Diamonds in the Rough: New Facilities at Washington University’s Olin Business School

MBA applicants can get carried away with rankings. In this series, we profile amazing programs at business schools that are typically ranked outside the top 15.

Washington University’s Olin Business School announced in 2011 that lead gifts totaling $25 million from two of its benefactors would support a plan to construct two new facilities for its graduate program—Knight Hall and Bauer Hall. The $90 million expansion is scheduled for completion by December 2013 and will add seven new classrooms, 75 faculty offices, a 100-seat café, graduate student services, lounges, an Active Learning Lab and a new event space called The Forum. A three-dimensional rendering of the buildings can be seen here.

Boasting strong MBA and BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) programs (Olin recently jumped to fourth place in Bloomberg Businessweek’s latest rankings for Best Undergraduate Business School), the school’s operating principle, according to its Web site, is to be “research-driven, applied.” While Olin is a smaller sized program (280 full-time MBA students in the fall of 2012) and is noted for its highly collaborative culture, the expansion plan will allow the school to grow its class size while providing more space and resources.

Olin may also be well positioned to tap into St. Louis’s burgeoning start-up sector. According to a March 2013 report by career hub Dice, “The Number of St. Louis-based technology jobs posted on Dice jumped 25 percent year/year. And those new tech jobs are coming at a higher price tag, too: average tech salaries are up 13 percent year/year to $81,245. …St. Louis is becoming a start-up town.” Indeed, although the overall number of Olin graduates going entering the technology industry dropped to 9% for the Class of 2012 from 11% in 2011, the average median annual salary of graduates entering this sector rose from $80,000 to $95,000.

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