Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class of 2018


Sontaya Sherrell

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Kind, hardworking “army brat” turned soldier with strong values and a passion for community service

Hometown: Belleville, IL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love YouTube. In fact, I love it so much that I created my own YouTube channel! Filming and editing content for my channel is my hobby.

Undergraduate School and Major: Spelman College / BA in English

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: United States Army- Radiology Specialist; Swissport (Virgin Atlantic Airways account)- Passenger Service Agent 

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Some of my most memorable moments in the army were when I accomplished things that I would not have imagined being capable of prior to joining. One standout accomplishment for me was graduating from Air Assault School. I’d spent a considerable amount of time at Ft. Campbell declaring how much I had no intention of ever attempting the course. This was largely due to personal doubts as to whether I could withstand the physical demands, and fear stemming from the high risk of danger associated with the required tasks. Ultimately, I decided to prove to myself that I WAS indeed capable. I trained until I felt I was ready to meet the demands and ended up successfully completing the course on my first try. The pride that I felt completing my final 12 mile ruck march and earning that badge was indescribable! My military career has allowed me to push my boundaries in so many ways and really transformed the way I approach obstacles in my life. Air Assault!

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Grab a pen and paper and write out a list of what it is that you are really looking for in a school. This could be anything from location or size, to availability of certain concentrations. From there, seek out schools that stick to those qualifiers.  There are so many business schools to choose from! This process really allows you to make the process of narrowing it down easier to manage and a lot less overwhelming.  It also greatly increases the chance that you will actually be satisfied with where you end up. In terms of GMAT preparation, know your strengths and adjust the time you spend studying each section accordingly. As a full time soldier with limited study time, it was imperative for me to prioritize so that none of that time would be “wasted.”  I knew that the quantitative section would give me the most trouble, so I spent the vast majority of my time preparing for it and it paid off. Also, visit your potential business schools!  It could really be that one factor that solidifies your ultimate decision, as it was in my case.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?  Initially, I compared business schools that I might be interested in based on ranking, offering of specific supply chain and operations concentrations, presence of an ROTC program, and location.  Olin has a very respectable ranking amongst B-schools, a dedicated operations and supply chain management platform, and is a military friendly school with an active ROTC battalion. I was able to check all three of those boxes right away. Then, I considered location. For me, Wash U is a “hometown school” as I am from the Metro St. Louis Area. I was honestly avoiding coming back home! I was leaning heavily towards another school that could also offer the solid education I’d get at Olin, but with the bonus of year round sunshine. Then, the opportunity came to attend Olin’s “Women’s Weekend.” This event offered a firsthand glimpse at what the Olin community had to offer and I absolutely fell in love. It was such a warm and inviting atmosphere where I got the opportunity to meet and interact with staff and faculty who seemed fully invested in every individual students’ success. I wanted to be a part of the Olin community! I left that weekend feeling completely inspired and headed back to Ft. Campbell knowing exactly where I was heading in the fall!

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I would love to be a supply chain manager for Boeing! This dream job would allow me to pair my skills in supply chain and operations with an interest in aerospace and aviation that I developed while working in the airline industry.  Working for Boeing, the leader in the aerospace and aircraft realm, would be an incredible opportunity.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like my business school peers to say that I was a hard-working team player who helped them stay motivated every single day!

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.