John M. Thomas

Operations Management and Strategy


PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JD, University at Buffalo
BS, Yale University

John M. Thomas is professor of operations management and strategy and dean emeritus of the School of Management. He also directs the UB School of Management HSBC Center for Global Business Leadership, an endowed program which supports opportunities in international business research and education for management faculty and students.

As dean of the School of Management from 2002-08, Thomas championed new MBA curricular initiatives in technology entrepreneurship and the use of information technology in global supply chain management. In addition, he partnered with the UB law school in establishing new UB graduate programs in arts management and international finance in partnership with the UB Law School. During his tenure as dean, the Wall Street Journal ranked the school of management MBA program as one of the best in the world.

Thomas previously served as associate dean for international programs in the UB School of Management from 1988-97. As project director of grants funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development Management and Economics Education initiative for Central Europe in the 1990s, he was instrumental in creating major programs in management education for Hungary in collaboration with the Technical University of Budapest, and for Latvia through the establishment of the Riga Business School as part of the Riga Technical University. For these contributions, he was named an honorary member of the faculty of the Technical University of Budapest and awarded the Medal of the Riga Technical University.

Thomas has spent more than 25 years in a leadership role in management education programs in Asia. As associate dean for international programs, he established the School of Management’s executive MBA programs in Singapore in partnership with the Singapore Institute of Management, and in China in partnership with Renmin University. As dean of the School of Management, he also established a new Master of Science program in the management of information technology in India in collaboration with Amrita University and Hewlett Packard. From 1984-90, Thomas was a member of the faculty of the UB school of management MBA program with the Dalian University of Technology in Dalian, China, the first U.S. MBA degree program in China. He served as the China based dean of the Dalian program in 1989. Thomas has consulted and lectured widely on strategic issues in the development of effective business partnerships between Asian emerging market economies and Western firms. 

Thomas joined the UB faculty in 1968 as assistant professor of policy studies, and served as director of UB’s Center for Policy Studies and the university’s JD-PhD program from 1979-86. Prior to joining the University at Buffalo, he was assistant professor of management at the Sloan School of Management, MIT, and visiting assistant professor of management at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, India. While a member of the UB faculty, Thomas has been a visiting faculty member at the Institute for Comparative and International Law at Magdalen College of Oxford University and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Wolfson College of Oxford University.

Thomas is the co-editor of three books and has authored book chapters and articles in academic journals and law reviews. A former editor of the journal Law and Policy, he was also co-editor of the "Series on Law and Public Policy" (University of Pennsylvania Press). Thomas has received major research and education grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the Eurasia Foundation, and the U.S. National Science Foundation. His current research examines the role of government in emerging market economies, with a particular focus on China. 

Thomas is currently a member of the international advisory panel of the Singapore Institute of Management, the board of directors of the World Trade Center - Buffalo Niagara, the advisory board of the University at Buffalo Confucius Institute and the advisory board of the Riga Business School, Riga, Latvia.