Tag: Full-time MBA

Dorothy Kittner, left, who also serves as interim director of the Olin career center, with Anna Gonzalez, WashU

Dorothy D. Kittner, WashU Olin’s senior associate dean of the Center for Experiential Learning, began a two-year term as the board chair for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management on July 1.

The nonprofit organization, based in Chesterfield, Missouri, was founded in 1966 at WashU Olin and is dedicated to increasing business school enrollment by women and underrepresented minorities. Kittner’s appointment came about after she was nominated and elected by the Consortium board of trustees following a change in its governance design.

“I am so proud that WashU Olin Business School is one of the founding members of The Consortium. To be representing Olin in this regard is both humbling and exciting, as Olin has helped me get where I am today,” said Kittner, herself an Olin MBA alum from 1994. “This is another opportunity for me to further develop my leadership competencies.”

During a sabbatical in the early 1960s, Washington University business school Professor Sterling Schoen realized that no Black men served in leadership in any of the Fortune 500 companies at the time. The realization inspired him to assemble an academic conference that resulted in the idea for The Consortium, which launched with three schools—WashU, Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin.

Today, The Consortium’s membership includes 22 top-tier business schools across the country. It recruits students who have shown a “demonstrated commitment to diversity” into its program and collaborates with member schools to admit students to full-time MBA programs.

“As both an Olin MBA alumnae and member of the staff, being asked to be at the helm of The Consortium board of trustees allows me the opportunity to continue to shine a light on the excellent students, faculty and staff at Olin,” Kittner said.

Pictured above: Dorothy Kittner, left, who also serves as interim director of the Olin career center, with Anna Gonzalez, WashU’s vice chancellor for student affairs.

Man with briefcase preparing to climb spiral staircase made of books.

The job market has been in a state of flux over the past year, if not since the beginning of the pandemic. When business leaders head into the marketplace, this era of rapid evolution can be disorienting. 

There’s an extra layer of confusion for leaders looking to make a change in their careers and new leaders setting out to follow their visions for their first ventures. They may not know how to begin or what skills will be the most beneficial in landing and succeeding in a job. This is where an MBA can help.

An MBA experience can strengthen the breadth and depth of skills needed for leaders to lead effectively and open up opportunities in a tricky job market. The skills and experience of an MBA can prepare a leader for a long-term future in business even as the world continues to fling challenges their way.

What does an MBA teach you?

The first way that an MBA degree can bolster a leader’s skill set is by providing a strong foundation with knowledge of business fundamentals. At Olin Business School, our core curriculum is designed to give students a holistic understanding of various business functions,  including marketing, supply chain management, data analytics and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Exposure to these courses enables students to develop the business acumen needed to make informed decisions, drive growth and navigate complex challenges, no matter where their career takes them next. MBA programs also focus on developing the softer skills needed to succeed as a leader. Communication skills can be honed through real-world scenarios and experiences with members of an MBA cohort. Hands-on challenges are vital for leaders trying to adapt to a fast-evolving market.

Digital literacy and creativity are also going to be fundamental. Creative thinkers who can work more closely and effectively with artificial intelligence will be able to take advantage of changes in work and learning environments. At Olin, the MBA program exposes students to digital literacy platforms, such as Tableau, to learn how to visualize data. Students have access to workshops where they learn the basics of using analytic programs that impact business practices. 

The impact of an MBA on career advancement

All of these fundamental business skills combine to form a skill set that can help leaders go out into the world with confidence. Olin instills critical business skills for success and supports students by offering:

The opportunity to stand out

The range of specializations and electives available as part of the Olin MBA allows students to tailor their learning to their interests and career goals. In this way, the programs help students develop expertise and differentiate themselves in the job market by choosing courses that pique their interest, challenge them and align with their career goals. They can carve out a unique path to success, select goals specific to them and craft a vision of their future.

A competitive advantage

An MBA from Olin provides students with a wide range of fundamental skills and more niche experiences, which gives an advantage over other candidates in the job market. Students can increase their skills by engaging in ongoing paid internships with leading industries, career development with career coaches and real-world consulting with startups and other corporate partners.

Readiness for a global world

Opportunities to engage globally and learn from international businesses and startups give students the chance to build a global mindset, which in turn helps them to form careers that can adapt to globalizing industries. MBA programs guide highly qualified candidates into top-level industry positions as creative and critical problem solvers. Others will graduate and begin their own international ventures, utilizing global networks to craft their own career paths.

Confidence with advanced technologies

The job market is a dynamic organism, constantly evolving with digital technologies in response to global, societal and economic shifts. The world of business needs more creative thinkers who can work effectively with AI and other technological advances over the next decade and beyond. An Olin MBA helps leaders to understand and integrate data and technology into their business strategies.

Competitive leaders must be able to respond quickly to change and be comfortable working in various settings with diverse groups of clients and colleagues. They must be able to adapt to a global world, ready to shift their thinking in order to cope with the challenges that arise. While the job market may be disrupted, MBA graduates can find their own way through the chaos with a deep foundation of hands-on experience and knowledge.

Ian Freshwater, MBA, 2022

Ian Freshwater, MBA 2022, wrote this for the Olin Blog. He is a human resources associate for FedEx Corporation. 

An MBA can set you up for a successful career in any industry. An MBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School will equip you to build not only a successful career but also an impactful career as a leader.

From learning the importance of perspective to understanding different organizational structures and leadership styles in business, earning my MBA from Olin Business School set me up to navigate my career with ease and adaptability. As you are considering earning an MBA, here are a few ways I’ve found that WashU Olin will equip you with the tools and knowledge to build a future of impact.

Adjusting your point of view: The power of perspective

One of the most significant advantages of pursuing an MBA is the opportunity it offers you to take a step back from the working world and view business and organizational structures from an outside, objective perspective. During my time at Olin, I was surrounded by professionally driven and diverse classmates, which provided the perfect mix of experience and opinions to help me best understand how leadership theories could be implemented.

In the corporate setting, it’s easy to get caught up in organizational politics and the standard routine of how things get done. My MBA allowed me to take a step back and understand the actual theory behind these models. With this background, I could bring this theory into the working world, which has allowed me to adapt my approach based on how well a given leadership style is working.

Mastering adaptability: Navigating different organizational structures and leadership styles

Large corporations often have multiple organizational structures built into their culture and operating procedures. For example, in my current company, FedEx, we operate on a divisional or multidivisional structure. But my HR department follows a more team-based structure. To successfully navigate, I had to learn to adapt my leadership style to reflect both types of structures based on the stakeholders and teams I was working with.

What sets Olin apart is how they introduce business theories and then challenge you to put them into practice and learn the skills to innovate and drive change in the world around you. With programs like the Skandalaris Center or Koch Center for Family Business, you can collaborate with entrepreneurs and professionals with diverse experiences and expertise, inspiring the entrepreneurial mindset and empowering you to explore and execute solutions to global challenges as well as local needs.

Through working on different team projects in the classroom or consulting with clients through the Skandalaris Center or Koch Center for Family Business, I was introduced to and learned through practical experience the various organizational structures and leadership styles that allowed me to become well-attuned to business theories in practice. For example, I might use a participative leadership approach when working with only HR people. In contrast, if I’m on a team with people from multiple departments or even executive leadership, I can expect a more authoritative or delegative approach. Therefore, understanding how different leadership styles can be used, combined or adapted is key to navigating organizational structures.

Expanding horizons: The global immersion MBA experience

Olin’s MBA program offers a global immersion experience. This component will challenge you to move outside of your comfort zones by placing you in entirely new environments. As a result, you will learn how to adapt not only to the cultural norms but also how exactly those cultural norms affect business decisions and outcomes.

As someone born and raised in the US, I had fallen into the habit of routine and often forgot to look at structures and styles from an objective, third-party point of view. Immersing myself in a different culture placed me in that third-party position, helping me gain a broader, more profound understanding of how various leadership styles and organizational structures work.

An MBA from Washington University’s Olin Business School goes beyond merely laying the foundation for a successful career: It’s an immersive, transformative experience that equips you with invaluable insights and practical knowledge. You’ll engage with diverse classmates, faculty, and industry professionals, enabling you to become an adaptive, impactful leader who can excel in any environment.

By delving into various leadership styles in business, understanding types of business organizational structures and participating in the Global Immersion MBA program, you will develop a well-rounded perspective on what it means to be an effective leader. The school’s hands-on opportunities allow you to apply the theories you’ve learned in real-world situations, building your confidence and competence as a leader.

I encourage you to explore the transformative potential of an Olin education in shaping your future of impact. The skills, knowledge and experiences you will gain at Olin Business School will set you up for career success. They also will enable you to make a lasting, positive difference in the organizations and communities you will be part of.

Hexagonal blocks stacked next to and top each other representing different components of an online MBA program.

When studying for an MBA, students know they’re signing up to work hard. They probably expect their MBA course load to demand a lot of their time and take a lot of dedication and motivation.

While these statements are largely true, MBA program leaders are becoming increasingly aware of their students’ needs outside the classroom. We recognize that in times of change, the way people need to engage with their education is a little different. Students need help to achieve a balance between their full-time employment and responsibilities, their family life and their time dedicated to the MBA program, not to mention their health and well-being.

How can an MBA student achieve a work-life balance?

Students and their mentors can prepare the ground for their MBA work-life balance in several ways. Here are some key questions students can ask to make sure they’re choosing options that make sense for them:

1. Which program would work best for your priorities and goals?

Different programs offer different schedules and varying levels of flexibility. Consider what you need from your course load and weekly routine. Is your life likely to change drastically in the next year or so? A part-time MBA could be the right choice. In Olin’s PMBA, for example, students can easily decrease their course load by speaking with academic advisors.

2. What kind of interaction are you looking for?

Different programs will offer different forms of community and classroom interaction. If you’re someone who needs a high number of contact hours and an in-person cohort, the Executive MBA might be the right choice. If you already have an active community outside of education and want to focus on your education in a slightly more solitary environment, the online program might be a perfect fit.

3. Are location and travel a priority for you?

Students should consider where they need to be located for the duration of their MBA experience. In a part-time MBA program, they may be able to apply for remote status if they need to travel for life or work reasons. In an online MBA, the course interface can travel with you.

4. Do you have a schedule to check in with your work-life balance?

There are tactics that MBA students can use once they’re enrolled in a program to ensure that they’re staying in touch with their work-life balance. They could do that by actively working on their time management — invest in some upfront planning and identify hours needed for projects, papers, and studying. They could meet with advisors and peers during lunch hours so that they’re developing relationships and networking, while saving time for off-the-clock socializing later. The MBA program itself can also help nurture students’ lives outside of learning.

How does the Olin MBA look after students’ life balance?

At Olin, we know how important it is for students to find a balance between the different parts of their lives.

The first thing we do to protect students’ work-life balance is to make our programs highly flexible. Students pursuing their MBA can choose between three options — the Online MBA, the Professional or Part-Time MBA, and the Executive MBA. Each program provides a flexible option for professional students based on their availability and other responsibilities.

In the Online MBA, students have the flexibility of an entirely online format. They work with an assigned cohort, taking a set of required courses and credits over the course of eight semesters. Six of those semesters require seven credit hours, and two of those semesters require six credit hours. So there is additional flexibility baked into the program’s structure.

For the Professional or Part-Time MBA, students have the option to choose remote status during periods of time when work or family life needs more of their attention. They can also follow a timeline that makes sense to them. While they’re required to complete 54 credit hours in total, the pace of those credit hours is up to the student.

The Executive MBA is a 24-month program, kicking off with a week-long orientation where students can meet their peers and try their first few classes together. They then progress through the MBA course load by incorporating three days a month of classroom time into their schedule, leaving plenty of room for other commitments and changes.

All of Olin’s MBA programs are designed with flexibility in mind. Finding an MBA work-life balance is vital—without it, students simply cannot access the benefits of their learning. Flexible online MBA programs allow people to study, live, connect with others, fulfill their responsibilities, and take part in their communities. This all makes for better future business leaders.

Whether it’s teaching time management for MBA students or developing more options for how to arrange your MBA course load, Olin has your back—not just at school but at home and everywhere in between. Business leaders aren’t just made in the classroom.

Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, speaking at the May 2023 graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony. Photo by Jerry Naunheim

Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, was the student speaker at the graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 15, 2023, selected by his peers. He soon begins a new position with Amazon in New York City as a senior product manager. Here is what he had to say to his fellow graduates.

Chancellor Martin, Dean Thakor, esteemed guests, family and friends—welcome! Welcome to St. Louis, WashU, Olin Business School and this momentous event. To my fellow class of 2023, simply put, we did it. We did it thanks to our hard work and dedication and support from family, friends and the tireless efforts of faculty and staff. Thank you for this great honor to be this year’s student speaker.

Today marks the end of one journey, but at the same time, kicks off the beginning of the next. Every journey goes through different seasons. Not seasons like spring, summer or fall, but seasons like successes, failures, stagnancy, overflow and more. Each one of them teaches us a lesson, a lesson we may not like or think we need—such as the cranberry case—but a lesson nonetheless.

Now think about it, and reflect: What seasons have you recently experienced during your previous or current journey? What did you learn, not learn, like, not like? It’s interesting because if I was to ask all of the graduates sitting in front of me, although we went on the same journey, we each had different seasons and had valuable lessons come out of them—lessons such as how to deal with challenges, extreme success, imposter syndrome, how to be values-based and data-driven, patience, failure, and fill-in-the-blank with what you may.

Each one of those was part of the journey, and they each made this journey not only memorable but effective, meaningful and worth it. Sometimes we are so focused on the end destination, the end goal, the next chapter, or the next journey that we miss being present and embracing the seasons that come with the journey and the lessons we gain from them.

Olin has given us a unique opportunity no other institution can ever offer and that is the opportunity we had to meet each other. Of course, there is a world-class education offered here, a fantastic facility and very qualified and knowledgeable professors. We are also one of the founding schools of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management—which I am a part of, shout out to my Consortium family—and have multiple other world-class graduate programs across the university.

Still, they are not each one of us that is sitting down in front of me right now. Each of you has played a role in numerous other students’ experiences throughout your time here. It could be as simple as helping a classmate by holding the door. At the same time, it could be as simple as arguing with a fellow student about who reserved the study room, or it could be lending a listening ear to someone who just needed to vent about that strategic cost analysis final, that Python project or customer analytics midterm.

Think about it, before we see ourselves here today on the cusp of another tremendous educational achievement. When each of us first walked through those hallowed halls of Bauer Hall and Knight Hall, we were all strangers, but along this journey with the rigors of the curriculum, fun times, late nights, numerous case studies and free food, we have made connections and built a network that will last a lifetime. We are better now than when we came in.

Olin Business School has six banners flying high, hanging on the third-floor atrium, reading integrity, collaboration, diversity, leadership, excellence, and the newest one has been added, respect. These are the values of the school we chose to come to, and although not perfect, as an institution, business school, and even as students—sorry, graduates—we have learned to strive to live up to those values every day since we got on campus.

My ask and charge for you today, graduates, is not to leave these values at the foothold once you leave this beautiful campus one last time, but to cherish and add these values to your ever-growing arsenal that now includes all we have learned during our time at Olin, both inside and outside the classroom.

As you embark on the next journey of life, embrace the seasons that come along the journey. Wherever it may be and whatever it may be, be present in the experience along the way. You have the backing and support of not only me but everyone behind me, everyone sitting in the stands, and everyone sitting to your right, left, front and back. Impossible is just an opinion. So go forth and be great. I’m rooting for you all! Congratulations, Class of 2023!

Pictured above: Samuel Amorin, MBA 2023, speaking at the May 2023 graduate programs graduation recognition ceremony. Photo by Jerry Naunheim

Headshot of Daniel Schindler, CEO of Buoy.

Buoy, a consumer products brand that makes and markets hydration drops and was born in WashU Olin’s Hatchery business plan course, has closed a $2.5 million seed round that includes 50 angel investors—including Chris Paul, star point guard for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

“This wasn’t easy. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Daniel Schindler, CEO of Buoy, who began the business while he was an Olin student when it was called BetterTomorrow. Schindler announced the closing of the funding round in an email on May 2.

“We wouldn’t have gotten here without the help and support of so many people,” he said. Schindler, MBA 2019, thanked his older brother, Jordan Schindler, for guiding the company as a mentor in fundraising and networking. He also credited Craig Frischling and Kit McQuiston, the startup’s lead contacts at the New York Angel’s group, who Schindler said spent three months doing due diligence and connected his team with other investors on their behalf.

Buoy has developed a line of flavorless liquid supplements that can be added to any drink to foster hydration and overall health by helping people retain water.

In a 2022 company recap Schindler distributed in January, he said Buoy Energy Drops were available at all 936 CVS HealthHUB locations in new and improved retail packaging, and that the brand was available in about 3,500 CVS stores. Meanwhile, in 3,400 Walgreens stores, the company’s hydration drops and immunity drops became available in new retail packaging nationwide and on Walgreens.com.

For the calendar year, Buoy said it had $640,840 in revenue, with $251,000 from retail locations, $239,000 through Amazon, $81,000 in direct-to-consumer sales through its website and another $69,000 in business-to-business sales.

“Thank you to all our investors for your belief and support,” Schindler said in an email announcing the funding round. “What a journey it’s been, and we’ve only just begun.”