Miranda Lan Q&A: Olin goes the extra step

  • March 22, 2019
  • By Brooke Van Groningen
  • 3 minute read

Part of a series of Q&As with Olin BSBA alumni. Today we hear from Miranda Lan, BSBA 2017.

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

I work for Capital One as an HR Consultant (HRC) in our Plano, Texas, office. Olin empowered me to drive my own career and explore many different business areas through its many courses, extracurriculars, corporate partnerships/events, case competitions, etc. I had the opportunity to pilot the Small Business Initiative consulting program, run research studies for the consumer behavior lab, write a group thesis for an honors in management distinction, intern for a startup through the Skandalaris Center and so much more!

Ultimately, as a teaching assistant for management communication and a leader in Phi Gamma Nu (professional fraternity), I concluded that I wanted to pursue a career focused on empowering others to reach their full potential.

What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?

Hands down Staci Thomas and her management communication class influenced my life the most. The course itself taught me innumerable practical skills for the workplace, and I loved it so much that I turned around and became a TA the following semester (and did so for every semester after that until I graduated!).

Stacy encouraged and mentored me, always seeking out feedback on how to improve the course. Just knowing that there are great teachers and advisors at Olin who are willing to go above and beyond to help their students is one of the reasons I try and do the same as a young alumni.

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

The bonds I built with my Olin classmates and friends mean the world to me! My apartment is cluttered with photos of great memories with my PGN buddies, my study abroad cohort, and more. I keep in touch with many through social media, but beyond that, I make it a point to see people face-to-face whenever possible.

Whether I’m visiting San Francisco, Chicago or New York City, or others are coming to the Dallas area, I reach out and let them know I’m around. It’s a warm and gratifying feeling to know that I have friends around the US and world who cheer me on and whom I can cheer on too.

Why is business education important? 

A business education, and especially an Olin education, has immense value in its combination of breadth and depth of topics. “Business” does not happen in a vacuum; the breadth of courses covered in the Olin curriculum equips students with the knowledge to see big-picture concepts and make connections across industries, functions, etc.

Depth is equally important because business advancements cannot be made without subject-matter expertise. The courses I took in consumer behavior, labor economics, and negotiations gave me the skills I need to excel in my role today. And, Olin goes the extra step to provide countless opportunities to apply those skills through hands-on, experiential learning.

Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?

Explore and experiment. Olin and WashU create the perfect setting to try something outside of your comfort zone—and who knows? You may end up finding a new hobby and making new friends along the way.

I worked with the WashU racing team (yes, they build real, competitive race cars) on marketing and sponsorships and co-owned the SWAP nonprofit free store.

I cherished these experiences and the amazing people I met through them! These types of opportunities, and groups like the CEL and Skandalaris Center provide endless chances to learn something new every day, every semester. No excuses, just go try it.

About the Author

Brooke Van Groningen

Brooke Van Groningen

Brooke Van Groningen has been a part of the WashU community since 2016 and is a part of the Olin Marketing and Communications team as a brand manager. She is constantly inspired by the alumni in the Olin community and all that they do to impact the business world. When she is not working, you can find her walking her labradoodle in Tower Grove Park with her husband, exploring new restaurants in the city, or taking a yoga class.

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