Tag: AB InBev

“The act of creation is what I get excited about,” Valerie Toothman, Vice President for Innovation, US, at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), told a packed room of students at the recent Olin Entrepreneurship Summit. Toothman, MBA’08, returned to campus to share her experience as an entrepreneurial innovator inside a global corporation.

Toothman has helped develop AB brands such as Budweiser Black Crown, Bud Light Platinum, and Bud Light Lime Lime-a-Rita. Her career in the beer industry began with an internship while she was an MBA student at Olin—a position that opened the door to her first post-MBA job as a Brand/Innovation Manager. She advanced to Innovation Director four years later, and has been VP of Innovation since 2015.

In her current position, Toothman is responsible for innovation in products, packaging, and graphics. She says cross discipline competence, collaboration skills, curiosity and a willingness to challenge the status quo are essential in her position.

In 2013, Toothman was named Anheuser-Busch InBev’s internal Marketer of the Year. She credits her Olin professors Sam Chun and Sergio Chayet for a strong foundation in the creative product development process. (She highly recommended Olin’s Power & Politics and Crisis Communication courses to the first year MBA students). Toothman was also honored as one of Olin’s Emerging Leaders in 2015.

Toothman’s interest in innovation also inspired her pre-AB InBev career as a biomedical engineer. “The biggest passion point for me is a natural curiosity for solving ambiguous problems,” she says, “whether in the realm of a medical device or of beer, whether that’s talking to surgeons and patients or brewmasters and beer consumers. I have an insatiable need to solve ambiguous problems.”

While tracing her career path, Toothman also shared some of the lessons she’s learned along the way with the packed classroom of current students. The slides from her presentation are below:


Dan Hazlett and Matt Gordon of Anheuser-Busch InBev are constantly trying to incorporate new technology into their supply chain to ensure fresher, better-tasting beer to the consumer. In this highlight, they describe the complexity of the beer supply chain, from breweries to distributors to retailers. They mention some of the challenges associated with shipping and inventory management, as well as some of the innovative technologies they are employing to improve the visibility of their payloads, from the breweries all the way to the retailers. This would allow them to take into account weather and traffic, and schedule more accurate loading and unloading times.

Some of the new initiatives at AB InBev are focusing on three main areas: scaling out the visibility capabilities to import/export operations, integrating tracking and planning applications across the whole supply chain, and developing smarter algorithms and predictive analytics. All of these efforts will enable AB to improve the efficiency of their already outstanding supply chain, and shorten the time between the brewery and your stomach.

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

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube

Twenty years ago, through the exceptional generosity of the McDonnell Douglas Foundation, The Boeing Center for Technology, Information, and Manufacturing was endowed in the Olin Business School. Since then, we have served as a powerful catalyst for technology-driven innovation, process optimization, risk management, and global supply chain excellence.

In honor of our 20th anniversary, and to more accurately reflect our focus, we adopted a new look and changed our name to The Boeing Center for Supply Chain Innovation. And with a renewed vigor, we completed the most successful year in our history. Not only did we work on a record number of corporate projects, but we also hosted several events featuring exceptional speakers and supported research on a number of cutting-edge topics.

This spring, we welcomed Mike Pinedo, the Julius Schlesinger Professor of Operations Management at New York University, to talk about operational risk management in the service industry at our 13th annual Meir Rosenblatt memorial lecture. And we welcomed John Stroup, President and CEO of Belden Inc., to share his perspectives on Industry 4.0 and the emerging technologies that will impact the manufacturing industry and beyond. Both presentations were intellectually stimulating and thought provoking.

We also held our inaugural project competition and awards ceremony, the Project of the Year Symposium, which highlighted our top five corporate projects from the 2016-2017 academic year. The Symposium featured presentations from our student teams that worked on projects for Anheuser-Busch InBev, Belden, Boeing, Emerson, and Monsanto. The teams competed for awards in “Project of the Year,” “Greatest Immediate Business Impact,” and “Presentation Excellence,” and split a $10,500 prize pool. A summary of all our spring projects can be found below.

Our 3rd annual Supply Chain Finance & Risk Management Conference took place on May 14-15. The aim of the conference, which was attended by prominent academic researchers from top business schools from around the world, was to stimulate interactions and knowledge sharing at the interface of operations and finance, and supply chain risk management. The conference featured presentations based on current research trends, including real operations and risk management, crowd funding, finance, trade credit, and hedging. There was also a panel discussion on emerging themes and directions of the field.  One of the initiatives resulting from the conference will be an edited book, comprised of short papers submitted by attendees, to be published this fall as an issue in the Foundations and Trends in Technology, Information and Operations Management book series.

We would also like to share with you some of the corporate projects The Boeing Center and student teams have led for our corporate clients this year.

Lastly, we would like to thank all of our corporate member companies for providing us with the opportunity to offer valuable experiential learning to our students, who dedicated long hours to ensure delivery of insightful and impactful supply chain solutions. We hope you all had an awesome summer, and we look forward to working with you again soon!

Learn more about sponsored projects and membership through The Boeing Center.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

This project revolved around optimizing the inventory mix at distribution centers for some of ABI’s craft beer products, particularly Stella Artois. The team utilized mathematical models with the potential to reduce accessorial costs and increase product freshness. Student team:  Miles Bolinger, Sam Huo, Huyen Nguyen, Roberto Ortiz, and Jon Slack.



The team working on this project used the QR inventory modeling approach to identify opportunities and costs for improving service levels at PPC, a Belden subsidiary in Syracuse, NY.  Student team:  Bonnie Bao, Michael Stein, Yuying Wang, and Yuyao Zhu.



The goal of this project was to determine the most influential order and part characteristics affecting on-time delivery statistics of Boeing’s transactional spare parts business.  Student team:  Vineet Chauhan, Phil Goetz, Brian Liu, Sontaya Sherrell, and Fan Zhang.


Edward Jones

The team’s objective was to analyze the technology deployment process at Edward Jones. They did this by conducting interviews and collecting survey data to run a capacity analysis and generate a personnel network diagram.  Student team:  Huang Deng, Wyatt Gutierrez, Cynthia Huang, Drew Ruchte, and Jamie Yue.



The Emerson project team worked with ProTeam’s Richmond Hill facility to determine the optimal product mix, optimize inventory management of stock, and develop a data analysis model to facilitate future upkeep of the system.  Student team:  Kushal Chawla, Serena Chen, Kai Ji, Jeffrey Lantz, and Zoe Zhao.


Express Scripts

The purpose of this project was to optimize Express Scripts’ distribution network by considering logistics costs, formulary configuration, and inventory vs. service levels.  Student team:  Himanshu Aggarwal, Jinsoo Chang, and Janet Qian.



In this project, the team worked with MilliporeSigma’s facility in Temecula, CA to develop a model to help determine the economic production quantity for each SKU based on customer demand, production cost, inventory value, and shelf life.  Student team:  Perri Goldberg, Youngho Kim, Ayshwarya Rangarajan, Prateek Sureka, and Flora Teng.



The objective of this project was to understand, define, and map out the credit processes within Monsanto.  Student team:  Hai Cao, Yanyan Li, Ashwin Kumar, Jonathan Neff, Tom Siepman, and Xukun Zan.


West Pharmaceutical Services

This project sought to accurately compute the approximate safety stock levels, reorder points, and replenishment quantities at West Pharma’s Kinston plant using a continuous review model.  Student team:  Matthew Drory, Rohan Kamalia, Mrigank Kanoi, Ray Tang, and Jiani Zhai.


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

The Boeing Center

Supply Chain  //  Operational Excellence  //  Risk Management

Website  • LinkedIn  • Subscribe  • Facebook  • Instagram  • Twitter  • YouTube

We began the day of May 16 at 8am, gathering in the Cornell Conference room. After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we and our classmates prepared ourselves for a day of hardcore learning.

Our first guest lecturer for the day was from Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). The speaker began his presentation by briefly introducing the history of AB InBev and the beer industry. He differentiated the beer industry into three different tiers: brewers, wholesalers, and retailers, and focused the rest of his speech on the role of a wholesaler. We were all interested in the recent large merger deal by the company: in 2015, Anheuser-Busch Inbev executed the largest-ever beer deal, a $107 billion takeover of SABMiller, with a record $75 billion syndicated loan–the largest commercial loan in the history of the global loan markets. We then learned more about the deal and explained the reasons behind the highly leveraged deal structure.

After opening questions to the floor, our class discussed and explored probable problems that AB InBev may face in the future. For example, due to regulations within certain states in the US, AB InBev may not be allowed to further increase its market share through acquisition deals or expand its value chain through vertical integration. Using his experience at AB InBev, the speaker was able to effectively demonstrate the difference between strategic and financial buyers in acquisition deals; more focus is placed on the identification and realization of business synergies.

Our second speaker for the day was a representative from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. The Port Authority is a self-sustaining entity that builds, operates, and maintains critical public transportation and infrastructure.

The speaker began his presentation by showing us a graph depicting the recent breakdown in correlation between distance traveled by automobile and the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This demonstrated the inherent uncertainty in public infrastructure investment projects–such as whether heavy investments in expensive projects should be underutilized or rendered obsolete within a short period of time due to divergence from historical correlation, perhaps due to disruptive technology.

Continuing on the auto traffic situation in New York as a case study, the speaker discussed certain factors, such as behavioral and demographic trends, that should be considered and included within an econometric model. Lastly, he finished his conclusions by showing us his future predictions for auto traffic trends in New York and New Jersey. A warning was included in his conclusion: econometric models tend to be based on historical information, and actual outcomes may deviate from model projections due to regime changes, so analysts must be careful when interpreting results from such models.  The presentation was very informative and gave us a glimpse of the difficulties faced when planning public infrastructure investment projects, especially for metropolitan cities like New York.

Our next speaker was from Hillview Capital Advisors LLC. Hillview Capital Advisors is a premier provider of financial advisory services to high net worth individuals, their families, and foundations. We learned about the role that boutique financial advisory firms, such as Hillview Capital Advisors, play within the finance and private wealth management industry. The company aligns its interest with that of its clients by adopting a compensation structure based on assets under management (AUM) instead of through deal commissions. By acting as an independent investment advisor to their clients, Hillview Capital assists their clients to better meet their investment objectives, subjected to their unique background and circumstance, by optimizing their portfolio asset allocation. The presentation included a period of discussion between the speaker and students regarding the rise of robo-advisors and how the private wealth investment advisory industry can retain its relevance in the future.

The presentation was both entertaining and enriching; we were able to learn more about the private wealth management industry as well as the possible near term challenges it may face due to the rise of Financial Tech (Fin Tech).

After finishing the three presentations in the morning, we stopped for a short lunch break to replenish our energy and consolidate the lessons we had learned. We then made our way to the New York headquarters of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global.

S&P Global is the parent company for S&P Global Ratings, S&P Global Market Intelligence, and S&P Global Platts. S&P is most well-known for its independent investment research and it is the largest and most well-known ratings agency in the world. The presentation at the firm was done by four directors in different departments, and the content covered was mostly focused on the corporate credit ratings area.

After briefly introducing the background and history of S&P Global, the directors walked us through the corporate credit rating issuance process. Subsequently, the students engaged in a lively discussion with the directors on a wide range of topics, including the role played by credit rating agencies in the global financial crisis, the steps taken to improve operational processes since then, the ways to determine the willingness of issuers to meet their debt obligations when they have the ability to do so, and how the apparent conflict of interest from issuer-paid ratings is mitigated/controlled. The presentation was very insightful and students were able to better understand the analysis and due diligence required when issuing corporate credit ratings.

Jason Wang, BSBA’09

Lastly, following the conclusion of the S&P Global presentation, we made our way to the main branch of Xi’an Famous Food, located on 34th street and Madison Avenue, for our final presentation of the day. The founder of Xi’an Famous Food, Jason Wang, is an alumnus of Olin Business School, BSBA’09. Upon completing his undergraduate studies at WashU, Jason joined his father to help grow the family restaurant business.

During our visit to the main branch of Xi’an Famous Food, Jason was very hospitable and he provided food and drinks to everyone. After ensuring that everyone was comfortable, he shared his experience as an entrepreneur and the difficulties he faced when growing his business. The courage, conviction, and resilience that he has demonstrated thus far in his entrepreneurial journey is exemplary. The most memorable advice he shared is that when running a business, an entrepreneur should never let himself do everything; it is equally important to learn how to trust and delegate important tasks to other people.

All in all, we covered a wide range of subjects and topic areas today. We had a great learning experience and we look forward to even more learning opportunities over the next few days.

Guest Bloggers: Tiantian Hao, Renjun Li, Chenyu Wu, Ming Da Zhuang (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.

Tuesday, May 17 was an adventure for our Global Masters of Finance (GMF) group. Although it was an early morning, and we were tired from the fascinating trip we went on yesterday and all the excitement of New York City, we were still excited for the new journey ahead of us.

AB InBev

After a very short subway journey we arrived at 34th street midtown. The building must have a long history, demonstrated by the golden rim of the elevators and the unique plate showing all the current floors of the four elevators.

Our first speaker was Adam Bush, Olin MBA’13. Adam is Senior Director in Anheuser-Busch’s Wholesale Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) department. Before attending Olin’s MBA program, he spent five years in industry. He started his career at Anheuser-Busch as an MBA intern and worked through different positions, such as project manager and director within the company.

He spoke to us about finance in a corporate environment. He shared a lot of details of his work, such as what the wholesale system in AB looks like, the valuation methods they are using, and AB’s core strategy.Day 2 - A-B

It was very interesting to learn more about AB-InBev, especially the recent talks of AB-Inbev and SAB Miller potentially joining forces. Being close to a subject of news headlines was really cool! It was very interesting to learn how the US government has set heavy restrictions on the beer industry and limits the size or volume of distribution that AB can own.

It is also very new to us to know more about the corporate side of M&A, the focus of a beer manufacturing business, and how they operate on a three-tier system. Professor Rich Ryffel also asked some interesting questions, and we learned that pricing effect and marketing effect influences products differently according to their consumption group and their brand definition.

Rob Beck, was honored this year as Distinguished Olin alumnus. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

Rob Beck, was honored this year as Distinguished Olin alumnus.
©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.


Then we welcomed Rob Beck, BSBA’86, Chief Operating Officer of the Retail Bank and head of Retail Distribution for Citigroup in the US, to give us a lecture. As an experienced and successful banker, he shared his views of some interesting topics, including the future cooperation between traditional banks and Fintech, risk management within the bank, the Chinese housing market, and the concern about over-regulation.


Next, our GMF group headed back to the subway  to visit Bloomberg. The Bloomberg building was very appealing. The design was closely related to their culture. The working space was bright and open. Almost every room is transparent, reflecting Bloomerg’s culture—transparency. At the end of the tour, we had a great birds-eye view of New York and also got some nice food and drinks on the 29th floor.

Insider Trading

The last speaker of the day was Nick Verbitsky, who is the director of a documentary film called “To Catch a Trader.” He shared his personal background, how and why he directed his film, his perspective about the financial industry, and answered our questions. We watched the film after his speech. This made us more excited about the trip as we didn’t even know that there are so many career options for us once we earn our masters of finance degree.

It was very fascinating to hear Nick speak. He was very enthusiastic and we felt that he was quite a free spirit in expressing his thoughts. The way in which he felt that the smart finance professionals were cheating through Xbox was very unbelievable. We felt that the reason Nick chose to become a director of financial documentary films is that he is very interested in investigating financial scandals and has a passion for finance. He is the kind of person who wants to learn the truth and find answers. He is also very creative and loves to express his opinions. We really felt that he loves what he is doing and also clever enough to not cause any trouble when making those films on sensitive issues.

We also learned quite a lot from our dear professor Rich Ryffel. As masters of finance students eager to become future professionals, we really should learn about the daily happenings around the world, as finance is a constantly changing industry.

Guest Bloggers: Yue Lu, Yarui (Aria) Gong, WenJuan Wang, Diwen (Steven) Shi (GMF 2016)

This is part of a series of  blogs chronicling the experiences of 41 Global Master of Finance (GMF) dual degree students during their two week long immersion course in New York and Washington, DC. Each blog will be written by a small subset of students during their experience.