Tag: Building Olin



The Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) is pleased to highlight some of our longstanding partnerships with nonprofit organizations in the St. Louis community. Student teams tackle all kinds of projects for these organizations, ranging from marketing plans to website design to financial planning. Thanks to the Taylor Community Consulting program, these projects are funded and provided to area agencies free of charge.


Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club is a youth-serving organization that annually offers direct-service programming to 3,000 children and indirect programming to over 10,000 in athletics, education, arts, healthy living and leadership, and professional development. Throughout these activities, they work to foster a community centered on their 3R values: respect, restraint and responsibility.

The CEL has worked with Mathews-Dickey on three Taylor Community Consulting projects, focused on building a stronger alumni network and further cultivating scholarships, such as the Blue Chip scholarship for values-driven student-athletes.

Bill Fronczak, vice president for institutional development at Mathews-Dickey, says he is continually amazed by WashU students’ commitment and care about their work through the CEL.

This high level of engagement allows students to find solutions and deliver plans that aid Mathews-Dickey’s overall youth development mission. Bill believes his organization has benefited from having multiple student teams over the years, saying he values the high-quality, timely work the student teams deliver. He says each team builds off one another, and their results add up to progress for the organization that keeps growing.

Bill is energized by his 23 years of work with Mathews-Dickey because of the positive impact that the organization has on the youth who participate in its programs. Bill mentions that a WashU student on a recent CEL consulting team had participated in programs with Mathews-Dickey when she was younger—a perfect example of how this organization works to help children grow up and lead successful lives. The goodwill and good deeds have come full circle with this former ‘client’ now lending her expertise to the very same organization through the CEL.

We are excited to build on our momentum with Bill and Mathews-Dickey to reach lofty goals together and collaborate with a spirit of collective impact.




Junior Madison Stoecker participated in the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) Small Business Initiative last semester and is excited to share how she applied her in-class learning to drive impact for her client, Always Love and Care. We love to reflect on past success teams have seen—in both their own learning and their client’s growth.

Who is your client and what made you interested in working with them?

Madison: My client last semester was Always Love and Care, an in-home care provider in Ferguson, MO. What made me so passionate about it was the people behind the company: Josh and Lisa Davis. After spending 5 minutes with them, anyone can see the passion and love they have for their community. I love their mission, but I wanted to support the people behind the company as they continue to make an impact.

Can you share a highlight from your time in the Small Business Initiative?

Madison: Before we presented our final solutions, we had a moment with Josh and Lisa where they expressed their gratitude for all their ‘dream team’ had done for them. A new marketing campaign was something they had dreamed about for years, and Josh called it their ‘tipping point.’ Seeing how big of an impact our work had on their lives, and the greater impact that will come from that was worth every single minute of work.

What advice would you give to students interested in participating in the Small Business Initiative?

MS: Prioritize it. This project has a bigger impact than just a final grade. You have the chance to impact, or help someone impact, an entire community. Don’t forget why you are doing it. Also, you are able to apply skills you have learned in other classes to a real-world project.

I would encourage students to create a relationship with their clients. There is so much to learn from them. Most of all, enjoy the experience! It’s an incredible opportunity, so don’t let the stress of deadlines or little things get in the way of doing something amazing!


Check out the CEL’S CampusGroups page to learn how you can get involved in the Spring semester.


Colton Calandrella, BSBA’17, is a CEL rock star. He set a record for the number of Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) projects he participated in over the past four years. He also served as a CEL Student Fellow helping other student teams manage their projects. (Watch video about Colton’s CEL marketing project with a local high school.) This year, he’s working with Teach for America as a math and special education teacher in Chicago before he joins consulting firm Bain & Co. Colton sends advice to undergrads in this blog post about what you can learn by participating in CEL projects.

Graduation will be here before you know it! Here’s some advice for all my younger Olin peers as I begin my first post-college working adventure. There is a simple way to learn about a variety of industries while still in school. Thanks to my engagements with the CEL, I know what it is like to work at a nonprofit, a tech startup, and a family-owned small business. These invaluable experiences equipped me to discern my ideal career path. Specifically, I worked with: a digital health company through the CEL Entrepreneur Consulting Team; an antique store in Ferguson through the Small Business Initiative; and Kirkwood High School, the St. Louis Crisis Nursery, and Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program through the Taylor Community Consulting Program.

All three programs allowed me to explore my academic and professional interest of using business as a tool for doing good. I learned that nonprofits are not the route for me while showing me how exciting and challenging a startup can be. Overall, the consulting experience combined with the social impact directly and perfectly prepared me for my work with Teach for America following graduation, and for my return to Bain & Co. in 2019.

Ultimately, the greatest lesson I gained from working on a team with the CEL is the importance of relationships. On one particularly challenging project, I realized that no amount of individual work on my part could salvage the client’s desired outcome—it was that moment when I learned how paramount team buy-in and motivation is. Successfully building and maintaining relationships is what defines a leader.  Any manager can delegate, but only a leader can truly inspire and motivate their members to achieve more.

Relationship building is also the root of my proudest moment with the CEL. When we helped our SBI client Jeniece install her new inventory system, her store had just opened for the first time since being burned down in 2014. The joy on her face mattered because of my personal relationship with her – I knew deep down what this business meant to her, and how our contribution would help her be successful with her life’s work.

I am so grateful to the CEL mentors who invested time in our relationship to help me become a stronger leader. While leadership opportunities abound at Olin, the CEL’s hands-on coaching really helps leaders grow and expand their skills. Working in the trenches with the CEL’s Micah Northcutt, Beth Doores, and Daniel Bentle helped me take my leadership abilities to the next level by focusing on how to empower my team members. Without the relationships cultivated at the CEL, I would not be the leader I am today.

The Center for Experiential Learning has dozens of practicums and projects each semester that give you hands on experience with all kinds of businesses from local startups to multinational corporations to nonprofits in North St. Louis and around the globe. Find out more here.




“I’ve loved combining my marketing and entrepreneurship studies to consult with a startup on creating an innovative marketing solution,” says Allison Halpern, BSBA’18 and member of a CELect team working with St. Louis-based Givable. “The hands-on nature of the CEL has helped me grow and apply my studies in a truly unique way!”

CELect stands for: Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) Entrepreneurial Consulting Team and this is an occasional series of interviews with students participating in the program that pairs consultants with St. Louis startups.

CEL: Who is your client and what made you interested in working with them?

Halpern: I am consulting with a startup at T-REX, called Givable. Givable is a micro-giving platform that makes charitable donations simple with daily, engaging emails. I really love Givable’s mission to make charitable giving more accessible and believe they have an innovative way to do so.

Click here to learn more (this is definitely a shameless plug).

Our consulting project is to create a marketing strategy to attract more users. As someone who values community involvement and utilizing creative problem solving to build awareness, this project fits me perfectly.

givable picture

CEL: How does this class help you with your future aspirations?

Halpern: In the future, I hope to work in a marketing role, assisting and consulting clients strategically. I like the fast-paced and innovative culture that comes with client work. So, working with Givable to create a marketing strategy is really right up my alley. This summer I am interning at Facebook in the Global Marketing Solutions department to help clients optimize their advertising on Facebook platforms. I will be working on a team conducting research to better understand best digital marketing practices for clients. My CELect project involved extensively researching the industry, company, and trends to create a highly implementable plan and I think that experience will help me at Facebook.  This work has provided me with great group experience to speak about in interviews and helps me apply my knowledge from classes and internships in a very real-world way.

daniel

CEL Director Daniel Bentle advising Allison on client proposal

CEL: How does this experience differ from other classes?

Halpern: Well first of all, there are no classes, but there still are deliverables! Everything is on our own time which helps build time management skills and autonomous deadline planning. Second, I love that the class works with a client and provides real-world exposure to consulting projects. My other classes have built a basis for my business knowledge and CELect is letting me apply what I have learned to create impact in the local St. Louis community.

team planning

Weekly Givable Team Meeting (Adam Brock, Allison Halpern, Andrew Mackin, Nirav Patel)

CEL: What advice would you give to students interested in CELect?

Halpern: I think this is a great program if you want to try a hybrid role between starting your own company and consulting others to create business success. If you want a better grasp on the St. Louis startup eco-system and real-world consulting experience, CELect is a great program for you. While working on the project, I would say it is important to keep an open mind to potential solutions and take the time to understand every alternative. Lastly, have fun with it. Consulting projects are a time for you to apply what you know, think outside of the box, and innovate which is a really great experience.

posed team

Team photo after final presentation. (Pictured from left to right – Adam Brock, Andrew Mackin, Elise Hastings, Allison Halpern, Nirav Patel)

Related blog post.




In part two of the 2016 Rosenblatt Lecture series, Jan Van Mieghem, the Harold L. Stuart Professor of Managerial Economics and Professor of Operations Management, Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business, explains how the prioritization of individual preferences (i.e., the way in which tasks are performed by healthcare professionals) can reduce throughput, or the number of patients serviced.  This lack of emphasis on collaboration and multitasking can result in decreased efficiency and, therefore, increased costs in the healthcare process.   Read full article  •  Watch part I


The Rosenblatt Lecture series was established in 2003 to honor the memory of Meir J. Rosenblatt, who taught from 1987 to 2001 at Olin Business School as the Myron Northrop Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management. A leader among faculty, Rosenblatt often won the Teacher of the Year award at Olin and authored the book “Five Times and Still Kicking: A Life with Cancer,” having battled cancer multiple times throughout his life.

BCTIM banner red

Website  •  LinkedIn  •  Subscribe  •  Facebook  •  Instagram  •  Twitter  •  YouTube


Olin Business School Blog Olin Business School Blog