Author: WashU Olin Business School


About WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

Andrew D. Martin, 15th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis

Updated October 3, 2019: Our interview with Chancellor Martin was quite a few weeks before today’s inauguration. Here is what he had to say in his inaugural address.

“Tomorrow, we’ll be in The New York Times,” Washington University’s 15th Chancellor Andrew D. Martin told us as we stepped into his office.  He was eagerly awaiting a batch of US Supreme Court decisions so he could crunch numbers for his ongoing research on judicial decision-making. Martin had agreed to spend a few minutes with Olin Business so he could introduce himself to Olin’s alumni.  

The week of our conversation, the newest class of full-time MBA students arrived at Olin, launching the school’s rebooted program with a ’round-the-world immersion in global business. The day they arrived, Martin shared a blog post about the intrinsic value of WashU’s globally diverse community.

Our conversation took place a few months shy of his October 3, 2019, inauguration. The office where former chancellors Bill Danforth and Mark Wrighton once sat has quickly become his own, surrounded by bobbleheads and signed baseballs belying his love of the St. Louis Cardinals. Martin spoke about his hopes for the university, his philosophy on business education and his wide-ranging academic background.

Olin Business: You returned to WashU after five years away. What were some of the first things you wanted to do when you got back?

Andrew D. Martin: Oh, I wanted to stop by my old neighborhood, you know? We used to live in Ames Place near the University City Loop. We also walked back to The Loop as a family to visit some of the places where we liked to go—Blueberry Hill, Froyo, those sorts of places. That was really terrific.

Andrew D. Martin, 15th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis
Andrew D. Martin, 15th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis

OB: One of our strategic pillars at Olin centers on this idea of preparing decision-makers who can change the world, for good. Is there a story or anecdote you can talk about that speaks to that kind of decision-making in your experience?

ADM: One of my biggest responsibilities as chancellor is to make myriad complex and, at times, difficult decisions about our path forward as a university. Of course, when you have all the data, decisions are pretty easy. But most of the decisions we need to make are going to take place during times of uncertainty. And, so, thinking about how to use one’s principles—the appropriate inferential apparatus to get to the right values-based decision—can be really difficult, especially when you have uncertainty. It’s one of the things I do regularly, perhaps even on a daily basis.

OB: Do you have some sort of framework that you’ve used or is it just something that comes with experience over time.

ADM: Well, I’m a data guy. And so, for any decision, in any context, it’s really important to me to have as much data as we can possibly have and to fill in any gaps we might have. But, at the end of the day, when I think about making difficult decisions, I always lead with mission. What are the university’s central principles and values? When I think about Washington University, our mission can be broken down into three parts—we’re about education, we’re about research, and we’re about patient care.

And so, for any decision I’m considering—employment practices, benefits, a construction project or anything else—I want to think about it through that missional lens and whether going down one path or another will better serve our mission.

OB: What made you throw your hat into the ring for the position of chancellor?

ADM: It’s a great job at a great university in a city that I’ve come to love. In some ways, I feel like I’ve grown up in St. Louis. I was here for four years as a graduate student in the mid-1990s. After that, I was away teaching at Stony Brook University for just a couple of years, and then I came right back! I grew up from a new assistant professor all the way to an endowed chair with various leadership responsibilities here. And so, for me, the opportunity to come back to St. Louis and to serve this institution was just a total no-brainer.

OB: We noted your blog post about the intrinsic value of our international population, accounting for 22% of WashU students. As you know, Olin this week launched our restructured global MBA. Can you speak about the value of global education going the other way—into and around the world—and the challenges in this geopolitical environment?

ADM: Absolutely. I think about this in two different ways. One has to do with talent. We’re in the business of bringing the most talented people to this university. That’s true for our faculty, our students and for our staff. And, of course, we’re in a global market for talent. To that end, to put up barriers as an institution and as a country that try to keep the most talented people from coming here—I view that as a significant problem, which served as the motivation for the blog post.

At the same time, particularly as we think about our educational mission, it’s crucial for us to prepare all our students—no matter their background—to work in the global workforce. Most of our graduates are not going to have a singular career. They’re going to have a series of careers. And, in almost any industry, they’re going to interact with people from around the world. It’s certainly the case in higher education, and it’s the case in every other sector as well.

Andrew D. Martin, 15th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis
Andrew D. Martin, 15th chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis

OB: Have you had much opportunity to interact with Olin alums? What feedback are you hearing?

ADM: So far, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many Olin alums around the country. I look forward to meeting more alums around the world later this calendar year. I think our alumni are really excited about the university and about the role Olin plays, both on our campus as well as regionally, nationally and internationally. Of course, the undergraduate program is simply outstanding. It’s serving our students very well and creating exceptional opportunities for them professionally down the road. Our graduate and professional programs have recently been reimagined by Dean Taylor. I think the path we’re on is a very promising one. We’ll see how things progress in a very dynamic environment—particularly in business education.

Overall, I think we’re very well positioned, and there’s a lot of excitement among the alumni with whom I’ve spoken.

OB: Olin alumni would be interested in your vision about how you see the university moving forward and how Olin fits into that vision. Is there anything you can share right now?

ADM: I’m holding my powder until my inauguration in October. Although the things that I’m going to talk a lot about have to do with getting back to our mission. What are we doing in our research programs? How can we enhance our educational programs? I’m also going to talk a lot about our connection to the city of St. Louis. We are a university founded by the St. Louis business community over 150 years ago as well as a university that serves St. Louis today in so many ways—but I think we could be doing even more.

OB: We wanted to ask about the university’s strategic planning process. What do your instincts tell you about where we should be going or how WashU’s schools will be integrated into that plan?

ADM: If you look at our seven schools and colleges, each of them is at different points in a strategic planning process. Of course, Olin has been through that process and is now executing on its plan. As we think about a strategic plan for the university, I think it’s very important for us to honor the plans of the individual units. It’s also important that we support those schools and colleges that are in the midst of a planning process right now. At the same time, we need to involve all of the stakeholders on our campus when it comes to big, cross-cutting initiatives, which I think are going to be crucial for us to continue to drive forward.

OB: Are there any rules of business that you’ve picked up along the way? Any tenets you live by? You mentioned focusing on mission; anything beyond that?

ADM: Washington University is a huge organization. We’re the third largest employer in the St. Louis region. I’ve had to learn a lot about business operations over time.

For me, as I think about decision-making, I think about mission, I think about data, and putting those two things together to help us get to the very best spot.

I don’t mind taking risks, but I think it’s important for those risks to be well-calculated and to fully understand what the downside of those risks are.

In addition, one of my primary roles as chancellor is to be a steward. We have amazing resources at this university, and part of my job is to steward those resources so they continue to grow and support the institution going forward, but not inhibit us from accelerating as quickly as we might.

OB: One of Olin’s key initiatives is working across the campus with other schools and colleges on cross-disciplinary miners and majors. This year, we’re launching a minor in the business of the arts with the Sam Fox School. Are these important initiatives to you?

ADM: Absolutely. As we’re preparing students in a very, very dynamic global political economy, it’s important for us to leverage all of the assets we have on the campus to best prepare students. There are numerous outstanding professional opportunities for students in the arts. At the same time, we offer exceptional training at the Sam Fox School as well as exceptional training at Olin. So, bringing those things together, both in a curricular way and in terms of research, is really important.

Our schools do very, very good work standing by themselves. They can do even better work and add to their portfolio if they’re collaborating with others.

OB: You mentioned you don’t have a business school background. Has your career brought you to an appreciation of business school in ways that perhaps you didn’t have years ago?

ADM: Oh, definitely. I wish I would have taken on accounting when I was an undergraduate, for example. Business school provides a wonderful set of skills and a wonderful set of lenses that are not just applicable to business, but applicable across nonprofit space and other types of leadership opportunities as well. And so, for students interested in that type of more practical training, I think business school is terrific.

OB: You also don’t have a law degree and yet you were a faculty member and leader in the WashU law school. Can you help us square that circle?

ADM: Sure. So, my academic work is in two fields. One is what we call political methodology, or what we call “data science” today. The other half is in a field called “judicial politics,” which is—in my case—using data and statistics to study how judges make decisions. I’ve done a lot of work on the US Supreme Court and continue to do a little bit of analysis here and there. In fact, I’m planning to do some analysis today as soon as the last set of decisions come down.

My research has focused on those areas. And early on in my faculty days here at Washington University, I began collaborating with members of the law school faculty. We received some National Science Foundation support. We were doing some very interesting projects. And right around 2006, the law school invited me to join the faculty—to bring my social science, quantitative perspective into the school, help introduce them to some of my methods, but also to give me an opportunity to learn law from the inside.

I had an opportunity to take most of the introductory first-year law classes, as a faculty member, just to understand what our students were learning. My time on the law school made my research infinitely better, and I’d like to think that my presence at the law school made the work in the school better. So, I joined the faculty. Then, a leadership opportunity arose, and I was really privileged to be given the opportunity to serve as vice dean of the law school my last two years before departing for Michigan.

OB: As an alum yourself, what are your hopes for WashU’s and Olin’s alumni in terms of their engagement and their relationship with us after they leave?

ADM: Well, I think it’s really important for that engagement to be multidimensional as well as robust. You know, we don’t have a lot of opportunities for our alumni to come back to our campus. I’d like for us to have more of those and the various reunion events and alumni recognition events to bring a critical mass of folks back on campus.

I also think it’s important for us to be out there in all of the major cities, both in the United States and around the world, consistently engaging with our alumni and asking them: What can the university do for you?

I’d like to think the relationships we’re building with our students are lifelong relationships. But, of course, things have changed a lot. The way in which we talked to our alumni 25 years ago is very different from how we talk to our alumni today. We need to be responsive to those changes and adapt.

OB: You mentioned earlier the WashU plays in the community. Since returning, what kind of feedback are you getting? Are we engaged to the level that we should be?

ADM:I think there are a lot of misunderstandings out in the community about the way in which Washington University is engaged. We’re giving back to this community in so many ways. That’s true with health care. It’s true with economic development. Of course, we’re the 3rd largest employer. We try to be a good neighbor. There’s lots of places where we are connecting with the community.

But we haven’t really stood forward and said, “This is our commitment to St. Louis. These are the things that we’re going to do. And these are the metrics we’re going to use to measure our success.” I think, for us to take that affirmative step, it will help folks in this community understand that WashU is not this elite institution that sits on a hill just west of the city limit.  Rather, we are an important part of the community and are really committed to giving back.

OB:Of course, the last question we were going to ask was about the bow ties we often see you sporting around campus—and today you’re not wearing one. Is there a story about why you wear them?

ADM: No, I didn’t wear a bow tie today. I’m like a once-a-week bow tie guy. I do it for fun. Also, it keeps food from getting on my tie. It’s pretty hard to get food on a bow tie—although I’ve managed to do that once or twice over the last 30 years. It’s something I’ve done since my days as an undergraduate, and I think it’s just a lot of fun.


Lives in St. Louis with wife Stephanie S. Martin and daughter Olive. Career highlights:

  • Fifteenth chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis, January 2019.
  • Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, 2014-2018.
  • Vice dean, WashU School of Law, 2012 to 2014.
  • Founding director, WashU’s Center for Empirical Research in the Law, 2006-2014.
  • WashU’s Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science from 2013-2014.
  • Chair, Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences, 2007 to 2011.
  • Doctorate in political science from Washington University, 1998.

Meet the new faculty members joining (or who have already joined) WashU Olin Business School for the current academic year.

Hossein Amini, lecturer in data analytics: Although his PhD and master’s are in industrial engineering from Kansas State and he collaborated there on studies relating to 3D printing, Amini’s research interests largely center on health care. He studies predictive analysis and machine learning in various forms of health and medicine: drug development, adverse drug reaction models and such diseases as breast cancer.

Kelly Bean, professor of practice in leadership, director of executive education: She also is a senior associate dean and holds the inaugural Charles F. Knight Distinguished Director of Executive Education. Coming to the Olin Business School from the University of Virginia, and before that Emory, USC and UCLA, Bean will work at both the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., and on campus. She earned her bachelor’s in marketing and master’s in human resources at the University of South Carolina.

Samira Fazel, lecturer in data analytics: She has been a visiting professor in statistics and industrial engineering at Louisiana Tech.Fazel earned her PhD in industrial and systems engineering at Wayne State University (Michigan). She focuses on health-outcome metrics while trying to improve health-care operations through systems engineering and optimization.

Brett Green Photos Copyright Noah Berger / 2019

Brett Green, associate professor of finance: He joins Olin from the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. An applied theorist, Green’s research  involves understanding of news and learning in markets with information asymmetries. He also studies corporate finance and sports economics. Green received a PhD in economics and a master’s in financial mathematics from Stanford, plus a bachelor’s in engineering and economics from Duke.

Emily Grijalva, assistant professor of organizational behavior: An expert on narcissism in the workplace and its links to leadership and personality development, Girjalva’swork has been published in management and psychology journals. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois. She comes to Olin from the University at Buffalo, where she was an assistant professor of organization and human resources.

Brent Hickman, assistant professor economics: Hickman comes to Olin from Queens University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Chicago. He holds two bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University in economics and Spanish translation, and a PhD from Iowa. His research interests include: empirical methods for models of private information; industrial organization; auctions; higher education and affirmative action.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

David Huntoon, professor of practice in leadership, senior director of military program:After a 40-year military career that included a stint as the superintendent at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the rank of Lieutenant General, He is considered one of very few to lead the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College and West Point. Huntoon moves to an instructional role as well as overseeing military students transitioning into business school. His areas of expertise include: management strategy, critical thinking, leadership and  leadership development, motivation, organizational behavior, organizational strategy, and more.

Seung-Hwan Jung, visiting assistant professor of operations and manufacturing management: Jung is an Olin PhD from 2017 who is returning after a year at Texas A&M University Kingsville. His research interests include theoretical and practical issues in supply chain management, sustainability, operations strategy, practice-based operations management and operations-finance interface. He earned a master’s in industrial and systems engineering at Korea Institute of Science and Technology and a bachelor’s in industrial engineering at Hanyang University.

Paulo Natenzon, assistant professor of economics:His journey to Olin started… across campus — Natenzon comes to the business school from Arts & Sciences, where he worked since 2011. He has published three papers since 2018 on random choice and decision making. He received his PhD in economics from Princeton, a master’s in mathematics from the Instituto Nacional de Matematica Pura e Aplicada, and a bachelor’s in economics from Universidad de Sao Paulo.

Richard Palmer, senior lecturer in accounting: Palmer returns to a Washington University where he served as a visiting professor before becoming the Copper Dome Faculty Research Fellow at Southeast Missouri State and the Lumpkin Distinguished Professor of Business at Eastern Illinois.He is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on the procure-to-pay business cycle and bank commercial card technology. Prior to joining academia, he worked in the financial services and public accounting industries for a range of clients. He received his PhD, MBA and master’s in accountancy from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

David Rapach, visiting assistant professor of finance: Rapach, who spent the previous 16 years at St. Louis University, is no stranger to Olin — he has co-authored a number of papers with Olin’s Guofu Zhou, for one. He spent eight years as a visiting scholar doing research with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Financial economics and macroeconomics are his main interests for research and teaching.He got his undergraduate degree at Randolph Macon and his PhD at American, both in economics.

Doug Villhard, professor of practice in entrepreneurship, academic director for entrepreneurship: Villhard is an Olin MBA (2014) who was named the academic director of the entrepreneurship program founded almost 12 years ago by Cliff Holekamp, who retired effective July. He is a serial entrepreneur who launched, sold, bought, advised and invested in companies. He also taught at Truman State, where he earned his undergraduate degree.

Liberty Vittert, professor of practice of data science: She is a visiting professor at Harvard for the coming academic year before she returns to her hometown and to Washington University, where she served as a visiting professor in statistics in Arts & Sciences this past academic calendar. She is a graduate of MIT as well as Le Cordon Bleu Paris and the University of Glasgow, where she earned her PhD and worked for a time. Vittert writes a column for Fox News and was a regular contributor to television in the United Kingdom.

Elanor Williams, associate professor of marketing: Consumer behavior and decision making are among her areas of expertise. Among her streams of research are the causes and consequences of mental gaps for consumers and marketers, including the distance between ourselves and other people, the past, present, and future, and between expectations and reality. Williams earned her PhD in social psychology at Cornell University and a bachelor’s at Yale; she joins Olin from Indiana University.

Song Yao, associate professor of marketing: Yao joins Olin after almost two years at the University of Minnesota and eight years at Northwestern. Previously he also was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and Stanford. He serves on editorial boards at a handful of journals, and his research interests include quantitative marketing, empirical microeconomics, advertising, new technology, competitive strategy and customer analytics. He earned a PhD in marketing at Duke and a master’s in economics from UCLA.

Giorgio Zanarone, visiting associate professor of economics: He arrives at Olin from Madrid, Spain, where he spent the past decade at the Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros (CUNEF). He also has been a visiting scholar at MIT about five years after he spent time there as a visiting graduate student. He received his PhD and master’s from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. His research interests include organizational economics, strategy, and law and economics.

Minyuan Zhao, associate professor of strategy: Coming from Penn, Zhao brings with her impressive experience — she previously worked at the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and in entrepreneurship, the automotive industry as well as a government think tank. Her research — in multinational innovation and intellectual property — examines the interactions between external environment and firm strategy, in a global context. She was awarded the 2018 Teaching Excellence Award from Penn’s Wharton School. Zhao received a PhD and master’s from New York University, a master’s from Fudan University and a bachelor’s from Xi’an Jiaotong University.

Glenn MacDonald started in the entertainment industry at age 4 and has been involved as a business professional and performing musician ever since. Today, he runs a course on the business of entertainment at WashU Olin Business School—a course that is at the core of a minor that is available to undergraduates.

“I’m very passionate about the both the business and creative side of entertainment,” said MacDonald, Olin’s John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and Strategy.

MacDonald and two of his students discuss the content of the course and what they’ve gotten from it in this brief video. Students design marketing campaigns for artists, learn how to pitch movies and participate in a variety of other experiential exercises—while learning the nuts and bolts of accounting and contracts in the field.

“It’s nice to be able to do things that are fun and that you’re interested in and that you’re still getting a grade and learning from,” said Rob Hall, AS ’19.

A big #OlinKudos goes to Creative Director Katie Wools from Olin Marketing & Communications, who took platinum and gold honors from the Hermes Creative Awards for her work on two projects for the school. It was the third year running she’d nabbed a gold award from the organization.

Katie Wools

The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals recognized Wools with the Hermes Creative Platinum Award for her animated video message welcoming the new year, sent to students, faculty, staff and alumni from Dean Mark Taylor. Wools taught herself how to use After Effects, a digital motion-graphics tool, in order to produce the video.

Wools also received the Hermes gold award for the third consecutive year for her work on the poster for this year’s Shakespeare at Olin festival.

From the organization’s news release about the awards:

Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

The international Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, digital media production and free-lance professionals. AMCP oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and awards outstanding achievement and service to the profession.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations. Hermes entrants are not charged to enter work they produced pro bono. Over the past few years, AMCP’s Advisory Board has given out over $250,000 in grants to support philanthropic endeavors.

Being a Platinum or Gold Winner is a tremendous achievement that is symbolized by the intricately detailed Hermes Platinum and Gold awards. Entries receiving scores of 90-100 are Platinum Winners. Scores of 80-89 are Gold Winners and 70-79 are Honorable Mention Winners. The name Hermes (Greek messenger) and the idea for the award were chosen to represent our roles as the messengers and creators of marketing and communication materials and programs.

Three WashU students and a departing professor were honored at this month’s second Skandy Awards presentation by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The awards featured remarks from Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and recognition of honorees by II Luscri, Skandalaris Center Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and Jessica Stanko, the Skandalaris Center Assistant Director of Programs.

Cliff Holekamp at the second Skandy Awards, where he was honored for excellence in service.

At the April 10 event, honorees included:

Arnav Kannan speaking with Chancellor Wrighton at the 2019 Skandy Awards.
  • Arnav Kannan, BSBA ’22, for creating video content that captures the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at WashU, awarded a Skandy for creativity.
  • Ony Mgbeahurike, MBA ’19, founder of the Good Soul Company, and Danielle Wilsey, MBA ’20, founder of The Confluence, awarded Skandys for entrepreneurship.
  • And in special recognition, the Skandalaris Center recognized Olin Professor Clifford Holekamp, outgoing director of Olin’s entrepreneurship program and instructor for the Hatchery course. He was recognized with an “excellence in service” award for his work, noting that during his time at WashU, 50% of the businesses in the Hatchery have launched and 75% are still operating.

Read more about the event and other Skandy winners on the Skandalaris Center website.

Pictured above: Ony Mgbeahurike, Danielle Wilsey and II Luscri, Skandalaris Center Managing Director.