2022 Best & Brightest MBA: Austin René Moulder, Washington University (Olin)

Austin René Moulder

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“Proud 22-year-old Latino committed to advancing socioeconomic justice for disadvantaged communities by utilizing interdisciplinary solutions.”

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Fun fact about yourself: I started my own Latin social dance team that now performs at international dance congresses.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Washington University in St. Louis, College of Arts and Sciences, majors in Economics and Global Studies with a concentration in Development and a minor in Spanish

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Global Transactions Services Analyst, Bank of America

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? ZS Associates, Evanston, Illinois

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group, Senior Associate,  Chicago, Illinois

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Graduate Business Student Association

Olin Diversity Ambassador

Head of Brand Development, Olin Strategy and Consulting Association

2020 Olin ROMBA Fellow, Consortium Fellow

Weston Career Center Peer Case Coach

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I served as the national director of operations for the Small Business School Challenge. My ability to construct, market and operate a national event empowered over 300 MBAs across the nation’s top programs to deliver profit-driving recommendations to more than 100 small business (largely minority- and female-owned) that were suffering greatly from the pandemic. This achievement proved that I could use my privileged access to the top MBA talent to positively transform the small businesses on Main Street that positively transformed me.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Within three months, among two other traditional consulting projects, I constructed my own enterprise consulting project from scratch that addressed opportunities for increased diversity within the organization for which I worked. My contributions identified unexplored lacunae in the area of employee belonging, and the project results were ultimately shared with the COO of the firm, the Inclusion and Diversity Council, and the Inclusion and Diversity Center of Excellence. My research is now being leveraged to influence the firm’s long-term inclusion and diversity strategy.

Why did you choose this business school? I was raised in America’s Heartland. With all of the positive and negative connotations that accompany that statement, I believe that this region has incredible and untapped potential. Washington University actively combats Midwestern brain drain by encouraging MBA students to stay in the region and build what I know to be an overlooked, yet beautifully rich and diverse part of our country. Their values-based, data-driven philosophy and approach to social impact comes to life in how they engage the greater St. Louis community.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Our first leg of global immersion to Washington, DC confirmed the university’s commitment to advancing globally competent business students by introducing us to lobbyists, international diplomats, policy analysts, and media personalities. It was a fantastic primer to the rest of the immersion and reinforced the need for both political acumen and business expertise for success in a globalized world. Additionally, I was able to grow closer with the WashU Olin 2022 cohort despite a year of pandemic restrictions. This experience ultimately cemented bonds that will last far into the future.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I believe that MBAs are particularly prone to unhealthily pursuing perfectionism. I would not change anything about my experience, because the journey, inclusive of missteps, created the beautiful memories and relationships that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I could spend hours reflecting on how I could have “optimized” the last 18 months, but this would undermine the lessons I have learned from professors, peers, and personal mentors during difficult times. I am so humbled and grateful that I am going to be graduating with an MBA from a top business school at the young age of 22. With so much time to reflect in the future, I want to spend this last semester living in the moment and appreciate the beautiful journey that has led me to this point.

What surprised you the most about business school? WashU Olin Business School maintains an agility that one would not expect from a century-old institution. Admissions, curriculums, modalities, and approaches to ESG/DEI are as innovative as the ever-changing student cohorts that they receive each year. This is what I believe to be the true marker of a great university.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? My intimate understanding of Washington University in the context of a highly political, racially and economically segregated, and socially entrepreneurial city allowed me to successfully communicate my value proposition as a transdisciplinary strategist who has the desire and drive to sustain positive change for the city, state, and region. By tying the school’s identity, both in the context of its mission and geography, to my unique value proposition, I constructed a story that could not be replicated.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Savitri Lazarus. She demonstrates a level of determination and grit that I believe will change the business landscape into a more inclusive and equitable space. Her background in community development within the domestic violence space brings a heightened awareness of how social issues, particularly surrounding gender equity, can and should influence a progressive business landscape. She embodies the best parts of leadership by engaging with open ears, an open mind and an open heart.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I applied to business school unbeknownst to anyone, following an early personal hypothesis on the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on 2020/2021 college graduate entries into the job market. If anyone influenced my decision, it was certainly my late father, who instilled in me the importance of seizing opportunity whenever it reveals itself and persevering with an unrelenting work ethic.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Democratize higher education through social, cultural and financial access. Democratize top-talent consulting services for undeserved communities, particularly through the small business landscape. I have two entrepreneurial business concepts in the pipeline, so stay tuned to help me bring these dreams into reality.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities that were always present, but too often invisible to the masses. Paired with the rapid adoption of technology and digitization, I see my career goals of democratizing access to talent and education never more critical and never more desired than now. I fully expect to leverage the world’s social and cultural responses to the pandemic to drive accelerated change in business throughout my career.

What made Austin such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Austin has demonstrated excellence in the classroom, one that enhanced the overall learning experience of each class—though his value to the class of 2022 is best evaluated by the impact he has created outside of the classroom throughout his graduate degree journey. This impact has been created in two distinct ways. First, he was identifying, pursuing and maximizing existing opportunities for students. For example, it was helping to serve on student-led organizations, leading student-led industry consulting engagements and earning various internship opportunities. Second, it was creating new opportunities. For example, it was creating the Olin Small Business Challenge that helps to bring the local community and the school closer together. In fact, Austin has worked incredibly hard to make a positive and principled difference during his time at WashU Olin, working to solve complex business, civic and social challenges with the intent of helping others. These investments and accomplishments will leave a lasting impact—one that is invaluable.”

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



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