Student Life

What would you do if you were Dean for a Day at Olin? Order free coffee and cupcakes for everyone? Free round trip tickets to international internships? No grades? Dream on...
CATEGORY: Student Life


Picking a favorite professor is a tough assignment at Olin, but Poets & Quants dared to ask members of their Best & Brightest MBA list. Markey Culver, MBA’17, named John Horn, Senior Lecturer in Economics. Horn has a track record as an outstanding teacher and favorite prof – he’s received the school’s Reid Teaching Award five times from graduating classes since 2014. Students select recipients of the Reid Award that honors a teacher  “whose enthusiasm and exceptional teaching most inspire, energize, and transform.”

Here’s why Markey named Horn in the Poets & Quants survey:

Like business leaders, MBA professors are often the extensions of the cultures they work so hard to mold and maintain. Make no mistake: They aren’t teaching to enjoy those clichéd 9-to-5 clock outs with summers off. Washington University’s John Horn, for example, served as an unofficial board member for Markey Culver’s startup, helping her after hours with drafting strategic plans, refining the business model, and preparing to scale the operation.

John Horn

Horn was a Senior Expert in the Strategy Practice of McKinsey & Company, based out of the Washington, DC, office, before joining Olin. During nearly a decade, he worked with clients on competitive strategy, war gaming workshops and corporate and business unit strategy across a variety of industries and geographies.

He was also an adjunct professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Prior to joining McKinsey, John assisted major U.S. financial institutions with fair lending compliance as a consultant with Ernst & Young LLP. He also worked as an economic consultant with The Brattle Group, specializing in economic expert testimony in litigation support, including anti-trust and patent infringement cases.

Horn holds the following degrees:

PhD 1998, Harvard University
MA 1994, Harvard University
BA 1991, University of Michigan

 

 

 

 




May 26 marked the last day of the Global Master of Finance (GMF) immersion courses, and the DC portion will conclude with a full introduction and understanding of the role of Congress in financial regulation.

Our first speaker was a former member of congress; he took a unique angle – from a member’s point of view – to talk about how Congress gets involved in financial services. He started by describing a typical day of a member of Congress, to let us know how they look at financial institutions. It is surprising to know that for twenty years, he worked no less than sixty hours a week, and many times eighty or even a hundred hours. A member of Congress must try to be familiar with virtually every area that impacts their constituents, and spends most of the time meeting with constituents, going to committees, and getting involved in discussions in his or her areas of expertise.

Our speaker then talked about how Congress gets involved in financial services, which is primarily reactively. This means Congress usually does not get involved in financial services until there is some kind of crisis. Our speaker took the 2008 crash as an example, to illustrate how Congress and the Fed responded to maintain economic stability and set up a stimulus policy to resolve the world-wide panic when confronted with a financial crisis. We learned that for most members of Congress, regardless of party, they share a general philosophy to let the markets be markets, let people have the freedom to invest, and then try to set up some kind of safeguards to protect investors so that no one can take advantage of it.

Next, we took a tour of the US Capitol with a former US Congressman. He was a patient and knowledgeable person. During the tour, he introduced the history and some fun stories of the Capitol to us. He was also able to share some insights from a former Congressman’s perspective and an insider’s view.

We visited the original location of the Supreme Court, the Statuary Hall, the House Chamber, and the Speaker’s Lobby. The Statuary Hall, which is the Old House Chamber, displays statues of famous Americans. The most memorable part of the tour was the House Chamber. We were told to leave our bags, notebooks, phones, and other prohibited items in the Speakers’ Lobby before entering the House Chamber. The House Chamber is filled with rows of chairs. Our tour guide told us that the House of Representatives conducts legislative activities here. He also showed us his Congressman card that can be used to vote. When he voted, he would insert his card in a machine, and then would press the button of yes of no. Another interesting point is that in the House Chamber, which is part of the legislative branch, the President of United States can only enter via invitation, and does not sit in the highest chair. Instead, the President sits below the Speaker of the House within the House Chamber.

Then we went beneath the building. There was a very intriguing subway waiting for us, which took us to one of the Capitol office buildings. Our last speaker in Washington had experience in various political and financial areas. He has worked for a private equity firm, a hedge fund, and has participated in many kinds of economic policy settings. His experience itself is a good pattern that teaches us if someone in the finance industry would want to go further, finance knowledge is far from enough.

The speaker started from a very new view in the finance area: that the primary changes in finance always come from progress in technology. He stated that we can really feel the influences from blockchain and other kinds of FinTech rising to the next level. The young generations should pay more attention to it and explore more possibilities in this field. He then spoke about regulation.

Over-regulation is now a hot topic, but he emphasized that over-regulation is at least good for common consumers. He also mentioned that the Fed, SEC, and other regulatory authorities are trying to shorten the regulatory lag, which can seriously impact the effect of policies. One more interesting thing he told us is that any authority still can be wrong. He told us that one high-level person in the Fed considered the mortgage market healthy just before the global financial crisis. What we learned from this speaker is that although we are young now, we should always keep questioning what authorities say and do, and maintain the courage to challenge their voices, and that will help us to contribute more in the finance industry in the future.

We the GMF 2017 cohort are very grateful to have had the chance to learn about the US financial markets and regulation with the insightful speeches from the distinguished practitioners and field trips. This two week immersion course will definitely give us a holistic and deeper understanding of today’s global financial markets and will set the tone for our future studies and careers after graduation.

Guest Bloggers: Shuying (Sunnie) Li, Kedi (Kelly) Ni, Yao (Deborah) Shan, Lei (Isaac) Xia (GMF 2017)

This is a series of blogs chronicling the experiences of 42 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience. Names of speakers and presenters at firms are anonymous at the request of the firms and course organizers.




“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



During the nomination process for the Best & Brightest MBAs, Poets&Quants asked students to share the biggest myths about their MBA programs. From Stanford to Simon and Oxford to Olin, P&Q asked members of the Class of 2017 to separate fact from fiction when it comes to stereotypes about their chosen b-schools.

Conn Davis, MBA’17, busts the myth about where Olin grads go to work after graduation.
Myth: An MBA at Olin means you’ll end up with a job in St. Louis or the Midwest.

Reality: “While you certainly can get a job in St. Louis or the Midwest at Olin, the opportunities at the school are all over. We have students that are going to the East Coast, the West Coast and all over the world. Olin may be in St. Louis, but it opens doors to wherever you want to go.”
– Conn Davis, Washington University (Olin)

Here are a few more myths from the Poets & Quants story:

  • Myth: Boothies are quants who don’t know how to have fun.
  • Myth: All the Notre Dame MBA students talk about is ethics.
  • Myth: Ross is in the middle of nowhere.
  • Myth: Kellogg is a marketing school and a feeder program to consumer products groups.
CATEGORY: News, Student Life