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Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

Olin Business SchoolOlin Business School

A Curriculum Centered on Leadership Development and Innovation

The EMBA program provides one of the most academically comprehensive curricula in the country, with 60 credit hours required for graduation. Courses, themes, and residencies focus on leadership development. Timely updates – such as the Business of Policy: DC Immersion, offered in partnership with public-policy think tank the Brookings Institution; electives on contemporary business issues; an innovation project; and a capstone pitch competition – keep it relevant.

These offerings further differentiate your learning experience. More important, they differentiate you.

Expand the boxes in the graphic below for more detail about the curriculum.
Year One Curriculum

GO! Week Residency:

Lays the foundation for a transformational EMBA experience.

Highlights value creation, team development and assessment, and analytical problem solving through introductory course work and skill-building exercises. Prepares you for your innovation project.


Teaches you to read and interpret financial statements, recognize financial-reporting limitations, and make top-level decisions based on financial information.

Develops your ability to negotiate effectively, broker positive solutions, and deal with team and interpersonal conflicts.

Sharpens the skills you need for effective teamwork by leveraging your team experiences, sharing best practices, and charting a course for future progress.

Develops the quantitative-reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making skills needed to succeed in all areas of management.

Outlines key strategies businesses use to attract, satisfy, and retain customers; create customer value; and grow profitably.

Examines the interactions of business and consumer decisions in various markets.

Focuses on the effects of strategy, technology, and the business environment on cost-system design.

The Business of Policy: DC Immersion:

Leverages Olin’s unique partnership with the Brookings Institution.

Provides on-the-ground instruction at one of the world’s premier public-policy think tanks, the opportunity to learn from key leaders and policymakers, and firsthand experience with the critical connection between business and government.

Core (continued)

Studies the process organizations use to convert inputs (labor, material, equipment, knowledge) into outputs (goods, services).

Teaches the financial analysis of projects including consideration of cash flows and the cost of capital.

Year Two Curriculum

Leadership Residency:

Expands your capacity to lead people and move organizations.

Offers a deep dive into the science and practice of leadership. Leverages your strengths and weaknesses as a leader through state-of-the-art assessments and personalized feedback.

Growth Theme:

Develops your ability to drive business growth and accelerate profitability.

Provides strategic and financial tools for evaluating, creating, and capturing market value through organic growth as well as through mergers or acquisitions. Enables you to form the right teams to promote growth.

Global Markets Theme:

Helps you expand your business across continents and cultures.

Examines factors that affect the world economy and international business, the opportunities and risks of emerging markets, and different countries' customs and management practices.

International Management Residency:

Enables you to spend eight days experiencing business in China.

Explores global economies, markets, and leadership and the intersection of business and government in China. You visit Beijing, the cultural and political heart of the country, and Shanghai, the world's fastest-growing financial center.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Theme:

Turns your business concept into a business plan.

Ties effective idea generation and new-venture creation to competitive advantage and market leadership – for both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Student teams develop their business plan for their innovation project.


Wraps up the curriculum with a new-venture pitch competition for the class.

Synthesizes teachings and tools from all program areas; student pitches are judged by faculty, investors, and business leaders.


Four-level grading system

Here’s how you’re graded in the program: To keep the focus on learning rather than GPAs, Olin faculty members use a four-level system: high pass, pass, low pass, and no pass. Most class grades are based on a combination of your individual and team performance on case analyses, tests, presentations, and projects and on your peer evaluations. The exact breakdown is up to each professor.

If you’re in the top 20 percent of your cohort, you may be invited to join the international honor society Beta Gamma Sigma at the end of the program.