Tag: Full-time MBA

Brinda Gupta, MBA ’20, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

Brinda Gupta (left) and Jessica Sanchez at a Google event at The Consortium's OP.

Brinda Gupta (left) and Jessica Sanchez at a
Google event at The Consortium’s OP.

I traveled to Orlando, Florida, from June 9-13 for The Consortium’s annual Orientation Program & Career Forum with a team including Olin classmates and staff. Founded in 1966, The Consortium is an organization promoting diverse representation in the business community.

The entire week was packed with events from the moment I landed in Orlando. Olin staff and second-year Olin Consortium fellows were committed to our success throughout the process.

I had several opportunities in group and individual settings to practice interviewing and learn more about companies that align with my interests. It was exciting to see how fellows had different career goals but all sought a workplace that values diversity and inclusion.

In addition to meeting several potential employers, I left OP with strong friendships with Consortium fellows across the country and a great excitement to start my MBA program in the fall at Washington University’s Olin Business School, a founding partner of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.

The Consortium’s Orientation Program (fondly known as “OP”) is one of the hallmarks of the fellowship. Before starting our respective MBA programs, Consortium fellows from all 19 member schools come together for one week to network with each other, learn more about the business sector, and explore future learning opportunities.

One of my favorite sessions at OP was an ethics workshop with Accenture where we were presented with different scenarios and had to justify our decisions. For example, would you promote an individual to a C-suite position if you overheard a conversation where he mentioned taking unprescribed medicine to enhance his performance at work?

I also attended “career track” sessions where I learned more about consulting and general management. It was here that I worked on my first case study with representatives from Bain!

A unique aspect of OP was that I could really learn about companies I was interested in. I attended breakfasts and dinners where I could speak to recruiters and senior executives one-on-one. The final day of OP culminated in private interviews for summer internships – several of which led to offers, which was incredibly humbling.

As much as OP prepared me for career development, it also molded my character development. Throughout the week we were reminded of the importance of working hard, staying humble, and being open to opportunities we might not have considered otherwise. I am looking forward to bringing these lessons to the Olin classroom this fall and building upon everything I learned at OP.

Pictured above: WashU MBA students Brinda Gupta (left) and Jessica Sanchez at The Consortium’s Orientation Program in Orlando.

Anjan Thakor is an economist with purpose—and the business world is catching on. Thakor’s research covers wide ground, from corporate finance to banking and corporate governance. However, the John E Simon Professor of Finance’s most recent endeavor got more personal: How can an organization connect its employees to its overall purpose, encouraging them to dive in and give their all along the way?

Along with Robert E. Quinn, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Thakor’s wisdom is featured on the cover of the Harvard Business Review’s July-August edition.

Thakor and Quinn begin by introducing readers to Gerry Anderson, president of DTE Energy, who struggled to engage his employees following the Great Recession of 2008. Having been taught that good economics mean treating employees first by their own self interest, Anderson was reluctant to use empty rhetoric about meaning—much like many firm leaders Thakor and Quinn investigated.

However, the researchers tell, a shift in focus that challenged employees to embrace purpose turned out to be a major success. Thakor and Quinn’s research seeks to provide a framework company leaders can use to develop, embrace, and implement a purpose that drives their organization.


The biggest problem Thakor and Quinn find is that the companies they consult for wait until a point of crisis to find a company purpose. Encouraging a break from the “cynical ‘transactional’ view of employee motivation,” though, can be taken at any time—the sooner, the better. The researchers set up an eight-step process for finding, implementing, and connecting a purpose for employees—one that includes such steps as “envision an inspired workforce,” “recognize the need for authenticity,” and “connect the people to the purpose.”

The most important theme that runs through these eight steps? Be authentic, real, and passionate. Thakor and Quinn have seen companies thrive and fail—and they know the perils of a haphazard campaign based on feel-good words and uninspired drivel. Purpose, for them, is something entirely different. It’s a sense of passion—a vision for a corporation that inspires employees, turns them into leaders, and treats them as intelligent, autonomous human beings.

The work Thakor and Quinn are asking companies to undertake is not easy—it’s part of a process that involves humility, openness, and risk. But these researchers believe in the beauty of an impassioned, purpose-driven company—and they’re hoping to change the business world, for good.

Graduation for the 2018 master of science in leadership class at Brookings.

Joining the members of the 2018 master of science in leadership class from
the Olin Brookings Executive Education programme.

I think everyone who works at WashU gets the question from friends and acquaintances, “Does work slow down for you over the summer?” For Olin faculty and staff members, I’m guessing the quick answer is “No.”

Granted, the day-to-day activities, interactions and even locations may be different in the summer months than during the academic year, but from my viewpoint, the Olin team’s focus on supporting the mission of the school remains strong throughout the year.

Since the final chords of Pomp and Circumstance ended in spring, Olin faculty and staff have been hard at work encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation on a global stage, promoting Olin in worldwide media, growing our academic and research programs, expanding services for our students, connecting with alumni around the world…and teaching me the finer points of the backyard game of cornhole (I hear washers is the next game I need to learn.).

My busy Olin summer began with a May 31 conference on “New Approaches to Biomedical Innovation,” a workshop arranged by Anjan Thakor that drew participants from around the world. I was privileged to introduce the keynote speaker, Greg Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative.

Soon after, I had the opportunity to appear on a BBC business news programme to discuss the importance of the MBA. Indeed, my time with Aaron Heslehurst on “Talking Business” included some sparring over the relevance of the MBA when many tech entrepreneurs have built businesses without such a credential.

But it also offered the opportunity to widely share the Olin name and our commitment to identifying and cultivating our students’ potential—and our unique approach to preparing leaders equipped to synthesize huge amounts of data through a values-based lens.
Promoting our name, our reputation and our thought leadership also gives us the opportunity to participate in the national debate, as when American Public Media’s Marketplace programme recently turned to Olin’s Asaf Manela for his perspective on proprietary trading in a story about The Volcker Rule.

I also had the opportunity to visit Brookings for another joyful event, a graduation ceremony for recipients of the master of science in leadership program through our joint Brookings Executive Education programme. It was the first time that the President of the Brookings Institution and a Dean from Washington University participated in a graduation ceremony together in nearly 100 years.

Dean Grandpa with Madeleine.

Dean Grandpa with Madeleine.

The themes of leadership and career preparation continued in Tel Aviv in late June, where I participated in a panel discussion on “Producing Ideas and Talent of the Future” at the Israel Summer Business Academy with Steve Malter and Aaron Bobick, dean of WashU’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and Provost Holden Thorp.

Next month, my whirlwind summer concludes with a trip to Shanghai to visit EMBA students in our programme with Fudan University. That journey will include a number of visits with China-based alumni, who remain important ambassadors for Olin as they launch, build and flourish in their careers.

While there is great Olin energy around the world—from growing degree programs, research activities and practicum projects on at least five continents, I am excited that the momentum continues to build in St. Louis as we grow our capacity to serve our students and alumni.

I’ve very much enjoyed meeting some of the new people that have recently joined Olin and I look forward to continuing to get to know more Olin faculty, staff and students…perhaps over a game of washers.

On the topic of backyard fun and games, I hope you have a chance to connect with friends and family over the summer months. The best moment for me this summer has been spending time with my first grandchild, Madeleine, in Sydney, Australia.

I’ve already started recruiting her for Washington University Class of 2040.

“The Desk of the Dean” appears monthly.

Two of the Olin students on the team had the opportunity to test the XBody devices from a Budapest-based company.

Ariel Washington, MBA ’19, wrote this post on behalf of her teammates on the Venture Advising course trip to Budapest.

Olin Business School students Ankit Kumar, Gauri Pitke, Adam Tappella, and Ariel Washington—all MBA ’19—traveled to Budapest, Hungary, to participate in a week of cultural tourism and strategy consulting through the school’s Venture Advising course. The students were paired with local company XBody on the company’s newest foray into the North American market.

XBody is a health and fitness company that manufactures and sells full-body electric muscle stimulation suit systems. The company boasts increased physical fitness and muscle development from just two 20-minute workouts per week.

The company offers a wired suit and console that up to three people can use simultaneously (with add-on equipment) and a wireless unit that up to six people at a time can use. Two of the Olin students on the team had the opportunity to test the devices (pictured above) and were quickly convinced of the product’s effectiveness during their short 12-minute demo.

Working under the direction of Krisztián Orbán, founder of private equity firm Oriens, the XBody team has begun to outline a plan for XBody to enter the US fitness realm. The students traveled to the company headquarters in Gyor, Hungary, and met with founders Balazs Fuzessy and Csaba Nyers to learn about the past, present, and future of XBody.

The company manages the production process from start to finish, as well as sales and marketing of its two product lines—all on site.

The students will continue to develop a full recommendation for XBody over the next six weeks, which will culminate in a written proposal and presentation. Two members of the team, Gauri Pitke and Ariel Washington, have been invited back to Hungary in August to work on site with XBody’s management in putting their recommendations into action.

In addition to working on their client project, these students explored the city of Budapest with the help of three Oriens colleagues who served as project advisors an city guides. They visited the Terror Museum, cruised down the Danube River, took a walking tour of Budapest City, saw the historic Hungarian Parliament building, and cooked a three-course traditional Hungarian meal.

Overall, this group of Olin students spent the week honing their problem-formulation skills, learning about the nuances of doing business in eastern Europe, and experiencing all of the rich culture and unique experiences the city of Budapest has to offer.

Relive some of the sights and sounds from the Olin Veterans Association Dining Out event on March 29, 2018, with this quick video summary. Here are a few details about the event from our earlier blog post about it, written by Sontaya Sherrell, MBA ’18, and an Olin veteran herself.

Among the traditional rituals at the Dining Out, guests were invited to answer for violations of the written rules of the evening by paying a fine—all of which supports the Olin Veterans Scholarship Fund—or having a drink from the dreaded “grog bowl,” which features a hodgepodge of questionable ingredients mixed into one punch.

A few of the lighthearted rules guests could potentially be punished for include wearing a clip-on bow tie at an obvious angle, using excessive military slang or jargon, or wearing clip-on suspenders.

Guests were expected to adhere to an honor system in recognizing their own infractions or could be reported for an infraction by another attendee. Balancing out these more amusing aspects of the event were more solemn traditions, one of which included the recognition of those who could not be with us that evening.

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