Tag: diversity

To our Washington University community:

On behalf of the entire Washington University community, I share sympathy and support for the University of Virginia, its extended family and the city of Charlottesville. I am inspired by the resilience of Charlottesville and hope that the start of the University of Virginia’s school year brings renewal and promise for the future.

Universities are supposed to be places where diversity is celebrated. The horrific day in Charlottesville runs counter not only to the moral fabric of our country, but to the mission of the campus on which it occurred. The hate, bigotry, prejudice and racism that swelled into an eruption of violence is beyond comprehension. The ugly white supremacist agenda that brought these individuals and organizations to the University of Virginia has no place in our society. We must condemn the hate-filled ideology that we witnessed this weekend.

I hope for a day when it will no longer be necessary to proclaim, “This is not us. This is not who we are or who we want to be.” But Charlottesville is yet another heartbreaking reminder that this is us, this is our reality. We have so much work to do and so much progress to make. At Washington University, we are going to keep up the effort and continue to work toward a more inclusive, accepting and welcoming community. Join us.


Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton

Alumni in the news

Joyce Trimuel (EMBA 2016) has been appointed the Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at CNA. In this newly created role, Trimuel is responsible for developing and leading a cadre of strategic priorities aimed at accelerating the company’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive culture.

“In addition to being a catalyst for positive change and a passionate, demonstrated champion of diversity, Joyce is a results-driven business leader who will ensure we attract, develop and retain the best people by focusing on the broadest possible pool of talent within our company and throughout the marketplace,” said Liz Aguinaga , Chief Human Resources Officer, CNA.


Joyce Trimuel

Trimuel joins CNA with nearly 20 years of underwriting and industry leadership. Most recently, she served as Vice President and Kansas City Branch Manager for Chubb. At the same time, she founded the Lead.Link.Leverage initiative, offering more than 200 women business leaders in the Kansas City community professional career development.

“Diversity and inclusion leads to more innovation, more opportunities for all, better access to talent and better business performance,” said Dino E. Robusto , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CNA. “By working with people from different backgrounds and with different experiences and working styles, we learn and obtain another point of view. Diverse views make for better decisions, and thus drive a high-performance culture. Joyce’s leadership will allow us to meet the needs of customers from countless backgrounds and play a more vital role in our global communities.”

Trimuel holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , as well as an MBA from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis . She has earned several diversity achievements, including acting as the chair of Chubb’s Multicultural Development Council, developing and implementing a first-of-its-kind leadership development program, and leading several successful civic and charitable partnerships.

Serving businesses and professionals since 1897, CNA is the country’s eighth largest commercial insurance writer and the 14th largest property and casualty company. CNA’s insurance products include commercial lines, specialty lines, surety, marine and other property and casualty coverages. CNA’s services include risk management, information services, underwriting, risk control and claims administration. For more information, please visit CNA at www.cna.com.

Source: CNA News Release, Chicago, March 6, 2017

My friend jokes that I tick every box for diversity. I am brown, I am a woman, and I am from an underrepresented country of the world. While my diversity is an asset, it is also a responsibility. I represent a country to this community, I represent my gender, I represent my religion—in short, I am an ambassador.

In the past months, as an ambassador, I have learned new things about my identity and I have never felt closer to my heritage or prouder of the differences I bring to my new home.

I am Bangladeshi

It is a mouthful, I agree; but if you make the effort to call me Bangladeshi instead of Indian, you will be closer to my heart for addressing me with our hard-won nationality.

I will then tell you how we are the only people in the world who fought for their language. How we are a socialist country without much social security to go around. How we have set exemplary standards in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. How we are stuck on the brink of explosive economic growth, the prize just eluding us every time! I learned these recently because I want to share with you the struggles and aspirations of the people from a small country, perched on the Bay of Bengal.

I am a Woman

More importantly, I am a South Asian woman. My eloquence and my extroversion are often in contradiction of the image of a woman born and raised in South Asia. That image is not incorrect.

Yes, things are changing for the better, but we still have a long way to go before we can claim to have built a society where women can explore their full potential. Nonetheless, I stand as proof of what we can achieve, given our limitations.

Sharing cultures and clothes!

Sharing cultures and clothes!

I am Muslim

Islam has become an enigma for Americans, and I am glad to answer questions about the religion (the best I can) if you are curious to know. The other day a friend asked me if I knew what we say in our prayers. I didn’t.

That day I Googled the meaning of every statement we make when we pray and for the first time I discovered that I pray for enlightenment, for peace, for forgiveness, for the blessings that I have, every day. I would not know this if I was not asked. I drew closer to my Creator because you were curious.

I read it somewhere—America is not a melting pot, it’s a salad bowl. Everyone can be unique here, yet complement each other. I see how that has played to America’s strength. When you accept the whole of a person, how can she not give her all to you?

Growing up in a homogeneous society, this is refreshing for me—and it is beautiful.

Alejandro Bolívar-Cervoni has dreamed of going to business school since he was a young boy growing up in Puerto Rico. His family settled there after fleeing Cuba in 1960. His uncle Roberto had gone to business school in the U.S. and told his nephew about the transformational MBA experience that introduced him to business theory, best practices, and most of all, a diverse group of peers, professors, and corporate leaders. Alejandro’s uncle also told him about the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management, which provided the scholarship that allowed him to go to business school. Today, Alejandro is a first-year MBA student at Olin and a second generation Consortium Fellow and scholarship recipient.

The Consortium organization was founded at Olin in 1966 and dedicated to increasing the ranks of underrepresented minorities in business education and corporate leadership.  Alejandro is one of five students that the Consortium is following and featuring on its blog this year as they begin their MBA journey.

Olin Consortium Fellows, MBA Class of 2018

Olin Consortium Fellows, MBA Class of 2018

Alejandro tells why he was motivated to pursue an MBA degree:

“I sought out deeper understanding of other cultures by working with international classmates. Taking advantage of travel opportunities—including spending a semester abroad—will also introduce me to best practices when working with diverse, multicultural teams.”  

Hear Alejandro talk about his first few months at Olin in our video. The Consortium has also featured him in another story on their site that shares his many ties to the Consortium through relatives who have been past fellows in the program.

Related: 1966: The Consortium takes first steps to diversify MBA ranks

Olin hosted its fall diversity weekend October 21-23. It was a unique opportunity to share the incredible opportunities offered by Olin’s full-time MBA program with students from across the nation. Prospective students received an introduction to the MBA program not only from an administrative level, but from the classroom, career search, and extracurricular levels.

Diversity weekend is a mini-immersion into the Olin community and experience.

The prospective students heard from Interim Dean Kurt Dirks and our Associate Dean and Director of Olin’s Graduate Programs, Joe Fox.  Joe and Kurt are the most important administrators for the MBA program, and offered unique insights into some of Olin’s key competitive and unique advantages over other top tier programs. One of their recurrent themes was the unique value delivered by our relatively small cohort size. Kurt and Joe explained the ways in which this lends itself to our students having direct and meaningful relationships with Olin’s prestigious administrators and faculty.


To better demonstrate Olin’s commitment to excellent instruction, our prospective students had the pleasure of working through a classic business school case study with our very own Professor Sergio Chayet. Sergio, who teaches our core operations course (along with a handful of elective courses), is one of our most-loved faculty members. He exemplifies Olin’s reputation for both brilliant and student-focused instructors.

Rounding out our exploration of the services provided by Olin itself, the Weston Career Center’s (WCC) Associate Director of Employee Relations, Annetta Culver, spoke with the Diversity Weekend attendees about the WCC’s broad base of job search support. Not only does the WCC bring some of the world’s most prestigious companies to campus, like Goldman Sachs, Accenture, and Amazon for recruiting events, but the WCC also helps prepare students for successful networking, application, and interview processes.

Outside of the classroom, Olin MBA students are able to get real-world business experience through our Center for Experiential Learning (CEL), which facilitates five different courses. These courses allow Olin students to get their hands dirty, solving real business problems in organizations spanning domestic and international Fortune 500s, small and growth-stage startups, along with nonprofits and community-focused organizations. The CEL hosted a reception and information session for our prospective students, and also served some of St. Louis’ world famous BBQ courtesy of Pappy’s Smokehouse.


As Olin is not just a part of the Washington University community, but also an integral part of the larger St. Louis community, the diversity weekend attendees heard from Leah Merrifield. Leah, who is WashU’s Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement, explained the myriad ways that Washington University contributes to and engages with St. Louis’ diverse communities. St. Louis, a healthcare and startup powerhouse that also struggles with deep-seated socioeconomic and racial segregation, is a unique place to attend business school. Leah spoke about the ways in which Olin’s students are able to work with, and learn from, both St. Louis’ incredible businesses and also its social challenges.

Continuing this theme, Natalie Clay, a St. Louis diversity and inclusion professional gave a rousing speech titled “What Harvard Business Review Knows-and-Missed About the Future of Diversity & Inclusion.” This thought-provoking speech encouraged students to explore the implications, and need for, diversity and inclusion efforts both in corporations and in business schools.

diversity-wkend4Throughout the weekend’s programming, Diversity Weekends attendees were able to connect and ask questions to both current Olin MBAs, and some of our storied alumni. These interactions were a great way for the prospective students to learn about the Olin MBA experience directly from those who are currently living with it, and those who can speak to how Olin shaped their personal and professional lives with the benefit of retrospect.

Overall, Diversity Weekend was a condensed version of the Olin experience. We sincerely hope that all attendees enjoyed our programming, and if you would like to attend one of our future informational events, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions office.

Guest Blogger: Alex Novelli, MBA’17; Diversity Weekend Co-Chair

In the mid 1960s, when civil rights protests were growing and calls for radical social change permeated all walks of life, Sterling H. Schoen, a professor at Washington University’s business school, realized through his research that Fortune 500 companies employed no African Americans in management. Schoen, an expert in labor relations, wanted to open the doors to business education and corporate career tracks for underrepresented minorities.

Inaugural class member James Jackson with Professor Sterling Schoen. Courtesy photo

Inaugural class member James Jackson with Professor Sterling Schoen. Courtesy photo

Schoen’s research and dedication to diversity in business education and management led to the creation of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. Better known as “The Consortium,” it is a unique alliance of top-tier business schools and corporate partners dedicated to increasing the ranks of underrepresented minorities in business education and corporate leadership.

The Consortium is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“We’re here today because of Prof. Schoen’s vision,” said Peter J. Aranda III (MBA and MIM ’87), a Consortium alumnus and current executive director and CEO of The Consortium. “We need to remember we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. The opportunities that exist today are bigger and greater than they were in the early days of the organization, and that is truly because of those who came before us.”

“Few people are able to recognize what happened in America in the 1960s. While I was at the University of Chicago on a post-doctoral fellowship in 1962–63, I witnessed the burning of Chicago …. It was there that I first conceived of the notion that our business schools might take a more active and constructive role in promoting equal-opportunity employment in our country. I soon realized that Washington University by itself could make little impact on the problem, and so the idea of a consortium of leading universities was conceived.”
–Prof. Sterling Schoen in a 1996 letter reflecting on the founding of The Consortium.

The first cohort of Consortium MBA students included 21 African-American men who enrolled in three founding member schools in 1967: Washington University, Indiana University-Bloomington, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The students were connected to mentors, leaders, and recruiters representing 27 corporate partners. Two years later, the University of Rochester and the University of Southern California joined The Consortium.

In 1970, Consortium membership opened to include women, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans. This sparked growth in the number of member students and corporate and university partners. In 2004, The Consortium evolved to include all U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have demonstrated a commitment to The Consortium’s mission.

In 2016, The Consortium offered membership to more than 480 incoming students attending 18 member universities. Over the past 50 years, The Consortium has helped more than 9,000 of the country’s most talented MBA students achieve their goals.

Read more about the Consortium and Olin’s continued support in its mission on the Olin100 Centennial website.

Sources: CGSM and WUSTL Archives

Top Photo: Prof. Schoen in 1970 at a meeting of Consortium alumni and students. Courtesy of WUSTL Archives.