Tag: olin

Five teams from business schools around the country competed for the $10,000 first prize in the first annual Monsanto-Olin Case Competition on February 12. The competition was designed to give graduate students an opportunity to provide innovative business solutions to a case study written about Monsanto’s seed corn supply chain. Participating teams represented:Texas Christian University, Rollins College, the University of Missouri, Pennsylvania State University, and Washington University.


In my first weeks at the Olin Business School, I received an e-mail from Real Simple, one of the many daily updates I receive, alongside WSJ, the Skimm, and other e-mails that keep me up to-date on current events, news, and general happenings. The Real Simple quotes or sayings are more aspirational and generally make me feel better whereas the news updates aren’t always as cheerful. And, it’s surprising how often these quotes really apply to what is happening in my daily life, at least most of the time.

I was (and still am) neck-deep in my work projects, school assignments and reading, scheduling activities for my family, working on some house projects, and generally thinking “I am sooo tired.” And, there it was, the quote of the day:

“There’s a lot of good waiting for you on the other side of tired. Get yourself tired.”  Andre Agassi

OK, not an earth-shattering quote, but it made me stop, something I’m not doing often, and I laughed to myself about the truth of this statement. It made me realize again how badly I want my MBA and that goals we work toward are never easy. Anyone who has achieved a large goal knows that being tired comes with the territory, but the focus is the end goal, because the more tired you are, the better the success, whether that’s in tennis or other fitness achievement, or the next step in your career, like achieving an MBA.

So, that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I’m going to keep going. I’m going to get more tired. Because I want to look back and say I invested all of my time, focus, and sleep on something that would make me proud. I’ve only just begun, but I can’t wait to get to the other side.

Image: Eugene Wei, Agassi at US Open 2005, Flickr, Creative Commons

On Friday, October 3, Olin MBA students gathered for the Entrepreneurship Platform Summit. The summit was designed as an introduction for students interested in learning more about the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that has emerged in the St. Louis region.

Cliff Holekamp, Director of the Entrepreneurship Platform at the Olin Business School, commented that “the purpose of the Entrepreneurship Platform Summit is to showcase the various career paths for students who study entrepreneurship. Founding a startup is only one of the many possibilities.”

Throughout the day, students heard from representatives from business accelerators, founders of startups, venture capital investment professionals, and managers who employ an entrepreneurial mindset within larger companies. The keynote speaker was David Karandish, CEO of Answers.com, a St. Louis based company that began in a WashU dorm room.

The panelists, many of whom graduated from Washington University, shared their personal successes and struggles with an enthusiastic group of students. The energy in the room was palpable as entrepreneurship professionals offered advice for the many students hoping to follow in their footsteps.

The summit is one of many ways Olin MBA students engage in entrepreneurship activities. Students can take foundational Entrepreneurship courses, pursue either the Commercial Entrepreneurship or Social Entrepreneurship Platform, and gain experience consulting for young enterprises through the Olin Center for Experiential Learning’s Entrepreneurial Consulting Team. Students also have the opportunity to work closely with the Washington University Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, a cross-campus initiative which connects student entrepreneurs and innovators.

The next opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs is the Olin Entrepreneurship Trek on October 24. Students will spend the day in downtown St. Louis, visiting co-working spaces including Cortex, Cambridge Innovation Center, Nebula, and T-Rex. The day will culminate in a reception where students can connect with local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

Photo: Jennifer Ehlan, Vice President at Thompson Street Capital Partners, speaks about founding Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, a business accelerator created to address the entrepreneur gender gap in St. Louis.

Olin Business School new building atrium

I had eagerly volunteered to be a student blogger last year, and had high hopes of being a [semi]regular contributor to the blog. Unfortunately, I never found (or made) the time to sit down and type out a few words…until today.

So, today, as a student-turned-alumnus, I want to talk about being grateful.

This past weekend, I graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. Graduation day was a significant and memorable event…one that will forever be etched into my nostalgic, curious brain. And on that day, I found myself swept up by feelings of deep gratitude.

I. Am. Grateful. Grateful that my parents had made the trip to St. Louis to celebrate the big day. Grateful to my wife for her incredible encouragement and support over the past two years. Grateful for a remarkable and diverse collection of classmates, who have given me a lifetime of memories. Grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from gifted, insightful professors who challenged me and pushed me to succeed. Grateful for an administration that has my best interests in mind, and worked tirelessly to provide me with a meaningful experience. Grateful for a dean who leads with purpose, and who possesses a warmth that endears him to every Olin student. Grateful for the gift of stunning new business school buildings, which have sparked even more life into an already-vibrant Olin community.

I. Am. Grateful.

Ah, but this gratitude stretches far back, having settled in long before graduation day. I am grateful that in 2012, the fine folks of Olin Business School thought I might be a good fit for the MBA class of 2014, so they offered me a spot on the roster. I’m grateful that they provided me a scholarship that enabled me to say “yes” to that offer of admission. I’m grateful that from Day 1 of GO! Week, I felt like the people around here were invested in me. The Olin community has always made me feel like “they” believe in ME…that I am capable of great things, now and in the future. And if Olin has a brand, I would argue that its brand is the ability to instill belief in its students. This belief trickles down in nuanced ways – through conversations, emails, smiles, questions, and handshakes – and it has always found a way to find me. The impact of this institutional quality cannot be overstated. Over the past two years, whenever I found myself struggling, wavering in uncertainty, or stressed and stretched thin, I found strength in Olin’s belief in me.

For all of that, I am incredibly grateful. Thank you Olin Business School and thank you Washington University. I’m going to miss your beautiful pink granite buildings and the friendly faces that have made this school such a wonderful place to call home over the past two years. How lucky I am that Wash U will forever be part of my story. I promise to come back and visit.

When the downtown St. Louis Macy’s closed its doors on August 1, it was the end of an era. There had been a department store in that spot for more than 100 years, and it was a fixture in the St. Louis business landscape. But the end of one era signaled the beginning of another.

On the same day, in the same building where Macy’s shut its doors, 12 floors up, SixThirty Financial Services Tech accelerator was opening up for business.

TRex building

The Railway Exchange building in downtown St. Louis, home to a new startup accelerator and T-REx.

SixThirty is the brainchild of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Cultivation Capital. The goal is to bring new financial tech companies to St. Louis.

Over the past few years, St. Louis has established itself as a powerhouse community for startups. But long before that, it was a center for financial services companies.

St. Louis is one of the largest financial centers outside of New York City. SixThirty leverages the strengths of both the financial and startup communities in St. Louis.

Those companies selected to take part in the four-month accelerator program will receive hands-on training, mentoring, and networking opportunities with the top financial services companies in the region. They also receive $100,000 each to build their businesses in St. Louis. At the end of the program, these companies will present to a forum of financial services leaders, investors, and stakeholders. The program gives them unparalleled access and opportunities to take their business to the next level.

But getting this program off the ground wasn’t easy. The SixThirty launch process was an amazing feat. Within a matter of weeks, the SixThirty team drafted a business plan, found sponsorship, funding, launched a website, press campaign, and has already secured dozens of applicants.

Washington University students were at the heart of the action. Olin second-year MBA Kasey Joyce drafted a large portion of the business plan and headed up the outreach program for applicants and media. Several Olin students helped find and vet new companies to contact for the program, including Sebastian Mathalkunnel, Harry Bolson, Mark Gillis, Kyle Tabor, and Sahil Lalwani.

St. Louis continues to receive national and international attention for the startup community building in the heart of the city; and I am confident we will continue to see Olin students and alums at the center of it all. If you or someone you know would be a good fit for SixThirty, check out the website, sixthirty.co and apply by September 6.

MBA students at Olin are in the thick of exam season right now but looking forward to the start of summer just days away.

Most of us have internships lined up for the next few months so it won’t be all fun and games. About 50 of us will be in St. Louis either working for corporations or getting involved with startups through local entrepreneurship organizations such as lab1500 (http://www.lab1500.com/).

Incoming first year full-time MBAs start classes in late July this year so if you’re in town early and looking for something fun to do, there are some great St. Louis ideas in this short film made by Anastasia Films.