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Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

Olin Business SchoolOlin Business School
Home > Academic Programs > Full-Time MBA > Olin Experience

Olin Experience

Olin brings the business world into the center of your educational experience by providing you with integrative, hands-on learning opportunites.


Size matters. We leverage Olin's small size to create a friendly, supportive, and collaborative environment.


Our resources are boundaryless. You’ll tap into the experience and expertise of our corporate partners and alumni who share our values, offer counsel on our programs and curriculum, provide financial support – and hire you for internships and full-time positions.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking means learning how to ask the right questions and formulate them clearly and precisely; gather, assess, and interpret data; reach sound conclusions and solutions; and communicate persuasively and effectively. Our faculty apply critical thinking in their research, and they infuse that same analytical thought process in the learning environment, giving you the critical-thinking skills needed to tackle complex business problems and foster innovation.

An integral part of the critical process is the reflection technique, “aperio examen,” which encourages a four-step daily “unguarded examination” to review one’s past thoughts, words, actions and omissions to reprogram subconscious reactions to avoid the biases of jumping to solutions when trying to resolve conflict and/or determine strategic solutions. Popular with business executives, this daily reflection technique can fundamentally change one’s thinking and interpersonal relationships.

Real-World Experience + Applied Learning

Olin creates powerful connections between businesses and our students. You’ll find applied-learning opportunities in our classrooms, student clubs, and extracurricular activities – allowing you to explore new career options and gain substantive on-the-job experience, valuable mentors, and networking contacts.

Investment Praxis (Finance 428/528)

So you think you want to manage investments? There’s no better way to train for that career than to take responsibility for actual monies. In this experiential learning course, Olin students serve as managers of the Praxis investment fund portfolio, which is owned by the school. Taught in parallel to BSBA, MBA, and MSF students, the students will analyze investment opportunities in various industries and present recommendations to the class for possible purchases or sales of securities.

Students must demonstrate that their investment decisions are consistent with the style and objectives of the fund. Valuation tools, financial statement analysis and investment techniques are emphasized as part of a thorough analysis. The course will also cover different investment and valuation techniques used by investment professionals.

This course has two broad analysis / valuation themes:

  • analysis/valuation of stock investment opportunities
  • building a portfolio around those opportunities, in the style of a mutual fund

The two class sections operate an actual equity portfolio, worth roughly $1 million. Students can register for this course during the regular course registration period. Questions? Contact course instructor Professor Charles Cuny.

Integrative Case Experiences (ICE) - As a part of the required course Critical Thinking and Impactful Communications, students participate in an intensive case competition experience focused on cross-functional learning. ICE tests analytical, critical-thinking, and communication skills under pressure. A team of executives from an Olin corporate partner presents real, current, and unresolved problems from their business to student teams. Within a very limited time frame, each team prepares and gives a presentation of their recommendations to executives from the firm. The top-performing teams are recognized.

Through elective courses offered by Olin's Center for Experiential Learning, you'll apply your academic work and managerial insight to real business challenges in consulting projects with Olin’s network of Fortune 500 corporations, nonprofit organizations, and startup companies.

The Hatchery – Develop a business plan of your own or one brought to Olin by individuals interested in a group startup. You’ll work in partnership with entrepreneurs and investors. At the end of the course, teams present their analyses to a group of business startup and venture capital experts. Extracurricular entrepreneurship activities such as the Olin Cup business plan competition are offered by the Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, which promotes corporate innovation and the commercialization of new business ideas.