Mazzeo appointed dean of Olin Business School

Michael Mazzeo, a professor of strategy at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, will be the next dean of Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, effective Sept. 1, 2023,* according to Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

Mazzeo will succeed Anjan V. Thakor, the John E. Simon Professor of Finance and director of doctoral programs and the Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research, who has served as interim dean since July.

Headshot of Michael Mazzeo

“I am thrilled that Mike Mazzeo accepted our offer to be the next dean of the Olin Business School,” Martin said. “Mike stood out as an impressive candidate from the beginning of the search process. We’re fortunate to have found such a talented leader and scholar to assume this role and build upon Olin’s global reputation as a leader in business education and scholarship.”

“I also want to take this opportunity to recognize and express my gratitude to Anjan Thakor for his service as interim dean. He has been a strong and steady presence during the past seven months and has been invaluable in ensuring a seamless transition for the Olin community.”

Mazzeo comes to Washington University from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, where he has served as a professor in the Strategy Department since 1998 and faculty associate in the Institute for Policy Research since 2007. He has received numerous accolades for his teaching. A three-time recipient of the Chairs’ Core Course Teaching Award, he also won three Best Elective teaching awards in the Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and executive MBA programs.

In addition to research and teaching, Mazzeo was the senior associate dean of curriculum and teaching at Kellogg from 2017-2020 and faculty director of the school’s evening and weekend MBA and master’s in management studies programs. In these roles, Mazzeo facilitated creation of new curricular pathways to meet the evolving needs of students in areas such as technology management; diversity, equity and inclusion; and sustainability. He oversaw an innovative data analytics unit that provided insights everywhere from faculty hiring to reputation to student career outcomes. 

Mazzeo also was the point person on the Kellogg team who responded to the academic disruption caused by COVID-19 and brought lessons from that experience to innovation in the school’s working professional degree programs.

“It’s fitting that Mike is a professor of strategy as what struck me during our conversations was his bold, strategic thinking, as well as his commitment to using data to identify and advance opportunities for improvements,” said Beverly Wendland, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“The breadth and depth of his experience at Kellogg prepares him well for this role, and we’re fortunate to have such a tested leader. Olin is a strong asset for WashU, and I know that the university as a whole will be stronger as a result of Mike’s deanship.”

A prolific publisher, Mazzeo’s research focuses on empirical industrial organization, in particular developing new statistical methodologies for examining the relationship between product differentiation strategies and market competition. His work spans a variety of industries including airlines, banking, health care, lodging, retail and telecommunications.

“It’s an honor to be named the next dean of Olin Business School, a place known for its values-based and data-driven approach to educating leaders,” Mazzeo said. “WashU is a world-class institution on a path toward even greater distinction as a global leader in higher education. I’m excited for the opportunity to work closely with students, faculty and staff to build upon Olin’s proud tradition of excellence.”

Mazzeo is a graduate of Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and urban studies and a doctorate in economics.

A travel enthusiast, Mazzeo teamed up with fellow business professors Paul Oyer, of Stanford University, and Scott Schaefer, of the University of Utah, in 2010 to launch Roadside MBA. Over the last 12 years, they have visited more than 250 small and medium-sized businesses in more than 30 states and 12 countries in search of stories that illustrate important ideas taught in leading MBA programs.

In 2014, they also published a book, “Roadside MBA: Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners,” based on those road trip experiences.  

Mazzeo is the father of a first-year student at New York University. Outside of work, he volunteers his time as a member of the board of directors of Howard Brown Health, the largest LGBTQ-affirming health care organization in the Midwest.

*An earlier version of this story stated that Mazzeo’s deanship would begin Jan. 1, 2024. The story has been updated to reflect his new start date.

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