Class Proceedings: Alivia Kaplan – The Source
Alivia Kaplan has a vision of the world that sets her apart from others. Growing up, his family moved 19 times, exposing him to different cultures early on.
“I think moving has definitely made me very adaptable,” said Kaplan, who hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics and strategy in May from Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis. “When moving is sort of an expectation, you get used to adapting quickly to the environment you’re in.”
She also has a connection to Saint-Louis. It is her father’s hometown and her grandmother is a former WashU student. Kaplan heard about Olin’s offers through a high school counselor.
Kaplan’s adaptability allows him to work with people around the world with his global consulting firm, Kuleana Consulting. She founded the company in June 2020, after serving as Program Manager for the Small Business Task Force at Olin.
During this time, she has seen several students lose internships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, she created her company to connect students with businesses and nonprofits around the world.
“It was a really global experience, because I wanted to make it something where people could work with other people from different cultures,” Kaplan said. “I think it’s something you don’t get much of in college unless you go out of your way to find it.”
She credits one of her mentors, Glenn MacDonald, John M. Olin Professor Emeritus of Economics and Strategy, for creating consulting learning opportunities for her.
“Alivia is an outstanding graduate who has developed significant business skills and instincts, as well as a remarkable ability to organize and get things done. Kuleana is just one in a series of related success stories,” MacDonald said. “She is level-headed and straightforward, seeks to learn from everything she touches, and is a really kind and caring person. Working with her has been energizing and an inspiring learning experience.
His interest in social impact began early in his high school years. Kaplan’s mother took her to Mexico City, where her good friend’s mother runs a school for children amidst an intense environment. Many children seek to escape the cycle of poverty.
“From that point on, I was always really passionate about impacting people’s lives, so I started a nonprofit in high school to bring more of that into my own community.”
Kaplan is now focused on creating a fellowship program to bring business and policy makers together to address the future of sustainability. After graduating, she plans to work as an assistant to the CEO at a real estate private equity firm in Los Angeles. Ultimately, she wants to build more businesses in real estate and impact investing.
Her success can be attributed to the fact that she approaches life thinking that she should never be the smartest person in the room.
“I think what really defined my experience at WashU and elsewhere was how resourceful the mentors I have in my life were and shaped my journey,” she said. “Being open to learning is the main reason I was able to grow.”