Olin Business School lays off 14 employees, creates 16 new positions
Dean of Olin Business School Mark Taylor announced the layoffs of 14 administrative staffers in the Olin Business School’s graduate programs in an email sent to the St. Louis Business Journal Feb. 5.
According to Taylor, the restructuring—which will not impact undergraduate administration at the University—is geared toward improving Olin’s administrative structure.
“These changes streamline and combine the staffing of Olin’s graduate programs—the full-time MBA program, specialized master’s programs, the Professional MBA and the Executive MBA program,” Taylor wrote in an email to Student Life.
Rather than transition the 14 employees into the newly created positions, the school decided to lay off staff members because of the differences between the old and new jobs.
“The new roles are sufficiently different from some of the existing roles as to make it inappropriate to require people simply to switch,” Taylor wrote.
As stated by Taylor, the business school aims to serve both its graduate students and its staff with this new organization.
“We considered the process very carefully with an eye toward advancing Olin’s strategy while providing as much support for employees as possible,” Taylor wrote. “The new structure creates clarity around roles, clear paths for staff advancement and alignment with the needs of students and the strategic plan.”
Alan Zhang, president of the Graduate Professional Council, believes that the restructuring is part of Taylor’s plan to enhance Olin’s graduate school.
“His main concern is lifting the prestige of the graduate programs,” Zhang said. “Dean Taylor’s approach, I think, is to dramatically increase the attractiveness and the rigor of the graduate programs at our school.”
Zhang sees the restructuring of Olin’s administrative staff as part of a transitional period across the University as it undergoes changes in leadership.
“I think this might kind of represent a larger trend and that a new leadership is forming,” Zhang said.
Taylor emphasized that although the school is laying off employees, the University is still supporting the affected staff members and will consider them for the new positions.
“In keeping with past practice at Wash. U., we wanted to provide support, space and time to the people affected by these changes to explore the new opportunities and determine where they see themselves in the organization long-term,” Taylor wrote. “The 16 new positions were posted internally, and the 14 affected employees will be given first consideration to fill them while they continue in their roles for the next two months.”
Though he believes that the layoffs will ultimately benefit the University, Taylor recognizes the impact that the school’s decision will have on some of its staff, citing a need to balance quality of education and fair treatment of employees.
“I recognize this is a difficult process. This organizational redesign directly affects the lives of people who have faithfully served the business school, some for many years. We take none of this lightly,” Taylor wrote. “We recognize the need to be proactive and adapt to ensure we are providing the best service possible to our students while acting responsibly and supportively to our employees.”