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.
Washington University in St. Louis and Olin Business School both continue to be top venues for entrepreneurship education—ranking No. 6 for undergraduate studies and No. 16 for graduate studies in the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur rankings for Top Schools for Entrepreneurship Studies. The rankings were announced online Tuesday, November 12, 2019, and are featured in the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine.
WashU’s place on this year’s lists marks a significant movement for the university. In five years, the university moved nine spots in the graduate studies rankings and four in undergraduate studies.
“The WashU community is key to this recognition. Across the university innovators and entrepreneurs come together and support one another in a way that is unmatched”, II Luscri, Assistant Vice Provost for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of the Skandalaris Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “The Skandalaris Center is proud to do our part in supporting WashU founders and aspiring entrepreneurs at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.”
First-year MBA student Gil Eckstein says traveling with his 96 classmates on WashU Olin’s inaugural ’round-the-world global immersion was “a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience.” Read more from Gil below and hear from his classmates in the video above.
The 38-day immersion is the crown jewel in the Olin’s massive reboot of the full-time MBA program, taking students from St. Louis to Washington, DC, to Barcelona, to Beijing and Shanghai. The trip was the launching point of the program for the new MBA prospects, designed to offer an immediate introduction into foundational business principles in a global context.
In video interviews and casual conversations, students on the trip and afterward expressed enthusiasm for the work they were doing, the context they were learning and the bonds they were building.
As students’ second semester in the MBA program begins to draw to a close, Eckstein offered his reflections for the Olin Blog.
In retrospect, now several weeks past your return from China, can you describe how the global immersion has influenced your approach to class?
Traveling with my 90 other classmates around the world in DC, Barcelona, and Shanghai, going on field excursions every other day, giving presentations every week, and doing it all for almost six weeks in a row.
This is a whole different way of learning, more dynamic than anything else I ever got to experience. Just like in professional life, we were outside of our comfort zone very often, going to classes in different spaces in different cities, while adapting to different cultures.
I feel like this experience opened my mind and challenged my creativity in a way that a regular class doesn’t. Classes become much more interactive. Right before class, I had breakfast with my professor, and right after class, I went to the winery consulting visit with the same professor.
Class becomes something that I am actually looking to implement and not just place in some bin in my head, in the hope of using it sometime in the future.
What did you gain from the experience that you’ve been able to apply already?
This whole experience is a great story that I love telling people. Recruiters, students, friends or family. This is a very colorful experience that we all had and that itself is a valuable asset. I also gained presentation and preparation skills that I used in job interviews or just coffee talks.
I also feel like I gained better communication skills with my teammates, especially ones who come from different cultures than mine.
I think that more than anything though, I developed strong relationships with my classmates in a way that I could have never been able to form in a regular static class format. We all went through a similar challenging experience that built a close bond among our classmates.
Have you been able to use this experience yet in any preparation for your career next step?
I am very comfortable now in professional events out of town such as the recent Chicago veterans conference a few weeks ago, and I am sure that it’ll make every future three-day business trip feel like a walk in a park.
As I am looking to distinguish myself from other candidates during the job search, I feel like this is an additional experience that helps me to stick out.
I also learned a lot about myself during this experience and I noticed that I am using it as I present myself in job interviews these days.
In addition, I’m sure that many more uses for this experience in my future career life will unfold and will be proven useful.
Bean is a senior associate dean and the Charles F. Knight Distinguished
Director of Executive Education at WashU Olin. Based at the Brookings
Institution, she is charged with unifying and expanding executive education
operations in St. Louis and Washington, DC.
has more than 20 years’ executive education experience at the University of
Virginia, Emory University, UCLA and the University of South Carolina. Here is
the full version of her Q&A with Olin
Business, which was excerpted in the magazine.
Olin Business: Why executive education? Why has that become your niche?
Kelly Bean: I am passionate about developing leaders
and doing that at a point in their career where they’re ready—they can use their
experiences to really push themselves and their organizations forward. That has
been a clear purpose of mine. And I think you can have great impact with people
when they’re ready to learn some things about themselves and be able to apply
that in a work setting.
OB: You didn’t wake up one morning and decide this is your passion. How did that come to be?
KB: I spent about 10 years in the retail
business before going back to get my MBA. When it really became solidified for
me, I had somebody walk into my Coach store in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Her
name was Nikki and she was the niece of somebody who was working for me. Nikki
was 19 years old, she had baby, had just moved from California and there was
something about her that I was like, “Oh, she’s really special.” This was her
first job, she took it seriously, I ended up developing her into a key holder
and then making her an assistant manager.
I did sort of wake up one day and say,
“It’s not about selling purses” or “Would you like a pair of socks with that?” It’s
about growing and developing the people that worked with me. That’s what I
wanted to do. I decided that’s why I wanted to go back and get my master’s in human
OB: What drew you to WashU?
KB: What drew me here was an opportunity to
get back to a research-focused institution that really integrates business and
business strategy with leadership development. What really attracted me was
kind of the next phase of that thinking, which is the complexity of the world
that we live in today. The leaders of the future need to be able to also
navigate through a set of questions that Brookings brings to the table: What
does it mean as we think about the strategy of our organization and the team
that I’m leading?
What policy is out there? Do we need to be thinking about poverty? Do we need to be thinking about education? Do we need to be thinking about healthcare? How is the complexity of the world changing the way we think about how we go to market? And so now I think there’s this kind of third piece around social awareness, politics, policy, government—the integration of those things.
I think when you look at that sweet spot—how those three things combine—it’s the next future of executive education and that’s where I want to play.
OB: It sounds a little bit like the idea of values-based, data-driven leadership.
KB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I was completely
connected to that concept. I knew of WashU, I’d been here before, and I knew of
Brookings, I knew of that match (between WashU and Brookings). Then coming here
and feeling a culture of collaboration, of community, of excellence for the
right reasons—you just feel it when you come here. You just feel it.
OB: Brookings is a relationship that is unique to us. How do you see that connection working here in St. Louis?
KB: I think the historical connection between
Brookings and WashU makes this actually an easy thing to be able to do. I see
it very much in alignment with what Dean Taylor wants to do with WashU from a
globalization standpoint, but then also recognizing that St. Louis is a city, a
region, where the globalization of business is happening right here, too.
OB: We want to more closely identify our executive education programming and curriculum with the Brookings Institution, correct?
KB: Yes, absolutely. What I described earlier with this strategy/business/leadership combination and the integration of policy—for lack of a better word—that’s the sweet spot where we want to be able to help leaders in their organizations, and how can that integration impact their own organizations.
Bringing in these angles of policy and social awareness—the intersection of policy, strategy and leadership is the sweet spot.
you’re thinking about strategy, you have to think about what’s happening in the
world. I mean, we woke up this morning and the premier of China has called on
the people of China to rise up in a war against US products because of tariffs.
Well, if you’re a leader in an organization, what impact is that going to have?
If not today, what impact is it going to have down the road?
brings to life the purpose of the firm, but it allows you as leaders and as
managers to be able to make a different set of decisions because it’s a
OB: What do you see as the future for executive education? What trends are you watching?
KB: I think the future of exec ed is about
creating an offering that becomes stackable certificates.
big trend is really around personalization of a learning journey. Each individual leader needs to be able to ensure their
experience helps them achieve their personal and career growth. So, the beauty
of the stackable certificates is it provides some guidance on what does that
look like for me—in both what I’m doing today and where I want to go?
one is “anytime, anywhere, when I want it”—using technology to be a piece of
that puzzle, which might be providing some content, but then you come together
to discuss the content and the impact that’s having for you. There’s this kind
of omni-learning type of environment that is beginning to happen where,
depending on the individual, there’s a variety of options and choices.
think the trend has been and will continue to be a focus on the total
development of individuals, which comes down to health and wellness and
mindfulness, in addition to understanding the functions of business: What is my
role? What role do I need to play tomorrow? What role do I need to play today?
What role did I used to play that is not something I need to play anymore? There’s
this constant evolution of self.
OB: How important is it that the faculty is research based when it comes to executive education?
have a set of frameworks that says, “Here’s what some of the research shows,
here is a way to think about problems. Let’s do this case,” and then you turn
it into, “So, why does all of this matter?” It’s a more facilitative type of
discussion and dialogue, but there’s an intellectual curiosity that both types
of faculty—research- and experience-based—have. But the ones that have a little
bit more of that research training can do a little sidebar for a few minutes on
the scholarly work that adds a whole level of credibility.
OB: You’ve worked for some highly ranked institutions. How important are the rankings?
have been so fortunate in my career to work at incredible institutions or
partner with other institutions that are ranked somewhere between 1 and 100.
And every single one of those institutions has provided new thinking and an
opportunity for leaders to grow. You have to be clear on your purpose and you
have to be open to seeing a variety of different perspectives. The ranking is
not where people make their decisions. They make their decisions based on the
relationship that you have.
OB: You’ve spoken before about helping executives develop a strong sense of purpose and vision—seeing beyond the functional and technical skills and going deeper. Is that what we’re talking about here?
KB: The world is changing so much that we’re going to always need to continue to build functional and technical skills.
One of my mentors who got me into this business would say to clients: “We can build awareness. We can build understanding. And we can build competence.”
build competence, it’s having an experience where you make a decision. It
works. It doesn’t work. You need to bring others in. You innovate on what that
looks like. You experience it. Sometimes it’s the failure. Sometimes it’s the
success. But you don’t get that in a five-day session. You get that over time. I’d
say competence versus competency. It’s not that I need these six competencies
to be a good leader. We are about delivering experiences that build the
competence piece. And sometimes, it’s about the awareness and the
understanding. And that’s OK.
OB: If we were to sit down here a year from now, what are some of the things you’d like to be able to say that you’ve done? Or what are the things that are fine that we left alone?
KB: Well, I think
the core programming in both Brookings and Olin is very good. I think we have
our arms wrapped around the challenges that individuals and organizations are
facing. We’re starting the right discussions. And what I’d like for us to be
able to see is a more intentional way of bringing those together that really
reflects on the development journey for individuals and organizations.
I’d like for us to—and it might take longer than a year—to work with companies
and corporations to bring this concept of integrating social and policy trends
with values and data. We can do that. The key is to start to have conversations
with organizations so as they’re thinking about what they want to do with their
talent populations, we’re part of that conversation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Have you had much opportunity to interact with Olin alums? What feedback are
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
ANDREW D. MARTIN
Lives in St. Louis with wife Stephanie S. Martin and daughter Olive. Career highlights:
chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis, January 2019.
College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan,
dean, WashU School of Law, 2012 to 2014.
director, WashU’s Center for Empirical Research in the Law, 2006-2014.
Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science from 2013-2014.
Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences, 2007 to 2011.
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, 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.
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.