Tag: Full-time MBA

Members of the Olin Technology Club, along with the Weston Career Center, organized a two-day career trek to Silicon Valley in October 2019.

A chorus of first-year MBA students contributed to this post for the Olin Blog, sharing their experiences on a career “tech trek” to firms on the west coast.

In October 2019, the first-year MBA students of Olin embarked on a journey to Silicon Valley to witness firsthand the energy and enthusiasm that moves the technologies building the world around us.

We visited industry leaders from different backgrounds: digital manufacturers such as Cisco, payment gateways such as Visa and Square, user-obsessed Google, transportation maverick Uber, fashion leader Gap Inc. and the biggest hosting service provider, Amazon AWS.

Day 1

We started our day in the sunny California from San Jose, making our way to Mountain View before finally reaching the scenic San Mateo.

Cisco, written by Shreyas Jajoo

Give your ego a day off. This was the single most important core value of Cisco that rang multiple bells in the ears of my trek mates. This is among a unique set of ideals followed by Cisco that helps it to maintain among the lowest attrition rates in Silicon Valley.

The intent to give back to society and the monetary sum allocated to every employee to utilize in whatever form of charity they wished was a unique trait that spoke volumes to me. Cisco firmly believes and acts on creating a better, more connected and inclusive world for humankind.

We had a conversation with Rick Butler, BSEE ’80, PMBA ’86, hosting us at the company. That talk revealed to us how we could further Cisco’s goals in roles created for MBA graduates.

Students gathered at Cisco’s headquarters during the 2019 career tech trek.

Google, written by Gina Wang

At Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, we were hosted by Neil Hoyne, the global head of customer analytics at Google, and Flora Wang, MACC ’12, who is working as the financial analyst in Google.

We were hosted for lunch at Google’s cafeteria, after which the group moved for the Q&A session with Neil, Flora and Micheal Nordlund, MSF ’10. It was great to learn about the collaborative culture within Google, where almost everyone is approachable despite their functions and roles.

During our interaction, we found out that Google has invested heavily in diversifying their revenue streams and creating a huge portfolio for meeting the personal and professional needs of today’s users.

Visa, written by Timothy Brandt

On our visit to Visa, we were exposed to a breathtaking view of the bay. Similarly, Visa’s stock price growth of more than 45% since 2018 has simply been breathtaking.

Visa is a leader when it comes to innovations through the Internet of Things wave and acquisitions of companies. While cash is considered Visa’s biggest competitor, they are making sure to differentiate from Mastercard through value add in offering fraud services to merchants.

We found more about Visa’s mission to empower individuals and businesses, and facilitate economies to thrive and the upcoming platforms to support merchants and markets in the unbanked populations of the world.

For MBAs, Visa highlights its rotational development program, which focuses on roles within the finance department as well as opportunities within the Visa consulting team.

Speed networking round with Olin alums

We ended our first day on the tech trek by interacting with Olin alums from different walks of their careers. The food was delicious and speed networking format helped every member get face time with the alums and to have their queries answered. The networking helped the trek members create professional relationships and bond over food and common interests.

Day 2

We spent the first day in the Bay Area and on the second day of our trek, we literally trekked the San Francisco downtown area.

Square, written by Karen Chen

During our visit to Square, we talked a lot about the capital services branch, which helps sellers gain access to business loans through partnerships with industrial banks, and how it is connected with real-time payment and point-of-sale data.

The presenter, an alum of WashU Olin, also talked about their considerations in determining the length and annual percentage rate in this business. They wanted to share their vision for Square and the role Square has played in empowering small business owners to scale up and improve their offerings.

Square’s Anil Bridgpal and Thorsten Jaeckel, MSF ’11, spoke to us about their passions and how they had been inspired to work and commit to Square. 

At Uber headquarters for career tech trek 2019.

Uber, written by Rohit Pandit

At Uber, we were hosted by Logan Lacy, who walked us through the MBA internship hiring program and the qualities and skill sets Uber looks for in an ideal candidate. Later, we had an opportunity to listen to an entrepreneur turned senior product manager, AJ Balance, whose firm was acquired by Uber few years ago.

We had a great discussion on the various strategic and management issues that Uber is trying to solve across the globe. The broad points of discussions ranged from how Uber maintains brand loyalty for drivers and riders to which strategies Uber adopts in tough markets such as China and South Korea.

When it came to acquiring roles at Uber, we were strongly urged to display core competencies—especially analytical and learning abilities—which are the guiding principles for anyone aspiring to succeed at Uber.

Amazon AWS, written by Shantanu Pande

Next we visited Amazon AWS offices, where we were hosted by Alex Rosenberg, BSBA ’10. He spoke to us about the growth mindset, which has been a crucial factor in Amazon’s incredible rise as one the biggest brands in the world.

He even touched upon the entrepreneurial mindset, which makes it possible for Amazon to innovate continuously and create new products for the end users.

We ended the session by taking part in a mock BPT discussion to see live how Amazon employees brainstorm solutions in their day to day lives.

GAP Inc., written by Shreeyeh Rajan

Our last company visit was to Gap Inc., located along the Embarcadero with an unforgettable view of the Bay Bridge. Scott Moore, EMBA ’08, and senior manager for university recruiting, hosted us with a tour of all of Gap’s five floors, from the sewing machines to the operating offices.

Scott mentioned that Gap has been more sustainable than other clothing brands because of its usage of cotton, a renewable source. GAP stands out from other companies as it stands for gender equity in terms of its pay, with auditors verifying that its male and female employees with equivalent experience earned the same salary.

It is strongly rooted from the beginnings of Gap with its founders—husband and wife Donald and Doris Fisher—having an equal 50% in GAP.

The whole two-day visit was an eye-opener for most of our international students. Witnessing firsthand the energy that moves the biggest tech companies in the world has motivated them further to look for opportunities with these companies.

The whole experience would not have been possible without the efforts of the Weston Career Center and Olin Technology Club leadership team. Special note of thanks to Gregory Hutchings, Satish Pawar, Braden Zoet and Shreeyeh Rajan for the efforts put in to make this a successful venture.

Lastly, we would like to thank all of the alums who took time out from their hectic schedules to interact with us and guide us.

First-year MBA student Gil Eckstein says traveling with his 96 classmates on WashU Olin’s inaugural ’round-the-world global immersion was “a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience.” Read more from Gil below and hear from his classmates in the video above.

The 38-day immersion is the crown jewel in the Olin’s massive reboot of the full-time MBA program, taking students from St. Louis to Washington, DC, to Barcelona, to Beijing and Shanghai. The trip was the launching point of the program for the new MBA prospects, designed to offer an immediate introduction into foundational business principles in a global context.

In video interviews and casual conversations, students on the trip and afterward expressed enthusiasm for the work they were doing, the context they were learning and the bonds they were building.

As students’ second semester in the MBA program begins to draw to a close, Eckstein offered his reflections for the Olin Blog.

In retrospect, now several weeks past your return from China, can you describe how the global immersion has influenced your approach to class?

Traveling with my 90 other classmates around the world in DC, Barcelona, and Shanghai, going on field excursions every other day, giving presentations every week, and doing it all for almost six weeks in a row.

Gil Eckstein, MBA '21
Gil Eckstein, MBA ’21

This is a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience. Just like in professional life, we were outside of our comfort zone very often, going to classes in different spaces in different cities, while adapting to different cultures.

I feel like this experience opened my mind and challenged my creativity in a way that a regular class doesn’t. Classes become much more interactive. Right before class, I had breakfast with my professor, and right after class, I went to the winery consulting visit with the same professor.

Class becomes something that I am actually looking to implement and not just place in some bin in my head, in the hope of using it sometime in the future.

What did you gain from the experience that you’ve been able to apply already?

This whole experience is a great story that I love telling people. Recruiters, students, friends or family. This is a very colorful experience that we all had and that itself is a valuable asset. I also gained presentation and preparation skills that I used in job interviews or just coffee talks.

I also feel like I gained better communication skills with my teammates, especially ones who come from different cultures than mine.

I think that more than anything though, I developed strong relationships with my classmates in a way that I could have never been able to form in a regular static class format. We all went through a similar challenging experience that built a close bond among our classmates.

Have you been able to use this experience yet in any preparation for your career next step?

I am very comfortable now in professional events out of town such as the recent Chicago veterans conference a few weeks ago, and I am sure that it’ll make every future three-day business trip feel like a walk in a park.

As I am looking to distinguish myself from other candidates during the job search, I feel like this is an additional experience that helps me to stick out.

I also learned a lot about myself during this experience and I noticed that I am using it as I present myself in job interviews these days.

In addition, I’m sure that many more uses for this experience in my future career life will unfold and will be proven useful.

Triple accreditation illustration.

Suppose you could invite three world-class consultants into your business to review your operations and provide a dispassionate review of the progress toward your goals. All three are recognized leaders in their field. They’re peers you regard highly.

Would you do it?

That is how I view a rigorous, challenging—and ultimately rewarding—process underway now at WashU Olin Business School. It’s called triple accreditation, and a veritable army of staff and faculty at the school have contributed to making it happen.

The idea is straightforward: We’re seeking certification from the three top accreditation bodies in business school education in the world—the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the UK-based Association of MBAs and the European Foundation for Management Development’s Quality Improvement System or EQUIS.

When we earn triple accreditation, Olin will hold elite status among more than 13,000 business schools around the world: Only 90 have earned the so-called “triple crown.”

Why go to the trouble?

Given that, some may wonder: Why bother? Why open ourselves to intrusive oversight and regulation? I don’t view it that way at all, and I have two reasons.

First, I’ve stood now on both sides of the process. I’m on my second tour as a business school dean, inviting reviewers to evaluate programmes. My previous institution holds the triple crown today. But I’ve also been the reviewer, invited to interview staff and faculty, stakeholders, university chancellors, provosts and members of national councils. I’ve also served on the board of the AACSB.

I understand how the process works. When we seek accreditation, we’re actually seeking affirmation that we are doing what we say we’re doing. At Olin, we have articulated clear standards through our pillars of excellence: Are we providing a values-based, data-driven education; offering experiential learning; establishing an appreciation for global business; and instilling a mindset of entrepreneurship and innovation?

“Accreditation is tied to our strategic plan. It’s not just a piece of paper. We are teaching this,” says Ohad Kadan, vice dean for education and globalization, who is leading our charge. “In our reports to the accreditation agencies, we have this assurance of learning, measuring the extent to which we’re delivering on what we say we’re going to teach every day.”

He has worked closely with every professor, on every class, to make sure each class is delivering on at least one of our strategic pillars. We’re evaluating student learning to ensure the message is heard. And we’re proving to the accreditation bodies that we’re meeting the standards we have set for ourselves.

Sending a message to the world

The second reason I’m keen on this achievement is the message I believe it will send. As I mentioned, 90 business schools have achieved this milestone. Many are among the world’s elite—London Business School, INSEAD, ESADE and HEC Paris, for example.

We’ll be the first US-based school listed in the Financial Times top 100 to achieve the triple crown.

We have burnished our reputation as a global program. More than 70% of our BSBAs had a global experience last year. Our MBA global immersion plants us squarely as the most global full-time MBA in the world. So, the prospect of donning the triple crown sends a signal: We are an international school, and we want our internationalism recognized.

“It’s a way for us to get to know schools we might want to partner with in the future—and to start building those relationships,” says Shannon Reid, Olin’s strategic initiatives analyst, spearheading the massive task of compiling and presenting the data. “It will also give faculty throughout the world a different perspective on what our programs are about.”

We set our vision. We say what we aim to achieve. In our case, our vision is world-changing business education, research and impact. We embed that vision into our programmes and gauge our results. We invite world-class “consultants” to provide feedback on whether we’re achieving that vision. The accreditation bodies hold us accountable for the standards we have set for ourselves.

And that is why we are seeking—and intend to achieve—triple accreditation. We should know more by the end of 2020.

Part of a series about summer internships from Olin MBA ’20 students. Today we hear from Felicia Kola-Amodu who worked at T-Mobile as a retail organizational and human strategy intern.

How I prepared for my interview and landed the internship

A few months before school started, I knew a few of the companies I wanted to apply to and T-Mobile, where I ended up interning, was one of them. Therefore, I started researching early. I researched the company, I looked at hundreds of interview questions on Glassdoor, spoke with a highly-qualified friend at length and did mock interviews with him as well.

How I’m using what I’ve learned at Olin during my internship

One of the most profound things I have re-learned at Olin is the power of being myself and building genuine relationships. These were things I knew before Olin, but being in such a business environment and among very knowledgeable people can be daunting.

But by the end of my first year at Olin, I had learned how to be more comfortable in my own skin, be very affirmative while open-minded and to think bigger than what I can see or feel at that moment. I also learned a few “power plays” in Peter Boumgarden’s Power & Politics, that were very useful during my interactions with different people in different positions.

I did not think I learned a lot in Critical Communication, but there were a few things that helped me formulate my ideas and thought patterns better, that I know I learned during Cathy Dunkin’s CritiComm.

How the internship is preparing me for my final year at business school

In the last year, I have mostly worked with students, done school work, and have generally been away from a professional environment. This summer, working on real time, real life projects opened my mind a lot more before. I have learned to be more open minded.

Something I did not think I would learn is building better slide decks and it is safe to say I am now a “slide deck buff.” I am learning to see setbacks as learning curves, not just complete failures that usually wear me down. Lastly, I am understanding the meaning and art of connecting and networking with people.

A day in the life

Interestingly, my days varied a lot. I would either walk in and just get down to a new project or something I had been previously working on. Other days, I walked in with zero clarity or expectations of what I would be working on that day, while on some days I walked in and it was one call or meeting to another and me trying to stay awake all through.

How the internship is shaping my long-term career goals

Something I have been thinking about for a while is how to connect my communications and journalism background and degrees with my MBA, I realize now through a chat with T-Mobile’s EVP for communications and community engagement, that it is more than possible.

Also, a look into the different teams, work streams and people here have expanded my mind to see beyond the traditional MBA career paths. Lastly, “doing good by doing well” is a phrase I latched on to, listening to Ambassador Symington last semester, during his visit to Olin.

I have seen people live this everyday at T-Mobile and it has greatly reshaped the way I think about my long-term goals.

Lee Pelligreen, Ashley Macrander, Steve Malter, Rob Wilson, Jen Whitten and Dorothy Kittner.

ExxonMobil arrived on campus last week to lead an information session, engage in some one-on-one interviews with job candidates and—thanks to past recruiting trips to WashU Olin—drop off a $10,000 check.

ExxonMobil’s Rob Wilson, MBA ’91, represented the company in awarding the grant on October 2. The grant is a bounty of sorts, awarded to the business school in recognition of the company’s success in recruiting and retaining WashU Olin grads.

Wilson, global payroll and HR accounting process manager for the company, said the size of the grant is based on an algorithm that looks at how many Olin students ExxonMobil recruits, how many it retains and how they advance over the years within the company.

“For the last I-don’t-know-how-many-years, we’ve gotten three or four people from Olin,” Wilson said. “For our sized school, we have a lot of alumni at Exxon.”

This year, ExxonMobil is providing $1 million in grants to 78 colleges and universities nationwide through this program. The grants are unrestricted and in the past, schools have used them to support scholarships, visiting speakers, equipment purchases, student and faculty travel and other academic activities.

A recent report from Olin’s Weston Career Center showed that in 2018, ExxonMobil had 148 WashU alums working at the company, of whom 38 had been WashU Olin students. The company recently hired four alumni into permanent positions and three for internships. All seven were MBA students.

Pictured above: Lee Pelligreen, Ashley Macrander, Steve Malter, ExxonMobile’s Rob Wilson, MBA ’91, Jen Whitten and Dorothy Kittner.