Once Olin, Always Olin: Ryan Richt relies on Olin expertise

  • March 13, 2020
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 1 minute read

WashU Olin alumni have continued to benefit from their membership in the community many years after leaving campus.

This is one in an occasional series of vignettes about the alumni experience. Today, we hear from Ryan Richt, AB 2008/MBA 2008, founder and CEO, Well Principled

When we meet Ryan Richt, he’s wearing a button-down dress shirt that telegraphs his serious love for data: It’s a design featuring subtly rendered QR codes, which, when scanned, launch the garment maker’s website. Since leaving Olin just over a decade ago, he’s applied that love of data and his business savvy to start two companies—thanks, in part, to an ongoing relationship with WashU Olin faculty mentor Anne Marie Knott.

“We’ve probably had dinner once a month for 10 years since I graduated,” he said. “I used her book to start my first company.”

That relationship continues today. Knott, the Robert and Barbara Frick Professor of Business in Olin Business School, is an investor and chairs the science advisory board for Well Principled, Richt’s year-old startup. His firm leverages artificial intelligence to apply state-of-the-art business research to real-world problems.

In Richt’s model, his company creates “virtual business consultants” that meld a firm’s data—perhaps marketing information or pricing data—with the accumulated knowledge of 30 years of operations research. The consultants automate decision-making based on the firm’s goals.

It is real work to go through the threads of research and read the back-and-forth between researchers. Anne Marie and the scientific advisory board help us with that. 

Ryan Richt

About the Author


Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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