The Olin education at Washington University in St. Louis is centered around collaboration, diverse coursework, and experiential learning opportunities.
“The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world,” Steve Malter, Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate & Graduate Programs at Olin, says.
WORKING TOGETHER TO SOLVE REAL PROBLEMS
Among other business schools, Olin instills a strong sense of collaboration throughout the experience. This collaborative approach gives students a sense of what it’s like to solve real world issues, together.
One example of Olin’s collaborative approach is its Management Communication course, a required class for all undergraduate students. As part of the course, teams of students work together with actual clients to help them solve strategic communication problems.
“Olin’s collaborative community is evident both inside and outside of the classroom,” Malter says. “Faculty are engaged in student groups and provide students with opportunities to assist with research.”
Another example is Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning (CEL), which offers several programs where students can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to solve real-world business problems.
Ian Lever, a class of 2016 alum, says the Center for Experiential Learning was amongst the most influential experiences in his life.
“They allowed us to work with real problems faced by real people and therefore gave us insights into how successful practitioners think and deliver,” Lever says. “The most formative experience for me was when I had the chance to lead the Ferguson Small Business Initiative that allowed me to use a business lens to achieve meaningful social impact in the St. Louis community. When I was selected as one of the lead consultants for the inaugural year of the program, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a meaningful and relevant project in the wake of the Ferguson unrest.”
A DIVERSE FOUNDATION OF COURSEWORK
Olin students are exposed to a wide array of courses and experiences throughout their four years.
Nearly 40% of the Olin degree is required to come from outside the business school.
First-year students take no more than 50% of their coursework at Olin in their initial year. In the fall of their first year, students take part in a cohort experience with 45 of their peers through two business courses: Foundations of Business and Individual in a Managerial Environment.
In the spring of their freshman year, students take Microeconomics and Quantitative Business Analytics I. Many also choose to take Financial Accounting. In addition to these business courses, students also take Writing I and Calculus II or III.
“The remainder of their classes are selected with the assistance of their four-year academic advisor, allowing students to explore their interests in WashU’s other four undergraduate colleges,” Malter says.
In the fall of their sophomore year, Olin students take Quantitative Business Analysis II and Management Communications, which focuses on career development and preparation. The rest of their courses are taken outside Olin.
Junior year is when most students finish up their professional requirements. Most of the coursework in the third year consists of major or minor requirements in addition to coursework outside Olin. Nearly 55% of Olin students also choose to study abroad in a traditional exchange or internship program during this time.
In their last year, Olin students complete their major degree requirements, while also pursuing non-Olin coursework. Additionally, students also take part in experiential learning opportunities through the Center for Experiential Learning or research towards Honors in Management.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
There are a number of experiential learning opportunities available for Olin students.
Some examples are the Business of Sports, Business of Entertainment, and Luxury Goods courses, which include immersive trips that expose students to companies, organizations and leaders in the field.
“This provides students with a first-hand experience to learn further about competencies and skills they need to master,” Malter says. “It also offers them opportunities to engage with Olin alumni and friends of the school.”
Another example is the Taylor Community Consulting Program, which provides students the opportunity to impact the local nonprofit sector. Through team-based, applied learning projects, students create solutions for St. Louis community. Projects have included market research and advertising; strategic planning; feasibility studies for expansion; and the infusion of technology into billing and reporting activities.
Bo Hong, a class of 2016 alum, took part in the program. Hong says it was one of the most significant experiences during her education.
“My experience in Taylor Community Consulting Program changed my way of thinking about business and non-profit,” Hong says. “It shaped me into a person with a stronger sense of social responsibility while considering business profit.”
The career outlook for Olin grads is strong. Some 97.6% of Class of 2018 grads were employed full-time by the end of September with an overall average salary of $67,115.
What Alumni Say:
“In my senior year, I took a class called the hatchery as part of my major in entrepreneurship. Students formed teams and were paired with business leaders in the community as mentors, to develop a complete business plan for a new project or idea. This class pushed me to think of a new creative business idea and delve into the details for every aspect of development. While I decided not to further pursue the venture outside of class, I feel as though it prepared me for when I do find an entrepreneurial project that I do want to pursue.” – Class of 2016 alum
“My experience in Taylor Community Consulting Project changed my way of thinking about business and non-profit. It shaped me into a person with a stronger sense of social responsibility while considering business profit.” – Class of 2016 alum
“The Center for Experiential Learning center at the Olin Business School were amongst the most influential experiences in my college experience and life. They allowed us to work with real problems faced by real people and therefore gave us insights into how successful practitioners think and deliver. The most formative experience for me was when I had the chance to lead the Ferguson Small Business Initiative that allowed me to use a business lens to achieve meaningful social impact in the St. Louis community. When I was selected as one of the lead consultants for the inaugural year of the program, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a meaningful and relevant project in the wake of the Ferguson unrest.” – Class of 2016 alum
Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:
Capital One – 10
Goldman Sachs – 8
JPMorgan Chase & Co. – 8
Bain & Company – 4
Guggenheim Partners – 4
Facebook – 4
EY – 4
Deloitte – 4
Amazon.com, Inc. – 3
UBS – 3