Tag: Full-time MBA

The Graduate Programs Office is pleased to welcome to WashU Olin six incoming MBA exchange students from three of Olin’s partner institutions.

They are Aditya Namburi and Mehak Jain from WHU-Germany; Anne Godet, Francois Adjalin and Louis Galland from Paris Dauphine University; and Priyansh Lall from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

The exchange students are here for the entire fall semester. Wish them the best of success! 

Left photo: Louis Galland, Francois Adjalin, Anne Godet and Priyansh Lall. Right photo: Student Aditya Namburi and Collette Brown Rogers, of the Graduate Programs Office. Bottom photo: Mehak Jain.

Back row: Chris Pitts, Maria Kamila Severiche and Helena Valentine. Front row: Jacob Hibbert and Kenneth Thomas. All five members of the MBA class of 2025 started their fellowship at the beginning of the academic year.

A second cohort of five students have joined WashU Olin as entrepreneurship fellows, a program initiated last year to continue leveraging the school’s reputation for fostering student innovation and to attract diverse and creative thinkers.

Entrepreneurship fellows receive tuition support for their MBA, networking and relationship-building support within Olin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and alumni mentorship and coaching. Fellows are housed within the Lewis Collaborative, which offers co-working and classroom space to facilitate idea generation and contact with other entrepreneurs. The fellowship attracts students who want to influence business and society in areas such as sustainability/environmentalism, social responsibility, global impact, and inclusion, diversity and equity.

This year’s fellows, all MBA 2025, are Jacob Hibbert, Chris Pitts, Maria Kamila Severiche, Kenneth Thomas and Helena Valentine.

Jacob Hibbert

Hibbert hails from from Edinburgh, Scotland, which he proudly describes as “not just the land of rolling hills, smoky whisky and endless rain,” but also as the birthplace of television, electricity and golf. He comes to Olin after working as a self-employed product consultant and earning his undergraduate degree from Durham University in England.

Chris Pitts

Pitts’ background in electrical engineering (bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham) and project management has contributed to a passion for supporting minority and women-owned small businesses in the St. Louis area. He’s determined to to help these businesses raise capital and gain valuable insights into entrepreneurship through acquisition.

Maria Kamila Severiche

Severiche comes to Olin with a master’s degree in human resources from EAFIT University in Colombia. She says she embarked on her first entrepreneurial venture at age 8 when her mother became her first investor, accounting teacher and boss as she started a candy-selling business. After working in HR, sales, international affairs and other areas, she went on to create a clothing brand, “Element,” with handmade products in Colombia.

Kenneth Thomas

Thomas comes to Olin with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Lindenwood University and work with WashU’s medical school in its division of oncology. A first-generation college student, he navigated a new culture, broadened his perspectives and fueled his passion for entrepreneurship and youth soccer development. He is keenly interested in private equity and venture capital with the goal of driving change and increasing representation.

Helena Valentine

Valentine, half-Swiss and half-German, earned her BSBA from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland before moving to the United States late last year. She grew up around the biggest hop-producing area in the world and often joined her father in hop-grower meetings, which developed her passion for beer and its brewing process. After working as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs in London, she knew she wanted to start her own business. She’s already working on opening a brewpub in St. Louis focused on European-style beers.

Pictured at top: Back row: Chris Pitts, Maria Kamila Severiche and Helena Valentine. Front row: Jacob Hibbert and Kenneth Thomas. All five members of the MBA class of 2025 started their fellowship at the beginning of the academic year.

The need for adaptability is critical in a rapidly evolving business landscape. At WashU Olin, our MBA program has been meticulously designed to encourage this imperative skill. The focus is on promoting lifelong learning in business. This forms the foundation for success in the ever-dynamic corporate world.

Modern leadership roles demand a comprehensive skill set in addition to that foundation. Today’s successful leader is a decisive strategist, avid technology enthusiast and influential communicator, seamlessly integrating all three roles. Therefore, the emphasis on business leadership development in our curriculum is indispensable. We empower you with a diverse and versatile skill set and prepare you to adapt to various roles, including C-suite management, financial analysis and human resources.

The skills learned in an MBA program are not merely theoretical concepts. They are practical, applicable tools and strategies for solving real-world business problems. This focus on application fosters a culture of continuous learning, which is an essential mindset for navigating today’s challenges and leveraging tomorrow’s opportunities.

Learning experiences an MBA provides

At WashU Olin, we firmly believe that the skills learned in an MBA program should go beyond the boundaries of lectures and textbooks. We aspire to shape your worldview, refine your leadership skills and immerse you in experiences that echo the dynamics of the global business landscape.

Our learning philosophy centers on a highly collaborative environment that mirrors the complex fabric of corporate settings. From the start, you will be a part of a cohort resembling a versatile business team. Effective leadership is as much about fostering teamwork as it is about personal skills, and this teaching approach encourages you to apply your knowledge in team-based settings. In addition, the intimate scale of Olin’s program ensures that students and professors form close bonds, creating a community that extends beyond our walls into your future career.

However, in the globalized business world, operating beyond local confines is crucial to success. Our global immersion program emphasizes this, offering a truly international MBA program experience. This initiative includes globally focused courses and opportunities to interact with international businesses, which educates students on the nuances of how culture influences business success.

Beyond cultural adaptability, the business landscape demands a mindset ready to embrace change and uncertainty. Our program aims to cultivate such agility, preparing you to tackle challenges head-on and seize emerging opportunities. An MBA from Olin is a lesson in evolution—teaching you how to adapt and grow in response to the ever-changing business environment. It’s not just about achieving a qualification; it’s about embarking on a transformative journey that prepares you for the dynamic and challenging world of business leadership.

The path to lifelong learning and leadership

The journey to leadership is not a one-time sprint but a continuous marathon that requires constant learning and development. Our MBA program aims to guide you down this path, instilling the principles of lifelong learning and preparing you to meet the evolving expectations and challenges of leadership roles in a dynamic environment.

One of our core beliefs is to develop responsible leaders who are mindful of their influence on their organizations and society. Our faculty’s dedicated research in sustainability provides an enriched understanding of social responsibility in business. This leads to practical insights, preparing you to drive economic growth and a positive societal impact and making you a confident and aware leader of tomorrow.

Our MBA program is designed to empower students with the ability to lead through any challenge, no matter how unpredictable the business environment gets. We equip our students with practical decision-making tools as well as a comprehensive understanding of the disruptions that new technologies can cause and the role of technology leadership in a business environment. Our coursework will refine your expertise in using analytical tools to make intelligent decisions, craft innovative solutions and effectively navigate uncertainty to successfully thrive amidst change.

The Olin MBA program also recognizes that modern leadership requires confidently navigating diverse, international environments. In a world where business transcends borders and cultural nuance and diverse teams are the norm, we instill a holistic approach to leadership that focuses on the organization internally and outwardly. The curriculum teaches you to manage multifaceted challenges, empowering you with the skills to inspire and lead in tomorrow’s world.

Our MBA program is not only valuable—it is transformational. At WashU Olin, leadership is a lifelong journey marked by learning and development, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. By embracing this philosophy, we prepare you to be an adaptable, globally competent and socially responsible leader poised to thrive in the dynamic world of business tomorrow and beyond.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey of business leadership development, join us at an upcoming information session to learn more. You can also contact the admissions team with any questions at OlinGradAdmissions@wustl.edu or 314-935-7301.

People gravitate toward an MBA program for many different reasons. For students with an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to grow their own businesses, an MBA can offer a fountain of experience, knowledge, mentorship and friendship, which they can use to create their ventures and influence success.

An MBA for entrepreneurs is also an opportunity for students to start growing their businesses as they learn. Does an MBA help entrepreneurs become better business owners? Without a doubt, the lessons learned in an MBA program’s training-ground environment will model many business scenarios. Students can use this environment to practice, gain confidence and make valuable mistakes. What’s more, they can do so in the company of leaders and founders already practicing these skills.

On top of that, entrepreneurial-minded individuals bring a particular energy to their campuses and online environments. They are more likely to bring creative, innovative and practical approaches to problems and be willing to get stuck in difficult situations for the sake of learning. In this way, entrepreneurs and universities grow together in a mutually inspiring relationship.

How does an MBA help entrepreneurs grow the seed of their businesses?

For MBA seekers with their minds set on business ownership, the Olin MBA program can be a roadmap to entrepreneurship (with some important detours and off-the-beaten-track experiences baked in).

Find an origin story

At the Hatchery, Olin’s own entrepreneurship platform, students can try out the most challenging aspects of starting a business. They can pitch their ideas to venture capitalists, test their business plans and publicize their startups to investors on a global stage. This renowned resource helps early-stage entrepreneurs investigate their plans in a safe, low-risk environment while building real community connections.

Experience life as a leader

Olin’s focuses on experiential learning, which is learning gained through real trial and error. This type of learning sticks with students as they make their way into the wider business world. Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning offers courses that connect students with local and global entrepreneurs so that they can witness the ground level of early-stage ventures. For instance, students can put their data-driven leadership to the test in the CEL Metrics Clinic, which connects students with St. Louis startups in a student-led, faculty-supervised consulting project with real-world impact.

Test one’s mettle

Olin prides itself on a particular accelerator class called “The League of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs.” It is designed for students who are almost ready to enter the business world with their ideas and navigate the fundraising stage. Fundraising is often the most intimidating lesson new entrepreneurs must learn. Being able to tackle it in a supportive yet challenging environment alongside other entrepreneurs can be critically important.

Create a team

It is an important part of the MBA experience to meet like-minded and dissimilar individuals who can help students progress their ventures. Olin’s courses are designed to help students form business relationships with cohorts, faculty members, a diverse alumni network and external leaders they will encounter along the way. The whole of St. Louis and the wider region is mobilized around Olin’s MBA as a rich entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Look instead at the entrepreneurs out in the world—those who are already taking the lessons of the MBA program and bringing them to life, serving real customers and solving real problems.

Kai Skallerud is one such alumnus. He came to Olin as a medical student but with a passion for founding a healthcare business. His business earned funding through the St. Louis Inno Madness contest, and Kai spoke about the importance of the preparation he received through the MBA program. “[It] gave me the confidence I needed to take entrepreneurial risks in the real world,” he said. The practical but protected environment of the program allowed him to test his limits and ideas and piece together the steps to entrepreneurial success.

If this sounds like exactly what you need as you begin (or continue) your business journey, contact Olin’s MBA team for more information about the MBA for entrepreneurs.

Can entrepreneurship be taught? This is a question that schools, students and businesses alike have been asking for decades. The answer seems to be yes and no.

People who gravitate toward MBA programs for entrepreneurship will likely bring a natural inclination toward creativity and innovative thinking. They may have already gained some relevant experience, taken educated risks and learned lessons helpful for starting and growing a business. In short, they have an aspiration and drive toward entrepreneurship.

And just as you wouldn’t go to medical school with no interest in becoming a doctor and expect to come out a top-notch physician, an MBA student shouldn’t come unprepared. Rather, they need the drive to learn and a passion for the topics they’re studying to benefit from the experiences and lessons an MBA program has to offer.

What are the benefits of an MBA for entrepreneurs?

According to Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone and Poets & Quants’ 2023 keynote speaker, an MBA’s role is to “identify and support young people who demonstrate interest, aptitude and entrepreneurship.” The MBA is there to take people who already think creatively about business and give them the tools to make their ideas a reality.

For Schwarzman, inspiration and ideas are just the beginning. Entrepreneurs must learn to fall in love with the problem so that they can live and breathe its potential solutions with a passion that keeps them going. Turning an idea into reality is difficult. It requires organization, management, resources and so much more, but a leader with an entrepreneurial spirit will have the passion and the know-how to tackle every step of the process. This is where an MBA program can lay the foundation for such leadership.

Finding the entrepreneurial spirit and then fostering and refining that talent is the purpose of an MBA. The benefits of an MBA for entrepreneurs are those of a training ground. A university environment supports and cares for students while a rigorous and challenging curriculum teaches students to problem solve with passion. A network of involved faculty and ambitious cohort members is the cherry on top—the people in a university environment create a collaborative ethos where business ideas can be grown from idea to reality and taken into the world.

How does the Olin experience prepare entrepreneurs to start a business?

At Olin, MBA students take their own inclinations and talents and put them to the test. We prepare students for starting a business after their MBA by giving them time and space to experiment. They can learn, fail, learn again and try out ideas in real-world scenarios, all in an environment that supports them.

One important way we provide this atmosphere is by connecting students to businesses outside the school gates. We associate with startups in St. Louis, company founders in San Francisco and investors in New York City. These professionals have already turned their ideas into living, breathing entities. When they share their perspectives, they help students to see how to take an idea into new markets, how to get funding, how to work with complex teams and innumerable other life lessons from the front lines of business.

Another way we prepare students for starting a business is by infusing entrepreneurship throughout our curriculum. We don’t save it for specialized courses or seminars. It’s everywhere. The university itself has an active entrepreneurial life, with MBA entrepreneurship fellowships and an accelerator class we call “The League” aimed at students who are at the fundraising stage for their ideas.

Most importantly, we give students the tools to network and create business relationships of their own. Faculty, staff, advisors and mentors are all on hand, ready to chat about anything they’re thinking about as they create their businesses. The alumni network is a buzzing hive of information and assistance. And in MBA programs for entrepreneurship, classmates can quickly become collaborators.

The MBA in action

Let’s look at an example of a student who has seized the opportunities of an MBA to learn how to become a better entrepreneur.

Kai Skallerud was a medical student when he came to Olin. He was given a year off to pursue his MBA and turned that year into the foundation for a healthcare business. He just won funding for the business via the St. Louis Inno Madness contest.

“Olin’s MBA program gave me the confidence I needed to take entrepreneurial risks in the real world,” Kai says. “The program’s emphasis on experiential learning allowed me to apply classroom concepts to real companies, and the program’s rigorous coursework helped me develop a deep understanding of business strategy and prioritization, which enables me to identify and act on high-impact opportunities in healthcare.”

Kai was able to use the practical training ground of the MBA to empower his entrepreneurial journey. It enabled him to take risks safely in a supportive community of faculty, staff and fellow students.

Can entrepreneurship be taught and learned? We believe that entrepreneurs emerge from their own experiences and instincts, but that when they find their way to an MBA environment like Olin at WashU, we are ready with a training ground. We take their creativity, their zest for business and their love of problem-solving and give them practical ways to turn those talents into businesses that thrive.

So, while there are many skills and concepts that a potential entrepreneur can only gain from the kinds of experiences an MBA offers, it’s the passion that a student brings to the program that helps make them an entrepreneur and successful business leader.