Tag: Undergraduate



During unprecedented times, the WashU Olin community is coming together as the community we truly are. Though students, faculty and staff span across the city, the country and even the world, setting up virtual study spaces everywhere from New York to India, we’re working to maintain that sense of community, collaboration and friendship that defines the WashU Olin experience.

As virtual classes started this Monday, March 23, students and faculty took the time to document their classroom “views” for the Olin blog.

Doug Villhard, professor of entrepreneurship, asked students to share what their “study spaces” look like.

Top row, left to right: Kaila Pederson (MBA ’21) confronts the challenge of a small space and embraces innovation to create a desk; Marguerite Whitelaw (MBA ’21).


Bottom row, left to right: Lexi Lessaris (MBA ’21) and her co-worker Lola; Ellen Kenzora (MBA ’21).

Students and faculty also shared moments from their virtual classroom spaces and team meetings on Zoom.

Left column, top to bottom: Tom Fields’ Strategic Cost Analysis class, submitted by Nitish Yadav (MBA ’21); EMBA 54’s first virtual class, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, taught by Nick Argyres; Barton Hamilton’s Compensation, Incentives and Organizing, submitted by Nidhi Kandari (MBA ’21).


Right column: Peter Boumgarden, professor of practice, strategy and organizations, teaches a group of undergraduates.

Teams and student groups won’t let distance stop them from getting great things done.

CEL practicum team works on a project for Midwest Bank Center.

From left to right, top to bottom: Hannah Levin, Lael Bialek, Bruno Moreira Yamamura, Lin Xie, Frankie Hong, Chris Colon (not pictured).

The Graduate Business Student Association’s incoming leadership team holds their first meeting.

Top row: Ellen Kenzora, Kendra Kelly, Shivani Jain

Middle row: Raphael Kodjoe, Nidhi Kandari, Dolapo Ojutiku

Bottom row: Gina Wang

Not pictured:  Gaurav Gupta

And staff and faculty have shared their new personal workspaces.

From left to right
Row 1: Brooke Van Groningen (Assistant Brand Manager, Marketing & Communications), Ashley Macrander (Assistant Dean & Director of Student Affairs),

Row 2: Todd Milbourn (Vice Dean of Faculty & Research); Glenn MacDonald (Professor of Economics & Strategy), Allison Dietz (WCC Employer Relations Lead),

Row 3: Dorothy Kittner (WCC Associate Director & Dean of Business Relations) Paige LaRose (Director of Undergraduate Programs), Amy VanEssendelft (CEL Senior Program Manager),

Row 4: Heather Cameron (Professor of Practice, in Berlin), Molly Cruitt (Social Media Strategist, Marketing & Communications), Jodi Heen (Faculty Support).

Though we are far apart now, WashU Olin remains together as a community. We can’t wait for our students, faculty and staff to be on one campus once again. Until then, a virtual cheers and best wishes for a great semester.




GiftAMeal is a St. Louis startup founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The following is a press release from the organization.

Andrew Glantz (BSBA ’17), founder, GiftAMeal

GiftAMeal, a St. Louis based mobile app, is stepping up in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that has hit our community so hard. Today [March 18], GiftAMeal announced an ambitious five-point plan to provide relief to struggling restaurants and the most at-risk segments of our society.

GiftAMeal is a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo in a partner restaurant. Just two weeks ago, they announced they had reached 200 partner restaurants, with 400,000 meals provided to those in need.

Founder & CEO of GiftAMeal, Andrew Glantz, explained, “A majority of the community members supported through GiftAMeal are children and the elderly. Schools are closing, and children relying on meals normally provided are facing a new challenge as social services scramble to readjust. At the same time, older community members, the most at-risk population for COVID-19, need our support now more than ever.”

Glantz continued, “Just as the community is struggling, so are many restaurants in the face of public health guidelines designed to contain the spread of this virus. Employees depend on their jobs to pay bills and make rent, and our partners are doing their best to mitigate the effects of this crisis on their staff. But they cannot do it without the support of the public.”

Seeking to assist both local restaurants and those at-risk in the community, Glantz announced the following plan:

Donation program available for delivery/pickup/offsite customers

With the mandated closing this week of dining rooms across the bistate area, Glantz’s team quickly devised a big change to their program that was previously only available to in-restaurant customers at partnering locations.

“We just launched an update to the GiftAMeal app that will temporarily allow users to take pictures off-site to donate meals for takeout, delivery, and gift card purchases. We will do this by lifting the location requirement of needing to be at a partner restaurant when you take the photo and we will move to manual verification. PLEASE support our local partner restaurants that are struggling during this difficult time.” – Glantz

Immediate financial support of hunger relief agencies – $5,000 matching challenge

“Having spoken to Operation Food Search about their needs, we will be making our donations for the next few months early to provide immediate funding to get food to those facing hunger. We may be a small startup with limited means but we’re launching a campaign to match donations, up to $5,000, for our food bank partner. If you would like to contribute, click here: http://weblink.donorperfect.com/GiftAMealMatch.” – Glantz

Publicity for restaurants undergoing fast changes

With hundreds of restaurants forced to quickly find new avenues to pay their staff, Glantz is keeping the app’s 35,000+ loyal restaurant customers aware of all avenues to support their favorite restaurants:

“We will keep you up-to-date on the latest with our partner restaurants on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many are expanding take-out and delivery programs to keep serving the community and are implementing extremely thorough health precautions to keep us all safe.” – Glantz

Direct coordination of food donations from restaurants

We are working to coordinate food donations with Operation Food Search. If you know of any restaurant that has a surplus that is interested in donating food to the community, please let me know or have them contact Jack Baran of OFS directly at jack.baran@operationfoodsearch.org. It’s tax-deductible too!– Glantz

Program cost relief for struggling restaurants

In a message to restaurants (who normally pay $49-$149/month to fund the program costs and donations), Glantz extended an offer to self-fund the program for restaurants unable to contribute in the months of March and April so that food donations and restaurant customers could continue to flow at a time when they are most needed. When asked how he came to that decision, he explained,

“We are a small startup with limited means, but this is a time where we can shine the brightest. It’s important to me that our donations continue to flow to hunger relief organizations, and I know that the visibility of restaurants on our platform can have a big impact on cash-flow for these local businesses. I’ve always been struck by the generosity and love of community that our partner restaurant operators have shown, and even if it’s a drop in the bucket, I am going to help however I can.”

The response by the community has been overwhelmingly positive and grateful. Kristen Wild, Executive Director of Operation Food Search, commented on GiftAMeal’s fast and community-centered response:

 “We are so very grateful to GiftAMeal for its innovative approach to providing more people with access to healthy food. Socially-conscious businesses like this are changing the way people approach giving, and the generous support of GiftAMeal is making an impact in our community every day.”

The free GiftAMeal app is available on iPhone and Android devices – giftameal.com/download

If you need help during this time, please visit www.operationfoodsearch.org/emergency-response-2020.

Check out www.giftameal.com for more information.

Facebook: facebook.com/giftameal

Instagram: instagram.com/giftameal

Twitter: twitter.com/giftameal




Varsity Tutors, founded by Olin alumnus and CEO Chuck Cohn, launched free online classes Monday for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“As schools closed this week in response to COVID-19, the speed of change being forced upon the lives of parents has many scrambling just to keep their kids occupied—hopefully with something constructive,” Cohn said in a letter on the company’s site announcing the launch of Virtual School Day.

“We believe parents shouldn’t have to carry this burden alone,” Cohn said.

Cohn, BSBA ’08 and a 2017 Emerging Leader Honoree, started the company on WashU’s campus. It’s now the nation’s leading provider of one-on-one instruction and headquartered in Clayton.

“We decided there was an opportunity to step up in a big way,” Cohn told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Monday.

The platform includes math, reading, writing, literature and science courses for every grade level, expert-guided study hall sessions and age-appropriate enrichment units, such as “the science of pandemics” for middle schoolers, the newspaper reported.

Cohen said Varsity Tutors won’t profit from the free classes, but he thinks the coronavirus crisis will make online learning more mainstream. “People being open to online learning is a good long-term trend, and that’s why we felt obligated to help right now.”




Nine tiny lines of type near the back of Olin Business magazine’s 2017 edition announced Nate Maslak’s new venture, HealthWiz, “which helps lower healthcare costs for employers and payers by helping consumers navigate their healthcare costs and access high-quality, cost-efficient care.”

Three years and one brand change later, Maslak, BSBA ’11, and the company he runs—Ribbon Health—landed a $10.25 million round of Series A funding led by well-known venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The infusion marks the first investment from Andreessen’s new $750 million healthcare fund.

“Nate was a rock star entrepreneurship student as an undergrad at Olin,” said former Olin entrepreneurship professor Cliff Holekamp in an email about the investment. “His success is no surprise.”

The company had nailed down two earlier seed funding rounds, according to the Crunchbase startup directory. Details on those early rounds were not available. The Series A round led by Andreessen closed on February 27, 2020.

A story about the funding round on TechCrunch explained that Ribbon Health “is trying to create an accurate database of what doctors and health plans have, which specializations offer their services to which insurance providers, and produce the best outcomes for patients.”

Nine individuals or firms participated in the Series A investment for Ribbon Health, including Y Combinator and New York-based early-stage investment fund BoxGroup, according to Crunch Base.

“This funding will help us bring our healthcare data platform to more payers, providers, and other healthcare stakeholders, allowing them to break through the information barriers in healthcare,” Maslak, CEO and cofounder, wrote in a blog post on the Ribbon Health website.




Grant Goldman, BSBA ’17, wrote this for the Olin Blog. He wrote in to report that his company, PAIR Eyewear, will be presenting their concept on the episode of Shark Tank, airing tonight (7 p.m. central) on ABC television.

UPDATE 3/16/20: PAIR Eyewear received a $400,000 deal during the March 6 appearance. Read more.

Olin and WashU have played an instrumental role in my career thus far. I arrived at Olin knowing I wanted to be “in business,” but not certain about which vertical. I began in the finance track, but after several introductory business school courses, like Management 100, I found a love for marketing.

While I wanted to start my career in marketing, financial literacy was still crucial. Through my finance coursework, I found myself in Managerial Accounting with Professor Zawadi Lemayian. And even though I struggled with the coursework at times, Professor Lemayian became one of my closest confidants and a source of strength. We still chat regularly, and she continues to offer incredible advice, for which I can’t thank her enough.

Career launch

After graduation, I joined GREATS, a startup sneaker brand in Brooklyn, New York. There, I focused on analytics and digital marketing. Classes like Managerial Statistics and Marketing Research provided me with the knowledge and tools to raise the bar of analytical standards and processes at GREATS, even in an entry-level position. After about two years, I was promoted to manager of growth marketing and analytics, overseeing digital marketing, and eventually our more traditional, out-of-home efforts.

In August of 2019, GREATS was acquired by Steve Madden and I decided to explore new opportunities. I reconnected with a high school classmate, Sophia Edelstein, who had recently launched a direct-to-consumer children’s eyewear brand with her friend Nathan Kondamuri.

Pivot to peeps

As a second-grader, Nathan had to get glasses for the first time and found the experience to be medical and scary. After interviewing hundreds of families, they discovered not much had changed. With PAIR’s continually customizable frames and colorful options, kids are excited to wear glasses and change up their look every day. Having worn glasses since kindergarten, I immediately connected with their mission.

Although “Shark Tank” is an atypical way to fund a venture, it allowed us the opportunity to seek strategic investment from some of the most creative business minds. What’s more, it was the perfect platform to connect with the millions of viewers and families who have experienced the same challenges Nathan had as a child.

We’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible investors, having now raised $3 million in seed funding since launch in the summer of 2018. Most importantly, we’re proud to have helped thousands of families and kids be enthusiastic about their glasses and excited to wear them every day.

Pictured above: Grant Goldman, BSBA ’17, who is the head of growth for PAIR Eyewear. His company is presenting on “Shark Tank” tonight, although he himself will not be appearing.