Tag: Full-time MBA



A news release from MERS/Goodwill, republished here.

Julie Zuick, St. Louis, MBA ’09, is following in her grandfather’s footsteps in serving the MERS/Goodwill board of directors.

Zuick, who was elected to serve on the 2019 board of directors, recently learned that her grandfather, Philip Isserman, acted as MERS chairman of the board of directors from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.

“As a longtime supporter of Goodwill, I’m proud to serve alongside a phenomenal group of people as we help the organization continue to grow and serve the community,” Zuick said.

MERS Goodwill changes lives through the power of work. Its vision is a community where each individual has the opportunity to learn, work, and achieve their greatest potential. Annually serving more than 40,000 individuals, the non-profit agency operates in 75 locations serving 89 counties in the bi-state area. Revenues from 42 Goodwill stores assist with funding MERS Goodwill job training and employment services.

“I’m glad Julie has joined our board,” said David Kutchback, president and CEO of MERS Goodwill. “Her high energy and strong experience will be an asset to the organization.”

As a board member, Zuick plans to use her background in marketing, strategic planning and retail to help fulfill the mission of MERS Missouri Goodwill, “Changing lives through the power of work.” MERS Missouri Goodwill provides a variety of programs and services to help support this mission.

“In both my personal and professional life, I am passionate about employing people to the top of their ability,” Zuick said. “As an executive recruiter, I help people reach their potential daily and our clients recruit the best talent.”

Zuick is a senior consultant for the Clayton-based executive search firm Grant Cooper. She joined the organization following a successful career in brand and general management for Fortune 500 companies. Zuick earned her MBA from Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis and a BS in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.




“To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.” Shakespeare’s phrase, from The Winter’s Tale, sums up the challenge that faces tomorrow’s business leaders. To compete in a global marketplace, one must cultivate a global perspective. Tourism won’t cut it. Deeper global experience is required.

Last week, the 2021 cohort of full-time MBA students arrived at WashU Olin. Today, they’re more than halfway through their orientation, four days from embarking on a journey of “disorientation” across three continents, immersed in a rigorous, hands-on curriculum as global business leaders additionally address real-world business problems.

It is a bold step for the students and—as a number of other schools are choosing to end their full-time MBA programmes—a bold step for Olin. But as a key character notes in Henry IV, Part I, “the blood more stirs to rouse a lion than to start a hare.”

The programme has come a long way since I first introduced it in this space back in September. A long list of Olin team members have contributed to bringing this vision to life, starting with Ohad Kadan, Patrick Moreton, Ashley Macrander, Hayley Huffman and Rachel Tolliver, have spent untold hours planning down the smallest detail.

We’ve learned from a spring break pilot to Barcelona and Shanghai with nearly 100 students. And now it’s underway for the newest class of first-year students.

Around the world in 38 days

On Sunday, the entire cohort arrives at WashU Olin’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Their agenda includes courses with business and government policy experts at the world-renowned Brookings Institution, with whom we enjoy a unique partnership. They’ll begin courses with Andrew Knight focused on impactful teamwork and with Cathy Dunkin on effective communications—courses that carry through the entire trip.

A week later, the cohort moves to Barcelona for a two-week dive into European business and an immersion into Iberian culture. They’ll take courses with Sam Chun and Peter Boumgarden in general management, working with regional vineyards on an analysis of go-to-market strategies.

The students finish with 17 days in China. After a couple of days for sightseeing in Beijing, the cohort spends the next two weeks on two courses. Daniel Elfenbein and Anne Marie Knott work with students on a market-entry problem with St. Louis’s Strange Donuts, which has considered opening in the Chinese market. Then, Fuqiang Zhang and Lingxiu Dong teach an international business operations course as students examine the distribution and manufacturing practices of local and global brands.

Through it all, WashU students will gain a foundational understanding of effective teamwork and values-based, data-driven decision-making. Combining ethical decision making with highly analytic empirical analysis—key hallmarks of business education at WashU Olin.

With more than a month abroad from the outset, these students have embarked on arguably the most global full-time MBA programme in the world. But that’s not the only enhancement we made as we overhauled the full-time MBA.

Flexibility—with rigor

For career-switchers, the traditional two-year MBA may continue to be the right choice. They are turning their careers in a new direction and they value the foundational education, the time to engage with our career services professionals and the chance to test themselves in a summer internship.

But career enhancers—looking for a leap forward in a career they already love—want the content in less time and for as little opportunity cost as possible. They need an accelerated programme that skips the internship. They don’t want “MBA lite.” They want “MBA intensive,” in an abbreviated timeframe, and that’s what WashU Olin has created with the new accelerated full-time MBA.

The new 14-month programme skips the internship and provides the same rigor, the same credit-hours, the same classroom and peer-to-peer experiences as the full-time, two-year programme. Yet students will emerge eight months earlier, prepared to take a giant leap forward in their careers.

Or, if they wish, they can build additional expertise by pairing a specialized master’s degree in business analytics —”big data” — with their full-time MBA. They’ll work on both programmes concurrently and earn two complementary business school degrees in 26 months.

At a time of change and introspection across the business-education spectrum, we are not done innovating in our full-time MBA programme. The Olin Business School team is working to add alternative destinations to the global immersion that will benefit more students, for example.

For our newest class of WashU Olin global MBA students, you might say the programme makes their “blood more stir.”




Lori Lee

In her commencement address to WashU Olin’s graduate students on May 17, 2019, Lori Lee described herself as a small-town Missouri woman who aspired to join a Big Six accounting firm, marry and have kids. But Lee’s story took a few unexpected turns, leading her to a global leadership position in one of the world’s largest firms.

Through it all, she told the graduates, her values have guided her. They provided the North Star, the context for every data-driven decision. They formed the basis for everything worth fighting for.

Lori Lee addressing graduate students at Commencement on May 17, 2019.

“At the core of all the calculations, at the heart of everything we do as business leaders are our values,” said Lee, BSBA ’88, MBA ’89. “It’s more important than ever to know what you’re willing to fight for. The issues are challenging businesses like never before. With social media today, molehills can become mountains in an instant—and how you respond in that split second makes all the difference.”

Today, Lee is CEO of AT&T Latin America and global marketing officer for AT&T Inc. She credits WashU Olin and former Dean Robert Virgil for working closely with her and providing the support that got her through business school. She rose through the ranks at several companies before an unexpected move to Texas in 1997 opened an opportunity for her at Southwestern Bell, which later became part of AT&T.

That move illustrated Lee’s first tip to the graduates that afternoon: Embrace every change as an unforeseen opportunity. “How you embrace change will be the difference between your success or failure,” Lee said, leading to her second tip: Anything worth having requires initiative.

See Lori Lee’s address at Commencement, May 17, 2019.

She spent the most time on that third tip, however—the one about knowing your values. Later that afternoon, Lee said that’s important because most decisions are not momentous forks in the road.

“Rarely is it neat and tidy,” she said. “You need to think through these things in advance. You find yourself in a moment when you have to make a decision. If you don’t have a sense of values for your company or for yourself, you aren’t prepared.”

That preparation is particularly important in her career today as the leader of AT&T’s Latin American operation, where the values of a different culture may not align with those of the US-based corporation where she works. “We talk about that all the time,” she said. And in a fast-paced world fueled by social media and heightened social awareness, it’s important for companies to know what they value and what their employees value so they can take a stand when it’s appropriate.

“Does this issue affect our values or our employee base? If so, perhaps it’s appropriate to take a stand,” Lee said, recalling the 2016 shooting in AT&T’s hometown that killed five police officers and wounded nine others. “My CEO has stepped out on a few issues. One that is most known is Black Lives Matter, diversity and valuing diversity. Our employees were shaken by the Dallas shooting and wondered what we were going to do.”

Lee, a member of Olin’s National Council, values the opportunity to stay connected with the university and Olin, staying current with higher education issues through her participation in WashU’s College Prep Program, which is supported by AT&T.

“Stand up, speak up and don’t be afraid to rock the boat,” Lee told the graduates in mid-May. “Embrace change. Take initiative. And be really clear on your values. Do these things and you’ll be steps ahead of me when I sat where you are today.”




Sneha Varma, 2020 MBA; Amy VanEssendelft, CEL Staff; Jasmine Zhu, 2019 MSCA; Ram Pappu, 2020 MBA; Kate Baeg, 2020 BSBA; Trip Smith, 2019 MBA CEL Fellow; Oliver Culver, 2019 MBA

Ramakrishna Pappu, MBA ’20, a member of the Alyeska CEL project team in Daegu, South Korea, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

We were a diverse group of individuals from WashU Olin across the MBA, SMP and undergraduate programs, working together on the AGM-Alyeska project over the spring 2019 semester. The project was in the cosmetic skincare industry with two very passionate clients.

Our primary client was Alaska Glacial Mud (AGM), a producer of authentic pure Alaskan mud products and accessories. Our second client was Alyeska, a Korean company, which creates and markets new skincare formulations in Asia. AGM and Alyeska have been business partners for a few years, AGM using formulations created by Alyeska in its products.

The Center for Experiential Learning selects individuals and creates a team based on the broad experience, skills and interests of the students. A few of us in the team have prior experience working in the cosmetics industry that we could leverage to meet our client’s objectives. Personally, I was interested in utilizing my past experience and skills to help the client develop a market entry strategy, especially for the high-end skincare market—a section of the market that I wanted to get more exposure to.

Booming skincare market

The skincare market is booming, and South Korea is at the center of it, with high-quality products known around the world. Alyeska is located in Daegu, South Korea, and works closely with the local university and the government for R&D.

Alyeska has access to some world-class infrastructure, expertise and resources. It has teamed up with several other local companies to form a cooperative called Clewnco, a brand under which it sells its products in physical stores. Clewnco and Alyeska are looking to enter the US market and with the support of AGM, approached the CEL to help it figure out the best way to do so.

Specifically, our team’s objectives for the project included identifying how a new product can edge its way into the premium segment of the skincare market in the United States. What would be the best method of entry in this market? With increasing attention on Korean cosmetics in the world and strong competition within this segment, is it the right time to enter this market? What is the willingness to pay for the customers in this segment and what kind of pricing structure would help make Alyeska successful?

These are some of the questions that the CEL team helped address for the client during the project.

Value of overseas site visit

The site visit to Daegu gave the team an up-close look at the company’s laboratories, research and development facilities, as well as the manufacturing set up where the skincare products are made. Meetings with industry experts in skincare formulations and learning from their experiences and perspectives helped us gain deeper appreciation for our client’s work.

Interacting with the factory managers and staff showed us what it took to get raw materials transformed into finished products ready to be sold. We learned how business is done in Korea—often through informal networks that quickly shape into real business partnerships. The visit drove an understanding of the role disruptive innovation plays in the business landscape in Korea and we got a sense of the intrinsic motivations behind some business decisions made in the industry.

The last part of our visit included seeing the sights around the city of Daegu as well as the capital city of Seoul. The trip was a fine balance between working in a consulting team for a client and being a tourist to see the sights at the end of an action-packed work week.

The CEL program is a great way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real business scenarios. Working with an external client in the “real world” on a project that helps build and implement a company’s strategy in a high-pressure situation is a formative experience.

The CEL does a great job of exposing the teams to real life situations and complexities in the workplace, while under the aegis and support structure provided in a university setting. The experience we gained working with our clients and a new team has been very enriching and helps develop our leadership qualities that we can take into the future.

Pictured above: Sneha Varma, MBA ’20; Amy VanEssendelft, CEL staff; Jasmine Zhu, MSCA ’19; Ram Pappu, MBA ’20; Kate Baeg, BSBA ’20; Trip Smith, MBA ’19, CEL fellow; Oliver Culver, MBA ’19.




Sara Hannah

The 2018 Olin Business magazine shared a series of vignettes featuring alumni faced with a business decision requiring them to weigh data with their values. We featured these stories to support Olin’s strategic pillar focused on equipping leaders to confront challenge and create change, for good. This is one of those vignettes.

Mike Budden was relentless. And Sara Hannah, BSBA ’01, recognized the potential impact. So that’s why the first global branch of the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute is based in Cape Town, South Africa.

The South African leadership consultant had attended a BW workshop three years earlier, and was using some of its principles in his own work. Budden had stayed in touch with Hannah, trying to persuade her to open the institute—with its people- centric principles—in his hometown.

Hannah, managing partner of the Berry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute, initially wasn’t so sure. “It made absolutely no sense for us to do business in Cape Town,” she said. The currency exchange rate was unfavorable. It would be the institute’s first foray into an overseas market. Budden was already there.

Yet other data was compelling: “When we looked at the economic and government situation in South Africa, we saw that business is the way to touch the lives of people,” Hannah said. Not government or NGOs. Business.

The institute made a minimum two-year commitment in Cape Town. “We believe we measure success by the way we touch the lives of people,” Hannah said.