Favorite Professors Of The MBA Class Of 2022

Wharton superstar professor Adam Grant

“Many names come to my mind, but Adam Grant is one I will never forget. I had the opportunity to take my first course at Wharton (MGMT610: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership) with him, and he was memorable in three unique ways.

First, he knew the background of each of his students by heart. “Hey Jorge, can you talk about the stakeholder management challenges you faced during the post-merger integration of AT&T in Mexico?” Second, he was one of the most approachable professors I’ve ever had; he would even send to us a curated list of recommended psychology papers that could be useful for us based on the questions we asked during and after class, and he would do so in a tailored way: one-by-one to each student! Third, he had influential personal and professional connections, and he would often invite them to our classes. I will always remember when he brought Melody Hobson with her motto of being “color brave.” Adam Grant is simply off the charts!”
Jorge Cardenas, Wharton School

“My favorite professor is Leslie Chin, who teaches Interpersonal Dynamics, better known as “Touchy Feely.” Leslie is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I have ever met. Inside and outside the classroom, she is committed to helping her students grow personally and is always available for coaching and life advice. Leslie and her class, which is taught mostly in small, intimate group sessions, have helped me better understand who I am and how I affect others. I have learned how to communicate effectively, how to deal with conflicts, and how to express my emotions and feelings. Her class was a unique experience during my time at the GSB.”
Hannes Harnack, Stanford GSB

Jennifer Koski, University of Washington (Foster)

Michael Wall. He never strayed away from difficult conversations around ethics, purpose, and inclusion in marketing. Despite me entering the program with a disdain for the marketing space, his transparency and boldness around leveraging marketing for social good transformed my interest to the point where I am now officially platforming in product management marketing. His keen sense of purpose-driven professorship should serve as a lesson to us all about how to positively influence others through strong values and determination.”
Austin René Moulder, Washington University (Olin)

“There are so many professors I could choose, but I have to say Jennifer Koski was my favorite professor. She teaches Problems in Business Finance as an elective that I took my second year. I have always been a bit scared of finance and felt imposter syndrome in the room when talking to my classmates. Professor Koski’s passion for finance and her ability to break down cases so that anyone could follow along helped build the confidence I now have in the subject. After a year of virtual learning, it was refreshing to take her class as she was kind and engaging throughout the entire quarter, empowering students to participate throughout class.”
Sasha Duchin, University of Washington (Foster)

“Professor Rodrigo Canales. Professor Canales taught our core course, The Innovator. During the course, he very effectively modeled behaviors that have impacted my view of innovation and my approach to teaching. I saw how diligent he was with collecting data on the course experience from students after each class and incorporating those insights as we went along. This dedication to data collection and iteration — which he taught and modeled further — enabled me to understand the value of rapid, lean experimentation in heralding innovation and change. This is a powerful lesson that I’ll run with post-MBA!”
Kelechi Umoga, Yale School of Management

John M. de Figueiredo, my professor for Strategy Implementation this fall. There were a few challenges during this term that we waded through as a group. I was super impressed by his willingness to share vulnerabilities with us as a class and invite humility into the room. He did this by demonstrating his own humanity, thus opening the door to cultivate genuine connections. In addition, I loved his teaching style. We would have a case, as well as theory-based readings, for every class. Here, we would have at least one group presentation where teams would make a recommendation to the class based on the issues at hand in the case for that day. de Figueiredo held us accountable to high standards. He used these presentations as an opportunity to instruct us on what it looks like to make a presentation to a board of executives and finesse our presenting and question/answer skills. Throughout the discussions in class, he would always challenge anyone answering a question to defend their stance. I loved that he brought passion and energy to every single discussion, asked for feedback, and was personally invested in our growth, which he demonstrated by having high levels of engagement and accountability set as expectations for the class.”
Helen Elizabeth Old, Duke University (Fuqua)

“My favorite professor was Dr. Klodiana Lanaj, who is the professor for Developing Leadership Skills. Like most MBA-level leadership courses, Dr. Lanaj’s course presented data regarding the most updated research on leadership styles; however, Dr. Lanaj’s distinguished her course by persistently challenging us to develop our own unique leadership styles through inner reflection of past leadership experiences. While initially uncomfortable, Dr. Lanaj initiated conversations through small, intimate group discussions and reflection papers which challenged students to share instances of both positive and negative leadership experiences. The collaborative and supportive environment created by Dr. Lanaj encouraged students to express vulnerability with their peers, which contributed to the overall learning experience.”
Ryan Gilbert, University of Florida (Hough)

Rachelle Sampson, University of Maryland (Smith)

“During my first semester in my first year of the program, our economics professor Dr. Rachelle Sampson had an incredibly positive and profound impact on me. For some, the prospect of waking up early to simply to roll out of bed and get onto a Zoom lecture might not seem very enticing. But with Dr. Sampson, this was absolutely not the case. In fact, it was quite the opposite: learning about economics and public policy in her “Managerial Economics and Public Policy” class at 10 a.m. could not have been more exciting. The way she seamlessly linked topics together and connected concepts to current events helped me to effectively learn the course material and understand the enormity of their impacts. Her focus on long-term, sustainable profitability of firms and her passion for ESG integration into corporate strategy also helped me to conceptualize my short-term and long-term career goals. When she asked if I would be a Teaching Assistant (TA) for this class the following year, I was ecstatic. As a TA, not only would I be able to help develop our Smith community by supporting the incoming class, but I would also have the opportunity to work closely with my favorite MBA professor. My resounding “yes!” to her question was a no-brainer.”
Daylin Russo, University of Maryland (Smith)

“My favorite MBA professor is Frank Rothaermel. Professor Rothaermel did a tremendous job navigating the virtual environment and ensuring that the classes were engaging, kept the daily discussions up-to-date with international news, and applied the principles we were learning to problems that were unfolding in the world around us. Half of his course was a practicum, so it was extremely helpful to spend the second half of class working with a real company. My group partnered with Autodesk, and immediately applying what he had taught us to the case that our client presented to us. Professor Rothaermel also continued to support the students, engage with us through professional development events, and encourage us in our career pursuits after the course ended.”
Francesca Sally, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

“Professor Melissa Bradley. She stands out as my favorite for numerous reasons. All these reasons are rooted in her ability to have difficult conversations with her students while bestowing a vast amount of entrepreneurial and financial services industry knowledge on them.

I have taken two of her classes: Impact investing and Understanding Social Innovation. She brought to class a holistic view of each of these topics and discussed the trials she has had as a minority in the financial services industry. Additionally, she challenged her classes to quantitatively and qualitatively define impact, which was rather difficult. Due to her extensive professional network, our classes frequently had senior executive guest speakers who were able to provide even more context to the frameworks Professor Bradley covered. I genuinely feel her teaching style surpassed the scope of covering material within the course curriculum, as she consistently found creative ways to dare students to change the world for the better.”
Richard Williamson, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Arun Gopalakrishnan, Rice University (Jones)

Arun Gopalakrishnan was my professor for my Customer Lifetime Value course, and I never imagined it being my favorite class given that I’m not particularly interested in marketing. The course was about understanding how to value a customer and determine how much to spend to obtain or retain them. The course got very technical at times, but Arun was able to walk us through the statistical modeling parts of the class in a way that was very easy to understand. He was able to break up the concepts into manageable chunks and each lesson built upon the previous. Arun also included real-world applications in each lesson to help us understand how these techniques are currently being used. Most importantly, Arun kept us engaged and the class interesting by incorporating fun games such as hangman or choosing examples in our daily lives such as Netflix subscriptions. Many professors are incredibly knowledgeable about their field but may not be as effective in teaching. However, I can confidently say that Arun is someone who not only knows his field but can also communicate and teach it well too.”
Quy Le, Rice University (Jones)

“Professor Modupe Akinola. She’s an amazing professor, and much more, she has a deep commitment to improving the student MBA experience. She invested so much time to coach and mentor me and other students, and also acted as a listening ear and thought partner for anything.”
Efosa Uwaifo, Columbia Business School

“I love how Professor Leonard Lane teaches concepts through real-world applications in his Competitive Intelligence class. His final exam is an eight-hour-long war game, in which we were assigned a company and created a strategy to compete for consumer attention. We presented to external judges, including a Disney executive, which was one of the companies represented in the war game. After a round of feedback, Professor Lane gave us a scenario that changed the landscape of the industry; we then had an hour to craft a response strategy and present it again to the judges. Professor Lane structures his final in the way a company would conduct a war game. It was powerful to put our course learnings to action in a realistic scenario and receive feedback from professionals in the industry.”
Sophia Fischer, UC Irvine (Merage)

“One of my favorite professors is Ken Wilbur who teaches the eCommerce class. In 11 short weeks, you have to develop and launch an eCommerce business. Professor Wilbur takes you through the whole process from soup-to-nuts of design thinking, customer research, strategic sourcing, inventory management, website creation, business launch, customer acquisition, and analytics. He breaks down the concepts of starting a business into bite-size pieces and is there to offer mentorship and advice along the way. He’s also a published researcher and business consultant and weaves in current examples and business practices into each class.”
Kim Pendergrass, UC San Diego (Rady)

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.