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Real Humans of Washington University Olin’s MBA Class of 2022

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Leda Estrine, Olin MBA Class of 2022

Age: 23
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Florida State University, Family & Child Sciences
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I entered graduate school directly after my undergraduate studies. During my undergraduate experience, I held a number of jobs and internship positions including but not limited to resident assistant, high school guidance intern, school board intern, and office manager for an international summer youth leadership program.

Why business school? Why now?
I initially entered WashU (Brown School) to obtain my MSW degree. I always knew I wanted to pursue corporate social work (charitable/inclusion endeavors in corporate settings) and found myself interested in taking many classes at Olin. At orientation, we were told about the various joint degree programs we were eligible to apply for, and immediately knew I wanted to pursue the MSW/MBA program.

Why Olin? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Olin prioritizes and values the importance of women in the workplace, as evidenced by its high female enrollment. I looked for a school with values that closely aligned to mine and found that at Olin. Both the Brown School and Olin have a strong presence in the St. Louis community, which I knew would bring unique opportunities and experiences. For me, these opportunities include being a member of the St. Louis Diversity and Inclusion Consortium, a student consultant for start-ups and local non-profits, and building a professional network through internships and practicums.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
My background is more people-centric. I am able to point out different perspectives and show my classmates unique viewpoints. This really comes in handy on team assignments and helping my classmates see eye-to-eye when conflict arises.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love indoor cycling–there’s something about a dark room and great music to clear your head on a bike that doesn’t go anywhere.

Post-MBA career interests?
I am very passionate about belonging in the workplace. I look forward to gaining exposure and experiences in different corporate settings, to then foster tools that allow employees to feel a sense of belonging where they work. My longer-term career interests are in social impact strategy consulting.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Use any optional prompts to show the committee who you really are. In the “is there anything else we should know about you” section, I provided my nickname and a story to go along with it, so I was not just another person on a piece of paper. I really took advantage of the textboxes to show my personality and who I was aside from school and textbooks.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have made a LinkedIn earlier…now I have to go back and try to remember all the business connections I have. Had I made it earlier, they would all conveniently be located in one place.

Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
I think I would skip the pressure I placed on myself in regard to the GMAT. The support of my family and recruiters helped me reframe my notion that the GMAT was the most important thing to focus on. Recruiters assured me that while the GMAT was required, there were many other components the admissions committee would consider as part of their decision.

What is your initial impression of Olin’s students/culture/community?
Everyone was SUPER SUPPORTIVE! The Olin community was amazing and they truly knew their admits. They knew me and paid attention to our conversations so much so that on the day I moved to St. Louis they called me to ask how the moving process was going and if there was any way they could help me. Olin is such a tight-knit family and I am so glad I am a part of it!

One thing you have learned about Olin that has surprised you?
The professors have really surprised me! They have gone above and beyond to field all questions and make themselves available outside of class times and office hours. Since I don’t come from a business background, I was hesitant and shy at first to ask questions that may have been considered more elementary. However, the professors have welcomed all questions.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am most anxious about not being able to meet and befriend the virtual-only students to the same degree as students who are presently taking classes here in St. Louis. Olin has done a great job of hosting virtual events that include all students and fostering an environment to grow close with the entire class.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited to see where these new friendships, connections, and experiences take me.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.