2017 Best & Brightest: Jessica Landzberg, Washington University

Jessica Landzberg

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“Curious. Analytical. Innovative. Youngest. Movies. Podcasts. Retail. Retail. Did I mention Retail?”

Fun fact about yourself: Even though I am not Irish, I did competitive Irish Step Dancing growing up.

Hometown: Montvale, NJ

High School: Bergen County Academies- Academy for Business and Finance

Major: Double major in Finance and Accounting, and I am completing the coursework for the Marketing Major

Favorite Business Course: The Luxury Apparel Industry: International Perspective and Immersion- Not only did this course include extremely interesting and timely case studies on major retailers and designers, but this course also included a trip to NYC where we visited many of the retailers discussed in class.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

School Awards/Honors

  • Awarded merit-based Dean’s Scholarship in Business from Olin Business School
  • Awarded merit-based Entrepreneurship Scholarship from WashU
  • First Place NRF Ray Greenly Scholarship
    • Awarded 1st place in an individual MBA & Undergraduate competition for my recommendations on how Nordstrom can decrease online return rates and received $25K scholarship.
  • Undergraduate Representative for the Olin Dean Search Committee
    • Appointed as the undergraduate representative on the committee that identified, interviewed, and selected the new Dean of Olin.
  • NISA Investment Advisors Scholars Award
    • Awarded to 4 WashU undergraduates studying finance or economics.
  • William S. Krebs Accounting Award
    • Awarded to 4 WashU juniors studying accounting .
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
    • Awarded to top 7% of junior class.
  • YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Recipient
    • Received $5K scholarship for my recommendations on how Birchbox could acquire new subscribers and continue to keep their current subscribers.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Bear-y Sweet Shoppe- Co-Founder, Owner, & CFO
    • During my sophomore year, 3 other female students and I founded a pay-by-weight candy store on campus, Bear-y Sweet Shoppe. The Bear-y Sweet Shoppe is one of the 11 student-owned and operated businesses part of the Student Entrepreneurial Program (StEP). It has over 100 different varieties of chocolate, gummies, dried fruit, and nuts. We spent a year planning and since the business was just starting, I was doing a little bit of everything- developing the business plan, presenting to the university, raising start-up funding (through a Kickstarter Campaign), obtaining all necessary state and federal licenses (EIN, Merchant License, Health Department Certification, etc), working the store, and campus outreach. We officially opened in January 2015 and the support exceeded all of our expectations. We are open 5 days a week for walk-in customers and we have relationships with university offices to provide gift bags, speaker gifts, and self-serve candy bars for various events.
    • I sold my share of the business in June 2016, at which time I developed a prospectus, had discussions with potential buyers, and composed sale agreement paperwork.
  • Teaching Assistant
    • I was a teaching assistant for Management 100 and for Microeconomics
    • I taught 2 weekly mandatory subsection classes to reinforce class concepts through lectures and hands-on activities.
    • Last year I took on the task of completely redesigning the weekly subsection curriculum (which was over 10 years old) and creating the weekly PowerPoint decks to be used by all TAs.

Where have you interned during your college career? Throughout college I had the opportunity to gain exposure into the many different areas of retail- from designer, to retailer, to manufacturer.

Junior Year

General Mills, Minneapolis, MN- Financial Analyst Intern in the Snacks Operating Unit

Finance is a supporting function at GMI. I was supporting the Snacks brand teams- Nature Valley/Fiber 1/Larabar. I had 3 projects and presented them at the end of the summer. My main project was to determine the financial effects of the merger between grain and nutrition bar aisles that occurred at many retailers. It was very interesting to see how important big box retailers (I.e. Walmart) are to manufacturers.

Sophomore Year

J.Crew, New York, NY- Financial Planning Intern for Madewell

I was responsible for planning the spring 2016 $4M investment in outerwear styles. I analyzed style and specific historical sales data and identified trends to then use to determine the volume needed to be manufactured of each style in the new collection. Here, I was able to see first-hand how technology is changing the backend of the industry- retailers are creating omnichannel business models in regards to buying and selling inventory.

Freshman Year

Band of Outsiders, New York, NY- Sales and Logistics Intern

I was interning during Men’s and Women’s Spring 2015 Market Week where buyers from retailers place their order for the new collection. I assisted with buyers’ appointments by putting together looks, coordinating and dressing the models, entering client orders, and maintaining an organized showroom. During the summer, Band of Outsiders was opening their first US store in NYC and I had the privilege of seeing a store grow from the ground up.

Describe your dream Job: I would love to help develop and grow a retail company from the ground up, focusing on perfecting the actual product, streamlining the point of sale experience, and creating a new standard within the industry.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? I greatly admire the founders of Warby Parker. First, they saw an industry with inefficiencies and then went on to disrupt that industry. Second, they found a way to successfully sell a product online that is normally very difficult to sell without the customers touching and seeing it. Third, Warby Parker demonstrates that brick and mortar will not become extinct, but rather retail will be omni-channel. Some of Warby Parker’s stores rival Apple’s sales per square foot and they are continuing to expand their physical footprint. They do all this while maintaining a strong social mission with their partnership with VisionSpring. I admire their innovation and risk-taking (calculated risk-taking of course!) and they inspire me to continuously think about what other industries need to be similarly revolutionized.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Business is everywhere — in any field one goes into and in one’s everyday life. I love how I can read a news article, go to the mall, or speak to my siblings who are pursuing medicine and be able to connect it back to something I learned in the classroom.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I am very excited to be joining the McKinsey Chicago office as a Business Analyst. I look forward to gaining more exposure to the varied segments of retail (from grocery to apparel) and the many different functions within retail.

What are your long-term professional goals? My ultimate goal is to combine my fascinations with entrepreneurship, the retail industry, and customer experience. After I gain a stronger foundation, I would love to help develop and grow a retail company from the ground up — focusing on perfecting the actual product, streamlining the point of sale experience, and creating a new standard within the industry.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Success is a combination of hard work and luck. The harder you work the luckier you get and make sure to PUT yourself in the position to get lucky.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…my parents refused to open up a Rita’s Italian Ices next to the town swimming pool, no matter how much my 8-year-old-self begged them. I decided that I would just have to do it myself one day.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…an Optician! Ever since I needed glasses, I have been fascinated with eyewear. I would open my own stores and help customers find the perfect frames.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…how lucky I was to have the opportunity and time to have internships. When else will I have the chance to work for any company I desire for 10 weeks, learning first-hand about the industry, the company, and the role, without any future commitment. Take advantage of it!”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The happiest moment of my life was when I was accepted to Stanford GSB through their deferred MBA admission process. After working for a few years, I will be able to continue a diverse education similar to the one that I enjoyed and benefited from during my undergraduate experience. I am excited by the opportunity to study in the technology and entrepreneurship capital of the world. This moment showed that hard work does pay off.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of the Bear-y Sweet Shoppe, the candy store on campus that 3 other students and I started. I am proud to say that our business was the first new business in 8 years, the first to sell food, and the first business founded by women. But I am most proud of the way that the candy store has been built for long-term success and the discussion our business initiated on campus. Since our grand opening, 2 new businesses have opened and the entrepreneurship community has grown tremendously. I sold my share of the business in June 2016 (as a junior) to two freshmen to create a tiered ownership structure, where a portion of the business goes up for sale every year. This ensures the longevity of the business as the new owners can be mentored by owners with more experience.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? Bees — Not only are bees very hard working and busy, they help pollinate flowers. I look forward to helping different companies grow and achieve greater success. Bees are peaceful and harmless animals unless they are provoked and feel the need to use their stinger.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank WashU. I truly believe I would not have had the opportunities I had at WashU (inside and outside the classroom), at any other university. I am very lucky to call Olin my alma mater.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I hope that my business school peers will say that I helped make their college experience more educational and enjoyable, both inside and outside the classroom.

Favorite book: Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Favorite movie: Foxcatcher

Favorite musical performer: Taylor Swift

Favorite vacation spot: Tokyo, Japan. The people, the culture, the bustle, the food….nothing beats it!

What are your hobbies?

Avid runner: In college, I made the transition from organized sports (competitive soccer) to running. My family has an annual tradition of running a half-marathon in a city where a cousin is living. I completed my 4th half-marathon this past April in Ohio.

Movie Enthusiast: The Oscars is my Super Bowl. To become emotionally invested, each year I try to watch all major nominated films before the ceremony. A few of my favorite nominated movies include LaLaLand (’17), Brooklyn (’16), Foxcatcher (‘15), and American Sniper (’15).

Traveler: In my free time, I love to travel and explore new places. My favorite part is experiencing new cultures and incorporating different aspects in my every day life. This past summer, I went to Madagascar for a social entrepreneurship class and I would love to further explore Africa in the future.

What made Jessica such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017? “Jessica has been an incredible member of the Olin community, her passion for the study of business and for being an engaged member of our community is apparent after just a short conversation.  She has been incredibly engaged in career, applying what she has learned to co-founding and running a very popular business, the Bear-y Sweet Shop, taking leadership roles in many campus organizations and always being a willing volunteer to serve Olin in various capacities.  Jessica has been a role model for other students, a partner to faculty and staff and is one of those students you only hope to have the opportunity to work with in your career.”

Steve Malter
Associate Dean and Director of Undergraduate Programs
Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

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