Tag: Full-time MBA



Danielle Bateman Girondo, BSBA

Eight years ago, St. Louis’s Midwest BankCentre opened a branch in Pagedale, a suburb with a median household income of $27,000—about 40% of the entire region’s median. Five years later, the bank opened a branch inside a North St. Louis Baptist church, in a neighborhood with a median household income of about $31,400.

Serving underbanked communities serves as part of the bank’s mission as a values-based organization, but Danielle Bateman Girondo, BSBA ’00, executive vice president of marketing, and Alex Fennoy, executive vice president of Community and Economic Development, wanted to go further. They wanted to make the case that it was also good business.

They found their answer from a semester-long practicum project through Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. With faculty support from Sam Chun, professor of management practice, the students—Chris Colon, AB ’20; Frankie Hong, MSFQ ’20; Hannah Levin, MBA/MSW ’21; Lin Xie, MSBA’20; and Bruno Moreira Yamamura, MBA ’20—delivered their findings in May.

Midwest BankCentre’s two branches in underserved areas had created $11.3 million in additional regional revenue and more than $9.7 million in consumer wealth—as well as 124 new jobs in the region.

“It was great to be able to make the business case for why we need to make more investments in providing access to capital to all communities,” Girondo said. “We’re doing good and here’s the proof. It’s not just us saying it.”

Quantifying the ripple effect

Bringing full-service banking to traditionally underbanked communities doesn’t only serve Midwest’s community development goals. Girondo noted that it also helps differentiate the bank in a crowded marketplace. In its 2018 report to the community, Midwest noted, “With more than 130 banks and credit unions, St. Louis is one of the most overbanked cities in the country—but those services are not distributed evenly.”

The CEL team for Midwest BankCentre

Providing access to checking or savings accounts or other banking services creates a ripple effect, opening opportunities to provide financial education and offer loans that spur homeownership, business development and employment.

“It really struck me to learn how important the access to financial resources can be for households,” Hong said of the project, which was quintessentially aligned with Olin’s strategy of promoting values-based, data-driven decision-making.

“Midwest BankCentre really emphasized to us the ways in which they prioritized building trust in the community and the importance in doing so,” Levin added.

After an initial in-person meeting with bank leadership before the pandemic moved everything online, the students tackled the project by exploring ways to quantify the effect of adding banking services to an underbanked community.

“All we knew was that Midwest BankCentre was, somehow, having a positive impact in the community,” Yamamura said. “One of the biggest challenges that we faced was how to translate that into numbers.”

Data supporting values

Chun guided the students to a few existing economic measurement models, and he urged them to remember that precise numbers were not the goal of the exercise. It was about understanding on a macro level the impact of the service in the community. Chun credited the team with identifying additional modeling research on their own that they could tap and adapt as they analyzed Midwest BankCentre’s product matrix and account data.

Bruno said the team was able to construct models to interpret the strategy the bank has always implemented by investing money from the communities back to the communities.

Yamamura said one of the models calculated how Midwest’s loans were stimulating the local economy by generating more jobs and income for the population through a “multiplier effect.”

“The models are far from being perfect,” he said. “But I think they are powerful in supporting the bank’s message and its core values.”

Midwest BankCentre, the second-largest privately owned bank in the region, is a 114-year-old St. Louis institution with more than $2 billion in assets.

“The team was really inventive,” Chun said. “They put their hands in there and they created models of mortgage impact, financial training impact. I was really impressed.”

So was Girondo. “I was beyond impressed with the students,” Girondo said. “They did a really good job.”

Pictured above: Danielle Bateman Girondo, BSBA ’00, and Alex Fennoy of Midwest BankCentre.




Jeffrey Whitford, MBA ’12, was named one of the most creative people in business for 2020 by Fast Company, an article published by the magazine on August 4 announced.

Among five innovators lauded for “raising the standard,” Whitford was highlighted for his work with MilliporeSigma to create a green alternative to solvents.

Whitford is the head of sustainability, social business innovation and life science branding at MilliporeSigma, owned by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

“Sustainability in science is one of the final frontiers,” Whitford told Fast Company. That was his team’s inspiration to create Cyrene, a product made from cellulose that can replace two solvents common in plastics, fibers and adhesives.

In addition to his work on Cyrene, the article highlights DOZN, an “evaluation system that compares the sustainability of chemicals, including environmental hazards they pose.” Whitford and his team have also created a free, web-based version of the tool, allowing scientists across the world to use it without cost.

Whitford will be featured in the September edition of the magazine, alongside creators and entrepreneurs like Ryan Reynolds, Monica Lewinsky and Nneka Ogwumike. Get the full list here.




WashU Olin Business School’s MBA program was cited for one of the 10 biggest business education innovations by Poets & Quants, in an article published by the business school news site on August 12.

In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the site’s founding, Poets & Quants looked back at 10 shake-ups they’ve covered throughout the years—from virtual classes to test-free admissions and beyond.

Coming in at No. 6 on the list was WashU Olin’s MBA reboot, featuring a 38-day global immersion semester that takes students around the globe to gain business experience and entrepreneurial expertise.

“At the heart of the reimagined Olin MBA is a required global immersion that takes the entire class of newly arrived students on a 38-day, round-the-world learning experience,” the article explains.

“What’s more, Olin did not increase its MBA tuition to pay for the immersion or the extra semester. Instead, the school ate all costs.”

Last year, the MBA reboot experience landed WashU Olin the title of MBA Program of the Year by Poets & Quants, who then called the new MBA program “one of the boldest and most innovative program changes any business school has made in many, many years.”

While Olin’s global immersion semester typically takes place at the very beginning of the MBA experience, the coronavirus pandemic has moved the 2020 immersion to spring 2021. And while what the future holds is unknown, Poets & Quants encourages readers to “watch for other B-schools to imitate the Olin model.”




Lauren Herring

People who lost their jobs during the pandemic and are looking for work might find this new book helpful: “Take Control of Your Job Search! 10 Emotions You Must Master to Land the Job” (Simply Good Press, July 2020).

A successful job search is about much more than a resume, says author Lauren Herring, MBA ’07. It’s an emotional process, and how you manage your feelings will influence your search, she says.

Herring is the CEO of IMPACT Group, a global career development company. In her book, she examines 10 emotions that affect job seekers and provides guidance on how to master them for clarity and control.

“The emotional toll of joblessness has probably never been higher as our career and financial concerns are now combined with life-and-death health concerns,” said Herring, who lives in St. Louis. With increased unemployment, competition for jobs “creates tremendous fear for people.”

“Since so many people don’t have the luxury of working one-on-one with a career coach, I decided to write this book,” she said.

The book is in three parts: Emotions of loss, which are grief/sadness, anger and fear; emotions that paralyze, which are denial, frustration, anxiety and loneliness; and emotions that move you forward, which are self-compassion, confidence and excitement.

Network, network, network

The best way to land a job is through networking, Herring pointed out. Leveraging your network will also help minimize one of the primary sources of frustration in a job search, which is applying online and not hearing anything back.

“Spending 40 hours a week searching the job boards is counter-productive in a job search. It’s not particularly effective, and it can lead to loneliness and increase anxiety.”

Herring says that to reduce anxiety about networking, think of it as “reconnecting” with old friends or colleagues. Because of social distancing, some people may feel limited in their ability to network.

“But it’s really nothing more than reaching out in an authentic manner to let people know your job search goals and also to offer help with anything they might need as well.”

Create a ‘Super Team’

Herring says it’s critical to have a network of support while searching for a job. She suggests creating a “Super Team” much like a personal board of advisers.

“You’ll want professional contacts who know your industry or field, as well as leaders you respect who can share their perspective on your approach to the market, give feedback on your resume and even help you with mock interviews,” she said.

You’ll also want friends or family or possibly a faith leader who can help lift your spirits when you’re down and remind you of all your great qualities, she says.

“Now more than ever, having the confidence to stand out, be proactive in your search and connect with your network through nontraditional means, such as Zoom, will deliver results.”




WashU Olin alumni have continued to benefit from their membership in the community many years after leaving campus. This is part of an occasional series of vignettes about the alumni experience. Today, we hear from Onyi Oradiegwu, BSBME ’15/MBA ’15, consultant, Boston Consulting Group

While working as an internal auditor and process consultant at Owens Corning’s fiberglass plant in Tennessee, Onyi Oradiegwu decided she wanted to make the jump to management consulting. She connected with Olin for help during her case interview preparation process. The coaching and advice she received through Olin were integral to her interview preparation—and to receiving an offer from Boston Consulting Group.

“With each practice session, I grew more comfortable with my behavioral and case interview skills and more sure of my genuine interest in working as a management consultant,” she said. “Practice matters.”

Oradiegwu especially enjoyed being able to schedule time online with career advisers, the use of resume tools and access to a bank of prep materials. “I feel like I can rely on WashU and Olin for the rest of my life for support if I ever do look for another job,” she said. “I’m glad I was able to tap into those resources because it really did make a difference in my job interview.”

Stay in touch.

Center for Experiential Learning

Business Development

  • Dorothy Kittner, MBA ’94, associate dean and director of business development and corporate relations 314-935-6365 | kittner@wustl.edu

Alumni & Development

Weston Career Center

Executive Education

  • Kelly Bean, senior associate dean and professor of practice in leadership 202-797-6000 | beank@wustl.edu