Behind every great student is a great teacher. At business school, you’ll find some of the world’s most committed and consummate professors. That was the consensus of the Class of 2015’s Best-and-Brightest MBAs.
As part of Poets&Quants’ effort honor this year’s top MBAs, we asked these students to share who their favorite professor was – and why. As you’d expect, there is no set formula for what makes certain professors great. However, the Class of 2015 identified some qualities that differentiated the most memorable teachers.
PASSION, EXPERIENCE, INGENUITY AND CARING CREATE TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES
And passion – for both their discipline and students – was heavily cited. Marc Lipson, a finance professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, epitomizes passion according to Derek Rey, a marine captain-turned-Barclays investment banker. “Through his teaching and facilitating of the case method, I learned not only the foundations of finance but also how to apply finance to solve business problems and make management decisions. Marc truly has a passion for teaching, and it shows every day both inside and outside the classroom. He is truly dedicated to equipping Darden MBA’s with the confidence and tools they need to make business decisions in the real world.”
However, it is this passion, coupled with their experience and ingenuity, that makes certain professors so special. For MIT Sloan’s Liat Kaver, Scott Stern was the total package as a faculty member. “At Sloan, I experienced and benefited from his high passion and vast knowledge about entrepreneurial strategy and his eagerness to develop new and innovative content for this area. He leads very interesting discussions by bringing his strong professional experience to the lectures and, last but not least, he profoundly cares about the students.”
Indeed, caring is the natural result of the passion, inventiveness, and flexibility that marks the best business professors. At Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, John Krajicek takes it a step further. According to Robyn Peters, Krajicek is a transformative teacher who puts his students first and pushes them to become far better than when they started. “…he does so much more than impart knowledge to his students,” Peters writes. “Professor Krajicek transforms students from awkward ducklings with mediocre writing, slide creation and presentation skills into critical thinkers who can deliver a succinct message through any form of communication. What’s more, he’s also an amazing mentor, friend and avid musician who finds joy in inspiring students through all facets of his super-cool life.”
The professors who helped mold this year’s best-and-brightest MBAs were entertainers who grabbed (and held) their students’ attention; storytellers who made lessons clear and personal; counselors who were always available to help; and inspirations who raised students’ expectations for themselves – and the world around them. Audrey Horn, a 2015 MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, probably paid Wally Hopp, her operations professor, the ultimate compliment when she wrote that he had “changed my perspective on how I see the world.” That’s what the great teachers do: Like any executive, they show their underlings how to learn and lead through their example. By reaching MBAs – the future executives, entrepreneurs, and educators – they spread their legacy far beyond campus.
Here are many of the other b-school teachers who left their mark with the Class of 2015:
“David Juran was my Applied Regressions professor. He is my favorite because he knows how to make a complex (and at times dry) subject very entertaining and applicable to everyday life. The skills I learned in his course have aided me in all three of my internships, and he always makes himself available when I call him for support with specific business related issues. He offers a “lifetime warranty” on his lessons, and thus far he has most certainly delivered.” – George Wilson / Columbia Business School
“Samina Karim is a Strategy professor, and among the most gifted lecturers and practitioners I have had. She sets herself apart with her ability to convert her extensive expertise and knowledge into salient and easily digestible points, which she effectively delivers to her students.” – Blair Merlino / Boston University, Questrom School of Business