Tag: Alumni

J.T. Mosbacher, in a blue striped shirt, seated next to his wife, Heidi Morris-Mosbacher, in a white blouse.

What happens when you combine a profound appreciation for the power of education, deep gratitude for opportunities opened by a scholarship, setting priorities, and career success?

For J.T. Mosbacher and Heidi Morris-Mosbacher, you get the chance to be among the youngest alumni ever to endow a scholarship for future business students at WashU Olin Business School.

“Education and philanthropy are very important to our family. It has shaped who we are,” said J.T., AB 2010/PMBA 2015. “These are some of our biggest priorities. Heidi and I have deep discussions about how to pave the path forward.”

Indeed, for Heidi, AB 2009, it’s a perfect opportunity to give back after being a self-described “scholarship kid.” Thirteen years after graduating from WashU, she was excited to let her own scholarship donor know of their gift.

Both J.T. and Heidi work as financial advisors for Edward Jones in St. Louis, where they take great pride in serving in coaching roles with their clients, helping them to set and achieve goals. The couple sees the ability to endow a scholarship as an extension of some of the work they do with clients—prioritizing and establishing a legacy.

Impacting lives ‘in perpetuity’

“We’ve been blessed with career success,” Heidi said. “Our hope is that we can impact the lives of others in perpetuity. With what we do for a living, we are confronted by the following questions: ‘What do we want our legacy to look like? What impact do we want to have on the world?’ on a near daily basis. I see our legacy as threefold: the human beings we shape our children into, philanthropy, and being a part of our clients’ life stories.”

The couple also hopes to instill these values into their three children.  “Our hope is that our actions will inspire them and others along the way,” said J.T.

The pair met at WashU thanks, in part, to what J.T. described as his “snaking path” to a career. Initially, he felt pressure to declare a major early on and chose architecture but soon realized that was not going to be his career. “Going to a university that was forgiving if I changed my major was a prerequisite.  I also have a second major in American Culture Studies,” he said. “That’s how I met Heidi. She’s a dual major in Political Science and American Culture Studies.”

For her part, Heidi found a path as a WashU student looking into investment research. “I didn’t grow up around investing jargon. I didn’t know what stocks or bonds were,” she said. “I stumbled upon investing my freshman year and ended up in a brokerage firm office at 18 years old telling them I wanted to open an account. The advisor looked at me and asked if my parents knew I was there.”

Her path eventually led her to study at the London School of Economics.

Enduring influence of WashU

“Not only do I enjoy wealth management and financial planning, the true highlight of my career is forming relationships with the families that I serve,” she said. “I enjoy getting to know people on a very deep level and helping them achieve their version of financial success.”

J.T. and Heidi’s contribution brings the number of endowed scholarships at Olin to 205 as of December 2022. Their endowed scholarship was established with a gift where a portion of the earnings are reinvested, helping to ensure resources for the scholarship will always be available.

Both J.T. and Heidi specifically recalled a personal finance course they took under Mike Gordinier as a highlight of their WashU education. “That was a phenomenal class,” Heidi said. “It opened my eyes to a career path.”

For J.T., joining a cohort of young professionals in their PMBA program was also a formative experience as successful classmates worked together to catapult their careers: “The discussions and ability to relate to our work experiences helped bring the theories we learned in the classroom to life.”

To join J.T. and Heidi in supporting financial aid resources for our students, please visit the Scholars in Business website for more information.

Albert Ip

Rick Skwiot wrote this article for Washington Magazine.

For Albert Ip, BSAMCS ’73, coming to Washington University in St. Louis from Macau, China, for his undergraduate studies in applied mathematics and computer science was a life-changing experience that launched a distinguished career in international banking and hospitality investing. Now, with multiple appointments at universities in Hong Kong, the former WashU trustee (2017–21) is working to burnish Washington University’s brand in Hong Kong so more students there apply and benefit as he has.

While WashU ranks ahead of many Ivy League schools, students from Hong Kong often elect to attend those East Coast universities when given a chance, Ip says. “I think it is a matter of name recognition, so I’d like to help build Washington University’s brand in Hong Kong.”


To that end, Ip, as an adjunct professor, has established collaborations between WashU and top universities in Hong Kong and Macau, trying to expose more students to WashU and thus raise its profile. The Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Macau, for example, offer dual MS degrees with Olin Business School. At Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), its engineering school signed a collaboration agreement with McKelvey School of Engineering in 2020. And Ip also connected the University of Hong Kong’s top-flight medical school with WashU. 

Not that Ip has anything against the Ivy Leagues: He earned MS degrees from Cornell and Carnegie Mellon universities. He contends the smaller size and faculty accessibility at WashU, though, can pay students big dividends. The willingness of “faculty members to counsel students, especially international students, propels my preference for WashU,” Ip says.

“I had a great relationship with Professor Ervin Rodin, who taught in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science,” Ip says. “Rodin (who retired in 2010 after 44 years at the university) inspired me and showed me how mathematics can open your mind, making you think methodically, which gave me the confidence to look at the data and theory and apply them to real life.”

Multiple roles

And apply them he did, serving in multiple roles at Citigroup, including managing director and corporate banking and transaction banking head; at Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) as managing director of investments; and at Langham Hospitality Investments as CEO. Ip has served on the boards of 11 listed companies in Hong Kong, and he still serves on five, including New World Development, Power Assets and Hutchison Telecom HK.

Still, for all his success, Ip remembers how he got there and spends much of his time helping students to succeed. His circuitous journey from Hong Kong to St. Louis and eventually back to Hong Kong, via stops in Pittsburgh, New York City and San Francisco, “inspired me to support students in career development,” says Ip, “advising them on how to select the right companies for their career paths and using my business connections to help them get jobs.”

Ip founded and chairs the Career Advisory Council at two business schools at City University of Hong Kong and at HKUST. “I am proud of that work, work first developed at WashU,” Ip says. 

About Albert Ip

WashU advocate: Albert Ip, BSAMCS ’73, served as a member of the Washington University Board of Trustees from 2017–21.

WashU liaison: Ip promotes Washington University and is an adjunct professor at theChinese University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; University of Hong Kong; and the University of Macau.

Learn more: Ip’s journey to WashU was chronicled in Washington Magazine in 2017 in the story, “Giving back for a better future.”

Deshpande and Wei at the podium.

Two Olin alumni were honored November 16 at the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis 2022 Connections Dinner, at River City Casino & Hotel.


Rahul Deshpande, EMBA 2006, received the Executive of the Year Award. Ivan Wei, EMBA 2021, received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Deshpande is the chief technology officer for Ethoca, a Mastercard company focused on building industry solutions that help businesses prevent chargebacks, fight fraud and build better digital customer experiences.


Wei is the owner of the Chinese restaurant Corner 17 and W Karoke Lounge, both on Delmar Boulevard in University City.

“I’m a proud Chinese businessman,” he’s quoted in the awards event’s program. “I love my culture and Chinese food, and I appreciate how much we value our families.”

Said Deshpande: “I am fortunate to have access to WashU and encouragement from faculty such as Professor Mahendra Gupta. Mastercard’s corporate tenet is ‘Doing well by Doing Good.’ This really has been a driver of the work I was able to do in the community as well as creating teams of passionate people in Mastercard who are building products for a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy.”

Daniel Durchholz wrote this for Washington Magazine.

As the founder and CEO of City Winery—a national chain of top-notch music venues that also offers fine dining with an emphasis on (as the name suggests) wine—Michael Dorf, AB ’84, BSBA ’84, imparts this bit of sage advice: “Indulge your senses.” 

It’s City Winery’s corporate slogan as well as the title of Dorf’s 2019 book chronicling his life and sometimes tumultuous times in the business world, which, prior to City Winery, included the founding of the Knitting Factory, an incubator of the underground New York music scene and, prior to the bursting of the tech bubble, an early titan in the realm of digital music. 

The book, subtitled Scaling Intimacy in a Digital World, also provides some buttoned-down business advice: Embrace change. Keep it real. Find a balance.

“I certainly feel you should 100% believe in and want to utilize a product that you’re selling,” Dorf says. “When I was 23, 24, I wanted that standing-room, beer-drinking experience,” which the Knitting Factory supplied. Years later, Dorf became a family man, and his wants and needs changed in a more sophisticated direction. When attending a concert, he wanted to go to a small venue with an excellent sound system. He wanted to sit and be able to choose his seat. He wanted the show to start at a predictable time so he could fit it into his busy schedule. And he wanted to be able to have a great dinner with excellent wine on the premises, so as not to have to rush from restaurant to concert venue. 

Thus, City Winery was born, where patrons can see artists from across the musical firmament, such as Los Lobos, Bettye LaVette, Robert Fripp, Steve Earle, Marshall Crenshaw, Salif Keita, Joan Osborne and Suzanne Vega. 

‘A memory you want to relish’

Dorf wants every City Winery concert to feel like a special occasion—“something that becomes a memory you want to relish,” he says. 

“If you go to a show and it’s one of your favorite artists, that can be very deep and powerful,” he continues. “And we see it as an enhancement of the overall experience when you can have really good food, and the wine is flowing, and you can be sitting with friends. Like, this is the best of what life has to offer. And that’s what we’re trying to create every night for people.” 

So where did Dorf’s taste and talent for entrepreneurship come from? 

As it turns out, it’s part of his DNA. Dorf hails from Milwaukee, where his grandfather founded the Milwaukee Biscuit Company. His father expanded the business considerably but sold it before it passed to a third generation, forcing Dorf to carve his own path. 

Double major

Much of what eventuated originated at WashU. Dorf graduated in 1984, double majoring in business and psychology—which is a story in itself. At the time, the business program didn’t allow double majors, so Dorf, in the spirit of rebellion, registered under his real name as a business major and, subbing in his middle name, under “Michael Ethan” as a psychology major. 

“I was two people,” he says with a laugh. “And I have two diplomas.” 

‘If you go to a show and it’s one of your favorite artists, that can be very deep and powerful.’

About Michael Dorf

As a student, Dorf was part of concert committee Team 31, where he came into the orbit of some of the artists performing at WashU. He laid out the backstage deli spread for King Crimson; he carried an amp for Bono when U2 played its first St. Louis gig at Graham Chapel. 

Those experiences—as well as managing his friends’ band, Swamp Thing—laid the groundwork for what would become the Knitting Factory and City Winery. But Dorf found WashU’s extracurricular programs to be of lasting value, too. 

He was president of the Outing Club, which organized spelunking, canoeing and backpacking trips—things that continue to be part of his life. Each year, a group of his closest WashU friends get together for backpacking and rock climbing, a tradition of 32 years and counting. 

“I think I’m living proof of how those things ultimately can become part of a career and your life,” he says. 

And Dorf continues to walk it like he talks it, expanding his business (he expects to open City Winery St. Louis this winter) even as he continues to live his best life.

At the time of this interview, he’d just returned from a trip to Europe. Was it business or pleasure? 

“Both,” Dorf says. “Everything in my life is always both.” 

About Michael Dorf

A WashU Family: Dorf met his wife, Sarah Connors, AB ’85 (English and American literature), a film producer and post-production supervisor, at WashU.  They have three children: twin boys, 24, and a girl, 18. 

Location, location, location: Currently in eight locations, City Winery will soon open in Columbus, Ohio, and in a hot new location at City Foundry in St. Louis (winter 2022–23). “St. Louis has always been one of my favorite cities in the country,” Dorf said at the announcement. “It’s where I went to college, and it is an honor to be opening in the historic building of City Foundry STL.”

Photo: MIchael Dorf outside City Winery Hudson Valley. It’s his mission to give patrons a chance to see top musical artists while experiencing fine food and wine — giving patrons an experience they’ll remember forever. (Photo: Meghan Spiro)

A collage of images from different years of the Olin Blog commemorating its 10th anniversary.

With a lovely evening shot of Simon Hall and a sparkling video outlining the strategy behind this new initiative, the Olin Blog debuted 10 years ago today. Since then, WashU Olin Business School has opened two new buildings—Bauer Hall and Knight Hall. Two business school deans (and one interim) have come and gone. Nearly 12,000 students have graduated from Olin’s programs—from undergraduate to doctoral.

And since that first post on November 30, 2012, writers for the Olin Blog have contributed nearly 3,200 stories documenting the heartbeat of the school—stories of alumni and student accomplishments, stories of school innovations and advancements, stories of marriage and stories of tragedy.

“I’m always interested in what sets Olin apart, what makes us unique,” said Paula Crews in the debut video. At the time, she was associate dean and director of Olin marketing and communications. Today, she’s Olin’s interim chief of staff and senior associate dean and director of strategy and marketing. “We know the real power lies in connecting our audiences with our Olin personalities—storytellers if you will. We see a real opportunity to bring to life what makes Olin unique.”

To celebrate 10 years of the Olin Blog, we’re highlighting 10 posts—one for each year. They might not have been the most-read posts for the year. Just posts that grabbed our attention.

2012-13: “Through the giving of others”

“Seniors shake it up with the chancellor.” This April 18, 2013, post speaks of students launching a senior gift campaign with a video doing the Harlem Shake with then-Chancellor Mark Wrighton. Alas, while the post remains, the video itself has been lost.

2013-14: “Flying over the towers”

“Drone captures campus video.” This August 6, 2014, post highlights drone video soaring over campus and spotlighting Olin’s new buildings.

2014-15: “Midwestern sensibilities”

“Alum launches clothing line.” This very simple and very short post from August 12, 2015, proved to be very popular with a lot of readers as Jimmy Sansone, BSBA 2010, launched his company.

2015-16: “We were kind of freaking out”

“A chance encounter with Tom Cruise.” In a February 15, 2016, post, then Olin BSBA student Colin Wells shared the brief meetup with Hollywood royalty at a London pub.

2016-17: “Humbleness and sincerity”

“Our lunch with Warren Buffett.” In a January 17, 2017, post, Nina Gerson, then a senior finance major, shared the experience of meeting the Oracle of Omaha with her classmates.

2017-18: “The means to give back”

“Alum’s donation launches ‘business of the arts’ minor.” It was an April 15, 2018, blog post that broke news about this new business minor, funded by Richard Ritholz, BSBA ’84, his wife, Linda, and inspired by their daughter’s experience in the arts.

2018-19: “Wonderful memories, meaningful experiences”

“They found love in a business place.” This time it was former Bollywood royalty that sparked massive interest in the blog on February 14, 2019. The story documented the romance of former actress Richa Gangopadhyay and Joe Langella, both MBA 2017.

2019-20: “OK, what’s next?”

“Out of a job because of COVID-19, EMBA finds support at Olin.” Carolyn Feltner, EMBA 50, shared her troubling experience with a COVID-related job loss and a fulfilling experience with Olin career services in a post on May 7, 2020.

2020-21: “Honored by this opportunity”

“From intern to CEO: Nina Leigh Krueger named first woman to lead Nestlé Purina PetCare.” We don’t often have a story like this to share. Krueger, MBA 1994, first set foot in Purina as an intern in 1993.

2021-22: “You have to live your life”

“Justin Hardy, BSBA ’21, plays WashU basketball while fighting stage 4 stomach cancer.” This tragic story, published on the blog January 28, 2022, drew global attention—a tribute to Hardy’s grit and determination. Hardy died May 29, 2022.

Robert Berke, BSBA 2017, works at JetBlue Airways

Next in a series of Olin Blog features on recent alumni.

As a member of JetBlue’s financial planning and analysis team, Robert Berke, BSBA 2017, has helped the company weather some tough times during the course of the pandemic. And he’s also set up to make visits around the country as he connects with Olin friends—and keeps that fantasy football league going. Here’s an update since graduating—and an overview of the value he found in WashU Olin’s coursework.

What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

I work at JetBlue Airways in New York. I’m on the financial planning and analysis team and manage a staff that supports the near- and long-term planning, reporting and modeling of JetBlue’s cost structure. While JetBlue doesn’t have an airline presence in St. Louis (it has always been on my wish list when talking to the team that decides where we fly!), my education at Olin has certainly had a positive impact on my career.

The core business curriculum in the BSBA program, paired with my majors in finance and accounting, allowed me to have a strong foundation for working in a fast-paced environment, while also having a deep understanding of financial modeling and scenario planning. The Weston Career Center also played a major role in my career development as I was able to easily connect with alums working in the industry.

What Olin course, “defining moment” or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

While there was no one course that influenced my life the most, as so many courses at Olin were impactful, I would say that Durai Sundaramoorthi’s Managerial Statistics class and Mark Soczek’s Financial Statement Analysis class were extremely influential.

First, in Managerial Statistics, I not only learned the basics of descriptive statistics and probability distributions, but I also learned the business application of statistics. Dr. Durai seamlessly showed the class how meaningful data analysis is and encouraged students to leverage analytical tools to make informed business decisions.

As a finance and accounting major, I found Professor Soczek’s FSA class particularly fascinating. He brought real-world examples to class, which allowed us to learn how to process and evaluate financial statement information to identify profitability or possible risks a company may face. This has been helpful in my current role at JetBlue, a public company, as my team lends support during our quarterly financial reporting process. I think back to Professor Soczek’s class and appreciate how external players look to these statements to identify potential investments.

How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?

I love staying engaged with WashU and Olin. I stay in contact with a few Olin professors and always appreciate their openness to reconnect. I’m also involved in WashU’s Alumni and Parents Admissions Program, which has allowed me to stay up to speed with the incredible developments at the university, interview prospective students and engage with other alums.

What’s great about my friends from Olin is that they’re living in different parts of the country. I love traveling to visit them and we, of course, have kept our fantasy football league going.

Why is business education important?

Studying business is key. A business education sets students up for success to tackle issues in today’s dynamic world. What’s special about studying business is the opportunity to use real-life examples through case studies. In a collaborative environment that promotes participation, students are able to work through these tricky problems and learn fundamental practices from experts in the field. A business education also provides important communication skills that are useful beyond a professional career. 

What advice would you give current Olin students?

I would encourage students to pursue their passion and leverage the Olin community to do so. Whether it’s through taking courses outside of your comfort zone or chatting with a professor you haven’t met, the Olin community is there for your support. I’d also encourage students to study abroad. Today’s business world is extremely global and Olin’s abroad programs allow undergraduate students to experience this firsthand.

How has the pandemic influenced your thinking about doing business locally or globally—or your career?

So many businesses and industries were disrupted by the pandemic and the airline industry was no exception. Demand for air travel disappeared, which posed a very unique experience for me and my team as we needed to look after the financial health of JetBlue.

As a company, we also had to address public health concerns in countries around the world to ensure customers felt safe once they were ready to return to the skies. I believe continuously addressing these concerns is something that businesses, both locally and globally, will need to consider going forward.