2016 Class Acts

The global classroom

11.30.2016--December 2016 graduate Alex Bluster. James Byard / WUSTL Photos

Blustein will enter Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Global Management Trainee program after graduating. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Graduating senior Alex Blustein has visited home less than 40 days since arriving at Washington University in St. Louis in 2013. The Tampa native, who graduates in December, has spent every summer of his undergraduate years either traveling or working.

“It’s a Jewish mother’s nightmare,” Blustein said with a laugh. “But WashU offered me so many opportunities and experiences that I wanted to take advantage of. I love the classroom, but my time outside of the classroom has really helped me better understand the world.”

Blustein majored in systems engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and finance in Olin Business School. Early next year, he will begin Anheuser-Busch InBev’s 10-month rotational Global Management Trainee Program.

“I’ll learn about everything from marketing to supply to brewing,” said Blustein, who will take a management position with the company after his rotation. “It’s perfect for a person who likes to understand multiple facets of a business from more than one angle.”

Blustein said he chose Washington University for a couple of reasons. One, the university accommodates students who want to complete different majors in different schools. To Blustein, who gives tours to potential engineering students, that just makes sense.

“I always tell people on my tours that college is the time to follow their passion and to try new things,” Blustein said. “Using two different parts of your brain is not only mentally exciting, it makes you more competitive in the job market.”

The second reason: One of the people Blustein most admires also picked Washington University — his brother Zachary Blustein, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in chemical engineering and now works for Emerson Process Management.

“He is just the first in a long line of amazing role models,” said Blustein, who counts fellow members of business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi and social fraternity Sigma Nu as key mentors. “From the moment I arrived, I met so many motivated and talented upperclassmen who mentored me throughout my years at WashU.

“Many would  say to me , ‘Alex, you have to apply to this program,’ or ‘Alex, you must study abroad.’  I am most grateful to my brother and older friends for their advice. Their guidance has served me well.”

The summer after his first year, Blustein participated in Olin’s Israel Summer Business Academy, where he worked for an agriculture technology startup in Tel Aviv. He spent the next two summers working for AB InBev, first in St. Louis and then in New York. And junior spring, he studied in Hong Kong — a systems engineer’s paradise.

“Their metro system? I could talk forever about its efficiency,” Blustein said. “Traveling helps you see what’s possible.”

And not just technologically, Blustein said.

“Every day abroad you make a new friend or better understand a different culture,” Blustein said. “My travels have strengthened my faith in humanity. People are good.”

-Diane Toroian Keaggy