Tag: accelerators

Faux chalkboard with "Why do you want to do an MBA?"

Considering entering an MBA program? Your timing is outstanding. According to research from the Graduate Management Admission Council, 91% of recruiters were planning to hire graduate management talent who possessed MBA degrees in 2021.

Reports from GetSmarter support the accuracy of those findings, revealing that 83% of companies said they planned to onboard MBAs in 2021. In other words, you’re on the right track if you’re considering pursuing an MBA degree through a rock-solid program delivered by a school with a strong reputation.

MBA seekers want to augment their undergraduate learning with the broad, comprehensive knowledge of managing a business enterprise and the skill set provided by an MBA. Another reason prospective students seek an MBA is career switching, and employees whose MBA curricula included coursework devoted to understanding the basics of managing others in the fields of analytics and technology are highly valuable in today’s data-intensive landscape.

No matter why you keep coming back to the idea of getting into an MBA program, you may find it helpful to identify yourself as a specific type of graduate student. Generally speaking, the majority of MBA students are either accelerators or pivoters.

Which type of MBA student are you?

From a broad standpoint, accelerators tend to be people whose career path includes ambitious “climb the ladder” goals. Typically, accelerators feel like they can’t take their next big step without a stronger understanding of the variety of functional areas important in the corporate world today. Through their MBA program, they expect to learn how to think strategically about the enterprise as a whole, to identify the right questions or problems to be addressed, and to address them so they can snag key promotions and rise through the ranks.

Pivoters also want education, but they want to use it to change their occupations or industries. For them, MBAs are ways to get a foot in a new door.

Take Tyler Whiteman, for example. He spent 10 years in the travel industry and did regional theater working as an actor and singer.

Tyler came to Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis for his MBA because he wanted to make a complete career switch. Ultimately, he chose to become a marketing intern for AB InBev and earned honors for his performance at the seventh-annual PepsiCo MBA Invitational Business Case Competition. He credits his WashU Olin experience for giving him a leg up against fierce competitors. Having the support of an esteemed faculty while solving real-world problems and learning the soft skills that come from working with people and organizations that represent cultures different from their own are tremendous experiential benefits.

Find the right MBA program for you

To be sure, you might be a combination of the aforementioned MBA learners. Or you might fit into a unique category. Regardless, you owe it to yourself to spend time getting to know the lay of the land when it comes to MBA programming. So many MBA programs are available.

You have the traditional immersive full-time two-year programs. You have in-person part-time programs that take longer to finish but can flex to accommodate a busy family lifestyle. Some MBA degrees can be earned partially or completely online.

It’s fairly easy to find a delivery format that will work with your schedule and circumstances.

Format isn’t the only defining factor of an MBA program, though. If you aren’t interested in taking a standardized test like the GRE or GMAT, you can still apply for many MBA programs. A significant number of schools have waived this requirement. Because there’s no guarantee those waivers will stay in place forever, you may want to take advantage of them while they’re here.

Putting a premium on globalization

It’s worth mentioning that while you can choose among a variety of delivery methods and admissions requirements, you should absolutely demand an MBA that makes global business a central feature of its curriculum.

The world is shrinking. The more global context you can bring to your business understanding, the more valued you’ll be as an employee and executive.

This is one of the reasons a cornerstone of WashU Olin’s full-time MBA program is its global immersion program. This program happens at the front end of the MBA. Students start in St. Louis and learn the foundations of values-based and data-driven decision-making. From there, they spread their wings and go to the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., to discover the ways business and government align. Next, they visit Barcelona, Spain, followed by Paris and then Santiago, Chile. Over several weeks, MBA students get familiar with how marketing, consulting, supply-chain management, and so many other functional areas interact in a global context.

The global immersion program helps incoming MBA degree candidates bond with their cohort from the very start. The program becomes the basis for future learning and other opportunities, like the ability to take globally focused courses such as Olin’s African business class and exchange programs. When students move closer to graduation, they may be able to work with international companies. Case in point: Some recent MBA students worked with the Ecuadorian Soccer Federation and were able to join them at a game held in the United States.

At the end of the day, it’s easier to develop soft skills like empathy, teamwork, and communication when you’ve formed cross-cultural relationships with a variety of MBA classmates, teachers, and companies.

A successful post-MBA experience

The choice of an MBA program shouldn’t be limited to what happens during your coursework. Having access to career services matters, too. At Olin’s Weston Career Center, MBA students are provided with individualized career coaching and mentoring. This prepares them for internships and real-world jobs. As a “thank you,” many WashU alumni return to help the next generation of MBA graduates pursue their dreams and goals.

At a foundational level, your desire to earn an MBA shows that you’re ready to change at least a small part of the world. And small changes can end up having big outcomes for individuals, communities, and organizations. Whether you’re a pivoter, an accelerator or a one-of-a-kind type of MBA candidate, follow your instincts. The right MBA program can help you gain cultural competency as well as hone your skills in areas that are important to modern employers. It’s never the wrong time to become a stronger, more confident leader.

The below post was republished with permission from PluggedIN, an automated talent recruitment and matchmaking platform specifically focused on startup companies. PluggedIN was founded by Colleen Liebig, who serves as an Industry Career Specialist & Advisor at Olin, with specialization in entrepreneurship.

“The more you know about yourself, what you’re good at and what you bring the team, you can then surround yourself with people who fill in your gaps. I think that’s part of what makes up a good team.”
– Mary Jo Gorman, serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor and managing partner of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs

In this podcast, Mary Jo Gorman talks about how she got her start as an entrepreneur, what milestones and key learnings propelled her to success, and what she looks for when making investments in women-led companies through the Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Accelerator. Prosper is currently accepting applications for their Spring 2017 cohort. They are looking for early stage companies with a scalable business model in the Tech, Health Tech, and Consumer Products spaces. She shares insights on:

  • What investors look for in companies to invest in and how to use The Berkus Method to better position your company when raising capital.
  • Successful entrepreneurs tend to have great critical thinking skills. Many, many decisions get made, and you have to make more right ones than wrong ones
  • When a startup should consider going from bootstrapping to raising venture capital, and markers and milestones that serve as key indicators. Check out The Founders Dilemma.
  • Knowing when to pivot and ways to mitigate your risk at each step.
  • How hiring for the level of experience depends on our rate of growth.

Learn more and follow Prosper STL:

Photo: Mary Jo Gorman speaks at the Knight Hall/Bauer Hall building dedication on May 3, 2014. Credit: Jerry Naunheim Jr.

By many accounts, the last few years have seen St. Louis rapidly transform into one of the most robust start-up scenes in the country. However, some of the terminology can be confusing for newcomers, especially the locations of where many early-stage companies are located. T-Rex, Cortex, TechArtista: what are people referring to when they throw these terms around? Read this article so your well-informed façade can last a little longer next time you’re talking to an entrepreneur in St. Louis.


Where does that name come from? When the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, the Regional Chamber and the City came together to form the Technology Entrepreneur Center (T.E.C.) they made their first home at the Old Railway Exchange. Hence: TEC + Railway Ex = T-REX.

Where is it? Downtown on the booming Washington Avenue.

T-Rex co-working space

T-Rex co-working space

What makes it special? The pricing schedule of Google Ad Words; the share of global capital owned by women; the different legal classifications of employees. Spend enough time in the co-working space at T-Rex, St. Louis’s most prominent startup hub, and you will learn all these things and more. Renowned for its collaborative environment, entrepreneurs in this space can gain skills and knowledge both from their neighbors and from scheduled lunch-n-learns, one example of the frequent programs run by the organizers of the space. Featuring more than 110 startups, 160,000 sq. ft and free pour-over coffee, T-Rex is for entrepreneurs who want to be at the heart of the startup scene. http://downtowntrex.com/


Where does that name come from? Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) is a nationally recognized organization of space and service providers for entrepreneurs based in Cambridge, MA. This is where it gets confusing. There are two separate but nearby CIC locations in St. Louis: CIC@4240 (named for its street address) and CIC@CET (named for the Center for Emerging Technology). Both are part of the Cortex Innovation Community, a vibrant 200-acre innovation hub and technology district (usually referred to simply as Cortex).

Where is it? The Central West End and Forest Park P arkway

What makes it special? Home to Venture Café, the exceptionally popular weekly gathering of entrepreneurs and professionals, and CIC is one of the cornerstones of the startup scene in St. Louis. Its proximity to Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital give it unparalleled access to significant research and technology resources. http://stl.cic.us/


Where does that name come from? A focus on less quirk and more style led this New-York based co-working space developer to choose a name that clearly shows it means business.

Where is it? Downtown on the booming Washington Avenue.

What makes it special? To differentiate from other co-working places that provide a place to sit and little else, Industrious defines itself as a social office and offers glass-walled private offices as well as communal work space. Amenities include gourmet daily coffee and snacks, beer on tap, and shared season Cardinals box seats. With an emphasis on sophistication, this space is not for workers who want to play ping pong; Industrious is for small businesses, growing startups and satellite corporate offices who mean business.  http://www.industriousoffice.com/locations/stlouis


Where does that name come from? TechArtista stems from the Italian soccer term “trequeartista”, which describes a playmaker whose creativity and technique helps score goals.

Where is it? The Central West End. Click on video above for a tour of TechArtista.

What makes it special? For entrepreneurs who live and breathe their business, TechArtista’s 13,500 square foot business and lifestyle ecosystem offers 24/7 access, private parking, two kitchens, laundry, a full gym, changing rooms, showers, private video-chat booths, and a large rooftop wood deck. The space also boasts one of the most tight-knit communities of pooled brainpower. In fact, TechArtista has an in-house designer, videographer and even an attorney that works with all the resident companies. http://www.techartista.org/


Where does that name come from? A project of Ignition Tank, Lab1500 takes its name from the address of its headquarters at 1500 Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis. The nearly 120 year-old building was rehabbed to capture the industrial yet rustic essence of the abandoned factory. Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and intricate ceiling tiles make up just a few of the historic elements that were restored and combined with modern-day technology for a creative vibe.

Where is it? Downtown on the booming Washington Avenue.

What makes it special? Lab1500’s vision revolves around its principles of synergy, openness, and creativity. Members have the ability to work in different environments, including the traditional co-working space with communal areas and the relaxed and quiet lounge. The facility and its classroom are also available for members to rent for meetings, classes and events. Keep an eye on this collaborative space as it becomes an integral part of the startup scene in St. Louis. http://www.lab1500.com/#


Where does that name come from? Like a nebula is a collection of independent galaxies that come together to form something beautiful, Nebula brings different entrepreneurs together to produce innovation through collaboration.

Where is it? Cherokee Street’s Creative District

What makes it special? Nebula opened in 2010 as the first coworking space in St. Louis, providing workspace for independent contractors, small businesses, non-profits, and creative professionals looking for a place to build, create, develop, and collaborate. http://nebulastl.com/


Two accelerators managed by Olin alumni are winners of the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition that announced $4.4 million in prizes on Aug. 4, 2015 during the White House Demo Day for entrepreneurs. St. Louis-based accelerator for women, Prosper Capital, where Dr. Mary Jo Gorman, EMBA’96 is a managing partner and New Jersey-based accelerator Great Turning Advisors where Steven Boughton, MBA’14 is founder and president each won $50,000 grants. Congratulations!

Here’s the SBA news release:

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the 80 winners of the second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The recipients represent 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.


Location of 80 accelerators that won the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors – from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech – with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community.

“SBA is continuing to make advances in supporting unique organizations that help the start-up community grow, become commercially viable, and have a real and sustained economic impact,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Through the wide-spread outreach of this competition, we are able to reach entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. My commitment is to make our resources available to 21st century entrepreneurs where they are, and these accelerators, also known as incubators and innovation hubs, are the gathering place for today’s innovators and disruptors.”

Applications were judged by more than 40 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.  The first panel of judges reviewed over 400 applications and presentations and established a pool of 180 highly qualified finalists.  The second panel evaluated the finalists’ presentations and pitch videos and selected the 80 winners.

Read the full press release.