Tag: graduation

Anika Sridhar, BSBA 2023

Anika Sridhar, BSBA 2023, was the student speaker at the undergraduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 14, 2023, selected by her peers. She soon begins a new position as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs in New York City. Here is what she had to say to her fellow graduates.

What exactly does it mean to change the world? As students of business, many of us hope to have a great societal and economic impact. I myself will be leaving Olin emboldened by the privilege of my education and optimistic about the prospect of effecting change.

But what does change really look like? Well, two years ago, I never would have imagined a world in which 1,000-plus people would congregate to celebrate university graduation. And I could not be more honored to stand up here today, addressing you all. And a special thank you to the mothers in the audience, who have so graciously decided to spend their Mother’s Day here with us.

To the Olin Class of 2023, a big congratulations is due. We remained resilient amidst a global pandemic and continued to believe that one day we would get to walk this stage.

We are the final group that knows the “old WashU.” No class below us will understand when we reminisce over the Einstein’s Bagels in Simon Hall, the Ibby’s buffet during the week, the bird scooter crisis or the typical Thursday night going out to Big Daddy’s on the landing.

To all future generations of WashU graduates, these treasured moments are merely myths of the past.

Our campus has changed over time to reflect new versions of our community and society. However, it feels necessary to understand not only how the evolving needs of our society have impacted our campus but moreover how four years at this institution have transformed who we are.

When I came to WashU, I thought I knew exactly how to be a successful college student. All I had to do was follow in the path of high-school Anika! What did this mean? Develop my academic career around political science, join an a capella group, and make best friends during the first week of school, exactly as I had done in high school.

Well … by the end of my first year, I had been rejected from the a capella groups, had withdrawn from my first upper-level political science class, and felt as though I hadn’t yet found a group of friends I really belonged to. If high school Anika was the model for success, I was screwed.

It was, instead, the newness that I embraced which has most greatly impacted my college experience. I joined a few business organizations, not having a clue what I was signing up for or why I was doing it. Funny enough, that decision led me to meet my best friends, develop lifelong mentors, discover a passion for business, and eventually, during my fourth semester of college, become a student of the Olin Business School. And I can confidently say the skills I’ve developed in Olin will enable me to have a greater impact on whatever I choose to do in my future.

As we all begin to embark on new journeys, we should remember to think critically about every decision we make. Don’t conform to a version of yourself you once idealized but have ultimately outgrown. It is OK to embrace change, and changing the world may just start with embracing change in your own world.

As Albert Einstein famously said, “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

However, while the past need not always define our present, we cannot forget those who helped us get where we are today.

To my family who encouraged me to believe in myself and explore new passions, thank you. To my friends who sat and cried with me through heartbreaks and disappointments and celebrated me during my greatest achievements, thank you.

To the Olin Class of 2023, who have challenged me to work harder in class, who have inspired me through creative approaches to problem-solving, and who also did not study enough for the MGT 100 exams and helped set a good curve, thank you.

As we go on to accomplish all the wonderful things this institution has enabled us to do, we must continue to support and uplift one another personally and professionally. When we hear that a member of the Olin community is seeking support, let’s make each other a priority because, truly, you have all changed the world for me.

Congratulations to the Class of 2023 and thank you!

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

Diane Toroian Keaggy originally wrote this for The Source.

Commencement student speakers Bryanna Brown, MBA ’22, will take the the stage Friday at Francis Olympic Field to address members of the Class of 2022.

“I saw firsthand how the inequities in resource allocation impacted my students,” said Brown, who taught fifth-grade math in her hometown of Atlanta at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools. “To make a difference, you need leaders who can innovate and make strategic business decisions that put children and their education first.”

At Washington University, Brown traveled with her classmates to Washington D.C., Paris and Barcelona as part of Olin’s innovative Global Immersion Program and gained expertise in consulting, finance and management.

Brown also worked to support minority students as a Consortium Fellow. A Washington University professor, Sterling Schoen, founded the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management in 1966 to equip Black, Hispanic and Native American business students with the skills they need to secure positions in American corporations. Today, 21 of the nation’s top MBA programs are consortium members. 

‘I’m proud to be part of this community’

“I’m proud to be a part of this community that strives to make sure that minorities in business have avenues to succeed,” said Brown who, as chapter co-president, helped new fellows prepare for the internship search; hosted community dinners; and sponsored programming for all Olin students. “I’m a career-changer who did not have a business background, and being a Consortium Fellow gave me a sense of camaraderie right from the beginning.” 

Brown also has served as a graduate student representative for the Board of Trustees, where she championed student stipends, child care, housing and mental health resources for graduate students. She also has advocated for events and programs that bring graduate students together. 

“As graduate students, we tend to stick in our silos, but it’s important to collaborate with students across disciplines. And that starts with meeting,”  Brown said. “I think the Board of Trustees is making a concerted effort to understand the graduate student perspective and to better serve these students and support their remarkable work.”

Brown will recognize that work during her remarks to the Class of 2022.  

“We’ve persevered through COVID and incredibly chaotic circumstances,” Brown said. “As much as we’ve done, there is still so much to do and so much to give back. This is just the beginning.” 

After graduation, Brown will move to Minneapolis, where she will work at 3M as a strategist in its renowned Strategy and Marketing Development program. Ultimately, she hopes to return to education. 

“I am excited to get more of the training that I started at Olin,” Brown said. “But I’ll never be far from education. It’s really important to me that every child has the chance for an equitable education.”

This article was originally published in the 2017 Olin Business Magazine.

Alex Borchert, BSBA ’06, is managing director of investments at Altus Properties and Olin Alumni Board president (2017-18 academic year). He was the keynote speaker at the Undergraduate Programs graduation recognition ceremony in May.

Olin just wrapped up graduation celebrations for 2017, with recognition ceremonies on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8. What better time to revisit Alex’s advice for staying connected?

What advice did you share with the BSBA Class of 2017?

I was honored and quite humbled to speak at graduation. I shared a few guiding principles I’ve come to live by over my career.

The first dealt with protecting one’s integrity. We’ve all heard the platitude: “It takes a career to build a reputation of utmost integrity, but only one dishonest decision to destroy it.” Integrity is one of the only things I’ve found to be completely within one’s personal control in business. I can only hope that I enlightened a few graduates to its importance—and its fragility.

Another related to the value of embracing challenge and learning from failure. I hope that Olin’s 2017 graduates continue to seek fresh challenges as their careers mature—and don’t give into the comfort that success can breed.

I also assured them that the value they receive from WashU doesn’t end at graduation, but continues to grow as alumni.

How can alumni take advantage of the school’s global network?

Should any graduate desire to reconnect with the school or broaden their professional network via alumni connections within a city or industry, I encourage them to reach out directly to our tremendous Alumni & Development department. Don’t be shy; simply call them. They enjoy nothing more than working with alumni to ensure that we are maximizing the value of our incredible network. The alumni network at Olin is as strong as it has ever been. I encourage all of my fellow alums to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity it can provide.

What are the easiest ways to stay in touch or reconnect with Olin?

Some of my favorite opportunities for connection include joining the alumni mentorship program through the Alumni & Development department, providing mock interviews or “lunch and learns” via the Weston Career Center, notifying the Office of Corporate Relations that you’re available to speak to a class or student club about your industry or company, and the easiest of all involves attending one of the many alumni events hosted by our active alumni chapters from coast to coast.

The below post originally appeared on The Source.

A campus classroom may seem like an odd spot to consider organ donation. But trust Sara Miller when she tells you it is better than a hospital waiting room. That’s where she and her family made the decision eight years ago to donate the liver of Miller’s older sister, Laura, who had been declared brain-dead days after being diagnosed with cancer at age 14.

“The hospital is the worst place to have these discussions,” the senior told classmates during the fall meeting of Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA). “That’s why I helped create this organization. I wanted to bring light to the importance of organ donation so that when others have to make a decision—whether it’s a yes or a no—they are making it from a point of clarity and education.”

Miller is one of about 300 students who will participate in the December Degree Candidate Recognition Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2, in the Athletic Complex. She will graduate with a degree in health-care management from Olin Business School.

Miller arrived at the university eager to join a club that promotes organ donation. When she learned that no such organization existed, she started one herself, with the help of two upperclassmen and the support of the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Since then, she has trained 50 volunteers and hosted more than 30 events, including registration drives, conversations with bioethicists, panels with transplant surgeons and events with donors and recipients.

Sara Miller and Trish O’Neill present at a recent Student Organ Donation Advocates (SODA) meeting.

At a meeting this fall, Miller welcomed a very special organ recipient: Trish O’Neill, the schoolteacher who received Laura’s liver. They told students the story of their friendship and dispelled some of the myths surrounding organ donation, such as that certain faiths reject organ donation and that potential donors do not receive the same lifesaving measures as nondonors.

When a classmate asked Miller if her family experienced any unexpected consequences, she did not hesitate.

“The biggest surprise for us is how organ donation has helped us heal and to recover more fully,” Miller told the audience. “And then there is the gift of Trish’s friendship. We like to joke that we would be friends with her even if she didn’t have my sister’s liver.”

After graduation, Miller plans to work in health-care management, where she hopes to focus on the patient experience. Fellow leaders will continue SODA’s mission at Washington University. Miller will stay involved with SODA, too, guiding the expansion of SODA to Marquette University, in her hometown of Milwaukee.

“I am proud that SODA has created a dialogue about organ donation on campus,” Miller said. “I came here knowing this is what I wanted to do. WashU gave me the leadership skills and the support I needed to make it happen.”

Video by Tom Malkowicz