Tag: EMBA



Olin Business School’s Executive MBA program in partnership with Fudan University in China is number seven in the 2017 Financial Times’ annual ranking of the world’s top 100 EMBA programs.This survey marks the sixth consecutive year that the Olin-Fudan EMBA has been ranked in the FT’s top ten global programs.

Alumni of the Olin-Fudan program reported gains in the important areas of salary increase, career progress, and work experience. Olin-Fudan EMBA graduates are among the top earners of the schools in the ranking with an average salary of $360,250, the third highest globally.

“Olin’s partnership with Fudan University pioneered the executive MBA in China in 2002 and has consistently been a leader,” said Mark Taylor, dean of Olin Business School. “The large number of top American and European business schools that have followed us to Asia in recent years are a testament to our successful program and our outstanding alumni who have propelled their global careers to new heights after earning the Olin-Fudan EMBA degree.”

The Financial Times ranking is based on two surveys: one of business schools and one of their alumni who graduated in 2014. Criteria in 16 categories are weighted for the overall ranking. For more on the FT ranking methodology and details of this year’s survey, link to the Oct. 16 edition of the FT.




It was dubbed the “The Biggest Office Party in St. Louis,” and Olin Executive MBAs wanted to be a part of the fun. On August 31, 4,000 people gathered downtown for the 2nd Annual Biz Dash—a 5K run through the streets of St. Louis’ business district. The EMBA program recruited a team of alumni, students, and staff for this community-building event.

Produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission, the Biz Dash brings companies together to race, mingle, and enjoy the night, with live music, food, drinks, and fun. It’s a happy hour with a healthy twist. Olin research finds that healthier employees lead to higher productivity in the workplace. And the race is all about inclusion – every level of runner and walker was encouraged to participate

There were teams from World Wide Technology, Emerson, Nestle Purina, Edward Jones, Maritz, Ameren, Boeing, and the WashU Executive MBAs, just to name a few.

The WashU EMBA team included Stephanie Russell (Sun Edison), Brandon Porter (Equifax), Patti Williams (Peabody), David Messner (St. Louis Regional Chamber), Andy Wiegert (WashU), Erik Penfield (Oracle) along with several spouses, guests, and members of the EMBA admissions and services teams including Meg Shuff, Assistant Dean of Executive MBA admissions.

It was a gorgeous night to be outside and there was fast energy all around—especially from the runners at Bryan Cave who finished first in both the male and female individual competitions.

Our executive MBAs were running to support the St. Louis Sports Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable affiliate that promotes sportsmanship and positive environments for kids to play sports. Look for next year’s growing team of WashU Executive MBAs on the run!




Ten years ago, Matt Kulig walked into a big box home improvement store. After 20 minutes of fruitless searching for a surge protector, asking three employees for help, and being led to three incorrect locations, his patience was spent and he was on the verge of retail rage.

Fortunately, Kulig was able to channel his frustration into innovation by co-founding Aisle411, a mobile indoor mapping and location platform. The serial entrepreneur (he’s now working on his 10th startup) recently shared his story with Executive MBA (EMBA) students at Olin.

The Aisle411 app allows retailers to offer their guests accurate navigation throughout a store. In addition to navigation, it shares information on specials and other helpful data to enhance a customer’s experience. The app also tracks customers’ behavior to provide store owners with valuable insights on shopping patterns.

Today, St. Louis-based Aisle411 serves over 14,000 stores across the globe including Walgreens, Supervalu and Schnucks. They are able to do this thanks to partnerships with key businesses such as Google and Philips.

The EMBA students were all ears when Kulig said, “one can start a company from anywhere – yes, even the Midwest.” Aisle411’s mission is to “Uber-fy” the shopping experience.

Kulig shared 8 entrepreneurial lessons with WashU’s EMBA students:

  1. People Matter. You should like the people you work with.
  2. Networking Matters. Even for the extroverts, you “gotta do it.”
  3. Serendipity Happens. There is no such thing as good luck. There is such thing as opportunity which generally occurs after ideas and people collide.
  4. Don’t Wait For Things To Happen. Make them happen.
  5. It’s All About Selling. When you are an entrepreneur, whether you like it or not, you are in sales. Everyone you talk to is a potential investor, customer or storyteller.
  6. Manage Risk. Do not fear it.
  7. Everything is Negotiable.
  8. Millions of Ideas Happen, But Few Come to Life. Not all entrepreneurs have an original idea. But most people don’t end up executing.

EMBA student Morgran Crena said, “What I took home from Matt Kulig’s talk was how he managed the ups and downs as Aisle411 grew. As a serial entrepreneur, he clearly has a passion for start-ups and his work in the community shows his dedication to help others. A couple times he invited students to speak with him afterwards to discuss their ideas. When I met with him, he gave practical advice about potential pitfalls and was encouraging.”

The Executive MBA program, as well as student-run organizations, benefit from guest speakers throughout the year who bring real-world journeys to the classroom and add an extra dimension to Olin’s research-based learning.




Alumni in the news

Army veteran Katie Buehner, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot, has found a new and rewarding career path in the medical profession. Buehner’s professional and personal journey from serving in the Army to creating a new business venture has recently been featured in both The Denver Business Journal and The National Business Journal.

Buehner’s accomplishments cross the educational, military and healthcare sectors.  An alumnus of Olin’s Executive MBA program (EMBA), Buehner served ten years in the Army as a Black Hawk pilot. Her husband is a fellow army aviator and she did not originally intend on leaving the Army, but family responsibilities took priority. With three kids ranging from ages one to four, a pending assignment to Germany for six months provided a milestone moment for Buehner. She chose to care for her young children stateside, and in so doing, that pivotal moment opened the door for a career-changing opportunity, earning her MBA degree via WashU’s EMBA program.

While at WashU, Buehner took advantage of the rich business school network by meeting and eventually partnering with fellow classmate, John Spranger and his wife Erin. The team focused on the need for staffing nurses to local medical offices, clinics and hospitals. Meeting demand for nursing supply, their company, Presto Staffing, benefits both its clients and its talent. By permitting flexible scheduling, the firm naturally draws nurses who search for alternative schedules to help their work-life balance, while also serving a growing healthcare industry.

Notably, with a revenue of $260,000 since opening in July 2016, Presto Staffing had a 150 percent growth rate, between September and December of that same year.  A May 2017 EMBA graduate, Buehner applies her “operational background” to a role that also allows her to manage her own flexible schedule while focusing on essential time with her family.

Buehener credits her journey through EMBA with connecting her to the business realm, pointing out that the “classes are… comprised of experienced professionals.”  Through molding her in-depth military operations experience with her acquired real-world business knowledge and connections at WashU, Buehner is looking forward to the next chapter of her joint venture.

For more coverage of Buehner’s career, please click here (note: full article is available for National Business Journal’s subscribers only).

For more on the WashU Executive MBA program, please visit our website.




Photo, above: Tom and Catherine Holland and their children.

Tom Holland, EMBA ’12, has always been drawn to a life of adventure. As a young man from central Illinois, he participated in Wilderness Adventures, an adventure travel camp headquartered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with program offerings all over the world. Founded in 1973, Wilderness Adventures is for students ages 11-20 and seeks to inspire their leadership capabilities while adventuring through the most pristine natural spaces on the planet.

“That month-long summer experience opened my eyes to the person I could be. I was also exposed to the thrill of outdoor adventure,” Tom says. “I found that the experience was a unique way to educate the minds of young adults. I didn’t know it was possible to receive leadership education in wilderness areas.”

Tom’s experience led to him pursue a degree in secondary education from WashU (LA’02), and after graduating, he became a high school teacher. While teaching high school social studies, he continued to spend his summers leading backpacking adventures for kids in Wyoming.

“The mountains became an extension of my classroom—one where I could grow young adults into the best version of themselves. Using the metaphor of wilderness challenge, we deepened our understanding of ourselves,” he says.

Eventually, Tom went on to become the Executive Director of a residential summer camp program in Wyoming. In his new role, Tom decided to return to Washington University, but this time as a member of Olin’s Executive MBA Class 38.

“The EMBA program, much like that summer adventure so many years ago, challenged me in new ways. I found myself learning from both my professors and my peers. Further, they challenged me to dream big when it came to my professional life in the camp and adventure travel business.”

Following his EMBA experience, Tom took on a new job as CEO of the American Camp Association. There, he served as an industry spokesperson and worked with thousands of summer camp programs in the United States to improve the quality and availability of programs to children.

It was during his tenure at the American Camp Association that he was contacted by the owners of Wilderness Adventures, the program he attended as a teenager. They expressed their desire to pass the torch of leadership after 43 years, and wondered if Tom and his wife, Catherine, would be interested in taking the step into business ownership.

“We were thrilled to be approached with this opportunity and to direct such a fantastic company. With over 25,000 alumni, Wilderness Adventures has been a leader in the camp and student adventure travel industry since 1973, and we look forward to continuing that legacy.”

With hundreds of students coming from all over the United States and many international countries too, the program has global reach. And after just over a year at the helm, it is easy to see that Tom is putting to use the skills he acquired at Olin. While remaining true to the core programming of electronics-free youth adventure travel expeditions in national parks and wild areas around the globe, Wilderness Adventures is launching a day camp program for a younger audience in Jackson Hole.

A surfing excursion with Wilderness Adventures

A surfing excursion with Wilderness Adventures

“It is our goal to inspire the next generation to dream big. I was issued that challenge through my experience with Wilderness Adventures all those years ago, and Catherine and I look forward to being stewards of that mission for years to come.”

During the month of March, Wilderness Adventures is offering a $200 program coupon for the children of Olin alumni who wish to enroll in the summer of 2017.  To claim your coupon, email info@wildernessadventures.com, with the subject line: OLIN20.

Written by guest blogger KC Friedrich, Senior Associate Director of Development, Olin Business School


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