‘WE DON’T RUN OUR PROGRAM AS A CASH COW FILLED WITH CHINESE STUDENTS’
“We have a fundamentally different view of this market than most schools,” he says. “We don’t run our program as a cash cow filled with Chinese students. We came to these programs with an MBA mindset and very much treat it like an MBA program, with dedicated admissions and career management teams. We hold our own feet to the fire on placement with a diverse yet predominantly domestic student population.” Owen annually receives 800 to 1,000 applications for the 50 available seats in the classroom. “The story,” insists Johnson, “isn’t so much about the applications. It’s about the quality of the applicants.”
Owen also boasts a master’s of accountancy, with CPA pass rates that are among the highest for any business school, as well as a master’s of management in healthcare for mid-aged career professionals who want to remain in the healthcare sector. This fall, the school is launching a one-year master’s of marketing for pre-experience students. Asked how many students he hopes to enroll in the first cohort, Johnson says, “We’ll be happy with ten students. We have the resources to do it right from the beginning so we want to cohort to be fantastic out of the gate with 100% placement.”
To Johnson, all of these plans jive with Henderson’s notions of how a successful organization creates competitive advantage. After Henderson suffered a stroke and died at the age of 77 nearly 24 years ago, Johnson remembers the day he stopped by Henderson’s office to comfort his wife Bess as she cleaned out his books. To this day, he remains in touch with her and believes his strategy for Owen has achieved a posthumous blessing of sorts from the late strategy guru.
Clearly, Henderson must be smiling from above.