Teaching & Learning

The 'quiet period' of no financial crises in the US markets between 1934-2008 is history. Yale finance professor Gary Gorton predicts we won't have to wait so long for the next big one.

You weren’t dreaming when you saw students in full Commencement regalia taking selfies earlier this month. Olin holds graduation ceremonies several times throughout the year for programs that operate on a schedule outside the traditional academic year. The grads you saw lining up in Emerson Auditorium on Aug. 7 were members of the Global Masters of Finance (GMF) program who have circled the planet over the past 18 months in pursuit of their degrees.

The 18-month GMF program offered in partnership with Singapore Management University (SMU) begins with a mini semester in St. Louis; the cohort spends the winter in Singapore; and returns to the US in early summer for a week-long immersion in New York City and a week-long immersion in Washington, D.C. at the Brookings Institution. The final session of the program is held in St. Louis on the Danforth Campus.

This was the fourth class to complete the GMF program. There were 42 graduates who selected Alexander Roberts as their class speaker at graduation. Classmate Lingfeng Zhu translated Alex’s speech into Mandarin; they are pictured above.

Link to video of ceremony.

Link to photos  available for purchase from Grad Images.

Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, MBA 2002, Chief Business Officer and Co-founder of online marketplace Shopclues, a highly successful startup based in India, talks about the importance of mentors in her career in an interview with the Economic Times.

“I have had several mentors who have greatly influenced different aspects of my growth and learning in the past 20 years or so. My dean at Washington University, Dr Mahendra Gupta, former dean, Olin Business School, had a great influence on me during my early professional career.

“I have known my current mentor for almost 10 years now. …The most important professional advice I got from my mentor was to always hire someone better than yourself.’ She said, ‘If you find that you are generally the smartest person on the table then there is something wrong.'”

Link to Economic Times article.

Related blog post.

Many new students have already arrived, and the first day of classes for everyone else is just around the corner. In the hectic first weeks of a new academic year, we like to point out some of the unique and helpful resources available to Olin students. One such treasure is the Weston Career Center’s Management and Communication Center.

The Weston Career Center and Management Communication Center share a common goal: to ensure that Olin students have the personal and professional skills required for lifelong career advancement in today’s global marketplace. We believe that professional success depends on the ability to communicate effectively, present confidently, and, ultimately influence business decisions.

The WCC–MCC partnership offers an extensive lineup of resources to help students hone marketable communication skills. Through personalized coaching, interactive workshops, and leading-edge technology, the staff of the WCC and MCC guides students as they sharpen professional communication skills that will distinguish them in interviews and help them secure jobs, leading to their career advancement. Graduates of Olin Business School will distinguish themselves among their peers as effective communicators who drive change and lead thinking. Below are some of the services MCC provides to business students:

Advising on résumés and cover letters

Consultants advise on effectively using the Olin résumé format and assist with creating compelling cover letters, making persuasive and descriptive word choices, identifying grammatical and structural weaknesses, and offering recommendations for improvement.

Practice interviews

Through in-person and recorded practice sessions, consultants lead you through behavioral questions common in most interviews. Your responses and body language will be evaluated and a personalized improvement plan is created.

Crafting effective presentations and PowerPoint slides

Personal presence, persuasive language, and audience engagement are just a few of the critical elements of a successful presentation. MCC consultants review your presentations and offer instruction and tips for improvement.

Often the weakest link in a presentation, PowerPoint slides should be a powerful reinforcement of the salient points of your presentation. MCC consultants can offer tips and recommendations for making visually interesting slides that complement the speaker’s points.

Guidance on written assignments

Executive summaries, case reviews, and professional emails are some of the written homework that you will encounter at Olin. Consultants review your written homework and make recommendations to help you develop habits to produce concise, convincing, and logical written work.

English as a second language (ESL) assistance

Consultants help students with the challenges of developing expansive English skills. Practice in pronunciation cultivates an understanding of the importance of intonation in comprehension. Both written and spoken work are evaluated for correct grammar and effective structure. Cultural questions are addressed in a friendly, confidential environment. In addition, the MCC offers individual practice sessions.

Could you use the support of the MCC? Schedule an appointment today. 

Editor’s note:  The Olin Fleischer Scholars Program for high school students is a free, week-long residential program geared toward underrepresented and first-generation college student populations. The program is designed to expose students to the importance of a college education, leadership, and careers in business and entrepreneurship.

I’ve been to a lot of summer camps in my life, but this week was the first time I have served as a counselor. When I applied to be a Fleischer Scholars Mentor, I had no idea who else was applying, and certainly didn’t know any of the scholars, since none of them came from my suburban hometown near Dallas, Texas. So naturally, I was afraid I wouldn’t make any friends. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It was easy to form a positive relationship with each and every scholar and mentor throughout the week, mostly because each person accepted into the program is exceptional not only as a student, but also as a person. Of course, the scholars didn’t just make friends with each other. They were able to befriend more prominent and powerful figures through the program in the business version of friendship: networking. Almost every guest who gave a presentation for the scholars gave their contact information, from deans to millionaires to professors. These speakers were also more than willing to stay behind and talk to a small crowd of scholars after the main presentation if there was extra time.

Each scholar received one-on-one time with an admissions officer who looked over their essay and gave feedback. It is worth noting that those officers are the very same people who will play a key role in deciding whether you will be admitted to WashU when (not if) you apply, so it was invaluable to the scholars to have their personal feedback ahead of time. Scholars also worked on their resumes with a communications professor who stayed until well after dark to help every scholar who needed her.
All this isn’t to say that the connections that scholars formed with each other were not just as much, if not more, valuable: during lunch and in our group chat, I heard scholars give each other information about other programs, scholarships, and their experiences touring other campuses. And, as a mentor, I also benefited from networking during this program. One Olin staff member who works in the Office of Corporate Relations traveled with us to a tour. She noticed that I was taking pictures of the group and complimented my responsibility. Next thing I knew, I had a business card in hand, along with the knowledge that her office would be looking for interns in the spring!

Each scholar’s abilities improved visibly, from public-speaking skills to writing to self-expression. Many told me personally that the week was a life-changing experience for them, and I believe they meant not just professionally, but also personally.

Before attending the program, many thought that top-rank colleges like WashU were not within their reach because of their financial situation. By the end of the program, I believe every scholar had confidence that they could not only be accepted, but also afford WashU right out of high school debt-free thanks to what they learned about federal and financial aid, as well as independent scholarship organizations, during their time as Fleischer Scholars. Many were in tears on the last day, thanking me and the other mentors simply for believing in them. It’s hard not to believe in the kind of dedicated, intelligent, kind students who apply to the Olin Fleischer Scholars Program.

In his song “Lose Yourself,” Eminem said, “you can do anything you set your mind to, man.” As a mentor, I believe wholeheartedly that is true of each and every scholar I had the pleasure of meeting during the program. I also believe that to a great degree, what you get out of life depends on what you put into it. Through our group chat and social media, I see so many scholars putting so much into their lives and am thrilled to help them sow good seeds in any way I can. I can’t wait to see what earth-shaking things these scholars do, and am so honored that I could have even a tiny part in the successes they are already having for their families, their cities, and the world. Big shout out to each of you, and to the scholars and mentors for whom you have paved the way.

A look at Ruth’s week as an Olin Fleischer Scholar Mentor. Click below to expand image.