Author: Dean Mark Taylor

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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.


One is a financial economist with nine top research publications under his belt. Another has been lauded with some of the most prestigious research awards in marketing. And a third is internationally renowned for her work on how firms organize across borders and influence the global economy. All three are outstanding teachers. 

Soon, all three will join WashU Olin Business School—with tenure. Washington University’s Board of Trustees approved their appointments last month. Indeed, the board has commended Olin’s team for the care we take in recruiting top faculty. 

Brett Green, Song Yao and Minyuan Zhao begin in July. These three professors, recruited by our excellent Olin faculty, have proven themselves as accomplished researchers and skilled teachers. They’re hitting it out of the park.

The faculty at WashU Olin continually raise the bar for whom we hire to join their ranks. Expectations are high for research productivity at WashU Olin. And we are recognized for our efforts: The Financial Times ranks us 12th in the world for excellence in research productivity. Indeed, the opportunity to join our world-class faculty and benefit from our world-class facilities is a significant draw. And we aim to get even stronger. 

Todd Milbourn, vice dean of faculty and research, is heading up our hiring strategy, which includes a tactical, five-year look ahead into the hiring needs for each academic area of the school: accounting, economics, finance, marketing, organizational behavior, operations and manufacturing management, and strategy.

“If you want to do world-leading research, you need world-leading scholars,” Todd said. “Instead of going solely after the rookie market—newly minted PhDs—we are making sure we are also recruiting professors who can move the research needle from the minute they step onto campus.”

So, the strategy is to systematically recruit seasoned and senior faculty who have a record of producing top research—scholars who are already well advanced in terms of their research excellence and productivity. It also includes identifying gaps in our research capabilities and expanding our expertise in areas such as entrepreneurship, innovation, healthcare and business analytics. And it includes driving greater diversity among our faculty.

And in areas where we have attracted tenured faculty, it will be important to continue to bring in rookies. Put in business terms, we want to better balance our portfolio—or, as Todd has said, “We want an even deeper bench of greatness.”

That greatness applies equally to teaching. With great research comes the expectation that new faculty members will be great instructors, bringing their cutting-edge business insights to the classroom and preparing our students for the world as it will be rather than the world as it is.

Recruiting can be challenging, to be sure. While we’re out recruiting, we know other universities are as well. We are working to do all we can to retain the talented faculty we have by providing the resources, recognition and opportunity to recharge they are due.

But what I’m excited about the most is the biggest opportunity that comes with continually and collaboratively building on our world-class faculty: Living up to the vision of our school by enhancing the world-changing research, teaching and impact of WashU Olin.




In research and in practice, the results are unambiguous and incontrovertible: Organizations perform better when they welcome, embrace and foster diverse points of view. For this and myriad other reasons, creating an environment which includes and supports a diversity of voices and perspectives is the right thing to do.

Yet at the end of this millennium’s second decade, our society still falls short. We need not look far to find examples of corporate missteps in marketing or product development because planners failed to include a diverse set of voices.

This issue is near and dear to my heart. I’m gratified to be at a school that long ago recognized the importance of racial equity in business education by founding the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.

And I believe we’ve made strides here at WashU Olin by improving the gender balance among students, attracting an increasing number of top women to the faculty, increasing the number of female full professors and advocating for additional endowed teaching chairs for women.

I recognize, however, that as a top business school, there is much more we can do. Building diversity, equity and inclusion is work we should be leading. We cannot assume we’re doing the right thing. We must address issues of inclusion, unconscious bias and institutional inequity with deliberation and forethought.

Jacqueline Slack Carter

That is why I recently created two new positions at Olin dedicated to this work. Several months ago, I appointed Judi McLean Parks, the Reuben C. and Anne Carpenter Taylor Professor of Organizational Behavior, into the new role of associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

And on April 1, Olin’s former registrar, Jacqueline Slack Carter, started her new role as diversity and inclusion officer based in the dean’s office and supporting Judi.

Judi’s role formalizes and expands work she has already done at Olin and dovetails thoroughly with her research interests. Jackie has a demonstrated commitment to this work through numerous on- and off-campus activities including her advocacy for Consortium students, service on numerous university committees and membership in the St. Louis Business Initiative and the Diversity Awareness Partnership.

“I realize this will be a lot of work to change mindset and institutional culture, but it will be transformative work that will have an impact,” Jackie said. “I want to be a part of creating a new story—that we are intentional about providing access and equity for all and where all voices are heard and all are seen.”

Judi is already hard at work again on an initiative she’s pioneered at Olin, a biennial faculty development workshop that brings young, junior faculty from various institutions to our campus for workshops in research presentation, salary negotiation and networking. The June workshop helps develop young faculty and builds the hiring pipeline for research institutions such as WashU Olin.

She’s been meeting with and gathering information from the leaders of various race-, nationality- and gender-based affinity groups and she plans to host—along with Jackie—a series of broader listening sessions.

“My hope is that we can do more to level the playing field at Olin and make it a more welcoming culture for everyone,” Judi said. “It’s not that it’s not. It’s just there are things we can do to continue moving in that direction.” How well do faculty case studies reflect diverse viewpoints, for example? What more can we do to expand and diversify the voices we have on our faculty?

“There’s often a lot of resistance to diversity training,” Judi said. “You often feel like you’re preaching to the choir. But you can do the training in ways that help the person who is being underrepresented to help level the playing field.” I am grateful for the work Judi and Jackie have already put forth. They are both committed to taking a proactive approach toward driving growth in diversity and equity at WashU Olin. Consider this to be the first word on the subject—certainly not the last.

Pictured above: Judi McLean Parks, newly appointed associate dean for diversity and inclusion, presents at a recent “lunch-and-learn” for Olin staff and faculty.




In the two-plus years since I became dean, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of emceeing quite a number of WashU Olin commencement ceremonies. It is my joy to stand at the podium and gaze at faces glowing with a combination of pride, relief and anticipation. I make a point of being the first to welcome them into the community of Olin alumni—a global network approaching nearly 30,000.

The challenge, of course, is where we go from that day forward?

For the alum, Olin can be a source of professional development through webinars, symposia and research. We can be a source of opportunity and career development through ongoing services and engagement with the Weston Career Center (WCC). And, importantly, I’m proud that we’ve launched new opportunities for our alumni and we continue to grow professional connections through networking events.

For Olin, each alum has the potential to provide career coaching and mentoring to the students who follow them. They can provide professional insights to our students in the classroom and through hosted career treks. Or invite students to work on practicum projects that solve real-world problems. Or recruit students for jobs in their organizations. And because of our alumni, who are generous with their treasure—as well as their time and talent—we are able to maintain and build our scholarships, programs and facilities.

Over the past two years, as we have strived to take the school even higher, I’ve become resolved to be more intentional about how we engage with our alumni. We intend to do more to maintain the strong connections between Olin and our former students, to provide a service to our alumni, particularly in the early years of their career, when they most need our support.

We’ve been clear at Olin that our mission and vision statements call for us to provide a return for our students over their entire career. Our students have had the Olin experience—the community, the coursework, the global projects, the collaboration, the faculty—and they’ll continue to have the benefit of Olin after they leave.

Once Olin, always Olin.

In that spirit, watch for more details about the ways we intend to enhance our outreach to and collaboration with our former students.

These initiatives fall in broad categories such as alumni engagement, lifelong learning, alumni communications and personal career resources—a joint effort, taking in the feedback we’ve received from our alumni and the work of colleagues in Alumni and Development, Marketing and Communications, the Graduate Programs Office and the WCC.

In some cases, our work is really focused on better communicating about existing services and opportunities—including career coaching and other career services through the WCC. These services are there and we know our alumni want to make use of them.

In other ways, it’s about taking what we already do to the next level. To enhance communication, for example, we’ve launched a quarterly alumni newsletter (watch for the next edition on April 23). We’re creating listening tours and a schedule of happy hours.

We’re working on symposia, luncheons and panels in various cities around the country, as well as strategies for more communication through phone calls, alumni profiles and more. We’re looking at additional conferences, special events and recorded resources for professional development and sharing WashU Olin thought leadership.

We’re focused on these initiatives so we may live up to our mission and vision. We’re focused on them to make the special relationship between Olin and our alumni more evident to everyone. We’re focused on them because we believe in that perfect world.

I want you to hold me to it.




Dick Mahoney, Jake Feldman, Dennis Zhang and Dean Mark Taylor at the announcement of the two professors

Dear Olin community,

It is my pleasure to announce that the recipient of the 2019 Olin Award is Taking Assortment Optimization from Theory to Practice: Evidence from Large Field Experiments on Alibaba by Jake Feldman, assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management, and Dennis Zhang, assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management.

In its 12th year, the Olin Award was established to recognize scholarly research that has timely, practical applications. This year’s winning entry uses data from the Chinese online retail giant Alibaba to test the benefits—and recommend a solution—for presenting buyers the optimum variety of products available for purchase with individual online retail stores. Of the 16 papers submitted this year, six went on to the second round, rated by our corporate judges as research with potential impact to business.

Some of those papers will be presented in the coming months in the Olin Business Research Series. The winning paper will be presented at a luncheon on May 22, 2019, from noon till 1:30 p.m. We will send out a formal invite in the near future.

Special thanks to Olin Distinguished Executive in Residence Richard Mahoney and all of the judges for their ongoing support. We look forward to all of next year’s faculty submissions. Please join me in congratulating Jake Feldman and Dennis Zhang.

Pictured above: Richard Mahoney, Jake Feldman, Dennis Zhang and Dean Mark Taylor.




Almost exactly five years ago, some of the most spectacular facilities of the Olin campus opened for their first day of classes: students, faculty, staff and WashU leaders gathered in Frick Forum for free coffee and doughnuts and to celebrate the debut of Bauer Hall and Knight Hall.

In fact, exactly five years ago tomorrow, my predecessor, Dean Mahendra Gupta, drafted a blog post announcing the opening ceremony—noting that the new buildings would double WashU Olin’s footprint on the Danforth campus—and heralding a dramatic renovation to Simon Hall, which had opened as Olin’s headquarters under Dean Bob Virgil’s leadership.

On that St. Patrick’s Day in 2014, under a crisp blue sky that shone down through the atrium, WashU officials made their remarks before a banner announcing “Four Buildings, One Olin,” a sign of pride and, perhaps—in its explicit mention of Olin’s split campus—an acknowledgement of the challenge ahead.

That challenge was this: maintaining a sense of unity and esprit de corps among the faculty and staff of our extraordinary business school. With Olin employees spread among Knight Center and Knight, Bauer and Simon halls, a special commitment is required to foster collaboration among faculty, teamwork among staff members and a sense of camaraderie among everyone who passes through our hallways, our common spaces and our classrooms.

I wasn’t here for the grand opening, but I’m delighted now by what I see among my colleagues as they have taken on the challenge, with admirable results.

This academic year, for example, Hillary Anger Elfenbein has kicked off a series of “across the field” luncheons for full-time faculty. The idea was to convene on either side of Mudd Field one Friday a month. So far, the faculty has met for three such gatherings.

“The idea is for faculty to interact on an informal basis—particularly those who work in separate buildings,” Hillary said. “Ever since we moved to separate buildings, it’s been harder to have informal interchange. This initiative is meant to address that. The faculty appreciate it greatly.”

Since my arrival at Olin, I’ve also had the pleasure to meet and engage with many of the faculty and staff at a series of events the Olin Staff and Faculty Advisory Committee has arranged. Though I could only participate in the recent doughnut party through Twitter, I have enjoyed mixers in the courtyard, an ice cream social and our holiday ornament exchange in December—an extremely exuberant (and surprisingly competitive!) event indeed.

I am equally gratified by the work Sandy Vaughn has put forth in organizing a series of lunch-and-learn events that have bounced back and forth between Simon and Bauer halls.

So far, staff and faculty have had the chance to attend four such events, two of which relied on the expertise of our faculty: most recently, Hillary Elfenbein focused on negotiating and, before that, Sergio Chayet hosted a lunch-and-learn on project management.

Earlier sessions drew on WashU HR experts sharing resources for career development and wellness initiatives on campus.

Of course, none of this replaces the one-on-one interactions that happen every day, or the team-oriented projects that advance our school’s work for students, alumni, and the community at large, or the work of our faculty that advances our international reputation for path-breaking research and educational excellence. In fact, our “across-the-field” initiatives are a reflection of the fact that we indeed think and act as “one Olin.”

Pictured above: Olin Professor Sergio Chayet, director of the master of science in supply chain management program, hosts a lunch-and-learn for Olin staff and faculty on project management on January 25, 2019.




Kelly Bean

Please join me in welcoming Kelly Bean as our director of executive education and professor of practice in leadership.

Kelly is president and CEO of executive education at UVA Darden and has more than 20 years’ experience in executive education at UVA, Emory, UCLA and USC, before which she worked in industry.

I have charged Kelly with unifying and expanding our St. Louis and Washington, DC, exec ed operations, and she will be based primarily in our Brookings Institution office in DC with significant time in St. Louis.

This position was endowed by a major supporter, benefactor and friend of Olin, the late Charles Knight, so Kelly will be the inaugural Charles F. Knight Distinguished Director of Executive Education. She will also become a senior associate dean and join my senior leadership team, reflecting the importance I attach to exec ed and, in particular, to building the Brookings partnership.

Kelly joins us May 1.

I would also like to announce the promotion of Ian Dubin to associate dean and managing director of the WashU Brookings Partnership. Please also join me in congratulating Ian. Ian has been instrumental in building our Brookings partnership and he will work alongside Mary Ellen Joyce, associate dean and executive director of the partnership.

In terms of organizational structure, Ian and Mary Ellen will report to Kelly, as will Sam Chun, assistant dean for executive education. Ian and Mary Ellen will also have a dotted line to Lamar Pierce, professor of organization and strategy and associate dean for the WashU Brookings Partnership, who overseas the academic development of our DC programmes, working alongside Kelly.

We have a world-class executive education team in both DC and St. Louis and are poised to take Olin to the next level in this important and impactful area of our activity.