Tag: Professional MBA



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




Though the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down campus and eliminated the possibility of in-person celebrations, WashU Olin still plans to recognize all our graduating students this year.

Washington University’s Chancellor Andrew Martin announced his creation of an Alternate Commencement Committee on April 17. That committee will examine the best way to honor the class of 2020 throughout WashU when it becomes safe to do so. While no formal announcements have been made, the committee plans to have more information available soon.

In the meantime, WashU Olin will move forward with virtual graduation recognition ceremonies that supplement, but do not replace, the university-wide celebration. On May 8 and May 15, Olin will release virtual graduation videos for each planned ceremony at the time of the original event.

Olin professor Hilary Anger Elfenbein wore her regalia to record her speech from home.

Each video celebration will include remarks from Dean Mark P. Taylor and Chancellor Andrew Martin, student speakers, announcements of student award recipients and remarks from the Reid Teaching Award winners. Though the degree candidates will not be able to “walk” during the ceremonies, their names will scroll on the screen during the presentations.

Videos will be made available at the time of each ceremony on the Olin graduation web page. Each ceremony will stream on Olin’s Facebook page, YouTube Channel and Instagram.  

Schedule of Ceremonies

Friday, May 8

  • EMBA Class 53, 10:30 a.m.
  • Executive Education: EMBA & WashU at Brookings master of science in leadership, 10:30 a.m.

Friday, May 15

  • BSBA, 11:30 a.m.
  • Graduate programs, 3 p.m.

We welcome any photos or reflections from your participation in our graduation ceremonies. Please share any images or videos with us @wustlbusiness and use #WashU20. Though this isn’t the ceremony any of us expected, we offer our heartfelt congratulations to the class of 2020.




Tim Edwards

By Megan Oliver, Special to Olin Blog

Two phrases that typically aren’t found together are “excellent wine” and “protecting the planet.” But to WashU Olin alumnus Tim Edwards, PMBA ’90 they couldn’t be any more related.

Since his time at Olin, Edwards has exemplified the core values of integrity, leadership, and excellence with his role as owner of the prolific St. Stephen Organic Vineyards. As a result, last month he was invited to address the United Nations Climate Change Division’s Annual Conference in Madrid about his ideas to finance actions to globally mitigate climate change.

Creating really great wine, with a mission

After leaving St. Louis, Edwards traveled across the world, ending up in the Colchagua Valley wine region of Chile—a country famous not only for its spectacular views and climate but also for its auspicious ability to make wine. There, Edwards purchased the land that would become St. Stephen Organic Vineyards.

In line with Olin’s entrepreneurial pillar of excellence, the primary goal of the vineyard was first and foremost to make the best possible organic wines, something specifically possible in this small corner of the world.

See Tim Edwards’ address to the UN climate conference. The address begins at the 3:29 mark.

Boasting a similar distance from the equator as Napa Valley, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named the Colchagua Valley the best wine region in the world in 2005. Founding his business in this particularly capable region of the planet not only emphasizes his entrepreneurial spirit but also his commitment to being globally oriented, another pillar in Olin’s mission.

The secondary mission of the vineyard was to do something that betters this world. Staying true to the values-based and data-driven pillar of Olin’s mission, Edwards wanted to live up to his social and moral obligations in the best way he knew how.

After researching the effects of global emissions on the environment, Edwards decided that proceeds from every bottle of wine sold from St. Stephen would benefit organizations that are committed to helping the planet. “The idea that we could give a little bit of money to help it seems like the absolute least we could do,” Edwards said.

Speaking at the United Nations

This was the same philosophy that inspired Edwards’ speech at the UN Climate Change Conference, where countries negotiated ambitious plans to limit global warming. In Edwards’ address, he states his belief that the world already has the solutions to the crisis that faces us, but the problem lies in financing these changes.

Very simply, his idea relies on goodwill from major corporations and fostering influential consumer behavior. In order to finance much-needed change, Edwards calls upon Fortune 500 companies to fulfill the same social and moral code he has led by. He explains if Fortune 500 companies contribute, “1/100th of 1% of their revenue stream, that would be $1.4 billion.”

While Edwards understands “that won’t solve the problem,” he does believe “it’s a big step forward.”




The St. Louis Business Journal released its 2019 “30 Under 30” list featuring five Olin alumni: Daphne Benzaquen, Breona Butler, Brian Chao, Joseph McDonald and Phillip Sangokoya. Here’s a summary with links to each honoree’s full write-up on the Business Journal website.

Daphne Benzaquen, PMBA ’17, at 29 years old is the creative designer and CEO of daph., a lifestyle brand in which high-quality baby alpaca fur and llama leather pieces are created and 20% of sales are donated to Peruvian and St. Louis communities. In addition to daph., Benzaquen founded The Chomp blog and Daphne Benzaquen Consulting. She also serves as community director of ThriveCo.

Breona Butler, PMBA ’18, at 27 years old is an IT portfolio manager at Keefe Commissary Network. Butler pursued her MBA to bridge the gap between business and technology. Through her ability to understand business and technology, she has helped reduce her department’s costs by 15%.

Brian Chao, BSBA ’12, MBA ’13, at 29 years old is the chief financial officer at the Starkloff Disability Institute. Prior to accepting this position, Chao had been a passionate supporter of the Institute. Through his position at Starkloff Disability Institute, Chao has helped to raise more the $1 million in a year for the first time.

Joseph McDonald, EN ’15, MBA ’15, at 27 years old is the co-founder and COO at Epharmix, a digital health care company. Epharmix, which McDonald launched following graduating WashU, “simplifies proactive patient engagement for providers, payers and employers.”

Phillip Sangokoya, BSBA ’11, at 29 years old is the specialty finance relationship manager and the assistant vice president of U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. In three months, Sangokoya has “underwritten and/or closed over $10 million in investments to organizations advancing social impact, small business growth and real estate.” In addition, he also is the co-founder of BRAND of St. Louis.




Commencement season is upon us, and we couldn’t be more proud of the class of 2019. Whether you’re finishing your BSBA, your master’s or your doctorate, we have plenty of reasons – and opportunities – to celebrate you. Here’s the rundown on your Olin graduation ceremonies.

Undergraduate

The 158th annual WashU May Commencement Ceremony takes place Friday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. in Brookings Quadrangle. Learn more.

BSBA Recognition Ceremony: Friday, May 17, 11:30 a.m. at the Field House, Athletic Complex. If you’re attending, get the details on arrival, seating, the ceremony and more.

Can’t make it? Watch via livestream on the Olin graduation website or our Facebook page.

Graduate

The 158th annual WashU May Commencement Ceremony takes place Friday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. in Brookings Quadrangle. Learn more.

Graduate Programs Recognition Ceremony: Friday, May 17, 3:00 p.m. at the Field House, Athletic Complex. If you’re attending, get the details on arrival, seating, the ceremony and more.

Can’t make it? Watch via livestream on the Olin graduation website or our Facebook page.

Other recognition ceremonies

All week, WashU will hold ceremonies to recognize and honor various populations – from members of our military to cultural recognition to students with children and families. See the full list.

For faculty

Graduation isn’t just for the students – it’s a celebration and an honor for our faculty members, too. Faculty information can be found on our graduation website (password protected).

Did we answer your question?

If not – check out our graduation website for more information, or for WashU questions, contact commencement@wustl.edu.




Cash Nickerson

The 2018 Olin Business magazine shared a series of vignettes featuring alumni faced with a business decision requiring them to weigh data with their values. We featured these stories to support Olin’s strategic pillar focused on equipping leaders to confront challenge and create change, for good. This is one of those vignettes.

Data and values are important in making big decisions, but as Cash Nickerson, JD ’85, MBA ’93, points out, “there are really very few momentous decisions.

“We make hundreds of decisions in a day,” said Nickerson, an author and president/principal at PDS Tech Inc., one of the largest engineering and IT staffing firms in the United States. “Many are trivial. But many of the trivial decisions come back to you in one form or another.”

Nickerson thinks in terms of a “structure of thought,” a muscle he’s developed so those everyday decisions are still based on data and values. “What fascinates me more than how someone makes the big decisions is the algorithm an executive uses for making the everyday decisions,” he said.

For him, that algorithm focuses on people.

“I like to think of myself as very numbers driven as well as values driven,” Nickerson said.

“My philosophy is that I wake up every morning and remind myself of the uniqueness of humans. To me, it’s a value to treat each person as an individual.”