In the quiet of the holidays, when activity has slowed and we have a moment for reflection, we like to take a look back at the stories on the Olin Blog that had the most traffic during the year. It’s a nice way to see what resonated with readers who came across our stories directly from the blog, through our email newsletters, or on social media.
Highlights ranged from the passing of some beloved individuals in the Olin family to a highly favorable global ranking to some attention-grabbing research by Olin faculty. Here’s the Top 10 list for 2018.
Olin’s four distinguished alumni grabbed the No. 10 spot in the countdown for the most-read blog posts in 2018. Alumni recognized this year graduated as far back as 1984 and as recently as 2008, across sectors such as banking, hedge-fund management, entrepreneurship, and business strategy.
Dean Mark Taylor launched a monthly blog column called Desk of the Dean in 2018. In this edition, he grabbed national attention with the news that WashU Olin would make a daring move into a reimagined, globally immersive full-time MBA experience. Two weeks after 2019’s new MBA students arrive in late June, all of them will depart for an around-the-world immersion in global business. The summer semester continues with a week at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Then two weeks in Barcelona. Then 17 days in Shanghai.
New faculty member Seth Carnahan and his research colleagues sent a quake across healthcare media—and general interest news outlets as well—with a study indicating that female heart attack patients have significantly higher survival rates when women doctors treat them in the ER. In fact, in the researchers’ sample, 1,500 fewer women would have died—women who were treated by male doctors—if their survival rate was the same as women treated by female physicians. Media around the globe picked up the story.
In the midst of the mirth and merrymaking at Olin’s second Shakespeare event, Dean Mark Taylor took a moment to recognize distinguished alumnus Rich Ritholtz, BSBA ’84, and his wife Linda, for their $1 million donation that will launch a new business minor, open to any WashU student, at Olin Business School. “Creating a minor in the business of the arts at this time in our history would send a powerful message that Olin is on the move, preparing our students to think critically and act boldly to meet the challenges of 21st century business,” Taylor said.
Olin postdoc Zhenyu Liao was part of a research team that examined the benefits of a sense of humor among corporate leaders and concluded that a jokester in the big chair can be a mixed blessing.
The surprise passing of HP Inc.’s COO in March stunned the Olin community. It had come just months after he had welcomed a group of WashU students touring Silicon Valley on a career trek to tech-related companies. The National Council member had given richly to Olin — and not just financially. Students and faculty spokes of his mentorship. Since his death, HP established an endowed scholarship in the name of Jon and his widow Lauri. The $1 million gift increased 10 percent with additional donations from family and HP colleagues.
Not surprisingly, the roll-call of new faculty pierced the Top 10 for the second year in a row as Olin brought in a bumper crop of new instructors in the past 12 months.
Two brothers, two spouses, and five WashU degrees between them. St. Louis’s Koch brothers, Paul and Roger, along with their wives, Elke and Fran, donated $12 million to Washington University — $9 million of which toward a research center dedicated to family businesses and a chaired professorship in family business. “There’s a lack of perception about how many family businesses there are and what role they play,” Paul Koch said, following the announcement. “There’s also a lack of perception about the complexities of family businesses.”
A new ranking from the Financial Times lauded schools for their commitment to programs that serve women, placing WashU Olin behind programs at Stanford and UC Berkeley and just ahead of Harvard’s.
A stalwart figure among the Olin faculty for many years, Professor Dopuch’s passing affected innumerable students, alumni, administrators, and current faculty. It’s worth noting the numerous comments posted in tribute on this blog post, from all over the world, some posted as recently as a few weeks ago.