Tag: consulting



Students in the CELect Entrepreneurship Course, held at the T-REx startup accelerator, are sharing their team projects with the Olin Blog. Student team Andrew Smith, Daniel Kalvaitis, Jeffrey Lantz,  and Trent Pavic describe the experience of consulting for their client, Segue Partners.


Every semester, a few undergraduate and graduate students are chosen to participate in the Center for Experiential Learning’s Entrepreneurial Consulting Team (CELect) program. Participants are paired with St. Louis-area startups and tasked with solving a critical business problem.

Our team was selected for this program, and though we’re only a few weeks in, the journey so far has been intense.

WashU’s esteemed entrepreneurship professors prepared us with an intensive, full-day class. After that, it was our responsibility to meet with our client, determine the scope, plan how to meet deadlines, and deliver the most value possible. Professors provided guidance on aligning the team’s work with the client’s vision. But as with a real startup, we are the ones that need to make everything happen.

The following week, our team met with our client’s founder and core team members to discuss their objectives. Our client, Segue Partners, specializes in tackling the unique accounting and financial consulting needs of private funds and venture capital portfolio companies.

After an intense two-hour meeting, our team was tasked with sizing the market and planning next steps for a concept aimed at providing an innovative solution to back-end accounting services for startups and small businesses in the St. Louis area.

An integral aspect of such a project is to understand the market that exists and the needs of potential customers. To get us started, our team was given some initial contacts to interview. This will come as no surprise to those of us familiar with the St. Louis area, but everyone was incredibly welcoming. One contact often led to another…and another…and another.

In fact, the St. Louis entrepreneurial community is so welcoming that even after several dozen interview requests, not a single person has declined to speak with us. Not one.

Several weeks in and nearly a hundred interviews later, we’re starting to get a clear picture of the needs of potential clients. In addition to interviews, our team is studying competitors, modeling assumptions, aggregating data into actionable insights, and formulating a strategy for the potential launch. Leveraging other lessons that we’ve learned in classes at WashU, we’re almost ready to determine final recommendations.

This has been a tremendously rewarding experience for each member of the team. We’re grateful to the CELect program and WashU for giving us the opportunity to engage with the fascinating world of startups in the area, and for allowing us to give back to the St. Louis community.

Guest bloggers: Andrew Smith, BSBA ’18; Daniel Kalvaitis, BSBA ’18; Jeffrey Lantz, MBA ’18; and Trent Pavic, PMBA’18.




Last semester, BSBA students Ryan Farhat-Sabet and Betsy Morgan were part of a student team that provided consulting services for Drake’s Place, a family restaurant in Ferguson. The project was part of the Center for Experiential Learning’s Small Business Initiative, which partners area businesses with student teams, who work closely with the client to generate actionable insights and results.

We talked with Ryan and Betsy about their work with Drake’s Place and their experiences in the Small Business Initiative. Check out their insights below:

Q: What interested you in working with Drake’s Place?

Ryan: I was very excited to help a client in the food industry. Growing up in a Middle Eastern household, the dinner table holds a special place in my memories, as it was always a time where the entire family came together and bonded over a nice meal. Drake’s Place does exactly this, treating the greater St. Louis community as a family. Drake’s Place is a community staple, and the combination of the quality food, comforting atmosphere, and people really help to shape that vision.

Betsy: The restaurant was opened only a few months before the unrest in Ferguson, and has become an important part of the local community. Bridgett and Drake, the co-owners of the restaurant, are great to work with and are very inspiring. The growth potential of their restaurant also made it a really fun project.

Q: What has been your experience working with the CEL?

Ryan: Participating in the CEL was such a joy. Both Daniel and Beth are so passionate about their role in guiding students’ learning and creating an impact in the St. Louis community. The student leadership is refreshing, since most classes have such a rigid path to success, and that simply doesn’t exist here. The CEL community has been so supportive of every team’s work by providing constructive feedback along the way, helping to create high caliber results for clients continually each semester.

Betsy: Working with the CEL has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as a business student. The ability to create tangible, sustainable solutions for an actual client has been invaluable and given me a lot more context for the rest of my business classes. I’ve also gotten the opportunity to develop both my technical and client-facing skills in ways I don’t believe are possible in a traditional classroom. The most rewarding part is getting to deliver effective solutions to our clients at the end of the project and, hopefully, provide them with tools to grow and succeed long after our time on the project has finished.

Q: Can you share a highlight from your time working on this project?

Betsy: A teammate and I were going to Drake’s to conduct a customer survey to find out their preferences and demographics early in the project. Not only were we able to have an amazing meal while we were working, but we got to see Bridgett in action. Bridgett knows the majority of her customers by name, and was constantly greeting people as they walked in. When we approached customers to ask them to fill out a survey, everyone was more than willing because we said we were working on a project to improve Drake’s. That was the day I really recognized how important Drake’s was to the community—and who we would be helping if we could help Drake’s grow.

Q: How has this experience prepared you for the future? 

Ryan: I aspire to work in the consulting field, and this experience has provided me with an actual opportunity to see what this line of work is like. I believe I have relatable experiences that I can draw upon and skills I have developed through the Small Business Initiative to differentiate myself during the internship recruiting process this semester.




A successful business depends on the community of contributors that carry out its mission. Since arriving at Olin last fall, I have found a strong community in Bear Studios, a student-run strategy firm providing a variety of client-based services under the umbrella of consulting, tech, design, and accounting.

Bear Studios has formed several key strategic partnerships with WashU and St. Louis-area organizations, with a focus on organizations that share a similar mission and that have a strong sense of community. In 2015, Bear Studios found that community in TechArtista, a collaborative startup space located in the Central West End.

WashU alumni Eric Hamblett (BA’13, International Studies) and Chris Holt (BS’13, Chemical Engineering) started TechArtista in 2014 to provide local entrepreneurs with an innovative working space and community. The company, now home to more than 120 local organizations and entrepreneurs, provides meeting and work spaces, design rooms, digital and filming equipment, and a variety of other amenities and resources to its members.

Bear Studios and TechArtista both seek to provide assistance and support to the local start-up community through different approaches and operations. The partnership provides TechArtista members with undergraduate talent and resources to aid in their operational development, while Bear Studios fellows gain real-world working experience and expertise from entrepreneurs on the ground.

To further the relationship between the two organizations, Bear Studios and TechArtista recently hosted a joint Happy Hour at TechArtista, where members of each organization could network, converse, and learn. TechArtista and Bear Studios plan to continue the tradition of Happy Hours, while building on the value that is created during those events. The Happy Hour setting provides ample opportunities to discuss particular trends in the start-up space and educate attendees about relevant topics through the perspective of both a student and a working professional.

Building the Bear Studios and TechArtista community will require more than an official partnership or even regular events. A community requires a faithful contribution from each of its members—something that is of abundance in both Bear Studios and TechArtista alike.

Photos courtesy of techartista.org.

Guest Blogger: Lexi Jackson, BSBA’20, is majoring in Leadership & Strategic Management, Political Science; she is a Strategy Fellow at Bear Studios LLC.




As an Olin Business School student, I have been exposed to an exciting curriculum for learning business. A common aspect of classroom learning is the case study, where we learn about the problems a real company faces and ultimately present recommendations to our TAs and professors. Whether reading about potential airport expansion for Southwest Airlines or how Disney should respond to the recent surge in subscriptions to video on-demand services, each case is exciting and makes us think about business from a different perspective.

Yet all of these cases are missing an essential aspect of consulting: interaction with the client. They are interesting to read, but our team could not directly interact with the client and learn even more about the business from personnel.

During one of my business school courses, I was on a team tasked with helping a company improve its client communication outreach. Working directly with a client of the company, we spent a whole semester communicating and developing recommendations. However, instead of a final presentation to the professor, teaching assistants, and fellow classmates, we sat around a table with the actual client and presented our solutions.

These experiences taught me how fulfilling it was to develop client relationships, learn about their business from employees, and then present the recommendations directly back to the client. Seeing the client be genuinely interested in our recommendations, engaged during the presentation, and curious about our ideas allowed me to recognize the value in developing a relationship with the client when providing recommendations. I quickly realized that I wanted to continue interacting with clients and helping them improve their businesses.

As a sophomore, I heard of a company called Bear Studios through the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Bear Studios is a student-founded and run business development firm offering consulting, design, accounting, and technology services to WashU and area businesses. Bear Studios provides services to companies that are small and large, young and old—to improve their models, change their strategies, or create whole new perspectives of their operations.

After my initial meeting with the directors, I was captivated by Bear Studios’ direct involvement with the client and knew this organization would present me with chances to interact with clients and help them develop their businesses.

Throughout the semester, I helped with smaller projects—learning the processes, seeing the operations behind the organization, and sitting in on client meetings. Over the summer, I was given my first major project. The night before my first phone call with the client, I read the executive summary, as I’d done so many times before during my business classes, and prepared questions. I was slightly nervous, but excited to be leading my own project.

Over the course of the next month, with the help of Bear Studios fellows, I communicated with the client and turned an executive summary into a fully-developed presentation. Being able to build a relationship with the client and talk through ideas, refine others, and produce a finished product they were excited about, was incredibly rewarding. Seeing the development of skills and interests I’d picked up in the classroom and applying them directly to my extracurricular involvement excites me for future projects with Bear Studios.

Guest Blogger: Tommy Elzinga, BSBA’19, is majoring in Finance, Film and Media Studies


Nearly 60% of Olin students – 121 BSBA students – participated in a Global Program during the Spring 2017 term. Are you ready to expand your classroom experience beyond the Danforth Campus?

Olin’s BSBA Global and Immersion Programs are hosting general, weekly info sessions this semester to discuss the basics of studying abroad, available programs, the benefits, and how to apply. Many deadlines for applications are before the end of this semester.

Information sessions are held at 4:00pm on Monday afternoons during the Fall semester in the BSBA Conference room in Simon Hall 118.

Maastricht University and London Internship Information Sessions

Interested in studying abroad in The Netherlands or an Internship in London? Olin will be welcoming visitors from each program in the upcoming weeks. Attend an information session to learn more about program specific opportunities and speak with directly with a staff person from our partner institution.

ISBA Info Session

The Israel Summer Business Academy (ISBA) program application is now open! ISBA is open to ALL students and will provide a great opportunity to work with students from other institutions. Apply online at sa.wustl.edu. We will be holding an information session for interested students on Wednesday, October 25 at 5:00 in Simon 110.

Venture Consulting in Israel

The Venture Consulting in Israel program is a tremendous opportunity to gain real consulting experience abroad in one of the most unique business environments in the world. The program takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel from January 5-11, 2018 with coursework to follow in February and March.  Please reach out to Damian Whitney in the BSBA office for details. Application is available here and closes October 27.

MKT 450F: Luxury Goods and a Dash of Fashion Course

This course focuses on the structure, strategies and business models of the global personal luxury apparel and accessory market, studying brands such as Burberry, Moncler, and Chanel. The course is taught on campus for 12 sessions and culminates in a trip to New York City, where we visit the headquarters and showrooms of luxury brands and fashion retailers and meet with their executive leadership teams. Applications are due November 10th, 2017 and are found online here.

 Link to Olin Global Programs or contact the BSBA Office for answers to your questions.

To see more photos taken by Olin students during 2016-17 Global Programs, click here.


Olin Business School Blog Olin Business School Blog