Olin love connection: 2 couples, 1 PMBA class

  • June 11, 2018
  • By Kurt Greenbaum
  • 3 minute read

She’ll say that it was a surprise and that she was hopeful it was coming. I was playing it very cool. She actually packed my bag, and because she did that, she didn’t think I had a ring.

—John Gauthier

Conventional wisdom says students in the Professional MBA program—while committed to advancing their careers—are also at the right age to invest in their future, if you know what we mean.

Maybe Madeline Triplett can explain it a little better.

“Everyone is trying to push ahead in their careers, but we’re young,” she said. “You’re trying to have some semblance of a social life while you’re working and going to school.”

Things are bound to happen. Introductions. Networking. A little “due diligence.” Then, bang! A merger. For PMBA Class 38, things happened. Twice.

Triplett met John Gauthier. About a year into the program, they started dating, hit it off, and are headed to Graham Chapel on Dec. 15 for their wedding. Meanwhile, two of their PMBA 38 classmates, Alexandra Hammack and John Skae, beat them to the altar with their own wedding on March 11, 2017.

For Jan Snow, director of graduate programs student affairs, two couples in one class is unusual. But it turns out that the PMBA program is something of an an incubator for relationships. Snow says the students are just at the right age when they might be looking for a relationship.

“We had one pair that I put in a team together,” Snow said. “They ended up getting married.” They were from Class 33. In fact, Snow came up with the names of three other married PMBA couples without breaking a sweat.

Love at First Case

It didn’t take long for Gauthier to notice his future fiancee. Soon after they started attending classes together, “I always noticed her responses in class were similar,” he said. “We found similar takeaways.” But, alas, he and Triplett ran in different friend groups among the fellow PMBAs.

For Skae, his future mate caught his eye during orientation weekend for the class. He and Hammack soon realized they had a lot in common—beginning with the overlapping network of friends they had in St. Louis. “Everywhere we turned, we we found we had these connections,” Skae said.

“We started hanging out outside of class in October,” he said. “We knew pretty quickly this was something serious.” The couple “came out” to their classmates during a class trip aboard a “pirate ship” arranged by a classmate with connections to the boating industry — and a Missouri River cruise.

The stress of the crisis communications project helped them see the durability of their relationship, Hammack said. “We decided if we could get through this weekend, we could get through anything,” she said. “It was very stressful.”

Gauthier and Triplett finally found the spark after he moved to Clayton’s DeMun neighborhood and noticed her out for a run. The pair got engaged a year ago on Memorial Day weekend in Michigan, on a boat trip where Triplett had spent her summers growing up.

“She’ll say that it was a surprise and that she was hopeful it was coming,” he said. “I was playing it very cool. She actually packed my bag, and because she did that, she didn’t think I had a ring.”

Family Traditions

With one pair hitched and the other fast approaching the aisle, they both reflect on the history that drove their plans. Triplett’s parents, for example, are both WashU alums. That, along with their meeting on campus, persuaded them to nab Graham Chapel for their upcoming nuptials.

Skae finished his final class in March the weekend before the wedding at Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton with a reception at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis – just as Hammack’s parents had done 30 years earlier, also in March.

Today, Hammack works at Square as small- and medium-sized business sales manager, while Skae is an investment analyst for NorthMarq Capital. Meanwhile, Triplett is marketing manager at Hunter Engineering Company, chaired by another WashU alum, Steve Brauer. Gauthier is mergers and acquisitions manager for Lanter Delivery Systems.

“Going into WashU, I knew from people who had been in the program that people are at the same stage of life as I am,” Gauthier said. “I expected I would meet a lot of cool people—friends—not a potential bride.”

Pictured above: Left, Skae and Hammack at their reception at the Missouri Athletic Club. Right, Gauthier and Triplett on graduation day.

About the Author

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I've worked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as communications director and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

Contact Us

For assistance in finding faculty experts, please contact Washington University Public Affairs.

Monday–Friday, 8:30 to 5 p.m.

Sara Savat, Senior News Director, Business and Social Sciences


Kurt Greenbaum,
Communications Director

Twitter: WUSTLnews