World’s 50 Best Business School Professors

by Andrea Carter on

A great teacher, it has been said, is like a candle. It consumes itself to light the way for others.

That’s an incredibly apt description for these 50 business school professors chosen by Poets&Quants as the world’s best. Most of these extraordinary teachers, chosen by their schools and their students, are long time legends in the academic community.

They’ve withstood the tests of time, taught through bear markets and bull markets, and have consistently taught life changing lessons to MBA students year after year. In some cases, decade after decade. And they are not merely great teachers—they are great faculty members, masters in both the classroom and in cutting edge research.

SOME 12 OUT OF THE 50 BEST PROFESSORS ARE WOMEN

The list includes famous superstar professors, such as Harvard’s Clayton Christensen, Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel and Stanford’s Jeffrey Pfeffer, as well as faculty little known outside their schools or fields of study, such as operations maven Michael Trick at Carnegie Mellon or finance expert Dana Muir at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Some 12 of the 50 are women, while nine are Indian, including Dartmouth’s Vijay Govindarajan, the innovation guru at the Tuck School, and NYU’s Aswath Damodaran, the self-effacing master of finance at the Stern School.

They often bring novel approaches to both research and teaching. Peter Ubel, who teaches health care management at Duke University’s Fuqua School, once recruited students to ride up and down in hospital elevators to listen in on conversations. They overheard all kinds of hospital employees making completely inappropriate remarks. That study was covered by media all over the world. Babson College’s Candida Brush, obsessive in her love for the game of golf, frequently uses the game as a metaphor for teaching business and entrepreneurship. “Things like focus, follow through, and flexibility are all skills that apply to the golf course, the classroom, and the office,” she says.

If they weren’t teachers, their “dream jobs” would include a wide variety of professional options. Myles Shaver, an extraordinary strategy professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, would imagine himself the host of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Sharon Oster, the former dean of Yale University’s School of Business, would ideally be a comedianne. Berkeley’s Atif Mian would trade his expertise in finance to become a molecular biologist. And then, there are a few with a clear sports bent: Peter Morici, an economics professor at the University of Maryland’s Smith School, dreams of being the owner of the New York Giants. NYU’s Aswath Damodaran imagines himself in the lineup for the New York Yankees’ as Derek Jeter’s successor at shortstop.

What most motivates these top professors is an intellectual curiosity fueled by tremendous passion. To Charles Calomiris at Columbia Business School, the best part of being a business school professor is having “the freedom to think for myself and express those thoughts as I please.” To Sridhar Balasubramanian, or Dr. B for short, at North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, being a business academic means “being paid to think, and to shape minds and lives.”

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  • JAW

    I had Peter Morici as a teacher for undergrad…most self-absorbed and egotistical person I have ever met and one of the worst teachers I had over my 4 years of college. Everyone in his class got an A and he taught nothing but made us watch his TV clips for an hour.

    Joke of a man

  • Lucas D’Alessandro

    Andrea: I found one mistake. Adam Galinsky is now part of Columbia Business School. Cheers!

  • Editor

    Quick correction – Balasubramanian teaches at Kenan-Flagler not Bahsubrama

  • Rngr

    Correction: It should be “America’s best professors with a few london profs together list”..oh I forget! America IS the world…damn me! how could I forget that?

  • John

    No Zeynep Ton from MIT on here? This list now has no credibility.

  • 80%Poet20%Quant

    The fact that Scott Neslin of Tuck is not on this list is a tragedy. He’s a luminary in the fields of sales promotions and database marketing – he practically invented them – and a wonderful teacher & mentor.

  • Daniel

    This list has little credibility. I’m a Booth second year student, and although Goolsbee and Rajan are really good professors, there are at least 8 other professors than are ranked above them in the professors evaluations that students have to fill after every class, such as Schrager, Kaplan, Deutsch, Murphy, Hurst, etc.

  • WSoxFan77

    Booth EMBA here and have to agree with you. In my opinion, Steven Kaplan is the best professor at Booth, a school renowned for finance. This list is made of people who are popular / known in the media. Although, there are some names like Damodaran, Porter, Christensen, etc. that are universally acknowledged as some of the best professors in the country.

  • JohnAByrne

    Daniel,

    The list isn’t of the best business school teachers, but the best professors overall. So we sought to find professors who were at the top of their game in both teaching and scholarly research. That’s why student evaluations of teaching won’t fully capture what we were aiming for in this story.

  • NZ

    No Gary Hamel? No Phanish Puranam? No Andrew Scott? No Richard Portes? mmmm…..

  • http://www.mobilehere.tumblr.com/ Dan Kahn

    Gotta agree with some of the comments here. This list seems like a trailing indicator (who were the best professors of the past 20 years) as opposed to who are the best professors right now.

    For my money, the best professors at Wharton (at least for innovation and entrepreneurship) are Karl Ulrich, David Wessels, Pete Fader, and Kartik Hosanagar. Alex Edmans (Finance), Peggy Bishop Lane (Accounting), and Nicolaj Siggelkow (Strategy) are also professors doing a great job teaching in the core. All of these professors are actively producing academic work and helping build great companies for the future…

  • Daniel

    John,

    There are Nobel prizes at Booth that are really good professors, at par or even better than professors like Goolsbee. However, Goolsbee appears a lot in the media.
    Rajan, great professor, is also in media all the time. He has done some research too, but cannot compare with that of Murphy, Becker, Fogel, and others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angel-Romero/100000980715464 Angel Romero

    Jochen Wirtz, Head of NUS UCLA EMBA is the most self-absorbed and egotistical person on the face of the earth.

  • Jeff

    FYI, Ron Wilcox is a part of Darden’s Marketing department, not Finance. Also, VERY surprised Ed Freeman, one of the founders of stakeholder theory, is not included on this list.

  • CatoDevil

    At Fuqua – John Graham and Doug Breeden are excellent as well and should be on the list.

  • Misty Johnson

    http://wp.me/p2V1T3-3
    UCLA NUS Executive MBA Program Jochen Wirtz Academic Director Abusive Egomaniac Overpaid Fraud

  • Melanie G

    Thanks for this. I was looking into this program and this has made me reevaluate the issue.

  • Giraffe

    Why only the best at top recognized B schools? Why not the various smaller liberal arts or even some state schools have fantastic professors. I am tired of the biased stories that keep perpetuating the false myth that keep favoring the perceived same top schools when in reality there are many schools that produce great results and even very good research.

  • AugustineThomas

    Europe is free to stop committing population and cultural suicide and start contributing to the world again in its own right whenever it wants to.. (If nothing else, it would be great for it to stop enticing America down the cultural toilet!)

  • AugustineThomas

    Nobel prize recipients are often mediocre at best and are just as likely to be more pleasing to the judges than important to the world.

  • AugustineThomas

    Quit being such a modern brat. Just because your favorite isn’t on there doesn’t mean the list is worthless.

  • AugustineThomas

    I have to point out that everyone who is badmouthing the list seems to just be upset that their favorites didn’t make it..

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