2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Lucas Dionisopoulos, Washington University (Olin)

Lucas Dionisopoulos

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

Wandering with a purpose.”

Fun fact about yourself: I successfully hit a tweener on Andy Roddick…I lost the point, but that is the best point I’ve ever lost.

Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska

High School: Lincoln Southwest High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Computer Science

Favorite Business Course: Economics of Entertainment

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Delta Sigma Pi
  • WashU Club Tennis Travel Team
  • Management 100 C-Suite Teaching Assistant
  • President of the WashU Beekeepers
  • KWUR 90.3 FM DJ
  • Ranken Jordan Young Professionals Board

Where have you interned during your college career? 

  • UBS, Lincoln, Nebraska – Wealth Management Intern (July – August 2018)
  • Oppenheimer & Co., St. Louis, Missouri – Lead Investments Division Intern (February 2019 – August 2019)
  • Financial Technology Partners, San Francisco, California (Virtual) – Investment Banking Summer Analyst (June 2020 – August 2020)

Where will you be working after graduation? I am incredibly excited to be returning to Financial Technology Partners in their San Francisco office as an investment banking analyst in July!

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have learned from studying business is that there is incredible power in organizing and motivating others around you. Without strong vision and leadership, large tasks would be nearly impossible to complete – and it takes reframing the scope from ‘I’ to ‘we’ to unlock a world of possibilities. I am inspired by leaders who can create a shared vision and motivate those around them to push the boundaries of what was thought to be achievable.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Find the intersection between business and your passion and run with it. Business is at the core of nearly every industry, and a business education grants you the flexibility to take your interests and make a career out of them. There is the quote that resembles ‘when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.’ While it is cliché, there is a lot of merit in enjoying what you do. I’ve experienced first-hand that people do their best work when it comes from a place of passion. Business grants you the ability to have a flexible education that you can merge with your interests, and that is an ability that I would encourage all to utilize!

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I am surprised by how much I have enjoyed each field under the broader umbrella of business. I don’t believe my freshman-self would have expected to enjoy classes like marketing or supply chain as much as I did. However, what I realized is that each study offers valuable parallels as well as diverse decision-making perspectives. Having a baseline understanding of how the cogs turn in the larger machine is incredibly valuable, and this has cemented an appreciation of the holistic business education approach at Olin.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would have tried to start a business with the expectation that I’d make a lot of mistakes along the way. Every experience – good, bad, small, or large – is a valuable experience, and starting a company spurs personal development surpassing that of typical classroom environments through experiential learning, forced critical thinking, and continual reflection. These are things that I have found to drive the most growth and would be relevant for any career that I would want to pursue afterward. As much as I would have loved to found the next tech unicorn out of my college dorm, it would have likely failed – but also come with many takeaways.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of serving as a teaching assistant every semester apart from my freshman fall and studying abroad. There is an inherent selfishness in the pursuit of knowledge that I have tried to alleviate by passing on this knowledge through teaching. Not only this, but it has been incredibly humbling and rewarding – especially teaching the introductory business and computer science courses where growth is so visible. Introductory courses have an added perk – they provide an influential environment where students decide whether they want to pursue the subject further, and I get to be a small part of helping them discover that!

Which classmate do you most admire? I could list so many classmates who I look up to, but someone in particular from who I have been able to learn an invaluable amount has been Garrett Passamonti. He is a natural leader who brings empathy, curiosity, and creativity into whatever he does – from acapella to owning his own business. A trait that I admire most in people is a strong moral compass, and I have found Garrett to be unwavering on this front. Not only has he been able to have a positive impact on those around him, but he has been able to impact the community around him through Bear Studios – a legacy that will continue benefiting WashU and the surrounding St. Louis community well into the future. We became close through our professional fraternity, and after getting to live and travel abroad together, he’s easily become one of my best friends from college with much more to come!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? If I have to thank one person for my success, it would undoubtedly be my mother. I have learned hard work and passion directly from her – watching her dedicate any free time to the local parks department throughout my childhood and taking on work with a drive and enthusiasm that I aspire to emulate. I cannot thank her enough for her resolute support, and she was beyond impactful throughout the months I spent at home during the pandemic. She has been an incredible influence and I can attribute much of my success to her – I know she will only continue to inspire me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I would love to either be a founding employee or start my own business and, in my later years, become either a high-school teacher or adjunct professor. As fun as it would be to ring the bell at the NYSE, it would be most satisfying to cultivate a vision into reality alongside others who share the same optimism and dedication. Regardless of my path, it is my goal to enter into a formal teaching role, preferably interacting with people in a formative period like high school or college. Coaching tennis on the side would be a fun perk too but I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself.

What are your hobbies? I love anything in nature from hiking to rock climbing and outdoor photography, and while I have played far too much tennis in my life, I will always appreciate getting back on the court. I recently picked up classical guitar and have really enjoyed learning to play – though I am keeping my expectations low. I’m very excited to check out the nature around San Francisco and appreciate any recommendations!

What made Lucas such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“From day one Lucas distinguished himself as a leader in his Olin cohort, both intellectually and through his considerable efforts to elevate his peers and to bring a positive and productive attitude to his interactions. He has been a consistent top performer in his academic work and played a critical teaching assistant role beginning in his freshman year. As an Olin community member Lucas has earned a reputation for being one who will enthusiastically, skillfully and tirelessly help another student, staff, or faculty member. He is one of the engaging personalities that is responsible for the continuing success of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. Beyond his student role, Lucas has a wide-ranging collection of interests that adds texture to our community. His career in Fintech is off to a strong start, so he will be a stellar Olin Alumnus. Finally, Lucas is a genuine and straightforward person who many seek to emulate — an outstanding choice for this recognition.”

Glenn MacDonald
John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy
Director, CRES

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