Tag: corporate relations

Nina Leigh Krueger exemplifies what it means to be a Friend of Olin. This busy Olin alumna (MBA’94) and executive is the Chief Marketing Officer at Nestle Purina PetCare. She serves on the advisory board for Olin’s executive education program: the Women’s Leadership Forum and she participates as a speaker for the Forum in the session on Building Alliances and Your Power Base.

Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

Friends are those who are giving of their time; their knowledge; share their years of experience; and open the doors of their companies to students and faculty, helping Olin build better leaders.

Some friendly questions for our Friends of Olin:

What was one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School?
Olin taught me how to ask smart questions. At the time I was in grad school I knew I was gaining valuable knowledge. But with time I’ve come to see the true value of my Olin experience. While my focus was marketing, the broad base of the program also gave me a grounding of areas like operations and accounting, I’ve discovered that leadership is not just knowing the answers – often it is about knowing the right questions to ask of your subject matter experts.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has shared with/done for you?
I learned to get out of my shell and take risks as a result of my Olin experience. Mr. Sidwell, Dean of Students at the time, was a very wise man. He had the ability to make you feel like you were capable of making great choices – and at the same time, very direct when he thought you weren’t. With his support and candor, I learned to both assess and trust my judgment, empowering me to take bold action.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?
Generational Shift: We are in the midst of an unprecedented generational shift in the workplace. Every day, 10,000 boomers reach the traditional retirement age of 65. This trend began in 2011 and is forecast to continue for the next 14 years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that some organizations could lose up to 50% of their executives in the next two to three years. So the question is, how to transfer essential knowledge to the next generation of leaders and how do we best encourage, motivate and reward emerging leaders?

The Amplifying Effect of Social Media: Social Media has a powerful amplifying effect. A tweet can travel around the world in minutes. But that can happen whether it’s true or false. The relative anonymity of social media creates a lack of accountability – and that can result in a mis-truth going viral. Companies can spend a lot of resources to create something good only to see it destroyed by a hashtag. How can we be better prepared?

Connecting With Our Audience: The paradox of living in a world of 24/7 connectivity is that it has made it harder for mass marketers to find their audience. Twenty years ago, the average American household had access to 28 TV channels. Today, Americans have 165. And while TV still dominates, according to Nielsen, 55% of global respondents say video programs are an important part of their lives. The way audiences are connecting with content is changing. How do we connect with consumers in a meaningful way?

What is one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?
Not trusting your subject matter experts. You learn so much when you listen to the smart people around you. My philosophy is: “Listen. Learn. Lead.” It is crucial that leaders have a vision, but it’s equally crucial that they be open to input from their team as to how to get there. Business success is about getting results, not credit. And when you focus on that, you learn to listen to subject matter experts who know how to get results in their area. As Harry Truman once said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career:
Just at the point where I felt like I was gaining traction in my career, I was moved from a brand that was considered a golden child in our company’s portfolio to one that was viewed more as a stepchild. I literally felt like I was being put in the penalty box. There were lots of things that were broken in the business and in the culture. I knew that if we had any chance at succeeding, things had to change – and we had to become a team to change them. Along the way, mistakes were made – one big enough that put me in front of the president of the company to explain it. When he asked who was responsible I answered, “No one, we did this as a team.” If anyone was to blame, as team leader, it was me.

I learned two things as a result of that assignment. First, life is a journey, not a destination. It’s good to have a career plan, but be open for some unplanned opportunities. If we get too narrowly focused on the destination, we may miss potential growth along the way. And second, in business and in life, we win as a team and we lose as a team. No one person can do it all alone.

What are you grateful for today (business or personal)? Why?
At the top of my list is my family. I have a great husband and wonderful sons who I know will always be on my side and by my side wherever the road may take us. Their love gives me courage and confidence. I also feel blessed to have a strong support system of friends, colleagues and mentors who both inspire me and keep me grounded through good times and bad.

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?
Malcolm Gladwell has always impressed me. I’ve seen him speak several times and he always passes along valuable information without using fancy graphics or a single graph. Instead he tells stories – stories that make you think and ultimately see things differently.

Image: Nina Leigh Krueger with her canine family at Nestle Purina Petcare. (Photo © Whitney Curtis)

The clatter of silverware on dishes gradually died down as attention was directed to the front of the room.  For months, anticipation had been building and now it was time for Professor Danko Turcic to present his research to leaders of St. Louis business and industry. After Senior Associate Dean Todd Milbourn’s glowing introduction, a hush fell over the audience, the projector flashed to life, and Praxis Luncheon Series No. 7 was underway.

Praxis WideAt one of the tables, Professor Panos Kouvelis, director of BCTIM and co-author of the featured paper titled “Hedging Commodity Procurement in a Bilateral Supply Chain,” looked on with a nod of approval. Around the room, he observed brows furrowed in concentration and eyes squinting to focus on plotted lines dancing between X and Y axes like butterflies on a barbed wire fence. The research was complex and timely, thus it’s selection for the Praxis series, but the purpose of the presentation was to cover the salient points so as to give the audience some practical knowledge to carry back to the workplace.

Kouvelis, Turcic, Mahone, Milbourn (L-R)

Kouvelis, Turcic, Mahone, Milbourn (L-R)

After the presentation, the visitors departed one-by-one like vibrant autumn leaves falling from their branches. A handful remained in hopes of gleaning a few more drops of wisdom from the authors, and from Richard Mahoney, the benefactor of the Praxis series.

But soon, even they had sufficiently sated their thirst for knowledge, so they shook hands with Dorothy Kittner, the event’s organizer, and made their way out of the Knight Center and onto the pristine Washington University campus.

As the door closed behind the last to exit, the lights dimmed and the room was once again enveloped in silence.  And through the windows, the hopeful light of the midday sun cast wineglass-shaped shadows across the white tablecloths and onto the floor.

By Evan Dalton

For more, including an exclusive interview with Professor Kouvelis on hedging commodities, visit BCTIM’s social media:
Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  SlideShare  |  Google+


Every year, more than a thousand people volunteer their time to enhance the Olin experience and support students by helping them develop into the best employees. We call these important volunteers, “Friends of Olin.” They are formal and informal mentors, case competition judges, practicum sponsors, speakers, employers hiring fresh talent and much more. They provide meaningful real world experiences for our Olin students.

Dean Mahendra Gupta and Olin invited these wonderful people on May 28 to the Atrium of Knight Hall for a reception to say, “thank you.” More than 100 attended.

Alex Goldberg (BSBA 2016)

Alex Goldberg (BSBA 2016)

After Dean Gupta’s welcome, there were three speakers.

Alex Goldberg, BSBA 2016, spoke about the opportunities presented to him through many memorable examples, some included student group speakers, company visits, and formal mentoring programs.

Michelle Duguid, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Olin Business School

Michelle Duguid, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Olin Business School


Professor Michelle Duguid spoke of the inaugural Women in Leadership class she led as well as other projects, speakers and faculty research partners.



Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner, Deloitte

Rodney Kinzinger, Managing Partner at Deloitte, spoke on behalf of corporate partners who engage with Olin on a regular basis. “Any one of you could be up here,” he commented, looking around the room.

Around the room were screens displaying quotes from students and pictures of events and visits from various corporate friends throughout the year. See those slides here.

Below are some pictures from the event:

Kim Shaw Elliott (EMBA 96) and Anne Elliott (PMBA) with Mike Ferman (BSBA 68)


Michelle Brady (EMBA 08) and John Bacilek (EMBA 08) with Alex Goldberg (BSBA). In the back are Dean Meyer (EMBA) and Steve Degnan (EMBA 08).


Tim Mickelson and Nick Bhambri (EMBA 07).


Kurt Dirks, Christopher Gaskin and Michelle Duguid


Jim Klingler, Marvin Anderson and Jacob Siewert (BSBA 13)


Olin friends, students, faculty and staff had a great time reconnecting and networking.

Steve Degnan (EMBA 08), Dean Mahendra Gupta, John Bacilek, and Gil Bickel (BSBA 66)


Nick Bhambri (EMBA 07), Bob Balk (BSBA 67) and Associate Dean Steve Malter

Ken Hunt (BSBA 51)

Ken Hunt (BSBA 51)


Dick Mahoney, Sean Arp, and Dan Feder look on with the crowd as the speakers present.

The Friends of Olin Reception 2015 was a great success. We thank all of you who have participated with Olin in broadening the education of our students and helping our faculty with their research.

The Friends of Olin Reception 2015 was a great success. We thank all of you who have participated with Olin in broadening the education of our students and helping our faculty with their research.

Honored as one of Olin’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni, Dr. Steve Miller, is also a great friend and supporter of the business school community. This is the first in a series featuring “Friends of Olin” from the Office of Corporate Relations.

Dr. Steve Miller has served as Chief Medical Officer at Express Scripts since 2006, focusing on supporting government relations, leading the Pharmacy & Therapeutics committee, managing the Medical Affairs team and interfacing with client groups.

Steven Miller (EMBA 2002), is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Express Scripts Holding Company. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

Steven Miller (EMBA 2002), is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Express Scripts Holding Company.
©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

He received his medical degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and he trained in the Pathology and Research fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado, Nephrology at Washington University, and did a cardiology research fellowship at University of California-San Francisco. Miller earned his MBA at Olin.

Dr. Miller has presented the commencement address for EMBA Class 40 and Shanghai EMBA Class 11 in December of 2013 and worked with Alumni and Development so that Express Scripts could be a host for the 2014 Olin Alumni Reception. He continues to be involved in the success of Olin Business School.

He exemplifies a Friend of Olin. Friends are those who are giving of their time, their knowledge, share their years of experience, open the doors of their companies to students and faculty, helping Olin build better leaders.

What has been one of your most valuable experiences at Olin Business School?
SM: I benefited from every experience provided by the EMBA program. Probably the one that stands out the most was HR and Organizational Development taught by the legendary former head of HR at Monsanto, Robert Berra. His pragmatic approach to managing and developing people continues to influence me daily. Companies are really about their people and he took it past the talk and taught you how to execute.

What is the most compelling thing your mentor has shared with/done for you?
SM: Early in my career, I had a mentor who taught me “equanimity” and “imperturbability.” This is the quality of being calm even in the most difficult of situations. As a physician, this is really important as it promotes clarity of thoughts and reassurance to patients, their loved ones and healthcare colleagues. It has proven equally important in business as it promotes top performance from our teams.

What are the 3 biggest challenges facing leaders today?
SM: The top challenge continues to be about people. Finding, hiring, developing and retaining top talent is mission critical for any organization. Second in my mind is dealing with change, especially the speed of change. Not everyone embraces change but it is inevitable. The third big challenge is regulatory burden. While most all regulations are well intended, there are always unintended consequences. Finding the right balance is very difficult.

What is the one behavior or trait you have seen impede leaders’ careers?
SM: It always has to be about the mission and not about the person. If you put the mission first, the leader usually benefits also. When it becomes about the leader first then both fail.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career.
SM: Without sounding too solicitous, getting my MBA was the pivotal moment in my career. Healthcare is somewhat of a cottage industry. Top leaders are often given positions because they were the best clinicians or scientists. Unfortunately, as the field grew into one of the largest segments of our economy, those skills alone were inadequate to manage. It has often contributed to the slow progress we have made in how we provide care in this country. Combining an MBA with my medical degree, clinical and research experiences has allowed me to make a much bigger impact.

What are you grateful for today? Why?
SM: I am the most fortunate person I know. I have a spectacular wife/best friend, three amazing kids, great friends and family, a wonderful career of purpose and good health. What more could anyone desire?

Who’s your favorite business speaker or author? Why?
SM: My favorite business author/speaker is Dr. Bob Lefton of Psychological Associates here in St. Louis. I teach his Q4 model to everyone who works for me. It provides a framework for communication and behaviors that really helps to create high performing teams.

Judges of the 2015 Olin Award competition couldn’t choose just one winner this year from the field of relevant and rigorous research papers submitted by Olin faculty, so they named two winners. Professors Andrew Knight and Anne Marie Knott were each awarded the prize.

Professor Knott presented her paper, “Explaining the Broken Link Between R&D and GDP Growth,” on March 27 to business leaders from industries including pharmaceuticals, life sciences and technology, energy, and household product manufacturing.

Knott’s latest research grew out of her work on developing a measure of R&D productivity called the Research Quotient (RQ), which forms the basis for CNBC’s annual firm innovation rankings. RQ measures the percentage increase in revenues achieved from a 1 percent increase in R&D spending, and fits the construct in growth theory that predicts a firm’s profits, growth, and market value.

In searching for an explanation of RQ declines at some companies and the broken link between R&D productivity and GDP growth Knott realized there was a culprit hiding in plain sight: outsourced R&D!

Firms failed to realize outsourced R&D has zero returns! Thus while a 10% increase in internal R&D increases later revenues by 1.7%, a 10% increase in outsourced R&D has no impact on later revenues.

The good news is this problem is easily reversed! And it’s likely R&D can again drive firm and economic growth. If firms restore their prior R&D productivity levels by gradually bringing outsourced projects back in house, Knott predicts growth in firm revenues and GDP will follow.

Learn more about Professor Knott’s articles and presentations.


An Invitation

The 2015 Olin Award co-winner, Professor Andrew Knight, will present his paper “Who Defers to Whom and Why? Dual Pathways Linking Demographic Differences and Dyadic Deference to Team Effectiveness” on May 12. Professor Knight’s research explains what drives interpersonal influence in teams and connects patterns of influence to team performance. Register for this event by emailing your RSVP to CorporateRelations@olin.wustl.edu.

Read more faculty research and watch professor videos here.

In 2012, Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) made a transformative gift of $5.35 million to Washington University, the largest philanthropic gift to a single institution in the company’s history.  Two Olin Business School programs have been recipients of that financial support.  They were recently featured on March 3, 2015 when the leadership and alumni from Wells Fargo Advisors were on campus to join faculty, students and staff for a celebration of that gift half-way through provision of the funds.

Chancellor Wrighton and WFA's Mary Mack toast partnership.

Chancellor Wrighton and WFA’s Mary Mack toast partnership.

A TED talk-styled event with the theme of  “#Innovate #Transform #Accelerate… Investing in People, Businesses & Communities,” was co-hosted by Mary Mack, CEO, WFA  and Chancellor Mark Wrighton. Vanessa Cooksey, WFA SVP Community Relations was the mistress of ceremonies throughout the event. The program featured stories of how Wells Fargo Advisors’ support is making a substantial impact across the Washington University community and beyond.  Speakers/storytellers are listed here.

On behalf of the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance & Accounting Research:

  • Jimmie Lenz, WFA SVP & Chief Risk & Credit Officer, WFA CFAR Board member & Olin DBA Candidate
  • Matt Ringgenberg, Olin Assistant Professor of Finance

On behalf of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer Internship Program:

  • Emre Toker, Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Michael Orlando, Entrepreneur & Founder, Lumate & CEO
  • Kumal Koppula, Olin BSBA student & Lumate Intern

On behalf of the Financial Capability & Asset Building Program (FCAP) Brown School of Social Work:

  • Mike Rochelle, Project Director, FCAP
  • Kim Downing, Elizabeth State University
  • Diana Cardenasa, Student from California State University

On behalf of the Olin United Way Board Fellows Program:

  • Al Kent, Adjunct Professor of Accounting & Director Olin United Way Board Fellows Program
  • Rhonda Gray, Executive Director, Almost Home
  • Lilly Leyh-Pierce , Olin MBA  & Almost Home Olin United Way Board Fellow

Preceding a celebratory group toast and balloon drop with over 200 in attendance, Mary Mack’s closing remarks expressed how much she appreciated all she had learned throughout the event and asked that we all get together more frequently to share stories about the progress of the partnership.

Images: Joe Angeles, WUSTL Photo Services