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Olin Business School – Washington University in St. Louis

The Olin Business School is located on Washington University’s 169-acre Danforth Campus in St. Louis, Missouri. Olin offers Full-time, Professional, and Executive MBA options. The Olin MBA is characterized by its focus on experiential learning, a collaborative relationship with the local business environment, and the many business offerings in and around St. Louis — a city home to nine Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Olin has one of the top job placement rates for the top 50 MBA programs, with 96% of students obtaining employment within three months of graduation.

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Olin’s faculty consists of 78 are tenured or tenure track members, 20 full-time lecturers, 37 adjunct lecturers and other visiting and emeriti faculty. Their areas of expertise include accounting, economics, finance, leadership, management science, marketing, operations & manufacturing management, and organizational behavior. In addition, the faculty contribute to Olin’s five research centers, which support studies in leadership, supply chain management, customer analytics and more.

The Olin school utilizes a platform philosophy through which students may tailor their class choices, internships, and even extracurricular activities to a specific area of study. The five platforms are: consulting, corporate finance & investments, entrepreneurship, marketing, and operations & supply chain management.

Prior to the full-time program’s start in the fall semester, students fulfill pre-program requirements. Online courses introduce students to the core subjects that are covered in the program. In addition, students must pass an exam on the fundamentals of statistics for .5 credits prior to beginning classes. To get a further look at the university’s culture, students may participate in the two-week Olin GO! Orientation program, which prepares students for the upcoming coursework and career development opportunities. Lastly, students who are not native English speakers may take a specialized communication skills course during this time as well.

For their first semester of study in the fall, Olin MBA students take core courses in management, leadership, communication, managerial economics, financial accounting, marketing management, financial management, and operations management. In addition, students also partake in industry seminars for their chosen platform of study. For their spring semester, students take core courses in strategic cost analysis and managerial statistics, as well as electives. Following a summer internship, students then take a course in leadership development in the fall, a strategic management course in the spring, and a variety of electives for their second semester. The electives can be chosen based on a student’s platform or other areas of interest.

In order to graduate, students are required to complete 66 credit hours, 39 of which are electives. The required courses include studies in accounting, finance, management, managerial economics, marketing, organizational behavior & strategy, and operations & manufacturing management. In addition, the dozens of offered electives cover everything from digital marketing to the global economy.

Most courses at Olin are available for the standard three credit hours. To supplement student’s traditional classroom experiences, however, the Olin MBA also offers half- to two-hour courses called “minis.” These mini courses can supplement student’s platform or other areas of learning, and they are offered on subjects such as financial accounting and operations management.

In addition to classwork, the Olin MBA is characterized by its emphasis on experiential learning. Guest speakers, lecturers, internships, and organizations round out the program’s classroom work. In addition, students are encouraged to work with St. Louis nonprofits and startup organizations to address real-life organizational concerns.

Other MBA Degree Options
In addition to the full-time MBA, the Olin School also offers a Professional MBA option, as well as an Executive MBA. The professional option offers flexible scheduling, and many students are able to finish it within three years. Classes are offered on two evenings per week, or in two sessions on Saturdays.  Meanwhile, the Executive MBA offers coursework tailored to students who are more advanced in their careers and takes 20 months to complete.  Those interested in the EMBA may study in St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Shanghai or Mumbai.

Platforms at Olin

  • Consulting
  • Corporate Finance and Investments
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations and Supply Chain Management

Degree Offerings at Olin
Full-Time MBA Program

Part-Time MBA Program

Executive MBA Programs



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Clubs, Conferences, & Competitions
The Olin school has over 30 graduate student clubs and organizations. These include groups related to particular areas of study, such as the Entrepreneurship & Venture Association, as well as affinity organizations, such as the Olin Veterans Association or the Olin Women in Business.

In addition, many conferences are hosted at Olin. For instance, the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research (WFA-CFAR) hosts four yearly conferences. The autumnal Corporate Finance Conference covers topics such as corporate control and capital structures, whereas the two-day Nick Dopuch Accounting Conference focuses on accounting research. Next, the Wealth & Asset Management Research Conference promotes a deeper understanding of capital markets. Lastly, the Summer School on financial intermediation and contracting is an intense four-day program that delves into corporate finance and financial markets.

Competitions are also a part of the Olin experience. For example, the Olin Cup business plan competition helps promote innovation and the launch of new business ideas. Lastly, as a part of the Integrative Case Experiences, students may participate in a case competition to develop cross-functional learning experiences. In addition, a new entry, the Monsanto-Olin Case Competition, encourages students to learn more about supply chain technology in the agriculture business.

Campus Spaces
Interested students are encouraged to visit the Danforth campus to learn more about Olin’s offerings and culture. Simon Hall, as well as the Knight and Bauer Halls, comprise the campus buildings. In addition, the Knight Center is home to the school’s executive education program.

Students who do not live in the St. Louis area may contact Quadrangle Housing for information about available apartments. These off-campus apartments are run by an affiliate of Washington University, and some of its spaces are reserved for graduate and professional students. In addition, the Apartment Referral Services can offer help to students seeking housing.

Furthermore, the Midwestern city itself acts as a draw for many students. The Olin campus is located near St. Louis’s many museums, entertainment venues, and dining establishments. In addition, the experiential learning focus of the degree encourages students to get involved in consulting projects with nonprofits and for-profits in the St. Louis community.

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Career Services
The Weston Career Center offers students advising sessions, networking opportunities, and resources from its extensive network of alumni. In addition, students are required to take part in ProDev, the school’s MBA career education program, in order to keep an eye on their career goals for the duration of their studies. Lastly, the school’s unique platforms program ensures students partake in the coursework, internships, and extracurricular work best suited to their future careers in the consulting, corporate finance & investments, entrepreneurship, marketing, or operations & supply chain management fields.

In addition, Olin’s alumni base of over 19,000 individuals worldwide can be utilized for job searching purposes. They are available for networking opportunities and career connections. Furthermore, some alumni participate in the MBA Mentor Program, offering firsthand insight into the real-world workings of many industries.

Career Statistics
For the Class of 2016, consulting was the most popular industry, as 21% of students entered the field.  Technology and pharma/biotech/healthcare each claimed 15%  of the Class of 2016, bucking the b-school trend of financial services and consulting topping the employment destinations.  Financial services did claim 12% of graduates, while consumer products drew in 13%.  The remainder of the class spread across manufacturing (9%), retail (6%), and other fields.

Fifty-four percent of students settled in the Midwest, while 12% relocated to the Northeast.  The Southwest was also relatively popular, with 11% of graduates accepting offers there.  Most of the rest of the class spread out across the U.S. regions; however, 2% headed overseas.

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The Class Profile
For the 2018 MBA class, the 128 students had an average age of 29. Twenty-five percent of the class is female, while 23% are underrepresented minorities. In addition, 39% of students are international. Furthermore, the class is academically competitive with an average GMAT of 688 and an average GPA of 3.5. Most students have an average five years of work experience. Lastly, students arrive from a variety of academic backgrounds. Thirty-two percent of students have an engineering or science background, 44% have a business or economics background, and 23% have a background in the social sciences or humanities.

Application Procedures
The deadlines for the 2016-2017 application season have passed, although applications are still accepted after April 1 on a rolling basis. Unlike many schools, Olin’s application does not require an application fee or letters of recommendation. Instead, applicants must submit a current résumé (one-page preferred), the required essays, standardized test scores, and academic transcripts. The GMAT or GRE is required, and international students must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Applicants must also have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree. In addition, applicant interviews are conducted by invitation only. Applicants are typically notified of their application’s status within two months of submission.

Application Checklist

  • Online Application
  • Résumé
  • Two Required Essays (One optional essay)
  • GMAT or GRE test scores (unofficial)
  • Academic Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Official TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores (international applicants)
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For the full-time MBA, tuition is $57,900 for the 2017-18 academic year, or $28,950 per semester. Additional fees, including orientation and activities, total $1,185 for the first year. The cost of living as well as other expenses, including, books, supplies, health insurance and miscellaneous, tack on an additional $27,376 to the cost of attendance. However, financial aid is available for many students. First, scholarships and fellowships which may cover up to the full cost of tuition may be awarded to select candidates. For example, The Wood Leadership Fellows Program provides full tuition to students who demonstrate exemplary leadership, academic, or professional achievements. Full tuition may also be provided by the Consortium for Graduate Study Management, as well as the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. Additional aid may be provided by the Forte Foundation, Reaching Out Fellowship, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer T. Olin Fellowship for Women, and the The Milford and Leona Bohm Scholarship. In addition, partial to full tuition waivers are available for persons who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Lastly, students may qualify for federal Stafford Loan or a Graduate PLUS Loan. Eligibility is determined by students’ FAFSA information. In addition, private loans may also be available for graduate business students from banks.

Estimated Cost of Attendance (2017-2018)

  • Tuition: $57,900
  • GOI Program (first-year students only): $550
  • Activity Fee: $260
  • Health & Wellness Fee: $375
  • Books & Supplies (with laptop): $2,782
  • Room & Board (rent, utilities, gas): $17,696
  • Student Health Insurance (estimated): $1,630
  • Personal/Miscellaneous Expenses: $5,268
  • TOTAL: $86,461
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For the 2016-2017 admissions season, admissions are now rolling at Olin Business School.


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Class Size128
Mean GMAT688
Mean GPA3.5

Essay Topic Analysis

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Recommendation Questions

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B-School Q&As

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