Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class of 2018

The interior of the new Olin Business School

The interior of the new Olin Business School

The percentage of women in the class also slipped from 30% to 25% in the past year (no doubt a result of schools with more scholarship money diving deeper into the female applicant pool), with the percentage of international students making up the difference, going from 32% to 39% (including students from 15 countries). The percentage of underrepresented minorities also rose from 17% to 20% with the incoming class.

The big story: the class composition shifted substantially in terms of academic backgrounds. Business and economics majors now make up the largest percentage of the class at 43%, up from 35% in the 2017 Class. STEM majors fell from 36% to 32%, with humanities graduates also tumbling four points to 25%.


Olin’s St. Louis location and entrepreneurial mindset are only part of the school’s value. For one, it is a school where students are almost guaranteed to land a job after graduation. The program ranked second in placement for the 2013-2015 classes, hovering at 97% within three months of commencement each year. The reason? Start with the Weston Career Center, which is involved in every aspect of the MBA program, including every core and elective class, club, and activity. You could argue that Weston is the heart of campus, with 90% of students visiting career advisors and industry specialists at least once. While Olin grads land offers at top firms such as Coca-Cola, JP Morgan, and Amazon, classes end up working at 80 companies on average, a testament to the school’s reach and appeal.

“I think one of the reasons that our students are successful is that we do look for opportunities outside of just the normal main corporate type multinationals,” says Mark Brostoff, the school’s former assistant dean and director of the Weston Career Center. “We’re a small program. We’re in the Midwest. So we also understand who we are and how we have to make ourselves competitive in the marketplace. So we spend as much time looking for that company willing to hire its first MBA graduate as much as the company looking to hire a number of graduates.”

Olin Students

Olin Students

While the Olin curriculum has a strong — and deserved — reputation for being research-driven and academically rigorous, the program couples this analytical bent with an equally strong experiential learning component. One way students gain professional experience is through the school’s Center for Experiential Learning, which pairs them with companies of any size, stage, or mission to solve real problems. Such opportunities appealed to Moscoso and was a major reason why he enrolled at Olin.

“As I made the decision to pursue an MBA,” he notes, “it was extremely important for me to attend a program that will provide me hands-on experience and the opportunity to get involved in real-world consulting projects, both domestically and abroad. That is precisely what The Center for Experiential Learning (CEL) enables WashU students to do. Unlike other MBA programs I was looking at, the CEL works with a wider range of companies – everything from Fortune 100 companies in the U.S. to start-ups in the developing world.”

More than anything, Olin’s small size made the difference for the Class of 2018. In fact, the program has resisted calls to increase class sizes to maintain the program’s high standard of teaching and student service, according to former Dean Mahendra Gupta, who is taking a sabbatical in 2016-2017 after spending over a quarter century at the school. This standard was a difference that Taylor noticed immediately. “The smaller class sizes to me showed the commitment to bringing out the best in each and every student.” It also created a sense of esprit de corps that fostered both learning and community, adds Moscoso. “I was highly attracted to Olin’s tight-knit community and strong focus on teamwork and collaboration. I was confident that such an environment would enable me to build long-lasting relationships with my peers, professors and career advisers.”


The business school experience is about learning who you are and what you want as much as digesting models and methods. Still, many first years already have an idea of where they want to go and what they want to do. Taylor dreams of working for a firm that is as nimble as it is resourceful, “large and stable but that still thinks like it’s a start up: a Saint Bernard that wants to move like a Jack Russell if you will,” he cracks.

In contrast, Lalezari plans to take what he learns and follow wherever his passion takes him. “I am planning on specializing in the field of orthopedic surgery and completing a residency after graduation,” he says. “After the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, probably the largest governmental overhaul since the New Deal, I became very interested in how we pay for healthcare in this country. I am confident that an MBA from Olin will give me the tools to merge my passions: medicine, entrepreneurship, and public policy.”

Weston Career Center at Washington University's Olin Business School

Weston Career Center at Washington University’s Olin Business School

Eventually, Murray plans to earn a Ph.D. in business. Before she joins Olin’s faculty roster, Murray is looking at how her education can support economic and humanitarian assistance. “I’m wholly dedicated to the idea that every person, every day, should have access to a nutritious meal,” she says. “I’m interested in working towards this on a big scale, which is why I’m drawn to multilateral institutions. My ideal career is geared towards maintaining a sustainable food supply in a world of conflict and scarcity. Achieving these goals involves a lot of management and logistical thinking, which is why I chose a business degree above another discipline.”


Two years can come-and-go pretty quickly, especially when you’re in business school. When graduation rolls around, the Class of 2018 hopes their peers remember them for being who they are as much as what they have accomplished. One such student is Singha, a banker-turned-entrepreneur. “I would like them to say that I was a consummate professional, a reliable teammate, and a pleasure to be around,” she says.

Taylor hopes to be remembered as a contributor who left his all in Knight Hall. “I would like my peers to say that I was fully invested. We’ve all shown a commitment to furthering our education by entering the full-time program but I want them to say that I took it a step further. I would like them to say that I turned over as many rocks as possible while still being 100% committed to putting forth the caliber of work worthy of being called their peer in the first place.”

For Ko, the ultimate compliment would be to hear that his classmates say he raised the bar and led by his example. “Hey, Eric,” he imagines them saying. “We all feel so grateful that you bring your A game to the table every day.”


To read profiles of incoming Olin students — along with their advice on tackling the GMAT, applications, and interviews — click on the links below.

Ravi Balu / San Jose, CA

Eric Changhan Ko / Seoul, South Korea

Rob Garwitz / St. Peters, MO

Ryan Kirk / Princeton, IN

Ramin Lalezari / Los Angeles, CA

Paula Moscoso / Quito, Ecuador

Gabriel Ortiz-Barroeta / Caracas, Venezuela

Sontaya Sherrell / Belleville, IL

Sushanta Singha / Queens, NY

Raisaa Tashnova / Dhaka, Bangladesh

Kelvin J. Taylor / St. Louis, MO

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