2022 MBA To Watch: Lloyd A. Yates, Washington University (Olin)

Lloyd A. Yates

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“I am the pig in eggs and bacon; I am committed.”

Hometown: Oak Park, IL

Fun fact about yourself: I won my first poker tournament when I was 21, and it happened to be the first one I entered.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Northwestern University, Communications and Film

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Yates Protect, Vice President of Sales

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Ecolab/ Nalco Water, MBA Marketing Intern, Naperville, Illinois

Where will you be working after graduation? Tylmen Tech, CEO and founder

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School Treasurer of Olin Black, student club for black MBAs

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Tylmen Tech was recently offered a pre-seed investment from a well-known VC firm. My entire time in B-school has been devoted to the growth of my business, and that moment was special given how far we’ve come as a startup.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Right out of college, I moved to Los Angeles to work in the movie business. There, I took on a project to produce a movie with one of Kevin Hart’s main writers. The movie was never made, but being brought on as a producer and having meetings at HartBeat Productions as a 21-year-old out of college was a pretty cool experience.

Why did you choose this business school? The people. WashU Olin’s staff, students and alumni are the most supportive and encouraging community I have been around. I knew I could come here, be myself and achieve success.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Doug Villhard, WashU Olin’s academic director for entrepreneurship. Doug is devoted to helping students achieve the entrepreneurial success they desire, and he does not sugar coat where you are, what you need and how to get there.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The global immersion was one of the highlights of the MBA program. At WashU Olin, we have the opportunity to travel the world with our cohort and gain insightful perspectives on business and strategy in real practice. Global immersion is part of WashU Olin’s mission to provide us with a global perspective.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?

I would take more classes that I would be uncomfortable with. As you finish your core classes, students tend to follow their specialty/major, which is marketing and entrepreneurship for me. I would go back and take an operations or accounting class just to have a new perspective and meet new people.

What is the biggest myth about your school? WashU is often called the Harvard of the Midwest. I’d say that Harvard is the WashU of the East Coast!

What surprised you the most about business school? What surprised me the most is how diverse my cohort was. People come from all over the world with all sorts of experiences to indulge in this world-class education. It was quite a delightful surprise to meet so many interesting people.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I visited campus multiple times and got to known the staff, which I think really helped. WashU Olin, on the other hand, knew me. They took the time to learn my passion and interest in business, and we started a great relationship before I even applied.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Our class president, Jonathan Pharel, is someone I greatly admire. Jonathan cares about the wellbeing and success of his classmates. He is someone who is always looking to make things easier for others, and he is not afraid to stand up for what he believes. He handles himself with class and puts people first. That’s the type of president we all need.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad let me know how important it was to get an advanced business degree as a minority business owner. He also emphasized how much smarter I would be upon my graduation. So far, he’s right!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? To take a company public and complete a successful exit/acquisition. I love entrepreneurship.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has helped me think of the long term. When I think of business decisions, whatever they may be, I think about what I’ll do 10 years from now as opposed to my current circumstances.

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

“Lloyd is all in on entrepreneurship. Even before he was formally accepted at WashU Olin, he found his way into my office hours, sought advice, and put my and other advisors’ suggestions to work. He’s in a relentless pursuit to find a product-market fit for his ideas and passions. And it’s fun to watch him go after it, and it’s fun to try to help guide his unbridled energy.

But the best part of all was watching Lloyd come to the realization that some pivots were necessary to make his idea ultimately scalable. Most entrepreneurs fall in love with their solutions. But Lloyd learned to fall in love instead with the customer’s problem, which is the biggest thing we teach at WashU Olin. And it’s not easy to pivot—but Lloyd did. Modern entrepreneurship is about iteration and listening to feedback. Watching Lloyd do both has been a joy and pleasure, making him an invaluable member of the class of 2022.”

Doug Villhard
Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship
Academic Director for Entrepreneurship
WashU Olin Business School



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