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World’s Best B-School Professors: Michael Porter

Harvard’s Michael Porter is arguably the most influential business school professor of his generation

Michael E. Porter

Harvard Business School

Claim to Fame: The father of competitive strategy

Age: 64

Education: Harvard University, PhD, Business Economics

Harvard Business School, MBA

At HBS Since: 1973

Before HBS: Received a B.S.E. with high honors in aerospace and mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1969

Fun Fact: I am a strategic advisor to the Boston Red Sox

If I wasn’t teaching, my dream job would be: Professional golfer

Best part of the job: Getting to meet new, talented, young people every year

Worst part of the job: Having to go to sleep!

Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School has an unmatched ability to breathe life into business thinking centered on competitive strategy. To this end, he is generally known as the father of modern strategy. He is the number one expert on the application of competitive principles and is known for his work on the competitiveness of countries and regions as well as competitiveness in social problems such as healthcare, the environment, and corporate responsibility.

Porter joined Harvard Business School in 1973. Thirty eight years later, he is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor. In addition to his possession of the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Harvard professor (a university professorship) Porter’s work has directly influenced not just the curricula at HBS, but business schools worldwide. His mere ideas have generated new competitive strategy courses on campuses around the globe. In 2001, Harvard University and Harvard Business School saw it fit to create an official center dedicated to furthering the work done by Professor Porter and jointly created the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness.

Porter has written more than 125 academic articles and has authored 18 books. His book, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, is on its 63rd edition and has been translated into 19 languages. His second major strategy book, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, was published in 1985 and is in its 38th printing.