Tag: Undergraduate

Students display posters to culminate work in Managerial Statistics II.

Eli Snir, senior lecturer in management for WashU Olin Business School, wrote this for the Olin Blog.

When thinking about the value of business education, one invariably ends up realizing that a business school is all about integrating multiple disciplines into a coherent analysis.

Yes, business classes involve statistics, marketing, accounting, strategy and finance. But to realize the value of these, integration across disciplines is key. That’s the objective of the poster session in the Managerial Statistics II course, DAT 121, a required undergraduate course that draws mostly second-year undergraduates.

Gabriella Dorman, Amy Ma and Jamie Kornheiser with the author, Eli Snir.

Students choose a project of their own to demonstrate the skills they learned in the class, which are primarily multiple linear regression. Throughout the semester, our student groups work on their projects to hone their skills. The poster session is the culmination of this effort. Students present their work on posters to other students, faculty and staff.

Some of the posters that students displayed

Our key motto at WashU Olin is a value-based, data-driven, approach to decision-making. Each person brings their values to bear when choosing a project to analyze. Topics encompass the vast breadth of student interests, including public health, consumer engagement, movie success, financial markets, video game industry analysis, house prices and the always-popular sports analyses. Statistics is the tool that combines all of these together.

Lera Wilson, Cole Wesley, the author and Joyce Zhao

Through rigorous analytical methods, students develop models to understand the relationships between the independent variables and their chosen dependent variable. Often, these models assist in making decisions. We are laying the foundation for a data-driven approach that should guide students throughout their professional career.

A poster session is a format that is professional while being somewhat relaxed. The diverse audience in attendance challenges students to prepare a message that is managerial while showing their technical accomplishments. Casual visitors to Olin are interested in understanding the managerial insights from these analyses.

Jamie Nicholson, Alice Han, the author and Breanna Yang

On the other hand, faculty stop by, too. They frequently want these presentations to exemplify students’ technical skills. Questions often require students to justify the methodologies they chose and explain statistical processes that are utilized. Fortunately, Olin students shine on both accounts. They represent the success of our programs.

And don’t forget the food. We enjoyed high-quality snacks throughout the event.

Pictured at top: The author, Eli Snir, with Avi Holzman, Kate Sifferlen and Omeed Moshirfar.

J.T. Mosbacher, in a blue striped shirt, seated next to his wife, Heidi Morris-Mosbacher, in a white blouse.

What happens when you combine a profound appreciation for the power of education, deep gratitude for opportunities opened by a scholarship, setting priorities, and career success?

For J.T. Mosbacher and Heidi Morris-Mosbacher, you get the chance to be among the youngest alumni ever to endow a scholarship for future business students at WashU Olin Business School.

“Education and philanthropy are very important to our family. It has shaped who we are,” said J.T., AB 2010/PMBA 2015. “These are some of our biggest priorities. Heidi and I have deep discussions about how to pave the path forward.”

Indeed, for Heidi, AB 2009, it’s a perfect opportunity to give back after being a self-described “scholarship kid.” Thirteen years after graduating from WashU, she was excited to let her own scholarship donor know of their gift.

Both J.T. and Heidi work as financial advisors for Edward Jones in St. Louis, where they take great pride in serving in coaching roles with their clients, helping them to set and achieve goals. The couple sees the ability to endow a scholarship as an extension of some of the work they do with clients—prioritizing and establishing a legacy.

Impacting lives ‘in perpetuity’

“We’ve been blessed with career success,” Heidi said. “Our hope is that we can impact the lives of others in perpetuity. With what we do for a living, we are confronted by the following questions: ‘What do we want our legacy to look like? What impact do we want to have on the world?’ on a near daily basis. I see our legacy as threefold: the human beings we shape our children into, philanthropy, and being a part of our clients’ life stories.”

The couple also hopes to instill these values into their three children.  “Our hope is that our actions will inspire them and others along the way,” said J.T.

The pair met at WashU thanks, in part, to what J.T. described as his “snaking path” to a career. Initially, he felt pressure to declare a major early on and chose architecture but soon realized that was not going to be his career. “Going to a university that was forgiving if I changed my major was a prerequisite.  I also have a second major in American Culture Studies,” he said. “That’s how I met Heidi. She’s a dual major in Political Science and American Culture Studies.”

For her part, Heidi found a path as a WashU student looking into investment research. “I didn’t grow up around investing jargon. I didn’t know what stocks or bonds were,” she said. “I stumbled upon investing my freshman year and ended up in a brokerage firm office at 18 years old telling them I wanted to open an account. The advisor looked at me and asked if my parents knew I was there.”

Her path eventually led her to study at the London School of Economics.

Enduring influence of WashU

“Not only do I enjoy wealth management and financial planning, the true highlight of my career is forming relationships with the families that I serve,” she said. “I enjoy getting to know people on a very deep level and helping them achieve their version of financial success.”

J.T. and Heidi’s contribution brings the number of endowed scholarships at Olin to 205 as of December 2022. Their endowed scholarship was established with a gift where a portion of the earnings are reinvested, helping to ensure resources for the scholarship will always be available.

Both J.T. and Heidi specifically recalled a personal finance course they took under Mike Gordinier as a highlight of their WashU education. “That was a phenomenal class,” Heidi said. “It opened my eyes to a career path.”

For J.T., joining a cohort of young professionals in their PMBA program was also a formative experience as successful classmates worked together to catapult their careers: “The discussions and ability to relate to our work experiences helped bring the theories we learned in the classroom to life.”

To join J.T. and Heidi in supporting financial aid resources for our students, please visit the Scholars in Business website for more information.

Albert Ip

Rick Skwiot wrote this article for Washington Magazine.

For Albert Ip, BSAMCS ’73, coming to Washington University in St. Louis from Macau, China, for his undergraduate studies in applied mathematics and computer science was a life-changing experience that launched a distinguished career in international banking and hospitality investing. Now, with multiple appointments at universities in Hong Kong, the former WashU trustee (2017–21) is working to burnish Washington University’s brand in Hong Kong so more students there apply and benefit as he has.

While WashU ranks ahead of many Ivy League schools, students from Hong Kong often elect to attend those East Coast universities when given a chance, Ip says. “I think it is a matter of name recognition, so I’d like to help build Washington University’s brand in Hong Kong.”


To that end, Ip, as an adjunct professor, has established collaborations between WashU and top universities in Hong Kong and Macau, trying to expose more students to WashU and thus raise its profile. The Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Macau, for example, offer dual MS degrees with Olin Business School. At Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), its engineering school signed a collaboration agreement with McKelvey School of Engineering in 2020. And Ip also connected the University of Hong Kong’s top-flight medical school with WashU. 

Not that Ip has anything against the Ivy Leagues: He earned MS degrees from Cornell and Carnegie Mellon universities. He contends the smaller size and faculty accessibility at WashU, though, can pay students big dividends. The willingness of “faculty members to counsel students, especially international students, propels my preference for WashU,” Ip says.

“I had a great relationship with Professor Ervin Rodin, who taught in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science,” Ip says. “Rodin (who retired in 2010 after 44 years at the university) inspired me and showed me how mathematics can open your mind, making you think methodically, which gave me the confidence to look at the data and theory and apply them to real life.”

Multiple roles

And apply them he did, serving in multiple roles at Citigroup, including managing director and corporate banking and transaction banking head; at Merrill Lynch (Asia Pacific) as managing director of investments; and at Langham Hospitality Investments as CEO. Ip has served on the boards of 11 listed companies in Hong Kong, and he still serves on five, including New World Development, Power Assets and Hutchison Telecom HK.

Still, for all his success, Ip remembers how he got there and spends much of his time helping students to succeed. His circuitous journey from Hong Kong to St. Louis and eventually back to Hong Kong, via stops in Pittsburgh, New York City and San Francisco, “inspired me to support students in career development,” says Ip, “advising them on how to select the right companies for their career paths and using my business connections to help them get jobs.”

Ip founded and chairs the Career Advisory Council at two business schools at City University of Hong Kong and at HKUST. “I am proud of that work, work first developed at WashU,” Ip says. 

About Albert Ip

WashU advocate: Albert Ip, BSAMCS ’73, served as a member of the Washington University Board of Trustees from 2017–21.

WashU liaison: Ip promotes Washington University and is an adjunct professor at theChinese University of Hong Kong; Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; University of Hong Kong; and the University of Macau.

Learn more: Ip’s journey to WashU was chronicled in Washington Magazine in 2017 in the story, “Giving back for a better future.”

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announces Make Way: Our Student Initiative during an Oct. 6 event in Tisch Park. (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)

Susan Killenberg McGinn from WashU’s marketing and communications department wrote this originally for The Record, the university’s online newspaper. See the full story here. This is a condensed version.

Washington University in St. Louis has announced a transformative fundraising initiative that aims not only to increase financial resources for students at every level of need, including middle-income students, but also to provide a “best-in-class” experience for all students to learn, develop and flourish while on campus and beyond.

Called Make Way: Our Student Initiative, it will build financial resources for undergraduate scholarships, graduate scholarships and fellowships, and the student experience, helping Washington University remove financial barriers for the most qualified students and offer every student the freedom to navigate an educational path.

“With Make Way, we aim to be the most supportive university in the country for all of our students, including first-generation and lower-income students as well as those from middle-income families for whom a WashU education is a significant financial stretch,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

“And not only will we help them get herebut we’ll also help them thrive hereso they will leave prepared to make their unique mark on the world,” Martin added. “It is imperative for us to remain competitive, increase our distinction and live up to our moral obligation as a university to open our doors as fully as possible.”

Martin announced Make Way Oct. 6 during a celebratory event in Tisch Park heralded by WashU cheerleaders and the Bear Nation Varsity Band. Faculty, students, donors and friends attended individual school receptions before joining university administrators and Board of Trustees members at the east end of the Danforth Campus for the announcement.

The goal is to raise a minimum of $600 million in gifts and commitments. More than $315 million has been raised already for the initiative thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents and friends. Gifts from some donors encourage others to give. WashU Trustee Lee Fixel, BSBA ’02, and his wife, Lauren, of New York, established the Catalyst Challenge, which provides matching funds for new endowed undergraduate scholarships of $200,000 or more. And Trustee Larry Thomas, BSBA ’77, created the Step Up Challenge to inspire annual scholarship donors to increase their level of support.

To learn more about Make Way and how to support the initiative, visit the Make Way website and read the original version of this story.

Pictured above: Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announces Make Way: Our Student Initiative during an Oct. 6 event in Tisch Park (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)

Robert Berke, BSBA 2017, works at JetBlue Airways

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

As a member of JetBlue’s financial planning and analysis team, Robert Berke, BSBA 2017, has helped the company weather some tough times during the course of the pandemic. And he’s also set up to make visits around the country as he connects with Olin friends—and keeps that fantasy football league going. Here’s an update since graduating—and an overview of the value he found in WashU Olin’s coursework.

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

I work at JetBlue Airways in New York. I’m on the financial planning and analysis team and manage a staff that supports the near- and long-term planning, reporting and modeling of JetBlue’s cost structure. While JetBlue doesn’t have an airline presence in St. Louis (it has always been on my wish list when talking to the team that decides where we fly!), my education at Olin has certainly had a positive impact on my career.

The core business curriculum in the BSBA program, paired with my majors in finance and accounting, allowed me to have a strong foundation for working in a fast-paced environment, while also having a deep understanding of financial modeling and scenario planning. The Weston Career Center also played a major role in my career development as I was able to easily connect with alums working in the industry.

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

While there was no one course that influenced my life the most, as so many courses at Olin were impactful, I would say that Durai Sundaramoorthi’s Managerial Statistics class and Mark Soczek’s Financial Statement Analysis class were extremely influential.

First, in Managerial Statistics, I not only learned the basics of descriptive statistics and probability distributions, but I also learned the business application of statistics. Dr. Durai seamlessly showed the class how meaningful data analysis is and encouraged students to leverage analytical tools to make informed business decisions.

As a finance and accounting major, I found Professor Soczek’s FSA class particularly fascinating. He brought real-world examples to class, which allowed us to learn how to process and evaluate financial statement information to identify profitability or possible risks a company may face. This has been helpful in my current role at JetBlue, a public company, as my team lends support during our quarterly financial reporting process. I think back to Professor Soczek’s class and appreciate how external players look to these statements to identify potential investments.

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

I love staying engaged with WashU and Olin. I stay in contact with a few Olin professors and always appreciate their openness to reconnect. I’m also involved in WashU’s Alumni and Parents Admissions Program, which has allowed me to stay up to speed with the incredible developments at the university, interview prospective students and engage with other alums.

What’s great about my friends from Olin is that they’re living in different parts of the country. I love traveling to visit them and we, of course, have kept our fantasy football league going.

Why is business education important?

Studying business is key. A business education sets students up for success to tackle issues in today’s dynamic world. What’s special about studying business is the opportunity to use real-life examples through case studies. In a collaborative environment that promotes participation, students are able to work through these tricky problems and learn fundamental practices from experts in the field. A business education also provides important communication skills that are useful beyond a professional career. 

What advice would you give current Olin students?

I would encourage students to pursue their passion and leverage the Olin community to do so. Whether it’s through taking courses outside of your comfort zone or chatting with a professor you haven’t met, the Olin community is there for your support. I’d also encourage students to study abroad. Today’s business world is extremely global and Olin’s abroad programs allow undergraduate students to experience this firsthand.

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

So many businesses and industries were disrupted by the pandemic and the airline industry was no exception. Demand for air travel disappeared, which posed a very unique experience for me and my team as we needed to look after the financial health of JetBlue.

As a company, we also had to address public health concerns in countries around the world to ensure customers felt safe once they were ready to return to the skies. I believe continuously addressing these concerns is something that businesses, both locally and globally, will need to consider going forward.

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.