• Bill Johnson Joins Finance Faculty


Bill Johnson recently joined Sawyer Business School as a new assistant professor of finance.

This fall, he began teaching Principles of Investments, a requirement for all undergraduate finance majors. “I want the students to be able to think critically about investments and financial markets and understand where they fit in, in the whole financial system,” Johnson said.

To show that everyone plays an important role in the financial market, Johnson brought a ball of yarn to his first class. Each student held onto a piece of yarn and said something about their financial profile.

Once all the students were linked together with the yarn, he asked all of the savers to let go. The web quickly became unbalanced, representing a financial crisis. It demonstrated that everyone is a key player in the financial system’s stability. “Whether you care about finance or not, it has a huge impact on every single one of us,” Johnson said.

He considers finance an exciting and dynamic field. “Finance is such a unique area because there’s so much going on. There’s never really a dull time,” he said.

Johnson wasn’t always interested in finance. He started his career as an engineer after earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A few years later, he earned his MBA at State University of New York at Buffalo.

He soon realized he wanted to teach and went on to earn a PhD in finance from Michigan State University. Before joining Suffolk, Johnson taught at Michigan State University and the University of New Hampshire.

Suffolk’s location in downtown Boston, just steps away from the financial district, was a major draw for Johnson. Suffolk's commitment to academic excellence was also important. “I like that there’s a balance between teaching and research,” said Johnson, who studies corporate governance and compensation.

Johnson recently received a research award from the Financial Management Association. His article, “Why do IPO Firms have Takeover Defenses,” earned the Best Paper Award in Corporate Finance. The award will be presented at the Annual Meeting later this month.

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