PQU Campus Correspondent Marni Widen (Olin)

Marni Widen

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

Hometown: Northbrook, IL

Year: Senior

Majors: Finance & Marketing

Minors: Communication Design

25 Questions with Campus Correspondent Marni Widen

When did you know you wanted to go to business school?

I started my own business when I was 8 and ever since then I knew I wanted to study business – just kidding. Actually, the way I decided on business was more of a process of elimination than anything. There are so many different majors to pursue within business that I knew I would find one (or two) that interested me.

When you found out you were accepted into Olin, what was your reaction?

I was actually backstage at my high school dance show when I found out – let’s just say I was definitely smiling during my performance.  

What other schools did you apply to?

University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania

Why should students preparing to enter college consider going into business school?

It allows you to choose what you want to do without actually choosing! There are so many options within business from marketing to accounting and so many different ways to apply a business major in the real world – it’s a win-win!  

What has been the most surprising thing about B-school?

Teamwork. I know it sounds cheesy, but I never realized how important it is to be able to work well with other people. Most (if not all) jobs in business include working on teams so it’s great I got the opportunity to work in many different teams while at Olin.

How many internships have you done and with what companies?

Two. The summer after my sophomore year of college I interned at MB Financial Bank in Rosemont, IL in the compliance department. The summer after my junior year of college I interned at JP Morgan Private Bank in Northbrook, IL as a wealth management summer analyst.

Have you studied abroad?

Yes – twice!

When, where, and what was the experience?

The summer after my freshman year of college I studied abroad in Israel for six weeks studying entrepreneurship and venture creation. I studied abroad in London during the spring semester of my junior year where I also interned at a startup.

If you had to choose one: an internship or studying abroad?

Why not both? Many study abroad programs (like the one I did) allow you to study abroad as well as have an internship!

What has been your most memorable moment in B-school?

Ask me again when I graduate…I feel like this moment will be happening in the next five months.

Why should students apply to Olin?

Midwestern, collaborative culture – check. A curriculum that keeps up with the changing business world – check. Being surrounded by a bunch of smart, accomplished people – check.

What are your goals after graduation?

Pursue hobbies that I didn’t have time to do while in school, go skydiving, and eventually open my own coffee shop/cafe.

When you’re not studying, where on campus can we most likely find you?

When it’s warm out – a hammock somewhere on Mudd Field. When it’s cold out – on the couch in my apartment watching Seinfeld.

What are you most excited about for the new semester?

To check off everything on my WashU and St. Louis bucket list! One of which includes my friend and I attempting to survive off of free food for a week.

What are your hobbies outside of B-school?

Calligraphy, baking, and board games

What advice would you offer your freshman self?

Go to class. Get involved (but not over-involved). Set multiple alarms. Become friends with upperclassmen – they give the best advice.

What is one thing that could improve your business school to make it an even better experience?

I wish the Starbucks in Bauer Hall (one of our business buildings) were open longer…and I wish we could reserve study rooms for longer than 2-hour increments.

What is the one class or who is the one professor every B-school student should take?

Computer science. I realized very quickly why I wasn’t an engineer, but it taught me how to think logically and in the end, I could say I coded the game Frogger!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Grad school? London? I really have no clue, but I am confident I will be 26 years old.

What is one life changing moment you’ve experienced as a business school student?

Freshman year – my first case competition. It was the first time I wore a suit, the first presentation I gave in college, and the first time I designed a (good) PowerPoint. Being able to experience this my first semester of college really pushed me to grow and become more professional.

What one word would you use to describe the professors at Olin?

Passionate. You can tell professors at Olin love the subject they teach and are such experts in their fields. Sometimes it can be intimidating when your professor literally wrote the book on that subject, but in the end, they are there to teach you everything they know so it’s really a cool experience.

What word to describe the students?

Also, passionate. Every student in the business school obviously likes business, but each student is unique and has something they are passionate about as well.

What is the culture like there?

Olin students are very collaborative, extremely driven and so smart (but not in an “in your face” kind of way).

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Professor Kleshchelski who taught the intro to finance course I took sophomore year. I never saw myself as a finance major, but after his class I was convinced. He really loved teaching and explained everything in an easy to understand way.

When you graduate what do you think you’ll miss most about business school?

This may sound weird but I’m going to miss just sitting in a classroom listening and learning. Out in the “real world” it’s all about doing whereas college, and business school, is all about learning. It will definitely be an adjustment…and might convince me to go back to grad school later in life…

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