2016 Best MBAs: Allison Campbell, Washington U.

Allison Campbell Washington Olin

Allison Campbell


Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis

“If we gave away an MVP for the class of 2016 – Allison would be the runaway winner.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Springfield, VA

Education: University of Virginia, Bachelors of Arts in History and Spanish

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Army Civilian, Department of Defense

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Walmart in Bentonville, AR

Where will you be working after graduation? Walmart, Associate Marketing Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Olin Marketing Association – President 2015-16; First Year Officer 2014-15

Olin Women in Business – Vice President of Admissions 2015-16; First Year Representative 2014-15

Center for Experiential Learning – Consulting Team Lead 2016

Communications @ Olin – Ambassador 2015-16; 2015 MBA Round Table Symposium, Curricular Innovation Speaker

Olin Admissions – Admitted Students Weekend Co-Chair 2015, Student Ambassador 2014-2016

Disabled Athlete Sports Association – Volunteer Instructor 2014-2015

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  I lead Olin’s initiative to retarget the admissions approach to female recruitment, increasing the enrollment rate from 28% to 40% in one year.

When I joined Olin, my class was 28% female, resulting in over half the core teams only having one female. I wanted to change that. I wanted to implement the personal touch Olin had the ability to offer, especially females.

During my free time, I reached out to prospective students, offering to share my personal experiences. I was talking to at least three people a week, telling my MBA story and answering questions about Olin.

Through Olin Women in Business, I pushed for a new Vice President position to work with the admissions office.  I joined the executive board in this role, and I forged a connection with Admissions to emphasize this focus.  Last spring, I also co-chaired our Admitted Students Weekend.  I stayed in touch with those students over the summer, and was proud to see the female enrollment jump to 40%.

This year, every core team had two female students.  To this day, I continue to work with Admissions to make 40% a rule, not an exception.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of my experience last summer with Walmart.  My project revolved around in-store strategy to better serve customers through events.  I developed an event execution playbook for store managers, which saved labor hours, drove product sales, and increased customer engagement.

I presented this to the marketing executives at the end of my internship, and they immediately implemented my playbook across the 4,500 Walmart stores.  They extended me a full-time offer with the marketing department the next day.

Working for Fortune 1, it is a challenge to find a way to add value.  I was proud I found a way to do so, and I am pleased to be returning to Walmart upon graduation.

Favorite MBA Courses?

Understanding and Influencing Consumer Behavior – This class explored the consumer decision-making process through case studies and class experiments.  In a similar vein to Freakonomics, we read Nudge and Mindless Eating, which lead to conversations on appropriate times to influence, as well as factors marketers need to keep in consideration. I consider this class influential to my marketing career, and how I will shape my strategy in the future. I will resort to these classes and examples as guidance for my career decision-making.

Competitive Industry Analysis – This case-based class mixed strategy and economics to review business interactions.  We reviewed Michael Porter’s 5 Forces to understand the competitive landscape in industries. This class helped me gain a general knowledge of factors influencing a plethora of industries, such as irrational behavior, company commitment, and entry and exit. Overall, this class taught me forces outside of financial statements to consider in business interactions.

Why did you choose this business school?  Olin is the only top tier business school with a class size less than 200.  This small setting creates an unmatched personal touch and opportunity for lasting impact. I wanted to make a mark on my institution during the short, two-year timeframe.

Beyond that, St. Louis is an established city, yet it has a small town feel. The business community is highly accessible through Olin, and I was attracted to the combination of the burgeoning startup scene and fortified marketing powerhouses.

What did you enjoy most about business school?  I have enjoyed the opportunity to make a real and measurable difference in my community.  My Olin career has been marked by two consulting projects through our Center for Experiential Learning.  My first client, a microbrewery, implemented my social media marketing strategy immediately upon my recommendation.

Based on my performance, I was hand chosen to lead a team for my second project.  Currently, I am conducting digital marketing experiments for a media company looking to expand into another industry. I manage five team members and make recommendations directly to the company CEO.

What was the hardest part of business school?  Time management is the hardest part of business school, and is crucial to achieving your goals. You have to prioritize what is important to you. I try to balance my time into thirds: 1/3 classes, 1/3 job hunt, and 1/3 networking.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Olin wants to see you are interested in not only it’s program, but St. Louis as well. Olin has a small program that leaves room for impact, and St. Louis has a great startup scene and local business opportunities. If you really want to make a difference, Olin is will give you platform to do so.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I saw the opportunity to accelerate my career and gain managerial experience. I realized the impact I could make would be magnified if I went to Olin.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…back on Capitol Hill working for a congressional office or public policy institute.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire?  On a broad level, I admire Sheryl Sandberg.  We both have strong ties to Washington, DC, and she is a strong advocate for women in business. She is an empowering role model for both succeeding in the business world and managing the work/life. I want to follow her example both personally and professionally.

On a more local level, I admire Orvin Kimbrough. Orv is the President and CEO of United Way St. Louis. He is a champion of overcoming adversity, advocating diversity, and serving philanthropic causes. I had the pleasure of meeting Orv in one of my MBA classes, and he inspires me to invest in my community and use my talents for the greater good.

What are your long-term professional goals?  I want to be an innovator in my marketing career. I am passionate about the customer, and I want to creatively serve him or her. In the long term, I want to be a marketing executive and find a way to truly add value for my customer and my organization.

I am also motivated to make a better tomorrow. I want to be an advocate for diversity in the workplace and building up my community. I want to use my talents to create a lasting impact.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My older brother and his wife were huge proponents in pursuing my MBA. My sister-in-law would spend late nights grooming me for interviews, and my brother bought me a flight to visit St. Louis within hours learning I was accepted at Olin.

Fun fact about yourself: I am an avid traveller. I have visited 54 countries across six continents. My next goal is all 50 states!

Favorite book: The Giver

Favorite movie: Life is Beautiful

Favorite musical performer: Dave Matthews

Favorite television show: Chopped

Favorite vacation spot: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Hobbies? Exploring cities, speaking Spanish, community volunteering, cooking new recipes and skiing different mountain ranges.

What made Allison such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

 “Allison Campbell comes with our very highest and strongest recommendation.  If we gave away an MVP for the class of 2016 – Allison would be the runaway winner.  In any case, she will be the most decorated member of the graduating class when it comes to awards and recognitions.  In light of all of this – she remains the most level headed and unassuming member of the class.  Her personality is sparkling and engaging without becoming overwhelming.

Her contributions to the school, to her classmates and to the entire Olin community are legendary. Way too many to recount here.  Let it suffice to say that she has left a huge mark that can be accurately described as a legacy.  The entering class this past fall featured 40% women. The first time in Olin history that we hit the 40% mark.  The primary architect of this achievement was Allison.  As part of her leadership effort with the Olin Women in Business (OWIB) group she took the lead in personally contacting, befriending and mentoring every admitted female applicant for the entering class of 2015. The results speak for themselves.  And her efforts have become the benchmark for all affinity groups in helping out the admissions effort.

In her spare time she was a leader in so many other ways.  She was president of the Olin Marketing Association, officer of several other groups, leader in the Experiential Learning arena, and contributor to community and social support efforts. She is the real deal.  The total package.  I would love to have a few Allison’s in every class.” — Joe Fox, Associate Dean, Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis


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