Tag: Undergraduate

Alec Gordon, BSBA ’22, was the student speaker at the undergraduate programs graduation recognition ceremony on May 19, 2022, selected by his peers. Here is what he had to say to his fellow graduates.

To the Olin Business School Class of 2022, Dean Taylor, Olin faculty, family members, and other esteemed guests, good afternoon! I’m Alec Gordon, and I’m honored to have been chosen as the student speaker for the 2022 Olin Business School graduating class. This graduating class is very different from most of the classes that preceded us: We’ve endured a global pandemic, lost internships and job opportunities, even lost on-campus housing (I’m sure you all remember the Hunger Games search for housing in August 2020), and now I’m asking you to sit through a five-minute speech from that talkative kid from South Florida. Sorry about that last one!

Let me take you back to March 11, 2020. It was WashU’s spring break! If you were like me, you were surrounded by bathing suits, sunglasses and a whole lot of something called Natural Light. We flocked to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or Panama City Beach, Florida. But suddenly, it was all gone. The COVID-19 pandemic had arrived. The world was turned upside down and we felt lost. This was not the college experience that any of us had envisioned.

Personally, my sports immersion trip to Los Angeles was canceled, I lost an in-person job with the Vegas Golden Knights (remember what it was like to work IN PERSON?), the chance to study abroad in Copenhagen, my on-campus housing for my junior year, and my Birthright trip to Israel. And I know that many of you have experienced much greater loss. We’ve been forced to pivot and persevere through the ups and downs of the past two years. 

If you know anything about me, you know I love sports, especially professional hockey, from my beloved hometown team, the Florida Panthers, to my adopted team, the St. Louis Blues. Our freshman year, the Blues were in last place in the NHL on January 3. Only four days later, a new goalie joined the team for his first NHL start, Jordan Binnington. Flash forward five months later and the Blues won their FIRST EVER Stanley Cup championship. The Blues’ Cup run was a story of perseverance through hardships and challenges. The Olin Class of 2022 faced its own challenges.

We adapted to Zoom school, Canvas tests, and uncertainty regarding our future education. We followed mask mandates, testing protocols, and adhered to social distancing guidelines in the classroom. But we were undeterred. Nothing would stop us from continually excelling in and out of the classroom.

Stronger than ever, prepared for what’s next

So if the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s how to pivot and persevere. We are a class of resilience! We have battled through much to make it here today. We’ve been challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. And yet here we are, stronger than ever, ready to step forward into whatever comes next.

There are many people in the crowd who I must thank. Firstly, thank you to my friends, girlfriend, classmates, professors, advisor and career coach for your help and guidance during my time at WashU. In particular, I’d like to thank Dr. Patrick Rishe for welcoming me with open arms into the world of sports business. From minoring in the business of sports, countless TA grading sessions, case projects, networking and career help, and friendly hockey banter, I’m so grateful to have such a caring mentor in my life. Even when you texted me after the Miami Heat lost the 2020 NBA Championship and said, “Well the Heat lost.” I’m thankful for our relationship, especially your selflessness and eagerness to help.

And a special thank you to my parents and my sister, a rising WashU sophomore. Thank you for supporting me in so many ways over the past four years, but especially over the first 22 years of my life. I would not be a fraction of the person I am standing before you today without your love, support and motivation.

‘Three important things in life’

Legendary college basketball coach Jimmy Valvano said in his memorable 1993 ESPYs speech that there are three important things in life: “Where you started, where you are and where you’re going to be.” We don’t know exactly what the future holds and we barely know where we are now. But we certainly know the amount of adversity we have faced to make it here today. The students around you are not the same people that stepped on campus in August 2018, the students who scoffed at a bar being called “Big Daddy’s” and laughed when they saw their Calc 2 midterm class average was a 58…a new record high. We are an incredible group of people – students who will become leaders in business, students who will change our world for the better, and students like me, who will one day, star in their men’s over 40 basketball league!

The pandemic provided many of us with a chance to re-organize our priorities and pursue our interests. Through remote internships, community involvement, and independent passion projects, our future is as bright as ever. We are courageous, confident, and accomplished individuals, and I’m so excited to see what this class has in store for the future. From here, we’ll go our separate ways, but we will forever cherish our time at WashU. We’ve always known our names, but our stories are still being written. 

Thank you and GO BEARS!!

Poets & Quants has named Olin Business School one of “10 Undergraduate Business Schools to Watch In 2022.”

“The best want to surround themselves with the best,” P&Q, the online news site about business schools, wrote in a February 26 article about Olin.

“They need to be exposed to new ideas, always looking to learn and never content with the way things are. That means finding people who share their values and commitment—and aren’t afraid to push them.

“The Olin Business School is one community that gathers the best-of-the-best.”

Last year, 100% of Olin students seeking a business internship landed one, the article notes. “Better still, the school placed 97.67% of 2020 grads, who pulled down starting average compensation of $82,339.”

In addition, Olin achieved gender parity with its incoming class this fall.

The piece includes an interview with Olin Dean Mark Taylor about his thoughts on what makes Olin a business school to watch.

“WashU Olin’s undergraduate program has always prioritized global experiences and fostered a culture that encourages study abroad and engagement with international businesses,” Taylor said.

“Indeed, up to now, more than 60% of Olin undergrads have engaged in a global experience. We’ve doubled down on that emphasis with a new global mindset degree requirement for undergraduates starting with the class of 2025. The degree requirement aligns with Olin’s determination to develop multicultural awareness, communication skills, and an appreciation of what it means to lead globally.”

Read the full P&Q article here.


Twenty-two WashU sophomores used spring break to visit eight investment banks during WashU’s New York City Investment Bank Trek, March 14-15. It was the first such trek since 2019.

Olin’s Weston Career Center’s Lee Pelligreen, EMBA 44, employer relations lead-finance, and Burt Sheaffer, finance industry specialist, facilitated the trip and shared the experience with the Olin Blog.

Why would sophomores join the NYC IB Trek?


“For the students, it was an amazing chance to step outside of academia for an in-person glimpse into the world of finance. The trek offered connections and learning opportunities with the passionate support of alumni.

“‘I took away insights about companies, got to meet successful people across the finance world, and gained a new framework for decision-making,’ one student wrote about the experience.

“The trek offered students the chance to learn about different sectors of investment banks, explore careers, and network and connect with alumni.”

How crucial was WashU alumni support?

“This trek could not have happened without the support of the WashU alumni. 

“Thank you to alumni at Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, HSBC Global Banking and Markets, Groupe Crédit Agricole, Lazard, Guggenheim Partners, Financial Technology Partners and Edgemont Partners for hosting us.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

“A shout out to Molly Mulligan, senior associate director of University Advancement Programs at Olin, and to the Advancement team for organizing an alumni roundtable on the first evening, where the students continued networking.

“And the trek was capped off at Elliott Management, with Steve Cohen hosting a dinner finance experience along with alumna Bridget Han.”

Cohen, BSBA 1989, is an equity partner at Elliott, and Han, MACC 2013, is a principal at NY Family Office.

“We look forward to watching the alumni continuing their career paths. And we look forward to the time when these sophomores support future sophomore bears in NYC!”

Nate Maslak, BSBA ’11, and the company he cofounded and leads—Ribbon Health—landed a $43.5 million Series B investment in November.

General Catalyst led the investment with participation from new and current investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, BoxGroup, Rock Health and Sachin Jain.

The funding is a big deal. “This funding will enable us to accelerate and scale Ribbon Health, creating even more value for our partners with exceptional talent and technology. We will expand our reach across health plans, provider organizations, and digital health solutions,” according to an announcement on Ribbon’s website.

“Ultimately, Ribbon will become the connective tissue that allows patients to find the care they need across any touchpoint in the healthcare system.” 

The company had secured three earlier seed funding rounds. The Series A $10.25 million round led by Andreessen closed on February 27, 2020.

“Nate was a rock star entrepreneurship student as an undergrad at Olin,” former Olin entrepreneurship professor Cliff Holekamp said at that time. “His success is no surprise.”

Cofounders meet in grad school

As the story goes, Maslak and Ribbon cofounder Nate Fox met at Harvard Business School. Both wanted to help family members find the care they needed. That’s because both had watched parents and grandparents endure tests and unhelpful referrals, while spending thousands. They decided to try to help.

In 2016, they launched HealthWiz. HealthWiz evolved to Ribbon to provide patients with a seamless way to navigate healthcare across checking symptoms, researching conditions, finding doctors and estimating costs of care.

The issue became clear. As they helped clients find doctors, according to Ribbon’s website, the team discovered the doctor-data-problem. It included wrong phone numbers, old addresses, out-of-network doctors and physicians who no longer practiced.

Data flaws at the root

Data on medical providers, including address and phone number, are only 48% accurate, according to a press release from Ribbon.

The flaws directly affect patients who want to compare procedure prices. As it turned out, one in three patients were skipping care due to cost concerns. Therefore, “there is a critical need for accurate data on providers, specialties, and insurance that takes price transparency and quality into account.”

Consumers can easily find the address for a local restaurant, Maslak said. The same can’t be said for patients. They might be looking for a phone number to make an appointment for a critical MRI. Or they might want to confirm they are seeing a clinician who is in-network and of high quality. Malslak wants “no unexpected costs associated with their care visit.”

Ribbon’s application programming interface (API) delivers data across providers, insurance, conditions and procedures treated. Plus it supplies cost and quality metrics.

Ribbon has raised a total of $55 million in funding, according to the press release.

WashU Olin’s BSBA program flew up eight spots to No. 4 in Poets & Quants for Undergraduates‘ 2022 ranking of four-year undergraduate programs, released last week. In its report on the ranking, P&Q took note of Olin’s strong third in the ranking’s admissions category and fourth in career outcomes.

“Our BSBA program is one of the jewels in Olin’s crown,” Olin Dean Mark P. Taylor said. “We are proud of the strength of the program and the remarkable alumni it has produced. We have faced strong competition over the past few years, with a number of leading business schools entering the full-time BSBA space for the first time.”

The P&Q ranking equally weights three major categories—admissions standards, alumni experience and career outcomes. This year, the online business education site tweaked its methodology “to accommodate for universities going standardized-testing optional because of the pandemic or dropping standardized tests altogether.”

Taylor said Olin’s team has worked continuously to innovate on and improve the program, with a focus on adding more high-impact experiences for our students, including residencies at the Brookings Institution and more experiential, global and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Students also benefit from a recent redesign of Olin’s Weston Career Center, he said, which now provides dedicated career advisors who follow students throughout their college journey, along with industry experts and a business development team that opens career doors to both students and alumni.

Though the P&Q ranking gave a strong showing to Olin’s admissions and career outcomes, Taylor took note that “the results show areas for improvement” related to the school’s 29th-place finish in the alumni survey section.

Taylor said faculty and staff are conducting a deep review and update of the BSBA curriculum and program.

Wharton Business School topped the 2022 P&Q ranking, followed by Georgetown University and the University of Southern California. After WashU Olin, the University of Virginia rounds out the top five.