Celebrating 40 years of Olin’s EMBA program

  • May 15, 2023
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 3 minute read

Congratulations to us! Olin’s Executive MBA program is about to turn 40, so we’re taking a moment to look back over this four-decade history and commemorate some of our greatest achievements. Plus, we’re taking a look into the future and considering where MBA programs, including our own, are headed.

How has the EMBA program evolved over the last 40 years?

Since the birth of our EMBA program, hundreds of leaders have come through our doors to learn, develop their business ideas, grow their networks, and build their careers.

Over that time, we have cultivated a reputation for high-quality teaching and for developing spaces and strategies where students can learn in ways that make sense for them. We are an advocate of flexible MBA programs and learning environments that adapt to the changing times as well as to the changing needs of students and educators.

Our program has developed into an MBA leadership development program in which working professionals can continue their jobs and keep up their responsibilities while also learning intensively. It offers leadership and career coaching that helps students develop their skills while also supporting their outside lives. Many of our people know exactly what they want to achieve through the program, and others take what they learn here and pivot into new career trajectories and new business ideas.

The legacy of our program so far is a network of students who have become successful leaders in business and communities. But it is also a legacy of businesses and brands. The partnerships and friendships students have made over these forty years have created the foundations for many successful business collaborations.

What are we most proud of?

The Olin EMBA program has been ranked among the top EMBA programs in the world. It was ranked 18th globally by the Economist in 2020.

Our faculty ranked even higher—third in the list of global EMBA programs. This ranking is special because it is voted for by students on a five-point scale for teaching quality. Additionally, 100% of our professors are PhD-holders, so our faculty sits at the very top of the most-qualified list.

These are global achievements, but we’re just as proud of our local impact. The program has had great success in training students who go on to become top business leaders in St. Louis and other cities. Because we strive to nurture leaders who are social change-makers, our students often begin to make an impact in the community before they’ve graduated.

Lastly, we are incredibly proud of our students themselves. Our graduates show us every day how valuable this program is. Many are successfully running startups, others are impressing within larger companies. According to our own data, 50% of our recent cohorts were either promoted or offered a new position during their time in the EMBA, showing how quickly the lessons of the program begin to pay off.

How is the EMBA program changing in the future?

Our success doesn’t stop us from wanting to change. Part of our identity is to continue to meet students’ needs and to help them to prepare for an ever-changing business world.

For this reason, our executive MBA curriculum underwent a significant shift in 2020. The changes included developing multiple courses to further the school’s “values-based, data-driven” pillar of excellence. We also added an executive MBA leadership coaching component and a course about data-driven decision-making.

As long as the world keeps turning and changing, we will keep changing too. The business world will keep demanding more from top EMBA programs, and we need to be ready to accept the challenge. How can we adapt an executive MBA curriculum and executive MBA coaching so that we can really be there for tomorrow’s students, no matter what the world throws at them? This is the question that fuels us.

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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