World’s Best B-School Professors: Thomas Davenport

Former head of Accenture’s research center, Babson’s Thomas Davenport is a leading authority on business analytics and one of the world’s best business school profs

Thomas Davenport
Babson College

Claim to Fame: Business Analytics Guru

Age: 56

Education:

Harvard University, PhD, Business
Harvard University, PhD, Sociology
Harvard University, MA, Sociology
Trinity University, BA, Sociology

At Babson Since: 2002

Before Babson: Headed research center at Accenture, professor at University of Texas, headed research center at Ernst & Young, visiting professor at Tuck School of Business

Fun Fact: I once consumed 18 jalapeno peppers in one minute to win a t-shirt

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: Venture capitalist

Best part of the job: The research and writing

Worst part of the job: Expectation to serve on faculty committees

You could say Tom Davenport is the godfather of business analytics. What seems to be an emerging trend in business strategy has been at the forefront of Davenport’s research for more than a decade. He has mastered both the art and science of taking consumer information and transforming it into analytical data used for strategic decision making in business.

At Babson, where he holds the President’s Chair in Information Technology and Management, he teaches MBAs how to master information management. As a highly sought after consultant in the business world, he coaches executives on how to make better choices by putting analytics to good use. Adding to his work as a professor, consultant, and renowned speaker, Davenport has authored and co-authored thirteen books. He is credited with writing the first books ever written about knowledge management.

Davenport’s accolades outside of the classroom are many and diverse. One of his recent books, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning, was instantly deemed a best-seller and has been translated into 14 languages. In 2003, he was named one of the top 25 consultants in the world; in 2005 he was rated the third most influential business and technology analyst in the world; and in 2007 he was the ranked the number one business academic in a listing of 100 most influential people in the IT industry.

Students Say:

“Tom is a wonderful professor. He makes the subject of IT both accessible and enjoyable, and in my experience leads us to the distinction that IT is not a strategy, but merely a tool in support of one. Through primary research, case studies, articles and life experience, Tom creates an incredibly lively and engaging classroom environment and like most excellent teachers – he listens to his students, values their point-of-view and truly cares. Even after graduation, Tom continues to engage and for that I am grateful.” — Michael Simons – Babson MBA ’06

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