2020 MBAs To Watch: Leslie Ann Ramey, Washington University (Olin)

Leslie Ann Ramey

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“I’m a creative thinker, problem solver and lifelong learner who enjoys new experiences and perspectives.” 

Hometown: McAllen, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I’m a sixth-generation Texan! My family history in the region stretches far back, and I love having such a strong connection to the state.

Undergraduate school and degree: Southwestern University, Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Business, English minor

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was an integrated marketing manager at Texas Monthly in Austin, specializing in digital marketing initiatives.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I interned with Edward Jones at the firm’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

Where will you be working after graduation? I look forward to returning to work at Edward Jones as an Accelerated Leadership Program associate.

Community work and leadership roles in business school:

  • President, Olin Marketing Association
  • Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Olin Women in Business
  • Center for Experiential Learning Practicum Team Lead
  • Olin/United Way Board Fellow with St. Clair County Child Advocacy Center

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I really value what I have been able to accomplish with Olin Women in Business (OWIB), especially my work on our annual fundraising efforts for the OWIB Scholarship, which benefits incoming MBA women. This cause is near to my heart because I truly believe in the value of diversity in leadership. With so few women represented in top leadership positions (only 5% of S&P 500 CEOs are women), it is important for organizations like OWIB to provide career support to rising women leaders. I think one of the ways we can help women on their leadership journey is to remove barriers to pursuing graduate education, and the OWIB Scholarship helps provide financial support.

Last year, I was able to help create and promote our crowdfunding campaign which raised over $13,000 for the scholarship fund. This year as OWIB’s vice president of marketing, I have been excited to help our fundraising campaign grow even further. Not only are we continuing our crowdfunding efforts, but we hosted an OWIB Auction in February with all proceeds benefitting the scholarship. Serving on the auction planning committee has been a rewarding experience; I have been able to give back to a cause I’m passionate about, and I have been able to work with an amazing team of women leaders.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at Texas Monthly, I was able to be instrumental in building out a robust digital advertising business at the company. This was important because, like many print publications experiencing technology changes in the media industry, the magazine needed to create a sustainable revenue stream through online platforms; designing effective online advertising programs was key for our long-term success. I was able to work on developing our digital reporting systems, optimizing ad campaigns, and creating innovative native advertising opportunities. I benefitted from great leadership that empowered me to work in the digital space, and I am very proud of the value I was able to provide our sales team, our advertisers, and, ultimately, the magazine.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I have really enjoyed taking classes with Professor Michael Wall; he has a refreshing teaching style that takes academic theory and consistently applies it in relevant, timely ways to the real world. Professor Wall is respected and valued for his expertise, and he is also committed to student learning outcomes and making sure that he provides us with course material that will be valuable to us as we continue our careers. Through his courses, I’ve been able to learn so much about the marketing strategy that I have already applied during my graduate internship and as a practicum team lead.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I love the cultural celebrations like Diwali Night and Spring Festival held by student organizations at WashU Olin. It helps create a feeling of home-away-from-home for the members of our community who are at school during the holidays, and I also think it’s a fun way to learn more about each other and to honor the diverse heritage of our students.

Why did you choose this business school? When I visited WashU Olin Business School for the first time, I felt a connection with the people I met and the values that informed the culture of the school. I really wanted to be in a program with a smaller class size because I felt it would afford me the opportunity to develop better relationships with faculty and peers. As someone who wanted the chance to specialize in marketing, I also appreciated the career platforms offered, which allowed me to deepen my studies in marketing. Additionally, I loved that Olin gave me the opportunity to partake in the international study; this is something I valued in my undergraduate education, and I wanted to be able to gain that global experience again as an MBA.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I would say that while it’s important to demonstrate your ability to perform academically, it is also important to be your authentic self and share your unique point of view. Olin Business School values the diversity of thought, so being able to enrich the learning of your peers with your own experiences is highly valued.

What is the biggest myth about your school? As someone who has lived the majority of my life in Texas, I was not entirely sure what to expect from a school located in the Midwest. I think a misconception would be that a program in St. Louis might feel insulated from the rest of the world. However, this could not further from the truth. Olin really prioritizes global issues, and I have felt immersed in a global perspective through coursework, international travel, and the relationships I have formed with international students in the program.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I could change one thing about my MBA experience, I think I would want to take more time to plan out my goals and activities during school—I didn’t realize how quickly we would hit the ground running, and I wish I had taken more time to reflect prior to arriving on campus. A full-time MBA is such a time-intensive experience, so taking time before you begin classes to plan out your goals for the program and how to reach them will help you feel more prepared.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? As someone who truly demonstrates values-based leadership, Kris Fenn is both a classmate and a friend that I admire at Olin. Kris genuinely cares about people, and she is able to lead with compassion and empathy. Kris is also a respected student leader. This year as president of Olin Women in Business, Kris has been a champion for gender equity initiatives and has brought so much momentum and energy to the organization.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? While my parents really instilled in me an appreciation for higher education and life-long learning, I would say that I was most influenced to pursue business in college after taking a Principles of Economics course with Professor Dirk Early at Southwestern University. He was a great mentor and teacher, and I appreciated how he showed us the impact we could have on applied economics. I had originally wanted to major in English, but Professor Early opened my eyes to new opportunities. I eventually double-majored in business and economics, and I knew that once I gained professional experience, I would want to pursue my MBA. Four years out of college, I ended up back at school in WashU Olin’s full-time MBA program!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to continue developing as a strategic leader and I hope to one day be part of an executive management team. My other goal is to use my position to be a mentor and advocate for other professionals. I think giving the gift of support and guidance—especially to young people who are just beginning their careers—is such a great service, and I want to be able to help people achieve their career goals in any way that I can.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like to be remembered as someone who is always willing to help advance meaningful work by offering my time and talent in the service of those around me.

Hobbies? I love photography; it’s been a hobby since childhood, and it’s a great creative outlet for me. I like to be active, and practicing yoga is one of my favorite ways to relax and re-energize. I’m also an avid reader and love historical fiction novels.

What made Leslie Ann Ramey such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“I’ve had the pleasure of directly witnessing Leslie’s development and growth as an emerging leader during her time at WashU Olin. Leslie was a student in various classes of mine during her first three semesters. This spring semester, Leslie was selected by faculty as team leader of a student-led, faculty-supported experiential learning practicum for which I am the faculty adviser.

The most obvious driver of my recommendation is Leslie’s exceptional business acumen and work ethic. Leslie is a committed student who has incredible quantitative and qualitative aptitude coupled with sound, strategic thinking ability. Although important and valuable, my recommendation is ultimately driven by Leslie’s leadership, values, and attitude. For example, Leslie is the president of the Olin Marketing Association and vice president of marketing for Olin Women in Business. In both roles, Leslie has demonstrated a commitment to making a positive and principled difference for the school, students, organizations, and society at large. A shining example of this is the Olin Women in Business “We Shine Together” event that advances their mission of supporting women in business by promoting gender equity in leadership through advances in curriculum, career development, and community building for women.

Leslie approaches initiatives and opportunities such as the ones mentioned with excitement, purpose and a continuous desire to learn, then couples that with strong ethics and a genuine caring for the well-being of others.”

Michael Wall
Professor of Practice, Marketing
Academic Director, Marketing Platform
Co-Director, WashU Center for Analytics & Business Insights
WashU Olin Business School


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