“Research-driven thinking, applied” is the operating principle for the Olin Business School two-year MBA Program. Research-driven thinking is a way of approaching business problems or issues with the same rigorously analytical mind set used to conduct research.
The Olin MBA curriculum offers a comprehensive set of required and elective courses built upon a foundation of critical-thinking and leadership skills. The degree requires completion of 66 credit hours, nearly two-thirds of which are elective courses selected by the individual student, allowing Olin MBAs to shape the curriculum to fit their own objectives.
The fall semester of year one focuses on critical thinking, leadership, career strategy, and the major functional areas of business. During the spring semester of year one, and throughout year two, students take mostly elective courses, often following the guidelines of concentration areas that help students navigate the curriculum toward career goals. Elective courses include semester-long (3-credit) courses, six-week “mini” (1.5-credit) courses, and experiential learning opportunities. Olin MBAs can also take up to nine credits of approved course work from other graduate programs at Washington University.
The Olin School’s MBA program in St. Louis had a complete recovery in rankings in 2012. The school zoomed ahead a dozen places in the Poets&Quants’ survey, moving to a rank of 29th from 41st in 2011. There were two major reasons for the improvement: A significantly better ranking from the new Bloomberg BusinessWeek survey and inclusion on The Financial Times’ 2012 global 100 list after not appearing in 2011.
BusinessWeek ranked the school 31st, up nine full places from its rank of 40 in 2010. The magazine, which ranks full-time MBA programs on the basis of graduate and corporate recruiter satisfaction as well as the published “intellectual capital” of the faculty, said that Olin improved in all three of its metrics this year. In graduate satisfaction, the school ranked 15th, up from 28; in the recruiter survey, the school placed 51st, up from 55th, and in faculty publication in key academic and practitioner journals, the school was eighth, way up from 37th in 2010.
In fact, on the basis of its graduate satisfaction scores, BusinessWeek awarded Olin a grade of A for its career services office and an amazing A+ for the quality of the teaching. We’re a little skeptical of that latter grade on teaching, not because Olin doesn’t have great professors but because the school is not known for superb teaching. Nonetheless, it was an incredibly impressive showing.
Olin, which was not ranked at all by The Financial Times in 2011, made it back onto the list in 2012. The FT ranked the school 30th among U.S. MBA programs and 61st in the world.
MBA Program Consideration Set:
Stretch Schools: Indiana, USC, Georgetown
Match Schools: Minnesota, Notre Dame, Rice, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Michigan State, University of Washington, Brigham Young
Safe Schools: Southern Methodist, Rochester, Maryland, Boston University, Purdue
Olin has not published in its employment report its top employers, preferring to list all of the firms that hired the school’s graduates.
Notes: MBA Program Consideration Set: If you believe you’re a close match to this school–based on your GMAT and GPA scores, your age and work experience, you should look at these other competitive full-time MBA programs as well. We list them by stretch, match and safety. These options are presented on the basis of brand image and ranking status.