World’s Best B-School Professors: Simon Johnson

A world-renown economist, MIT’s Simon Johnson also writes a highly popular blog called where he covers the ups and downs of the global economy

Simon Johnson

Sloan School of Management

Claim to Fame: Expert economist

Age: 48


MIT, PhD, Economics

University of Manchester, MA, Economics

University of Oxford, BA, Economics and Politics

At MIT Since: 1996, with time off at IMF 2004-06 and 2007-08

Before MIT: Worked at the Fuqua School of Business and post-doc at Harvard; was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) – Economic Counsellor and director of its research department from March 2007 through the end of August 2008

Fun Fact: Born in Great Britain, I am now a U.S. citizen who “likes to vote early and often”

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: Mountain rescue

Best part of the job: Classroom discussions with 30 nationalities in the room; fast and furious

Worst part of the job: Grading – no one really deserves the trauma and the ignominy of a B. At least that’s what they tell me.

At 48 years old, MIT Sloan’s Professor Simon Johnson is a rock star economist—if there is such a thing. Since 2008, Johnson has been cited by the news media more than any other professor at the Sloan School of Management. The former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is author of the best-selling book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and The Next Financial Meltdown in which he challenges the notion of “Too big to fail” and label’s the government’s response to the financial meltdown as “vastly inadequate.”

When the collapse of Lehman Brothers marked the (un)official start of the meltdown in September 2008, Professor Johnson swiftly launched a class at MIT to explain every aspect of the crisis that was on the horizon. He then co-founded, a popular blog with one simple mission: to uncover, “What happened to the global economy and what we can do about it.” Baseline Scenario continues to play a key role in explaining the financial crisis, the meltdown, and the Great Recession.

Professor Johnson’s ability to not only decipher the ins and outs of the crisis, but to help generate solutions has led to his recent appointment to the FDIC Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers.


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