From the Winter 2017 edition of Vanderbilt Business

Dean Eric JohnsonLast year had its share of challenges. The Owen family suffered the loss of several beloved members in 2016, three of whom died as the result of horrific terrorist attacks. And no matter what you thought of the presidential election, many people have been left with rattled nerves and a sense of uncertainty for what comes next.

Even so, the Owen community has much to be thankful for as we embark on a new year. Our MBA graduates finished another record employment season, with salaries reaching new heights and students across all programs finding dream careers in a wide range of organizations. This success is being fueled in part by our growing network of corporate recruiting partners and the tireless support of alumni around the world.

Last fall, Owen announced a formal partnership program with 16 highly respected recruiting organizations with which we have had long and fruitful relationships. Designed to bolster the hiring pipeline for both students and companies alike, the corporate partnership program also augments the two-way learning that takes place among Owen students, faculty, staff and private industry. In the months to come, we’ll engage in more activities with these corporate partners like executive speakers, leaders in residence, student case competitions, and joint research. In this issue, we take a closer look into the new program by tracing how Owen has deepened ties with inaugural member Cardinal Health over just a few years.

The key link in that partnership program, of course, is our alumni who continue to soar to new career accomplishments. For instance, Adena Friedman, MBA’93, was named CEO of Nasdaq in November, making her the first woman from Owen to lead a publicly traded company and one of the financial world’s highest ranking women executives. You can also read about how Kim Newton, MBA’96, is helping Hallmark diversify operations far beyond the greeting card company we all know so well.

Our alumni are giving back, both financially and with their time. The past year represented our best fundraising in seven years. I am incredibly grateful to be part of such a dedicated community. The outside world is taking note of our success. In October, Vanderbilt’s full-time MBA program jumped 10 spots in the Economist’s annual “Which MBA?” ranking to land at No. 17 among U.S. schools and No. 26 globally—the highest levels ever achieved in this survey. Our Executive MBA program rose to No. 14 among U.S.-based programs in this year’s Financial Times ranking. And the Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy and Master of Science in Finance programs have received top honors from publications that cover specific one-year master’s degrees.

Rankings have many ups and downs and they don’t always represent reality. But they do provide useful comparative data that we can learn from in our goal of providing a business education valued by students, alumni, faculty, employers and the wider Vanderbilt community.

I am thankful and proud to be part of Owen, focused on executing our strategy to be a world-class business school operating on a personal scale. May you enjoy a happy and productive 2017!