Tag: mba student


Justin Matthews, Olin MBA ’23 candidate, has loved game nights since he was a child. Now he has created a guessing game called Utter that draws from friends’ tweets. Already, people have played nearly 500 games nationwide. Said Matthews, “Our goal is to make social media actually ‘social.’”

“I’ve always been a fan of game nights. I can remember vividly beating my parents at Scrabble for the first time or playing Heads Up with college friends. Games are a great way to bond, and I saw an opportunity to make game nights more meaningful if we added our personal stories to it by using Twitter.

“Twitter is basically someone’s diary, and every tweet has a story. I learned I could pull tweets with Twitter’s APIs and thought it would be fun to guess which of my friends tweeted it. So far, the response has been very positive. Almost 500 games have been played nationwide, and I’ve hosted over a dozen games that had a lot of laughs, great stories and more connecting in this virtual new world.”   

What are the next steps?

“Our goal is to make social media actually “social,” so we want to give you more game modes that fit your interests and allow more players to get in on the action. Currently we have two versions of the game.

“‘Team’ mode allows you to enter in your own Twitter account, and ‘Categories’ mode is preset with Twitter accounts that match the theme. We have themes like Sports and Movies, but I plan to have a whole library of additional categories in the future.

Click here to play Utter

“Right now, you can only play on one device, but we are hoping to expand so that each player can use their own device. Once we have that multiplayer functionality, the sky is the limit. Can you imagine Utter on the jumbotron at St. Louis Cardinals game and guessing which player tweeted what for a free hot dog at the game?”

Does this game dovetail with your career goals?  

“Absolutely. The goal is to become a product manager at a business to consumer-focused tech company. This project is helping me hone my craft of collecting customer feedback, working with developers and marketing my product. I like to think it has helped me in a couple of interviews already because I can speak about how I’m growing my skill set in my free time.”   

Is this a side hustle, or do you have more in mind for Utter?  

“I would consider this a hobby right now because I haven’t monetized it yet. My definition of side hustle is something that is generating some type of revenue. Right now, I just want to build the best experience possible for users.”  

Why did you decide to come to WashU Olin to get your MBA?  

“I decided to come to WashU Olin when I saw the need to grow my toolkit as a product manager. I had always worked on business-to-business products but wanted to work with more consumer-facing brands. I applied for graduate school through the Consortium, and WashU is the founding member school and had a curriculum that fit my entrepreneurial interests. Prior to applying, I had never been in person. But he relationships I made during Diversity Weekend stuck with me, and they made the decision that much easier to uproot me and my wife from Atlanta.”   

Any idea how many people have played Utter at this point?  

“We’ve had almost 500 games played since we first launched last year! That’s has mostly come from word of mouth; I haven’t paid for any advertisement. Most players are from the USA, but some people have played as far away as the UK and India. We definitely have a lot of room for growth, but this is just the beginning and I’m excited about what’s next.”

Last weekend was PMBA GO! As a newly-minted member of PMBA 44, I discovered I had a lot to learn.

I work in Olin’s Marketing & Communications Department, behind-the-scenes of Olin’s social media presence and the blog and website. Luckily, I work for a university that is very supportive of staff continuing their education. Even luckier, I work at one of the top-ranked business schools in the country.

Enrolling in the Professional MBA program was intimidating, but thrilling. Having conquered GO! Weekend, I have a better idea of what I hope to get out of the program, and where I am now.

My framing and conceptualization of problems is narrow

This was a surprising discovery for me, but I suppose that was the point of reading hours’ worth of case studies. The benefit of participating in class discussion about cases is that you become aware of holes in your logic. Some of the potential solutions (or issues) my peers were raising simply did not occur to me, and vice versa.

As a cohort we spent a lot of time learning about problem formulation and its importance in critical thinking. The more we improve at problem formulation—arguably the most important step in critical thinking, since a great solution to the wrong problem is still the wrong solution—the better we become at taking a step back and looking at the situation from a new perspective.


It’s okay that I don’t have a background rooted in finance and statistics

My educational background is in journalism, and the bulk of my business experience is in marketing. To say that I was a little hesitant about diving into an MBA program with some of the region’s up-and-coming business leaders is an understatement. But I also knew that Olin has positioned itself as a safe environment for industry- and career-changers.

I have a lot to learn when it comes to quantitative decision making, statistics, and accounting…or operational management, strategic management, and economics. Really, I just have a lot to learn. There is a steep learning curve for me, but it seems much more manageable than I feared it would be. Plus, I bring other skills to the table that can be as valuable in pitching someone on an idea or getting buy-in. Prof. Tarek Ghani said the cohort, like any other MBA group, could be split into categories of “poets” and “quants.” I am very much in the “poets” category.

Yes, GO! Weekend is pretty intense

Don’t let the pics of team building fool you! GO! Weekend is a lot of work. The main component of the PMBA program that can make the workload seem so daunting is the fact that nearly all of the students are employed full-time. We weren’t gently eased into case studies and writing recommendations—we were told to drink from the fire hose immediately. I never imagined myself spending the amount of time I spent calculating, analyzing, and writing a 300 word recommendation. It’s difficult, but the challenge is also exciting.

Teams are organized for diversity—and it is very beneficial

I’m on a core team of four, and we come from different backgrounds: chemical engineering, operations, finance, and marketing. The diversity of experiences and thought has already been helpful to broaden my thinking toward certain cases and the way I approach them. The PMBA program does this intentionally, because everyone can learn from how things are done in other industries, and differing skillsets complement each other. But the entire class has a richness of perspectives and ideas to share, which really augments lectures and class discussion.

I’m looking forward—with excitement but also a little anxiety—to the coming months. I feel like I’ve already experienced an evolution in my thinking (although I certainly have a ways to go), and it has been three days! Where will I be at the end of these three years?

Two first year MBA students, Katie Miller and Alex McDonnell, spent their Saturday morning planting seedlings for Missouri Forest ReLeaf. 

Forest ReLeaf is an organization that was founded 20 years ago in an effort to raise awareness of the need for trees within cities and to inspire local volunteers to plant more trees in their communities.

Katie and Alex pause for the camera while helping pot 2,000 seedlings on a recent Saturday.

On Saturday, Katie and Alex helped a volunteer group to plant over 2,000 seedlings in St. Louis!  It is great to see the commitment of our MBA students to the St. Louis community!

Katie Miller serves as the President of the Olin chapter of NetImpact.  NetImpact is an student organization that encourages and teaches business students the importance of  sustainability, corporate responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.


Click here to learn more about Missouri Forest ReLeaf or Olin NetImpact.


Being married to or in a relationship with an MBA student is NOT for wallflowers or the feint of heart.  It’s hard work as members of the new Olin Joint Ventures club know all too well.  The club for Olin couples is organizing events and sharing news now on the Olin Blog.  Here’s the first post from club member Turner Peters:

Did you know that a spouse or significant other of an MBA student may audit courses, FREE OF CHARGE, at Olin Business School?

All the perks of learning with none of the hassles of exams and homework!

If you want to hear more about it, let me know or e-mail OlinJointVentures@gmail.com

Life in a relationship at Olin Business School is an added level of complexity and thankfully we are given opportunities to connect the student life with the home life. Recently, Olin hosted a spring formal where wives, husbands, fiancées, and significant others were able to let their hair down and socialize in grand fashion. I say in grand fashion because the location of our party was at a historic site, home to many grand slams.

We rented out Busch Stadium and threw a dinner dance in The Champions Club. Being in the same room with all 11 Cardinals World Series trophies was a treat but it was a real honor to be able to stand next to the 2011 World Series trophy and pose with your best business school friends/family for a professional photographer.

Only one other team in the world has at least this many major league baseball championship trophies and few business schools have close enough ties with the ball club to host a formal event in their home.

Olin Business School has an intimate relationship with St. Louis businesses, many of which are global and world class, and the student’s family has those perks, too! My wife and I are excited to meet Olin’s class of 2015 and their respective significant others. Please feel free to reach out with any questions about Olin family life. OlinJointVentures@gmail.com