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Opinion of Olin

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Joined: 23 Mar 2017
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Opinion of Olin [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2017, 06:28
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I was on reddit and noticed some pretty damning criticism of Olin's MBA program. Wanted to see if this sounds inaccurate/accurate to folks with more information. Here is the quote from a former WASHU undergrad posted last year.

The On Campus recruiting is pretty weak, and St. Louis has few jobs compared to other major cities. Their placement rate also is inflated by the number of MBAs that Wash U hires into the admissions office, into PhD programs or elsewhere in the University (aka not good ROI placements)

Olin games the rankings by admitting lots of international students that have sky high GMATs. I know this will make me sound like an ass, but in my experience international students typically don't contribute much to the classroom discussion and tend to not do networking outside of their ethnic groups.

Academically, Wash U has a lot of part time/traveling professors. Not great for continuity in the curriculum. That said, Michael Gordinier is probably the best statistics prof available. I destroyed statistics in my MBA program due to taking his classes in undergrad.

It is very unlikely you will land a consulting gig from Olin.

Of course I applied to Olin as well, and like OP they magically had thousands of dollars still available for scholarships in the final round of admissions. That means typically people choose other programs over Olin when they get the chance. A more cynical view is that people that do go to Olin got rejected everywhere else (less valuable peers/networking).

There's a reason why there's no application fee, no in person interview, and no letters of recommendation required. It is to boost applications and reduce acceptance rates for ranking purposes. The fact that Olin ranks 21st is a testament to the Wash U staff's ability to min-max their program to manipulate their ranking. It's a matter of time before Olin becomes the next USC and drops outside of the consideration set of MBA programs.

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New post 29 Mar 2017, 10:28
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NOTE: I am following Olin related topics since my sister has got through the Full Time MBA program and we are deciding between a few schools.

As an MBA grad I will have to say that some of your concerns are genuine and some are not.
Let me try to explain:

1. Recruiting: St. Louis is definitely not the west coast or Chicago. However, we were hoping that it is not as bad as your post. My sister will be attending the Admitted Students weekend and she is hoping to find out more about the job scenario. (Not during the information sessions, but talking directly with the current students.)
2. Academics: As a former MBA student, this won’t be in my top three concerns. Unless, this lowers the ranking of the college, which it hasn't.
3. Not able to land consulting gig: Although it’s a bummer, I would not have targeted Olin if I wanted consulting gig. Maybe Carlson or Maryland (apart from top tier schools of course).
4. International students: Boosting GMAT score using international students is the oldest trick every MBA college employs. Olin is no different. Take it as a positive thing. :)
5. Class Discussions :
Regarding class discussions, you have probably not worked with international students in Finance/Accounting/Statistics/Tech classes. Do keep in mind that they are probably a bit more scared to speak up since it’s not their native language and class discussions is not a thing in other countries. That is when people like you should step up to help.
6. Networking :
There is some truth when you mention "networking within their ethnic groups". I would blame both Americans and International Students for this. Both group needs to open up to the other. But isn't this why you are going to MBA school for? In my experience, if you reach out, international students go way beyond their reach than Americans do to help you get a job. I have seen that from my own experience. Initial friendship is not easy because of the FOB stereotyping of the international students.
Also, I have seen that most Americans find it pointless to network with International Students since they will probably just end up with a Tech Job, which is undesirable to them. My class was lucky since we all helped each other a lot.

5. No Application fee etc. : No harm in that. My sister got free application fee etc. from lots of top tier schools. WP Carey is giving scholarships to everyone. What you are mentioning here is done by every school. I won’t be concerned about that.

My sister and I are considering these things before deciding on Olin.
1. Location Location Location: If you want to find a job in Mid-West, this is a great option. Olin has strong reputation in that region and lots of Alumni are based out of here.
2. They do not have GPA. They just have pass and fail. What that means is, you will have more time for job hunting. MBA basically comes down to this.
3. Rankings: Although, I agree with your opinion that it might drop out of the MBA school race, but it doesn't discount the fact that it is 20-21 now.
4. Marketing: My sister wants to do product management/marketing. I think Olin may not be bad at all considering that. At least, most of the jobs are not federal consulting jobs like DC Area.

After years of interviewing college graduates and from my personal experience, I think the #1 thing to consider is Location. You can probably forget about everything else (of course, don't sacrifice too much on the college reputation).
Also, keep in mind that every business school will have 2-3 highly disgruntled student who will have extreme opinion.

Finally, congrats on your admit and apologize for the typos and mistakes. Typed this on the way to work. :-D

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Opinion of Olin   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2017, 10:28
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