Tag: Undergraduate

Marleigh Friedman, BSBA

Next in a series of Olin Blog features on recent alumni.

Marleigh Friedman, BSBA ’20, started as an art major before finding business in the first formational undergraduate course. That ultimately led to a career with a global company and an appreciation for the complexity of business and its interconnectedness.

​​What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

I am an analyst in high jewelry at Tiffany & Company, where I manage gemstone jewelry. This encompasses building the pieces from start to finish, including the selection and purchasing of gemstones. My Olin education helped me to develop a business mindset, build important analytical skills, and promote interpersonal communication and networking, which opened doors at my current company as well as at my prior positions.

What Olin course, “defining moment” or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

Management 100 was the first class I took in Olin, and it convinced me to transfer from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. I loved learning about different business models and the potential global impact. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so learning about the origin of a business and how to grow it specifically intrigued me.

How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?

I am very close with many of my Olin classmates, and, although they are spread throughout the country and are very busy, I try to see them as much as possible and keep in touch at least virtually.

Why is business education important?

Understanding how the economy works and how current events impact it is important when entering the “real world,” no matter which career path one has chosen. It is also important to understand finances and how everything relates to the economy on a national and global scale. When seeking a position at a company, this education becomes invaluable.

What advice would you give current Olin students?

Study abroad, take advantage of as many academic and extracurricular opportunities as realistically possible and make connections with a diverse group of students. Additionally, connect with your professors as they can be great resources!

How has the pandemic influenced your thinking about doing business locally or globally—or your career?

The pandemic shifted my career by making me think about business on both a local and global scale.

My original plan was to work in merchandising at Macy’s after graduation, a national company. However, with work becoming remote, I was able to travel more and experience the world. Although I had planned to have a longer career at Macy’s, exploring my options led me to Tiffany & Co. this year, working on a global scale.

The company is a part of LVMH, a large French conglomerate that owns hundreds of luxury brands, with opportunity for sector interaction and an international presence.

It is incredibly interesting and rewarding to learn how our businesses differ globally, especially comparing it to my experience at a national company.

Diane Keaggy, Campus Life senior news director in University Marketing & Communications, originally wrote this for The Source.

Washington University in St. Louis sophomore Aisha Adedayo could not afford an unpaid internship this summer. And Cam Loyet, a 2021 graduate of Olin Business School and founder of Honeymoon Chocolates, could not afford to add payroll to his burgeoning startup.

Still, they had so much to offer each other. Adedayo had energy and an entrepreneurial spirit, while Loyet had experience launching a successful brand.

Enter the St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellowship, one of 11 Washington University programs that pays students to intern at St. Louis nonprofits, startups and businesses. An initiative of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the yearlong fellowship provides fellows a $3,000 stipend and free university housing so they can live and learn in St. Louis.  

Gabriela Pedreros

“St. Louis has such a vibrant startup scene, and I got to experience it firsthand,” said Adedayo, who, along with sophomore Gabriela Pedreros, worked at Honeymoon Chocolates’ retail store and commercial kitchen in Clayton. Adedayo, a member of the Beyond Boundaries program, is a student in Olin Business School, as is Pedreros. “I helped increase conversion through conducting email marketing, organizing events, shooting product photographs and redesigning the packaging—basically whatever was needed in the moment.” 

This summer, Washington University programs distributed stipends totaling some $625,000 to about 165 students who had unpaid or underpaid internships in the St. Louis region. The students worked in nearly every field, administering medicine to sick animals at the Wildlife Rescue Center, studying drug-delivery systems for med-tech startup UN & UP, directing young actors at the Center of Creative Arts, investigating pollution complaints for the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, and more. 

In addition, the university paid more than 4,000 students approximately $27 million in wages for summer internships, fellowships, research positions and other campus jobs. Summer associates in the Office of Sustainability helped plan the university’s transition to EV fleet vehicles; interns in University Marketing & Communications wrote articles for the Record; and summer researchers at the Institute for Public Health conducted pediatric research. 

And the Office of Undergraduate Research provided 106 students with $400,000 in grants to conduct independent, faculty-mentored research in St. Louis.

These real-world experiences on and off campus prepare students for future careers, strengthen the St. Louis region and fuel the local economy, said II Luscri, managing director of the Skandalaris Center. He said students who intern in St. Louis are more likely to start their careers here.

“Part of our job at WashU is to help prepare our students to succeed whether that be in their own business, a private company, a nonprofit organization, a government agency or a graduate program,” Luscri said. “We are lucky to be in a region that gives our students so many opportunities to be creative problem solvers. But we also have an obligation to St. Louis. The ‘in St. Louis’ of Washington University in St. Louis matters.”  

Read the full story here.

Top photo: Aisha Adedayo learned about marketing, supply chain management and manufacturing during her summer internship at startup Honeymoon Chocolates in Clayton. Here, Adedayo consults with founder Cam Loyet, who earned a master’s degree in business administration from Olin Business School in 2021. (Photos by Paul Nordmann/Washington University)

Jimmy Zhou, who recently transferred to Olin from Arts & Sciences, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

When I first arrived in Israel, it was a big culture shock. The way people lived was completely different from in the US. The most memorable experience during the trip was the weekend trip to Jerusalem and celebrating Shabbat. I’m not Jewish and have had little interaction with Jewish traditions and culture. I was unfamiliar with the meaning of Shabbat and only thought about how inconvenient it was for everything to be closed for an entire day. My opinion changed after the trip to Jerusalem.

The change first started with our visit to the Western Wall in the hour before the sun went down and Shabbat officially started. It was amazing sight. The wall was packed with people, and the atmosphere was one of a kind with everyone dancing and celebrating. I got the opportunity to join a prayer circle in in front of the wall. At first, I felt out of place as I didn’t know the words or how the prayers went. As time went on, however, I started to feel immersed in the festivities and religion. 

Dinner with an orthodox family

The next part was celebrating Shabbat dinner with an orthodox family. I learned so much about the history and the traditions of Shabbat, like the handwashing ritual that signifies purity. After the visit, I now know a lot more about the meaning and focus of the dinner. At first, I thought it would be a more religiously oriented. I was surprised to learn that the focus is to spend time with friends and family and relax. It made me realize how important it was to not overwork myself and to take breaks.

After that visit, every time Shabbat came around, I would take a break from doing homework and just value the time to spend with friends, whether it’s grabbing food or throwing a frisbee around on the beach.

It is a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life, and it’s all because of ISBA. I am so grateful to have been a part of this program and hope everyone gets a similar chance.

Alexis Taub, BSBA

Next in a series of Olin Blog features on recent alumni.

Alexis Taub, BSBA ’15, worked in finance until the pandemic hit, and she pivoted into entrepreneurship, launching her own jewelry company and marketing her products to retail stores, designers and social influencers. Without that nudge, she might not have ever tested her entrepreneurial spirit.

What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?

Last year, I joined my mom’s jewelry manufacturing business, Madison 501, and started my own jewelry company, Alexis Jae Jewelry. At Madison 501, we manufacture fine jewelry for some of the nation’s largest retail stores, designers and social influencers.

Through Alexis Jae Jewelry, customers can purchase fine jewelry at up to 50% off traditional retail prices. My education at Olin exposed me to all aspects of a business. I learned everything from supply chain to marketing. Having a broad understanding of everything business is valuable every day. Whether speaking to our accountants or marketers, I can understand the concepts they are discussing because of the courses I took at Olin.

What Olin course, “defining moment” or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

The most influential course I took was Business in Israel. Over spring break, we visited many companies in Israel, from small start-ups to large intuitions. After that trip, I knew I would eventually start my own business.

How do you stay engaged with Olin or classmates and friends?

I made some of my closest friends in Olin, whom I speak to almost daily.

Why is business education important?

My favorite classes that I took were all in Olin. My Olin classes gave me the skills I needed for my first and subsequent jobs. I learned practical skills that I apply to everyday life.

What advice would you give current Olin students?

Use your time at Olin to figure out what excites you most. There are so many different types of classes and areas to explore. Go in with an open mind in terms of your career to figure out what you’re most passionate about.

Did the pandemic influence your thinking about global business or your career?

Up until the pandemic, I was working in finance. Since recreational activities were limited during the pandemic, I spent my free time working on Alexis Jae Jewelry. I grew Alexis Jae to the point that it was sustainable to do it full time. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I’m not sure I would have ever taken the time to start a side business while at my job, but I am so happy I did.

Jordan and Ellen Federbush, both BSBA

In this spotlight about recent alumni, you’ll meet Jordan and Ellen Federbush, who are both involved with their alumni community in Chicago after earning their BSBA degrees in 2016. Ellen works for venture capital firm Cleveland Avenue and serves an associate member of the WashU alumni board of governors. She’s also involved in the Alumni and Parents Admission Program. Jordan is an investment professional for The Pritzker Organization.

Tell us about your job and how Olin affected your career

Jordan Federbush: I am an investment professional for The Pritzker Organization, the family office for Tom Pritzker. I work on middle market private equity and venture capital investments across a variety of industries. My time at Olin taught me how to analyze the key strengths and weaknesses of a company, which is critical to evaluating an investment opportunity. The Olin network was also invaluable in helping me get my internship and first job in investment banking, which is where I learned the foundational skills that allowed me to move into private equity.

Ellen Federbush: I work at Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm that invests in food, beverage and technology companies. In my role, I focus on a wide variety of areas including investor relations, the Principal’s family office, and companywide strategic initiatives.

My time at Olin helped prepare me to confidently present and speak in front of a large audience, which has been crucial in all of my jobs since graduation.

Ellen Federbush, BSBA ’16

Additionally, working in teams on various cases throughout my time at Olin prepared me for the teamwork that has been required to complete many of the larger initiatives that I have worked on at Cleveland Avenue.

Did a particular course, “defining moment” or faculty member influence you?

Ellen Federbush: Mark Schlafly, a career coach at the Weston Career Center, was a very influential faculty member during my time at Olin. During my junior year, I was still trying to figure out exactly what type of job I was interested in after college. I studied finance, but knew I didn’t want to go into investment banking, which meant I had no idea what other job opportunities were out there for me.

When I went to speak with Mark, he spent time asking me questions to understand my strengths, weaknesses, the types of work I like to do, and also don’t like to do. Through this conversation, he was able to recommend that I consider a job in wealth management. I ended up recruiting for wealth management and worked at JP Morgan in the private bank as my first job out of college.

I think this was the perfect role for me as I was able to blend my passion for interacting with people along with my enthusiasm for analytics. Ultimately, my role at JPMorgan paved the way for me to find my current job at Cleveland Avenue.

How do you stay engaged with Olin and classmates/friends?

Jordan Federbush: I attend alumni events when they are hosted in Chicago. It also helps that my wife and I went to Olin together so we have a bunch of mutual friends that we see regularly in Chicago.

Ellen Federbush: I currently serve as an associate member of the Alumni Board of Governors (ABG) for WashU. Through ABG, I am able to visit campus twice a year and stay updated on the various initiatives in Olin and campuswide. Additionally, I make sure to attend all of the alumni events that are hosted in Chicago.

Why is business education important?

Jordan Federbush: I think business education prepares you for the professional world. How to collaborate with team members, frameworks for qualitative and quantitative analysis, problem solving, effective communication and presentation skills, among many others, are all skills that I learned and/or refined through my business education.

Ellen Federbush: In my opinion, studying business teaches you how to use critical thinking to solve problems big and small. Particularly, the various case competitions I participated in while at Olin allowed me to practice thinking about solutions to unstructured problems. This has been crucial for me in both of the jobs I have had after graduation as I often find myself working on tackling initiatives that don’t have a straightforward solution.   

What advice would you give Olin students?

Jordan Federbush: Use your internships to try different things and figure out what you want to do. Not sure if you want to do corporate finance or investment banking? Do an internship in corporate finance sophomore year before trying investment banking in junior year.

People will often tell you there is a pre-defined path you have to follow to break into a particular industry, but if you work hard during your internship to make a good impression and build a network of advocates, you will be able to pivot into whatever you decide is the best next step.

Jordan Federbush, BSBA ’16

Ellen Federbush: I would highly recommend students find a way to study abroad. If you can’t go for a full semester, there are summer programs that can be a great option as well. It only gets more challenging to move to a country on the other side of the world as you get older, so take advantage of the opportunity. My semester abroad in London was my favorite semester of college because I was able to gain exposure to so many other cultures while traveling around Europe on the weekends. Meeting people from all different backgrounds allowed me to gain a more global perspective of the world, and I believe that this has helped me connect with people in the business world.

Has the pandemic influenced your business or career thinking?

Jordan Federbush: First, the pandemic provided increased flexibility and better balance in what is typically demanding industry. Finance is an industry where it’s possible to remain effective at many things while working remotely, and in general it feels as though the pandemic has made everyone a bit more understanding and respectful of commitments outside of work. While the ability to work in a hybrid environment is great, the pandemic has also made me realize the value of in-person interaction for relationship building. I previously did not appreciate the difference between an in-person meeting vs. a phone call or video conference as much, but I now see the importance of face-to-face interaction particularly when it comes to establishing and building relationships with new people.

Ellen Federbush: The pandemic showed me that the majority of my job can be done remotely if needed. This was very eye opening because it allowed my team to have meetings with people all across the country without the time commitment of flying to these various locations. I think that this has greatly improved our company’s efficiency because we can have a virtual first meeting with a potential partner to determine if it is worth the resources to have an in-person follow-up meeting. Sometimes in these initial calls, we are able to quickly learn that our businesses are not a match. This saves our team some unnecessary travel time that can be used to focus on other projects or allows people to spend extra time with their families.