Author: Dean Mark Taylor


About Dean Mark Taylor

Dean Mark Taylor joined Olin Business School on Dec. 1, 2016. He is one of the most frequently cited researchers in the areas of international finance and monetary economics in the world. He has served as an economist at the IMF and Bank of England; and as an investment fund manager for Barclays (now BlackRock). Previously, he was Dean at Warwick Business School, UK, and a professor of economics at Oxford among other European universities and a visiting professor at NYU. He is enjoying getting to know St. Louis (and its great restaurants). Follow Mark on Twitter at @DeanTaylorWashU.

Jennifer Whitten

Jennifer Whitten will join Olin as associate dean and director of the Weston Career Center on July 9. Jennifer comes to Olin from Arizona State University, where she is the director of career services and  instructor in the MBA program at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

At ASU, Jennifer managed career support for a portfolio of four MBA platforms, 10 masters’ platforms and alumni career services. Under her leadership, the W. P. Carey Career Center has seen significant increases in student engagement and employment percentages as well as growth and expansion of employer relationships and activities.

Aside from a stint in Arizona state government focused on creating a career management program for over 35,000 state employees, Jennifer has spent nearly two decades in higher education, serving undergraduate and graduate students in both academic advising and career development and placement roles.

By coming to Washington University, Jennifer is returning to her Midwestern roots and she will bring with her the experience and drive to lead a nimble Weston Career Center team that is focused on preparing our students not only for their first job but for their careers well into the future, connecting with our strong alumni network, and expanding the opportunities available to our students through proactive business development.

I am grateful for the efforts of the Weston Career Center Director search committee chaired by Senior Associate Deans Steve Malter and Patrick Moreton as well as the valuable feedback from many members of the Olin community throughout this search process. I also want to say a special thank you to Karen Heise for her excellent work serving as the interim director of the Weston Career Center.

Welcome to the debut of “The Desk of the Dean,” a monthly feature of the Olin Blog by Dean Mark P. Taylor. This column will appear on the first Wednesday of each month.

A few weeks ago, I met a group of St. Louis-based Olin alumni for cocktails, all of whom now work in the healthcare industry. As one does at a cocktail party, they asked how things were going at Olin: “What are you working on?”

I have an answer to that question, which I follow with a question of my own. Sometimes, I think my question surprises our alumni, but I’ll get to that shortly.

When I’m casually asked about our plans for Olin, I’m aware nobody really wants a PowerPoint presentation or a dense review of Olin’s strategic plan over hors d’oevres and a glass of wine. They want the big picture, the 30,000-foot view: Where are we headed?

As dean of a highly ranked business school, I’m confronted with this scenario fairly often—at the gate awaiting a flight, in the queue at the cinema, even on an elevator. What kind of business school would we be if I weren’t prepared with an elevator pitch for just these moments?

Mine goes something like this: At Olin, we’re enhancing our programme to cultivate business leaders with solid analytical skills, grounded in a strong value system, who can change the world, for good. We’re creating a programme that will prepare innovative, entrepreneurial leaders with a global perspective on business. We’re taking Olin from good to great.

And that’s when the alumni get my question: What can Olin do for you?

We are not bashful about asking our former students for something—particularly their donations or their time. So, when I ask this question of our alumni, I find that they’re frequently surprised. But over the nearly 600 days since I became dean, I’ve also found this question resonates.

They want to know they graduated from an institution that has continued to produce market-ready graduates long after they earned their diplomas. So, I know we’re on the right track when I get a parent’s letter praising Konnie Henning, associate director of academic and student affairs, for how she coached a student through difficult times to see her graduate and enter a thriving career.

Alumni want to know their alma mater produces path-leading research to give them a competitive edge and help them peer around the corner ahead of emerging business trends. So, I’m confident we’re on the right track when our faculty publishes 79 papers in top academic journals in a single year. Their goal 42 percent greater than last year.

I feel the same when global agribusiness company Syngenta invites Ling Dong and Durai Sundaramoorthi to present their groundbreaking, Olin Award-winning research that will help farmers optimize their seed choices based on weather, soil and geographic conditions.

In short, our alumni want to know their diploma is actually worth more than it was when they earned it. I’m fond of saying a WashU education is not a bond to be cashed in. It’s an equity that can grow and pay dividends. A degree from WashU’s Olin Business School should mean something when our alumni ask for that next pay raise or apply for the next promotion.

That’s what we’re working on at Olin.

Pictured above: The reception at Third Degree Glass Factory ahead of the luncheon honoring the 2018 Olin Emerging Leaders in April 2018. Exactly the sort of event where I answer these sorts of questions about the direction of Olin Business School.

“The Desk of the Dean” appears on the first Wednesday of the month.

Each age has deemed the new-born year the fittest time for festal cheer.

—Sir Walter Scott

Happy New Year from Olin Business School! This is the perfect time for us to extend our best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2018.

Please watch this brief video for a sneak peek into some of the many exciting things Olin has planned for the coming year.





This message announcing the passing of Charles Knight was sent to the Olin community September 12, 2017 from Dean Mark Taylor:

It is with profound sadness that I share the news that today we grieve the loss of Charles F. Knight, one of the greatest friends and benefactors the John M. Olin School of Business has ever known.

Over a period spanning nearly four decades, Charles Knight helped establish Olin as one of the premier institutions of business education and research in the world.

In addition to a distinguished tenure as chief executive officer at Emerson for 27 years, Mr. Knight worked tirelessly to advance the reputation of Olin Business School. He chaired the Business School Task Force in 1980 and in 1995 became the first chairman of Olin’s National Council.

He also was a member of Washington University’s Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1990, a pivotal period of growth in the university’s history.

Many of you will have had the privilege of working with Mr. Knight and will therefore know firsthand his great vision and the effect this has had on our school. Others, like me, will not have had the great privilege of meeting him, but nevertheless feel the impact of his legacy every day at the business school — a legacy which is both figuratively and literally built into the fabric of Olin.

Our thoughts are with Joanne and the entire Knight family at this sad time.

“If you would seek his monument, look about you.”


Mark P. Taylor
John M. Olin School of Business

I recently joined 28 Olin students beginning the London Internship Program for a time-honoured British tradition: afternoon tea.

It was the perfect way to start their five-month experiential education program, which involves coursework on international aspects of business, marketing and finance, analysis of the infrastructure and society of the UK, visits to other European countries, and a significant London-based internship.

While the students were eager to talk about the international business environment, they really wanted to know why tea is such a big deal in the UK. Here’s a quick Tea 101 to initiate Olin students (and other curious Americans) to afternoon tea in the UK:

Afternoon Tea or High Tea?  

Drinking tea along with a selection of light food became fashionable among high society in England in the eighteenth century as a way of bridging the long gap between lunch and a traditionally late dinner, as well as providing a social gathering. By the late nineteenth century, however, as tea reduced in price, it became an everyday drink for all levels of society, so much so that workers’ evening meal, served with a cup of tea typically heavily laced with sugar, itself became referred to as tea rather than dinner. Because this meal was served on a high dining table, rather than on the lower tea tables of a fashionable salon, it was also referred to as ‘high tea.’ Today, however, hotels often refer to afternoon tea as high tea, presumably because ‘high’ suggests superior, but this is actually incorrect.

Dean Taylor treats Olin students to afternoon tea in London.

Dean Taylor treats Olin students to afternoon tea in London.

Milk poured into the cup before the tea, or after?

Milk in second: historically, it showed that you came from a family that could always afford expensive China cups that would not crack their glaze if hot tea was poured directly onto it.

Do I have to take milk in my tea?

No, it’s perfectly acceptable to take tea black or with a slice of lemon. Some teas, such as the smoky lapsang souchong, would not be served with milk.


It is acceptable to take a small amount of sugar if you wish, but more than one or two lumps  would arouse curiosity.

White or brown sugar?

Somebody put brown sugar out on the table?

How do you eat scones, jam and cream?

Slice the scone through the centre to form two semicircles. Place a generous amount of jam on each side and then a dollop of thick cream on top. Eat each half separately.

What food should be eaten and in what order?

Light refreshments are typically served on a three-tier cake stand. On the bottom tier, there will be small finger sandwiches, typically cucumber or egg and cress salad on crustless white bread, and some bread and butter. Start with these savouries and progress with the scones, cream and strawberry jam from the second tier and top off with a slice of cake or some petits fours from the top tier. On no account dunk anything in your tea.

Are there many references to afternoon tea in English literature?

Yes. Many. Indeed, it’s hard to find an English work from the late eighteenth century that doesn’t reference tea in some way.  A good place to start is with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, in which the whole first act is set around an afternoon tea party: it’s hilarious.

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