Tag: Poets&Quants

Lloyd Yates, MBA ’22, knew in high school that he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

“It stemmed from my father,” a physician who went into private practice and also started opening other businesses, he said. Yates saw his father succeed not only for their family, but also for others.

“If I could create some jobs, I think it would be a very fulfilling feeling for me,” he said.

Yates was one of four Olin students and alumni who participated in a roundtable discussion on October 27, when Poets & Quants announced that, for the second year in a row, Olin claimed the top spot as the best MBA program for entrepreneurship.

John Byrne, Poets & Quants’ editor-in-chief who moderated the discussion, commented, “I think the best part of entrepreneurship is generating meaningful employment for others, frankly.”

Yates founded men’s clothing accessory site Tylmen while he was an undergraduate. Tylmen’s direct-to-consumer line of accessories includes ties, pocket squares, belts, scarves and even face masks that double as pocket squares.

How Olin supported their startup ambitions

The panel also included Tova Feinberg, MBA ’22, cofounder of S.T.L. Loaves; Byron Porter, MBA ’20, founder and CEO of HUM Industrial Technology; and Shannon Turner, MBA ’18, founder of the Maria Lida Foundation.

The video event featured a discussion of how Olin supported them in their startup efforts.

Turner said she was drawn to Olin because its curriculum offered options to focus her studies on social entrepreneurship. Her foundation is a nonprofit  dedicated to promoting self-sustaining economic development in Alausi, Ecuador, her father’s hometown.

“I’ve always felt extremely blessed to get the education that I’ve received in the States and have always had a passion to use that education to get back to my roots,” Turner said. She started the Maria Lida Foundation after she graduated almost two years ago. “We’re trying to use education and vocational training and tourism as vehicles for economic development in the area.”

Said Byrne, “I’m loving the fact that we have a social impact person on the on the crew here, because it just shows you the variety, the diversity of startup activity in business schools and particularly in Olin.”

The foundation recently began providing a business consulting program for the local indigenous community.

“Tourism has taken a big hit, unfortunately, during this time,” Turner said. “Something that we can help the local community do in the meantime is maybe promote tourism to the domestic population as people start to kind of move around within the country.”

‘I gave it a shot’

Porter said he had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur.

“I was hoping for a nice, cushy general management job when I entered business school,” he said. Then he talked with a good friend who’d spent 15 years at multinational conglomerate General Electric before he became an entrepreneur. Porter’s friend encouraged him to reconsider his goals. “So I gave it a shot.”

Just four or five months into school at Olin, Porter decided to start a company.

The first attempt evolved into a second. HUM “was a pivot,” Porter said. Using “vibration analysis” and machine learning software, Porter created a monitoring device about the size of a deck of cards to track railcar movements and anticipate necessary maintenance—before a big accident happens.

“This is  predictive maintenance,” he said. “Right now, the rail industry is on a reactive maintenance cycle.”

Porter said he can’t say enough good things about Olin faculty and classes. “I’m still in touch with a least a half a dozen professors.”

Yates said Olin “has been super helpful” with his startup.

“There’s definitely a multitude of different funding resources, different professors who are looking to help me grow and scale” his business, “whether that be with marketing, with strategy, with operations. And it’s been really fun. Well, fun and rigorous, taking these core MBA classes.”

The sweet spot

Feinberg, a passionate foodie who founded an e-commerce bakery business, said she applies what she learns at Olin to her startup.

“It was very hard for me coming from a food and beverage background, seeing a lot of these restaurants shutting down left and right,” she said. Then she lost her bartending job while she was studying for grad school.

She decided to open an e-commerce business based on Amish friendship bread. “The best way to someone’s stomach is through sweets.” Feinberg currently delivers in St. Louis and ships loaves to other places.

At Olin, she has made strong connections with her peers and students in the class ahead of her, she said.

“They’re really cheering me on and really spreading the word” about her breads “and buying them, and tasting and giving me constructive feedback, as well.”

Also, Doug Villhard, academic director of Olin’s entrepreneurship program, “has been truly amazing,” she said. He is cheering her on, as well. Feinberg recently entered the Skandalaris Venture Competition, which provides mentorship to new ventures and startups to ready them for commercializing their idea, launching and pitching to investors.

“I’m learning how to do the executive summary and going for the seed money so I can really grow this business,” Feinberg said.

At one point, Byrne asked a question from the audience: “Since business school costs quite a hefty sum for most students, how did you reconcile that with your desire to become an entrepreneur?”

Said Feinberg: “There’s always that lingering thing in the back of your mind about money, money, money. And there’s no doubt that this program is intense as far as financials.” But the school is “really there” for students, she said, plus financial aid and scholarships are available.

“It’s about your passion. If you’re really passionate for your business, you go for it.”

I do a little bit of everything behind the scenes of Marketing & Communications, and part of that “little bit of everything” is analytics: Google analytics, Twitter analytics, Facebook insights, etc. So of course I was curious to see which blog posts piqued the most interest in 2016—and unsurprisingly, several of them had to do with leadership changes at Olin, as Dean Gupta stepped down and Dean Mark Taylor joined the Olin family. IMHO, the list is very reflective of the most important and influential moments from 2016.

Take a look back at Olin’s eventful 2016 through our 10 most popular blog posts:

10. A chance encounter with Tom Cruise

When a group of students studying abroad in February visited a London pub to watch the Super Bowl, they didn’t expect to sit next to Tom Cruise. “About 20 minutes into the game, we realized all at once that the man sitting at the table not 5 feet to our right was Tom Cruise, intently watching the game with some friends. Like a group of pre-teen girls at a One Direction concert, we were kind of freaking out; enough, in fact, that the manager of the restaurant came over to our table informing us with a wink that we were not to take pictures ‘of any guests,'” wrote then-Junior Colin Wells. However, the group did end up with a photo—and a great story from their time abroad. This was also pretty popular on social media—apparently, this attracted the attention of several Tom Cruise fan groups on Twitter.


9. Revised MBA rankings

A mathematical error led to a revised Poets & Quants MBA ranking and a 7-spot jump for Olin to #23. Poets & Quants’ annual ranking “combines the five most influential rankings and weighs each of them by the soundness of their methodologies,” according to P&Q editor John Byrne. Rankings are always a popular subject for current and prospective MBA students—particularly when they come with “Top 25” bragging rights.

8. The reality: 2 years after business school

“Real talk” is always popular, especially about something that is a large investment of your money and effort—and some weekends—like an MBA. MBA alumnus Abhishek Chakravarty reflected on the two years since he graduated from Olin’s Full-Time MBA program, and what he’s learned in post-grad life (This includes one of my favorite nuggets: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay.”)

7. Student startup wins multiple top honors

Medical device startup InVitro Select had a very successful year. By April the student-founded startup had already won top honors in three competitions. We are always excited to see students finding success—and the readers of the Olin Blog appear to be, too.


6. Gupta to step down June 30

The year started off with some unexpected news. Dean Gupta announced in January 2016 his decision to step down and focus on his teaching and research. Gupta, who was appointed as dean in July 2005, has served on the Olin faculty since 1990. During his 25 years at the school, he has continued to teach and has been awarded nine Reid Teaching awards by students. Dean Gupta left a legacy of international collaboration, high student job placement rates, a refocusing on entrepreneurship, and new experiential learning opportunities.

5. New Dean named; Dirks to serve as interim

In May, Chancellor Wrighton announced that then-Dean of Warwick Business School Mark Taylor had been appointed as Olin’s next leader, following Dean Gupta’s announcement in January. “In Mark Taylor we have found a strong leader with the vision, wisdom and experience to take Olin Business School to new heights,” Wrighton said. “He is well qualified not only as a scholar, but also as a practitioner in global business and finance. I have no doubt he will strengthen Olin’s presence and reputation in the domestic and international arenas.”

4. Risks of sole-sourcing

This blog post from 2013 continued to gain enough pageviews in 2016 to land it a #4 spot in our Top 10 Most Popular Posts. Eli Snir, lecturer in management, analyzes the fragmentation of the supply chain and answers the question, “When does sole-sourcing make sense?”

3. Grad programs in U.S. News top 25

Olin’s Professional MBA, Full-Time MBA, and Executive MBA programs ranked in the Top 25 of U.S. News’ Best Graduate Schools rankings, with PMBA earning #19, MBA earning #21, and the EMBA landing #20. PMBA, in particular, jumped 5 spots from the previous year.

2. New hours for Bauer Cafe, Starbucks, Einstein’s

It might seem out of place for a post on Bauer Cafe, Starbucks, and Einstein’s to be one of the most read blog posts this year. But due to my own love/dependency for Starbucks’ Lattes and Einstein’s Asiago bagels, I understand.

1. Olin ranked #1 undergraduate business program by Poets&Quants

Earning the #1 spot in Poets & Quants’ new ranking of Best Undergraduate Programs was a great way to end the year (and head into our Centennial), and it happened within a week of Olin welcoming Dean Mark Taylor. Plus, a #1 ranking is always a great excuse to eat Ted Drewes, celebrate with friends, and take full advantage of a selfie booth.

What big changes are in store for Olin next year? I anticipate that when we dive into analytics next year, many of 2017’s most popular posts will be related to our Centennial (and hopefully more top rankings). Instead of waiting for a roundup, I’d encourage you to follow and engage with the Olin community in real time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (and of course, submit to the Olin Blog). See you next year!

Students with the top grades lead their class during Commencement ceremonies and Shai Hastor, an Israeli entrepreneur and former member of the Israeli Navy Special Forces has that honor for the MBA Class of 2016.

Shai was also selected for the Poets & Quants Best & Brightest nominations. He shares his Olin experience on the P&Q website and says he is most proud of Quadzilla, his startup, that is an online marketplace for WashU students to buy and sell used goods, find roommates, sublets, and apartments.

Shai is headed to Google headquarters after graduation where he will be product manager.

Link to Shai’s profile here.

The website Poets & Quants asked students from b-schools around the country who were featured in their recent “Best & Brightest” story to name some of their favorite professors. Two Olin profs got the nod.