Tag: Executive Education

Last month, the Impact Investing Symposium returned to Olin. In it’s second year, the Symposium brought together professionals in finance, foundations, social justice, and government to discuss the potential for impact investing in St. Louis. What a turnout: 180 attendees across industries and experience of impact investing.

The afternoon began with a keynote interview with Nicole Hudson, exploring the work of the Ferguson Commission and what types of projects are ripe for investment in St. Louis. The Ferguson Commission was crucial in advancing a community understanding, response, action plan and forward steps after the shooting of Michael Brown in North St. Louis. Like all community action, the initiative needed tangible measures for impact as well as buy-in from an entire community, across backgrounds and city/county lines.

The necessity for common language and common ground is paramount for impact investing: we need voices of the under-served, perspectives of the financiers, and mediators who can find the common goals. That’s what makes the Impact Investing Symposium unique. It’s a rarity to get folks of these industries in the same room, having a conversation, exchanging dialogue, looking forward.

This year’s panel expanded on a discussion of last year: why impact investing is imminent. Mike Eggleston shared community survey results from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis while David Desai-Ramirez articulated ways for individuals and institutions to take direct action in impact investing: speak with a conduit social enterprise like IFF or Justine PETERSEN. Symposium veteran Tim Coffin shared the traditional finance mechanisms in place for investing with impact and Heather Cameron contributed macro level understandings of community impact. Jake Barnett, mediator, delivered a final parting challenge: “integrity is the proximity of one’s values to their actions.”

The conversation on changing mindsets and redefining “return” will continue – but the Symposium is ready for it’s next iteration: what are actionable steps? How can Olin be at the forefront of impact investing? Where should St. Louis focus it’s resources, intellect, and innovation?

We left the Symposium with the following directive: what projects can we support as individuals, investors, and community members? Have ideas? Be in touch – we’re ready to move forward: impactinvest@wustl.edu.

The Impact Investing Symposium was founded, organized and implemented by socially-minded Olin MBA students. We intend to keep this mission alive at Olin: bridging finance and social impact. To support this initiative or make further inquiry regarding potential future sponsorship, please contact impactinvest@wustl.edu. This event was sponsored by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation and hosted by Net Impact, the Weston Career Center, and Olin Business School.

Move over, baby boomers. In the past few years, millennials have become the country’s largest living generation—and the country’s largest employee demographic. Known (OK, stereotyped) for their sense of entitlement and need for constant praise, these job-hopping 20 to 30 somethings have flooded organizations from coast to coast. And the resulting clash of work styles and preferences has created challenges for business leaders.

Employers can throw up their hands and keep managing the way they’re managing—or they can get tips and tools from Andrew Knight, associate professor of organizational behavior.

“The generational change in the composition of the workforce has been like a wave crashing,” he says. “Companies must adapt or they won’t survive.”

Knight has developed a survival guide.

In April, he’ll launch Managing Millennials, a daylong, open-enrollment seminar offered through WashU’s Executive Programs.

The seminar will begin with millennial myth busting.

Prof. Andrew Knight

Prof. Andrew Knight

“Group-based stereotyping has a negative impact on employees and results in employers missing out on a lot of talent,” he says. “No one likes being put in a bucket, especially if they don’t fit in it. Millennials are individuals, just like members of every other generation. Actually, in some cases, employees will have more in common with people in their functional area than with people their same age.”

Still, many millennials do share certain characteristics and motivations.

Pew Research Center asked millennials what makes their generation unique. Their No. 1 answer was technology use.

Knight says they’ve grown up with the assumption that information is readily available. Employers can leverage millennials’ affinity for information, especially when they push them to check sources and to interpret findings.

In comparison, work ethic was boomers’ No. 1 answer and Generation Xers’ No. 2 answer to Pew’s question on uniqueness. But work ethic didn’t make millennials’ top five responses.

“Some data suggest that millennials are less motivated by traditional financial rewards than boomers are,” Knight says. “Millennials want meaningful, purpose-driven work that’s aligned with their values. They also prefer a flatter corporate hierarchy, with more-direct access to senior leadership.”

Knight will present strategies for millennial engagement and retention. Best practices include clear expectations; regular feedback; reverse mentoring (pairing millennials with boomers for two-way learning); coaching; showing millennials how they can advance their own and their organization’s values; and well-being activities that promote work-life balance and physical, emotional, and financial health.

The goal is to boost organizational and employee effectiveness—and to make sure that companies and their people thrive.

Managing Millennials will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  April 4, 2017, at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education & Conference Center on WashU’s main campus.

Registration is required. For more information, call the Executive Programs office at 314-935-9494 or register here.

This month Brookings Executive Education (BEE) launched a new course, “Excellence in Customer Service,” taught by Professor Jackson Nickerson, BEE Director and Associate Dean. The inaugural offering of the two-day course focused on how government can work with limited resources to create a culture responsive to the needs of customers and provide excellent customer service. To help illustrate how some agencies are already working towards excellence in customer service, BEE welcomed former political appointee and startup entrepreneur Phaedra Chrousos.

Phaedra Chrousos

Phaedra Chrousos

Chrousos co-founded the Technology Transformation Service at the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA) and served as its first Commissioner. The mission of the Technology Transformation Service is to help the government build and buy technology solutions that provide experiences designed for the user first. The new service institutionalizes some of President Obama’s most successful digital initiatives and provides a foundation for the government’s ongoing digital transformation.

One of the first projects Chrousos was tasked with at GSA was evaluating and improving the tenant satisfaction survey process. At that time the nine-month process yielded an average response rate of 30 percent. A yearly survey that took nine months to complete did not leave much time to effectively design or implement any suggestions brought forth from the data. Chrousos and her team got to work and determined that one of the biggest factors for low scores is that people did not know who to get in touch with regarding concerns or issues. Data analytics show that creating a 1-800 number was an inexpensive way to gain momentum on the satisfaction survey quickly, at low cost.

As a member of the 18F Digital Service team, Chrousos and her team were asked to support the Department of Education’s goal to make information it had collected on colleges and universities available to potential students. They quickly realized that the web-based design focused on the wrong audience. Instead of focusing on the students who would actively use the information, the initial design was developed with internal audiences in mind.

Research showed that the actual audience (students), did not want the information via a website, but an app. Within three months the data was made available to outside vendors (up and running with 20 different companies) along with specific instructions on how to interface with the Department of Education’s database apps. This approach to development led to substantial savings over the expected cost of a website.

Each example illustrated the importance and the benefits of focusing on excellence in customer service. In each case not only was customer experience improved, but the activities also saved staff time and money.

In April 2015, IIT-Bombay and Washington University launched the first US-India joint Executive MBA program in Mumbai. Today, Oct. 14, 2016, the first batch, or cohort, graduated in St. Louis after a three week residency stateside. Congratulations to these trailblazing executives who are now alumni of two leading universities and equipped with new leadership skills to manage business challenges in the 21st century.

Olin’s Interim Dean Kurt Dirks was master of ceremonies for the graduation event held in Knight Hall’s Emerson Auditorium. David Farr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Emerson was the keynote speaker. Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton also addressed the students, faculty, staff, and family members present. The entire ceremony was live-streamed online; the recorded version will be available for viewing beginning Oct. 18, link here.

Shivganesh Bhargava, Head of the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management at IIT Bombay was also a featured speaker at the graduation ceremony as well as IIT Bombay Professor Prasanna Mujumdar. Sunil Punjab, Managing Director for Sigma-Aldrich in India, and a member of the graduating class, was chosen by his peers to be the student speaker. Ashly Thomas Jacob received the Student Recognition Award.

Inaugural class at a glance:

  • Approximately 16 average years of professional experience, with 11 years of management experience
  • 11 industries represented — both India and multinational companies
  • Over 40 percent of the class are executives at the senior vice president level and higher
  • Over 50 percent of the class is traveling from outside of the Mumbai area

2016 EMBA Mumbai graduation ceremony:

Click on thumbnail to expand image. Photos by Sid Hastings, WUSTL Photo Services.


CATEGORY: Global, News

Dennis Kelly, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., was a featured speaker during a recent Brookings Executive Education (BEE) course on Motivating People: Engaging Your Workforce. The two-day course provided participants with practical tools and knowledge to help them identify sources of motivation and strategies to maximize them.

Kelly currently oversees the 163-acre zoo facility in Rock Creek Park and the 3,200-acre Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Institute campus in Front Royal, Virginia. The zoo has more than 450 full-time staff, including keepers, curators and scientists, and an annual budget of approximately $51 million.

Kelly presented a case study that included research from Olin. “Motivating People: A Case Study of Workers with a Calling,” cited Stuart Bunderson’s research involving zookeepers who often feel their work is a calling, not just a job. Bunderson is Associate Dean and Director of Executive Programs at Olin. His research paper, “The Call of the Wild: Zookeepers, Callings, and the Double-edged Sword of Deeply Meaningful Work” was co-authored with Jeffery Thomson a professor at Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business.

Bunderson’s study found “A sense of calling complicates the relationship between zookeepers and their work fostering a sense of . . . occupational importance on one hand, and unbending duty, personal sacrifice, and heightened vigilance on the other . . . A calling can be a painfully double-edged sword.”

BEE kelly-photo

Dennis Kelly at BEE

Reflecting on the 2009 study, Kelly stated, “It is great to have research to apply to real-time issues of safety and commitment. We were recently challenged with the consequences of the ‘doubled-edged sword’ when employee motivation and budget constraints collided.”

Specifically, Kelly discussed when animals are sick and need additional care. Dedicated zookeepers did not want to risk taking funding away from other areas in the zoo because of staffing needs, but they also did not want ailing animals to go unattended. When the budget was tight, staff attempted to work unaccounted hours to make sure the animals were taken care of, which creates a conflict of interest for management. In a profession where the employees are highly educated, notoriously underpaid, and yet so eager to work in the profession, they are accustomed to making sacrifices for the sake of the animals.

When employers are faced with the challenge of cultivating and sustaining high levels of motivation and engagement, Kelly recommended the following strategies:

  • Decision-making: Inclusion vs. Direction
  • Recognize the extraordinary need for communication and involvement
  • Vigilance to personal safety
  • Protection from exploitation (employees and animals)

Zoo images: Smithsonian