Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School
Geoff Nykin is one popular guy at the Olin Business School. His fellow students elected the self-style poet, who once thought of himself as a sports broadcaster, to receive the Hubert C. ‘Hub’ Moog Prize based on his character and leadership. And they voted him to give the student commencement speech, in which he recalled working with a homeless man who taught him to stay positive in the face of adversity and how to acclimate to new and challenging situations. Nykin also earned the Joseph W. Towle Prize in Organizational Leadership and the Outstanding Service Award for his consulting work in the local community. The President of the Olin Strategy & Consulting Association, Nykin will be joining Deloitte Consulting LLP after graduation.
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
Undergraduate School: University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Undergraduate Degree: Communications
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Project Manager, Edelman Berland (2011-2013) and Senior Analyst, State Farm Insurance Companies (2008-2011, including an internship during the 2008-09 school year)
Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? Deloitte Consulting, LLP, Kansas City, MO
Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting, LLP, Senior Consultant
“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I collaborated with a team of external consultants during a project when I worked at State Farm. I remember when the consultants left the project and told me all of the exciting assignments they had next. I had a moment of clarity in which I realized that I wanted to be a consultant. Then, it was just figuring out the path to get there.”
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…unhappy. I get very excited about dealing with complex problems and challenging myself. My friends make fun of me because of how much I enjoy working, but I’m lucky that I found a career that I am extremely passionate about.”
What are your long-term professional goals? I had an incredible experience last summer at Deloitte, working with some of the smartest people and most dedicated mentors that I’ve ever met; I could absolutely see myself staying with Deloitte long-term. That being said, I am much more focused on what I can learn in the next five years, not where I will be in twenty. All I know is, I want to look back at my career and know that I put my heart and soul into everything I did.”
Favorite Courses: Olin offers an opportunity to receive course credit for providing consulting services to non-profit organizations within the St. Louis community. We may sign-up for this ‘class’ as many semesters as we want, and I registered for it three different times. Working directly with individuals and organizations leading efforts to improve our local community was very rewarding.
Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? Prior to graduation, I received the Hubert C. ‘Hub’ Moog Prize, which is awarded to the graduating student who, ‘Best exemplifies qualities of character, leadership and service, and who also enjoys the respect, admiration and affection of his/her classmates,’ the only award chosen by a graduates’ peers. Being recognized by my classmates is the greatest honor I could receive because, in a school as intimate as Olin, people get to know each other extremely well. My peers know my strengths and weaknesses; they see me at 8:00 a.m. class and during late night social events. I’m extremely proud that so many people I admire believe that I deserved this award.
Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)? On a personal level, I would have to say my first-year MBA roommate, my personal cheerleader, and my childhood chauffer: my mom. She’s supported me every step of the way – from when I was a 12-year-old who wanted to be a baseball broadcaster to a 26-year-old asking if she minded having a new ‘roommate’ to help me save money during my first year of graduate school. On a professional level, I think about the great leaders I worked with at Wash U, Deloitte, State Farm, and Edelman Berland, people who helped me grow as an employee and as a person. Early mentors are so critical, and I’m lucky that mine have been fantastic throughout my professional and academic career.
Why did you choose this business school? I chose Olin part-mathematically and part-gut feel. This is such a major life decision that I wanted to have as much data as possible. I created my own equation that weighted quantitative elements, such as job placement, starting salary, and cost, and then added a qualitative component by speaking with alums from different schools, considering location preferences, looking at the companies that recruit on campus, and other pros and cons, including Wash U’s emphasis on experiential learning. But, even after a robust analysis, my decision came down to asking myself where I could grow as a professional and a person. For me, that place was Olin.
What did you enjoy most about business school? Without a doubt, it was the relationships I developed with faculty, administrators, and my peers. One aspect of Olin that appealed to me was that it’s an intimate enough environment that you can be on a first-name basis with every person in the school – from the baristas at the in-house Starbucks to the Admissions Director. Nothing made me feel more at home, or like more of a coffee addict, than hearing a rap song about me made up by the baristas at the Olin Starbucks!
What is your most memorable moment from business school? There are so many memorable moments, from trekking through Israel with four of my classmates over winter break to being voted by my peers to give the commencement speech at graduation. But the most memorable came at the end of the first year of my MBA: My last project, a week after finals ended, involved me traveling to South Carolina to present findings for a student consulting engagement I led for Michelin North America. Going through the two-hour presentation and meeting, which included the company’s Chief Operating Officer, an Olin alum, and other company leaders, I could tell how invested they were in our research, and I realized that our findings could really add value to Michelin.
Fun fact about yourself: In undergrad, I spent a semester studying in Athens, Greece
Favorite book: The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First, by Jonah Keri
Favorite movie: Shawshank Redemption
Favorite musical performer: The Beatles
Favorite television show: Seinfeld/Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite vacation spot: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (or anywhere near a beach)
What are your hobbies? Exercising, sports, reading, and getting to know people
Twitter Handle: gnykin2