After debuting at No. 1 in our first ranking of undergraduate business programs six years ago, the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis had been slowly sliding down the rankings, falling out of the top 10 to No. 12 in 2021, down from 2020’s No. 7. But the Olin School has made a comeback this year. Olin ranked No. 4 in 2022, placing not only in the top 10 but in the top 5 — a noteworthy comeback.
Olin had one of the most selective acceptance rates of all ranked undergraduate business schools this year, at 8.36% — even more exclusive than last year’s acceptance rate of 14.26%. The average SAT score was the second highest of all ranked B-schools as well, at 1523 — just under Stern’s 1531.
Olin offers a quality business education that is characterized by strong global study programs and a values-based approach to business. Of the three methodological categories, Olin placed highest in Admissions, where the B-school came in 3rd, then Career Outcomes, where Olin came in 4th.
Both internship and employment outcomes for Olin graduates were especially strong this year. An outstanding 100% of the Class of 2021 secured an internship before graduation — one of the only four B-schools with this rate, next to Whitman, Byrum and Saunders — up from last year’s 97.40% for the Class of 2020.
As for employment, the B-school did rather well as well, with 97.67% of the Class of 2021 landing a full-time position within three months after graduation, up from last year’s 91.43% for the Class of 2020.
Those starting full-time positions reported an average starting salary of $75,539, one of the highest this year. Additionally, 94.44% of surveyed 2019 alumni said their first job after graduating was in their desired industry, and 77.78% reported that their first job was at their desired company.
With a curriculum that’s grounded in teaching values and offering a global perspective, the Olin Business School truly delivers a strong, modern-day business education. Olin students get the opportunity to earn a strong business education in an urban Midwestern setting.
A GLOBAL EXPERIENCE
While the Olin Business School itself is located in St. Louis, Missouri, the education itself is truly global – and it is based in an interesting spot in a revitalized Midwestern city with a lot of startup, tech, and entrepreneurial momentum.
Only 44% of 2019 Olin alumni said they were engaged in a global immersion of some kind. Recognizing this gap and to ensure students gain a global perspective, starting in the fall of 2021, all Olin undergraduates will need to fulfill the new “Global Mindset” degree requirement — a framework designed to ensure every undergraduate can gain international business experience, whether or not they travel abroad.
The Olin curriculum features 11 courses that offer a significant global business component, which we define as at least a third of the coursework. Additionally, students have access to 175 semester abroad opportunities with 19 of them being business-specific. One 2018 alumni told us they spent one semester in Madrid and another in Copenhagen.
“The approach to learning and the role of higher education was so drastically different in each country that I feel like I gained a greater appreciation for both inside and outside of the classroom learning opportunities,” the alum said.
Another 2018 alumni studied in both Tel Aviv and Paris.
“My Tel Aviv experience was a six week summer program with a small group of students that focused on entrepreneurship and startup culture,” the alum told us. “There was no better place to have hands-on experience working towards building your own idea. My semester in Paris was focused on International Business and the French language.”
The Olin curriculum is designed to give students a holistic, values-based education. One that gives them a strong foundation in business, but also an understanding of aspects outside of their world of business too. Olin students are required to complete at least 40% of their classes in areas other than business.
What makes Olin unique is that many of the experiences offered are rooted in the idea of using business to create social change in real communities.
One of the most popular experiences is the Taylor Community Consulting Program, which matches Olin students with nonprofits in need of fresh perspectives and actionable recommendations. Teams of two to four students are assigned to a six-week project and each student must contribute at least 75 hours of work. The students conclude the project with a final presentation. Through these projects, students gain experience in a variety of management functions including market research, brand auditing, strategic planning, and financial and operational assessment — all while making a real social impact.
“Taylor Community Consulting provided me insight on how business practices are crucial for social impact and led me to join Teach for America after graduation instead of consulting,” one 2018 alumni told us.
These experiences also help students build important soft skills such as verbal and written communication skills, adaptability, delegation, and time management. 2019 alumni rated Olin’s ability to nurture and improve their soft skills in business relatively strong at an 9.4 average rating.
“There were many experiential learning projects in multiple classes. These were fantastic to prepare to the real world as they brought in real world clients! These projects really prepared us for the business world when it comes to presentations and answering/anticipating key stakeholders questions.”
“Did a summer abroad with the Dean of the undergraduate business school immersed in the startup nation of Tel Aviv. I not only learned about the country but experienced it firsthand. Learned about Madagascar and economic development in class then traveled to the community to put our knowledge to the test. We had to adapt to new cultures based on information we couldn’t have predicted from our outsider perspective.”
“WashU has a Center for Entrepreneurial learning that provides students with consulting opportunities with either large companies, small businesses or non profits. I completed the small business course and non profit where I was able to directly impact a Saint Louis frame shop and the Illinois Center for Autism. It was foundational to my career in consulting.”
“I participated in two abroad programs – one of which was an entrepreneurial summer program in Israel and one was a semester abroad taking classes and interning in London. Israel allowed me to learn more about starting a business and how Israel is a hub for innovation. London was a great opportunity to work in another country and broaden my work experience while still taking meaningful courses.”
“Student Entrepreneurial Program gave me real life exposure to running a business alongside partners and the Taylor Community Consulting Program allowed me to develop my teamwork and problem solving skills while making a positive impact on the community.”
Where The Class of 2020 Went To Work:
Bain & Company – 8
Capital One – 7
Guggenheim Partners – 6
EY – 6
JPMorgan Chase & Co. – 4
McKinsey – 4
Kraft Heinz Foods – 3
Deloitte – 4
Goldman Sachs – 3
ZS Associates – 3