Author: Kurt Greenbaum


About Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for the Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I'm also on the U College faculty in the journalism sequence. My background includes a stint at the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

Get a video overview of Olin’s newest addition to its full-time MBA experience: The capstone trip to the nation’s capital for a dive into the ways policy affects business—and vice versa. The February trip immersed the entire MBA class in a series of talks with leading policy experts, hosted by Olin’s partner, the Brookings Institution.

The video features insights from three Class of 2018 full-time MBA students.

“It was an amazing opportunity. It’s truly the area where business and government intersect,” Perri Goldberg said.

“It’s something we’re going to be dealing with the rest of our careers,” Cole Donelson said.

Lamar Pierce, organizer of the experience, shares his insights in the video on why the new MBA capstone trip to Washington, DC, in collaboration with the Brookings Institution, is now a key piece of Olin’s MBA experience.

“Institutions and culture really define the rules of the game,” said Pierce, professor of strategy and faculty director for the master of science in leadership.

“I’m really surprised by how much I enjoyed it and how much I took out of the experience,” said Sontaya Sherrell.

Also, don’t forget to check out insights on the trip from Olin student Jamie Swimmer, who crafted this post for the Olin Blog back in March.

Eric Moraczewski, executive director of the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. Photo by Ron Klein

Eric Moraczewski was sitting in an Executive MBA classroom at Olin’s Knight Center on a spring evening almost exactly two years ago when he felt the phone vibrate in his pocket. He excused himself and answered the call from a board member at the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.

“It was a quick call,” Moraczewski said. “One of the board members said Maggie let us know she’s leaving. He said, ‘We’d like you to run the foundation.'”

Maggie Hales, then president and executive director of the foundation and Moraczewski’s boss, had resigned. So over lunch at Bobo Noodle House the next day, the board member and Moraczewski worked out the details and just like that, he assumed control over a $380 million project to renovate one of the country’s most beloved icons. After a brief interim period, Moraczewski took on the executive director permanently in October.

Just a few months earlier, he’d been hired as the foundation’s CFO—the result of another fateful phone call at 3 a.m., while Moraczewski was in Asia running his consulting firm, FDI Strategies. Then, a recruiter was on the line letting him know an opportunity was available.

“It was one of those opportunities that you only get once—if you’re lucky, twice—in your life,” Moraczewski said. “The Arch is one of those world symbols.”

EMBA Education Brought Confidence

A few weeks after taking the reins at the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Moraczewski received his Executive MBA from WashU. The experience supplemented the skills he needed to establish and brand his own consulting firm targeting companies doing business in Asia. And it also gave him the confidence to stand in front of a “who’s who” of civic leaders on the foundation’s board and provide mission-focused updates.

Eric Moraczewski, EMBA '16, interviewed at the Gateway Arch Park Foundation offices.

Eric Moraczewski, EMBA ’16, interviewed at the Gateway Arch Park Foundation offices.

“There are some intimidating people in that room if they wanted to be. They’re not. They’re great people,” he said.

The class connections are also invaluable. He’s recruited one of his classmates for the foundation’s young friends board and another—Eric Maddox, a former Army interrogator whose work led to Saddam Hussein’s capture—will be a featured speaker at the Arch’s Veterans Day event.

Moraczewski speaks highly of Sam Chun, Olin assistant dean and director of executive education, for the way he could “see how an idea grows into a business, how quickly he’d progress through that.” Frans VanOudenallen, director of career development, helped inspire Moraczewski to a wholesale overhaul of personal branding for his consulting business.

“I never really tried in undergrad or in high school. It came fairly easy to me. I didn’t get as much out of it as a I should have,” he said. “This was the first time I chose education as opposed to just going through the steps. It had a different meaning.”

A Time of Transition for the Arch

Since Moraczeski took over the foundation’s leadership, the milestones have come fast and furious for the project he manages with five other major stakeholders: the city of St. Louis, Great Rivers Greenway, the National Park Service, Bi-State Development, and the Jefferson National Parks Association.

Each has a piece of the project. One manages the park trails. Another manages the museum gift shop. One operates the tram to the top of the monument. The park service manages the grounds.

But it’s the Gateway Arch Park Foundation that raised the lion’s share of the funding—$221 million—to accomplish the massive overhaul of the park grounds, renovate the museum, and construct a park walkway over Interstate 44. That piece of the project opened on March 26.

“We oversee the design and construction of the project,” Moraczewski said. “But we’re transitioning into a conservancy role. A big reason I was brought in was to develop that strategy. We want to make sure it doesn’t fall into wreck and ruin after we’ve just spent $380 million renovating it.”

A year ago, Moraczewski shepherded the foundation—previously known as CityArchRiver Foundation—through a rebranding to better highlight its connection to the Gateway Arch. He’s launched a membership program at the Arch grounds offering early access to museum exhibits, free parking, free tram rides up the Arch, and other perks.

And he’s making it a priority to give regional residents more reasons to come to the newly revitalized venue. Most residents historically visit every six to 10 years. That has to change, Moraczewski said.

“They paid for this; they should use it,” he said. “What we’ve found is that if you grew up here, this is where you had your first date. It’s where you grew up. But if you’re under 40, you don’t have that experience.”

Launching the Blues at the Arch concert series in 2016 was one initiative designed to draw local residents—and it worked. In that first year, 4,000 attended. A year later, attendance mushroomed to 18,000.

Meanwhile, Moraczewski never tires of hearing stories from visitors about the first time they visited the 52-year-old landmark. As the renovation winds to its close and his team prepares for the July 3 grand opening for the fully completed project, he’s doing interviews with The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, national television networks, and other media outlets around the globe.

“It weighs on me more now than at any other time. Earlier, it was all about the excitement of the construction. Now that we’re prepared to open, we’d better not let down the community,” he said. “I have no doubt that we will not.”

Joe Glik, right, with sons Robert, Jeffrey, and James, at a Glik

Joe Glik, who earned his WashU business degree in 1950 while working at his family’s department store and later established Olin’s Gussie Glik Scholarship in memory of his first wife, died on April 10, 2018. He was 91.

The Glik’s retail tradition began 123 years ago when Mr. Glik’s grandfather sold goods from a horse-drawn wagon in the Midwest. Mr. Glik came on board when the family ran a single store in Granite City.

After taking control of the company, according to the St. Louis Business Journal, he expanded the chain to 13 locations throughout the St. Louis region on both sides of the river. After his retirement in 1995, his sons had grown the chain to 61 stores in nine states by 2014.

“I just love retailing,” Mr. Glik told the Business Journal at the time. “It’s an exciting thing to be in.”

Two previous Olin deans spoke highly of Mr. Glik’s support for them and the school, which honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998.

“Joe was one of my earliest boosters to be dean.  He was a great volunteer, and a long-time scholar in business,” said Robert L. Virgil, Olin’s dean for 16 years until 1993. “I always admired that under the radar of major retailers like Sears, Macy’s, and others—many of which have come and gone—he and his family have been able to sustain the Glik’s department stores.”

Stuart Greenbaum, Olin dean from 1995 to 2005, was equally grateful for Mr. Glik’s support. “Joe was one of those numerous alums who made me feel especially welcome when I first arrived at Olin in 1995,” he said. “I will always remember his unpretentious warmth. He was a tenacious supporter, for which I remain eternally grateful.”

Mr. Glik established Olin’s Gussie Glik Scholarship in 1986, named after his first wife, who had died earlier. The scholarship was for junior or senior BSBA students interested in retailing. Twenty-one students have received the scholarship, which they typically held for two years.

He is survived by his wife Judith S. Glik, children Robert, Jeffrey, and James—who continue to run the Glik’s chain—and Judith L. Glik. He is also survived by three stepchildren—Terence M. Berg, Dennis M. Berg, and Nancy E. Ellman—nine grandchildren, and sister Marilyn Joy Sandweiss.

Services include visitation April 172:00 p.m., at Congregation Shaare Emeth, 11645 Ladue Road at Ballas Road, followed by a memorial service at 3:00 p.m.

Pictured above: Joe Glik, right, with sons Robert, Jeffrey, and James, at a Glik’s store in Farmington, Mo., Photo courtesy of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.


An Olin alumnus is providing $1 million in seed funding to launch a new “business of the arts” minor as a way to give back to his alma mater—with a little inspiration from his daughter’s WashU fashion design experience.

Richard Ritholz, BSBA ’84, his wife Linda were on hand Sunday, April 15, when Dean Mark Taylor announced his gift during the Shakespeare at Olin event.

“As a result of the vision leadership in the generosity of Linda and Rich, we are going to launch a minor in the business of the Arts in the fall,” Dean Taylor said in making the announcement. “He’s a great friend to the school.”

The new minor  will be operated at Olin—like the existing minor in the business of sports—and will be open to undergraduates across the WashU campus. Students will be required to fulfill 15 credits in a specified curriculum of courses, some of which will be new classes still in development for this program.

The first students will be able to enroll in the program in the upcoming fall semester.

“We know the university has a wealth of incredibly talented young artists, musicians, writers, and designers,” said William Bottom, Joyce and Howard Wood Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behavior and chair of the BSBA curriculum committee. “By providing them with a basic understanding of business and some critical skills, we can prepare them to excel in their fast-changing and supremely competitive fields.”

Ritholz’s donation will support creating new courses, offering experiential learning opportunities in the arts and design, providing scholarship funding and internship stipends, and paying for faculty members to teach and publicize the program.

“We always knew that when we had the means to give back, we would do that,” said Ritholz, who was honored last week with Olin’s Distinguished Alumni Award. “Being able to be philanthropic has always been an important goal for my wife and me.”

Ritholz, an equity partner at New York City-based hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, has for many years funded scholarships for Olin  students and remains in regular contact as an adviser and mentor for some past recipients of the Richard and Linda Ritholz Scholarship. When he decided he was in a position to do more, he reached out to discuss ideas with Dean Taylor and Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.

One source of inspiration was the experience his daughter Madeleine, BSBA ’20, had when she first began as a fashion design major at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. While enriched by her experience, she last fall decided she needed a stronger business background to succeed in design. She swapped her major to business and now minors in fashion design.

Ritholz said the dean’s deep love for the arts gave him comfort that the program would be in good hands when it launches. Taylor is a Shakespearean scholar and holds a master’s degree in English literature from Liverpool University.

“I know this is an area where the dean has a particular interest,” Ritholz said “I’m very confident he’s going to be sure to do what it takes to make it work.”

Taylor said the program fits well into Olin’s strategic plan, with opportunities to give students global experiences, study abroad opportunities, and chances for experiential learning. New courses specifically targeted at the arts are in the planning stages and will combine with existing courses such as “Thinking Creatively and Leading Creative Teams” and “Economics of Entertainment.”

“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.

Kurt Dirks

Long-time Olin professor and former interim dean Kurt Dirks has been tapped for a new university-wide assignment as vice chancellor for international relations and director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

He will succeed James Wertsch in the vice chancellor role when Wertsch leaves the post July 1 and takes over the academy director’s role Jan. 1.

“Kurt is a perfect successor to Jim. He brings energy to continue to build on our progress and vision to find new opportunities to expand our international engagement,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said in the announcement to the WashU community on Friday. “I am looking forward to this next chapter in our international programming.”

Dirks comes into the new post after teaching at Olin since 2001. Now the Bank of America Professor of Managerial Leadership, he is also co-director of Olin’s Bauer Leadership Center and served as interim dean of the business school after Mahendra Gupta retired from the post in 2016.

“I’m grateful to Dean (Mark) Taylor for being so supportive in this,” Dirks said. “In the new role, I am looking forward to help support the global vision Dean Taylor has for Olin, as well as working with the other schools to support their global objectives.”

In his new role, Dirks will help to attract students from across the globe to attend Washington University, to strengthen ties between Washington University and leading research universities from other countries, and to support global research and educational programs in the university.

Dirks will remain on the Olin faculty, continuing his research on trust and leadership. He will no longer be able to teach his “Power and Politics” or “Defining Moments” classes, which are popular electives in the MBA program. Although he will remain active in the Bauer Leadership Center, he will step down from his post as co-director.

“I am excited Kurt is taking on this significant role at the university, and I am thrilled that he will remain connected to Olin as we grow our school’s global presence and offerings,” Dean Taylor said. “It is as important as ever to continue to emphasize around the world the academics, research, intellectual capacity, student experience, innovation, and values that make Olin and Washington University so special.”

Dirks’s connection to McDonnell is a continuation of his service on its steering committee, where he’s served since 2015. He helped to launch Olin’s Executive MBA program with IIT-Bombay in Mumbai, the first US-based EMBA degree program in India. He also helped manage Olin’s EMBA partner program with Fudan University in Shanghai.

Wertsch was the founding director of the McDonnell academy in 2005, which was founded as a hub of international activity and has grown to include 34 partner universities around the world. According to WashU’s announcement, the academy was established to help link universities in sharing expertise and research to jointly work on significant global challenges such as energy and the environment and global health.

Wertsch also expanded the McDonnell Scholars program, which pairs international students from partner universities with WashU faculty mentors to study on campus. The program has grown to 98 alums since its first graduate in 2007.

Dirks indicated there may be opportunities for the McDonnell Academy and Bauer Center to collaborate on their work.

“The McDonnell Scholars program helps international students become leaders in their own areas — law, science, business,” Dirks said. “We want to look at whether there are ways the Bauer Leadership Center can add onto that.”

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