It’s a room. There’s nothing special, just a podium surrounded by rows of desks. You’ll find a screen in some, whiteboards, and chalkboards in others. Many days, something truly transformative happens in rooms like these. Ideas are sparked and urgency spurred; barriers are leveled and confidence is instilled. Here, what’s complex is broken down into its interconnected parts — and what’s seemingly simple is peeled back to reveal its risks, limits, and contradictions.
“What would cause students to fill a class every quarter where the expected workload is easily over 15 hours every week? A great professor, that’s what.”
That’s the differentiator says Gabriela Arismendi, a 2021 graduate of the University of Chicago’s Booth School. She would know. As an MBA student, she had a front row seat to watching a master teacher at work in her Commercializing Innovation course. In an ordinary classroom, she watched Scott Meadow work his magic, a mix of no-nonsense Jack Welch and raconteur Walt Disney.
OWNING THE ROOM
“[Meadow] coolly walks around the room telling a story about a business or an idea or an entrepreneur,” Arismendi tells P&Q. “The room is captivated – and you see all heads turning as he makes his way around the room. You forget that you are learning as you feel like you are just listening to a really great story. Then, when tables are turned and it’s time for students to speak – he holds no punches. He expects students to provide thoughtful questions or comments that really contribute to student learning or they will get cut off. Hands shoot up when it’s time to talk and everyone is eager to meet the high expectations that he has set forth. By the end of the class, you know that you’ve earned your “I [heart] cash flow” button that he distributes to students to make sure they never forget it.”
Great teachers — they are the variable that truly set business schools apart. Anyone can teach out of a text. True masters make content personal and unforgettable with the examples, vignettes, and exercises they package together. There is no formula for success for these teachers. In business schools, you’ll find the most decorated professors may rely heavily on lectures, case method, projects, or simulations. However, they share one quality: they can bridge the real world and theory. In the process, they ask the questions that draw out the collective experiences and insights of their students. They are teachers first and researchers second. They are the ones who stick around to listen to pitches or dig through their network to find opportunities for their students. Most of all, these teachers haven’t lost touch with what it was like to be a learner — and the fear that comes with stepping into the spotlight and trying something new.
You’ll find this same spirit with “Dr. J.” That’s what the MBAs at Duke University call Dr. Jeremy Petranka. However, you won’t find the hardwood flair of the original Dr. J. in Petranka’s class. Instead, he takes a more traditional tact — and executes it to perfection.
“He lectures the old-fashioned way, crafting visuals on the whiteboard as the conversation unfolds, rather than relying on the ease of rote PowerPoint decks,” observes Mike Treiser, a 2021 Fuqua grad. “He poses questions not to have students prove whether we are prepared but to pull us into discussions that apply what we already know to illuminate things we don’t. He has high expectations for his students and makes sure we leave class having learned something.”
NO NEED FOR COFFEE WITH DR. GOH AROUND
Joel Goh, National University of Singapore
Beyond his classroom prowess, Dr. J. sets himself apart by how deeply he invests time in his students. “In our first class, he lectured on the value of vulnerability, and even offered to meet with any of us who might experience anxiety or imposter’s syndrome,” Treiser adds. “He’s made good on that promise, filling his schedule with one-on-ones, not only with his students but also with their non-Fuqua partners. He has been an indispensable thought partner, confidante, and mentor to me and my co-president in student government.”
Maybe the biggest sign of a master teacher? Students file into class early, eager to dissect the previous night’s reading. That’s the case with Joel Goh at the National University of Singapore. You could call Goh a force multiplier, a catalyst who transmits his passion for operations and analytics — all while keeping his students engaged by taking his classes in unexpected and entertaining directions.
“Have you ever met someone that has a certain energy and good vibe that is simply infectious to everyone around him,” asks Tarun Bhatia, one of Goh’s former students. “Well, multiply that times 1,000 – that’s Professor Joel for you. I don’t think I’ve ever come across an individual with that much passion for his work. It was easy for me to get away with skipping my morning coffee on the day of his class!
In the end, great teachers clarify, connect, and elevate. The end result: they leave students with a deeper sense of their possibilities — and the courage to act on them. This year, there are many business school professors who fit this definition. To honor them, P&Q asked this year’s Best & Brightest MBAs and MBAs to Watch to share their favorite professor and what made them so special. From Stanford to IMD, here are the professors who made a real difference to MBAs over the past two years.
“Professor Puneet Manchanda from the marketing team has been my favourite MBA professor so far. His course on Digital Marketing is designed such that every student gets hands-on experiences with real-world practices that companies use to grow their business. Through a series of simulations and certifications, he has ensured that we clearly understand the fundamentals of marketing and experience first-hand the factors that drive value for companies. He actively promotes class discussions and constantly encourages students to share their experiences with the rest of the class, leading to a very engaged atmosphere. As a part of the curriculum, he also invites industry leaders to address the class and share their perspectives – a great exercise during which we have often seen real applications of concepts we have learned in class.”
Neha Tadichetty, University of Michigan (Ross)
Amit Khandelwal, Columbia Business School
“I’d have to say that my core Managerial Economics professor, Amit Khandelwal, truly was my favorite. This is because, at first, I couldn’t stand him. However, really it wasn’t him; it was the subject I couldn’t stand and more so myself trying desperately to understand it. I struggled the most with microeconomics in the beginning, and I was most afraid of it than any other subject heading into the rigorous core. Therefore, when Professor Khandelwal made it seem so natural, I was frustrated. But as time passed and he began to cold-call me in class, he wouldn’t let me off the hook if a question wasn’t clicking for me: he would have me work through the problem and break it down to its fundamental elements so that I could see how the pieces fit together. And when something clicked, there was the joy that I felt in my understanding of it and I could see reflected back in him—he really loves teaching and seeing his students succeed.
He is also a great storyteller and has a way of weaving great stories into the way he explains complicated economic concepts. Professor Khandelwal turned my most abhorred and feared subject into my favorite and most exciting subject. He was committed to making us feel free to make mistakes and learn from them. He made me a better thinker, a bigger risk-taker, and helped make this poet more of a quant than she ever thought she could be.”
Olivia Mell, Columbia Business School
“My favorite professor is Metin Sengul (Competitive Strategy and Strategic Management). He is incredibly engaging, effective, and exacting. He can peel away at weak, ineffective, or jargon-filled arguments with surgical efficiency to reveal a lack of preparation or understanding. I quickly learned that I needed to show up to Professor Sengul’s class prepared and sharp-witted. In his class, I felt like I was sitting in a boardroom at a meeting of personal consequence where I had to provide a concise, thoughtful perspective and effectively respond to challenges to my point of view.”
Gráinne Dunne, Boston College (Carroll)
“My favorite professor was John Wisneski, who taught Sources of Competitive Advantage, year one. John started every class with a 2-minute mindfulness practice that included a mini-meditation and thanking each other (classmates) for being a part of our growth process. Not only did I learn how to utilize strategic frameworks and how to create real added value, but how to be a conscious and forward-thinking leader that looked for my Ikigai.”
Simone Bayfield, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)
Renee Dye, Emory University (Goizueta)
“I loved learning from and traveling to Russia with Renee Dye who teaches the core strategy course taken by every full-time MBA student at Goizueta. Her rich experience as a management consultant and c-suite executive allowed her to bring fascinating real-life board room stories and challenges to our class for discussion. She had high expectations for her students, and I always knew that I could expect lively (and sometimes heated) debates and discussions in every one of her classes. Professor Dye often also went beyond the classroom to provide meaningful professional experiences to her students. Knowing that I had a keen interest in impact investing, she provided me with the opportunity to complete a directed study on the topic under her supervision. Lastly, I consider her to be very brave for accompanying 25 MBA students on a 2-week trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg – what a blast we had!”
Anupama Tadanki, Emory University (Goizueta)
“Leslie Charm is my favorite professor. I chose my first elective course, Entrepreneurial Finance, even before starting the MBA. After being admitted to Babson, I started to use all of the resources that Babson had to offer even before the start of the semester. At that time, I was seeking help on some family business issues and I was referred to Les Charm. I was in for the greatest surprise. From that first meeting, I knew that Les would be an invaluable resource. Les is calm and intelligent, and willing not just to help you with the business problem but to guide you through it. Les has a unique way of teaching that makes you think objectively. I enjoyed every class he taught, every example he cited, and every case we analyzed with him. I will take his guiding principles with me forever: “What is the goal of the first meeting; Why is it important; Why should I care; Why should I believe you; and why should I invest in you.”
Jennifer Reed Papadopulos, Babson College (Olin)
“David Kryscynski, the core business strategy professor. On our first day of his class, he went around the classroom naming every student one by one. DK had spent his Christmas break memorizing 110 students’ names. That to me showed that he cared deeply about us and that he was interested in our success beyond just his course. DK is always there when I need help in life in general. For example, DK has a huge influence on me as I picked between two internships offered during the summer. He taught me how to base decisions on values not purely on monetary significance. DK also taught how to better handle conflict. His advice is the reason I was able to strengthen a few MBA relationships when they were at a tough point. I feel really lucky to have him as a mentor in my life, and I will forever value and cherish the learning and the relationship I have with him.”
Dunia Alrabadi, Brigham Young University (Marriott)
“My favorite MBA professor is Professor David Lei of the strategy department, for several reasons. One is the fact that his style of teaching is so practical; he uses everyday examples and presents key concepts in such a way that you don’t have to memorize anything. He teaches in a way that one truly understands the concepts and can apply them in the real world and at our future jobs. Two is the fact that he is so full of energy. No matter how you are feeling during his class, you are bound to be engaged, pay attention, and probably have a laugh or two before his class is over. Lastly, I can see just how passionate he is about imparting knowledge into others and how he gets so energized from teaching. Before him, I had never had a professor who gets so happy from interacting with his students…even virtually. Just having a professor who does all this and his outgoing and jovial personality makes him my favorite professor.”
Stacy C. Tubonemi, Southern Methodist University (Cox)
“I took New Venture Strategy with Professor Jim Schrager. He’s a powerful presenter and storyteller who actively engages the students in memorable ways, from entertaining tales about firefighters and chess players to long class discussions about cases enumerating all potential strategic options on the table – even ludicrous ones. He has spent many years ruthlessly refining his class materials, not only for maximum clarity but also for maximum retention in the minds of the students. Several months later, I can still recall the 9 core strategies and key questions from the class, and I still apply them to any business venture I encounter.”
Theodore Lim, University of Chicago (Booth)
Laurence Ales, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
“I never thought I would say my favorite classroom experience was on Zoom in the spring of 2020. Laurence Ales is an Economics professor who teaches the Global Economics core class at Tepper. His class was the perfect class to take during the pandemic as he was able to teach us how to interpret what was happening to the global economy and why. Each week, he would use examples from real time GDP and unemployment data to apply the concepts we were learning in class. He engaged students by inviting them to, in his words, “have a chat” during class. He always kept us laughing with little things like jazz music during breaks and using Star Wars to teach us about trade wars. Engaging students in a virtual environment is challenging and I am grateful for the effort he put in to make class an exciting experience.”
Melissa Bizzari, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
“We are spoiled for choices at Cambridge when it comes to our teaching faculty. However, one of my favourites so far is Professor Mark de Rond, who teaches the Management Praxis II: Cambridge Negotiations Lab. During his course, we roleplay complex negotiations in groups and develop relational skills including empathy, collective problem solving and mutual value creation. Some of the scenarios included an internal company dispute and trying to secure consensus around the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre post 9/11. Professor de Rond has made these negotiations engaging over Zoom and has provided numerous interesting anecdotes from his experiences observing Army surgeons in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan and with the Cambridge Boat Race Team. He also has a Guinness World Record for the first-ever unsupported row of the Amazon.”
Aaron D’Souza, University of Cambridge (Judge)
“Many professors inspired me and allowed me to grow in ways that I did not expect. However, if I had to choose one, I would have to say Sinan Erzurumlu – Professor for Leading Sustainable innovation and Future Lab. Professor Sinan opened my eyes to the fact that although no one can fix all the problems, we can all take part in taking small action which collectively will affect change. He got me on that train and I have since taken steps in my personal, academic and professional life to affect change everywhere I can.”
Nathalya Mamane, Babson College (Olin)
Ralk Boscheck, IMD Business School
“Ralf Boscheck. As our Economy Professor, he was famous in the class for different perspectives: the dense and almost unrecognizable handwriting on the blackboard, the 2000 years of economic philosophy in one hour, the most challenging quizzes, the Flower analysis model that works for all industries, and bad (occasionally good) jokes…
Despite that, he explained to us that management’s ultimate economic value is to create and improve trust. He taught us the shortness of life and the importance of time. He threw out uncountable deep questions and inspired insightful discussions. He himself is a role model of an authentic leader.”
Haichen Liu, IMD Business School
“My favorite MBA professor is Ned Rimer, faculty director of the Health Sector Management Program. He is an incredible professor and a great mentor. I thoroughly enjoyed his class and speaker sessions. Our spring 2020 classes with Ned started right in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. He spent time at the beginning of every class addressing the uncertainties due to the pandemic and offered support through additional office hours every week. Ned’s newsletters every Monday offered us hope and encouragement. He helped us navigate the internship search and provided us virtual networking opportunities. He went above-and-beyond to support our class during unprecedented times.
Dheera Keerthi Kattula, Boston University (Questrom)
Mohamed El-Erian, Wharton School
“Dr. Mohamed El-Erian teaches a module on international relations and global crises in the 21st century. He was behind the scenes with world leaders as they debated the best course of action during the ’08 global financial crisis, European debt crisis, and Brexit. Getting his take on the events provided me with a different perspective on “sudden stops” and black swan events. Apart from being a captivating lecturer, he does an amazing job trying to remember every student by name. For someone of his caliber, it really shows the care he puts into his teaching. It’s the combination of his brilliance and passion for teaching that makes him stand out from my other professors.
Teddy Shih, Wharton School
“My favorite professor was Michael Wall, our professor of practice in marketing and entrepreneurship and the director of our marketing platform. I jumped at every opportunity to take his classes and appreciated how he pushed my thinking as a marketer, particularly as it relates to product design and innovation and digital marketing. Michael is not only an outstanding professor but also a great mentor. I will never forget reaching out to Michael the day my original internship offer was rescinded due to the pandemic. Michael stopped at nothing to help me pivot and strategize next steps. Without Michael’s guidance and support, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully land a new internship so quickly. It’s a great privilege to know that I will always have Michael in my corner as a trusted advisor as my career advances.”
Kendra Kelly, Washington University (Olin).
Laura Maguire, IE Business School
“My favorite MBA professor is Laura Maguire, our professor of Leading People and Change. What I love about Laura is that she does not just teach you about the course material, she teaches you about life lessons. As an experienced manager and a pacesetting leader, I thought that I had already mastered leading people and change. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Laura’s teaching style is beyond case study readings – she asks engaging questions that really put you into the shoes of leaders when they solve complex people challenges. My favorite class was when we discussed the Wolfgang Keller case. Keller is a charismatic senior leader of an organization and he has had concerns about the impersonal management style of his VP (Brodsky). Laura asked for volunteers to improvise as Keller and Brodsky for a scene when Keller was giving Brodsky his second-year performance review. I volunteered as Brodsky who is the total opposite of me in life, both in personality and leadership styles. It was such a humbling experience. Not only was I able to better my communications techniques, but I also became more aware of cultural differences in communications.
Through Laura’s leading people and change course, I reached the understanding that sometimes it’s harder to be kind than smart – but that it’s worth it.”
Ocean Eric Niu, IE Business School
“Although I was initially afraid of him, Professor John Doggett was my favorite MBA professor (and only one of two professors that I took multiple classes with) because he knows everything about everything, holds students accountable, and challenges us to be well-rounded leaders.
Doggett’s classes are case format with a group project where we support a company of our choosing with a problem relevant to the course subject. He refreshes the courses he teaches every semester with new relevant cases and does not shy away from hot controversial topics.
He also has a knack for cold calling students who haven’t prepared the case for the day, therefore forcing us to keep up with the work and prioritize his class, resulting in more vibrant class discussions. While cold calling intimidates some, it simulates the real world and I feel more prepared to sit in an executive meeting. I will always be prepared with an opinion and appropriate back-up to defend it but bring an open mind to hear other perspectives.
Doggett challenges us because he genuinely cares and loves what he does. A decorated lawyer turned entrepreneur, he makes his students feel empowered, intelligent, and ready to conquer the world’s biggest problems.”
Chelsea Martell Evans, University of Texas (McCombs)
A superstar in the classroom, Darden Professor Lalin Anik poses for a photo with MBA students in her core marketing class
“Lalin Anik was awarded 2020 Professor of the Year for a reason. And while she truly is a force in the classroom, she is just as impressive outside of it. From accompanying me to intramural basketball during the first week of class to delivering a sincere and public apology after mistakenly accusing a classmate of not doing his homework, Lalin is insanely dedicated to her students’ well-being and serves as a strong role model, especially for women in business. Her balance of vulnerability and warmth with rigor and fierceness is a truly unique one. She is a teacher in all senses of the word, and I’m grateful to be one of her students.”
Amanda Wiggans, University of Virginia (Darden)
“Susan Carter teaches the elective class on Private Capital & Impact Investing, and she is a fantastic example of an industry expert who is giving back to students through her experiences and knowledge. Her dedication to learning from the students is admirable, and she is always adapting her class to what students are interested in. I took her class right after the pandemic forced all of our classes online, and she was by far the best at adapting to a new style of teaching, adding innovative and interactive elements that made a three-hour Zoom session fly by. She broadened my eyes to the world of investing beyond venture capital, and I am hopeful she will continue to be a mentor in years to come.”
Jenn Burka, Yale School of Management
“My favorite MBA professor was Don Hambrick, whom I had for the Strategy & Implementation course. Being both an academic and a consultant, Hambrick would speak about his experiences with Fortune 500 companies and the personal relationships he had with CEOs. He provided us throughout the class with nuanced industry insight that he garnered first-hand. The course was also not a typical strategy course. instead of focusing on strategy development, it was focused entirely on strategy implementation. Hambrick would provide us with the frameworks he used with his clients and have us develop the ideal implementation plan given a pre-identified strategy. As a result of this exercise, I learned so much about the nuances of executing a strategy. We worked on many cases from which he consulted on, and it was amazing to understand how our ideas stacked up to real-life decisions.” Andrew J. Marshall, Penn State University (Smeal)
“My favorite professor is my accounting professor Brian Miller. Coming into the Kelley MBA program, I was most nervous about quant methods and accounting so much so that I tried to get a jump start on them before arriving (which in hindsight is very laughable). Brian Miller — or BPM as I call him — not only relieved my stress about taking the first year required subject, but provided additional study sessions. He made sure I not only understood the material but mastered it. He poured his heart into every class which echoes the passion he has for education and knowing his students. Because of BPM, not only did I take the required accounting classes, but have gone on to take two more upper-level accounting classes simply because he made me love the subject.”
Justin M. Speller, Indiana University (Kelley)
Katherine Casey, Stanford Graduate School of Business
“[It would be] Katherine Casey, Professor of Strategies Beyond Markets: Developing Economies.
First, at a professional level, her work and achievements are impressive and inspiring. “Her research explores the interactions between economic and political forces in developing countries, with particular interest in the role of information in enhancing political accountability and the influence of foreign aid on economic development.” Most of her research focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa. After taking her class, I feel better equipped to manage political risk in the face of uncertain and discretionary regulatory environments as a businesswoman and actor in the development of Peru. I found her experience and lessons very relatable to my long-term aspirations in the developing world.
Second, she was particularly resilient in the face of Covid-19, rapidly adapting to a changed teaching environment as early as in March 2020. Her positive and optimistic predisposition not only made her approachable but also enabled me to learn amidst an uncertain and rapidly deteriorating public health crisis.”
Bianca Pinasco, Stanford Graduate School of Business
“My most memorable professor throughout my MBA journey was my Sustainable Business professor, Joe Holt. Professor Holt’s kindness, passion, and enthusiasm have made me a more decisive and inclusive leader. He continually encourages his students to think outside the box and view the world of business with a social justice lens. He has inspired me to push the boundaries often, persevere through the struggles, and work tirelessly to stand up for what is right and just. From our classroom debates on how to create societal impact to our class field trip visiting an organization that prides itself on its environmental advocacy, I have learned a lot from Professor Holt.”
Molly Lawrence, Notre Dame University (Mendoza)
“Like most competitive programs, Smith has numerous exceptional faculty members, all of whom are invested in our success as students. My favorite professors, however, have been those who sparked my curiosity about a subject I expected to dislike. Dr. Margrét Bjarnadóttir transformed Data Mining – a required course at Smith – from a course I dreaded into one I was excited to learn.
Dr. Bjarnadóttir commanded our classroom with a quiet confidence and a clear passion for the subject. She often shared her own data analytics experience with topics ranging from healthcare to the gender pay gap. I loved the way Dr. Bjarnadóttir could seamlessly connect abstract concepts to digestible business applications. She structured the course with students top-of-mind and clearly articulated how to succeed. In every lecture, Dr. Bjarnadóttir made complex theories and new models approachable. Most importantly, the foundation I gained from Dr. Bjarnadóttir’s course allowed me to enroll in future quantitative classes – like Market Forecasting and Advanced Analytics – with the confidence that I would succeed.”
Virginia Pierrie, University of Maryland (Smith)
“My favorite Professor is Ravi Mantena, MBA Faculty Director. Professor Mantena taught me two of my favorite courses at Simon. The first was Business Modeling, a subject that equipped me with the ability to take on unstructured problems and then, generate useful insights. The second was Products and Platforms, a course where I explored a mix of concepts from economics, strategy, and technology to understand challenges related to product management. The bright and practical teaching style from Professor Mantena helped me and my classmates to open our minds to new business concepts and frameworks that were extremely useful during our summer internships. I will also be forever grateful to Professor Mantena for all his advice and for providing invaluable guidance before my summer internship. As someone who was just pivoting into tech, his wise words and empathetic listening to all my questions were key to my preparation to hit the ground running on my internship at Microsoft.”
Gabriela Pacheco, University of Rochester (Simon)
Yaniv Konchitchki, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)
“My favorite professor at Haas is Yaniv Konchitchki who teaches accounting. His passion and love for his students is simply unmatched. Every class commenced with a resounding cheer of “This is Accounting!!!” While corporate financial analysis and reporting may cause some eyes to gloss over, Yaniv’s unique ability to dissect the traditional jargon while applying concepts to real time and emerging corporate failures made this an exceptional class. Additionally, his breadth of knowledge beyond accounting is astounding. If you come to Haas, take Yaniv!”
Olaséni Bello, UC Berkeley (Haas)
“Kristin Forbes is my favorite professor at Sloan. She has a track record of public service that I deeply respect, including at the White House, the Bank of England, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She has a trove of interesting personal anecdotes, which makes her one of the most enjoyable lecturers I have ever had. She also brings an engaging sense of humor and humility to her classes. Professor Forbes makes you work in her class – you cannot take any days off!
I was in her Global Economic Challenges and Opportunities class last spring at the onset of COVID and she quickly readapted the syllabus to focus exclusively on central banks’ responses to the pandemic. It equipped me with a monetary policy toolkit through which to analyze the rapidly changing situation.”
Ryan Bash, MIT (Sloan)
“Maureen O’Hara is my favorite MBA professor. She brings her tremendous industry and research knowledge to her courses. In her Financial Markets and Institutions course, I learned about financial markets’ structures and functions. The topics and discussions covered financial systems around the world, and she created such an engaging environment that students felt encouraged to share their experiences and opinions. I learned so much from her expertise and the discussions she facilitated. Professor O’Hara cares deeply about her students and always makes herself available after the class. I am thankful for my one-on-one conversations with her about financial markets and my career path.
Heidi Xu, Cornell University (Johnson)
“My favorite professor at Ross is Professor Gautam Kaul. In addition to being a professor of finance at Ross, Professor Kaul (or “G” as he’s affectionately called by fund members) is also the fearless faculty advisor of both the International Investment Fund and the Social Venture Fund. Professor Kaul’s commitment to the investment funds highlights his passion for real-world, action-based learning and the power of business to have a positive impact in our world. I will always remember lessons such as “Finance is the most amazing human invention – second only to love” or “Finance allows us to value everything – except love”. At the same time, I will fondly remember G’s encouragement that ‘everyone can do finance’ and that the best way to lead a team through the complexities of starting a new venture is to treat everyone like family, have plenty of jokes at the ready, and keep a ‘can-do’ attitude.”
Jonathan Rodriguez, University of Michigan (Ross)
Harry Kraemer in a Northwestern (Kellogg) classroom.
“Professor Harry Kraemer. His Managerial Leadership class is always popular among students because of his tendency to invite high-profile guests and the learnings and experiences he shares as the former CEO of Baxter.
More importantly, Professor Kraemer really cares about his students. Before taking his class, I heard from former students that he would reply to every email and phone call even though he was extremely busy as a professor and partner at a PE firm. This is consistent with my experience too. When I contacted him the very first time, I just started at Kellogg and had not taken his class yet. I introduced myself and asked for a 1:1 to learn more about his career path and he quickly agreed!”
Di Gao, Northwestern University (Kellogg)
“The bridge between my aspiration to learn about supply chains and my current understanding of supply chains is one of my MBA professors, Judith Whipple. Not only are her methods of delivery and evaluation unique, but also her approachability and warmth are exceptional. She used a mix of in-class lectures, guest speakers, team-based simulations, and games to explain the concepts that no book could. Her quizzes and final exam were open-book, yet they ensured that the students had to read through the text to get familiarity with the concepts and then tie those back to each individual’s prior professional experience(s). She helped me immensely in my interview preparation by drawing parallels between my consulting experience and the service supply chain concepts I could highlight in my interviews. She played an indispensable role in my development through the MBA program and still is in great touch to make sure I continue making progress in the right direction.”
Deepal Singh Chhabra, Michigan State (Broad)
Ian D’Souza, New York University (Stern)
“At Stern, we have many professors who are intellectually stimulating, care for their students, and love teaching. My favorite professor would have to be Ian D’Souza. I took his New Venture Financing class in the fall on Thursday evenings. He brought so much energy to the three-hour class and created a very engaging environment with lots of student participation. He’s extremely knowledgeable and approachable. He scheduled insightful one-on-one mid-term feedback sessions with each of his 45 students to ensure we understood the material. He also used the time to casually chat and ask if there is anything he could assist with. I enjoyed his class so much that I enrolled in his Digital Currency and Blockchains course this semester.”
Melanie Gonzalez, New York University (Stern)
“There are many fantastic professors at Owen, but Professor Tim Vogus is certainly a standout. He teaches Negotiations and Leading Teams & Organizations, both of which are excellent. His teaching style is equal parts hip-hop MC, stand-up comic, and “cool” dad. Professor Vogus has a unique ability to build meaningful relationships with students. And he excels at highlighting the practical applications of class concepts. I feel like I always walk away from Professor Vogus’ classes with a new tool in my toolkit.”
Daniel Cortez, Vanderbilt University (Owen)
“Xavier BOUTE – I did not have a statistics background and Professor Xavier BOUTE’s stats class was foundational to the improvement of my quantitative skills during my MBA. He taught the basics of data collection, processing, and analysis in an incredibly engaging way while regularly soliciting structured feedback from the class and adjusting his teaching method accordingly.
I learned more, however, from my non-classroom interactions with Professor BOUTE. He remained on campus with students throughout the COVID-19 confinement and always attended the meetings between the student representatives and the school’s administration. He remained calm but encouraging and humorous. Early on he was concerned about burnout among the students and administrative staff and was direct in pushing everyone to take days off and find levity when the challenges of the pandemic seemed overwhelming. A retired French military officer, he redefined effective leadership for me, showing it could be both decisive but sensitive.”
Michael Venditto, HEC Paris
Alberto Ribera, IESE Business School
“Since I have to pick one, I would say it was Alberto Ribera; he taught me a course called Personality, Self-Leadership and Happiness. The course itself helped me further my personal development through reflection on my past experiences and behavior. The course isn’t for everyone; you have to be very open to reflect on yourself and must be willing to change. Part of the course is a very in-depth personality test and a discussion about the individual results with Alberto. He helped me revisit my past with an open mind in order to find what’s really important for me in my personal and professional life.
The pursuit of our own happiness is an important part of our life and a lot of people want to be happy, but they just don’t know how to do it. That’s why it is so important to practice contemplation because it helps us find what makes us happy, but we must also be willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that. And if you can do that with the professional help of Alberto, it’s even better. He is one of the kindest people that I know; always encouraging me and there to help in any way. I really enjoy catching up with him—over lunch, a coffee or just a quick conversation in the hallway—he always pushes me to set new goals for my self-development to become a better person.”
Christian Bopp, IESE Business School
“It is Professor Lee Pinkowitz, associate professor of finance. I had the opportunity to take classes with him both in-person and in a virtual setting. I can say with confidence that I was as engaged in the virtual learning experience as I was in his in-person course. He used several methods to keep us excited and involved in his course, from class discussions to interactive videos. He encouraged peer-to-peer collaboration through weekly assignments that were designed to be discussed among groups of students. He also gave weekly awards for the people who helped others the most, who asked an insightful question, or who shared relevant professional experiences related to the topic we were discussing in class. He also made himself available every day of the week for office hours to discuss any questions relating to the course and hosted casual virtual meetings, even on Saturdays, for people to join and just chat about anything that was on their mind. I will always be grateful to him for all the effort he put into making students feel understood and passionate about finance. His Valuation course was the most valuable academic experience, and it prepared me for my summer internship, where I had to apply many of the concepts I learned from him and his course.”
Juanita Pardo Varela, Georgetown University (McDonough)
Helen Moser, University of Minnesota (Carlson)
“I find the passion that professors radiate when they are teaching things that they are truly interested in to be highly infectious. No one better embodies enthusiasm for their field than Helen Moser, our introductory finance professor. She challenged us to push beyond the theoretical understanding of financial concepts and apply them to real-world problems, and her connections to her own experiences in business often proved to be some of the most insightful lessons. It was evident from day one that she loved her profession, and she was a big reason that I ended up focusing my MBA in finance.”
Samantha Clute, University of Minnesota (Carlson)
“My favorite professor was Ken Perlman, who teaches Designing High Performing Organizations. Ken curated an engaging classroom experience that featured case discussions and diverse speakers who made me think differently about how organizations can invest in people and reach their strategic goals. When the pandemic hit, Ken was able to create a thoughtful virtual experience that was still incredibly engaging and also provided students the time and space we needed to adjust to online learning. He dedicated time in every online class for students to check in with one another and share the highs and lows they were experiencing at the time. Ken modeled flexibility, genuine care, and empathy at a time when we needed that more than we knew.”
Asia Liza Morales, USC (Marshall)
“Professor Brian Frons (Content Creation) has been an amazing professor, resource, and mentor to me. Many of our professors are practitioners with expansive networks. Warm introductions are critical in the entertainment space, and Professor Frons has been tremendous in proactively sharing contacts, webinars, and more helpful resources. I am working on a television show idea, and Professor Frons has been willing to hear every half-baked pitch and tangent I come up with, offering constructive feedback and ways to improve the marketability of the product. He genuinely takes and implements the suggestions of his students on how to improve the online classroom experience, such as increasing the gender and racial diversity of guest speakers. I plan on keeping in touch with a few professors through my academic career, and Professor Frons’ interest in his students puts him at the top of my list.”
Parth Chauhan, UCLA (Anderson)
“It would be Professor Tom Steenburgh. Tom taught me Marketing in my first quarter at Darden; he made me fall in love with the subject and simultaneously highlighted why the case method is so effective. Prior to his course, I perceived that Marketing was a creative field that encouraged a free flow of ideas and imagination. While this is true, Tom, in his unique style of calm intensity, emphasized the importance of grounding our answers in evidence, data, and facts as opposed to preconceived notions or intuitions. As simple as it sounds, Tom’s class highlighted the importance of evidence-based thinking and is something I continue to practice and learn.”
Harsha Gummagatta, University of Virginia (Darden)
Rockney Walters, Indiana University (Kelley)
“Rockney Walters, or “Rock,” as students affectionately call him, is a professor of marketing. He is the rare professor who can make cold calling in class fun. In doing so, he gives voice to some classmates who are shyer or softer-spoken. Rock gives students nicknames, exhorts us to “price like surgeons not like lumberjacks,” and has his own cadre of abbreviations for his marketing tools (ZOPI, QEAT, PAET, etc.). Ultimately, Rock is a special combination of someone who cares deeply about his students, yet provides the deep expertise to prepare them for success. I directly applied one of his frameworks during my internship at DuPont, to the pleasure of senior leadership. It is no surprise that Rock has won over 35 teaching awards at Indiana University.”
Jake Frego, Indiana University (Kelley)
“Hossam Zeitoun is one of the most inspiring, interesting, and dedicated professors I have ever met. Hossam has a didactic and ingenious approach to teaching Strategic Thinking and made each class highly interactive and engaging! He made sure that all students were valued during the lesson, promoting unheard voices, online students, and different opinions. With an astute mastery of pedagogy, his classes incorporated debates, games, and theories to help us master difficult concepts and frameworks. Hossam puts diversity and inclusiveness at the heart of his work and paid particular attention to his class material, which included readings and case studies from varied countries and industries to reflect a plurality of ideologies and opinions. Seeing the real-world application of what we have learned, assimilating new knowledge and connecting the dots is a great feeling — and I want to share my gratitude with Hossam!”
Jeanne Roboh, Warwick Business School
Zeynep Tom, MIT (Sloan)
“My favorite professor at Sloan is Zeynep Ton, who teaches an operations strategy class called Management of Services: Concepts, Design, and Delivery. The class I took from her explored how to design and manage operations to create value for customers, employees, and investors simultaneously. I loved that the content of the course forced students to think about the role of front-line service employees, and appreciate how operational excellence is interdependent with a happy and motivated workforce. Professor Ton’s energy and passion came through even in the remote learning environment as we learned how to implement operational choices that create good jobs and long-term profitable enterprises.”
Olga Timirgalieva, MIT (Sloan)
“My favorite professor would have to be Professor Franklin Allen. He had such a command of his subject that no hypothetical scenario we conceived could stump him. Even the short squeeze on Game Stop was just another day. Sometimes, when a professor is highly knowledgeable in their area, they lose touch with basic concepts first-time learners may struggle to understand. Not Professor Allen. He expertly guided us all through the rough spots. I appreciated the way his courses were laid out from day one with notes, practice problems, textbook readings, and the lectures — all lining up perfectly to build the concepts cohesively. Even though the assigned case studies were infuriatingly difficult, it was clear to see the application they would have in the real world, and why it was vital we struggle in this supportive environment. My background is engineering, but I feel fully prepared for corporate finance.”
Luke Lindsay, Imperial College
“My favorite professor is Juliana Schroeder who teaches Negotiations & Conflict Resolution. Despite the virtual setting, the course was very practical in providing us with frameworks for tackling different real-life negotiation scenarios, from asking for a job promotion to multi-stakeholder negotiations within a global company and the cross-cultural friction involved. Juliana truly cares about her students and provides insightful feedback by offering one-on-one consultations to negotiate job offers. In my case, she also supported me with a strategy to handle the negotiation with a complicated tenant at my apartment in Lima.”
David Bolívar, UC Berkeley (Haas)
Lance Young, University of Washington (Foster)
“This is a really tough one, but I have to go with Lance Young. Lance’s passion for teaching is immediately evident when you take one of his finance classes. He brings an energy to the classroom that pulls you in and his primary concern is your level of understanding. He is quick to offer alternative examples and pivot his method of explaining key concepts when he can tell you aren’t getting the key point. Lance also ensures that students learn from each other by cold calling to facilitate open discussions, but in a way that never makes you feel on the spot or at risk of embarrassing yourself. His emphasis on teaching the strategy behind financial decisions and evaluations connects classroom concepts in applicable ways that are valuable. regardless of whether your future focus is finance or not.”
Brian Wright, University of Washington (Foster)
“Frank Rothaermel’s strategy core class really stands out to me because that was a pivotal moment in unlocking the big picture thinking you come to a top business school to learn. I come from a non-traditional background and therefore did not have a great deal of experience analyzing how interconnected the activities of a firm need to be to be successful. It was cool to go from a Porter’s Five Forces neophyte to intelligently discussing strategic initiatives with my incredibly talented classmates.”
Marcus Harmon, Georgia Tech (Scheller)
“I won’t be the first Owen student – and probably not the last – to answer that I can’t imagine my experience at Owen without Professor Brian McCann. As both an Owen graduate himself, and the well-deserved winner of many teaching awards at the school, he embodies what we strive for at the school: being both sharp thinkers and highly collaborative team players. In addition to his highly popular (and not easy) classes, Brian devotes his time to Owen and its students by leading and advising on a variety of fronts outside of the classroom. Personally, I was lucky to develop a friendship with Brian through his role as faculty advisor for the Owen Strategy and Consulting Club (OSCC), when we had to adapt many of our existing processes and events for a virtual setting. I also appreciated his interest and support during the re-launch of Owen Board Fellows. Whenever I work with Brian, I know I will be both challenged to think critically and supported by him fully – a combination that can be rare and yet is so valuable for MBA students looking to learn and grow.”
Kaitlyn Barrett Wilson, Vanderbilt University (Owen)
“I definitely have a few, but Professor Rick Desai had a particularly large impact on my personal and professional growth. Rick was my teacher for New Venture Development, a class that helps startup teams focus on testing and validating product-market fit. In the early stages of developing a company, it is easy to worry about providing the perfect solution or perfect experience to your customers. Being a perfectionist, this was particularly hard for me. Rick has really pushed my team and I to think critically, not worry about insignificant details, and continuously test our hypotheses and iterate on them after we learn.
I have a quote that he said in class written on a sticky note next to my monitor that consistently grounds me and has really helped propel my startup, Cravosity, forward: “If you figure out how to deliver value, you can always figure out how to scale, make money, and perfect the technology”. By being vulnerable and sharing his own mistakes, as well as being so available to meet with us for office hours, I’ve really learned so much that I will not only apply to Cravosity, but also carry with me throughout my professional and personal life long-term. Thank you, Rick!”
Malvi Hemani, Northwestern University (Kellogg)
“Professor John Joseph is one of my favorite professors. He is very knowledgeable, competent, charismatic, approachable, and committed to helping students. One example I will always remember vividly was getting his help during our intensive case competition. After we sent him our case competition deliverable draft around 3 am, I received a text three hours later: “Lucio, please call”. I realized he noticed part of our financial model was not in the right direction. He was genuinely concerned with the limited remaining time we had to correct the work. During the process, he went the extra mile to introduce us to his network of expertise. His dedicated commitment and willingness to help students was invaluable in my MBA learning journey.”
Lucio Chen, UC Irvine (Merage)
KInda Hachem, University of Virginia (Darden)
“My favorite professor so far is Kinda Hachem, who taught Global Economic Markets during first-year. To be honest, I am not an economics person at all – but Kinda’s teaching style made the class absolutely riveting. She is not afraid of contradiction and embraces debate in the class. She has a knack for distilling complex economic theory into digestible anecdotes and metaphors that bring the entire class to communal understanding without oversimplifying the richness of the topic. And with her dry and witty manner, you’d be hard pressed to make it through a class without at least a few laughs, which is doubly impressive given the density of the subject matter!”
Katie Cech, University of Virginia (Darden)
“Professor Rodrigo Manero. Professor Manero came into a difficult situation when he started teaching at IE. Unlike a more specialized graduate degree, the MBA is a general degree. This meant our financial markets class had a wide variety of skill levels in it. Add to this, as a native Spanish speaker, he was teaching in his second language. In the first few weeks of class, many of the students were lost. Many professors would have shrugged and continued on, but Professor Manero did not. He listened empathetically to each student’s concerns and immediately implemented strategies to improve their experience. Despite the difficulties, he never wavered in his patience and kindness with the class, even going so far as to hide a heartfelt goodbye message to us in our final class’ notes. For me personally, he taught me many things outside of the financial markets curriculum: he modeled grace in the face of difficulty. He showed perseverance and empathy. Above all, he was endlessly kind. He offered kindness to those who offered none to him in return. Lastly, he showed kindness and faith in me and my abilities that I didn’t see in myself. I believe that a lot of the learning you do in an MBA is not necessarily in the curriculum and Professor Manero made that happen for me.”
Christina Gohl, IE Business School
“Drew Pascarella, Associate Dean. Drew runs the Investment Banking Immersion in a way that can be best described as a bootcamp for bankers. Rather than completing old case studies, each week we would complete a model or presentation based upon a real company and would present it to the class. Each of your decks is marked up with the same comments you would see from your senior team members over the summer. Drew also goes above-and-beyond by tailoring the material to market conditions, switching the curriculum to better reflect the market after the pandemic took off last spring. The material is so relevant to your work as an associate in investment banking that my summer internship felt like a direct extension of the immersion.”
Lawrence Nault, Cornell Johnson (Johnson)
Elise Boyas, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)
“I have met many wonderful professors throughout my MBA journey, but I believe the one professor that had the most significant impact on me was Elise Boyas. I only took one prior accounting course in my life, and it was not a positive experience. I did not enjoy nor understand the subject matter. Though I was hoping it would be different this time around, I was confident that this would not be a class I would relish.
However, Elise Boyas proved me wrong almost immediately. On the first day of class, she had so much energy, all I could think about is how a professor can be this excited about accounting? Throughout the course of the semester, she changed my entire perspective on accounting. It wasn’t as boring as I thought and was, in fact, quite fascinating. Even though I struggled at times throughout the course, I learned a great deal of critical skills that I use even to this day. This sentiment would never have arisen without Elise dedicating her time and energy to making sure I understood and truly learned the material. Elise instilled confidence in me when I did not have it in myself. She was the professor that I could always count on to be in my corner when I felt that I could not push further.
A testament to her passion for her students can be seen in the fact that, even after taking Elise’s course, she was always invested in my success. She gave great advice that helped my team with coming up with our winning solution for our Key Bank Case Competition and would routinely email me to check in with progress throughout the program. While there were other incredible professors during my time, Elise stood above the rest with a passion and enthusiasm for her students that have, and likely will remain, unrivaled. But I would be remiss if I did not give Professor Prakash Mirchandani a quick shout out for always being such a great resource and always willing to help me anytime I needed.”
Bianca Joi Payton, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)