Tag: Specialized Masters

Jamie Semler, BSBA ’18, wrote this post on behalf of the Bauer Leadership Center.

“Are you prepared to be a leader?”

As an undergraduate business school student, I have been taught the technical skills and knowledge needed to excel in my career and the fundamental aspects of management and professionalism. The emphasis in my coursework on data-based decision making and evaluation of success through numerical measures and ratios has prepared me to be a valuable future manager in any organization.

Yet, as Bob Chapman—chairman and CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Group—challenges us to answer the question above, I am forced to think about the ways in which my education and experiences have contributed to or fallen short of preparing me for my career.

In describing his experiences and leadership philosophy, often termed “Truly Human Leadership,” Bob helped us all attempt to think about and answer the above question and left us with some key takeaways about being an impactful leader:

Taking Responsibility for Other People’s Lives

Bob’s realization of the profound impact leaders have on those that they lead has spurred his belief that leaders are responsible for being stewards for the people they lead. Through his experiences at Barry-Wehmiller he has seen the effect his actions as a leader have had on the health, family life, and work satisfaction/enjoyment of his employees.

 Having the Courage To Care

The main principle underlying Bob’s leadership style is the importance of showing that you care about those who you are leading. This idea is best explained by Bob’s statement that “the greatest thing you can do as a leader is let people know they matter.”

In order to show appreciation for his employees, he has created a guiding principles award aimed at recognizing and rewarding those who exemplify leadership and company values, as nominated by their peers. The emotional responses to getting the award demonstrate the impact this type of leadership tactic has on the morale of the employees.

Defining Success

By measuring success by how he touches the lives of people, rather than solely by economic figures, Bob has created an environment that shows that he takes an interest in his employees. The way in which he handled the economic downturn of 2009 shows that he places importance on the lives of the people.

Instead of laying people off, which would severely affect the lives of many people, he decided that since he measures success by the way he touches people’s lives, he would not fire anyone and instead ask people to take a one month unpaid vacation, so that everyone suffered a little loss, but no one suffered a complete loss.

Understanding the Importance of Business Strategy

Although Bob puts much emphasis on being good to his people, he also notes the importance of having a strong business model in order to be able to support the them.  In talking about some key aspects of a strong business model, he emphasizes the importance of focusing on cash, growth through organic means and acquisitions, developing a sustainable model that balances markets and customers, and building a board of directors that you respect and who will challenge your thinking.

Ben Rosenkranz, MSBA ’18, BSBA ’17, wrote this post on behalf of Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning.

Sports often connect people across regions and nations. Soccer is known as the world’s game and one CEL team got to experience this firsthand by traveling to Quito, Ecuador, to work with Independiente del Valle, an Ecuadorian soccer team competing in the country’s first division.

The CEL practicum student consulting team is helping Independiente capitalize on the momentum it gained following a Cinderella run to the final of the Copa Libertadores tournament in 2016 by building a new stadium, expanding its fan base, and increasing overall revenue. Learning about and getting immersed in the culture of fútbol and food helped them progress on their project.

We found it difficult to fully understand a client and a country simply through Google searches and a few Skype calls. Spending five days in Quito with our client gave us a much better perspective on how our client operates within the greater landscape of Quito.

Given that our project involves real estate—helping evaluate where in the region the team should build a stadium to optimize attendance growth and generate revenue—spending some quality time on the ground in Ecuador and seeing the stadium’s current location was imperative. We did our best to maximize the time we spent in the country. This led to many long days (and not as much sleep as we would have liked) as we jumped from presentations, to work sessions, to games and dinners with the client.

We started our trip with an extended presentation to the marketing team, but drastically refined it until our final meeting discussing our recommendations in front of the ownership group on our final day in Quito. In between, we experienced what it means to be a professional soccer club in Ecuador.

We spent time at the club’s impressive academy—it is said to be the second best in all of South America—we met academy and first-team players, coaches, and executives, and we spoke to anyone we came across about the current state of Ecuador soccer, politics, and culture.

Our faculty advisor, Juan Pablo Espinosa, seemingly knew everyone in the city. His introductions to his friends, family and colleagues, whether directly connected to Independiente or not, all provided us with further context on the opportunities and challenges of economic development in Ecuador.

We also immersed ourselves in Quito’s culture through our meals in local restaurants, long drives through beautiful valleys to the suburb where the team played, and visits to two vastly different soccer stadiums in the area. Through our travels, we developed a fondness for nata, a creamy Ecuadorian condiment, and an obsession with taxo, a fruit that looks like a cross between a banana and pomegranate.

We all improved our Spanish, testing it out when we appeared as guests on the club’s local radio show. We hopped in on a soccer scrimmage at the academy between the coaches and the trainers, and some of us showed them that Americans have a few fútbol skills as well.

In the end, we provided Independiente’s management team with four case studies of MLS teams that faced similar location and financing situations in the United States, providing a roadmap of references and best practices to follow when the final location is determined. The team was impressed with our progress at the halfway point, based on our presentation.

Going forward, we are looking to pivot a bit from the original scope to provide more directed recommendations based on the experience and knowledge we gained in Quito.

We were humbled to have the opportunity to represent the CEL and Olin in Ecuador and cannot wait to get started working on the second leg of our project, building on our current progress as seen by our client lead.

“We have had the opportunity to work in two projects with the CEL,” said Santiago Morales, CEO of Independiete Del Valle. “In both projects, we have received great ideas and valuable recommendations to increase fan engagement.”

At least 20 companies—and possibly as many as 30–are expected to participate in Olin’s first “virtual career fair” next week, with upwards of 200 graduate business students expected to attend.

The virtual event is a new initiative for the Weston Career Center, joining a growing trend in digital recruiting that is expected to expose some new corporate faces to Olin’s MBA, PMBA and specialized master’s students.

“Some of these are companies that have not visited our campus,” said Annetta Culver, Weston’s associate director for employer relations. “The convenience and the timing is working for them.”

Students and employers have two ways to engage during the virtual event, from noon to 3 p.m. on April 20—depending on each employer’s need. Recruiters seeking immediate candidates, for example, can book appointments with a single student—or a group of students—for an online video chat in the “virtual career fair” platform.

Alternatively, employers can host a text-based chatroom with a webinar interface to host an information session about their company and engage with visitors in a Q&A. Weston is contracting with CareerEco to provide the digital platform for the event. The Wall Street Journal took note of the growing trend toward digital recruiting in a 2014 piece.

Weston is hosting a pre-career fair information session about how the event will work today at 1 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m.

A major advantage for employers is the reduced cost compared to on-campus visits, said Culver, who is coordinating the fair with Olin technology coordinator Kim Miller. The “virtual event” also comes at a good time for students, many of whom are still seeking the right full-time job or summer internships.

At the same time, Culver said, a number of companies are faced with late-season openings that they hadn’t expected or they are in industries that traditionally recruit later in the school year.

Those two factors were key in identifying which companies to invite to the virtual career fair, she said. Another advantage: Once student resumé information is plugged into the system, companies have a ready-made pipeline of candidates to tap the next time they have an opening.

“I’d be delighted to hear a number of things about the event and outcomes: That students who are looking for opportunities have made connections with employers and they are in the pipeline to be hired,” Culver said. “For employers, I want them to think this was a good use of their time and that they have such a good experience that they’re the first to sign up the next time they get an invitation.”

Joe Piganelli, MBA ’18, wrote this post on behalf of Bauer Leadership Center. Olin Blog is running it today, the day of the Cardinal’s home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

While the common fan may not view baseball this way, running a baseball team is just like running a business. Both require focus, discipline, and leadership skills. There are revenues, expenses, profits, and losses that must be managed for the team owners.

John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the St. Louis Cardinals, holds these responsibilities. He has implemented a unique system of coaching and feedback spanning the entire Cardinals organization.

Recently, the “Defining Moments” class at Olin had the opportunity to hear Mozeliak. He told us what leadership means to him, sharing the correlation between leadership and success within the Cardinals organization. What stuck out to me most about Mozeliak’s leadership tactics were his discipline and adherence to systems and his ability to focus on areas where he can have the most impact.

In the Cards’ organization, individuals receive bimonthly feedback on whether they are at a constant level of performance, improving performance, or declining performance. Those with constant or declining performance levels learn how they can achieve improving performance. This system sounds simple and intuitive, but is difficult. It requires amazing discipline, prioritization, and consistent management to stick to and maintain it.

Mozeliak’s strict adherence to systems, routines, and concepts of organizational management have provided him the means to sustain and enhance the mystical “Cardinal Way.” The key element to managing these systems is his ability to not micro-manage.  The “Cardinal Way”—the organizational philosophy of the team—depends not only on discipline, but also trust.

Mozeliak trusts his people and likewise his people trust him. He provides his team the autonomy and space to run these systems, creating a stronger team on and off the baseball field.

The privilege of listening to our (favorite) baseball team’s president of baseball operations was unforgettable. Mozeliak gave us a window into the hard work and discipline that goes into leading any organization to success—especially a winning baseball team.

Written by Taylor Ohman, MBA ’18, on behalf of Bauer Leadership Center

I had the distinct pleasure of being the student host for our speaker, Ward Klein, former CEO of Energizer. Prior to our meeting, I discovered he began his career in the exact position I will begin mine in four months: Marketing Associate at Nestlé (formerly Ralston) Purina.

This made the “war stories” he shared especially inspiring: I could see them being defining moments I, too, one day might encounter. Although I understand that no two individuals’ career trajectory could ever be the same, I enjoyed imagining myself following his footsteps to a meaningful, successful, and truly impactful career.

After listening to him speak, I believe there are three primary elements that define Ward Klein’s leadership style: a commitment to culture, courage against the unknown, and a sense of responsibility for those that he leads.

Klein’s commitment to culture was apparent from the start, when he described why he chose to work for Purina over other companies. He valued the environment that they worked hard to propagate throughout their organization and recognized the importance this sort of culture has in the shaping of people working within it.

This was impactful for me, as I also recognized Purina for its distinct culture of teamwork. Klein’s commitment to culture continued throughout his career as he managed the difficult task of integrating a new company—with a very different culture—into the Purina “family.”

Even when he assumed the role of CEO at Energizer, this commitment to culture did not waiver. During his speech, he said a majority of his responsibility as the leader of the  company was to define and foster the culture of the organization. By remaining loyal to his values and propagating those values throughout the company, he was able to create a culture that lended to the growth and advancement of all his employees.

Passionate for Challenges

The second element of his leadership style, courage against the unknown, manifested in his willingness to stand up to others and in his passion for taking on difficult and ambiguous projects. Klein shared a moving story about one of the first times he made his boss “turn red in the face with anger” after Klein openly opposed his idea.

The story culminated in Klein signing onto his boss’s idea with an upside-down signature, as done in Japanese culture, to signify his disagreement—but his willingness to follow his boss’s lead. This resonated with his boss, as it was he who originally shared this technique with Klein.

Not only did this show Klein’s propensity for effective communication, but also his courage for standing up for what he believed in. Another time that Klein showed such courage was when he accepted an undefined role in Energizer’s unproven flashlight market.

This effectively diverted his original career path and sent him into territories, both geographical and theoretical, that he knew nothing about. However, it was the challenge and ambiguity of this role that ultimately led Klein to learn more about himself and his company than he could have ever done in his previous role.

Servant Leadership

The final defining element of Ward Klein’s leadership philosophy was an unwavering sense of responsibility to help his employees grow and flourish as leaders themselves. As a leader, Klein said, your job is not to make yourself look good in front of your employees, but instead to be of the most assistance to them.

This servant-leadership approach, and Klein’s absolute commitment to it, has allowed him to earn the genuine and passionate loyalty of his employees. It has also allowed him to create a company that continues to grow and prosper under the legacy of his leadership.

It was these three elements—commitment to culture, courage, and responsibility for others—that I feel combined to create Klein’s unique and effective leadership philosophy. He was an incredibly inspiring speaker and I will remember his lessons for years to come as I embark on my own professional journey as a leader.

Albert Ip, board of trustee member and executive fellow in Asia; Greg Hutchings of the Weston Career Center; Roger Shi, Mack Yang, Wendy Cai, Ethan Xu, Sarah Liu.

Written by Carl Chen, MSFQ 2018, on behalf of Weston Career Center.

For finance students, asset management firms in Hong Kong typically won’t hire new graduates. Instead, they prefer experienced professionals on their teams. Meanwhile, in the United States, asset management firms provide plenty of job opportunity for newly graduated students.

These are a few of the insights Olin master of finance students received recently during a visit to the Weston Career Center by Albert Y.K. Ip, BS ’73, WashU board of trustees member and dedicated alumnus.

Students also learned during Albert’s visit that in Hong Kong, sell-side firms have a more prominent presence compared to their counterparts in the United States. For students who wish to start a finance career in Hong Kong, sell-side firms might be a better choice.

Albert’s visit was welcome after I had met him for the first time on January 8 during the Hong Kong Wealth and Asset Management Career Trek.

Students with Albert Ip at a happy hour event during their January career trek visit to Hong Kong.

Students with Albert Ip at a happy hour event during
their January career trek visit to Hong Kong.

He showed great passion for helping young students and investing in us, and he gladly accepted our invitation to meet with us again on campus two months after we first met.

Albert is an experienced veteran in financial services. He has worked for banks both in the United States and Hong Kong in a variety of functions, including investment banking, corporate banking, real estate financing, and asset management. After retiring from Citibank, he took up even more responsibilities, both in the corporate world and in higher education.

He is CEO of a Hong Kong’s Langham Hospitality Investments Limited and serves on the boards of six other companies while contributing a large amount of his time at several universities in Hong Kong.

‘Mentor and Good Friend’

As a member of WashU’s Board of Trustees and the executive fellow in Asia of Washington University, he has always hoped to dedicate more of his time and efforts to help students at Washington University with his knowledge and global network. His generosity and dedication are recognized by the school by naming a classroom, the Ip Classroom, in Simon Hall after him.

I feel connected with him because he understands our positions and the challenges we are facing as students. “He is a great mentor and a good friend. It’s truly been a pleasure talking to him,” one student said after the meeting. “He is very sincere and humble, and really puts himself in our shoes.”

Albert is also enthusiastic about building more connections between alumni in Asia/Greater China and students on campus. As one of the fastest growing markets in the world, Greater China region is attractive to many students at Olin, and we need alumni who are very successful in that region to help lead the way.

Being a council member and adjunct professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, which has one of the best business school in Asia, Albert knows what it takes to make a great business school. He believes having an excellent career office holds great significance for Olin. He also wishes to help the school have a global presence by helping students seek a career in Hong Kong.

Giving back is really a big part of Albert’s life.

“I can help six or seven students at a time, and spend about 10 hours a week,” he said, laughing. “I just need to spend my Fridays or maybe weekends with students instead of my family.”

I feel very grateful people like Albert are making Olin such a tightly-knit community and for his willingness to share his success with the schools and students.

Pictured above: Albert Ip, WashU trustee member and executive fellow in Asia; Greg Hutchings, Weston Career Center; Roger Shi, Mack Yang, Wendy Cai, Ethan Xu, Sarah Liu.

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