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The Owen Graduate School of Management, is the graduate business school of Vanderbilt Universitymarker in Nashvillemarker, Tennesseemarker. Founded in 1969, Owen awards six degrees: a standard 2-year MBA, an Executive MBA, a master's of finance, a master's of accountancy, a HealthCare MBA, and a Ph.D. as well as a large variety of joint professional and MBA degree programs.Owen is renowned for its health care MBA, a unique program that provides students an in-depth educational experience tailored to the health care industry.The student to faculty ratio is about 10 to 1, with 565 students and 49 faculty members. The school’s 7,008 living MBA alumni are found throughout the U.S. and around the world.

The Economist gave the Owen School a 97 out of 100 ranking for "personal development and educational experience." Owen's 2-year MBA program is consistently ranked among the top business schools in the nation by major publications. In 2009, Owen was ranked #33 in the U.S. News & World Report Rankings, up from #44 in 2008.The school is named for Ralph “Peck” Owen and his wife, Lulu Hampton Owen. Ralph Owen, a Vanderbilt alumnus (’28), was a founder of Equitable Securities Corporation in Nashville, and he became the chairman of the American Express Company.

History

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management has been in operation since 1969, but the university’s first proposal for a business education program came from its Board of Trust (BOT) in 1881. They called it the Commercial College Department. No program was established then, however, and it was the mid-1950s before a program of business administration was offered in the Department of Economics. With the economic growth in Nashville and Middle Tennessee at that time, local businessmen, many of whom were Vanderbilt alumni and BOT members, recognized the need for a formal business education program to train leaders for the area. They were concerned that too many aspiring young businessmen would attend schools in other parts of the country and then remain in those regions.
Exterior of Owen Graduate School
Interior of Owen Graduate School


Progress was slow in seeing the need fulfilled; the idea was conceived during the administration of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb (1946–63) but did not come to fruition until the administration of Chancellor Alexander Heard (1963–82). The BOT passed the school’s founding resolution on May 5, 1967, and operations as the Graduate School of Management began in September 1969 with twelve faculty members and six students. Classes met in a renovated funeral home, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. David K. Wilson; he was one of those concerned Nashville businessmen, a Vanderbilt alum (’41), and a Vanderbilt BOT member. The building was named Alexander Hall in honor of Henry Clay Alexander, a Vanderbilt alum (’23), a Vanderbilt BOT member, and president of J.P. Morgan.

The first dean, Igor Ansoff, held master’s degrees in engineering and in mathematics and physics from the Stevens Institute of Technologymarker; his PhD from Brown Universitymarker was in applied mathematics. He had most recently been a professor of industrial administration at Carnegie-Mellonmarker but previously worked at Lockheed, where his specialty was strategies of diversification. He had also written and published works on business education and business management.

It was under the leadership of Dean Samuel B. Richmond, a statistician from Columbia University, who had been acting dean of Columbia Graduate School, that the school was named for Ralph and Lulu Owen (1977). In 1930, two years after graduating from Vanderbilt University, Ralph Owen became a founding member of Equitable Securities Corporation in Nashville. By 1950, the firm was recognized as the second largest investment banking firm in the United States. Equitable purchased controlling interest in American Express in 1949 and 1950, and Owen became American Express chairman (1960–68). Following the deaths of both Mr. and Mrs. Owen, their estates gave $33.5 million to The Owen School, said to be the largest gift to a U.S. business school at that time. That sum raised the total of their gifts to more than $62 million.

The Owen School outgrew Alexander Hall, and its new home was completed in 1982. Management Hall is connected to a historic building, Mechanical Engineering Hall, which encloses a central courtyard and serves as home to the Executive MBA program. Mechanical, built in 1888, was the first building in Tennessee designed for the teaching of engineering.

From the beginning of the planning for what became The Owen School, the goal was to create a graduate business school of “the highest professional quality” with a two-year program leading to an MBA. Most students in the early years were young men from Tennessee and surrounding states, fulfilling the hopes of businessmen to keep talented people in the area, but by 2008, men and women from across the United States and from international locales had attended The Owen School. At present about 25 percent are international students, and 25 percent are women. Recruiters from American and international companies sought out the students. And the school had expanded its offerings to specialized master’s degrees (in health care, finance, and accountancy), an Executive MBA program, a PhD program, and an Executive Development program.

Programs

The Owen Graduate School of Management is accredited by the AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and is a full member of the Executive MBA Council (EMBAC).

MBA

The Owen School’s MBA degree program usually takes two years to complete and requires a minimum of 62 credit hours. The program is set up in eight modules (equal to four semesters) of full-time study. Students must take core courses in the fundamentals of management and complete them within their first year. MBA students may choose from the following career paths: finance, real estate, marketing, health care, human and organizational performance, operations, consulting, general management, or entrepreneurship, or create a custom career path. Then students must take courses in one concentration, one course in international business, and courses outside their primary concentration. In addition to earning an acceptable letter grade, students must complete a project before graduation. The approach to learning (ranked in order of percentage) includes lecture, case study, team project, simulations, and experiential learning. The Leadership Development Program begins at orientation when students join teams, and executive coaches work with students on an individual basis to explore their leadership abilities. Throughout the four modules, this program challenges students with exercises, projects, and workshops.

Joint Degrees

A student pursuing a joint degree offered from The Owen School and other schools of Vanderbilt is required to earn 49 credit hours for the MBA.

Joint professional and graduate MBA degree programs include: MBA/J.D. (law), MBA/MALAS (Latin American studies), MBA/MD (medicine), and MBA/MDiv (divinity). Joint MBA and Ph.D. programs include MBA/Ph.D. Medicine and MBA/Ph.D. Engineering. There are also three joint undergraduate/MBA degrees: MBA/BA or MBA/BS; MBA/BS Engineering; and MBA/BA or MBA/BS at nearby Fisk University.

International Study

The Owen School provides exchange programs with business schools in international universities. Usually students go for one semester in their second year of the MBA program. Participating universities are in Austria, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Spain, South Africa, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Costa Rica, Chile, and Brazil.

Executive MBA (EMBA)

Most students who pursue the Executive MBA have been working in the business world for some time; many are corporate executives who want to advance within their companies, others are entrepreneurs who want to advance their businesses, and still others are professionals who want to become managers rather than practitioners. The program requires 24 months. In 2009, incoming students will follow an alternating Saturday schedule and two summer sessions. The change from an alternating Friday/Saturday schedule was made to accommodate students in a challenging economic environment. The first EMBA class graduated in the spring of 1980.

The Vanderbilt Master of Accountancy (MAcc)

The program requires one year. The first semester involves course work in business fundamentals; the second semester involves an internship. Students then take the Becker CPA Review Course and the CPA exam; usually these are completed by August.

Executive Development

The Owen School offers several programs for working professionals:
Open Enrollment Programs require a two- or three-day commitment. The topics offered include management fundamentals, leadership, health care, and banking.
Custom Corporate Programs are designed for specific organizations that seek solutions to a business challenge.
In partnership with BAI (Bank Administration Institute), the Vanderbilt Banking Institute offers two-day programs for leaders in financial services management.
Beginning in the fall of 2009, business executives can earn certificates in some subjects, notably health care and banking, by taking six to twelve two-day courses instead of three-day courses.


Accelerator

The Accelerator—Vanderbilt Summer Business Institute is designed for undergraduates and recent graduates in all majors. In the four-week program students in teams take classes and serve as consultants for actual businesses needing solutions to an actual challenge. In 2008 students worked with companies such as American Airlines, Humana, and Yum! Brands.

The Walker Management Library

To help them with research and keep up to date on current trends, students have access to the Walker Library collection of more than 50,000 volumes, more than 900 periodical titles, reference works, and electronic databases such as Factiva, Bloomberg, Lexis/Nexis, and Datastream. The library also offers assistance to faculty and staff, alumni, and corporate clients. Located in Management Hall, the library was named in honor of Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker Jr.

Dean

James W. Bradford began teaching management classes at The Owen School in 2002 and became acting dean in the summer of 2004. On March 2005 he was appointed dean; he is also the Ralph Owen Professor for the Practice of Management. He brought experience from his positions as president and CEO of United Glass Corporation and of AFG Industries, Inc., both flat glass manufacturers, and his 11-year practice of law. His bachelor’s degree in political science is from the University of Florida and his law degree is from Vanderbilt Law School. In 1997 he fulfilled requirements of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Since 2005, he has hired seventeen new professors, and he has been responsible for establishing the Health Care MBA, the MS in Finance, the Master of Accountancy, and Accelerator.

Disciplines

The Owen School’s faculty is recognized for teaching expertise, research, and consultancy. They have presented papers at conferences around the world, have published reference books, and have published papers in leading journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Finance, the MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Journal of Applied Psychology. Eight percent of faculty members have owned a business.

Finance

Students seeking the MBA in finance may choose a finance concentration, a corporate finance specialization, or an investment management specialization. The latter two require more credit hours (20). Companies that have hired Owen students in finance careers include Amazon.com, Black and Decker, Goldman Sachs and UBS. Finance was the most popular area for Vanderbilt MBA students in 2007–8; 43 percent accepted jobs in that field.

Students seeking the Master of Science in finance follow a nine-month program; it focuses on quantitative financial analysis. Candidates must complete 32 hours of course work.

In 1969 Hans Stoll, now the Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker Professor of Finance at The Owen School, was the first to describe the put-call parity in the article “The Relation between Put and Call Prices.” The article has been called a “classic” that was the source of many innovations. Nicholas Bollen, the E. Bronson Ingram Associate Professor in Finance, focuses his research on hedge funds; he discussed the subject “Do Hedge Fund Managers Misreport Returns?” at the Oxford Finance Symposium in 2008. The research of William G. Christie, Frances Hampton Currey Professor of Management, led to reform of NASDAQ trading practices.

Marketing

Twelve credit hours are required for a marketing concentration; twenty credit hours are required for brand management specialization. Some companies that have hired Owen students for marketing careers include Delta, FedEx, IBM, and Microsoft. Dawn Iacobucci, E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Marketing, has written works on mediation analysis, marketing management, and marketing research. Bruce Cooil, Dean Samuel B. and Evelyn R. Richmond Professor of Management, was awarded the 2007 Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award for research challenging the fundamentals of the loyalty metric Net Promoter.

Health Care

Nashville is a leader in the health care industry with more than 350 health care companies in the city and surrounding area; 21 companies have headquarters there. And there are 30 hospitals, medical centers, and specialty centers. Vanderbilt University Medical Center is noted for its research, training, and health care. The Health Care MBA got under way in 2005, and Owen students were committed to a curriculum “requiring more health care-specific courses than any other program of its kind in the nation.” In addition to taking courses, students earning the Health Care MBA gain direct experience at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local health care companies. For example, they may attend operations, go on rounds with social workers, or visit community clinics.

Health Care MBA students are required to take 28 credit hours in business fundamentals. Also they select a concentration, requiring 12 credit hours, which may be in finance, accounting, general management, human and organizational performance, information technology, marketing, operations, or strategy. Some companies that have recruited Owen Health Care MBAs include Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific, HCA, and Johnson and Johnson.

Students complete requirements for the Master of Management in Health Care within one year by taking core business courses one night per week and health care courses one weekend per month. They also work in teams on a project. Most students are clinicians, physicians, or nurse managers; all candidates must have at least five years of work experience in their fields. Students have learned that by following standard business practices, providers can improve the quality of care to patients and save money.

A recent addition to The Owen School’s health care faculty (in joint appointment with the Vanderbilt University Medical School) is Senator William H. Frist, M.D. He has performed more than 150 heart and lung transplants, written books and medical articles, made many medical mission trips to Africa, and served as the majority leader of the U.S. Senate. Professor Michael Burcham has been a strategic consultant for health care start-ups and published papers on entrepreneurial approaches to health care.

Human and Organizational Performance (HOP)

Twelve credit hours are needed for a HOP concentration with two required HOP courses. The Owen School is becoming a leader in bringing the study of human capital to the level of other business courses, such as marketing, finance, and operations. “Working as a human capital professional may be one of the most innovative and important new jobs in the business world today,” according to the National MBA Human Capital Case Competition. Companies that have hired Owen students for HOP careers include General Mills, Nissan, and Pfizer. A study by Professor Timothy M. Gardner titled “In the Trenches at the Talent Wars: Competitive Interaction for Scarce Human Resources” highlights how trained professionals can help firms retain their human capital.

Operations

The operations concentration requires 12 credit hours with one required course. Companies that have hired Owen students for careers in operations include HP, Emerson, and Harrah’s Entertainment. Michael A. Lapré, E. Bronson Ingram Professor in Operations Management, is known for his work on organizational learning curves; he has received the Shingo Research Prize, among other awards. Professor Nancy Hyer’s book Reorganizing the Factory: Competing through Cellular Manufacturing, written with Urban Wemmerlov of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, won the 2003 Shingo Prize for Research in Manufacturing, awarded “in recognition of outstanding contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of manufacturing excellence.”

Entrepreneurship

To pursue an entrepreneurship emphasis, students need to fulfill 8 credit hours; they choose four courses compatible with their interests. Students in Professor Germain Boër’s classes can expect a mix of creative assignments and speakers who are entrepreneurs. Professor David Furse has more than thirty years’ experience in the academic and business worlds, and he is founder of NCG Research, Inc. First-year MBA entrepreneur students who are accepted in the Summer Enterprise Development Internships receive a stipend so that they can start their own ventures.

Real Estate

To have a real estate emphasis, students must take three required courses and choose other classes from The Owen School and the Engineering School at Vanderbilt. Companies that have hired Owen students for real estate careers include CB Richard Ellis, Gaylord Entertainment, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Jacob Sagi, Associate Professor of Management, has interests in asset pricing and decision theory.

Consulting

A primary concentration in finance, operations, marketing, or HOP is typical for students who pursue a consulting career; they have to fulfill 12 credit hours. A secondary concentration is often in strategy, which requires 12 credit hours. Each of the finance, the marketing, and the HOP concentrations requires two specific courses and the rest electives. Operations requires one course, and the rest electives. Companies that have hired Owen students for careers in consulting include Deloitte Consulting, ECG Management Consultants, and North Highland. Professor David C. Parsley served in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank, San Francisco, before joining The Owen School; international finance is one of his interests. Luke Froeb, William C. and Margaret W. Oehmig Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise, is the former director of the Bureau of Economics for the Federal Trade Commission; he is dedicated to tearing down barriers to competition in the business world, and his models have been applied in the area of merger analysis.

Student Life

Most Owen students live off campus, but on campus they have a wide variety of opportunities to meet other students. Owen-related groups sponsor everything from Thursday night socials to community service activities to the Capitalist Ball (a black-tie event). A sense of community is important to faculty, staff, and students. The Student Recreation Center offers facilities for basketball, squash, racquetball, and indoor swimming; there are tennis courts and an outdoor track.

The Vanderbilt University campus, designated as a national arboretum, is near downtown Nashville. There is a long, cordial relationship between Nashvillians and students at the university, and the city encourages students to take advantage of arts events--from Nashville Symphony concerts to Broadway plays in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center--sporting events (the Titans NFL team or the Predators NHL team), numerous parks, the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, golf courses, restaurants, and shops.

Student Clubs

The Owen School’s student clubs are divided into academic clubs and social and community clubs.

The academic clubs include the Distinguished Speaker Series, the Finance Club, the Global Business Association, the Honor Council, the Media and Entertainment Association, the Human & Organizational Performance Association, the Max Adler Student Investment Fund, Net Impact, the Operations Club, the Owen Consulting Club, the Owen Corporate Ambassadors Program, the Owen Student Government Association, the Real Estate Club, the TVA Investment Challenge, the Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Association, the Vanderbilt Healthcare Business Association, and the Vanderbilt Marketing Association.

The social and community clubs include 100% Owen, the Christian Business Association, the Cork & Barrel Club, the Jewish Business Association, the Owen Armed Forces Club, the Owen Black Student’s Association, the Vanderbilt Culinary Society, and the Women’s Business Association. New clubs are formed every year.

Case Competitions

Vanderbilt MBA students have a solid record in case competitions:

First place: Fourth Annual Global Supply Chain Management MBA Case Competition (2009), Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Finance Case Competition (2006, 2008), Carnegie Mellon International Case Competition (2005, 2006), Thunderbird Innovation Challenge (2005, 2006), Key Bank Minority Case Competition (2005), National Black MBA Case Competition (2003, 2004), National Society of Hispanic MBAs Case Competition (2003, 2004), Info USA Business Plan Competition (2003, 2004), and Student Leadership Award—Graduate Business Foundation (2004).

Second place: Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Finance Case Competition (2005, 2009), UNC Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Development Case Competition (2007), McGinnis Venture Corporate (2003, 2004), and Freeman Venture Capital Corporation (2003, 2004).

Other top finishes: Key Foundation Minority MBA Case Competition (2007), National Black MBA Case Competition (2005, 2006), National Society of Hispanic MBA Conference Case Competition (2005, 2006), Wake Forest Marketing Case Competition (2005, 2006), and UNC Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Development Case Competition (2005, 2006).

Owen students go to other campuses for competitions, and they have also hosted some. The National MBA Human Capital Case Competition will be held on the Vanderbilt campus, October 16-17, 2009.

Technology

Early on, The Owen School adopted wireless technology on campus. Classrooms, study areas, and even the outdoor courtyard have access to a high-speed wireless network. In 2008, storage was added for more e-mail and file storage. Printers are available in various locations for students’ use.

Community Service

Vanderbilt MBA students are known for their commitment to community service. The Owen School was one of two winners of the 2008 TeamMBA Award, which was presented by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

Centers of Excellence

Financial Markets Research Center (FMRC)

Directed by Professor Hans Stoll, the FMRC was founded in 1987 to research financial markets and institutions. It hosts an annual conference bringing researchers, government regulators, and leaders of industry to the campus. Conferences in the last few years dealt with the topics of financial markets and financial policy (speakers in the spring of 2009 included Paul Volcker, Stephen Axilrod, and William Dudley), conflicts of interest in financial markets, and innovation in finance. Co-director of the FMRC is Robert E. Whaley, Valere Blair Potter Professor of Management; he developed the innovative Market Volatility Index (VIX), the NASDAQ Market Volatility Index (VXN), and the BuyWrite Monthly Index (BXM) for the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Whaley has been credited for providing information on derivatives through in-depth insight and practical advice.

Owen Entrepreneurship Center

Not only The Owen School at Vanderbilt but the Law, Medical, and Engineering Schools benefit from the work of this center. It encourages entrepreneurship among students and stimulates start-up ventures. One of those ventures was the Nashville Capital Network. The center’s director is Germain Böer, Professor of Management.

Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in the Professions

As its name indicates, this program promotes and discusses moral leadership among professionals. It is named for the late CEO of Dollar General, Cal Turner. Bart Victor is the executive director.

Board of Visitors

Dean James Bradford established the Board of Visitors, an advisory group, in 2006 to strengthen the school’s connection with and relevance to the national and international business communities. Members represent diverse industries, geographic locations, and management expertise. Each member serves a three-year term. The current board chair is David Ingram, Chairman and CEO of Ingram Entertainment. Here is a list of the members:
Member Title Member Title
George S. Barrett Vice Chairman, Cardinal Health Care Robert McNabb Executive Vice President, Korn/Ferry International
Carin M. Barth President, LB Capital, Inc. Sarah L. Meyerrose President, Emerging Businesses, First Horizon National Corporation
Thomas U. Barton Partner, White Rock Capital William M. Mounger CEO, TriStar Technologies
Robert A. Bourne President, CNL Financial Group, Inc. Eric W. Noll Global Head of Strategic Relationships, Susquehanna Int’l Group LLP
John F. Brock President and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. Gregory O’Hara Partner, One Equity Partners
Thomas G. Cigarran Chairman, Healthways W. Douglas Parker, Jr. Chairman, President and CEO, US Airways Group, Inc.
Bret E. Comolli Chairman/CEO, Asurion David A. Perdue, Jr. Chairman and CEO (retired), Dollar General Corporation
Bruce Crockett Chairman of Funds Board, AIM Mutual Funds Neil P. Ramsey President and CEO, Ramsey Quantitative Systems
Gregory S. Daily Chairman of the Board and CEO, iPayment, Inc. Sean Rogers Managing Director, Global Head--Communications Technologies, Bank of America, Inc.
David W. Dorman Senior Advisor and Partner, Warburg Pincus Barry Salzberg CEO, Deloitte LLP
Mark A. Emkes Chairman, President and CEO, Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. Wade L. Smith Vice President and Treasurer, Dollar General Corporation
Josue C. Gomes da Silva President, Coteminas James M. Sohr President, AIM Healthcare Services
Debora A. Guthrie CEO, Capitol Health Mark A. Tillinger Partner, Accenture
Michael C. Henkel Managing Director, Retirement Services Group, Envestnet Asset Management Charles A. Vice President and COO, The Intercontinental Exchange
Bruce A. Heyman Managing Director/Partner, Goldman Sachs J. Smoke Wallin CEO, Taliera Holdings
Harry R. Jacobson, M.D. Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Vanderbilt University Norman E. Johnson Chairman of the Board and CEO, CLARCOR Inc.


Rankings

Business WeekFull-time MBA—#30 MBA Program (2008)

U.S. News & World ReportRanked #33 Overall (2009)

Wall Street JournalExecutive MBA—#19 Worldwide (2008)

Financial TimesEMBA—#61 in the World; #29 in the U.S. (2007)MBA—#56 in the World; #28 in the U.S. (2009)

Forbes magazineRanked #32 in the U.S. (2007)

America EconomiaGlobal MBA Programs for Latin Americans—#50 (2006)

Grey PinstripesRanked #49 Overall; #33 in the U.S. (2007, 2008)

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