Poets & Quant’s Editor John Byrne Visits Olin Business School


Create knowledge. Inspire individuals. Transform business. At Washington University’s Olin Business School, those words are the foundation of all that we do. Every one of our degree programs– from Undergraduate to Executive MBA– enhances leadership skills and positions students to be transformational leaders. Recently, Poets and Quants’ John Byrne sat down with the Dean and the Dean of Executive Programs to discuss the Olin Business School experience, its portfolio of programs, and the school’s newest academic endeavor in Mumbai, India. Hi, I’m John Byrne with Poets and Quants. I have with me today Mahendra Gupta, the Dean of the Olin Business School at Washington University. Welcome. Thank you. And you have a full portfolio of programs, too… with very different customer needs across the portfolio– from your undergraduate to your various EMBA programs to your Specialized Masters programs to your part-time MBA program to executive education– you have the full gamut of a portfolio of programs for a business school. At every life stage (laughs) you talk about, and we give a different meaning to lifelong learning through our portfolio of programs. And then, of course, you have a portfolio of Executive MBA programs. (Yeah) in St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, a partnership with Fudan University in Shanghai, and your newest offering– which I’d love to hear more about– in India (That’s right) Tell us a little bit about the Mumbai program. We could not think about not having a strategic presence in India, so we wanted to and we took a partner in IIT Bombay. a leading– world-class name recognition, not just in India and not only technology, but also technology leadership. And then we said, “Ok, now let’s develop a program that is going to position us strategically.” We’ve got fifty percent of students coming from other parts of India. And Executive MBA programs are not that common in India, correct? It is the first Executive MBA program that is going to provide a joint degree from an elite Indian university and a global Western university. You have an increasing interest in entrepreneurship. We want to develop a thinking– entrepreneurial thinking– that serves both purposes. You want to start your own business venture? Absolutely, it is going to help you. But if you take the same mindset then you can go in an existing organization and you put our students there for a few months and with that entrepreneurial thinking they will come up with the opportunity. Opportunity for change and innovation and doing things better, particularly for incumbent companies that are under attack by startups seeking to take pieces of their market away from them. A business requires a continuity, and continuity always requires recharging and innovation, both in existing business and new markets. Transformational leadership requires integrative thinking across an organization, the ability to motivate people to achieve goals, and a nuanced global perspective. From case studies to group projects to immersive residencies, Olin’s Executive MBA curriculum has been designed to give you an edge as a leader. So I have with me Stuart Bunderson who is Associate Dean and Director of Executive Programs at Washington University’s Olin School Welcome. Thank you. Good to be here. So you are in charge of a portfolio of Executive MBA programs and Olin has quite a few of them. What are the characteristics of an ideal candidate to come in and take advantage of the opportunity? The ideal candidate is somebody who’s reached a point in their career where they realize they need a broader understanding of business and some confidence in using business tools to accomplish their career objectives. We admitted 27 students in this new class that just started in Mumbai, and I am delighted with the caliber of those students. Not only are they just as high-profile and motivated and high potential as the students that we admit here domestically, but I think they’re leaders in India. They’re the kind of students that will make a difference. The professors that teach in our Executive MBA program are the same professors in most cases that also teach in our full-time MBA program and therefore the rigor that we apply to our MBA program will spill over in our Executive MBA program in almost every class. Is there a common approach to the Executive MBA experience that exists in every one of these markets, or are they very different from each other? The core curriculum really is consistent across all of those markets. In fact, not only is the curriculum the same, but in most cases the faculty that teach in all five of those locations are the same. There are some differences and differences that we want to exist. For example, when we’re teaching in Shanghai or we’re teaching in Mumbai, we need our faculty to do some localizing of the material. And so one of the ways that we do that is we partner with faculty from– in China, Fudan University– and in Mumbai, with IIT so that they can sort of provide the localization. They can help us take our material, which is at the cutting edge of science, and make it relevant for the business environments that our students there are facing, either in India or in China. So how is this field going to change over the next five years, do you think? The Executive MBA will always be a degree that helps people broaden their perspective, think more strategically and integratively about their enterprise and how to add value, and then develop skills of leadership that allow them to motivate people and make things happen– mobilize human resources in order to achieve goals. Become the global leader you are destined to be. Find out more about Olin Business School’s Executive MBA program in St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Shanghai, and Mumbai. Go online to find out more.

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