Tag: Building Olin

Dean Taylor with Dean Colangelo and a selection of his works that will appear in various parts of Olin Business School.

Few figures in science have pierced the popular imagination or made more fundamental scientific contributions like renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. He wrangled with complex data about the construction of the universe and yielded mathematical models depicting its function. Yet he was also a musician, an artist and a lover of dance.

“The true sign of intelligence,” he once said, “is not knowledge, but imagination.”

At the business school, as part of a great university, we are in the knowledge business. We create it, we transmit it, we leverage it with our community partners. And I’d like to think we’re continuing to create a workplace that sparks the imagination of our colleagues.

Complementing the inspiring architecture of Olin Business School, we’ve begun to introduce new images to adorn its walls. I wanted to share a little about these works and the people behind them.

Thames and Bens II 2018 by Ann Wimsatt

They include the works of Ann Wimsatt, a St. Louis-based artist whose work I encountered at an exhibition soon after arriving at Olin. Her work now lines parts of the fourth and fifth floors of Knight Hall and Bauer Hall, as well as parts of the second floor in Simon Hall.

In Ann Wimsatt’s work, I was struck by three things. First, her images are extremely international, depicting significant architectural landmarks in locations such as Mumbai, Barcelona, London, Siena, Hong Kong and more—as well as St. Louis. Second, they are subjective interpretations of the buildings and landmarks they depict. And third, they are vibrant splashes of color that turn a corridor into an artist’s palette as we walk along, before stopping to look at the details of any particular one.

“Sometimes the most glorious endeavors of a civilization are what they create in their cities,” said Wimsatt, who is also an architect. “I’m quite interested not only in what meaning and importance they might have to me as I paint them, but also, as I manipulate them digitally, what kind of meaning I can draw out of them.”

G.R. (GRE.EK) 2011 by Carmon Colangelo

Olin visitors will also notice a new series of works by my friend and colleague Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Carmon graciously showed me around and introduced me to the art scene in St. Louis soon after my arrival and we spent a lot of time discussing art in his studio and in galleries around the area.

Several of Dean Colangelo’s works hang in and immediately outside my office—and there will soon be several new ones displayed prominently in the Kiefer Foyer in Simon Hall. Those closer to my office tend toward the symmetrical and orderly, but the farther from my office they get, the more the works take on their own character and depart in subtle but significant ways from the central works. I view it as something of a metaphor for the academic freedom we enjoy on the WashU campus.

“I made a new series that was inspired by the concepts in the first versions of the stretched colorfield images,” Colangelo said. “I like the analogy Dean Taylor has made about innovation and faculty research responding with more radical variations on this theme.”

Our very existence as a highly ranked business school depends on the ways we foster collaboration and imagination in the service of the knowledge we create. How do we infuse creativity into a business school? Perhaps by osmosis? I’m rather hopeful that we’ll see our students, visitors and faculty members take time to pause and appreciate the new works adorning the halls and to become inspired by their environment.

Pictured above: Dean Taylor with Dean Colangelo and a selection of his works that will appear in various parts of Olin Business School.

Fran and Elke Koch, first row. Paul Koch, Dean Mark Taylor, Roger Koch, and Chancellor Mark Wrighton on February 20, 2018, when the Kochs

A tour of duty in the military might have been one of the best things for Paul and Roger Koch. The experience upon their return guided their thinking about how to manage their family-owned business in the latter stages of their career.

“One of our saving graces was going into the service after graduating from WashU,” said Paul Koch, BSBA ’61, JD ’64, MBA ’68. “It got us away from the family, it got us away from St. Louis. And when we came back, our father said, ‘This is my company. You’ll have to start your own.'”

Their father didn’t want his sons, Paul and Roger, BSBA ’64, MBA ’66, to follow him into his real estate company. So they did exactly as he said and started their own. It became Koch Development Co., a St. Louis-based developer and manager of commercial real estate and owner/operator of select entertainment attractions—a business that has endured for three generations, so far.

“We say we are the third generation because we’re in that line of entrepreneurs in the same kind of business,” Roger Koch said. “Our kids had different interests. They had an interest in real estate, but they wanted to move in different directions.”

Paul and Roger Koch’s experiences separating from their father’s business, growing their own, and arranging for a generational transition informed their interest in deepening Olin Business School’s focus on the family business arena. The two brothers—and their spouses, Elke and Fran Koch—established a family business initiative in 2016, with a $1.09 million gift.

A key component of the family business initiative is an annual symposium focused on the topic of closely held and family-owned businesses. The fourth annual Olin Family Business Symposium will be held October 12 in Emerson Auditorium, focused on “Staying Private Forever–Often a Better Alternative.”

The Kochs’ commitment expanded in February when they contributed an additional $9 million toward a full-fledged Koch Center for Family Business, a research center that will be run by a faculty member holding a newly endowed Koch Distinguished Professorship in Family Business.

Roger Koch said Washington University has the potential to be a hub of knowledge, learning, and research on family businesses, which contribute more than $68 trillion to global GDP and drive 64 percent of the US economy.

“Students get totally focused on big, publicly traded companies,” he said. “They get no exposure to what family businesses are like. Family businesses by far create more jobs than any other sector of the economy. There are great careers to be had in family businesses. They’re very long-term oriented. They don’t only think about the next quarter. They’re here to move the entire organization along.”

He and his brother Paul know first-hand the importance of planning for generational transitions, a key stumbling block for many family businesses.

“We’re not unique, but too often family businesses fail to create that high-level management by using non-family managers,” Roger Koch said. “The seniors don’t want to give up control. That almost dooms the business. Even if you have a family member in that management team, you still need non-family managers to provide back-up support and continuity.”

Paul Koch added: “What is atypical of our business is that we were willing to go from family business managers to stakeholders.”

The next Olin Family Business Symposium includes keynote speaker Dave Whorton, founder and CEO of The Tugboat Group, as well as three panels, all discussing different aspects of “evergreen businesses”—businesses “led by purpose-driven leaders with the grit and resourcefulness to build and scale private, profitable, enduring, and market-leading businesses that make a dent in the universe.”

Pictured above: Fran and Elke Koch, first row. Paul Koch, Dean Mark Taylor, Roger Koch, and Chancellor Mark Wrighton on February 20, 2018, when the Kochs’ gift was announced.

Symposium schedule

7:30 a.m. Breakfast and Networking

8:30 a.m. “Introduction to Evergreen Principles,” Dave Whorton

9:00 a.m.: “The Concept of Strategic Ownership in Evergreen Companies”
Panel discussion with Dave Whorton, The Tugboat Group; Penny Pennington, Edward Jones; Alaina Macia, Medical Transportation Management, Inc. (MTM)

10:00 a.m.: “Importance of Evergreen Values in Businesses and Families”
Panel discussion with John Stupp Jr., Stupp Bros., Inc.; Michael Dierberg, First Bank Inc.; Greg Twardowski, Whelan Security Company; Jessica Rovello, Arkadium

11:00 a.m.: “Importance of Evergreen Values to Our Community”
Panel discussion with Spencer Burke, Olin Business School; David Kemper, Commerce Bancshares; Ricardo Cervantes, La Monarca Bakery; Michael Van Houweling, Van Wall Equipment

Recording a video to introduce the Olin brand campaign that accompanies our strategic plan. Building scholarship capacity is an important piece of our strategy.

Someone supposedly once complained that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is full of quotations, and indeed, many lines from that great work have become familiar phrases in the English language, from “To be or not to be,” to “Alas, poor Yorick.”

One of my personal favourite lines from the play is, “Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

Olin is a place that addresses the promise of that theme for students who may pass through our doors “knowing not what they may be.” With our world-class faculty, our dedicated staff and our alumni, we’re well able to help students know what they will be.

The trick, of course, is helping them pass through our doors in the first place.

That’s where scholarships come into play. WashU’s Olin Business School should be an elite institution, but never elitist. That means we want the best students in our community—regardless of their financial means. Anyone with the ability, talent and potential should be able to benefit from an Olin education.

A WashU education is by no means inexpensive, but this is not a new phenomenon. Even when National Council member Sidney Guller started earning his BSBA in 1943—and the average US income was $2,000 a year—Olin’s $250 annual tuition was a tough nut to crack.

At the time, scholarships were hard to come by. Guller worked at a local title company to make ends meet. That experience drove him to establish the Bobette and Sidney Guller Endowed Scholarship and many other gifts to the school.

Increasing scholarship support was an important component of Olin’s participation in the WashU Leading Together campaign, which closed in June. Building that support is vital to attracting talented and deserving students to our institution

Based on preliminary numbers from Olin’s campaign, I’m pleased to note that Olin supporters have contributed more than $31.8 million toward 94 new endowed scholarships—double the number from 2009, before Leading Together began. Additionally, benefactors have contributed to an additional 266 named scholarships since 2010.

I’m looking forward to meeting one of our newest scholarship recipients. One MBA student this fall will receive a new scholarship that I’ve established, the William Shakespeare Scholarship. Will was a great businessman as well as an artist, so I consider this a terrific nod to the way we think about approaching business problems from a variety of perspectives.

Now, I’ll be expecting our first recipient to join The Dean’s Players at our next “Shakespeare at Olin” event. Who knows what he or she may be?

Pictured above: Dean Taylor recording a video to introduce the Olin brand campaign that accompanies our strategic plan. Building scholarship capacity is an important piece of our strategy.

Welcome to the debut of “The Desk of the Dean,” a monthly feature of the Olin Blog by Dean Mark P. Taylor. This column will appear on the first Wednesday of each month.

A few weeks ago, I met a group of St. Louis-based Olin alumni for cocktails, all of whom now work in the healthcare industry. As one does at a cocktail party, they asked how things were going at Olin: “What are you working on?”

I have an answer to that question, which I follow with a question of my own. Sometimes, I think my question surprises our alumni, but I’ll get to that shortly.

When I’m casually asked about our plans for Olin, I’m aware nobody really wants a PowerPoint presentation or a dense review of Olin’s strategic plan over hors d’oevres and a glass of wine. They want the big picture, the 30,000-foot view: Where are we headed?

As dean of a highly ranked business school, I’m confronted with this scenario fairly often—at the gate awaiting a flight, in the queue at the cinema, even on an elevator. What kind of business school would we be if I weren’t prepared with an elevator pitch for just these moments?

Mine goes something like this: At Olin, we’re enhancing our programme to cultivate business leaders with solid analytical skills, grounded in a strong value system, who can change the world, for good. We’re creating a programme that will prepare innovative, entrepreneurial leaders with a global perspective on business. We’re taking Olin from good to great.

And that’s when the alumni get my question: What can Olin do for you?

We are not bashful about asking our former students for something—particularly their donations or their time. So, when I ask this question of our alumni, I find that they’re frequently surprised. But over the nearly 600 days since I became dean, I’ve also found this question resonates.

They want to know they graduated from an institution that has continued to produce market-ready graduates long after they earned their diplomas. So, I know we’re on the right track when I get a parent’s letter praising Konnie Henning, associate director of academic and student affairs, for how she coached a student through difficult times to see her graduate and enter a thriving career.

Alumni want to know their alma mater produces path-leading research to give them a competitive edge and help them peer around the corner ahead of emerging business trends. So, I’m confident we’re on the right track when our faculty publishes 79 papers in top academic journals in a single year. Their goal 42 percent greater than last year.

I feel the same when global agribusiness company Syngenta invites Ling Dong and Durai Sundaramoorthi to present their groundbreaking, Olin Award-winning research that will help farmers optimize their seed choices based on weather, soil and geographic conditions.

In short, our alumni want to know their diploma is actually worth more than it was when they earned it. I’m fond of saying a WashU education is not a bond to be cashed in. It’s an equity that can grow and pay dividends. A degree from WashU’s Olin Business School should mean something when our alumni ask for that next pay raise or apply for the next promotion.

That’s what we’re working on at Olin.

Pictured above: The reception at Third Degree Glass Factory ahead of the luncheon honoring the 2018 Olin Emerging Leaders in April 2018. Exactly the sort of event where I answer these sorts of questions about the direction of Olin Business School.

“The Desk of the Dean” appears on the first Wednesday of the month.

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, founded in 1966 at Washington University’s Olin Business School, has been a national leader in promoting diversity and inclusion in business education and corporate leadership. When the organization launched under the leadership of Olin professor Sterling H. Schoen, it began with just three schools—WashU, Indiana University-Bloomington, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Now, the organization has announced it will add a 20th university to its membership ranks effective July 1, 2018: The University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business.

The highly ranked Seattle-based university officially joins The Consortium at the start of the organization’s new fiscal year following approval on Dec. 4, 2017, by The Consortium’s board of trustees and the signing of the university’s membership agreement on May 3, 2018. The Consortium works with top-ranked MBA programs around the country to increase the ranks of underrepresented minorities in business education and corporate leadership.

“It’s been clear from the start that Foster would be a strong, enthusiastic and energetic partner in furthering our mission,” said Peter J. Aranda III, The Consortium’s executive director and CEO. “We’re eager to begin working with Dean James Jiambalvo and the rest of his team.”

Dean James Jiambalvo

Dean James Jiambalvo

Since 2005, Jiambalvo has led the Foster School of Business, which has embraced diversity and inclusion as a hallmark of its work, weaving that commitment into its academic programs, the student experience and its community relationships through formal programming, student clubs and activities, scholarships, and internships.

“We’re excited to extend our work in diversity, equity, and inclusion through membership in The Consortium,” said Jiambalvo. “Our membership provides an opportunity to live values fundamental to the Foster School and the University of Washington, namely that commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion in America’s classrooms and boardrooms make for resilient thinkers who have the power to lead and inspire the world toward better outcomes for all.”

UW is the second university to gain membership in The Consortium in the past year. Rice University officially joined on July 1, 2017, and will participate in its first Orientation Program & Career Forum—an annual conference for new MBA students and Consortium constituents—in June 2018.

Read the full announcement on The Consortium’s website and see the full list of Consortium member schools


The Bauer Leadership Fellows Program provides experiential leadership development for team leaders who lead CEL practicum teams. Recently, the BLC fellows had the opportunity to go to Creve Coeur Lake for a leadership development rowing retreat. BLC fellows reflect back on what they took away from the rowing experience.

Place Trust in the Team

BLC fellow Elizabeth Hailand, MBA ’19, described how effectiveness in crew widely paralleled effectiveness in team leadership. Like a team, a crew requires trust in all members to stay afloat. As rowing is a coordinated team activity, if one crew member is out of sync, the entire team is put at a disadvantage. Trust in each other is vital to rowing an effective boat.

Lead by Listening

Trusting the team also means allowing others to naturally take the lead. To keep the boat balanced, rowers with more practice stepped forward. BLC fellow Perri Goldberg, MBA ’18, reflected how the rowing retreat pushed natural leaders to listen, and allowed those with more experience to take the lead. This was a reminder to those in charge not to get caught up in their own status, but focus on the team vision.

Understand How to Motivate Your Team

Success in rowing is also attributed to effectiveness in coaching. As rowing is an exhausting workout, having the right motivation is essential. A fellow shared how the coach would sometimes “cold call” a single member of the boat to row.

While this fellow enjoyed this type of personal coaching, they learned that it did not suit all of their crew members. This helped the fellow appreciate the importance of a leader to understand the team dynamics. A strong leader knows how to motivate and encourage each individual team member, while not compromising the project goal.

Apart from proving its worth as a physically strenuous workout, the Creve Coeur rowing retreat was a great opportunity to reflect first hand on leadership values and implementation. As one fellow shared after the rowing experience, since January, they have grown as leaders from driving meetings to now acting as facilitators of great and healthy content within meetings.