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Texas A&M Names New B-School Dean

Eli Jones will become the new dean of Texas A&M University's Mays Business School

Eli Jones will become the new dean of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School

On the same day that the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University rose ten places in U.S. News & World Report’s new MBA ranking, the school announced that it had hired a new dean away from the University of Arkansas Walton College of Business. Eli Jones, who had been dean of the Walton College for three years, will assume his new job at Mays on July 1.

He succeeds Jerry Strawser who had served as dean for 12 years before deciding not to seek another term at Mays Business School in May of last year. As dean of Mays, Strawser helped to raise more than $100 million dollars in commitments for named chairs, professorships, faculty fellowships, and graduate student fellowships.

Strawser is currently vice president and chief financial officer of A&M University. Ricky Griffin, who heads up the management faculty at Mays, has been interim dean of the business school since Strawser was named to his university post. Before leaving, Strawser was paid $324,999 a year as Mays dean.


For Jones, it is the second time he has traded up to a more prominent deanship. He is moving to a school whose MBA program was ranked 27th by U.S. News yesterday (March 10) from Walton which fell eight places under his leadership to a rank of 63rd from 55th a year earlier. Previously, from 2008 to 2012, he had been dean of Louisiana State’s Ourso College of Business, which fell 12 places in yesterday’s U.S. News ranking to 77th from 65th. Among public universities, Mays ranked in the top 10, tying for 9th place with the University of Minnesota.

The search, assisted by the executive search firm Korn Ferry, began last June with the selection of a committee chaired by William Dugas, acting vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Jones, who has a PhD in marketing and an MBA from Mays along with an undergraduate degree in journalism from Texas A&M, had delivered a public lecture at the school on Feb. 6 as part of the search process for the deanship. His lecture was entitled “Respecting the Past: Writing the Future.”


“There’s nothing sweeter than the sound of home,” Jones said in a statement. “My wife and I are excited about returning to Aggieland and becoming an integral part of my alma mater. Texas A&M University and Mays Business School have been on an upward trajectory for some time, and I know that’s definitely a tradition that the talented faculty, dedicated staff and wonderful students want to continue. I appreciate Dr. Ricky Griffin for his leadership during the transition.”

Jones received his PhD from Mays in 1997 and took his first teaching job at the University of Houston’s business school as an assistant professor. He was named an associate professor with tenure at Houston in 2002 and stayed there until leaving for Louisiana State in 2008. Jones’ research interests are in sales, sales management and marketing strategy. His teaching interests are strategic selling, advanced professional selling, key accounts selling, sales leadership and marketing strategy. During his 11-year stint at Houston, he founded the Sales Excellence Institute and became an associate dean.

In 2009, Jones was a recipient of Mays Business School’s Outstanding Doctoral Alumni Award. The late Jeff Conant, former head of the marketing department at Mays, called Jones “one of our most outstanding doctoral students in the mid ’90s.”

“Mays Business School is uniquely positioned to play a transformational role in business research and education,” said Interim Dean Ricky Griffin in a statement. “Dr. Eli Jones has the right combination of experience, acumen and vision to lead our school through this exciting period. I look forward to working with Dr. Jones as he transitions to Mays, and then following his lead after he arrives.”


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.