Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Justin Matthews, Washington University (Olin)

Justin Matthews

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“I’m a brother, son, husband, and uncle who loves sports, Twitter, BBQ and candy corn.”

Hometown: Madison, Alabama

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once went viral on Twitter (over 100K likes) for a tweet about an upcoming Issa Rae and Jordan Peele project. Also, Shaq came to my wedding.

Undergraduate School and Major: Mississippi State University, Mechanical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: OneTrust, Product Manager

What has been your favorite part of St. Louis so far? What has made it such a great place to earn an MBA? My favorite part of St. Louis thus far is easily the people. I’ve lived in the south my whole life, so I was curious about what it would be like to live away from the southern hospitality I was so used to. I’m happy to say everyone has been so welcoming here. So far, the Midwest has not disappointed me when it comes to the kindness of strangers. A close second favorite is Forest Park; it literally has everything and it’s right down the street from my apartment. I’ve been to the zoo in the park (which is free!), I rode my bike around, and saw The Sound of Music at the Muny Theater in the park.

You’ll be completing your global immersion next spring (Update: the class of ’23 is scheduled now to travel in fall ’22). What excites you most about this excursion overseas? I’m really excited to see what business looks like outside of the United States. My perception of business is based on my lived experiences in the U.S.. However, I’ve already learned so much from my international classmates about how differently businesses operate abroad. I want to broaden my perspective and increase my knowledge on global business practices. I’m also looking forward to traveling to countries where I’ve never been to learn more about the culture, food and customs.

Aside from your classmates, global immersion and location, what was the key part of the Olin MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Doug Villhard’s Intro to Entrepreneurship was one of the primary reasons I chose Olin for business school. Professor Doug has such an impressive entrepreneurship track record, and I wanted to learn from one of the best. This was very important to me because I have entrepreneurial aspirations and hope to start my own venture one day. His class has really helped me focus on the problem I’m solving for my consumer, and every class pushes me to think more critically.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Olin? The club that’s had the biggest impact on my MBA experience thus far is our Olin Consortium family. The events range from social events like happy hours, to development opportunities like networking sessions and interview prep. We know how to be professional but also keep the fun in business school. I really feel like they’ve become an important network that I can depend on for support and advice.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a product manager at Experience LLC, my biggest accomplishment was when I helped raise $20k for the Nashville Women’s Shelter. My brother has a philanthropic foundation, and our family wanted to help raise money for the local women’s shelter by hosting a celebrity softball tournament. I worked for a ticketing company at the time, so I had to pitch this event to my executive team because we hadn’t worked with a charity event before. I got the approval from our leadership, and we were able to raise thousands of dollars through ticket sales and donations. The day of the event, I coordinated over 50 volunteers to handle all of the game-day experiences. It was a really successful event, and it was so fulfilling to have supported such a great cause.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far: My biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far has been winning the pitch competition in my Entrepreneurship class. We had to create a two-minute video to pitch an idea, and I put a lot of effort into my video submission. It felt really good to have my hard work recognized by my professor and classmates.

What has been your best memory as an MBA student so far: My best memory so far has been my trip to Charlotte, N.C., to see an international men’s soccer game. Through Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning, I’m on a consulting team that is helping Ecuador’s soccer team with their marketing strategy. We were able to travel to Charlotte to see Ecuador play Mexico, and we were also lucky enough to meet with the team’s management to learn more about their needs. It was an amazing experience for our consulting team and has really helped shape our final recommendations for the client.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Olin MBA program? My advice is to reach out to students and staff at the MBA programs you’re interested in to see what feels like the right fit. Ask for an opportunity to talk about their experiences and to share your story too. I think sometimes we’re afraid to reach out and ask strangers for their time, but people are much more willing than you’d think.



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