Favorite Professors Of The MBA Class Of 2019

University of Michigan’s Gautam Kaul

Gautam Kaul, or “G”, is the founding professor and advisor of Michigan’s Social Venture Fund. His pure joy for learning and finance paired with his hands-off teaching style make him unique among the professors I have had. He taught me first that “Finance is love” and to appreciate and understand the power of finance as an organizational way of thought necessary to understand many concepts that our linear brains do not intuitively comprehend. Gautam also managed to teach me real options – and anyone that can do that deserves all of the praise.”
Nathan Stevens, University of Michigan (Ross)

Bill Turpin is probably the world’s busiest man. He not only teaches the Special Topics in Finance course, but he is also the current President and CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center in Columbia, Missouri. In addition to that, he is the founding CEO of four startups and was even part of the Netscape IPO in 1995. Beyond his impressive resume, I consider him a great professor because he not only challenges the status quo but is constantly suggesting ways to improve systems, processes, and companies. He is pragmatic and humble and his insights on startups were extremely useful in understanding the logic behind seed funding and company valuations. I am grateful to have had him as a professor and as a mentor.”
Orvil Savery, University of Missouri (Trulaske)

Charles Corbett, hands down. Charles teaches the foundational Operations Management class and is consistently one of the students’ favorite professors. He is the only professor to know the name and background of every student in his classes before the first day of class and, thus, is able to engage students in unique and thoughtful ways. He is extremely encouraging, always open to suggestions and adjusts his teaching style to what works best for his classes. He also researches a topic I’m personally passionate about: the intersection of sustainability and operations. He founded the Leaders in Sustainability graduate certificate program, of which I’m a part. I’ve been lucky to be able to chat with Charles and just talk about sustainability and also gain insightful advice on my career path.”
Jennifer Bae, UCLA (Anderson)

Rice University’s Utpal Dholakia

“My favorite MBA professor at Rice University was Utpal Dholakia, our core marketing professor. Whether it’s the sciences or business, I really respect professors when they are passionate about what they are teaching and truly care to imprint their knowledge on their students. Utpal is one of the most unique professors I have ever had. He is passionate about marketing and pricing while being an effective professor. He really looked for effort and substance in his assignments and classwork. Coming from a technical background where learning came from lectures and solving problems using theorems, I appreciated his unconventional teaching style. Being a true master of case method teaching, something completely new to me, Dholakia’s material caught my attention and I learned a lot without even realizing. All in all, he was a fantastic marketing professor, always made himself available to students, genuinely welcomed students to talk about his subject matter, and gave additional resources to learn more outside the classroom. A fun tidbit: We did a case on Chateau Margaux and it has changed the way I look at wine. It was after that case I truly understood how important branding can be in addition to the actual product. A goal in life is to one day be able to afford and drink Chateau Margaux in honor of Utpal.”
Swati Patel, Rice University (Jones)

“Professor Ron Adner has truly changed my perception of strategy, especially as it relates to adoption in an ecosystem. He has the effective combination of being hyper-intelligent in his subject matter, while also delivering his content in an engaging and digestible fashion. Beyond that, what I find most admirable is the tremendous investment of time and effort Professor Adner puts into preparing for each class. He is completely dedicated to his craft. He enters every conversation with students, both in and out of the classroom, with a lean-forward approach that adds value to each of these engagements.”
Marcus Morgan, Dartmouth (Tuck)

Professor Jeff Sampler. I learned a lot from him. His teachings, sense of humor, and unique style allowed me to have a better understanding of technology and its impact on people, firms and industry. They are lessons, that until this day I continue to use. I was so engaged during his class that I later found a great complementary to his teaching and mindset: Stratechery.com. There is no day that goes by without reading it. However what I enjoyed most were his stories, and adventures around India. He taught us to keep a curious mindset and dare to experiment. He shared experiences where his experiments would not go as he expected. However, they taught us that setbacks should not be a deterrent to not test and try out ideas. Despite being a professor of Strategy in Digital Business, he was focused on providing us lessons on how to be a better leader. Professor Sampler shaped my way of viewing technology, which I am sure will endure for many years to come.”
Pablo Che León Sarmiento, CEIBS

Cornell University’s Vishal Gaur

“My favorite MBA professor is Associate Dean Vishal Gaur. In addition to teaching us the mechanics of retail operations, we see his passion for getting us engaged through his use of fun facts, relevant projects and cases, and luncheons with guest speakers. Furthermore, he uses his classroom as a platform for diverse business leaders. One example was a female entrepreneur who spoke with us, whose perspective and experience are both inspiring and refreshing.”
Christina Chan, Cornell University (Johnson)

“My favorite professor was Rajshri Jayaraman, a badass economist with a Ph.D. from Cornell and an MA from Yale, who taught us the electives on data analytics and business experiments. She takes her responsibility to educate very seriously and goes far beyond the borders of her subjects. She uses her platform as a professor of quantitative methods to bring to class analyses of subjects that matter to society right now – What can data tell us about the gender pay gap? What types of voluntary support can actually effect change in elections? – and in this way, she reinforces the connection between science, policy, and politics. The relevance of such an effort in this day and age is immeasurable.”
Larissa Reinprecht, ESMT Berlin

Manuel Sosa. I’ve been fortunate to have many excellent professors and courses at IESE, but Manuel Sosa’s approach to teaching Creative Thinking was my favorite. Creative Thinking is a challenging course to teach because it requires students to question and re-examine many of the structures and ways of thinking that we have formed throughout our entire professional careers. Manuel was a charismatic, engaging, thoughtful professor who brought relevant real-world examples and dynamic hands-on activities to the classroom to help students grasp what were often opaque concepts. Highlights of the course included an excursion to Barcelona’s La Boqueria market to ideate new products for visitors to the market; redesigning the classic VHS tape for cost; and discovering new ways to think about a basic candy bar. Manuel taught us to perceive everyday objects and challenges through a different lens and turn these insights into novel ideas.”
Tom Kittredge, IESE Business School

“My favorite MBA professor is Dr. Philip Podsakoff, who taught us our Developing Leadership Skills class. Dr. Podsakoff is one of those rare professors who is able to lecture for nearly two hours but still maintain every single student’s attention. The way that Dr. Podsakoff was able to blend scientific research with real-world examples resonated with me as a scientist and deepened my understanding of the material. His exams were not about rote memorization; rather, he would provide real situations from business executives with whom he has worked and ask us to supply evidence-based recommendations based on the class material. Dr. Podsakoff’s engaging teaching style and genuine concern for students’ learning is what makes him my favorite MBA professor.”
Nicolas Ramos, University of Florida (Warrington)

Georgetown University’s Melissa Bradley

“There is one who stands out: Melissa Bradley. She has a zeal in the classroom and commitment to a greater impact outside of the classroom. Professor Bradley challenges us to take everything we have learned throughout the program and apply them to solve some of the world’s hardest problems. She represents Georgetown’s commitment to taking care of the whole person while upholding McDonough’s reputation of academic rigor.”
Ximena Gonzalez Rojas, Georgetown University (McDonough)

“I have never met a more dedicated, engaging, and inspiring professor than Richard Hendler, who taught my Business Law class. I came to Stern to immerse my business in the classroom and apply academic learnings to practical scenarios in my startup. And thanks to Professor Hendler (a.k.a Rich), I was able to do just that. He guided me, both in class and one-on-one, on legal matters such as incorporation procedure, founders’ agreements, hiring, fundraising, and business registration.”
Lia Winograd, New York University (Stern)

“I feel privileged to have attended lectures from some of the most intellectual minds and subject experts of their field. However, the module that I have enjoyed the most thus far is Managing in a New World, which is led by Professor John Colley. The energy and deep insights that John brings to his lectures are immeasurable. He blends his teachings with case studies and substantiates theories and concepts with industry experiences. He is also very personable and makes an attempt to know each students’ strengths and opportunities. Not only does he bring his own industry experience to his lectures, he also encourages radical thinking and brainstorming from students alike. His authenticity lies in his comfort to acknowledge the limitations of a given theory and to accepting an approach never thought of before.”
Sandhya Ramula, Warwick Business School