Diamonds in the Rough: Improved 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 $25M from two of its benefactors would support a plan to construct two new facilities for its graduate program—Knight Hall and Bauer Hall. The $90M expansion was completed in the spring of 2014—several months earlier than expected—and added 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, which received LEED Gold certification in December 2014, can be seen here.

Boasting strong MBA and BSBA (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration) programs, the school states on its site that its operating principle is to be “research-driven, applied.” Although Olin is a smaller sized program (140 full-time MBA students in the fall of 2014) and is noted for its highly collaborative culture, the expansion allows 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.”

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