Tag: Global Immersion

When nearly 100 WashU Olin full-time MBA students spanned the globe this year to launch their studies, they started with a strong dose of the entrepreneurial spirit—and they carried it with them through the 38-day journey.

As students recount in the attached video, a portion of their global studies included an examination of entrepreneurship and whether a startup dining concept in St. Louis would translate overseas in the competitive market of Shanghai.

Tyler Edwards, MBA ’21, was one of the students on the global immersion. He’s eager to work in a field where he can help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. Here are a few of his reflections since returning to the United States and diving into his core classes this semester.

In retrospect, weeks past your return from China, can you describe how the global immersion has influenced your approach to class?

The global immersion was a great way to ease students into the class format at WashU Olin. This experience has given me momentum and familiarity when approaching my courses. From our time abroad, I now look at cases from the point of view of a student, a client and as a consultant.

Rather than seeking the answers to case issues, I’m thinking about alternative routes of strategy and decision making on the business side, and applying what I know outside of class into the dialogue to better shape my experience.

I don’t think I’d be in the same position if I were only two months into school rather than having experienced the global immersion.

What did you gain from the experience that you’ve been able to apply already—particularly as it might related to your interest in entrepreneurship?

I’ve been able to gain perspective on client expectations in short-term projects and executables. The global immersion was a crash course in executing very short-term projects for clients in fields that we know very little about.

Taking these experiences out of the classroom, I have enhanced my abilities to synthesize company goals and founder visions quickly, and produce solutions that align with those visions and goals. This enhanced ability to dive into projects and get hands-on quickly has been a great addition to my experience.

Have you been able to use this experience yet in any preparation for your career next step?

I have been able to point to these experiences in my interviews and conversations with employers. It’s great to have the experience of helping an entrepreneur explore a completely different country and market in the manner that the global immersion program exposed us.

Employers are blown away when I can tell them about client empathy and customer research when I tell them about figuring out whether customers in Shanghai would eat sugary donuts. These experiences are great for applicability in problem solving, and provide for a great story to break the ice.


First-year MBA student Gil Eckstein says traveling with his 96 classmates on WashU Olin’s inaugural ’round-the-world global immersion was “a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience.” Read more from Gil below and hear from his classmates in the video above.

The 38-day immersion is the crown jewel in the Olin’s massive reboot of the full-time MBA program, taking students from St. Louis to Washington, DC, to Barcelona, to Beijing and Shanghai. The trip was the launching point of the program for the new MBA prospects, designed to offer an immediate introduction into foundational business principles in a global context.

In video interviews and casual conversations, students on the trip and afterward expressed enthusiasm for the work they were doing, the context they were learning and the bonds they were building.

As students’ second semester in the MBA program begins to draw to a close, Eckstein offered his reflections for the Olin Blog.

In retrospect, now several weeks past your return from China, can you describe how the global immersion has influenced your approach to class?

Traveling with my 90 other classmates around the world in DC, Barcelona, and Shanghai, going on field excursions every other day, giving presentations every week, and doing it all for almost six weeks in a row.

Gil Eckstein, MBA '21
Gil Eckstein, MBA ’21

This is a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience. Just like in professional life, we were outside of our comfort zone very often, going to classes in different spaces in different cities, while adapting to different cultures.

I feel like this experience opened my mind and challenged my creativity in a way that a regular class doesn’t. Classes become much more interactive. Right before class, I had breakfast with my professor, and right after class, I went to the winery consulting visit with the same professor.

Class becomes something that I am actually looking to implement and not just place in some bin in my head, in the hope of using it sometime in the future.

What did you gain from the experience that you’ve been able to apply already?

This whole experience is a great story that I love telling people. Recruiters, students, friends or family. This is a very colorful experience that we all had and that itself is a valuable asset. I also gained presentation and preparation skills that I used in job interviews or just coffee talks.

I also feel like I gained better communication skills with my teammates, especially ones who come from different cultures than mine.

I think that more than anything though, I developed strong relationships with my classmates in a way that I could have never been able to form in a regular static class format. We all went through a similar challenging experience that built a close bond among our classmates.

Have you been able to use this experience yet in any preparation for your career next step?

I am very comfortable now in professional events out of town such as the recent Chicago veterans conference a few weeks ago, and I am sure that it’ll make every future three-day business trip feel like a walk in a park.

As I am looking to distinguish myself from other candidates during the job search, I feel like this is an additional experience that helps me to stick out.

I also learned a lot about myself during this experience and I noticed that I am using it as I present myself in job interviews these days.

In addition, I’m sure that many more uses for this experience in my future career life will unfold and will be proven useful.




Shantanu Pande, MBA

Shantanu Pande, MBA ’21, began the program at WashU Olin in June and participated as part of the inaugural class in the MBA global immersion. He wrote this for the Olin Blog.

I am a first-year MBA student at Olin and I just returned from the inaugural global immersion program for MBAs. At the start of our MBA experience, we visited Washington, DC, Barcelona and Shanghai, learning about their cultures and business practices. During our assignments, I noticed how values from different cultures played a role in the business decisions.

Our stay in Washington, DC, was a huge eye-opener for us. The guest speakers were excellent about exposing us to their expert views on different economies around the world. We also had museum visits describing different eras of American history, with the assignment forcing us to think about values in a very detailed way. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on what I saw and learned.

Since our first day at Olin, we have been exposed to the values of Olin. A presentation was made and we all listened, absorbed some and let most of it pass. From an individual’s point of view, the Olin values are all very important and when we look at them, we would think that these are pretty standard and should be important for others too.

But then I started working on different tasks with my classmates and traveling with them. This was when I realized how difficult it is always to stay true to these values.

In DC, we looked at different museums and learned how American values have been tested time and again. The fight for these 250-year-old values is a constant one. The one thing that struck me the most was the overriding courage of the people who have led this fight. They believed in these values and they lived with these values.

Listing a few values on the paper are well and good, but sticking to them when it is easier to just reach a compromise can be very challenging task. There will be times when your commitment to including diverse point of views is tested severely. It is easy to listen to, but not include these diverse views. Real strength is needed to fight when that point is not to everyone’s liking or is an unpopular choice.

It is easier said than done to strive for excellence in every task you pursue when the alternate could be shorter and easier way to get the task done. We must be resilient to stay true to our values when there is pressure to make the wrong choice.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that values require courage. As business leaders of the future, we need to be mindful of this and remember this relationship when it comes to creating goals around our values.

Pictured above: Shantanu Pande, MBA ’21, in DC during the WashU Olin MBA global immersion, which took nearly 100 students from St. Louis around the globe to DC, Barcelona, Beijing and Shanghai.