2019 Best & Brightest: Lolly Buenaventura, Washington University (Olin)

Lolly Buenaventura

Washington University, Olin Business School

“An extrovert defined by those around her; a work in progress.”

Fun fact about yourself: I dove the Great Barrier Reef while abroad in Australia last year!

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

High School: The Miami Valley School

Major: Economics & Strategy

Minor: International Business, Spanish

Favorite Business Course: My favorite business course I’ve taken is Game Theory through the Economics & Strategy department. Taught by the amazing Professor Esponda, I had so much fun in this course studying how people strategically make decisions to maximize their individual payoff. Putting a tried-and-true science behind something humans and organizations do daily widened my perspective and made me think completely differently. I found the class so intriguing that I declared Economics & Strategy as my major as a result.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

School Awards/Honors:

  • Annika Rodriguez Scholar – Merit-based scholarship received annually from the university for commitment to service, academic excellence, and bringing diverse communities together
  • Dean’s List (Fall 2016, Fall 2018)


  • Member of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity
  • Member of Arch Consulting, a consulting case competition club that competes at intercollegiate competitions
  • Participant in Diwali, an annual cultural showcase highlighting Indian culture, music, and dance
  • Tour guide with Student Tour Leaders
  • President of the Association of Mixed Students, a cultural student group for multi-racial/multi-ethnic students

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Align Production Systems, Louis, MO – Marketing Intern (May – August 2017)
  • Ketchum, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR – Public Relations & Communications Intern (March – May 2018)
  • The Boston Consulting Group, Chicago, IL – Summer Associate (June – August 2018)

Where will you be working after graduation? I am beyond excited to be returning to The Boston Consulting Group as a full-time Associate in September!

Who is your favorite professor? Glenn MacDonald has been one of my favorite professors at WashU. Having taken Intro to Microeconomics from him a few years ago, I’m so glad I’m back in his classroom this semester taking the capstone class for the Economics & Strategy major. Professor MacDonald has worked as an independent consultant for many years and always ties his personal experience into the classroom, which makes his class so interesting! Also, he’s very vocal about his unique passions in music and yoga, which makes him so approachable and a great resource to have here at WashU.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? The Olin Business School has gone above and beyond my expectations over the years, and one of the things I really enjoy about it is how open and kind everyone is. Olin prides itself on this “collaboratively competitive” culture that really embodies what makes it so special. WashU students are, without a doubt, high achievers, but instead of trying to beat the competition, students want to achieve together, bringing each other up along the way. One thing that helps with this is our small size – Olin is a place full of friendly faces, including many of my closest friends!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Every person you meet has something valuable to teach you and it’s never too early to start building your network. Whether it be professors or classmates, take every encounter as an opportunity to build a deeper relationship that will hopefully last beyond college!

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would tell any student looking into a business-related major to get involved outside of the classroom! Whether it be doing business-related service work in the community or joining a club that champions your passion in business, those experiences are integral to the college experience and give you an opportunity to apply what you’re learning in the real world.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I was initially surprised by how much Olin emphasizes group work in every aspect of our education. Whether it is a business case or group strategy presentation, almost every class has a group component, which very closely models the emphasis on teams and collaboration in real-world working environments. I’ve experienced a plethora of team-based collaborative efforts in my internships and I’m very thankful I’ve had so much practice with teamwork in college for that reason.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Pre-med! Until senior year of high school, I was dead-set on going into medicine. I come from a family of doctors and have always enjoyed science and solving problems, which led me to medicine. It is a really intensive field, which is something I’d like, and the value doctors provide to their patients is so commendable. In another world, I would have loved to study to become a doctor.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad actually pushed me to explore other passions before I settled for a pre-med track in college. He’s a doctor but received his MBA while I was in middle school, which set an incredible example for me about continuing your education and always striving for more. He urged me to apply for a summer business camp before my senior year of high school, as I had zero business exposure until that point. I attended a 10-day business camp called OLAB at Wabash College in Indiana, where I received a one-week crash course in business and simulated product development, marketing, and pitching in group settings. I fell in love with the critical thinking, problem-solving, and the general ambiguity that embodies business, which caused me to switch last minute and apply to business programs instead of science programs for college! I’m so glad it turned out for the best and thanks, Dad!

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I’m truly humbled to be a part of the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program at WashU and the small community is full of my closest friends, mentors, and role models. Rodriguez Scholars are some of the biggest changemakers on our campus, and I’m very proud to say friends of mine in the program have gone on to become Harvard Law students, Fulbright Scholars, and so much more. The program has shaped me into my best self and I am so honored to have gained admission to be part of this community.

Which classmate do you most admire? I really admire my friend Madison Stoecker, who is one of the most involved seniors I know at WashU! Madison is the President of Arch Consulting, and also is an undergraduate fellow for the Center for Experiential Learning at WashU, meaning she devotes a lot of time to WashU and the experience of her fellow Olin students. Madison and I became really close when we studied abroad together in Australia and Hong Kong, and I value her friendship so much because her leadership is so inspiring, and her presence is always a treat!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would first like to thank Julia Macias, the director of the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program, for believing in me and providing me the opportunity to attend WashU! Julia’s support helped me feel at home during the early moments of college, giving me the confidence to get involved and leave my mark on the university.

I would like to thank my parents, Rick and Sheela, for their undying support and encouragement in all my endeavors throughout the years.  I also would like to thank my sister, Alicia, for always lending an ear and helping me with whatever I needed, whenever I needed it.

Lastly, I would like to thank my friends for many late nights of interview prep, cover-letter reviews, advice on recruiting & internships, and support, all of which was much appreciated!

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Assist or consult on an entrepreneurial or start-up venture of someone I know by the time I go back to Business School.
  • Dive Raja Ampat, Indonesia! I’ve heard from many that it’s some of the best diving out there and scuba diving is one of my biggest passions.

What are your hobbies? Cooking, exploring new restaurants/cuisines, scuba diving, stand-up comedy (watching, not performing), and spending time with friends.

What made Lolly such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“I distinctly remember the moment Lolly walked into my classroom. She had an air of confidence and an infectious smile that hinted to her extraordinary ability to be an asset to my class and to our campus. She proved me right. Throughout the semester, Lolly was a unifier. She led a team through a live client project with foresight and mature other-awareness seldom seen in a sophomore. She produced high-quality, actionable, sustainable solutions that business professionals with years of experience would struggle to match. It’s truly impressive, and we’re so fortunate to have her at Olin. In short, Lolly is the personification of Olin’s core values: collaboration, integrity, respect for diversity, excellence, and leadership. She’s the type of student that binds us together and drives us to improve every day. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have taught her.”

Staci Thomas
Management Communications Professor


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