Olin Young Leaders launched with panel discussion

The Olin Young Leaders Association (OYLA) launched onto the WUSTL scene this week with an inaugural event that epitomizes the richness OYLA brings to the Olin Business School’s MBA program.

The event, “Managing the Changing Face of Business,” took place Feb. 20 at the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center and featured a panel discussion with three distinguished St. Louis business people. It also offered the opportunity for MBA students to meet and mingle with recruiters from more than 10 local corporations.

OYLA is a new initiative that enables mature, focused students to fast-track their management careers. Undergraduates who are admitted into the program pursue their MBAs immediately after or in combination with their bachelor’s degree. The opportunity already has attracted an outstanding group of students from a variety of disciplines.

“Through the OYLA, we’ve embarked on a proactive way of identifying exceptional people and giving them the opportunity to excel in their fields,” said Mahendra Gupta, Ph.D., dean of the Olin Business School.

“Bringing the best students directly into the MBA program adds to the diversity of MBA classes. It gives the younger students a chance to learn from their more experienced classmates, and it gives the older students a chance to absorb the knowledge and skills that the young leaders have recently acquired,” he said.

“Managing the Changing Face of Business” was just one way that OYLA will provide valuable opportunities for all MBA students. The panel of high-powered executives openly discussed the unique challenges corporations are facing when it comes to recruiting techniques and the desirable skills that new business graduates need for future success.

The featured speakers were Sandra Van Trease, EMBA ’92, group president at BJC HealthCare; Jim O’Donnell, MBA ’74, president of Bush O’Donnell; and Larry Thomas, BSBA ’77, partner at Edward Jones. Jackson Nickerson, Ph.D., the Frahm Family Professor of Organization and Strategy, moderated the discussion.

After the panel discussion, students were able to mingle with corporate recruiters over dinner. Firms that sent recruiters included Microsoft Corp., Booz Allen Hamilton, Wachovia, Centene Corp., Monsanto Co., ExxonMobil Corp. and Edward Jones.