Gupta to conclude deanship June 30

Steered school through innovation, expansion and growth

Mahendra R. Gupta, PhD, dean and the Geraldine J. and Robert L. Virgil Professor of Accounting and Management at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, will conclude his deanship June 30, 2016.


Gupta, who was appointed as dean in July 2005, has served on the Olin faculty since 1990. During his 25 years at the school, he has continued to teach and has been awarded nine Reid Teaching awards by students. He will remain at Olin as a member of the accounting faculty and continue his research.

“During the past 11 years with Mahendra at the helm, Olin has improved upon its reputation as one of America’s leading business schools,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Under his leadership, the school has continued to attract the best and brightest students from across the country and around the world with excellent faculty and outstanding academic programs.

“Mahendra has established international collaborations with world-class partners that will be of lasting benefit to our students and faculty. He leaves his post as dean with a remarkable legacy. I and the rest of Washington University thank him for his innumerable contributions, his academic passion and his resolute pursuit of excellence.”

During his decade as dean, Gupta led Olin through an era of innovation, expansion and growth. The Executive MBA program has expanded beyond St. Louis and Shanghai to campuses in Kansas City and Denver. Last fall, classes began in Mumbai, where Olin established the first U.S.-India joint Executive MBA program in cooperation with the Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM) at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Olin’s Specialized Masters Programs have expanded beyond finance to include accounting, supply chain management, leadership, and customer analytics. The school also launched its Global Master of Finance program, partnering with universities in Singapore, South Korea, Israel, Germany and Spain, to offer students a world-class curriculum and training targeted to the global financial markets.

Gupta oversaw an increase in experiential learning and expanded the school’s focus on entrepreneurship. Innovations include a new undergraduate minor in entrepreneurship, which is open to all Washington University students; an MBA platform in entrepreneurship; and direct involvement with the St. Louis startup community. Other program innovations included the addition of a sports minor through the Joseph S. Lacob Business of Sports Program, and a major in healthcare.

“We are indebted to Mahendra for his leadership, boundless energy, and steadfast dedication to Olin and Washington University,” said Provost Holden Thorp, PhD, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the Rita Levi-Montalcini Distinguished University Professor. “During his tenure as dean, he has demonstrated tremendous vision for the school and its students, embracing experiential learning and the highest standards of scholarship and teaching. We cannot thank him enough for all that he has done.”

The expansion under Gupta’s leadership was not limited to academic programs and innovation initiatives; as dean he helped spearhead the construction of Knight Hall and Bauer Hall from its initial vision to completion. The $90-million expansion more than doubled Olin’s space on the Danforth Campus, and both LEED Gold-certified buildings were dedicated in 2014. He also planned and implemented the recently completed renovation of Simon Hall.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as Olin’s dean,” Gupta said. “Our dedicated faculty, staff, alumni and business community partners have all contributed to the growth and momentum that attract top students to our programs. Olin has secured its reputation as a top business school and is poised to begin its second century as a leader in business education.”

 Olin’s top-ranked reputation is reflected in student job placement rates. Ninety-days post graduation, undergraduate students report 99-percent employment and MBA students report 97-percent employment, which places Olin among the best in the nation for business schools.

Gupta’s research interests include strategic implication of cost information in e-commerce, technology, new ventures, manufacturing, healthcare, marketing and service sectors. His work has been published in leading national and international academic journals.

He has served on several editorial boards, including those of The Accounting Review, The Journal of Management Accounting Research, Canadian Accounting Review and Accounting Horizons. He is a frequent speaker at research workshops and conferences worldwide and has been a consultant to various firms and government agencies. He serves on Caleres Company’s board of directors and its audit committee; and previously he served on the board and as chair of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management.

Gupta grew up in India, where he attended Bombay University and earned a bachelor’s degree in statistics and economics. He went on to earn a master’s degree in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University. Before pursuing an academic career, he held various managerial positions at companies in India. In 1986, he moved back to the United States to attend Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he earned his doctorate. In 1991, his dissertation was awarded first place in the American Accounting Association’s doctoral dissertation competition for best work in managerial accounting.

Ralph Quatrano, PhD, former dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, will lead the national search for Gupta’s successor as dean.

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