building bakeries and a new business model in Rwanda

Lake kivu

We made our way out to the Western Province the day before, climbing over a mile in altitude and watching the fauna become increasingly mountainous and green. This area of the country sees much more rain, which we learned first-hand in the village of Bumba while visiting one of three TWB bakeries in Rwanda. We experienced a massive downpour that came in quickly as we met with Ernest, a member of the cooperative that owns this particular bakery.

IMG_0555Ernest was one of the many people that we met throughout the week who is involved with The Women’s Bakery at all levels of the value chain. In addition to Ernest, we met with three other field partners, both men and women, who are helping to run their bakeries with their co-ops. We also had the chance to meet with and watch the women themselves in action.

In addition to visiting the bakeries, we were able to meet with partners of TWB. Atikus is a microfinancier who is working to make loans available to the women who go through the training program. And SMGF is a firm that is taking steps to become a hiring partner that will invest in building a bakery in the future. And finally, we spent a lot of time with the TWB team themselves, trying to figure out how to best help them.

IMG_0571As we met with all of these people throughout the week, we regrouped whenever and wherever we could as a team to unpack everything we had been hearing. These ad hoc meetings happened at restaurants, in our hotel, and in the car as we moved around the country. And now our task, as we sat in the lodge overlooking the water, was to bring all of the information together and figure out how to move forward.

We sketched out possible solutions to multiple challenges and debated the merits of each. We did a brainstorming exercise that was used in creating Apple products and addressing the financial crisis to bring out issues we may have missed. And when all was said and done, we were ready to present our preliminary thoughts and plans for the rest of the semester to the TWB team. It had been a long and tiring week, much of it spent in very close quarters, but it was all worth it to see the enthusiasm on the TWB team’s faces as we presented and celebrated over one final dinner.

Guest blogger: Erin Ilic, MBA ’17 

Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) is committed to creating innovative learning opportunities that result in meaningful impact in the business and nonprofit communities.




Sandy Jurgenson, BSBA’81, remembers seeing Simon Hall at Olin Business School for the first time. She, like so many alumni, had attended classes in the crowded, awkward floor plan of Prince Hall that had been originally designed as men’s dorm in 1904. Simon Hall was a state-of-the-art, high tech building when it opened in 1986 and awed returning alumni with its spacious hallways and classrooms. Watch Sandy’s Olin100 video above.

Sandy’s father, Joe Evans, was an administrator at Washington University and her world has revolved around the university for most of her life.

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At left, a souvenir from 2011:

Dean Gupta chats with Joe Evans (middle), Olin alumnus and former vice chancellor for university business; Evans’ daughter, Sandy Jurgenson (right), senior associate director of development for Olin; and Jurgenson’s son Drew during the 17th annual Olin Thanksgiving Feast Nov. 24 in the Knight Center.  – from The Record, December 2011

Share your business school memories on the Centennial website, Olin100, or use #Olin100 on social media.

CATEGORY: Student Life