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Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

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Ronak Sheth, Executive MBA

Ronak Sheth

Ronak Sheth

EMBA Class 36
Chief Customer Officer
Label Insight
"Innovation and creativity are two of the most-critical factors for a startup’s success."
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“Do it fast. Do it cheap. Do it often. Those are my takeaways on innovation from the Executive MBA program.”

Importance of second-year theme on innovation and creativity

“Pre-program, I was used to companies spending a lot of time and money on the solution that was right for the moment. Once they thought they’d found it, they’d stop innovating.”

During the four years since he graduated from Olin, Sheth has helped take food-label-data start-up FoodEssentials “into other verticals, like apparel, cosmetics, and personal care. We now cover all categories offered by a big-box retailer.”

A change in the company name — to Label Insight — reflects the broader scope of business. As part of the transition, Sheth moved from St. Louis to Chicago and acquired the title chief customer officer.

“Innovation and creativity are two of the most-critical factors for a startup’s success, and Label Insights is no exception. We want to innovate in everything we do, including our internal processes. For example, we spent two weeks overhauling our internal data analysis to make it more efficient and cost effective.”

Why C-suite business skills are critical

The line between engineering, science, and technology on the one hand and business on the other has blurred, Sheth says.

“As organizations become leaner and try to move faster and accomplish more for less money, their executives have to look at problems through a business lens – as well as through the lens of their particular specialty area. Every leader, regardless of background, needs to understand macroeconomics, profit and loss, and how to manage risk.”

The accessibility of Olin’s Executive MBA faculty

During his 20 months in the program, Sheth developed relationships with Executive MBA faculty, such as Barton Hamilton, Robert Brookings Smith Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Glenn MacDonald, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy.

“Every now and again, I’d have coffee at Starbucks with Bart, and we’d talk about business ideas. He opened my eyes to the St. Louis startup community and, ultimately, to FoodEssentials.

“An avid fencer, Glenn invited students to fence with him on a Saturday afternoon. I went and had a great time.

“What was so remarkable about the experiences is that these extremely accomplished academics didn’t live in an isolated bubble, where all they did was lecture and leave. They embraced the idea that EMBA students had something to offer them, and they wanted to connect with us on a personal level.”

Ronak Sheth

Chief Customer Officer, Label Insight

Previous Employment

Chief Product Officer, FoodEssentials
CEO, Phorkball
Vice President, Client Partnership at ANSIRA (formerly NSI Marketing Services)
Global Director of Strategic Sales, Utopia Inc.
Client Relationship Manager, LexisNexis
Senior Manager of Client Solutions, Informance


Education: BS, Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Northwestern University