Tag: Center for Experiential Learning

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.


In its inaugural year, The George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center has hosted a number of events in which accomplished leaders have shared their wisdom and experience with our students, faculty, and alumni. One example is our Defining Moments signature course that features exemplary leaders from a range of industries sharing their defining leadership experiences. A common theme was the importance of personal values and ethics in a career and in the success of a company. We are documenting these stories in video vignettes that can be used to inspire students, researchers, and the business community.

The Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School develops values-based leaders—leaders who measure their success both by the results they achieve and the values they demonstrate.

We have spent much of this first year reaching out to different people to understand how we can work together with like-minded others to advance our mission. For example, we developed a proposal for a “community of practice” that brings together faculty and administrators engaged in leadership development across the Washington University campus. We are learning best practices from one another and discovering the potential for collaboration on common goals.

SAVE THE DATE: September 20, 2017
“The Value of Values for Founders and Entrepreneurs”
The Bauer Leadership Center is partnering with the Entrepreneurship Organization (EO) and the Executive MBA program to kick off the Values and Leadership forum series.

In the fall, we will unveil an exciting and unique program called “Bauer Fellows” in partnership with Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. Students leading consulting teams across the globe will be working on their leadership capabilities at the same time they are delivering value to clients. We are currently exploring other ways to build values-centered leadership into Olin courses and programs.

Finally, none of this would be possible without the generous support of George and Carol Bauer. Their vision, example, and energy for our mission have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration. We offer our sincere thanks to the many people and organizations that are working with us—together we can change the way we teach and practice leadership!

For more information or to join our mailing list, contact Marcianne Gagliardi at mgagliardi@wustl.edu or 314-935-2943  Link to website.

 




“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.




Givable is a new St. Louis startup that provides a platform for charitable giving and community involvement. Their mission is to “empower individuals and businesses to fuel change by making giving easy, social, and interactive.”

The company was founded on the principle of contributing to and empowering the growth and development of the St. Louis community. While there are numerous charities within St. Louis, individuals and businesses may not be aware of their existence and/or purpose. Givable shines a light on these charities and allows individuals to conveniently contribute to them and/or get involved within their communities.

Through Givable’s interactive micro-donations, charitable giving is easy and fun. Its transparent and trusted platform will allow Givable to lead the way in community-focused, subscriber-based giving mechanisms.

elise_hastings

Elise Hastings

As a team, we are helping Givable develop a marketing strategy to increase subscriber awareness and acquisition. After conducting an industry and market analysis, we now know that St. Louis has tremendous potential to enter into the new era of giving. We have also enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the founder and executive director of Givable, Elise Hastings. Ms. Hastings has truly inspired us to learn more about the St. Louis community and the potential number of organizations that Givable could serve.

Our ultimate goal is to help Givable grow, and through the process we hope to make a positive and lasting impact on both the company’s marketing strategy and the St. Louis community’s involvement with local charities.

Givable logo_darkCompany Background: Founded with the support of the Regional Business Council, the Staenberg Foundation and Cultivation Capital, Givable is a subscription-based daily philanthropy platform designed to engage millennials with awareness of social engagement and habitual giving to local nonprofits.

Project Goal: Identify an audience and create a marketing strategy to target that audience and increase Givable’s subscriber base.

CELect Givable Team: Adam Brock, BSBA; Allison Halpern, BSBA; Andrew Mackin, Law; and Nirav Patel, Law




Pixel Press is a company created by people who weren’t satisfied with simply playing video games – they wanted to make them their own. Many people share this desire, but practical limitations were an obstacle to creating their own universe. Pixel Press allows everyday people to easily overcome these obstacles by offering products that transform paper drawings and building-block configurations into content that can played, edited and shared on a variety of platforms. They help the average person become a mastermind architect by exercising their whole brain – the analytical left side and the creative right side.

Playing video games is fun, but creating your own video game, playing your own video game and sharing it with your friends takes it to the next level. Not surprisingly, Pixel Press’ products have already enjoyed much success on the retail side of their business. Additionally, both Pixel Press and teachers have recognized the educational potential of their products and Pixel Press is planning to expand their educational offerings through their hands-on product Bloxels. Our project is focused on this expansion into the educational market.

bloxelsBloxels uses a grid and color-coded blocks that allow a traditional childhood toy – blocks – to be transformed into an interactive universe. As a standalone product, parents and teachers have already discovered ways to use Bloxels to teach kids STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focused learning principles – such as prototyping, design thinking, teamwork and collaboration, and user empathy. Pixel Press is making it even easier for schools and teachers to use Bloxels as an educational tool by designing lesson plans and related materials that teach specific skills and concepts.

In order to be successful in its expansion into the educational space, Pixel Press has asked our team to research and evaluate the educational software market in order to create a plan for successful expansion. The founders of Pixel Press have explained what makes their company successful, how their products work, and the opportunities they see for expanding into education.

Our team will be making recommendations about how educational services should be modeled, priced, and implemented in accordance with Pixel Press’ vision for success. These recommendations will be backed up by a competitive analysis of the educational software market and data gathered from the customer segment that matters most: the teachers and administrators who will be implementing Bloxels as an educational tool in their classrooms and schools.

CELect Pixel Press Team: Mark Nesdill, Law; Kalin Pearce, MBA; TJ Ragsdale, BSBA; Jordan Sazant, Law


Olin Business School Blog Olin Business School Blog