Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class of 2018


Ravi Balu

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m someone who seeks challenges at each step of life and believes learning never stops.

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve been to 49 states.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of California-Berkeley; Political Science

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: United States Air Force-Intelligence Officer; Edward Jones-Financial Advisor Trainee

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Receiving the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I would take the GMAT preparation very seriously and get a head start on that as soon as possible. I would treat studying for the GMAT like training for a marathon. Don’t expect to take a practice test and get a perfect score right away. Take it one section at a time, master it and have it all culminate in a strong practice exam score. I would go through multiple iterations of your essay and ensure that you convey what makes you unique and stand apart from your peers.  As far as interviews go, be prepared but be yourself. Think about how you would be a valuable contributor to the Olin business School.  

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? There were many things that appealed to me about Olin.  It has a high overall ranking and has a top five ranking with regards to job placement. I like the small class size where one can get to know other students very well and develop close personal relationships with faculty.  It’s also in a great location in the vibrant city of St. Louis. I like the variety of platforms that Olin Offers.  There are so many great classes to choose from that I felt as though I had an embarrassment of riches.  But perhaps most importantly for me, it has a great veterans community. The veteran’s group at the school is a tight knit community where we help each other out with the transition from military to civilian life.  It’s also great to reminisce and share war stories with fellow veterans.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I would love to work for Under Armour.  It is a growth company whose market cap will only increase as time passes by.  It has a great founder and CEO, Kevin Plank, who doesn’t even use the term “employees.” Instead, he uses the term “teammates.” He has a clear vision for where he wants to take the company and he wants to use his wealth to help revitalize the city of Baltimore.  It’s clear that marquee athletes see the greatness of Under Armour as the likes of Jordan Spieth, Steph Curry and Cam Newton are all key endorsers of the product. I’ve always had a passion for sports and the ability to work in the sports industry with a visionary such as Kevin Plank would be a dream come true.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like to be known as someone who exemplified excellence in all endeavors and I would like to be known as a major contributor to both the team and the school and one who helped the class of 2018 leave Olin better than they found it.  In addition, after I graduate I hope my class continues to stay in touch with me.

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