Tag: Alumni



WashU Olin alumni have continued to benefit from their membership in the community many years after leaving campus. This is part of an occasional series of vignettes about the alumni experience. Today, we hear from Chris Sanderson, BSBA ’16, investment banking analyst, Metronome

A little more than a year ago, Chris Sanderson was working in valuation services for a large accounting firm. At that point, he wanted a career that aligned better with his finance major. So, he reached out to Olin and its Alumni & Development team.

He leveraged the team’s resources and plugged into the alumni network to make a career switch. “They did two things for me. They introduced me to various WashU alums, and they encouraged me to go to the Chicago alumni dinner in April,” Sanderson said. That’s where he connected with Jeff Rosenkranz, BSBA ’84, who founded Metronome, a Chicago-based investment banking firm, in 2010.

When Sanderson initially reached out to Olin, he was connected with Sean Martin, A&D’s director of development, who started the process. “We had a discussion about what I was looking for, and he explained his role with the alumni network,” Sanderson said. “He agreed to make introductions and was the one who recommended I attend the Chicago alumni dinner.” Sanderson began working at Metronome in June.

Stay in touch.

Center for Experiential Learning

Business Development

  • Dorothy Kittner, MBA ’94, associate dean and director of business development and corporate relations 314-935-6365 | kittner@wustl.edu

Alumni & Development

Weston Career Center

Executive Education

  • Kelly Bean, senior associate dean and professor of practice in leadership 202-797-6000 | beank@wustl.edu



A mother-daughter team—including a WashU Olin alumna—took honors in both the USA International Mrs. Asia and Miss Asia Pageant Grand Finale.

A mother-daughter team—including a WashU Olin alumna—took honors in both the USA International Mrs. Asia and Miss Asia Pageant Grand Finale in New York on December 21. Michelle Wu, EMBA ’12, and her daughter, Tiffany Yao, a May 2019 graduate of the Sam Fox School as a communication design major, took the honors in the two contests. Wu submitted the following information about the achievement.

Tiffany followed her mother’s footsteps into WashU in 2015 after graduating from John Burroughs School.

Mother and daughter both won the regional champion titles and entered the USA International Mrs. Asia and Miss Asia Pageants 2019 Grand Finale competition in New York in December right before Christmas.

“People claim that’s a rare case for both mother and daughter to join and win international beauty competitions at the same time—and especially that we both from WashU.

Michelle won the Global Grand Champion title of all age groups, as well as the Most Intelligent Award, the Perfect Figure Award, and the Best Talent Award—and took the 50-60 age group champion.

Tiffany won Global First Runner Up, as well as the Most Elegant & Charming Award, the Best Talent Award and the Miss Friendly and Popular Award.


WashU Olin alumni have continued to benefit from their membership in the community many years after leaving campus. This is part of an occasional series of vignettes about the alumni experience. Today, we hear from Michael Tessier, MBA ’16, director of finance, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Following a stint in the oil and gas business in Texas, Michael Tessier returned to St. Louis. Connections he forged while he was an MBA student with Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. cofounders David Wolfe and Florian Kuplent led to a job with the brewer.

Last year, Tessier returned to Olin, signing on Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. as a client for a project with the Center for Experiential Learning.

While earning his MBA in finance and strategy, Tessier had worked on a practicum project for Urban Chestnut focused on the brewer’s domestic production and marketing. Now, as the company’s finance director, he had the chance to leverage Olin students for a project that looked at financing options, production modeling and marketing for an autonomous German-based subsidiary of the brewer.

“The group helped formulate tools we still use today to evaluate the business,” Tessier said. “The university does a really nice job helping clients set up for success.”e, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Stay in touch.

Center for Experiential Learning

Business Development

  • Dorothy Kittner, MBA ’94, associate dean and director of business development and corporate relations 314-935-6365 | kittner@wustl.edu

Alumni & Development

Weston Career Center

Executive Education

  • Kelly Bean, senior associate dean and professor of practice in leadership 202-797-6000 | beank@wustl.edu



Samuel Roth, wife, Daisy, and daughters Adalynn (10 months) and Abagail (5).

UPDATE: March 2, 2020

The ordeal of the Roth family is over. After spending weeks in Wuhan, China, Olin alum Samuel Roth’s wife and two daughters are finally home. Originally, the threesome went overseas without Roth to visit grandparents.

When the coronavirus outbreak began, they were stuck in China for weeks until they could get space on a flight back to the United States. Roth reported on Fridaythat his wife and two daughters returned to Wisconsin on Sunday, February 23, during the night, after spending two weeks in quarantine upon their return to the states.

“Everyone is healthy, happy and relieved that it is over,” Roth said in an email to the Olin Blog. He forwarded a link to a profile piece done by a Milwaukee local station.

UPDATE: February 6, 2020.

Samuel Roth’s wife and children landed around 6 a.m. today, February 6, 2020, in Riverside, CA, on the second evacuation flight to leave Wuhan, according to an update on the FlightAware website Roth posted on Facebook a day earlier.

Media reports say the flight was to land at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. “They landed at Travis (Air Force Base) this morning. I think they will be there quarantined for two weeks,” Roth confirmed in an email on Wednesday afternoon.

Roth’s daughters, Adalynn, 10 months, and Abagail, 5, playing after landing in the states following their ordeal in Wuhan.

Original Story

A WashU Olin alumnus is working to bring home his wife and two children from Wuhan, China, where they arrived last week intending to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday with family—and instead, found themselves at the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Samuel M. Roth, MBA ’19, learned almost immediately upon their arrival in Wuhan that Daisy, his wife, and children Adalynn, 10 months, and Abagail, 5, had been told to hunker down in his in-law’s apartment and stay put. Roth’s in-laws live in Wuhan’s Xinzhou district in the northeastern part of the city.

He told CBS News they were told to avoid big gatherings. The network reported today that 106 people have died of the virus since the outbreak began and about 1,000 Americans are in the city of Wuhan.

“My family wasn’t able to get on the most recent chartered evacuation flight,” said Roth, an associate brand manager for Kimberly-Clark in Neenah, WI, in an email to Olin Blog. The US State Department has said priority for air transport from Wuhan would be given to those at greatest risk for contracting the virus.

“We’ve got a 10-month-old, we’ve got a 5-year-old,” Roth said in his interview with CBS News. “They’re susceptible, and they should be prioritized.”

“Initially I was trying to get ahold of the embassy and get them on the chartered flight. That ship has sailed, literally,” Roth told Olin Blog. “At this point, we’re hoping there will be subsequent rounds of evacuation. I’d like her out of there, but I’m not overwhelmed with anxiety. They’re staying at home and washing often.”

Roth’s congressman, US Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI, relayed a message from the US embassy in Beijing saying there wasn’t enough space to accommodate Americans wishing to depart by air. “The Department of State is working diligently with the government of China to identify alternative routes for U.S. citizens to depart Wuhan over land,” the embassy statement said, in part.

Roth has stayed in touch with his family throughout and said that for now, boredom may be the biggest issue his wife and kids have to confront.

“We are hopeful that there will be more opportunities for them to get out of Wuhan,” he said. “For now, they are just staying inside, keeping hands washed and trying to stave off boredom with books, movies, games and the like.”




Daphne Benzaquen

Daphne Benzaquen, MBA ’17, was very clear about what she wanted out of business school: An opportunity to be her own boss. And that’s what she’s done with the launch of her personal lifestyle brand daph., conceived at Olin from her personal experience.

She’s been written up in a variety of St. Louis-area publications including St. Louis Magazine and the St. Louis Business Journal, which named her a 30 Under 30 honoree in 2019.

Can you tell us a little about daph? What inspired you to found it? Was it conceived at Olin?

daph. was born out of an unmet need. During my MBA studies at Olin, I was in search for a functional, fashionable backpack that not only carried my essentials, but also had a sleek and polished look.

In 2016, I embarked on an adventure that led to a self-taught crash course in designing leather goods, meetings with leather makers across Peru and a website designed from scratch. I wanted to create a brand that bonded my unique style with my Peruvian roots.

After a year of international communication, editing and design, I launched daph., a sustainable fashion brand that empowers its customers to give back.

Why did you decide to get your MBA and how did you land at Olin?

I went to business school with the goal of being my own boss and the ultimate decision-maker. Never did I imagine I would become every single department of a company. No day is the same and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

St. Louis is home to me so Olin was an easy choice. Both St. Louis and Olin have become a hub for innovation and creativity. The connections made through the program are invaluable.

I’ve met lifelong friends, mentors and contacts, which has led to amazing opportunities to grow my business. Attending Olin gave me an all-encompassing view of business while introducing me to new skills and experiences that have sparked new interests and passions, something not found at all schools.

In what ways was your experience at Olin formative in your experience and goals?

I was lucky enough to attend various events held at Olin where I heard from experienced, notable experts in various fields. For example, I participated in a Taylor Community Consulting Project. In that experience, alongside my peers, we positively contributed to the growth strategy of LaunchSTL, a nonprofit organization with the goal of building up nonprofit’s young professional boards.

To conclude my MBA, I studied abroad at various European business schools with students from all over the world. We visited global companies, hearing from top executives at the company and gaining insight on international business strategies and customs—something vital in my business.

Olin taught me how to think about various business issues differently and from diverse perspectives. I learned how to push the boundaries and test out new, unique solutions to everyday company problems.

I always say getting my MBA from Olin was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Were there particular courses or professors who were particularly memorable?

My confidence to start daph. began during my Introduction to Entrepreneurship with David Poldoian. During this course, I was pushed outside my comfort zone when it came to coming up with a business solution.

I was able to use skills gained in other courses to come up with a complete execution plan to an idea that was just in the making. It taught me how to think outside the box, which I do every day now.

Hearing from other entrepreneurs in the St. Louis community, along with conducting feasibility studies, gave me the push I needed to take the risk and start something on my own.

What are the next steps for you in your career?

I will continue to grow daph. into a national lifestyle and fashion brand.




For Brent Sobol, the key to loving your work starts with understanding yourself and knowing what makes you happy. With that, he said recently, you’re in a position to make a positive difference in others’ lives.

Sobol found what he loved to do while he was a student at Washington University in St. Louis’ Olin Business School. In exchange for free rent, he managed his fraternity’s house and loved the work. Then, in the final days of Sobol’s last semester, a group of students asked a favorite professor for advice about starting their post-college lives.

“Follow your bliss,” the professor said.

“The message resonated with me to my core,” Sobol said in a recent talk at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Midtown.

“That’s the only way you can really feel good about yourself,” he said. “When you feel really good about yourself, you’re in a position to help others and make a difference in their lives.”

Brent Sobol speaks about his mission to serve low- and moderate-income residents.

Sobol is president and founder of Legacy Community Housing Corp., a nonprofit he formed in 2009. The concept came out of lessons he learned over years of working in the affordable housing industry. During that time, he rehabilitated dangerous and blighted apartment communities, and he became a specialist in crime prevention and turning around multifamily communities.

“I got a reputation for being the guy who could turn around the apartments that were badly broken,” he said. “I was an owner and a property manager. Most apartments, there’s a great divide between the owner and the property manager.” That’s part of the problem with low-income housing, Sobol said.

Address root problems

Low-income housing could work well, he realized, if the goal was a safe community populated with good neighbors. And that goal can be achieved by providing social services that address root problems in the community and by having managers who are engaged in the community, said Sobol, who earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Olin in 1998.

Sobol moved to Atlanta in 2001, a few years after graduation, and became a millionaire by age 30. He also owns Sobol Realty Inc., a residential real estate company his father started in 1954. “My dad had a lot of good sayings,” Sobol said. Among them: “Giving is the path to happiness.”

Over time he has owned, managed, financed and invested in more than 6,500 rental and condominium units with values in excess of $128 million. He has overseen the successful repositioning of 14 apartment communities with capital improvement expenditures totaling over $27 million. During his talk, Sobol spoke about how his wealth and happiness grew alongside his mission to serve low- and moderate-income residents with respectable places to live.

Safety for his residents is paramount. “You need to feel safe in your home before you can do anything else. That’s fundamental,” he said. Landlords should always check tenants’ backgrounds, he said, but not enough do. In Atlanta, Sobol formed partnerships with the police, sheriff’s and fire departments.

Engage residents

Sobol also worked to engage residents. His properties have offered programs for all age groups, including bingo for seniors and daycare for children. “We hired really good teachers who had certifications, so the kids were learning when they came to our daycare.” His own daughter attended the daycare.

He also came up with other ways to add value to his residents’ lives. He created a community garden. He had an orchard of plum, pear and orange trees planted. Anyone can come and take the fruit.

And he was careful to put employees in jobs they love.

“Everybody benefited from that,” he said. “Customers loved us even more. We made more money. And, you know, the world is a better place when [people] love what they do.”

Learn how WashU Olin’s full-time MBA program — with global-mindedness, experiential learning and analytical rigor — equips future business leaders to confront challenge and change the world, for good.