Tag: Professional MBA



It’s a familiar tune by now: We can’t host this annual event in person, so what do we do? Can we even have it virtually? What are we going to do?

Those were all questions Jackie Carter, Diversity & Inclusion Programs Manager, and WashU Olin’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee asked as they began to prepare for the sixth annual Diversity & Inclusion Expo. Typically held during the dean’s welcome back event, the expo brings together groups from Olin and throughout the university to showcase resources and ways students, faculty members or staff members can get involved with multicultural, justice and equity efforts.

Carter and her team’s decision ultimately came down to the importance of such an event for the WashU Olin community: “Diversity, equity inclusion work is not one-person work, and it’s not about just having affinity groups,” she said. And this experience was an opportunity to showcase the depth and the value of diversity and inclusion at Olin.

Over the course of 90 minutes, 18 groups opened Zoom meeting spaces as faculty, staff and students visited and learned about the resources and clubs they can get involved with.

For Carter, the annual expo is an important space for students, faculty and staff to bring their beginning-of-the-year energy and enthusiasm to get involved and learn about opportunities and resources they might not know about.

And for those who attended, that’s exactly what they got. Staff and students reflected on the experience:

“ I learned that the creation of space for faculty and staff voices to be heard came from years of them being silenced and not being heard. Finally the administration realized that faculty and staff needed to be brought to the table, especially concerning HR issues and issues that are inherently unique to that population. It was good to know that faculty and staff are being thought about. In my previous position, that didn’t exist. Without a diverse workplace, diverse ideas and thoughts can’t emerge.” Leia Burroughs, event specialist, graduate programs

“I had the chance to talk to undergraduate students who wanted to know how to engage with the Latin American community in St. Louis. It was refreshing to see people who wanted to connect, share interests and keep a positive attitude.” Gabriel Samanez, MBA ’21, president, Latin American Business Association

“The Diversity and Inclusion Expo was a great opportunity to connect with students and faculty to share our plans for D&I work this year, and learn about what others are doing as well. We’re looking forward to partnering with other groups on campus to host events throughout the year that champion diversity and inclusion efforts.” Alex Halfpap, MBA ’21, president, Olin Women in Business

“In times like these, Olin Black is a space for dialogue and action. We were excited to meet students and staff who are just as passionate about Olin Black’s mission as much as we are. In an hour and 30 minutes we were able to converse with admission personnel, recruiting coaches, and students who want to create a meaningful inclusive and diverse Olin.” Fanta Kaba and Déjá Miles, officers, Olin Black MBA Association

“We showed our determination to continue the tradition of diversity at the Greater China Club.” Lin Cheng, MBA ’21, vice president, Greater China Club

“I think this event was valuable because we are surrounded by diversity in our community and it’s our responsibility to keep pushing the needle in ensuring we are living equitable lives. The D&I expo helped to bring us together and showed that students in the community are committed to growing into well-rounded leaders who would acknowledge the diverse perspectives around them while creating an environment for equity and justice to thrive.” Itohan Enadeghe, co-president, Olin Africa Business Club


Though this year’s event looked and felt different than previous years,  Carter is pleased with the results—though she knows this event is just the beginning each year of developing relationships with students, faculty and staff who are determined to embrace diversity and inclusion.

“My hope for WashU Olin is that we can be a place of true inclusion and belonging. That regardless of my race, my background, my gender, I’ll feel a part of it,” she said.

“And that we can all understand that equality isn’t something being taken away from someone else. If I make something better for someone else, it makes the whole better.”  




Rachel Lopez, PMBA

Rachel Lopez, PMBA ’19, heard WashU didn’t have enough personal protective equipment or masks for staff and students, so she donated 600 disposable masks to Olin. She is a global manager, strategy and business development, for Build-A-Bear Workshop. She responded to a few questions for the Olin Blog.

What compelled you to make this contribution?

This year has been a challenging year for a lot of people. I think love, understanding each other and supporting the needed ones during the global pandemic takes people a long way.

When COVID-19 had its initial breakout in China, Build-A-Bear Workshop and I sent a couple of hundred N97 masks in February with encouraging notes to our China franchisees, partners and vendors. They were very happy and touched to receive the needed supplies during their most difficult time.  

A month later, COVID-19 began affecting the whole world, including the US. Global news reported the increasing coronavirus cases in the US and the shortage of PPE supplies. After our China partners saw the news from local media, they immediately reached out to me and offered to send masks to us to return the favor. It touches my heart to see that our help when our Build-A-Bear partners were in need was reciprocated in ours.

In April, thousands of different types of masks (N95, disposable, KN95) arrived at my house from China. At that time, St. Louis hospitals started to ask for public PPE donations and homemade masks because of the shortage of supplies. My colleague and I soon reached out to St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, and a couple of other hospitals to donate our PPE from China partners.

We donated more than 2,000 disposable masks and non-touch thermometers to St. Luke’s and a couple hundred masks to other hospitals. The doctors, nurses, policy officers and janitors were happy to receive our donations. They even sent thank you pictures with “heart” hand gestures to us.

Our hearts melted when we saw the lovely pictures from St. Luke’s and thank-you notes from other hospitals. We are grateful for being able to support our medical workers during the pandemic. Having said that, we want to take the PPE donation a step further. Build-A-Bear Foundation approved the purchase of more than 100,000 masks to help more hospitals and communities in needs.

After I finished supporting Build-A-Bear Foundation with that purchase, I heard schools were also in need of PPE. Both my husband and I attended WashU, and I had my best time, best professors and mentors there. So, I reached out to my mentor and asked if I could make a mask donation to Olin.

How has this crisis affected you personally over the past few months?

My heart breaks for the people around the world who suffered from the pandemic. My family is in China, so I was worried to death when COVID-19 happened. I have partners and friends in over 12 different countries since I work for Build-A-Bear as the global manager. It was sad when I heard our partners in Australia, Gulf States, India, Chile, South Africa, etc. were negatively impacted by coronavirus. Some lost their jobs; some got quarantined.

Also, my mom came to the US to visit my husband and me in December. She was supposed to go back to China in March. Because of the pandemic, American Airlines rescheduled her four times—and then canceled the flight. I rebooked her, but those flights were canceled because of restrictions. My mom has been with us for more than six months with no certainty when she can return to China. I know she worries about my grandparents there.

How are you persevering through all of this?

Some people joked about whether we could “restart 2020 or just get it over with.” Again, it is an unprecedented time as more than 100,000 have died in the US from this virus, and many more people have lost their jobs.

However, I must look at the bright side. My families and friends are fine, which is the most important thing. My husband and I were able to keep our jobs. Working from home from March until now is hard without collaboration with my colleagues, but I was able to spend more time with my mom and puppy.

It is hard to adjust, but things do get better. For example, most of our franchise countries like China, Australia and Denmark have completely reopened and life is back to normal. My PMBA classmates have been in close contact with each other. We are hoping to regroup again when the pandemic is over.


Career coaches and advisors in WashU Olin’s Weston Career Center understand it’s a tough time to emerge into the workforce, thanks to a global pandemic that’s wreaked havoc on the economy and cast uncertainty into the outlook for many companies.

Their advice: Don’t despair. Check out these resources for ideas, direction and inspiration.

HIRING REALLY HASN’T STOPPED. Just because the overall economy has slowed let’s not assume hiring opportunities have disappeared.  In fact, check out this article from The Muse regarding companies that are still hiring. The Muse

GET YOUR NETWORKING GOING. Although your approach may be different, now is definitely the right time to build or enhance your network during COVID-19.  Just ask…KornFerry.

EVEN IN THE ERA OF SOCIAL DISTANCING. Fortune Magazine also offers suggestions on networking in the era of social distancing: Fortune Magazine.

PREP FOR A VIRTUAL INTERVIEW. For the next few months, look for all recruiting activities to be virtual.  How ready are you to meet the challenge of a virtual interview? Indeed.com has some ideas for you to consider: Indeed.com.

BUT BRUSH UP FIRST. This is an extremely competitive time in the job market.  You have an opportunity now to brush up on your interview skills, so please make this a priority. Here is an article from The Muse that may help: The Muse Interview Guide.




Photo credit: David Brickner / Shutterstock.com

Over the past several weeks, I have heard powerfully and candidly from many in our alumni and student community about the need for a clear message—backed by action—concerning the shameful record of racial inequity in our community and beyond. I hear them and want to be clear about my response: I stand in solidarity with the Black members of our community and the community at large. Further, we state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.

Serious issues of racial inequity—brought again to the fore by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery and many others—are deeply painful and there is urgency in putting action behind our conviction.

At Olin, we say we are better than this. We are committed to being a community of diversity, equity and inclusion. We will foster an environment where our staff, faculty, students and alumni uphold these principles. Our conviction is real. Conviction alone, however, is not enough. We must put action behind those convictions.

I am appointing a task force—which I will chair and which will include representatives from within Olin and across WashU—to guide us toward identifying unjust systems and practices, and offer sustainable strategies to infuse solutions throughout Olin, from recruiting students and faculty, to curriculum improvements, to research.

At the same time, I have appointed a team to begin work immediately with the Olin Diversity and Inclusion Team to develop a robust plan, with goals and measurable performance indicators, focused on strategies to uproot systems of racism within our community. This team has my direct support.

I am committed to following through on this work, communicating regularly about our progress and consulting with all members of our community. I am grateful for the valuable insights and strong counsel I have already received. I am also grateful for the ongoing work by our faculty, staff and students toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Olin. I recognize there is far more work to do.

I will share further updates soon as our work begins to yield specific action steps.

Pictured above: May 30, 2020: Protestors raise their hands in solidarity outside of the Fifth Police Precinct in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd. (David Brickner/Shutterstock)




Dr. Linda X. Wu is a clinical instructor with the WashU School of Medicine. In addition to working at St. Louis Children’s Hospital as a pediatrician and teaching medical students and residents, she’s finished her second semester as a member of Olin’s Professional MBA Class 48, concentrating in healthcare and entrepreneurship.

We caught up with Linda to learn more about what it’s like to work and study at WashU.

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

My background is in engineering, so I have a natural tendency for problem solving. I would like to design medical solutions, from creating new devices to solving workflow issues. I hoped to gain the business knowledge for entrepreneurship and establish new startups.

How has the pandemic changed your day-to-day work?

I’m a general pediatrician within the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and its community sites within the hospitalist division, meaning I work only in the hospital and not in the outpatient clinic. I spend about 50% of my time in the emergency room taking care of anything that walks in—from difficulty breathing such as asthma, to a broken arm from falling off the monkey bars.

Wu recreates Sara Paglia’s “Thanks,” a painting depicting a nurse as a superhero donning PPE.

I also spend a good deal of time with patients admitted to the hospital, taking care of newborn babies that were just delivered, helping the neonatologist out in the neonatal intensive care unit, providing sedation for procedures and circumcisions. There’s no “typical” day, and that’s what makes this job so much fun! I’m also faculty at the School of Medicine and enjoy teaching medical students and residents.

These days, many things have changed and not much has changed. We have daily updated protocols on how to treat COVID-19 patients and what we need to do to protect ourselves. As for the actual medicine, the fundamentals are the same. Kids still show up in the ER with cuts and belly aches, and babies are still being born—so life at work keeps rolling. I do miss seeing everyone’s bright smiles, but I can tell they’re smiling underneath their masks by the sparkle in their eyes.

What are you most proud of as a pediatrician right now?

I get to work daily alongside such a wonderful group of compassionate, dedicated and giving healthcare staff. The hospital is a scary place to be these days, yet people still consistently show up to work and put in 100%. It takes a lot to run a hospital and it truly is the definition of teamwork. I am grateful for everyone’s hard work during this pandemic.

The hospital is a scary place to be these days, yet people still consistently show up to work and put in 100%. It takes a lot to run a hospital and it truly is the definition of teamwork.

What’s it like working on your MBA during this time?

Wu with her PMBA team

I have an excellent PMBA small team. They have been flexible and accommodating with my changing work schedule as this pandemic has unfolded, and we have worked well on Zoom. We already had good team dynamics and ground rules established from previous semesters working together, so it was easy to translate that into the virtual space.

What should people to know right now?

Please listen to your healthcare professionals—and news and people with established credentials. There are many rumors and fake news spreading out there that’s worsening everyone’s anxiety and fears. Social distancing works and is our best bet in protecting ourselves right now, so please stay strong!

My heart goes out to all of those affected by the pandemic—from people who have lost a loved one, to worried nights of being sick, to financial hardships we’re all struggling through. 

And thank you to the volunteers who have donated so much of the little they had to help us within the hospitals. We cannot appreciate you enough!

How are you and your colleagues making values-based, data-driven decisions?

Just like business, medicine is a very data-driven and evidence-based profession. Even though there are still many unknowns and even more moving parts, the leadership within Washington University School of Medicine and BJH has been impressive, providing us with timely and reliable medical facts, situational awareness of what is going on within our hospitals and innovative solutions (such as solutions to the shortage of personal protective equipment). I know each decision was meticulously calculated based on data and thoroughly thought out for its broad and sustained impact.

Wu with a few of her Emergency Room nurses