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Real Humans of the Washington University Olin MBA Class of 2024

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Nashad Carrington, Washington University Olin MBA Class of 2024

Age: 36
Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri (by way of Orlando, Florida)
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Morehouse College (Political Science), and University of Arkansas-Little Rock (Juris Doctor)
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 13 years (Agriculture, Banking, Law, Technology)

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I have worked for years as an attorney, both in-house and outside counsel, supporting business teams and analyzing their decisions, but I don’t have a quant background, and wanted to best understand how to make numbers make sense. My work over the last few years has me working with small farmers and to be most effective, I need skills that focus on all the areas that a business school education provides: finance, operations, and strategy.

Why did you choose Washington Olin? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I have lived in St. Louis for over 7 years in a great neighborhood called Central West End, which is just across Forest Park from Washington University in St. Louis. Proximity was a huge factor in the decision, but surely not the only one because there are other business schools in the area. Olin’s reputation for excellence, small-knit community, and accessible network of alumni and faculty was what helped shape my decision. The recruiting team at Olin was very warm and welcoming, and though I had some trepidation about returning to school, they were encouraging and supportive.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
I’ve done a lot in my career and hope to continue growing both personally and professionally. My background is unique, and my experiences provide interesting cross-industry insights that I hope to leverage into the future. During undergrad, I worked in product marketing for Microsoft, and after graduating accepted a position in sales for AT&T. After a year, I decided to attend law school, and while there, I learned criminal law at the public defender’s office, entertainment and sports with the New York Yankees, and then went to work at an internet infrastructure start-up in New England. After the company was acquired by Oracle, I moved to St. Louis and worked in banking regulation for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Realizing the important issues of food insecurity, I left to operate an indoor farm, GRŌ.

I presently serve as Chairman of the Farm Service Agency’s Urban Agriculture County Committee in St. Louis, working with state administrators to promote agriculture support programs and evaluate policy impacts, and I serve on the Missouri State Technical Committee in an advisory capacity to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the implementation of the natural resources conservation provisions of Farm Bill legislation.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
Though I’m not an architect, I designed the house my parents currently live in while I was in high school. I was in an architectural drafting class at the time, and had the opportunity to design all the plans for the home’s construction, and when I was in college, they took the plans to an architecture firm. With minimal alterations to the blueprints I created, they built the house.

Post-MBA career interests:
Consulting and/or Strategy Planning

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
Be confident in yourself, your skills, and your passions. Tap into networks you have, and be unafraid to receive criticism; as long as it is constructive, it will serve you well.

–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I started direct conversations with the Olin recruiting team about 6 months before I intended to apply. It helped us get to know one another, and allowed me to tell them what my intentions were and what I hoped to gain from the experience. I would surely do that again, and encourage any other prospective applicant to do the same.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have applied to multiple schools. I applied only to Olin because of the relationships I developed with recruiters, staff, and alumni, and unique circumstances of family and proximity. I am enjoying the experience so far, but I would have applied to even more schools.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The essays! I’ve never enjoyed writing essays and feel like my skills are more in oratorical conveyance of messages — including about myself and my career goals. What helped me get through it was having a solid team of reviewers within my circle who wanted to help me accomplish my goals. They were dedicated to helping me craft the best story of me that I could, spent many hours editing my work, and were very gracious when I gave them pushback.

What is your initial impression of the Olin students/culture/community?
Olin is a small community. My first impression was positive, and it’s remained that way. The small community allows for more intimate relationships with administration, professors, and fellow students, where people actually know one another well. The administration and professors know students’ stories, career desires, and passions, and it allows them to help students match within networks. It’s refreshing to not feel like a number or one of thousands.

What is one thing you have learned about Olin that has surprised you?
Washington University in St. Louis has a rich history, and Olin is no different. The number of highly successful researchers and professionals that have walked this campus is astounding. The region embraces the school, its students, and respects its faculty a great deal. I’ve been surprised to learn about the business leaders that not only support this institution, but that have graced its hallways as students.

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Accounting. While I have always been generally adept at handling numbers, the idea of having to create a balance sheet and income statement still gives me great agita.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
At Olin, our first year starts in the summer with a Global Immersion Program. We traveled across Europe and South America, working with small businesses to assess their conditions and make recommendations that could be implemented to solve real-world challenges. This allowed us to see firsthand how the next two years’ studies would be applied in the real world. During the trip, I had the opportunity to participate in supplemental briefings and meetings with officials from the U.S. Department of Commerce and USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service to better understand opportunities for development, finance, and trade.

Additionally, I am serving as the Head Counselor for the Graduate Business Student Association (“GBSA”). This opportunity will allow me to work with GBSA leadership to mediate disputes, interpret the GBSA Constitution, and ensure Olin’s values are maintained for all students. As well, I’m excited to participate in case competitions, fellowship programs, and other outreach activities that being a student affords.

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.