Tag: Alumni

When the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn caused internship cancellations, WashU Olin and the Center for Experiential Learning stepped up to provide summer learning opportunities for students while supporting St. Louis-based businesses. We’ll be sharing their stories on the Olin Blog. Today, we’ll hear from Akio Yahiro Korte, MBA ’21, who worked on competitive landscape analysis for Capacity.

Over the 2020 summer, I worked on the CEL summer project, a seven-week consulting opportunity to help a client with their business needs. In my case, the client was a privately held startup company that wanted help with its competitive landscape analysis. Capacity, our client, was really excited and passionate about sharing information with us, so we could give them the best recommendations possible.

This project sharpened my project management, planning and coordination toolkit. From a technical perspective, this project has refined my competitor analysis and marketing skills. I also helped the team using my finance background when appropriate. 

Our team lived on a weekly cycle. Weeks started with a one hour class on Monday. Client meetings occurred every Wednesday afternoon. Client meetings were earmarked for one hour, but we always went over due to great client engagement.

Since team members were working virtually across three different time zones, we sporadically set up team huddles to address timely needs. Typically, a team member would spend several hours a week working on a specific function (think deep diving a competitor’s entire marketing strategy). 

From a team leader perspective, it’s always great to work with new and diverse teams. I worked with a healthy blend of graduates and undergraduates sprinkled with different business disciplines (finance, entrepreneurship, consulting, marketing). I worked with five other students—and I was thoroughly impressed with each of them.

Particularly thinking about the undergraduate students on my team, there were people who hadn’t had previous work experience. So for the first time, they were talking directly with business owners and leaders—and they really stepped up to the plate, asked detailed questions and shared their expertise. It was a huge win for those students—it wasn’t an experience you could get anywhere else.

Client interactions were a big win. Capacity went above and beyond by letting us talk with different business leaders. Even though this was a marketing project, we talked with leaders in finance, sales, and execution. We even got the opportunity to talk directly with the CEO, David Karandish, BSCS ’05.

Not only is David a WashU alum, he also sold the parent company to Answers.com before starting Capacity. David had some very cool stories to tell, everything from writing a text-to-speech app around his high school years to being on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.”

In addition to answering questions to help the team with the CEL project, he had some parting words of wisdom for future leaders: keep morale up by being transparent, keep one foot in present reality while keeping another in future potential (be the bridge between the two realities). We were honored to spend this time working closely with the client, learning from their perspective and providing recommendations.

This has been a very interesting experience from a project management perspective. The project’s scope shifted several times, another team merged into mine, not to mention working virtually across different time zones always poses unique limitations. But the team successfully adapted to meet these challenges head-on. This resilience is a hallmark of the quintessential Olin business student. 

This is the second successful team project that I have led while at WashU. Given the great experiences both projects and teams have been, I am contemplating doing at least one more this coming academic year. 




Snacklins, a company that produces plant-based alternatives to pork rinds, nearly tripled its sales in 2020 in the highly competitive snack food industry.

Jeremy Sherman

Fans of NBC’s “Shark Tank”might recognize the brand from its appearance on the show in 2019, when founder Sam Kobrosly walked away with an investment from Mark Cuban.

Since the onset of the global pandemic, Snacklins has continued to pursue industry success, undergoing a major rebrand to create a more interactive, internet-accessible brand. The effort to differentiate Snacklins and draw consumer attention was led by Olin alum and Snacklins Marketing and E-Commerce Manager Jeremy Sherman, BSBA ’15.

Consumers seek products online

Sherman and his team noticed that the pandemic pushed consumers to seek out products online. They struck out to create a brand that offers both a great product and an interactive, fun and personable online experience. They decided to launch a complete rebrand, selling the same product using a new website, new packaging, new flavors and bigger bag sizes.

The key to the rebrand, Sherman said, was to “create a whole personality around” Snacklins.” The goal was to make its product “not just fun to snack on, but to interact with.” The company had to be innovative, while incorporating its core personality and spirit in its new marketing campaign. To do this, the Snacklins team kept a simple and bold design and introduced engaging new features on its website, including a game called SNAC-MAN .

Snacklins has been recognized for the success of its rebrand, earning a feature in Forbes magazine.

Olin’s influence

Sherman credits Olin’s influence with allowing him to consider himself a “business generalist, with the ability to think about economics, operations, supply chain and marketing.”

Olin provided him with a valuable foundation of business knowledge, he says. He credits his Introduction to Entrepreneurship class for arming him with the ability to understand the mechanics of entrepreneurship, especially how to transform a vague idea into a complete business plan. The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit he acquired during his time at Olin still guides his work today, he said.


Late last month, the Skandalaris Center announced this year’s finalists for the Global Impact Award. This award, founded in 2013, may present the finalist teams with up to $50,000, thanks to a donation from Suren Dutia and Jas Grewal.

The Global Impact Award was established in order to support the passions of Washington University students, recent alumni, and postdoctoral researchers who are creating ventures that are scalable, sustainable, and quick-to-market with proof of concept and a broad impact.

Caregather makes the life surrounding health bolder and brighter by connecting patients going through serious medical incidents to their closest circle and broader network. Tripp Brockway (AB ’12) and Michael Offerman, AB/MBA ’13. 

Cedars Health, Inc. provides minimally invasive procedures using their biocompatible implant, which mechanically compresses the prostate to dilate the urethral channel.  Raphael Chung, BS ’20, and Kevin Park, BSBE/MSBE ’20.

Golden Roots Essentials is an all-natural toxin-free skincare line with ingredients derived from the African continent. Fanta Kaba, MBA ’21. 

LFR International creates scalable networks of emergency first responders in a resource-limited setting without formal emergency medical services. Zachary Eisner, BS ’21, and Peter Delaney, AB ’18. 

Pareto is a direct-to-consumer women’s apparel brand founded on the principle that women wear 20% of their closets, 80% of the time. Jessica Landzberg, BSBA ’17, and Olivia Bordson, BSBA ’15. 

Qilo is an energy solutions company and energy supplier that charges consumers transparent rates and helps them make smarter energy decisions using a mobile application. David Brost (School of Engineer & Applied Science ’12). 

Congratulations to the finalists! The winner of the Global Impact Award will be announced on April 27, 2021, over Zoom.

Find the original Skandalaris post announcing the finalists here. Also, watch the video of finalists reacting to their selection above.




Shattuck Groome, MBA ’00

Inc. magazine released its definitive ranking of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, a list that has given national exposure and recognition to now-ubiquitous companies such as Zappos, Patagonia and even Microsoft for the first time.

The Inc. 5000, released in August, one of the most prestigious rankings in the nation for independent small businesses, placed Cage Point LLC—founded by Shattuck Groome, MBA ’00—No. 44 on the 2020 list.

Cage Point LLC is a media agency that specializes in research, communications planning and targeted media across all platforms. Their strategy is a people-focused approach, connecting brands to their target audience through media and data driven technology.

Groome said making the Inc. 5000 “reinforces (Cage Point’s) dedication to forming true partnerships with clients.”

Cage Point LLC made the Inc. 5000 by exhibiting an unprecedented three-year revenue growth of 6,467%. This places it above the median growth rate for the Inc. 5000 list, which lands at 165%.




Matthew Nyman died in an avalanche in Alaska last week. He was 43.

Nyman was an Army veteran, wounded warrior, government innovator and 2017 Olin EMBA alumnus.

Last Tuesday, he and two other climbers drove to the trailhead at Bear Mountain, near Chugiak, an area about 20 miles northeast of Anchorage. The last time anyone heard from them was around 10:30 a.m. that day, Alaska State Troopers reported.

The climbers were due back at the trailhead around 5 p.m. Tuesday and were reported overdue to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, according to media reports.

On Wednesday morning, February 3, troopers and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group began to search the mountain. Searchers saw that an avalanche had happened, and they found the men’s bodies buried in the slide.

Nyman, who lived in Denver, was an experienced climber, his wife, Kris Crichton, told the Tribune News Service. An Army Ranger turned Delta Force operator, Nyman was severely injured in a 2005 helicopter crash.

“He fought to be healed from the loss of a leg and no use of his other foot, in addition to a traumatic brain injury, to be able to walk again, climb mountains and work for the government to fight drug cartels in Mexico,” Crichton said Thursday. The couple met at Olin while Nyman and Crichton were both in the EMBA program, and they married in September 2020. (See his obituary.)

Nyman had considered business school for years. The helicopter crash helped accelerate his thinking, according to a 2019 Olin Blog post. During a combat operation, he was a passenger in a helicopter landing atop a building in Iraq. The crash left him with severe injuries to his head, back, lungs, femur and a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg.

After fighting his way back to health and building a stellar career developing and launching threat-assessment centers in the military and public sector, he pivoted to the private sector.

Nyman was a dedicated father to his two sons and his stepson, Crichton said. He most recently was the Cyber Fusion Center director for American Family Insurance.

He also was featured in the 2012 documentary “High Ground,” which followed 11 veterans as they climbed the Himalayan Mount Lobuche.

Nyman served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

A Matt Nyman Memorial Fund has been set up on GoFundMe to help support his widow and children.