Olin alumni: EMBA experience sharpens confidence and purpose

  • April 12, 2024
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 2 minute read

The Olin executive MBA experience doesn’t just provide a tool kit of career-enhancing skills (although it does) and an unparalleled professional network (yes, that too).

For many EMBA graduates, their education has served to heighten their self-awareness and sense of purpose.

Post-EMBA, “I feel I’m a better person, a better mom, a wife, a better friend, a better leader,” said Vanessa Okwuraiwe, EMBA 2019.  “Once you focus on the internal, you're able to do more externally.”

As Olin celebrates 40 years of EMBA, alumni have told us about the life-changing personal and professional benefits they’ve experienced as they earned their degrees.

Okwuraiwe, principal at Edward Jones, believes the EMBA program was instrumental in shaping and sharpening her global, business and personal leadership skills. It made her a more intentional and purposeful leader by helping her focus on her personal relationships and life choices.

Post EMBA, she feels she can lead by example and create change by focusing on being a better person.

“I hope I inspire future leaders by just living my life well and with purpose. I think making really good decisions inspires other people to want to do the same,” Okwuraiwe said.

That's how you change the world, by being intentional about how you want to live your life personally, but also about how decisions are made.

—Vanessa Okwuraiwe

For Jenny Miller, EMBA 2020, the EMBA experience started as a way of advancing her career but quickly became an opportunity to make new connections, embrace change and gain confidence in her abilities inside and outside the office.

“It's about having the confidence to believe in yourself, going for what you want and feeling comfortable about why you want what you want,” she said.

Miller brings a rare perspective from the EMBA program, which she completed while she was pregnant. That experience allowed her to be a more empathetic leader, she said. “I think more holistically about both what the business needs but also what my employees need and figure out creative ways to support them and the business,” she said.

Miller has earned two promotions since getting her EMBA—she’s now director of global indirect procurement operations at Emerson, working with both local and global teams.

I really don't think I would have had the opportunity to do that without this education.

—Jenny Miller

To read more about Olin’s 40 years of the executive MBA program, as well as about how Olin students and faculty are analyzing and applying “data for good” in their research and consulting projects, read the latest issue of Olin Business.

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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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