Tag: Full-time MBA



Paulino do Rego Barros Jr.

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.

When Retail Credit Corporation was founded in Atlanta nearly 120 years ago, the company kept paper files on consumers to gauge their creditworthiness. “This industry has grown from looking at a file and just saying, ‘Does he pay his bills? Yes or no?’” said Paulino do Rego Barros Jr., MBA ’91.

Indeed, as a veteran executive at the company now known as Equifax, he’s on the vanguard of the power and pitfalls the massive data revolution has wrought on the industry and its customers. Equifax and its competitors wield data that tracks purchases, evaluates how reliably customers pay bills, and measures customer assets.

In spite of the power, Barros said, “there is a strong sense of stewardship and ethics.” That sense of stewardship came through a little more than a year ago when hackers breached Equifax.

Two days after he was named interim CEO, Barros apologized to consumers and customers in The Wall Street Journal. Barros is now US Information Solutions, president and former interim CEO, Equifax.

“We didn’t live up to expectations,” he wrote. Under his leadership, the company gave consumers free credit monitoring services, upgraded its website, boosted access to call-center support, and instituted other measures to regain the faith of consumers and customers.

“The regulatory framework establishes very clearly what we can or cannot do with consumer data,” he said. “But the decisions I made—and our ethical and moral values—are very important to us.”




Munir Mashooqullah

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.

In 2012, Munir Mashooqullah’s company was an acquisition target. For shareholders, the deal might have made sense: Mashooqullah, EMBA ’98, and an Olin Distinguished Alumnus, said the acquiring company had higher profit margins and better systems and IT infrastructure.

Even some of his employees thought the deal would be good for Synergies Worldwide, which manages apparel sourcing and supply chain management for the “fast fashion” industry. “Everyone was saying, ‘Why can’t you be more like them?’” said Mashooqullah, founder and custodian, Synergies Worldwide. “I lost people. I lost tactile monetary opportunities.”

Clients, however, didn’t like the deal. They liked their current service. They appreciated the value they received.

“There are stories in leadership where you do not go with what is told to you just because the numbers look right,” he said.

Today, the company Mashooqullah founded 31 years ago is thriving. In fact, a senior executive for the competitor jumped ship to become the CEO when Mashooqullah retired in 2016.

“If there is something you believe in— and you’re not just driven by the dollar sign—in retrospect, many times people win,” Mashooqullah said. “But at the time, it may not look right.”




Three WashU students and a departing professor were honored at this month’s second Skandy Awards presentation by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The awards featured remarks from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and recognition of honorees by II Luscri, Skandalaris Center Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Jessica Stanko, the Skandalaris Center Assistant Director of Programs.

Cliff Holekamp at the second Skandy Awards, where he was honored for excellence in service.

At the April 10 event, honorees included:

Arnav Kannan speaking with Chancellor Wrighton at the 2019 Skandy Awards.
  • Arnav Kannan, BSBA ’22, for creating video content that captures the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at WashU, awarded a Skandy for creativity.
  • Ony Mgbeahurike, MBA ’19, founder of the Good Soul Company, and Danielle Wilsey, MBA ’20, founder of The Confluence, awarded Skandys for entrepreneurship.
  • And in special recognition, the Skandalaris Center recognized Olin Professor Clifford Holekamp, outgoing director of Olin’s entrepreneurship program and instructor for the Hatchery course. He was recognized with an “excellence in service” award for his work, noting that during his time at WashU, 50% of the businesses in the Hatchery have launched and 75% are still operating.

Read more about the event and other Skandy winners on the Skandalaris Center website.

Pictured above: Ony Mgbeahurike, Danielle Wilsey and II Luscri, Skandalaris Center Managing Director.


During last month’s spring break global immersion trips piloting the new, revamped MBA program, students on the Shanghai branch of the program spent an afternoon touring a garment factory northwest of the city.

The factory, founded by Olin alumna Judy Yu, a 2016 graduate of the EMBA program with Fudan University, opened its doors to 70 students on the trip, walking them through the finer points of the company’s process and supply chain. Mudoo Fashion Co., a sportswear manufacturer founded in 2004, supplies fan-wear and active wear for a variety of sports around the globe.

But one focus is on rugby uniforms for teams in New Zealand—the home country for Hyrum Palmer, MBA ’19, who was enamored about the factory visit and the connections Yu’s team had made with these professional sports organizations. He was rewarded for his queries with a jersey manufactured for one of his favorite teams, New Zealand national rugby union team the All Blacks.

In gratitude, Palmer closed out the visit to MuDoo by performing a ceremonial “haka,” a ritual “war dance” used by New Zealand rugby teams to fire up the team and the audience. Check it out in the video above.




Kathy Mazzarella, chairman, president & CEO of Graybar

Kathy Mazzarella, chairman, president & CEO of Graybar, joins the Defining Moments speaker series to share how she rose through the ranks of a Fortune 500 company starting out without a college degree. Mazzarella—who completed an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree and MBA while working at Graybar—breaks down her success story into the following two life lessons.

Always aim for No. 1

Mazzarella shared advice from her greatest inspiration, her father, “Your only failure in life is if you don’t shoot high enough. If you shoot for the No. 1 position and don’t get it, you haven’t failed, you’ve learned. If you shoot for the No. 2 position and get it, you’ve failed.”

This lesson stuck with Mazzarella throughout her many defining moments. The first was her high school class president election. She ran and lost. Instead of giving up, the following year, Mazzarella didn’t just run for class president, but school president—the No. 1 position.

Acknowledging that it was a popularity contest, she had to strategize how to win using her connections, through sisters, in order to compensate for votes among her own classmates she knew she couldn’t win.

Mazzarella won class president.

The same lesson that initially applied to her class president election carried with her when just a few years later, she dropped out of college. Mazzarella initially went to school with aspirations of becoming a doctor. Realizing this path wasn’t for her landed her back home with two devastated parents.

Mazzarella, hoping to make her own path, went out for a job interview. On her way to the interview, she stepped into a building on the way to ask for directions. The building held the Graybar offices. They were hiring. This was fate.

The interviewer asked, “What role would you like to have?” Mazzarella, recalling her father’s advice, replied, “president.”

Use setbacks to learn, grow and become stronger

This lesson was one Mazzarella had to learn the hard way. She was up for a senior vice president position. As the first female vice president in the company—with an incredible professional track record—she was up against a male candidate who was always one step behind her.

Mazzarella frankly believed she was a shoe-in. Mazzarella worked hard, stayed late every night, worked every weekend, got every award available, and yet her competition got the job.

Mazzarella’s initial reaction? “I’m done.”

However a quick call to her father changed her mind.

This is your defining moment,” he said. “How you handle this will determine your future career. Everyone’s watching.”

Mazzarella swallowed her pride and called the winning candidate to congratulate him.

This blow steered her career toward HR and strategic planning, which ultimately made her a better leader. When Mazzarella was running for the CEO position, a board member recalled that she handled the SVP loss incredibly gracefully, proving that she cared about the company over herself.

Mazzarella truly used this setback to grow and become ultimately stronger, as she now hold the positions of chairman, president & CEO.




Angela Lu, MBA

Angela Lu, MBA ’19, is president of Olin’s Graduate Business Student Association. She wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

What I remember most about Barcelona is the crush of bodies, pressed against me from all sides, holding me up, rendering me immobile and rigid—stable enough to sustain the five or six additional levels of the “human castle” above me.

Castellers demonstrate an unsurpassed level of teamwork when constructing and assembling towering castell structures—literally, a castle constructed with people. This is the very definition of “tight-knit.”

I lived in Barcelona for a year before joining Olin for my MBA. It was actually in Barcelona that I took my GRE and wrote my application essays (and participated in castell-building). It seemed particularly fitting that, six weeks before graduation, I found myself once again in Barcelona as part of Olin’s pilot for the new global curriculum.

How would the city testify to my growth over the last two years?

Student pile into a jeep during a tour and discussion of marketing needs at Barcelona's Gramona Winery.
Students pile into a jeep during a tour and discussion of marketing needs at Barcelona’s Gramona Winery.

Ask any local what makes Barcelona a special city, and you’ll likely hear something about the thriving and integrated diversity of the city. We experienced this warm, inclusive welcome during our week, both at ESADE Business School and at the family wineries that opened their doors to allow us to learn about their craft and business operations.

While we turned our classroom knowledge into actionable insights for our hosts, I realized something else was knitting itself into existence: deeper bonds between two-year colleagues.

Here we were, thinking we knew each other well enough, yet discovering commonalities never uncovered before and having philosophical discussions and intimate reflections previously unimagined. The coursework was intense: We had long days with much work to accomplish, and just as much desire to explore the city and take advantage of being in this Spanish metropolis.

At the Gramona Winery, where second-year MBA students gathered data for a project to help the winery enter the US market.

Every one of us had different goals and expectations of this trip. Instead of pulling in different directions, however, we came together to support each other—in a way that fully resembled forming a base of a castell.

The demanding pace of our week-long course forged stronger friendships and created bonds between previously congenial but distant classmates. Once again, Barcelona revealed to me how precious it is to be part of a tight-knit group.

We call ourselves a family at Olin. Like all families, we have our squabbles and disagreements. Like all families, we come together despite our differences because we fundamentally respect and care for each other.

Looking forward to this coming academic year, I am hopeful that the newest recruits to our Olin family will—over the course of their multi-week trip to Washington, DC, Barcelona and Shanghai—build genuine, lasting and enviable relationships with each other and commence their core curriculum in St Louis with an unmatched commitment to each other’s success.