Tag: women



Maxine Clark, founder of St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop, kicked off the semester’s first Women & Leadership class with a story of her childhood. This is a selection of my three takeaways from her talk.

It’s OK to make mistakes

Clark explained that her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Grace, was responsible for imparting a lesson Maxine has carried with her throughout her life: “Learn from your mistakes.” Every Friday, Mrs. Grace would hand out a red pencil to the student that made the most mistakes that week. Maxine Clark noted the uniqueness that for once it wasn’t the brightest or quickest student that was rewarded, but one that had made mistakes.

Taking this lesson forward, Clark was pleased to see that the retail industry also embraced mistakes. At her very first job in the executive training program at the May Company, she had the responsibility of marking down prices with a very similar red pencil. She thought, “Wow, I’m made for this job!”

As a student, whose value is measured often by test scores and grades, it’s refreshing to remember that making mistakes leads to growth. Looking around the classroom, I saw many young women also relieved by the idea that mistakes can lead to success. Clark’s words came at an important time as many of us are soon graduating and starting a new life chapter.

Know what you don’t know

Clark proudly admits, “One of my strengths is I know what I don’t know.” This acknowledgment helped her snag one an incredible promotion. As a new employee for the May Company, she was tasked with the job of traveling to Asia to pick out products for all of the May Company stores. Maxine knew immediately that she didn’t know what the other stores would need.

Without the support of her supervisor, she had to take it upon herself to travel to the Pittsburgh store to see their assortment. There, she ran into David Farrell, who would soon become the CEO. Impressed with her initiative, he continued a professional relationship, eventually promoting Clark to chief of staff. Knowing what she didn’t know both allowed her to prove self-initiative and feel comfortable asking for help.

Enjoy the journey

Clark emanates passion. With exuberance, she described every project she was involved in. She ascribes much of her success to her passion and her ability to “enjoy the journey.” Starting with Build-A-Bear, she felt that she could pour all of her energy into the company’s success and growth because she felt so passionate. Today, she invests her energy in projects surround education, women in business, and the St. Louis community.

Pictured above: Maxine Clark, founder of the Build-A-Bear Workshop, speaking in 2013 during Olin Business School’s Defining Moments lecture series. Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.




“There’s this myth out there that women aren’t as good negotiators as men,” says Hillary Anger Elfenbein. “And I want to try to shatter that myth.”

Elfenbein, The John and Ellen Wallace Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behavior, shatters that myth on a regular basis in the Olin courses she teaches on negotiation. On October 18, she will share highlights from her research on gender differences in negotiation and how women can confidently approach the process in a free webinar, “Women at the Negotiation Table,” sponsored by Olin’s Executive MBA program.

“There are differences in the way women approach negotiations versus men and there are often differences in outcomes, but these differences can be overcome, especially with a few very simple changes in frame of reference that are easy to accomplish without necessarily changing one’s overall personality,” explains Elfenbein.

Elfenbein also advocates for a broader definition of negotiation. It’s much more than haggling over the price of a new car or a promotion, or a new job’s salary. While those are extremely important negotiations, Elfenbein says it’s helpful to recognize that we are actually negotiating all the time, and can improve our techniques on a daily basis.

“The most accepted scholarly definition of negotiation is that it’s a mutual decision-making process to allocate scarce resources. And if you take that definition seriously enough, we’re negotiating constantly. This definition is as true for who does the dishes and who stays late on the weekends. Who has to come in to the office, what roles are you going to take, how are you dividing labor in your team. All of those things are a negotiation, just as much as the price of a car.”

Register today for “Women at the Negotiation Table” on Oct. 18

Research shows that men and women may end up with similar outcomes in a negotiation, but they often get there in different ways. In very broad generalities, women are more apt to find trade-offs and compatibilities in the process, while men tend to engage in more assertive haggling. Elfenbein says these kinds of stereotypes can create psychological obstacles for women.

“If you survey people after a negotiation, and ask people to self-report their scores, women will, by and large, self-report that they did worse. That feeling matters, because even though you might say, ‘It’s all in your head,’ well, a lot of things are in our heads, and that makes them real, that makes them consequential. If you go through life feeling like you’re not good at something, you’re going to avoid doing it. And if you don’t enter a negotiation, then you’re not going to be able to advocate for your needs.”

In her Olin courses and the upcoming webinar, Elfenbein shares ways for women to shift their frame of reference and attitude when approaching negotiation. It takes practice, but they can be changed and make a difference in how to negotiate with confidence and success.

“The kinds of techniques that you learn in the negotiations workshop are as applicable outside of work as they are at work. I like to think that the tools that we that we teach here are useful and adaptable to negotiations of all types.”

Hillary Anger Elfenbein has been a business school professor at the Olin School of Washington University in St. Louis since 2008. She holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior, a Master’s degree in Statistics, and undergraduate degrees in Physics and Sanskrit, all from Harvard University.

Examples of Dr. Elfenbein’s research on negotiation:

Elfenbein, H. A., Curhan, J. R., Eisenkraft, N., Shirako, A., & Baccaro, L. (2008). Are some negotiators better than others? Individual differences in bargaining outcomes. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1463–1475.

Curhan, J. R., Elfenbein, H. A., & Kilduff, G. J. (2009). Getting off on the right foot: Subjective value versus economic value in predicting longitudinal job outcomes from job offer negotiations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 524-534.

Curhan, J. R., Elfenbein, H. A., & Eisenkraft, N. (2010). The objective value of subjective value: A multi-round negotiation study.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 690-709.




Women are on the rise at Olin Business School. Five tenure-track female professors join the faculty this fall in the areas of marketing, organizational behavior, and finance. Olin also welcomes a female visiting professor in economics from Carnegie Mellon. And on the student side of the desk, the MBA Class of 2019 is reporting an uptick in the gender category with 39% women.

“We are pleased to welcome so many talented newcomers to the Olin community,” said Vice Dean Todd Milbourn. “We will all benefit from the talent and knowledge they bring to our educational mission.”

Pictured above left to right, front row: Kang, Huang, Hardin; center row: Perfecto, Liao, organizational behavior postdoc; top row: Scott, Ruttan. Photo by Jerry Naunheim.

Ashley Hardin, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavioral

  • PhD, Business Administration, 2017, University of Michigan
  • Prior to Olin: Instructor, University of Michigan
  • Research Interests: Quantitative Social Research, Quantitative Social Research, Social Psychology

Xing Huang, Assistant Professor of Finance

  • PhD, Economics, 2013, University of California at Berkeley
  • Prior to Olin: Assistant Professor of Finance, Michigan State University
  • Research Interests: Behavioral Finance, Asset Pricing, Investor Behavior, Market Efficiency, Information Acquisition, Mutual Funds, Household Finance

Karam Kang, Visiting Professor of Economics

  • PhD, Economics, 2012, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prior to Olin:  Assistant Professor of Economics, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Research Interests: Political Economy, Industrial Organization, Environmental Economics

Zhenyu Liao, Postdoc for Organizational Behavior

  • PhD, Management and Organization, 2017, National University of Singapore
  • Prior to Olin: Research Assistant, National University of Singapore
  • Research Interests: Leadership Behavior and Dynamic, Event Perspective, Interpersonal Interaction

Hannah Perfecto, Assistant Professor of Marketing

  • PhD, Business Administration, 2017, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prior to Olin: Teaching Assistant, 2017, University of California, Berkeley
  • Research Interests: Consumer Behavior, Behavioral Decision Theory, Metacognition, Field Experiments, Research Replicability and Reliability

Rachel Ruttan, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior

  • PhD, Management and Organizations, 2017, Northwestern University
  • Prior to Olin: Instructor, Management and Organizations, Negotiations, Northwestern University
  • Research Interests: Compassion and Prosocial Behavior, Values and Moral Judgment, Emotion

Sydney Scott, Assistant Professor of Marketing

  • PhD, Marketing and Psychology, 2017, University of Pennsylvania
  • Prior to Olin: Teaching Assistant, 2017, University of Pennsylvania
  • Research Interests: Morality and Consumption, Judgment and Decision Making, Preferences for Natural Products

 




As part of their Best & Brightest nomination process, Poets & Quants asked students: “If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience?”

Olin’s Markey Culver advocates for the minority of women in most business schools where most of the case studies focus on companies managed by men when she said she would “push for more cases and discussions that address international and female-focused topics.”

Other students called for more international experience.  “A Georgia Tech grad would tackle the issue by purchasing an airline ticket voucher, good for one international trip, for every student.”

What would you do if you were Dean for a Day?

Link to Poets & Quants story.




Alumni in the news

Congratulations to three Olin alumnae named among the Most Influential Business Women of 2017 by the St. Louis Business Journal. The awardees are accomplished business leaders from a wide range of industries and markets throughout the region. They also have made a difference in their own communities and at various nonprofit organizations.

From left: Sara Hannah, BSBA’01, Managing Partner, Barry Wehmiller Leadership Institute; Shelley Lavender, EMBA’03, President of Boeing Military Aircraft, a business unit within Boeing Defense, Space & Security; Theresa Ruzicka, MBA’86, President of Catholic Charities of St. Louis