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Alumni in the news

Central Trust Company announced the hiring of Evan Sowers, MBA’09, as executive vice president and market executive for its St. Louis location in Clayton. His primary role is to lead the St. Louis office while partnering with Central Bank of St. Louis to deliver world class customer service, fiduciary administration and investment advice to clients and prospects.

Evan Sowers.imageSowers has more than 17 years of experience in the industry having worked as a commercial lender and business development officer before moving on to senior roles in private banking and relationship management in trust administration.

Sowers earned his MBA at Olin in Finance, Accounting and Investment Banking and a BA in Philosophy with a concentration in Mathematics at the University of Missouri.

He is currently a member of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership which helps guide the St. Louis region’s joint efforts to support new and growing businesses.

Long John Silver’s names chief marketing officer

Angela Sanders, MBA ’02, has been named chief marketing officer of Long John Silver’s. Sanders will be responsible for leading the marketing team and developing the strategic voice and direction of the brand.

angelasandersSanders has more than two decades of consumer-driven marketing experience, with focus in franchised organizations. She led the marketing team in brand strategy and rapid growth at fast-casual start-up Smashburger, and led creative development, media planning, consumer insights, loyalty and menu innovation at Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. and Boston Market.

She joins Long John Silver’s from 6,000 unit Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. where as senior vice president she was instrumental in the company’s re-positioning and successful brand re-launch.

Sanders holds an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis and a BA from Northwestern University.

Source: news releases from Central Bank and Long John Silver’s

CATEGORY: Career, News



Robert A. Pollak, the Hernreich Distinguished Professor of Economics (joint appointment with the college of Arts & Sciences), has been named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association (AEA). The Distinguished Fellow awards recognize the lifetime research contributions of distinguished economists.

Robert Pollak

Robert Pollak

Robert Pollak’s research interests include environmental policy, demography and the economics of the family. Pollak is the author of numerous articles in professional journals and three books: From Parent to Child: Intrahousehold Allocations and Intergenerational Relations in the United States (1995, with J. Behrman and P. Taubman), Demand System Specification and Estimation (1992, with T. Wales), and The Theory of the Cost-of-Living Index (1989). Pollak is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Econometric Society. He is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Link to Pollak’s faculty page.

Link to post about Pollak’s recent research on Health, Human Capital and Domestic Violence”

Link to a list of current and past Distinguished Fellows.

About the American Economic Association
The American Economic Association (AEA) encourages economic research, issues publications on economic subjects, and encourages perfect freedom of economic discussion. With more than 20,000 members, the Association publishes the American Economic Review (AER), Journal of Economic Literature (JEL), Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP), and American Economic Journals (AEJ): Applied Economics, Economic Policy, Macroeconomics, and Microeconomics. Link here for more information.

Source: AEA Press Release




At the Olin Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony April 21, Chancellor Mark Wrighton introduced a video featuring the business school’s new dean Mark Taylor and his vision for the school as it begins its second century.

Titled “Unleashing Potential” the video was shot on the Washington University campus with several camera crews from Aligned Media.

CATEGORY: News



In a concentrated, continuing effort to link Washington University in St. Louis academic research to everyday business practice, the 10th annual Olin Award recognizes an Olin Business School faculty member who joined two University of Pennsylvania professors in crafting a computer model to guide managers who need to forecast behaviors of newly acquired customers.

As is customary, a panel of senior executives review the papers submitted, and these executives ultimately apply some of the findings to their own businesses.

“This rare award rewards relevancy and focuses on the exceptional intellectual capital that applies to real business issues,” said Richard J. Mahoney, former CEO of Monsanto and a Distinguished Executive-in-Residence at Olin where he initiated the $10,000 prize. “I can tell you from decades of corporate experience that academic research all too often is overlooked in the business realm. So here at Olin we strive to connect the innovation and evidence of our faculty with a business community where this science can directly benefit both enterprise and consumers.”

St. Louis-based Edward Jones joined with Jackson Nickerson, the Frahm Family Professor of Organization & Strategy, to help to incorporate Collaborative Structured Inquiry from his 2009 Olin Award-winning paper (see chart, below). Emily Pitts, principal for Inclusion and Diversity, called it an “invaluable experience.”

“Working with Professor Nickerson using this process enabled our firm to make significant progress,” Pitts said. “We were able to identify division by division in our headquarters where we had areas of opportunity to improve on topics such as sourcing diverse talent, recruiting, hiring, developing or just creating a more inclusive environment. Ninety percent of all of our Home Office divisions have completed the process and identified tangible solutions. Some divisions have already begun to see measurable progress, and best practices are beginning to be duplicated across the firm to eventually become standard.”

Olin Award 2017

Mahoney said the 2017 winner exemplifies how quality research can bring solutions to tangible issues affecting business today.

Arun Gopalakrishnan, assistant professor of marketing, is the co-author of “A Cross‐Cohort Changepoint Model for Customer‐Base Analysis,” forthcoming in Marketing Science. Along with two Wharton School professors with whom he conducted doctoral research*, Gopalakrishnan developed two cross‐cohort models — called vector changepoint models — that introduce a new framework for analyzing data which reveals insights into patterns of customer behavior over time. The researchers found that new customers are not simply going to behave like the “average” existing customer. That “average” assumption, according to the researchers, “ignores the potentially changing behavioral patterns” from one set of customers acquired during a certain time period to another.

The new mathematical model takes into account what it calls “regime changes” or past customer behavior changes that were influenced by new firm policy, government regulations, economic factors, competitors’ actions, or unknown drivers of change.

The model was applied to a data set from a public television broadcaster in the U.S. that relies on voluntary donations for part of its operating budget. Comprehensive, 10-year data from more than 50,000 donors were used to estimate the model parameters. That time period included the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which the model suggests is a type of regime change that may be driving changes in the behavior of donors acquired in or after 1996.

“Our insight is, you have to use the right data for forecasting what the new customers are going to do,” Gopalakrishnan said. “That doesn’t mean there is bad data, but we have found that ‘what’ a customer does is more important than demographic information. And in our data setting, the evidence suggests that new customers are going to behave differently from ‘old’ customers’ behavioral patterns.”

When tested against other models, the Olin Award-winning research model/tool outperformed other benchmarks. It can be applied to any industry that acquires customers who engage in repeat transactions over time. The new model also simplifies the process of mining the data, said Gopalakrishnan: “There is no need to run multiple models to figure out what fits best — our model allows for a large number of possible regime changes, including none, and can determine which model best fits the data in one unified framework.”

* Co-authors Eric T. Bradlow and Peter S. Fader are the co-directors of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative and professors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Previous Winners of the Olin Award

 The Olin Business School, celebrating its centennial this year, has benefited from engaged partnerships with business executives and firms that support the school’s research centers and faculty pursuits to improve best practices, innovate and challenge management since 1917. During the decade of the Olin Award competition, nearly 200 papers repres
enting 11 disciplines, from accounting to supply chain management, have been submitted to a panel of leading business executives for review. The Olin faculty includes some of the most prolific and most frequently cited professors in their fields. Mark Taylor, recently appointed dean of Olin Business School, is ranked in the top 1 percent of economists in the world, according to IDEAS/REPEC global rankings of economists, Google Scholar citations, and ISI, Thomson Reuters Citation Analysis.

2016    Radha Gopalan & Todd Milbourn — “Compensation Goals and Firm Performance”

2015    Anne Marie Knott — “Explaining the Broken Link Between R&D and GDP Growth”

2015    Andrew Knight — “Who Defers to Whom and Why? Dual Pathways Linking Demographic Differences and Dyadic Deference to Team Effectiveness”

2014    Lamar Pierce — “Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on    Employee Theft and Productivity”

2013    Baojun Jiang — “Pricing and Persuasive Advertising in a Differentiated Market”

2012    Tat Chan (Chunhua Wu & Ying Xie) — “Measuring the Lifetime Value of Customers           Acquired from Google Search Advertising”

2011    Radha Goplalan, Todd Milbourn & Anjan Thakor — “The Optimal Duration of Executive     Compensation: Theory and Evidence”

2010    Judi McClean Parks — “Give and Take: Incentive Framing in Compensation Contracts”

2009    Markus Baer, Kurt Dirks & Jackson Nickerson — “A Theory of Strategic Problem     Formulation”

2008    Jackson Nickerson & Todd Zenger — “Envy, Comparison Costs and the Economic Theory of the Firm”

Link to the most recent research from Washington University’s Olin Business School.

Pictured above: Richard J. Mahoney, Arun Gopalakrishnan, and Dean Mark Taylor

News release from WashU’s The Source.




The Lofts at Washington University in St. Louis, better known as the “Loop Lofts”, have been named a winner in the 2017 AIA Housing Awards in the Specialized Housing category. The Loop Lofts were one of 14 projects selected by the American Institute of Architects selected as the winners of its annual Housing Awards, “to recognize the best in housing design and promote the importance of good housing as a necessity of life.”

Here’s the official AIA description of the lofts:

This 280,000-square-foot mixed-use project (including retail and 415 beds in loft-style apartments) represents the University’s efforts to revitalize its surrounding neighborhood by locating student apartments in “the Loop” – an incredibly vibrant 24-hour urban district located six blocks from the university.

loop lofts 2A unique type of residence hall, the project explores ways of adapting residential life models of living and learning to an urban model. Student residences in transparent towers over ground floor retail immerse students in the urban life of the Loop.

loop lofts 3A new pedestrian mews, activated by student residences with stoops, connects The Loop with a residential neighborhood to the north. The project visibly expresses its commitment to sustainable living and is LEED Platinum certified. Key elements include bioswales, rain gardens, photovoltaic and solar thermal systems, sustainable building materials and high-efficiency glazing. A south-facing solar shading system is one of the key architectural focal points of the project.

Link to article in Arcihtect Journal of AIA
Related news release

CATEGORY: News, Student Life