Developing Students

Family business analysis is woven throughout Olin’s curriculum, including classes devoted to important topics such as “Ownership Insights” and “Entrepreneurship through Acquisition.” Olin also offers students opportunities for experiential learning in two programs. The first is the Small Business Initiative, which pairs students with local small businesses in the St. Louis market. The second is the Center for Experiential Learning’s flagship program, where students consult with larger established businesses on their goals and challenges.

One example of how family enterprise priorities are interwoven into curriculum is the design and implementation of the global immersion for Olin’s Full-Time MBA Program, Poets & Quants 2020 Program of the Year. Central to this immersive experience is engagement with family-owned cava producers in Spain’s Barcelona region who want to grow and innovate their offerings. Across a weeklong experiential sprint with these clients, teams of MBA students are challenged to formalize strategic recommendations for the family owners. Beyond this unique experience, family enterprises are spotlighted in classroom learning. In Olin’s “Talent Analytics” course, students engaged with MedWise, the urgent care spin-off of family-owned QuikTrip in spring 2021. Its chief medical officer and Olin EMBA alum, Patrick Aguilar, supported this effort.

  • Courses

    WashU Olin offers three courses targeted to family and private enterprises that focus on the family business with even greater precision. These courses are:

    • Ownership Insights: The Competitive Advantage of Family and Employee-Owned Firms
    • Entrepreneurship through Acquisition
    • Small Business Initiative (run through Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning)
  • Student Clubs and Competitions

    ETA Club: In 2023, the Koch Center founded the Entrepreneurship through Acquistion (ETA) Student Club. Entrepreneurship through acquisition means acquiring an existing small business and growing it to its full potential through transaction to a new owner in the free market. An emerging owner and operator must consider the risk involved in the type of capital they seek to support their search, be it an investor, bank loan or their own personal savings. Unlike a start-up, this type of entrepreneur must also own responsibility for an established business and consider the impact of operating an existing company with employees. Identifying a pathway for talented university graduates to buy and grow these enterprises can be a significant win for the free market system.

    Whether you’re a student with a vision or an experienced professional seeking a new challenge, we invite you to join us on this exciting adventure.

    Olin Case Competition: In 2023–24, the Koch Center designed and hosted Olin’s first national case competition, focused on the balance of purpose and performance of the Taylor family through their investment in the city’s Major League Soccer expansion team and hope for economic development of the region.

  • Family Enterprise Scholars

    In 2023–24, the Koch Center announced the inaugural team of five Koch Center for Family Enterprise scholars. The students worked on various research projects over the summer that tied to family enterprise, contributing to one of the center’s primary strategic priorities.

    If you want to join the Koch Center as a scholar, please email Jennifer Wintzer.