Tag: Executive MBA

Sharon Mazimba, MBA ’19, submitted Yield Lab content; Allison Halpern, BSBA ’18, edited and formatted this CEL blog post.

Many CEL Practicum students have the opportunity to travel internationally to understand business on a global scale. In contrast, The Yield Lab team has a unique experience to work with a local company headquartered in St. Louis that has global impact.

Part of this will include traveling to Dublin to see Yield Lab’s agriculture technology processes in action. The Yield Lab is a family of agricultural technology venture capital funds and accelerators that invest in innovative companies with the potential to sustainably increase food production globally.

“I’m interested in learning more about venture capital and how funds are managed and differ internationally. This is a great opportunity because of The Yield Lab’s international presence. I’m very happy to learn the venture capital structure specifically in Argentina and Ireland.” –Carola De La Torre Cuba

With the support from investors and experienced individuals who nurture startups in the agriculture industry, Yield Lab has recognized tremendous opportunity for growth globally. Since its inception, Yield Lab’s global reach has expanded quickly with additional funds established in Ireland and Argentina. As Yield Lab continues to expand its brand to various regions, an efficient and connected global management structure is vital.

Here’s Where CEL Comes In

The Yield Lab has engaged the Center for Experiential Learning team to address the challenges inherent in the current structure and explore the dynamics of Yield Lab’s expansion plans.

“The content around agricultural technology, venture capital, and how both of these work together is what interests me. I hope to enhance my leadership techniques and also learn from the team—especially with their unique skills and backgrounds.” –Sharon Mazimba

With the support of Washington University in St. Louis, the CEL Practicum team aims to provide The Yield Lab with a recommendation that will facilitate its goal of furthering global reach in agricultural technology venture capital funds and accelerators. The team will focus on developing a scalable structure as new locations join under the Yield Lab umbrella, thus helping the Yield Lab brand grow.

Leading The Yield Lab team is Sharon Mazimba, MBA ’19. Sharon will serve as the project manager and main point of contact between the team and the client. The rest of the team—Carola De La Torre Cuba, MBA ’19; Rohan Kamalia, MBA ’18; Ashiq Cherian, SMP ’18; and Meredith Owen, MBA ’19—will serve as strategists to ground all recommendations in data.

“There is so much I want to learn from The Yield Lab and I’m excited to work with knowledgeable teammates. I believe learning does not only happen in the classroom, but is exemplified with experiential projects. Looking forward to learning more about teammates—their talents and specific interests.” –Rohan Kamalia

This team blends diverse cultural backgrounds stemming from Zambia, Peru, India, and the United States with an array of professional experience from doctoral level academia to strong finance and technology backgrounds. The strategic selection of The Yield Lab team exemplifies the breadth and depth of experience and values that the CEL and Olin Business School bring to our partner consulting companies. Each team member is coming in with his or her own purpose and sense of enthusiasm. Get to know the team a bit more here and learn more about their unique passions to create impact for the client.

“I’m excited to work with students in the MBA program, because I feel they bring a vast array of experience. Looking forward to exploring the details of how funds are managed internally and diving into the deal flow structure.” –Ashiq Cherian

“Traveling to Ireland and being able to travel internationally alongside my team is a huge plus! I am also fascinated by agricultural technology and the startup space. Excited to network in the agricultural technology space and create a valuable and meaningful solution for our client.” –Meredith Owen

Stay tuned to hear how their trip goes and how in-person meetings help students deliver impact in part two.

Written by Ross J. Brown, BSBA 2018, on behalf of Bauer Leadership Center.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do right by the organization. Stick to your values. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Last Thursday, Michael Holmes imparted his lessons of leadership during his presentation at Olin’s Defining Moments course.

Holmes is chairman and founder of Rx Outreach. This nonprofit company focuses on providing medicine to individuals who cannot afford it. Since its inception in 2010, after originally being a part of Express Scripts, the company has been able to provide 670 medication strengths, by more than 70 employees, serving more than 210,000 patients. Rx Outreach patients have saved than $320 million.

Throughout his career, Holmes has worked at variety of companies and in executive positions with Edward Jones and Express Scripts.

With his charismatic personality, Holmes’ presentation captivated the audience with his story of success—and mistakes—that allowed students to understand his underlying points of respect, values, and reflection. With consistent excellence in his career path, he was also able to demonstrate consistent and equal respect to all his coworkers—from secretaries to superiors.

This equal respect came from his religious beliefs, which he also proudly speaks about. I find this impressive. Religion can be a controversial topic, but Holmes is confident enough in himself and who he is to share this part of his background with others.

Finally, Holmes mentioned that he believes we should “enjoy every step of the journey”—enjoy every victory, learn from mistakes, and ultimately, have fun. The time spent with Michael Holmes was inspiring and enjoyable as we learned how to become better employees, better leaders, and overall better people in and out of the work place.

With our student consulting projects underway, we wanted to highlight the Center for Experiential Learning teams’ international footprint. This semester, 95 students are packing their bags to travel to five different continents through the CEL Practicum and Global Management Studies program.

From Ecuador to Uganda and India to Madagascar, there is Olin representation all over the globe. But what are these teams doing and how are they delivering business results to various clients?

Some teams are working with nonprofits to combat systemic issues in these regions. A healthcare consultant from Missouri, a software engineer and change maker from India, a globetrotting businessman from Vermont, and a combat medic from California are coming together to consult for a nonprofit in Africa.

The team is collaborating with Mavuno, an organization working to end extreme poverty in eastern Congo by developing “GOs,” or grassroots organizations. Part of their project is analyzing the demand of potential business ventures in Congo. Being on the ground will provide students with a better perspective of the culture, people, and business environment to pose actionable recommendations.

One team is working with a brewery to audit and understand the operations and financials of the company. In doing so, they will learn the inner workings of beer manufacturing and how the process differs from the United States to Germany. Coming from St. Louis, the team will have local knowledge to build upon.

While it is great to create international impact, many teams have the opportunity to consult with a client with operations that extend from St. Louis and abroad. These teams, including The Yield Lab and Missouri Botanical Gardens, will be able to see how local contributions can create impact for a global environment.

Beyond consulting with a singular client, the Global Management Studies teams are getting to dive right into other cultures and experience businesses through tours and travel. Two GMS trips are happening this semester – Japan and Colombia.

These students are taking on the role of being Olin ambassadors by building relationships with business executives and planning company visits. They have been planning for this through a class this past semester and will get to see it all come into fruition now.

So, whether you are passionate about supporting causes abroad or understanding business from an international lens, CEL has a place for you. We are excited to build student interest and global experiences to create business-learning opportunities. Stop into the CEL Hub (Simon 100) to see what programs, clients, or trips could align with your interests.

She Suite, International Women
She Suite, International Women's Day, March 8, 2018

She Suite, International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018

For International Women’s Day on March 8, the Executive MBA Leadership Series at Olin featured the “She Suite,” a panel of six women WashU EMBA graduates who have risen to the top of their organizations. For 60 minutes, these women answered questions about how their organizations work toward gender parity, how they dealt with challenges, and how they explain their successes.

On Risk Taking: “Your greatest achievements are out of your comfort zone”

Andrea Faccio, chief marketing officer at Nestle Purina North America, has risen to the top at Nestle and has worked in four different countries, but was most challenged by a manager at Nestle who asked her to take a role in an area in which she didn’t consider herself an expert.

“He offered me a job developing a strategy on nutrition. I looked at him and said, ‘I am NOT a nutritionist.’ He said, this is what I want. I want someone that can work with other people. I took the job and now I think it was my greatest achievement in part because since I wasn’t an expert, I had to ask people for help. If somebody offers you something that you’re not sure about, trust that they see something in you and that you can do it,” she said.

On Breaking the Rules: Nevertheless, she persisted

When Linda Haberstoh, president of Phoenix Textile Corporation, was considering the EMBA Program at Olin, she wasn’t sure it would help her because Phoenix is a small, family-owned business. She ultimately did it because, as she says, “I felt about an inch wide and a mile deep,” and credits the program with a wide range of her personal and business growth.

Joyce Trimuel, chief operations officer and chief diversity officer at CNA Insurance, asked for support from her leadership at a previous company to do the EMBA, and was told, “You don’t need an MBA to be successful here.”

Nevertheless, she persisted.

“This was so important to me, that I did it anyway. I was self-sponsored and used my vacation days for class, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. However, my brand took a hit. I was no longer the rule follower, I was the person who doesn’t listen,” Trimuel said. “So, what I ended up doing was working extra hard. I had to make sure that I didn’t compromise my team, or make any miss-steps. For the time that I was in school, I had my best performance at that company.”

On Setbacks: “I was willing to take a short-term hit to reach my long-term goal”

Trimuel acknowledges that her insistence on pursuing the EMBA resulted in a hit to her personal brand at that company. “The EMBA helped me become a better leader, but in terms of managing my personal relationships, I had ruined some and worked hard to repair them,” she said. “Sometimes you take a short-term setback in order to have long-term success and I was willing to do that.”

Rebecca Boyer, chief financial officer at KelliMitchell Group, made a choice to take a step back professionally for what looked like a better opportunity long term. Boyer found success very early as a financial professional, taking a controller position in her early 20s. She describes always telling people she was 30 in those days in order to avoid inevitable questioning of her authority for one so young.

“My next job, I took a role as senior accountant, but my gut told me it was a better opportunity,” Boyer said. “Ultimately, the opportunity included helping start four companies and shutting down a 75-year-old company. It was the right choice.”

On Diversity and Inclusion in Business: “Lead with the data”

As chief diversity officer at CNA, Trimuel spends a lot of time working on the problem of inclusion. She says you have to show leadership what is in it for them.

“There is so much data out there that can substantiate that companies that are very intentional about diversity and inclusion will outperform companies that take a more passive approach. Even if they don’t believe it’s just the right thing to do, numbers and data don’t lie. It’s going to help with the bottom line, it’s going to help with retention, it’s going to help with attracting new talent to your organization, and if you build that business case for it, people are much more likely to get on the bus, and for it to be a more sustainable culture shift for your organization.”

On Culture: “The values of the organization matter”

After a long, successful career at Ameren, Mary Heger, chief information officer, looks back and understands why she is still there.

“I think about my career, I was not one who had a goal from the get-go, grand plan. I started work, I found positions that I loved, and I gave it my all in terms of learning the business,” Heger said. “I looked for opportunities for education and opportunities to prepare myself for the next step, I was willing to take the risk of working in an area that I wasn’t familiar with—it’s what we all have to do to get that experience. I worked at an amazing company whose values lined up with mine that I think is absolutely critical.”

On Gender Differences in Business: “Don’t cry until you get to the elevator”

Linda Haberstroh has a unique perspective on the textile industry, which is still a very male dominated industry. Phoenix Textiles is an anomaly, and has been since it was founded by her mother in 1983. She is pleased to report that the business they do now with mills in India and Pakistan involves many women-led companies and that it’s exciting to see women stepping up globally.

“My mom is the founder, our fiduciary board is a majority of women, my fellow shareholders of our privately held family business are my sisters. Our executive leadership team is 50/50, and our joke is we are looking for a few good men so we can have gender parity,” she said. “When my mom was trying to get the mills to open up, she would go down to New York every week and try to get them to talk to her, and she would hear ‘no’ every week. Every week she would go back. Every time, they would tell her no she would always say to herself, ‘Don’t cry until you get to the elevator, don’t cry until you get to the elevator.’ Finally after the first company went with us and we were able to get that crack, and a place in the marketplace, we were on our way.”

A standing-room-only crowd showed up for Olin’s event celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018. The event featured six top woman executives at leading companies who shared their insights.

The speakers—all of them graduates of Olin’s Executive MBA program—were: Rebecca Boyer, chief financial officer, KellyMitchell Group; Andrea Faccio, chief marketing officer, Nestle Purina North America; Linda Haberstroh, president, Phoenix Textile Corporation; Mary Heger, senior vice president and chief information officer, Ameren Services Company; Deborah Slagle, senior vice president, Biologics Technology Cluster, MilliporeSigma; and Joyce Trimuel, chief diversity officer, CNA Insurance.

We’ll have a more detailed post about some of the takeaways tomorrow, but here’s a peek at some of the reaction, scenes from the event, and Twitter buzz right now.

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