Tag: Executive MBA



Doug Villhard on stage at one of Second Street

Doug Villhard, EMBA ’14, academic director for WashU Olin’s entrepreneurship platform, announced today the $30 million sale and acquisition of the startup he co-founded in 2007.

St. Louis-based Second Street, co-founded with Matt Coen, gives publishers and other clients the capacity to provide contests, interactive content and emails to grow revenue, database and engagement. The company has more than 500 clients, including news publisher Gannett, the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network and WGN-TV in Chicago.

According to a news release today, Upland Software, which provides cloud-based tools for digital transformation, agreed to acquire Second Street for $25.4 million in cash at closing (net of cash acquired), paid out of cash on hand, and a $5 million cash holdback payable in 12 months.

“At Olin, I teach students to first ‘fall in love with the customer’s problem,'” said Villhard, who is also professor of practice in entrepreneurship. “If you get that right, it can lead to amazing things.”

Villhard said he worked on growing Second Street at the same time he was working on his MBA. “Every class I took I applied it to the company I was growing.” he said.

“Our customers’ business is only going to accelerate with Upland, which is tremendously gratifying for all of us who have been involved over the past 14 years in building such a special product,” Villhard said in a blog post on Upland’s website, co-founder and president of Second Street.

Other highlights from Upland’s announcement of the acquisition:

  • “Our customers need to deliver content experiences consumers enjoy interacting with and benefit from,” said Jack McDonald, chairman and CEO of Upland (which is publicly traded on Nasdaq: UPLD). “Contests and interactive content are a proven and effective way to engage, attract, and retain consumers, and Second Street delivers this at scale.”
  • Upland expects the acquisition to generate annual revenue of approximately $9.4 million, of which all is recurring.
  • The Upland Cloud enables thousands of organizations to engage with customers on key digital channels, optimize sales team performance, manage projects and IT costs, and automate critical document workflows.

Villhard is also a partner with his brother in Villhard Growth Partners, a private equity firm that invests in, partners with and grows strong, tech-enabled business and healthcare services companies. He has been involved in the launch and operation of two other startups. And he started Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, Illinois.

Pictured above: Doug Villhard on stage at one of Second Street’s annual customer summits (photo courtesy Doug Villhard).




David Jackson, EMBA

David Jackson, EMBA ’15, who began his career in government relations as Missouri’s youngest registered lobbyist at age 19 and has negotiated more than 150 public policy changes over the last decade, will become a principal at Missouri’s largest governmental affairs consulting firm.

Gamble & Schlemeier announced Jackson will join Bill Gamble, Jorgen Schlemeier and Sarah Topp as principals in the firm, which was formed in 1996.

Jackson joined Gamble & Schlemeier in 2016 as an experienced lobbyist and policy advisor with an extensive background advancing client interests and shaping policy positions while developing relationships with Missouri’s legislative and executive branches of government.

In his new role, Jackson will support existing clients and develop new relationships to extend Gamble & Schlemeier’s commitment to providing the highest level of service that allows clients to win on tough issues.

“David’s numerous accomplishments before the General Assembly since joining the firm has gained him the confidence of our clients and respect of his peers at the state capital,” said Jorgen Schlemeier of Gamble & Schlemeier.

“Promoting David to principal strengthens the firm’s capacity and positions us to broaden our footprint, while further enhancing our ability to deliver the one-on-one counsel and client service that is the hallmark of Gamble & Schlemeier,” said Bill Gamble, founder of the firm.

Gamble & Schlemeier is a preeminent, full-service governmental affairs consulting firm with lobbyists located in Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City. It takes great pride in having a diverse staff that is uniquely capable of delivering an innovative approach to the General Assembly that solves clients problems and helps them win on the issues they care about.

Jackson began his career in government relations as Missouri’s youngest registered lobbyist at age 19 and has negotiated more than 150 public policy changes over the last decade. Prior to joining Gamble & Schlemeier, Jackson served as the managing partner of Gate Way Group, the lobbying division of a media and public relations firm in St. Louis. In 2014, the St. Louis Business Journal named Jackson to its list of top 30 Under 30 business leaders in the region.

Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Westminster College and an Executive MBA from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jackson serves on Westminster College Board of Trustees and volunteers on the Board of Directors for Criminal Justice Ministry, a criminal justice reentry nonprofit in St. Louis. He lives in Lake St. Louis with wife, Claire Vatterott Jackson, son, John, and daughter, Lucy.

For more information about Gamble & Schlemeier, visit the firm’s website.




Dr. Patrick Aguilar, EMBA

The QuikTrip Corporation, a convenience store company with more than 50 locations in the St. Louis area and 850 stores in 11 states, has begun to expand into the healthcare market with the help of Dr. Patrick Aguilar, EMBA’20.

Aguilar is spearheading a new class of customer service-minded urgent care clinics as the chief medical officer for MedWise Urgent Care, the burgeoning healthcare company launched in September by QuikTrip.

Dr. Aguilar has been a celebrated member of the Washington University community for years; he was formerly an assistant professor of medicine and the director of medical critical care at the Washington University School of Medicine and worked to develop an MD-MBA program there. Aguilar, a pulmonologist and medical intensivist, has also held positions at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

Aguilar’s addition to the MedWise team is driven by his interest in the application of organizational psychology principles to the world of healthcare, as well as his experience in medical education and organizational leadership. In his position as chief medical officer at MedWise clinics, Dr. Aguilar will be managing clinical strategy, supporting a team of medical professionals to provide a top-notch customer experience.

MedWise’s first urgent care clinic opened in September in Oklahoma, and the company plans to open 15 additional locations in the Tulsa area during the next two years. The goal of these clinics is to apply the same principles used in successful convenience stores—quality service, cleanliness, and friendliness—to the world of healthcare.

“We think healthcare needs to re-conceptualize the experience from the eyes of the patient,” Aguilar said in a story by KMOX radio in St. Louis. “Our goal is to take the retail principles that made QuikTrip a success in the convenience store market and apply those to healthcare.”

MedWise hopes that these tenets will set their clinics apart from the often-frustrating experience of going to urgent care. Along with general physical exams, treatments of illnesses and injuries, and vaccinations, the clinics will offer COVID-19 testing, a service that becomes increasingly important as the global pandemic rages on.

MedWise will certainly shake up the healthcare market, and perhaps the Washington University community will be seeing their clinics crop up here in St. Louis in the coming months.


When the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn caused internship cancellations, WashU Olin and the Center for Experiential Learning stepped up to provide summer learning opportunities for students while supporting St. Louis-based businesses. We’ll be sharing their stories on the Olin Blog. Today, we’ll hear from Nick Mueller, BSBA ’22, who acted as team lead working with GO! St. Louis.

Tell us about your summer project.

I worked with three other students as team lead for GO! St. Louis, a nonprofit running organization that promotes health and fitness in the St. Louis area by hosting running events such as marathons, half-marathons, 10K races, 5K, races, etc. as well as some biking and hiking events.  We worked to mitigate the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on our organization’s ability to continue its operations. 

In what ways has this CEL experience been helpful in applying your education or sharpening your skills?

This CEL experience gave me the opportunity to lead a team of my peers through a professional yet low-stress consulting engagement. We worked closely with a faculty member who provided feedback throughout the project, but gave us a great deal of discretion in how we approach it.  This freedom replicated the independence of a post-graduation consulting job and forced me to apply my own education and creativity, while the guidance I received helped me discover and improve upon my weaknesses. As a result, I emerged from each task as a more confident and competent consultant. 

What was a “day in the life” of this CEL program?

Each week began with a class on Monday and a check-in with our faculty advisor on Tuesday.  During this check-in, we discussed our objectives for the week and how we would accomplish them.  For the remainder of the week, the student team worked on our own doing research, crafting messages, meeting with experts (runners, PR specialists, etc.), completing our deliverables, and other required tasks.  During this time, we typically met about once day, and we were always allowed to contact our faculty member for questions or assistance.  On Sundays, we submitted a weekly update that outlined what we accomplished that week and what we hoped to do next week. 

What was it like working with a real-world client?

We met with our client on Zoom every two weeks and communicated via email or text whenever necessary.  Our Zoom meetings included our faculty member as well, who gave us feedback after the meeting.  Faculty feedback on client meetings was especially helpful in teaching me the professional courtesies and leadership skills that display confidence and competence in a business setting. It really taught me how to how to deal with a client, how to lead meetings both with a student team and with clients.

We speak of Olin as a values-based, data-driven business school. Have you seen that in action?

Absolutely.  Both clients I have worked with through the CEL have had a precise mission.  My first client promoted literacy among African American children and positive images of African American culture.  My second client was focused on promoting fitness, health, and exercise in the St. Louis community – a mission complicated by COVID-19, but more critical than ever in the wake of social distancing and people becoming more reclusive.  The Center for Experiential Learning chooses its partnerships carefully, and I believe the missions of these organizations reflect the values of Olin Business School, such as social reform and community engagement. 

The faculty in this program have placed strong emphasis on the importance of using data to formulate and justify recommendations. Furthermore, our Monday classes typically feature guest speakers and our most recent class was led by a panel of business analysts who gave a lesson on data visualization and communication. 

What surprised you about the experience?

I was surprised by the way we were able to do it all virtually without any problems. When the summer came around, I believe there was a good deal of skepticism regarding how feasible this would really be, to do a project like this all over Zoom. But I was pleasantly surprised by how it all turned out. And I think that the faculty, as well as the students, did a great job in pivoting and being flexible with everything.




Dolapu Ojutiku, MBA ’21, writes today about his summer consulting experience at Liberty Mutual. He was invited to return to Liberty Mutual full-time after graduation. His contribution is part of a series by students sharing their summer internship experiences with the Olin blog.

My internship has been one of the highlights of my MBA experience so far. I spent my summer working at Liberty Mutual as a consultant in the corporate development program. I worked on a project that had real impact on the company. I did an assessment of one of our largest vendors to streamline processes and evaluate opportunities for improvements. One of my contributions that is being implemented is a scorecard that provides better insights into the performance of our vendors. It was an eventful summer and I’m pleased to be joining the company full time after graduation. 

My internship was originally intended to be in person but ended up being virtual due to work-from-home policies as a result of the coronavirus. I initially wasn’t sure what to expect, but the company did a great job of creating ways to engage with us and build community virtually. Some examples of this include a virtual town hall with the CEO to address racial injustice in the US, an executive speaker lunch series for the interns, and a virtual baking event with Joanne Chang (Boston’s Flour Bakery), a former management consultant turned chef.

Olin did a great job preparing me. I started working with my career coach at the time, Jeff Stockton, before I had even arrived on campus to start my program. I was able to participate in the Consortium Orientation Program in Houston last summer and had to get ready for recruiting much earlier than usual. The WCC team—as well as my academic advisor, Ashley Macrander—were also a good support system throughout my first year.

I found that a lot of the frameworks we learned during Seth Carnahan’s strategy class turned out to be valuable for my internship. Two other classes that really helped me succeed were “Negotiation,” by Hillary Anger Elfenbein, and “Power & Politics” by Peter Boumgarden. Lessons from those classes came in handy when negotiating with cross-functional teams and influencing people to buy-in to my project.

My advice for students about the interview process is to try to network as much as possible, since you never know who might end up being your advocate in discussions that you’re not part of. I also found value in starting case prep very early on; I attended the Management Consulted workshop as well as some of the OSCA case sessions and found them to be very helpful in supplementing my case prep. In my personal experience, preparing well for the consulting case interview made other interviews easier.

In hindsight, I realize that a lot of the pillars we value at Olin helped prepare me for my internship. I had to be entrepreneurial and take ownership for the direction and outcome of my project. I also needed to make sure that decisions I made were supported by data, but not without considering the effect it had on our customers and the values they’ve come to expect from the company.