M. Eric Johnson, a former associate professor at Vanderbilt University, will return to Nashville as Owen dean on July 1, pending the approval of the university’s board of trustees.
The announcement was made yesterday (April 22) by Vanderbilt whose Owen school is currently ranked 23rd in the U.S. by Poets&Quants. Johnson succeeds James W. Bradford Jr. who said in December that he would be stepping down from the job after eight years.
Bradford will be a tough act to follow. The school jumped an incredible 12 places in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s 2012 ranking to 25th from 37th two years ago. BusinessWeek, which largely ranks MBA programs on the basis of graduate and corporate recruiter satisfaction, reported significant improvement on both those measures for Owen. On the magazine’s corporate recruiter survey, the school jumped a dozen places to rank 31st from 43rd two years ago. On BW’s graduate satisfaction survey, Owen showed a six-place gain to finish 24th from 30rd two years ago.
To improve the school’s standing, Bradford reduced MBA enrollment, beefed up scholarship aid and went about significantly improving the quality of its students. Besides increased the average GMAT scores of enrolled MBA students, the acceptance rate for its full-time MBA program fell to 29% in 2011 from 36% in 2010 (the acceptance rate for the class that entered in the fall of 2012, however, was back up to 37%.)
“The return of Eric Johnson to Vanderbilt marks the start of an exciting new era at the Owen Graduate School of Management,” said Provost Richard McCarty in a statement. “Eric is one of the leading scholars of supply chains and the impact of information technology on corporations. He is also a proven leader whose record of accomplishments at Dartmouth is enviable by any measure. We welcome Eric and his family with great enthusiasm and we are excited for what he’ll bring to the future of Owen.”
Johnson has been responsible for seven research centers and initiatives at Dartmouth as well as its highly ranked MBA program.
Johnson called the Owen school “a true gem among the world’s best business schools. I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the school to even higher achievement,” he said
Johnson earned bachelor’s degrees in industrial engineering and economics from Pennsylvania State University along with a master’s in industrial engineering and operations research. He went on to Stanford University for a Ph.D. in industrial engineering and engineering management.
Johnson’s teaching and research focus on the impact of information technology on the extended enterprise. His latest book, The Economics of Financial and Medical Identity Theft, examines the security failures and economic incentives that drive identity theft. He holds patents on interface design and has testified before Congress on information security.
“Among an extraordinary group of candidates, Eric stood out,” said Chris Guthrie, dean of Vanderbilt Law School and head of the search committee that selected Johnson. “His hiring is a coup for Vanderbilt and a testament to the strength, vitality and reputation of the Owen School, the university and Nashville.”
Johnson previously spent eight years (1991-99) at Owen, the last three as a tenured associate professor of operations management. He twice won awards for teaching excellence.
In the private sector, Johnson has held positions with Corvette America, Inc., Packard Electric, Systems Modeling Corp. and Hewlett-Packard.