Tag: Full-time MBA

Multicolored image of a lightbulb bursting as an iconic representation of digital innovation.

Any leader has overcome a lot to be where they are today. They have learned many things the hard way—from hiring to economics to coping with personal burnout. But today’s leaders need more than grit, determination and even expertise to survive and succeed in our rapidly evolving digital world. The incredible pace of digital innovation today means leaders must constantly work to understand the ever-changing landscape of technologies that surround them.

In previous generations, it was acceptable to be a leader who couldn’t use a cellphone. Now, being technologically distant is not an option. What’s more, today’s leaders can’t just be technology enthusiasts themselves; they need to bring their whole team to the front line with them and cultivate an attitude of lifelong learning. In many cases, that means leading by example and going back to school—even as a seasoned professional—to get an MBA.

What is the value of an MBA degree in the technological future?

To make the most of on-the-job experience, a leader must become a student again. An MBA program gives you the frameworks and tools to quickly understand the world you operate in. It also gives you the practice using those tools to prepare you for the crucial decisions you’ll make in this disruptive new world and for the (sometimes heavy) responsibilities that accompany the era of digital transformation.

Facing the revolution

Part of being a leader is realizing that you have little control over the way the world shifts around you. There will always be another crisis you’ll need to respond to and another industry development that takes over the established methods in your business. The value of an MBA degree is that it teaches you how to handle the unexpected, no matter what the context is.

Managing your own growth

It’s one thing to learn how to manage a team, but in the rapidly changing business world, it’s equally important to manage your team’s learning and development. Understanding how you and others learn will be a key factor in making new technologies work for you. That could mean empowering yourself or someone on your team to learn Python, A/B testing, or techniques for data visualization, for example, to extract insights from the mounting volumes of data now available for managers. It could mean setting stretch goals that you never thought of before, goals that induce the growth your team needs to excel.

Acquiring confidence using new technologies

Thriving in this era will require confidence, not just competence. The value of an MBA degree is that it can show leaders that technologies aren’t as scary or challenging as they seem on the news. Although technology definitely changes how business gets done, it doesn’t change the core principles that make a business successful—delighted customers, operational efficiency and prudent financing. Seeing these core principles in action across multiple companies, industries and generations of technologies in their MBA coursework gives leaders the confidence to remain undaunted in the face of the opportunities and challenges that current era’s technologies bring.

Making failure part of the process

Learning how to manage and accept failure is part of every leader’s journey. The sooner and more willingly they learn, the sooner they’ll be able to take on new technologies and master them as part of their business plan. A positive relationship with failure breeds resilience and agility. An MBA classroom discussion led by an insightful instructor and filled with bright students is a perfect place for leaders to test ideas and deepen their understanding.

What does it mean to embrace innovative leadership?

Patrick Moreton headshot
Patrick Moreton

Consider the example of Patrick Moreton, a professor of practice in strategy and management. He came into the workforce in 1984, at around the same time that the PC did. Then, everyone had an inkling that this technology would be very important to the future of their business, but many people were still tentative to learn about it. He got hired as a management consultant because none of the senior partners had typing skills. They didn’t want to deal with this new language, and he did.

Today’s leaders need to cultivate their own digital knowledge and expertise while they investigate how digital transformation can impact their organization in the near future. First, this means being a high-potential leader. A can-do attitude goes a long way; if you’re the kind of leader that values continuous learning then you can adapt to new and complex technologies.

Secondly, it’s about acknowledging experience as the source of learning and development. A leader needs to get in the weeds of technology and learn to trust their own experience. From the devices themselves to the software that runs on them, leaders need to collect real-world experience with tools and how they work.

From here, they can start understanding analytics, which will be key to making smarter managerial decisions and sifting through the massive amounts of data every business now owns to find productive truths. The business of the past was run on a handed-down, instinctive knowledge. The business of the future will be led by data-powered decisions.

We know 2022 wasn’t the easiest year for business leaders. On paper, it was been a nightmare—from the Great Resignation to economic instability to the ongoing uncertainties of the pandemic. Leaders have had to navigate complex problems and adapt to new modes of working. However, while the recent past has presented challenges, it has also created incredible opportunities to lead.

How have recent challenges impacted leaders?

One of the main impacts of this tumultuous time has been a mass priority shift to address major concerns that were already on our radar but were magnified by the pandemic and the global events that followed. Priorities have shifted towards digitalization, talent retention, diversity and sustainability. And while these issues are taking up more room in leaders’ brains, the fight for sheer survival goes on as companies struggle to stay afloat, make supply chains work, and fulfill orders and obligations.

What does a business need from its leader right now?

First, a business leader needs the vision and ability to engage with the wider society. Today’s companies are judged by their ability to prioritize purpose and positively impact the world. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards have evolved enormously in recent years. Today, a business leader must practice values-based leadership. This requires a deep understanding of how the company affects the world around it, as well as how to turn that knowledge into a competitive edge.

Secondly, today’s managers need the ability and flexibility to cope with change and uncertainty. The era of exponential change is far from over; business leaders must know how to build resilient organizations and innovative business processes to survive and thrive in a constantly changing climate. Adapting to the remote-working mode, for example, and managing effectively in a virtual environment will be an ongoing challenge.

Lastly, a business leader must stay ahead of the technology game to successfully innovate and drive an organization forward. New technologies build economic value in an increasingly digital world, and the pandemic has highlighted how empowering remote and hybrid work can be in an uncertain time. Leaders who can leverage technologies like artificial intelligence and data science to make more effective decisions and foster a productive work environment will be best placed to weather the storms ahead.

These challenges have opened up opportunities for eager, ambitious leaders to evolve quickly. A landscape in which new obstacles are emerging daily is tough, but it also generates urgency and motivation for resilient organizations to learn, innovate and make positive changes.

What are the benefits of getting an MBA at this time?

An MBA program helps shape and educate leaders so that they are prepared for the world of tomorrow, to not only handle the challenges but also stay knowledgeable of the opportunities that can give their businesses competitive advantages.

The value of an MBA is heightened now, as we face massive leadership challenges. Here are just some of the ways effective global leadership and MBA value intertwine:

Developing responsible leaders.

A good business school can actively develop socially responsible leaders through scholarly research, teaching and outreach. Professors and members of the MBA program are busy devoting their research to sustainability-related issues in business, so students can benefit from all the practice-based managerial insights they generate.

One of the pillars of Olin’s MBA program is values-based, data-driven decision-making, and we even have a specific Values-Based and Data-Driven Decision-Making course, required for all students. Here, we show students how a values-based ethos can power a global perspective and drive business success while positively impacting the world.

Equipping students to make decisions amid uncertainty.

To navigate an ever-changing environment, business leaders need to master state-of-the-art decision tools and understand potential disruptions caused by new technologies. The value of an MBA is to equip students with practical coursework so that they can become experts in using analytical tools to make intelligent decisions and developing innovative solutions in today’s data-intensive business world.

Olin courses—both required and elective—are framed by the idea that we’re living in a digitally driven landscape, and that new technology will continue to offer up massive challenges and opportunities. As AI, 3D printing, big data, blockchain and cloud infrastructure continue to redefine the production and delivery of products and services, a new and evolved MBA is required.

Preparing to lead in a diverse and international environment.

The comprehensive curriculum of an MBA program will give students a holistic view of business organizations, including their complexity and the multifaceted challenges they may face. And while helping future leaders embrace holistic leadership principles internally, an MBA program also looks outward.

An internationalized MBA program like Olin’s provides a diverse, cross-cultural learning environment where students can develop the kinds of soft skills—like empathy, teamwork and communication—that will enable them to succeed in a global context. The world is shrinking. That’s why Olin’s Full-Time MBA emphasizes leading in a global context, connecting students to international business locations where they can spread their wings and test their learning on the ground.

With COVID-19 finally coming under control, it is time for business leaders to learn from the impacts of the pandemic, lead their organizations through the stages of recovery, and build strategic resilience for future uncertainties. Where there has been fear, there can now be hope as leaders expand their knowledge bases, acquire new skills and invent solutions to evolving problems.

Business leaders who have a growth mindset and can seize these learning opportunities will excel in tomorrow’s highly competitive and ever-changing business environment.

Pictured above: In 2019, first-year MBA students began their program abroad. Here, in Shanghai, they did field research in Chinese retail locations for a project emphasizing global business as part of the program.

Everyone knows that customized means quality; we would all look much better in a suit made just for us than we would in one we bought off the rack.

WashU Olin Business School offers different types of MBA programs tailored to fit the diverse needs of students at different stages in their careers. The Full-Time MBA works best for students who can leave their jobs and dedicate their time solely to the program.

The Online MBA appeals most to those who can’t leave a full-time job yet want to be digitally enabled leaders—or who just need more flexibility. Olin’s Professional MBA offers evening classes in-person twice a week for the first 27 hours, then the opportunity to choose from various specializations to finish the degree. The Executive MBA allows busy, experienced professionals to attend class just three days per month and focuses on leadership skills throughout the curriculum.

People in various stages of their careers all have strong options with the types of MBA degrees at Olin, and candidates in all four categories will be steeped in digital opportunities and resources. “What type of MBA is right for me?” Well, let’s see:

All in: WashU’s Full-Time MBA option

WashU’s Full-Time MBA program is designed for students who can leave their jobs and commit their days fully to the program. It offers students opportunities for rich global business experience in several major cities around the world. The Full-Time MBA students will also get the full on-campus experience that Olin Business School has to offer.

The Full-Time Program also lets students choose a customized curriculum based on their specific interests. For example, WashU’s program concentrations offer tracks for consulting, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing and supply chain. Students can tailor their MBA experience to their career goals.

Where flexibility meets technology: WashU’s Online MBA

Olin understands that professional students need flexibility, and technology and flexibility go hand-in-hand. WashU’s Online MBA is firmly rooted in the knowledge that technology is rapidly changing the world; thus, the degree requirements frame all classes through the lens of a digitally driven business landscape. Like all WashU MBA programs, the progressive curriculum is built on Olin’s values-based, data-driven leadership framework.

In Olin’s Online MBA, students meet both synchronously and asynchronously. Two nights a week, students are together in a virtual classroom, and on the other nights, they work independently or collaborate virtually. Although the program emphasizes technology, it focuses on technology as a strategic advantage that students can use as leaders and not just on developing technological skills.

The professional approach: WashU’s PMBA

WashU’s Professional MBA (PMBA) requires students to attend class in person twice per week, typically on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Students garner 27 hours of core credits, then they have an additional 27 hours in which they can specialize and focus.

Olin has designed the PMBA for the worker who doesn’t want to leave their job but wants to elevate both their skillset and career. The average student in this program has been working for five or six years and is around 30 years old. To cultivate their professional careers, students have access to a robust alumni network and exposure to corporate partners.

Experience counts: Olin’s Executive MBA program

Lasting just 20 months, Olin’s Executive MBA program moves at the most intensive rate of all the programs. Most participants in the Executive MBA Program already rank highly on the corporate ladder. By pursuing an Executive MBA, they collect the knowledge and skills crucial to making it to the executive or C-suite level.

WashU’s Executive MBA students, who generally range around 40 years old, attend class just three days per month—on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They also participate in three additional residencies or immersive experiences. A marked difference in this program comes from the wealth of experience of the collective students. With the average Executive MBA student having 15 to 20 years of working experience, the classroom conversation builds with the collective wisdom of the cohort.

Olin’s MBA meets students where they are

Regardless of which program a WashU Olin MBA student chooses, they will find certain inalienable traits: an emphasis on entrepreneurial and creative thinking that goes across all programs; experiential world-class learning; and highly ranked, dedicated faculty. During their time in the program, students will build a robust network of accomplished classmates, and WashU alumni and business leaders willingly meet students wherever they are in their career journeys.

WashU’s Olin MBA Program is committed to creating leaders who make change for good. That is the unifying principle the program’s directors keep central by offering cutting-edge, rigorous, world-class programs more accessible to today’s top professionals.

Poets & Quants 2022 MBA ranking puts Olin at #23.

Citing a major overhaul of the WashU Olin MBA and placing Olin’s program among “the most surprising moves up and down the list,” Poets & Quants ranked Olin #23 in its recent list of the top full-time MBA programs in the United States.

The new ranking shows continued momentum for WashU Olin’s program among the MBA ranking publications. Indeed, the Poets & Quants ranking reflects that momentum, as it is a composite of the five most influential lists of MBA programs.

Those include US News, the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and the Economist, which published its last ranking of MBA programs in 2022. The P&Q ranking was released on December 26.

Olin moved up six spots in the P&Q ranking, again reflecting the program’s strong employment statistics, its faculty research and teaching, its commitment to diversity and entrepreneurship and its focus on global business savvy.

The ranking’s value as a composite shows an overall trend of improvement across the board, moderating the volatility that can sometimes occur in rankings. P&Q cited Olin’s MBA overhaul, which included a focus on global business education and included additional flexibility in coursework and timing as well as the addition of a STEM designation.

Students from the MBA class of 2024 visit the fields at Kingston Family Vineyards outside of Santiago, Chile, during their global immersion visit in August 2022.

One mark of any successful enterprise—particularly one that places excellence and collaboration among its core values—is the ability to learn from its innovations, to iterate based on those learnings and to execute a new vision.

It’s a principle we teach at WashU Olin Business School, and it’s a principle we used to fine-tune our bold and rigorous global immersion for first-year MBA students. The result: It’s still bold. It’s still rigorous. It will continue to galvanize each class with exceptional grounding in global business practices. It’s just optimized based on our experience.

Launched in 2019 with fanfare as part of our globally focused Full-Time MBA program—and including some acclaim from b-school observers—Olin has conducted its six-week, three-continent immersion for MBA students four times. Those experiences opened the minds of incoming students to the global reach of their business aspirations. They’ve forged lifelong bonds among members of each cohort.

All that continues in global immersion 2.0. But those experiences taught us a few things about how we can improve the global immersion for future MBA students.

Rigorous and manageable

For example, the MBA class of 2025 will begin on July 10 rather than mid-June, allowing incoming students more time to continue working and plan their transition to graduate school.

Instead of six consecutive weeks of travel at the start of their program, the next cohort will experience a global immersion broken into three separate, more manageable trips in the program’s first year—first to Washington, DC, and the Brookings Institution in August; then to a European destination in October; and, finally, to an Asian destination in March 2024.

This new timing will allow incoming students to acclimate to the rigors of the program and the city of St. Louis. It will also enable them to use some of the learning from their on-campus coursework in the global immersion projects.

And once Olin’s curriculum designers evaluate which cities will provide the most relevant opportunities for student growth and development—and consider issues around safe travel and student access—we’ll announce specific locations abroad in spring 2023.

In addition to those changes, we’re slightly reducing required core curriculum credits, giving students more room for electives that meet their unique needs and interests. Meanwhile, coursework during the three trips remains tailored to each experience, allowing students to confront real-world, global business challenges.

Same globally oriented course content

Courses during the global immersion trips will continue to look deeply at how international values, cultures and institutions influence business abroad. Students will study business models in a global context and how strategy is shaped when implementing business operations on a global scale.

We know our MBA students have come to value Olin’s truly global program. Among so many other benefits, it gives them an additional story to tell about their career preparation.

And now, with the benefit of a critical review of the program, we have refined the experience to reduce the stress on students and their families, keep them fresh for their studies abroad and in St. Louis and avoid potential conflicts with career conferences and student experiences.

In short, WashU Olin will still offer the bold, rigorous, global program we unveiled in 2019—and we remain one among very few schools focused on global business experience. We’re proud to offer students an experience spanning three continents—in one truly global MBA.

Pictured above: Students from the MBA class of 2024 visit the fields at Kingston Family Vineyards outside of Santiago, Chile, during their global immersion visit in August 2022.