Tag: Professional MBA

Sharon Mazimba, MBA ’19, submitted Yield Lab content; Allison Halpern, BSBA ’18, edited and formatted this CEL blog post.

Many CEL Practicum students have the opportunity to travel internationally to understand business on a global scale. In contrast, The Yield Lab team has a unique experience to work with a local company headquartered in St. Louis that has global impact.

Part of this will include traveling to Dublin to see Yield Lab’s agriculture technology processes in action. The Yield Lab is a family of agricultural technology venture capital funds and accelerators that invest in innovative companies with the potential to sustainably increase food production globally.

“I’m interested in learning more about venture capital and how funds are managed and differ internationally. This is a great opportunity because of The Yield Lab’s international presence. I’m very happy to learn the venture capital structure specifically in Argentina and Ireland.” –Carola De La Torre Cuba

With the support from investors and experienced individuals who nurture startups in the agriculture industry, Yield Lab has recognized tremendous opportunity for growth globally. Since its inception, Yield Lab’s global reach has expanded quickly with additional funds established in Ireland and Argentina. As Yield Lab continues to expand its brand to various regions, an efficient and connected global management structure is vital.

Here’s Where CEL Comes In

The Yield Lab has engaged the Center for Experiential Learning team to address the challenges inherent in the current structure and explore the dynamics of Yield Lab’s expansion plans.

“The content around agricultural technology, venture capital, and how both of these work together is what interests me. I hope to enhance my leadership techniques and also learn from the team—especially with their unique skills and backgrounds.” –Sharon Mazimba

With the support of Washington University in St. Louis, the CEL Practicum team aims to provide The Yield Lab with a recommendation that will facilitate its goal of furthering global reach in agricultural technology venture capital funds and accelerators. The team will focus on developing a scalable structure as new locations join under the Yield Lab umbrella, thus helping the Yield Lab brand grow.

Leading The Yield Lab team is Sharon Mazimba, MBA ’19. Sharon will serve as the project manager and main point of contact between the team and the client. The rest of the team—Carola De La Torre Cuba, MBA ’19; Rohan Kamalia, MBA ’18; Ashiq Cherian, SMP ’18; and Meredith Owen, MBA ’19—will serve as strategists to ground all recommendations in data.

“There is so much I want to learn from The Yield Lab and I’m excited to work with knowledgeable teammates. I believe learning does not only happen in the classroom, but is exemplified with experiential projects. Looking forward to learning more about teammates—their talents and specific interests.” –Rohan Kamalia

This team blends diverse cultural backgrounds stemming from Zambia, Peru, India, and the United States with an array of professional experience from doctoral level academia to strong finance and technology backgrounds. The strategic selection of The Yield Lab team exemplifies the breadth and depth of experience and values that the CEL and Olin Business School bring to our partner consulting companies. Each team member is coming in with his or her own purpose and sense of enthusiasm. Get to know the team a bit more here and learn more about their unique passions to create impact for the client.

“I’m excited to work with students in the MBA program, because I feel they bring a vast array of experience. Looking forward to exploring the details of how funds are managed internally and diving into the deal flow structure.” –Ashiq Cherian

“Traveling to Ireland and being able to travel internationally alongside my team is a huge plus! I am also fascinated by agricultural technology and the startup space. Excited to network in the agricultural technology space and create a valuable and meaningful solution for our client.” –Meredith Owen

Stay tuned to hear how their trip goes and how in-person meetings help students deliver impact in part two.

Written by Ross J. Brown, BSBA 2018, on behalf of Bauer Leadership Center.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. Do right by the organization. Stick to your values. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Last Thursday, Michael Holmes imparted his lessons of leadership during his presentation at Olin’s Defining Moments course.

Holmes is chairman and founder of Rx Outreach. This nonprofit company focuses on providing medicine to individuals who cannot afford it. Since its inception in 2010, after originally being a part of Express Scripts, the company has been able to provide 670 medication strengths, by more than 70 employees, serving more than 210,000 patients. Rx Outreach patients have saved than $320 million.

Throughout his career, Holmes has worked at variety of companies and in executive positions with Edward Jones and Express Scripts.

With his charismatic personality, Holmes’ presentation captivated the audience with his story of success—and mistakes—that allowed students to understand his underlying points of respect, values, and reflection. With consistent excellence in his career path, he was also able to demonstrate consistent and equal respect to all his coworkers—from secretaries to superiors.

This equal respect came from his religious beliefs, which he also proudly speaks about. I find this impressive. Religion can be a controversial topic, but Holmes is confident enough in himself and who he is to share this part of his background with others.

Finally, Holmes mentioned that he believes we should “enjoy every step of the journey”—enjoy every victory, learn from mistakes, and ultimately, have fun. The time spent with Michael Holmes was inspiring and enjoyable as we learned how to become better employees, better leaders, and overall better people in and out of the work place.

With our student consulting projects underway, we wanted to highlight the Center for Experiential Learning teams’ international footprint. This semester, 95 students are packing their bags to travel to five different continents through the CEL Practicum and Global Management Studies program.

From Ecuador to Uganda and India to Madagascar, there is Olin representation all over the globe. But what are these teams doing and how are they delivering business results to various clients?

Some teams are working with nonprofits to combat systemic issues in these regions. A healthcare consultant from Missouri, a software engineer and change maker from India, a globetrotting businessman from Vermont, and a combat medic from California are coming together to consult for a nonprofit in Africa.

The team is collaborating with Mavuno, an organization working to end extreme poverty in eastern Congo by developing “GOs,” or grassroots organizations. Part of their project is analyzing the demand of potential business ventures in Congo. Being on the ground will provide students with a better perspective of the culture, people, and business environment to pose actionable recommendations.

One team is working with a brewery to audit and understand the operations and financials of the company. In doing so, they will learn the inner workings of beer manufacturing and how the process differs from the United States to Germany. Coming from St. Louis, the team will have local knowledge to build upon.

While it is great to create international impact, many teams have the opportunity to consult with a client with operations that extend from St. Louis and abroad. These teams, including The Yield Lab and Missouri Botanical Gardens, will be able to see how local contributions can create impact for a global environment.

Beyond consulting with a singular client, the Global Management Studies teams are getting to dive right into other cultures and experience businesses through tours and travel. Two GMS trips are happening this semester – Japan and Colombia.

These students are taking on the role of being Olin ambassadors by building relationships with business executives and planning company visits. They have been planning for this through a class this past semester and will get to see it all come into fruition now.

So, whether you are passionate about supporting causes abroad or understanding business from an international lens, CEL has a place for you. We are excited to build student interest and global experiences to create business-learning opportunities. Stop into the CEL Hub (Simon 100) to see what programs, clients, or trips could align with your interests.

Perri Goldberg, MBA ’18, president of Olin Women in Business, wrote this post on behalf of the organization.

Members of the OWIB auction 2018 planning committee.

Members of the OWIB auction 2018 planning committee: Paulina Owens,
Neelam Vyas, Perri Goldberg, Amanda Wald, and Emily Hereford.

Drinks were flowing, food was indulged in, Mardi Gras masks and beads were worn, bids were placed on a wide range of silent items, and paddles were waved in hopes of winning live auction items at the Olin Women in Business Auction.

The February 9 event continued an annual tradition, one of the organization’s biggest events of the school year. Through silent and live auctions, the event raises scholarship money for an incoming female Olin graduate student. Students are excited each year for this event and look forward to the items donated by many St. Louis businesses.

We fortunately received more than 60 individual donations from business around St. Louis, including restaurant gift cards, fitness memberships, entertainment tickets, handbags, SQL lessons, handcrafted art, museum memberships, overflowing pet and wine baskets, and much more.

“It was an honor to partner with classmates, faculty, and local businesses to host such a fun and festive event,” said Emily Hereford, MBA ’18. “I truly enjoyed carrying on the great legacy of OWIB.”

Tremendous community support

While the silent items are always a hit, the biggest sellers of the event are the live items donated by our beloved Olin faculty, staff, and the greater St. Louis community. This year, the live auction items included lunches and dinners with some of our favorite professors and staff at Olin, including a home-cooked meal by Dean Mark Taylor, lunch with HBM Holdings CEO Mike DeCola, a vacation home in Manhattan Beach, CA, a boxing party at SWEAT, a full box suite at the Chaifetz Center for the Lorde Concert, and many more tremendous items.

This event is a wonderful way for the Olin community to come together and have fun, while raising money for a good cause.

It is also the perfect event to reconnect with Olin alumni. This year, we had a good handful of alumni come to the event. I attribute this to our auctioneer, Curtis James, PMBA 40. Curtis, a third-generation auctioneer working in Las Vegas at the Venetian Casino Resort in Finance, attended the auction last year as a student and knew how great the event was.

When OWIB approached him about hosting the live auction, Curtis did not hesitate. We couldn’t have had a better addition to the event. I hope Curtis’s appearance as the auctioneer becomes an annual tradition as he showcased his true auctioneering skills.

OWIB’s vice president of major events, Emily Hereford, and first-year officer Paulina Owens spearheaded this year’s event. Neelam Vyas, GBSA president, provided the vision, creativity, and decorative concepts to execute the Mardi Gras theme. As president of Olin Women in Business, I was worried that I was going to need to plan this huge event by myself. The auction was on my mind since the day I was elected into the position.

I knew I needed to put someone in charge who could remain organized, calm, and would get our student body involved to execute this major event-which includes multiple moving pieces. With that being said, I could not have worked with better people. Emily, Paulina, and I created a very strong planning committee and volunteer committee for the night of and flawlessly executed this event. Without these individuals, the event would not have been as successful as it was. We all had fun planning the auction and even more fun during the actual event.

Amazing results

“Planning the auction was a wonderful way for me to connect with local businesses and expand the Olin brand while also raising money for a noble cause,” said Paulina Owens, MBA ’19.

OWIB’s first auction several years ago raised about $10,000. This year, we were able to raise about $17,000 solely from the auction. Combined with contributions from donors—thanks to marketing and communication surrounding the auction through Olin’s Alumni and Development department—this year’s event raised more than $43,000 for the Olin Women in Business Scholarship.

I personally want to thank Emily and Paulina for their dedication to the auction (and planning an awesome event), OWIB, and the Olin community. I also want to thank the Weston Career Center; Accenture, Emerson, and Edward Jones for their monetary contributions; all of the local St. Louis businesses for their silent and live auction donations; and all of the professors, faculty and staff for their live auction donations. You are what keeps this event going each year and we cannot thank you enough for your contributions.

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Allison Halpern, BSBA ’18 and CEL marketing student associate, writes on behalf of the Center for Experiential Learning.

Through the CEL Practicum, students have the unique opportunity to consult for companies on a global scale, from startups to Fortune 50 firms.

Professional MBA student Elise Hastings and a team of student consultants recently traveled to Mumbai to meet with their CEL Practicum client, ArtO2, an independent art organization aiming to increase the awareness of contemporary art practices. Elise reflects on the consulting process her team undertook in Mumbai, and why site visits are essential to project success:

What was the biggest takeaway from consulting in-person, rather than remotely?

Elise: It was extremely important that our team understood the context of our project by meeting with our clients in person. We met with all the stakeholders involved and were able to build a relationship. They treated us with immense kindness and respect. They helped show us the rich culture of the city and prioritized hospitality. We understood that relationship building and trust was important in the business culture there, and being with the clients in person greatly facilitated these interactions. We also met with some of the people our clients served, which made it easier for us to understand the challenges and opportunities of the organization and areas we could provide support.

What unique value did your team contribute to ArtO2?

Elise: Our team has a variety of skill sets and backgrounds–including law, accounting, strategic planning, nonprofit fundraising, and social enterprise consulting. We were excited to work with a relatively younger and smaller organization like Art Oxygen, because we could play a larger role in structuring the organization for growth. With our group’s skills, we can support a lot of the strategic planning and organizational structuring that can best position ArtO2 to grow their impact and reach sustainability.


What were the most rewarding—and most challenging—aspects of working with your client?

Elise: It was a great opportunity to work with a group of passionate individuals that are attempting to bring contemporary art to Mumbai and build an arts infrastructure in a rapidly urbanizing city. We enjoyed building connections and understanding the process of creating an international consulting relationship. Although this relationship-building experience was rewarding, it was challenging to achieve. Being in a new place and cultural landscape over just a short timeframe, it was difficult to build that base of trust and understanding. Throughout this process, we enjoyed witnessing the impact of their work and learning how we as a group could help the organization grow that impact.

A special thanks to our partners at IIT Bombay, our IIT Bombay-WashU Research and Educational Academy family, and most especially, Executive MBA alumni Ravi Vishnu and Saurabh Shrivastava for their support in making this project happen.

Learn more about the CEL Practicum experience on the CEL’s website.

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