Favorite MBA Professors Of The Class of 2020

Stanford GSB’s Rob Siegel

“My favorite MBA professor is Rob Siegel. Every class, he challenges students to evaluate their assumptions, defend their positions, and consider the implications of their proposed consequential actions. Siegel has a combination of knowledge, wit, and humor that makes for lively discussions with students and our guests. He is a professor that I will never tire of, and who I recommend to my peers in a heartbeat — Siegel currently teaches five classes at the GSB and I will be lucky to have taken most of them by graduation.”
Phillipe Diego Rodriguez, Stanford GSB

Joel Goh (Assistant Professor, Operations & Analytics, NUS Business School) is my favorite. If a certain lecture (where NO laptop or phone is allowed) makes you want to jump out of bed on a Monday morning and leaves you wanting more at the end of it, there has to be something about the way the professor is delivering his lesson. From giving everyone ample chances to participate in class and providing constructive feedback for the quality of responses to inspiring us with compelling anecdotes from his Ph.D. days at Stanford, Professor Goh made us think from the otherwise rusted corners of our brain. What particularly resonated with me was how he’d tie up the round-up summary of every case to something real and relatable, something that would force us to reflect and hope to do better in the future.”
Shikha Malhotra, National University of Singapore

“During my time at WashU Olin, my favorite professor was Peter Boumgarden. He taught Power and Politics, which opened my eyes to the dynamics of leadership and the tools to ascend in a company. Professor Boumgarden facilitated several tough conversations that highlighted the complexities of leadership. As I navigate professional and educational environments, I frequently analyze the network dynamics of an organization. Understanding the levers of influence and informal relationships helped me understand the rationale behind some decisions and determine how I can convert my ideas into tangible impact in an organization. Professor Boumgarden’s teaching has stimulated heightened introspection and flexibility in the constant exercise of becoming a better leader.”
Rebecca Matey, Washington University (Olin)

“It would be Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Shreevardhan Lele (known to us as Dr. Lele), who teaches Data-Driven Decision Making, Games of Strategy and Incentives, and our Integrative Capstone. Dr. Lele was pivotal in my development during business school, not only through his teachings of best practices in today’s business environment but also through his unrelenting commitment to the students outside of the classroom. Dr. Lele is a permanent fixture in all student-led initiatives and events as well as student feedback sessions designed to improve the quality of the MBA curriculum. Through his extensive research experience spanning nearly 30 years, friendly demeanor, and simple approach to highly sophisticated pedagogical frameworks, he encouraged a deeper and more holistic level of analysis and critical thinking addressing many of the trivial aspects of the market and business. Dr. Lele never shied away from providing me with insightful feedback or easier explanations to truly grasp the difficult concepts in Game Theory or Capstone. He was always accessible for coffee or lunch and spoke candidly about his beliefs and disagreements with theoretical frameworks inside the classroom and flawed strategies outside the classroom. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to interact with and be taught by Dr. Lele during my MBA career.”
Erick De Jesus Loyo, University of Maryland (Smith)

UCLA Anderson’s Cassie Mogilner Holmes

“This winter, I took a class called Applying the Science of Happiness to Life Design with Professor Cassie Mogilner Holmes. The course is focused primarily around her own research into what makes people happy, what neurological habits and heuristics detract from our happiness, and how we can use that knowledge to drive how we make decisions and spend our time most effectively. The academics are fascinating, but the applications of the material are quite literally life-changing. Professor Holmes has such a unique style – she’s intensely smart but so warm-hearted and endearing that it felt like I was learning from one of my best friends. She has a casual, conversational lecture style that is so authentic and non-performative. And she allowed me to get course credit by learning how to make myself happier! What more could you ask for from a professor?”
Ezra Glenn, UCLA Anderson

Ken Pucker, the former long-time COO of Timberland and an Advisory Director with Berkshire Partners, has forever influenced the way I think of business decisions and their unintended consequences through his Leading Sustainable Enterprises class. His class challenged the students to apply systems thinking to business contexts: the way a simple business decision in one country could potentially kick off an environmental catastrophe someplace across the globe. He ensured we were not just passive consumers of information: we would kick off the class with a discussion of news items and their interpretation through the systems framework. With Professor Pucker’s guidance, we dug deep into the meaning of sustainability and how we could embark on careers of purpose with a focus on sustainable leadership.”
Nari Malkhasyan, Boston University (Questrom)

“It is a well-worn maxim here that students need to take a “Lance Class,” that is, one of the finance electives taught by Professor Lance Young. I am currently taking Lance’s Mergers & Acquisitions course and cannot agree more. In addition to deep dives into spreadsheet valuation models, Lance’s approach is holistic: Each case begins with an exhaustive strategic discussion focused on where the acquirer and target company sit in relation to competitors and the capital markets and, most importantly, who has the relative power to act and why. The course has become a capstone for me, bringing together finance, accounting, strategy, marketing, and human capital into comprehensive valuation decisions.”
Adam Schmidt, University of Washington (Foster)

Lionel Paolella, University Lecturer in Strategy & Organisation, teaches the core Strategy course. Lionel knows each student by name and engages with everyone to make the class interactive and create a safe space for different points of view. He puts forward his point of view with wit and conviction, while always being amenable to change his mind. His pedagogical skill lies in striking the right balance of humour and breaking down complex strategy frameworks into smaller digestible parts.”
Guneet Malik, University of Cambridge (Judge)

Duke Fuqua’s Cathy Clark

“My favorite professor is Cathy Clark. Cathy is the Faculty Director of CASE and CASE i3 programs and teaches my favorite MBA class, Impact Investing. Cathy often invited guest speakers, several of whom were prominent characters in our assigned case readings, and the class greatly benefited from hearing the personal reflections of impact investors through small group discussions. Additionally, she leveraged her deep industry experience to draw meaningful insights and encourage inclusive classroom discussion. What I most appreciate about Cathy, however, is her willingness to go out of her way to assist students with an interest in impact investing professionally.”
Kevin Rahill, Duke University (Fuqua)

Hajo Adam. Professor Adam is passionate about Organizational Behavior and it showed through his teaching. He was a storyteller and had a way of engaging the class that made you forget that you were in a classroom. His lectures were always filled with discussions that showed you the research and data but then allowed you to make your own opinion. He never just gave you the “right” answer, he allowed you to arrive there on your own so that you remember it. The concepts he taught will be used throughout my career simply because he taught them effectively and he made it memorable.”
Doug Fiefia, Rice University (Jones)

Professor Tim Derdenger has had an immense impact on me in several areas. In the classroom, Professor Derdenger’s Technology Strategy pushed my thinking on how platforms create and capture value. His course also provided the opportunity to investigate foundational tech strategy cases and helped sharpen my analysis of the tech industry. In addition to his Tech Strategy course, Professor Derdenger has provided invaluable support for me in my Capstone course. Outside of the classroom, Professor Derdenger was the faculty advisor for the B&T Club. He helped moderate industry panel discussions we hosted each mini, as well as moderated a high-profile panel for the club’s Silicon Valley tech trek. On a more personal note, he made himself available to my board leaders and me to talk through club strategy and reach out to professors across campus. As a former teacher, I admire how much time, energy, and heart that Professor Derdenger puts into his work. He’s had an outsized impact on my MBA experience.”
David Baars, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

“It would be Professor Shameen Prashantham, who taught Entrepreneurial Management and The Globalization of Chinese Companies (Nanjing Module). As an expert in “Dancing with Gorillas” (how new ventures quickly scale up by partnering with multinationals), his teaching is always so insightful and well-organized and I gained many new perspectives for analyzing business. Moreover, Professor Shameen is very friendly and always cares about his students. During the three-day Nanjing module, he memorized all 27 students’ names and always calls us by name when he meets us on campus. During Indian Night (one of the biggest annual cultural events at CEIBS), he put on a great guitar performance dressed in traditional clothes.”
Shoko Ogasawara, CEIBS

Professor Ryan Hamilton. He convinced me that all of the business is marketing strategy and gave me three questions that I use to evaluate most decisions: Who is your customer? What do they value? How can you deliver that value better than the competition?”
Marnie Harris, Emory University (Goizueta)

Vanderbilt Owen’s Ranga Ramanujan

“This is a tough one because I have about four! Ranga Ramanujan is my favorite.  Even though our stint here in business school is short, he is always heavily involved in student programming and stretches himself to always say YES to things. Also, he teaches one of the most important classes at Owen, where we learn about leadership and have the opportunity to hear the various anecdotes about his experience as a leader. Finally, he isn’t afraid to say he doesn’t know the answer to something, which is a trait that is hard to find in someone so accomplished.”
Brittany Hunter, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

“My favorite MBA professor is Joseph Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning. Professor Hall is one of the highest caliber instructors I have ever had. In the classroom, he is knowledgeable, passionate, and engaging. He has incredible classroom management, holds students accountable, and sets a high but realistic standard. I value his disciplined approach and direct style, but I appreciate his sense of humility, fairness, and compassion even more. When I prepare for his class, I do so because I don’t want to let him down.

My classmates and I have had the fortune to see him assume an additional role this year as an administrator. He has expanded his outreach to the Tuck community beyond just the classroom and put his versatility on display. I see him engage and listen to the needs of students as he makes a consistent effort to be present. What he has done this year, along with many of the Tuck faculty and staff, is embody the wise leadership that we all aspire to.”
Brent Quimby, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

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