Brock Mullen, BSBA ’23, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

I had the privilege of spending the past semester studying abroad in Ireland at University College Dublin (UCD). Olin provides so many opportunities for global experiences, and this is my second time getting to take advantage of an international Olin program. This semester not only provided useful academic skills for my marketing major, but also it taught me many life lessons. The classes at UCD are structured differently than at WashU, so I only had classes two days a week. I used the rest of my time to explore Ireland and the rest of Europe! I’d like to share a lesson I learned from each of the countries I visited:

Ireland: Make the most of unexpected changes

To accompany my second major in Chinese Language and Culture, I was originally planning to study abroad in China. However, that was not possible due to COVID-19. I was not expecting to spend a semester in Ireland, but I am so glad it worked out this way. I made amazing lifelong friends and had so many opportunities for experiences I never would have had otherwise. Although I didn’t get to practice my Chinese much (I found some people to practice with in Dublin, however), I have been able to travel to many places I never would’ve thought possible before this semester.

United Kingdom: Make time for friends

The first destination I visited was to see a fellow WashU student who is from Wales and was home for the holidays. It was such a great trip, even if we didn’t do anything “touristy” while visiting. Making time for friends is a must.

Slovakia: Be spontaneous

Sometimes, you just need to take advantage of unique opportunities as they arise. I saw an advertisement for €5 round-trip flights to Slovakia and purchased them on the spot. The trip was one of my favorite memories of the semester!

Belgium: Take advantage of the global Olin community

I decided to visit a group of my Olin peers who were participating in a special class at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Olin has students, staff and alumni all over the world, and it was amazing to see many people come together at this event.

Germany: Take a break and admire everyday beauty

While visiting the local sites in every place I traveled was great, some of my favorite moments were simply being with friends in a quiet park or on a random street. Don’t focus too much on the big moments; stop and look at the little things.

Spain: It’s okay to have an adjustment period

I do not like eating dinner at 9 p.m., so getting used to the Spanish lifestyle was challenging at first. However, amazing friends supported me and helped me get used to the different cultural norms.

Czech Republic: Relax and open up

On my visit to the Czech Republic, I felt great after taking time to relax and open up to friends. By growing closer to my travel companions, it enhanced our visit of the country and made the trip so enjoyable.

Norway: Be flexible

I did not intend to visit Norway, but due to a last-minute flight cancelation, I was forced to have a layover there. Although this didn’t seem ideal at the time, being flexible in my travel plans allowed me to explore a new place and gain great experiences!

Iceland: Plan to check something off the bucket list

I had always dreamed of visiting the beautiful nature in Iceland. I finally fulfilled my dream, and it was amazing! Taking the time and effort to make it a reality definitely paid off in the end.

Morocco: Reframe anxiousness as excitement

Because Moroccan culture is very different from the Western European culture, I’d grown accustomed to, I was initially nervous to explore this place. However, I turned that anxiousness into excitement by focusing on how much I would learn and grow from the experience—and it was outstanding!

Croatia: Don’t let rain (or any unfortunate circumstance) stop you from having fun

After learning my trip to Croatia would be filled with rain and storms, I was disappointed and not as excited to go. However, I was still able to have an amazing time—even if the itinerary had to change quite a bit to accommodate the weather.

Montenegro: Waiting is great time for thinking

When coming back from Montenegro, I was stuck waiting to cross the border for hours with no internet connection. This provided a wonderful opportunity to reflect, pause and practice using my imagination —a break that we all need sometimes!

The Netherlands: Allow shock to encourage curiosity

The Netherlands is a stunning place, and there are many societal and physical differences from other places I’ve traveled. Leveraging this surprise to pique my interest in the local culture allowed me to learn many new things that challenged my beliefs and perspectives.

Denmark: Take risks

I decided to try something new and do a bike tour. I was hesitant because I had not ridden a bike in many years, and I wasn’t sure if exploring a new city by bike would be difficult or dangerous. But, as the old saying goes, it was “just like riding a bike.” I’m glad I decided to take this risk for me and enjoy the reward of a pleasant experience.

Sweden: Be bold and try new things

I was in Sweden on Easter, and the only open restaurant I came across was a Mexican-Swedish fusion restaurant serving an Easter brunch buffet. I was hesitant to experiment with this new cuisine, but it ended up being some of the best food I had in Europe!

Portugal: Climbing a hill makes you stronger

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a lot like San Francisco—quite hilly! Going up all the hills can be exhausting, but the views at the top are always worth it. Just like in life, though the journey may be uncomfortable, sticking through it ends in with a nice reward (and nice calves).

Austria: Savor Moments

I visited Austria on a day trip, and I initially felt pressure to rush and squeeze in all the activities. However, I realized that taking the time to savor each of the new sites would provide a much more meaningful experience.

Hungary: Be adventurous

While I went on all my other trips with amazing fellow Olin students, I decided to do my final trip of the semester alone. It was fun to explore independently and be adventurous, and it provided me with a new perspective on traveling.

Overall, this Olin semester abroad was outstanding. It would not have been possible without my Olin peers and best friends Brad Gordon and Harrison Tanaka, the support of the Olin Global Programs office and the friendly people of the world. I’m looking forward to my next adventures at WashU and beyond!

This coming semester will be the first spring Olin will send students abroad since 2020. They’ll immerse themselves in other cultures for the entire semester in Chile, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

We asked five of our soon-to-travel BSBA students, all Class of 2023, about their plans and hopes as they go abroad. After all, this is International Education Week, celebrating the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Closer to home, of course, Olin is globally oriented. It’s one of our four pillars of excellence.

“I haven’t spent much time out of the US, so this will be an entirely new experience for me,” Emma Guarnero said. She’s heading to Santiago, Chile, and is looking forward to mastering Spanish and learning about the indigenous culture there.

“I’m also looking forward to living with a host family and, hopefully, developing a strong relationship with them,” she said. Overall, she said, she’s hoping to gain a more global perspective “and begin to understand the world outside of my bubble in the US.”

Eventually, Guarnero intends to work in Latin America. “I’m planning on working as an international human rights attorney or in Latin American economic development. I’m hopeful that this experience will give me clarity into which career path I want to pursue.”

‘An expanded mindset’

Originally, Brock Mullen was bound for Singapore, but that program was canceled. So, he’s heading to Dublin.

“In high school, I had some wonderful opportunities to travel abroad with my church and my school,” he said. “I have been to Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Germany and Turkey with my high school, and I participated in a service trip in Jamaica.”

He’s counting on his semester in Ireland to help him deepen his appreciation of other cultures. “By having an expanded mindset, I’ll be able to make more well-rounded and thorough decisions in my career. Adding a global perspective will make me a more valuable asset for my future employers.” 

Mullen said he hopes to one day join the ranks of upper management for a successful company. After he graduates, he’s bound for Microsoft’s finance rotation program, which is its leadership development pipeline.

Jaya Tewari already has traveled to 13 countries and heads to Madrid this spring. “I’m most excited to meet other students from around the world and experience a new culture.”

She intends to work in the sports industry, and she said she is curious to learn if experiencing European soccer culture will confirm her desire to work internationally.

Ireland has fascinated Andrew Weiss since high school, when he studied European history and Irish English literature. “I’ve always wanted to study abroad, and I am very excited to visit Ireland for the first time.”

At University College Dublin, he plans to combine his passions of European history and business. He also said he hopes to meet new, lifelong friends and develop a deeper understanding of Irish culture.

“I’m very excited to build a business network abroad,” he said.  “I have learned so much about the value of networking at WashU.” 

When his time in Ireland is over, he’ll be off to New York City for an investment banking internship at DC Advisory. “I am very open minded to what the future may hold, but I believe I have narrowed it down to banking or private equity as the space I am most interested in.” 

Jason Jin said he’s not yet sure where he wants to go with his career. For now, he’s taking it a semester at a time and excited about the next one, which he’ll spend in Milan.

“I’m hoping to broaden my worldview and expand my appreciation for the Italian culture,” said Jin, who has visited Russia, Spain, England and China. “I think this experience abroad may allow me to be more open to potentially working abroad as well.”

Pictured from left top row: Emma Guarnero, Jason Jin, Brock Mullen, Jaya Tewari and Andrew Weiss.

Part of a series of Q&As with Olin alumni. Today we hear from Nina Gerson, BSBA ’17. Nina works as an investment banking analyst at Union Square Advisors.

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

I am currently in my second year as an investment banking analyst at Union Square Advisors, a boutique investment bank that advises technology companies on M&A and late-stage private capital raising. Upon completion of the analyst program this summer, I will be joining CapitalG (formerly known as Google Capital) as an investor on their growth equity team.

I believe having an undergraduate BSBA from Olin helped set me apart from other candidates during recruiting for investment banking. Moreover, Olin’s supportive, close-knit community provided me with the resources to explore and prepare for a career in finance.

Olin has a very entrepreneurial environment. While at Olin, faculty supported me and my peers in our efforts to build out the Washington University Investment Banking Club (WUIB), WUIBWomen and bringing Adventis to campus to teach financial modeling. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take advantage of the opportunity to tap the bright network of students, faculty and staff within Olin for support, ideas and collaboration.

What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

The first class I took at Olin, Management 100, was a defining moment in my college journey. I vividly remember working in a group on a HBS case study on Southwest’s business model. I was drawn to the applied nature of the case study method and the collaborative, group work environment that is present in most of Olin’s classes. Once I was exposed to this method of education, I quickly switched from a pre-law track into the business school.

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

Since I graduated two years ago, I have lived in both SF and NYC. Both cities are hubs for Wash U grads and have a great community – both professionally and socially. Olin and its associated professional clubs do a great job of encouraging students to reach out to alumni and I love to hear from current students and stay involved via their outreach.

Why is business education important?

Graduating with a BSBA prepared me for the technical, conceptual and applied aspects of financial concepts that we work with on a daily basis in investment banking. In addition, my classmates and I received the gift of a national professional network that we can tap post-graduation, an opportunity most students only have after earning an MBA.

Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?

Seize the years you have at Wash U and in Olin. Olin’s students, faculty and staff are eager to mentor, advise, collaborate and support each of you. This is a special moment where you have an incubated environment of striving individuals with similar goals and hopes as your own. I encourage you to use this time to explore your personal and professional ambitions to the fullest.

OAri Lewine, BSBA ’09, co-founder and chief strategy officer of TripleLift, was recognized for his innovative contributions to the advertising industry with over-the-top (OTT) marketing.

Lewine was named a Broadcasting & Cable 2019 Digital All-Star for his work at TripleLift. The 12 All-Star executives have not only made a great impact over the past year, but also blaze a trail for the future.

During Advertising Week in September, Lewine was featured in the Native Disrupter series. He spoke about how brand integration, specifically with over-the-top marketing, can combat ad-free experiences within on-demand subscription services such as Netflix.

“People are used to an ad-free experience, but the cost to produce content keeps going up, so the big challenge is to create program and brand integration, to get the brand message into content,” Lewine said in an interview with B&C. “We want to use new technology to create ads relevant to viewers.”

TripleLift uses over-the-top market tactics to bring new ways of advertising onto screen. “Overlay” ad techniques place relevant ads in the corner of the screen during programming, while “brand insertion” techniques insert ads onto blank space, like a billboard, during programming.

Lewine sees the future of the advertising industry focusing on the needs of individual consumers.

“We’ve gotten really good at understanding who our customer is, how we can reach them, and how we can see whether ads are working,” said Lewine in an interview during Advertising Week. “Now the question is, now that we’ve found that person, what are we actually delivering? What is the message? What does the message look like?”

Part of a series of Q&As with Olin BSBA alumni. Today we hear from Julie Cole, BSBA ’17.

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

I am part of the presidential associate program (rotational program) at the Estée Lauder Companies, in the responsible sourcing (sustainable procurement) rotation. The program has various tracks, and being an operations and supply chain management/marketing major at Olin, I chose the supply chain track. Without a degree in supply chain, I would not have been able to choose this track.

What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

Dr. Durai Sundaramoorthi definitely had the biggest influence on my life. I was able to be a teaching assistant for quantitative business analysis for several years, which provided me with leadership opportunities and people management skills, along with the chance to report to Dr. Durai, similar to how I report to a manager at work. I use these skills every day as I am spearheading a new initiative under the responsible sourcing team. I project manage, collaborate and share progress with the team and report to senior leadership on my work.

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

I live in New York City and am fortunate to see many of my Olin classmates who live here or come to visit. Some of my closest friends I met on Day 1 when I found out they were on my Management 100 team.

Why is business education important?

Being in a rotational program, I switch from team to team every six months. Doing so, I touch so many parts of the business, many of which I learned about during business school. Though I majored in operations and supply chain management and marketing, I have to talk with other teams, like finance, very frequently. Because I took finance classes during my four years, I can participate in the conversation, share ideas and ask questions.

Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?

Enjoy what you do! I chose OSCM as my second major because I enjoyed the coursework and I chose to be on the responsible sourcing team at work because I am passionate about what we do. Work is so much better when you are personally invested in it.

Also—network, network, network! Network at your internship, network at school, network on an airplane. You never know who you will meet. As an intern, I was contacted by a senior vice president, a fellow Olin graduate, who mentored me throughout my internship and pushed for me to be on the supply chain track of my program (something that had only ever been allowed for those with graduate degrees).