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Atkinson Graduate School of Management News

Willamette MBA makes Forbes “Best Business Schools List,” only ranked program in Oregon

Willamette University’s MBA program has been named to Forbes magazine’s bi-annual list of the top 75 “Best Business Schools” for 2011. Schools are included and ranked based on the return on investment experienced by graduates, which factors in placement statistics and average starting salaries.  Willamette is the only school in Oregon to make Forbes’ 2011 list and is one of only two schools in the northwest.

Forbes surveyed over 15,000 recent graduates and calculated their return on investment based on pre- and post-MBA salaries compared to the cost of tuition. Only 16 of the ranked schools are located west of the Mississippi River.  Willamette also appeared on Forbes’ previous list, in 2009.


2011-12 PACE partners announced

Students in Willamette’s Early Career MBA and MBA for Career Change Programs have started their one year group experiential learning projects with their private, not-for-profit and government partners.  This year’s PACE clients include:

  • Eileen Brady for Mayor (Portland) – Provide business and economic policy papers, positions, and evaluations for the Portland mayoral campaign of Eileen Brady.
  • Gem Children’s Foundation (Salem) – Property development and acquisition study for pediatric medical center.
  • Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (Chicago) – Comprehensive training modules for existing and new managers including hiring, promotions, strategy, legal understandings, leadership, and personnel policy.
  • Hacienda CDC (Portland) – Business plan for Latino Public Market including feasibility and market analysis, and development pro forma.
  • Loaves and Fishes (Portland) – Business development program to evaluate current strategy, and design additional revenue models.
  • The Imani Project (Portland) – Design marketing and development models for expanding Imani’s scope and delivery.
  • Oregon Secretary of State - Marketing plan to promote the Oregon Blue Book, and develop an e-book or app for selected sectors.
  • Onpoint Community Credit Union (Portland) - Social media and technology intersection design for banking services, and business plan development.
  • Salem-Keizer Education Foundation (Salem) - Establish community and alumni network design including business plan, and NO Hungry Child rollout.
  • Mercy Corps Northwest (Portland) – Project to initiate MCNW distance learning in Oregon and Washington online lending platform; market demand assessment, partner evaluation, and organizational resource analysis.
  • Willamette Academy (Salem) – Strategy, development, and marketing plan for the Academy.
  • Backbones (Chicago) – Strategic plan focusing on marketing, branding, and development to expand market identity and presence.

Three new faculty members join the Willamette MBA

Tim Johnson
Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Management and Public Policy
Ph.D., Stanford University
Tim Johnson joined the Atkinson faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Management and Public Policy in 2011. Tim teaches students about the non-market interactions between businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and governments. As well, Tim offers courses that teach students how to analyze public policies using contemporary social science research tools.

Ashley Nixon
Assistant Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior
Ph.D., University of South Florida
Ashley Nixon is an Assistant Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Atkinson Graduate School of Management. She teaches courses in human resources and organizational dynamics, HR principles and practices, training and development, and compensation and rewards.

Kawika Pierson
Assistant Professor of Accounting and Quantitative Methods
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kawika Pierson is an Assistant Professor of Accounting and Quantitative Methods at Willamette University's Atkinson Graduate School of Management.  He graduated from MIT's Sloan School in 2011 with a PhD in Management, focusing on System Dynamics and Accounting. His thesis, entitled "Profit Cycle Dynamics," consists of three essays examining the existence and causes of profit cycles in the airline industry, the insurance industry, and across sectors in the economy.

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