Tag: Undergraduate

Justin Hardy, BSBA '21, graduated in December 2021.
Justin Hardy at his December 2021 graduation.

An amazing story about Olin alum and WashU athlete Justin Hardy, BSBA ’21, is making the rounds.

Hardy, 22, graduated in December after just three-and-a-half years—with a double major in accounting and finance while also playing a sport.

“What Justin is doing right now is a miracle,” Jack Nolan, a WashU basketball player who is teammate of Hardy, recently told television station KSDK-Channel 5’s Frank Cusumano.

What Hardy is doing is playing on while he battles stage 4 stomach cancer.

“Hardy is a really good basketball player,” KSDK reports. “He does all of the little things that makes teams great, and the Bears are just that. They are 12-1 on the season and are ranked No. 4 in the country.”

Hardy got the news of his cancer last April. At the time, he was dead lifting 450 pounds.

“The sadness was really tough at first just because I felt my life was kind of closing in on me,” Hardy told Cusumano in this piece, which aired January 17. “And there wasn’t going to be all the things that I loved in my life. I felt like most of things were gone and I was finished playing basketball.”

Hardy wasn’t finished. Athletes have come back after dealing with cancer, but how many play through the treatment?

‘Not like most’

“The prognosis isn’t pretty, but I am not like most,” he told KSDK. “This is pretty rare to see in a 21-year-old. My age and my health status are two things I really have going for me.

“You have to live your life. I am living in some of the best days of my life. This is one of the best years of my life that I have lived. I want to embrace the moment I am living in. Coming back and playing basketball and finishing my degree are two things that I really wanted to do.”

David Karandish in 2018.

Capacity, the St. Louis-based artificial intelligence software startup led by Olin alum and former Answers CEO David Karandish, plans to grow its team and expand its technology after closing its Series C financing.

The company announced an additional $27 million in Series C financing on January 19, closing out the round at more than $38 million.

To date, Capacity has raised more than $62 million, according to a press release from the company. The latest round, which comes on the heels of recognition from the EdTech Breakthrough AwardsFinTech Awards 2021 and KMWorld’s AI50, was led by existing investors.

Support automation

“The future of work is here,” said Karandish, a serial entrepreneur who received his BSCS from WashU in 2005 with a second major in entrepreneurship at Olin. “Companies are demanding better technology to keep their workforce connected.”

He said support automation “is the next big thing in helping businesses do their best work.”

"Taking a Punch" podcast featuring David Karandish

The helpdesk automation market is projected to exceed more than $17 billion by 2024.

“Capacity is well-positioned to empower teams to work productively and cohesively regardless of location,” according to the release. Capacity is an AI-powered support automation platform that connects a business’ entire tech stack to answer questions, automate repetitive support tasks and build solutions to business challenges.

Karandish and Chris Sims founded Capacity in 2017, and it is part of the Equity.com incubator.

More information can be found at Capacity’s website or on Twitter at @CapacityAI.

To learn more about Karandish’s experience as an entrepreneur, listen to this episode of Olin’s podcast, On Principle.

Top photo: David Karandish in 2018.

Tim Solberg

Todd Gormley, area chair of the faculty for finance, and Dean Mark P. Taylor shared this update to the WashU Olin community.

We are writing to let you know that Tim Solberg has been appointed as the academic director for the business of the arts minor at WashU Olin. The business of the arts minor integrates specialized coursework, experiential learning and rich networking opportunities for undergraduate students looking to gain a deeper understanding of how business principles apply to a range of arts-related fields.

Launched in 2018, the program offers students a framework of business, financial, marketing and strategic approaches for managing a career out of their artistic pursuits.

Tim joined the Olin faculty in 2018. He is a professor of practice in finance as well as the academic director of the corporate finance and investments platform. He will lead the business of the arts minor program in opportunities that engage faculty, students, alumni, and community members.

The minor launched with a generous donation from Richard Ritholz, BSBA ’84, his wife Linda, who expressed a commitment to challenging students to practice their artistic endeavors with rigor and business savvy. The Ritholz’s donation is targeting the creation of new courses, experiential learning opportunities in the arts, scholarship funding and internship stipends, and paying for faculty members to teach and publicize the program.

“I am excited to be the academic director of the business of the arts program. I have always had a deep commitment to the arts, whether performing or design, or literature,” Tim said.

“We are designing a program that will have on-site experiential learning with fashion and garment design and creation, gallerists and museum managers, theater and media producers to learn the backstage operations methods. With my teaching experience in arts management at the premier arts and media management school in Chicago, Columbia College, and my own musical education, I am eager to mix finance and management with the arts and provide a hands-on experience for the students.”

In addition to his background in the arts, Tim has worked 30 years in finance, including as a corporate banker and investment advisor for endowment and foundation trustees on their asset allocation and spending policies.

Congratulations to Tim on this new role.

Ally Gerard, BSBA ’22, wrote this post for the Olin Blog.

Ally Gerard

A team of Olin Business School undergraduates came out on top of this fall’s WashU Business of Sports Society (BOSS) competition. Olin partnered with local Major League Soccer expansion team St. Louis CITY SC, which hosted a national sports business case competition.

The competition, sponsored by the Olin Business School and the Weston Career Center, featured a case from CITY SC on subscription-based consumer loyalty programs and possible marketing activations for its local kit sponsor, Purina.

Six teams across four universities (WashU, Duke, UCLA, UNC-Chapel Hill) participated in the two-month competition. They were evaluated on blind submissions.

The idea for the competition began in April 2021, after organizers noticed the success of other collegiate sports business case competitions. As a student in the Olin Sports Business Program and former president of BOSS, I knew a comparable event would appeal to our students and to sports business students across the nation.

After I pitched the concept to the undergraduate office, I secured a generous $3,000 donation from Olin and the WCC for prize money. With this funding in place, the next step was to find a partner for the actual case material.

CITY SC was the obvious choice because of its ties to the St. Louis community and the start-up business environment in advance of their 2023 inaugural season. With the help of CITY SC Chief Brand Architect Lee Broughton, we developed the case material and competition logistics to launch at the end of the summer.

Throughout August and September, teams compiled and recorded a virtual presentation for CITY SC leadership detailing how the club could develop a subscription-based membership program to drive monetary and brand value beyond ticket sales. Student recommendations placed a strong emphasis on ideals like community and loyalty, and they focused on ways to meet the needs of all fan profiles.

‘Blown away’

Jeremy Tripp

Broughton and CITY SC’s Director of Loyalty Jeremy Tripp evaluated the blind submissions. Tripp, PMBA 32, recounted he was “genuinely blown away” by the quality of the students’ presentations and their clear understanding of the club’s strategy.

“The presentations were polished and well-researched, and each brought a creative perspective to solving key problems that would not only set our club apart but would do so by improving our entire region,” he said.

Jeanette Smith

In the end, the winning team of five Olin undergraduates included team lead Jeanette Smith, BSBA ’24, Quade Pohlman, BSBA ’24, Spencer Min, BSBA ’24, Larry Liu, BSBA ’24, and Tommaso Maiocco, BSBA ’24.

Reflecting on their participation, they found this experience valuable for applying their coursework and professional skills to actual business situations. Smith described feeling “very fulfilled … and that the experience had greatly contributed to my professional development.”

For a business school that places experiential learning opportunities at the forefront, this competition was both professionally and personally rewarding for its nationwide participants.

I cannot thank St. Louis CITY SC, the Weston Career Center and Olin Business School’s undergraduate office enough for taking a chance on this new event. I hope to see future generations of sports business students continue the partnership in the future!

Princeton Review entrepreneurship ranking badge for its 2022 ranking.

Washington University in St. Louis and Olin Business School got more good news this week about their entrepreneurship education programs, this time from The Princeton Review‘s 16th annual ranking of undergraduate and graduate schools for entrepreneurship studies.

Nationally, the school’s undergraduate program placed seventh in the ranking, up two spots from last year’s #9 ranking. The graduate program notched a 13th-place showing, also up year-over-year from 15th. The publication also ranked schools regionally; in the Midwest, Olin ranked first for its undergraduate program and fourth for its graduate program.

The Princeton Review‘s ranking comes on the heels of the third annual ranking of MBA entrepreneurship programs by Poets & Quants, which placed WashU Olin in first place for the third consecutive year.

“At WashU, entrepreneurship is highly experiential and collaborative. We encourage our students to connect with the St. Louis community and beyond, thus expanding their network. Most notably, the majority of entrepreneurial opportunities at WashU are open to ALL undergrad and grad students, faculty, staff, postdocs, and alumni”, said II Luscri, assistant vice provost for innovation and entrepreneurship and managing director of the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It is this blend of curricular and co-curricular; campus and community; creativity and entrepreneurship; not bound to discipline or school, that distinguishes our entrepreneurial offerings.”

Support of WashU student entrepreneurs has been crucial for venture success. In the last 10 years, 279 companies founded by undergraduate students have engaged with the Skandalaris Center and gone on to raise a combined $5.2 billion. Of those companies, 62% are still in business today.

On the graduate side, in the last 10 years, 240 companies started by WashU graduate students have engaged with the Skandalaris Center and eventually raised a combined total of nearly $288 million. Of those, 55% are still in business today.

“Since the mid-2000s when we first reported these ranking lists, student interest in entrepreneurship has grown dramatically, as has the commitment to entrepreneurship studies within higher education,” Rob Franek, The Princeton Review‘s editor-in-chief, said in a written statement. “We heartily recommend the fine schools that made our entrepreneurship studies ranking lists this year. Their faculties are outstanding. Their programs have robust experiential components, and their students receive awesome mentoring and networking support that will serve them for years to come.”

The Princeton Review‘s ranking is based on the results of a 60-question survey, which collects data on the percentage of faculty, students, and alumni actively and successfully involved in entrepreneurial endeavors; the number and reach of mentorship programs; scholarships and grants for entrepreneurial studies; and the level of support for school-sponsored business plan competitions.

Read more here about The Princeton Review’s entrepreneurship ranking.

This coming semester will be the first spring Olin will send students abroad since 2020. They’ll immerse themselves in other cultures for the entire semester in Chile, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

We asked five of our soon-to-travel BSBA students, all Class of 2023, about their plans and hopes as they go abroad. After all, this is International Education Week, celebrating the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Closer to home, of course, Olin is globally oriented. It’s one of our four pillars of excellence.

“I haven’t spent much time out of the US, so this will be an entirely new experience for me,” Emma Guarnero said. She’s heading to Santiago, Chile, and is looking forward to mastering Spanish and learning about the indigenous culture there.

“I’m also looking forward to living with a host family and, hopefully, developing a strong relationship with them,” she said. Overall, she said, she’s hoping to gain a more global perspective “and begin to understand the world outside of my bubble in the US.”

Eventually, Guarnero intends to work in Latin America. “I’m planning on working as an international human rights attorney or in Latin American economic development. I’m hopeful that this experience will give me clarity into which career path I want to pursue.”

‘An expanded mindset’

Originally, Brock Mullen was bound for Singapore, but that program was canceled. So, he’s heading to Dublin.

“In high school, I had some wonderful opportunities to travel abroad with my church and my school,” he said. “I have been to Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Germany and Turkey with my high school, and I participated in a service trip in Jamaica.”

He’s counting on his semester in Ireland to help him deepen his appreciation of other cultures. “By having an expanded mindset, I’ll be able to make more well-rounded and thorough decisions in my career. Adding a global perspective will make me a more valuable asset for my future employers.” 

Mullen said he hopes to one day join the ranks of upper management for a successful company. After he graduates, he’s bound for Microsoft’s finance rotation program, which is its leadership development pipeline.

Jaya Tewari already has traveled to 13 countries and heads to Madrid this spring. “I’m most excited to meet other students from around the world and experience a new culture.”

She intends to work in the sports industry, and she said she is curious to learn if experiencing European soccer culture will confirm her desire to work internationally.

Ireland has fascinated Andrew Weiss since high school, when he studied European history and Irish English literature. “I’ve always wanted to study abroad, and I am very excited to visit Ireland for the first time.”

At University College Dublin, he plans to combine his passions of European history and business. He also said he hopes to meet new, lifelong friends and develop a deeper understanding of Irish culture.

“I’m very excited to build a business network abroad,” he said.  “I have learned so much about the value of networking at WashU.” 

When his time in Ireland is over, he’ll be off to New York City for an investment banking internship at DC Advisory. “I am very open minded to what the future may hold, but I believe I have narrowed it down to banking or private equity as the space I am most interested in.” 

Jason Jin said he’s not yet sure where he wants to go with his career. For now, he’s taking it a semester at a time and excited about the next one, which he’ll spend in Milan.

“I’m hoping to broaden my worldview and expand my appreciation for the Italian culture,” said Jin, who has visited Russia, Spain, England and China. “I think this experience abroad may allow me to be more open to potentially working abroad as well.”

Pictured from left top row: Emma Guarnero, Jason Jin, Brock Mullen, Jaya Tewari and Andrew Weiss.