Writers: Fiona Woticky (MSCM candidate 2020) and Lucie Wang (MSCM candidate 2020)

Editor in Chief: David Wang (MSCM candidate 2020)

We recently met with Dr. David Johnston, the Program Director for the Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) and professor for MSCM’s Design and Management of Organizational Process course at the Schulich School of Business. We learned about his education and career path that led him to this role: a story that includes being part of the greatest band that no one ever heard about, dropping out of university, and inadvertently changing his life’s direction because of an interesting wall poster.

Professor Johnston shares his collectibles with David Wang, MSCM 2020 candidate

Eclectic Surroundings

When you first walk into his office, you’ll notice Dr. Johnston has some amusing trinkets that are proudly on display including his empty “choo-choo train” jar (that should be filled with candy…but isn’t) and a gigantic calculator (that will never be able to solve any real Statistical Process Control problems). You’ll also notice the impressive number of textbooks he has on Supply Chain Execution, Taguchi Concepts, and Quality Control. To ensure he is at the frontier of the industry, he continuously updates his library with newer editions of the same fundamental books. Moreover, Dr. Johnston has now uploaded most of his library to the cloud in order to help save paper, proving that he is clearly not only tech savvy but environmentally conscious!

The Path Here

Dr. Johnston started his undergraduate degree at Western’s Ivey School of Business. There, he formed a band with some of his peers. Unfortunately, the band was pre-YouTube and Spotify era, otherwise it would have been famous (like One Direction or the Backstreet Boys).

Professor Johnston rocks out at the Opera House with his band.

In the midst of his studies, Dr. Johnston left to work in the industry, but through his work and travels, he realized that he wanted to continue in business operations. He returned to school to subsequently complete his Honors in Business Administration (HBA) and his MBA. One day he walked into one of his professor’s offices and became engrossed by an alternative energy poster on the wall. He began a dialogue with the professor who subsequently offered him a research position. Dr. Johnston quickly grew enthralled with the research and the academic world, and as a result, went on to do his PhD at the Ivey School of Business. One of his main areas of research was on how to transfer innovative process practices between different parts of a large organizations. If you ask him, he will gladly share a copy of the paper.

Defining His Program’s Success

When asked, Dr. Johnston says that the success of the MSCM program is measured by the career prospects of its students and their abilities to spearhead changes within the Supply Chain Industry. He elaborates on the ever-shifting business environment, changing technology, and emphasizes the need for environmental, social, and financial sustainability.

Dr. Johnston’s advice to all MSCM students:
“Know who you are, know what you want, then focus on the two. Nothing is as impressive as someone who knows their own mind.”

A Look Ahead

We asked Dr. Johnston about the possibilities of another future specialized Master program that he’d like to see at Schulich. He said he would be interested to see two programs that focus on the crossover between Business Management and Agriculture and Business Management and Healthcare (centered around training healthcare professionals with business acumen).

However, for now, he is completely dedicated to evolving the Master of Supply Chain Management Program and the supply chain industry.