Tag: mba



Part of a series of Q&As with Olin alumni. Today we hear from Ellen He. Ellen completed her master of science in supply chain management in 2014 before earning her MBA in 2016.  She now lives in New York where she works at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

I’m currently working at Deloitte & Touche LLP New York City Office serving financial services industry. I’m a Financial and Risk Advisory Consultant under the regulatory and operations umbrella serving client needs in Finance, Operations, and Compliance area.

Olin education impacted me in numerous ways. I actually learned of the Deloitte opportunity via a 2008 Olin MBA Graduate. Academically, the organizational change and communication lessons were used in day to day work.

What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

Professor Sergio Chayet has always been my mentor since I joined Olin as an MS supply chain management student. His advice regarding choices with my Practicum Consulting projects at that time, and later advised me to take the opportunity and join Olin MBA Class of 2016, no single word can express how I appreciate Sergio’s class style and his mentorship to me.

Additionally, Dean Kurt Dirks’s Corporate Strategy class also left deep impression on me. Via different angels from peers and also from movies such as “Twelve Angry Men” I started to look into the huge impact corporate strategy has towards firm growth for different industries. Corporate strategy has been an area I really want to invest more time in and hope to continuously pursue at my career.

How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?

I have attended Olin MBA Admission activity with Associate Director in the Graduate Admission office Ashley Lautzenheiser in New York City 2016. I have also met with Molly Mulligan from Wash U Alumni and Development a couple times when she travelled to New York City. The most recent face to face lunch meeting with Molly I also got to meet the Associate Dean and Director for Western Career Center Jen Whitten and was glad to learn of some changes that Western Career Center is embracing now.

Why is an MBA important?

To me it is not so much about different Business areas that I got to know via the MBA program, because I triple majored in Accounting, Finance and Supply Chain when I attended Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Bloomington for undergrad. However, the most important value the Olin MBA program brought to me was via different practicum projects, CEL projects, the amazing professors, and all the wonderful classmates that you can form a relationship. I got to touch real life consulting projects for both Fortune 500 companies and local non profit organizations; I got to be impacted by rich experienced professors’ thinking process; I formed relationships that can last lifelong.

Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?

I would say definitely try new things, including new areas that you were not familiar with prior to MBA, new friends with diverse backgrounds and/or ethnicity, and organize new events. Besides the academics, I personally involved in many things that Olin had to offer: President of Olin Women in Business, 2015-2016; Co-president of Supply Chain and Operations Association, term 2015-2016; MC for Chinese New Year Gala; XMBA Case Competition 2015 (Olin Team got 2nd Place). I was also Chair for the Olin Follies in April 2014 which demonstrated a fun and conclusive event for the year to Olin faculty and students with 300 attendees. Those events and roles completed me more as a person and set me ready for professional growth in the future.




Maxine Clark, founder of St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop, kicked off the semester’s first Women & Leadership class with a story of her childhood. This is a selection of my three takeaways from her talk.

It’s OK to make mistakes

Clark explained that her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Grace, was responsible for imparting a lesson Maxine has carried with her throughout her life: “Learn from your mistakes.” Every Friday, Mrs. Grace would hand out a red pencil to the student that made the most mistakes that week. Maxine Clark noted the uniqueness that for once it wasn’t the brightest or quickest student that was rewarded, but one that had made mistakes.

Taking this lesson forward, Clark was pleased to see that the retail industry also embraced mistakes. At her very first job in the executive training program at the May Company, she had the responsibility of marking down prices with a very similar red pencil. She thought, “Wow, I’m made for this job!”

As a student, whose value is measured often by test scores and grades, it’s refreshing to remember that making mistakes leads to growth. Looking around the classroom, I saw many young women also relieved by the idea that mistakes can lead to success. Clark’s words came at an important time as many of us are soon graduating and starting a new life chapter.

Know what you don’t know

Clark proudly admits, “One of my strengths is I know what I don’t know.” This acknowledgment helped her snag one an incredible promotion. As a new employee for the May Company, she was tasked with the job of traveling to Asia to pick out products for all of the May Company stores. Maxine knew immediately that she didn’t know what the other stores would need.

Without the support of her supervisor, she had to take it upon herself to travel to the Pittsburgh store to see their assortment. There, she ran into David Farrell, who would soon become the CEO. Impressed with her initiative, he continued a professional relationship, eventually promoting Clark to chief of staff. Knowing what she didn’t know both allowed her to prove self-initiative and feel comfortable asking for help.

Enjoy the journey

Clark emanates passion. With exuberance, she described every project she was involved in. She ascribes much of her success to her passion and her ability to “enjoy the journey.” Starting with Build-A-Bear, she felt that she could pour all of her energy into the company’s success and growth because she felt so passionate. Today, she invests her energy in projects surround education, women in business, and the St. Louis community.

Pictured above: Maxine Clark, founder of the Build-A-Bear Workshop, speaking in 2013 during Olin Business School’s Defining Moments lecture series. Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.




Zoe Hillenmeyer at Women

Olin Women in Business was thrilled to join the admissions team in hosting a Women’s Weekend in January. The two-day program invited prospective MBA women to visit Olin and learn about the MBA program, student life, and St. Louis opportunities.  (more…)




In the full-time MBA program at Olin, it’s easy to be intimidated by your peers. Students come from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences, and there’s not a single person here who didn’t excel in whatever they were doing prior to school. Everyone is remarkably humble about their achievements, so often it takes some time before you’ll learn exactly how accomplished your classmates are.

Such was the case when I attended a panel set up by one of my core team members, Jon Slack (MBA ’17), who is also a ten year veteran of the Army. Jon and six other WashU MBA and JD candidates arranged to sit down with about 20 cadets from the local Army ROTC Gateway Battalion; a good chunk of these college juniors and seniors from nine schools in the St. Louis area had just received their orders for where they’d be stationed next year, and in what branch of the Army, and my veteran and active-duty classmates were on hand to pass on advice about what it’s like to be an officer in the Army at a young age, to share stories of their own experiences, and to speak about success after leaving the Army.

Veteran and Active Duty members of the Olin Business School and the Washington University School of Law share their experiences as young officers with junior and senior college students from the 9 member schools of the Gateway ROTC Battalion.

Veteran and Active Duty members of the Olin Business School and the Washington University School of Law share their experiences as young officers with junior and senior college students from the 9 member schools of the Gateway ROTC Battalion.

The event kicked off with one panelist sharing how he became immediately responsible for a unit of over forty men, and as more of my MBA classmates shared their stories, I was continually struck by how much responsibility each was given at a young age, and how much freedom they were given in how they went about fulfilling their duties. Although the stories were very different, as the panelists came from varied roles and divisions, there was much similarity in the approaches each took to tackling the challenges of being a new leader.

Danny Henry (MBA ‘17) advised cadets to “be quiet, listen, ask questions, and start to identify who has strengths, what they are, and how to leverage them.” All the panelists urged cadets to have respect for the experience of their NCOs, and to learn from them as much as possible.

David Marold (JD ‘16) framed it as a people business: “if you invest in building relationships, your authority is already there and built into that.”

Charlie Hon, (MBA ’16), shared the benefits of empowering Soldiers to take ownership of their projects, and of recognizing soldiers for their successes, no matter how small.

Dan Vitale (MBA ‘17) reminded cadets that “you’re young, but you know what right looks like,” and encouraged them to “ask dumb questions, because everyone assumes you know nothing anyway, but all that changes pretty quick. By the time you’re a first lieutenant, everyone will think you know everything.”

James Jacobs (MBA ‘17) extolled the virtues of being in shape, explaining how an easy way to immediately command respect from subordinates was to be able to outrun them in PT. He also encouraged cadets to learn to prioritize, “you’ll never get everything done, so figure out what has to be done, what should be done, and what would be nice to be done. And never try to cover up ‘has to be done’ with ‘nice to be done,’ it never works!”

Nearly every single piece of advice was equally applicable to the business world; near the end, I found myself scrawling down notes not for this blog piece, but for my own edification.

The anecdotes my MBA classmates relayed were often ones where they’d made mistakes, or learned lessons the hard way. Their stories and advice illuminated a particularly salient point made by Tony Nuber (MBA ’17): “leadership is a process, not a state of being,” and each cadet had the ability to be a good leader if they brought confidence, determination, and empathy to their role.

It was exciting to see the incredibly accomplished members of the MBA and JD classes interacting with the equally talented cadets of the Gateway Battalion, and to watch one generation of leaders give back to the next.

 




Dear PMBA 40,

Well, the time has come. You’re starting your journey towards an MBA, which is the end of a journey itself. You’re past thinking about getting an MBA, studying for the GMAT, applying to schools, and stressing over whether or not you’ll get in. Congratulations! But it’s just the beginning…

As a PMBA’er who has a year under his belt, I thought I would impart some tidbits I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Get to know your fellow classmates – They mention this all over Olin, and they’re right, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you graduate and don’t know every person in your PMBA class. These are the future businessmen and women who might be your client, boss, co-worker, or connection for that job you’ve always wanted. Olin graduates are going places and it’s in your best interest to hop on that bandwagon. Here are two easy ways to do that:
  • Go to After Dark – At least for the first six months. I understand that it’s easy to go home and crash after a full day of work and three hours of class but the informal setting is a catalyst for building friendships that will keep you sane during grad school. Yay for new friends!
  • Start a WhatsApp/GroupMe Convo – This will help your class stay connected throughout the grind. You’ll use it to discuss homework, make plans, study for tests, and overall relieve stress. Trust me, there’s a comfort knowing that 65 other people can relate to your situation. You’re also in for a humorous Saturday morning read when you wake up to 150+ notifications from your new friends going out the night before.
  • Know Your Strengths – For most of your core classes, you will be working in groups, which you’ll dread love. Figuring out what each person is good at at the beginning of group work will make the whole process of working together run smoothly. I’m not a numbers person but I can write, hence why I was the resident editor who provided colorful commentary whenever we were doing statistics homework.
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Things – It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, whether that’s the one question on your group homework that you couldn’t crack, or the case that you just didn’t understand (I’m looking at you, Finance). Take a deep breath and know that it’s not going to make or break you or your grade. You’re already juggling a lot – the additional stress isn’t worth it.

There are other class-related tips that I’d be more than happy to impart but those are better suited over a beer at After Dark. I’ll see you there.

Image: Lecture Hall, Kai Schreiber, Flickr Creative Commons