Tag: Building Olin



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

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

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

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

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

Jacqueline Slack Carter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




To the WashU Olin community:

We’re announcing a change in the hospitality company at Olin Business School that supports so much of the behind-the-scenes work we do every day. Effective July 1, WashU Olin will transition from Aramark to FLIK Hospitality Group for dining services, conference support and hotel management at the Knight Center.

On a day-to-day basis, we expect to continue seeing the same hospitality associates—who have been dedicated to providing help and support—as they transition to employment with the FLIK team. You can also expect to continue getting coffee at Starbucks, lunch in the Bauer Café and a bagel at Einstein’s, as well as the other dining outlets we’re used to enjoying at Olin.

It’s in the bigger picture—with hospitality leadership committed to overall creativity, variety and a higher level of service—where we expect to see the main changes. That was the motivation for this transition. In reviewing providers, we were deliberate and careful in our evaluation, involving representatives from Executive Education, Alumni & Development, the Olin events team, faculty support and graduate programs.

After comparing a variety of potential vendors, FLIK came to the table with an exciting approach to providing healthy and international cuisine options, new and novel ways of running meetings and a strong commitment to a collaborative partnership in event and conference planning. In short, we concluded that FLIK could “up our game” in a very outward-facing, personal way.

FLIK leadership will set up shop here, working on site throughout the transition. Among their first tasks will be to speak with Aramark associates about a transition to their team. Again, we expect familiar faces to remain familiar, and for their transition to occur without affecting their pay or seniority.

For more information, please click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the transition and FLIK, a subsidiary of Compass Group PLC, the world’s sixth largest company and a leader in food and support services management. It’s also worth noting that Compass Group is also the parent of Bon Appétit, which provides similar services to other parts of WashU. More information is available here.

You’ll be hearing more about this transition over the next few months, including how to engage with the new team. We also are hosting information sessions, offering more details about hospitality upgrades and inviting feedback about what is working and where improvement opportunities lie.

Scheduled sessions include:

  • April 23, 4:15–5:15 p.m., for BSBA, MBA and SMP students, in Bauer 130.
  • May 9, 12:30–1:30 p.m., for EMBA students, in the Knight Center dining hall during lunch.
  • May 9, 9:15 p.m., for PMBA students, during happy hour, Knight Hall 301.



Kelly Bean

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

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

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

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

Kelly joins us May 1.

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

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

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




Zandy Schorsch, MBA ’19, contributed this blog post on behalf of Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning.

Oscar Wilde once said that rugby is a good occasion for keeping 30 bullies far from the center of a city. This semester, students from the undergraduate and graduate levels of Washington University Olin Business School have been working with the Center for Experiential Learning to perform the opposite—assess the viability of bringing a professional rugby team to the city of St. Louis.

Rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, and Major League Rugby was founded last year to provide fans with professional-level rugby competition here in the states. The league kicked off its inaugural season with seven original teams. With nationally televised games on CBS and sold out tickets in many of the cities, there is a growing sense of optimism as MLR prepares for its second season.

The league has aggressive plans for expansion, with teams in New York and Toronto joining for the 2019 season and Atlanta, D.C., and Boston joining in 2020. St. Louis has emerged as one of the potential cities for an MLR expansion team, and the CEL was hired by a local entrepreneur to determine whether such a venture is feasible.

The CEL’s client, a husband and wife duo with a lifelong passion for rugby, believe the loss of the city’s football franchise has created an opening for rugby. Through dozens of interviews with rugby players, coaches, executives, and MLR league officials, the CEL team developed a strong understanding of how a rugby team in St. Louis would operate and the number of fans it would be able to attract.

Although St. Louis has always been a baseball town, there are hundreds of registered rugby players in the local area across all levels of the sport, as well as several nationally recognized rugby programs.

While the CEL team was able to develop a demand forecast for rugby in St. Louis, only so much can be learned about stadium financing and team operations from phone interviews and emails. As a result, the client decided to bring the CEL team to Glendale, Colorado, to meet with the Raptors, the MLR regular season champions, to learn more about the business side of rugby operations.

Learning about rugby operations from the Raptors.

During a full-day of meetings with the Raptors, the CEL team learned about stadium financing, team and stadium operating costs, revenue drivers, marketing and sales strategies, and unexpected expenses associated with managing a professional sports team.

The CEL team also got to learn the fundamentals of rugby from some of the professional players, such as tackling techniques and field goal mechanics.

While the CEL team requires more practice if they hope to play professionally, the data the team was able to collect from the Raptors proved invaluable for their analysis. The client capped off the trip with dinner at a local pub, a great opportunity for the student team to connect with their client informally.

Upon returning to St. Louis, the CEL team took the lessons learned from the Raptors to develop a financial model the client could use to make an informed decision about bringing professional rugby to St. Louis. The team developed an intuitive financial model that accounted for attendance numbers, concession sales, merchandise sales, stadium costs, advertising, and a host of other variables posed several challenges.

Effectively communicating the outputs from the financial model, as well as highlighting the key assumptions and inputs that produce those outputs, was also critically important.

By building a strong relationship with the client throughout the semester, and leveraging the abundant resources of the CEL and Washington University, the CEL team was able to provide a final deliverable that gave the client a holistic view of everything that goes into managing a professional sports team and stadium.

The financial analysis demonstrated that a team in St. Louis is feasible, so be on the lookout for a local MLR team in near future.

Overall, the CEL is a unique opportunity for students to work on real-world projects that have a direct impact on their community. Bringing a professional sports team to St. Louis is the type of project that major consulting firms and investment banks would be envious of, and for the clients who hire the CEL, they get to receive professional-level services from the very students who, upon graduation, will be joining those types of companies.




Timothy Solberg working on a terminal along with Dean Mark Taylor under the guidance of Bianca Simonetti, Bloomberg

Olin’s Al and Ruth Kopolow Business Library debuted a new finance learning lab equipped with eight Bloomberg terminals and a large screen for the group. The project was three months in the making as workers renovated and rewired a room just inside the library’s entrance and equipped it with new furniture.

Dean Mark Taylor made an appearance to inspect the new lab on January 24 and mused aloud about the massive difference in today’s trading volume—and the size of individual trades—from the time he started as a market professional decades ago.

Madjid Zeggane, database analyst at Kopolow library, spearheaded the logistical work required to create the lab. He said Olin has 12 Bloomberg licenses and consolidated eight of its terminals into the new lab to facilitate collaboration among students and create a better training environment for a tool almost universally embraced by financial managers.

“Companies like to know students are trained on the Bloomberg,” said Timothy Solberg, professor of practice in finance and academic director of the corporate finance and investments platform.

He said the students who won the prestigious Quinnipiac finance competition nearly a year ago could have benefitted from the new lab because they could have easily uploaded the university portfolio they were managing and worked jointly, collaborating on their analysis.

“This is the way professionals do it,” Solberg said. The school conducted its first group training in on the terminals the morning of January 24.

Bloomberg terminals are sophisticated, text-intensive, multi-screen windows into real-time data about financial markets, news, stock quotes and other related information. In addition to the eight terminals in the lab, Olin has two laptops equipped with the Bloomberg software, another desktop terminal in Bauer Hall and another in the main library space.

Pictured above: Timothy Solberg working on a terminal along with Dean Mark Taylor under the guidance of Bianca Simonetti, Bloomberg’s account manager for the St. Louis area.