The Favorite MBA Professors Of The Class of 2023

When they arrived at the W. P. Carey School in 2021, Rishabh Kakkar and Taner Bicer were very different from each other. Kakkar had majored in Mechanical Engineering, Despite writing poetry on the side, he was a self-described quant – someone skeptical of “subjective” case studies with no right or wrong answers. In contrast, Bicer was a biochemist-turned researcher, who was all too conscious that he lacked a true understanding of how businesses work. However, Kakkar and Bicer did share a key bond: They took a course from Dr. John Wisneski in their first quarter.

…and they were never the same again.

In his Sources of Competitive Advantage course, Kakkar admits to getting “goosebumps” over Wisneski’s “passion and wealth of knowledge.” Over time, Wisneski pushed Kakkar to move past comfortable numbers to embrace more abstract but equally influential variables like “core values, mission, and purpose.” For Bicer, Wisneski’s teaching enabled him to build confidence and find a path that fit his interests.

THE TEACHERS YOU WON’T FORGET

John Wisneski, Rice University (Previously Arizona State)

“His class helped me understand how to think about the business world; conceptualized “value” and what it actually means; and pushed us all to think deeper about the various problems and decisions companies face. If it weren’t for [Wisneski’s] passion and patience, I never would have discovered consulting or been anywhere near as comfortable discussing business.”

That’s what the great professors do: they expose their students to possibilities they couldn’t previously imagine. Their questions gnaw at students, drive them to confront every premise and consider every option. They don’t shy from questions or arguments. After all, they just widen and deepen discussions. They pull from the news and everyday life to make their subjects more relevant and urgent. Soon enough, their passions become their students’ new-found interests. In their classes, the best MBA professors command respect by who they are, what they know, and how they make student feel: welcomed, included, safe, valued, and understood.

Most of all, top faculty come to business school for the right reasons. Office hours and coffee chats take precedence over research and speeches. That’s because most have been where their pupils want to go – and they’ve made it their mission to prepare them for whatever life throws at them. When it all comes together, their classrooms become as fun as they are memorable. In the end, these great teachers may not have motivated their MBA students to choose their schools, but they are the ones who made them glad they did.

Each year, P&Q asks its Best & Brightest MBAs and MBAs To Watch to share the faculty member who made the biggest impact on their business school experience. From Boston College’s Jon Kerbs to Yale SOM’s Lorenzo Caliendo, here are the difference-making professors for the MBA Class of 2023.

“All the faculty at BC have been great. One of my favorite professors is Jon Kerbs. Professor Kerbs taught the Intro to Marketing course for the first years at BC. Personally, I have very little to no marketing background, so I was nervous about the class before even starting, but Professor Kerbs made this transition seamless. Professor Kerbs’s teaching style is very engaging and centered around class discussions allowing us to hear from our peers and their unique experiences. His incorporation of case studies made us think critically and analytically, which allowed us to view real-life business problems in a different lens. This style of teaching drastically helped when it came time to prep for case interviews. Professor Kerbs also has an incredible professional background, so he was able to bring his professional experience into his teachings making the course more applicable even as someone with no marketing experience.”
Aashka Shah, Boston College (Carroll)

Gishan Dissanaike, Cambridge Judge Business School

“My favourite professor from the Business School MBA programme has been Gishan Dissanaike from Corporate Finance. He explained everything in such a clear and applicable manner. I feel that this professor could teach the fundamentals to an average level student, or really advanced structured material to the highest levels. And I also believe this lecture has been the one I learned the most.”
Pablo Valdés Fernández Del Valle, Cambridge Judge

My favorite professor was Laurence Ales who taught our Global Economics course and the Technology and Future of Work elective. Coming into my MBA, I always disliked economics courses and they were, at times, difficult for me to grasp the concept. However, Professor Ales brought so much energy to the classroom and made economics fun to learn. He was able to articulate the concepts in a way that allowed everyone in the class to understand and feel a part of the learning process.”
Tyler Knittel, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

“I had the opportunity to take Professor Günter Hitsch’s Data Driven Marketing course in my first year at Chicago Booth. As someone who has historically struggled with quantitative based courses (and had previously never run a regression or opened R), I was enthralled by Professor Hitsch’s passion and excitement about the power data yields in the marketing ecosystem and how this relates to advertising, pricing, and consumer decision-making. Hitsch’s course leverages real-world consumer data and offers a hands-on way to think about how statistics can be applied to modern marketing in terms of causality. Beyond his passion and engaging teaching style, Professor Hitsch is committed to the development and success of his students even after they’ve completed his course, and he is an active participant in the community.”
Saron Strait, University of Chicago (Booth)

Pauline Brown, Columbia BUsiness School

“I’ve gotten to know many of my professors personally during my time at CBS and can confidently say they are an extraordinary group. Professor Pauline Brown, who teaches The New AI: The Business of Aesthetics Intelligence and Experiences, is one of my favorite professors. By delving deep into the emergence of aesthetic intelligence, she imparts valuable insights on how to initiate, manage, amplify, and sustain enterprises across all sectors. As aspirant business leaders, Professor Brown exhorts us to thoughtfully consider the underlying economics and sensorial elements that impel pivotal marketing decisions. Her pedagogical style is both vivacious and dynamic, continuously encouraging us to partake in active discussions with our peers and tying in contemporary events to her lectures. Moreover, as an Executive-in-Residence at CBS and former chairwoman of LVMH, she offers a plethora of invaluable insights on navigating career development in the beauty and retail industries. Professor Brown’s passion for her craft is palpable and contagious, spurring us all to reach for our utmost potential and catalyze meaningful transformation in the world of business.”
Reneé Sewell, Columbia Business School

“My favorite MBA professor was Rob Symington, who led my investment research and asset management immersion. He is a practitioner who comes to Ithaca every Monday during the spring semester to teach and is a clear example of just how much the school administration, professors and staff care for the students. During the winter break of my first year, I had to decide between offers and career paths, and he walked me through the pros and cons of each and spent over an hour on the phone with me discussing the future and pivots I could have in both. Especially considering this was during winter break, he had no direct obligation to advise me and be a mentor during this time — but his words gave me the perspective I needed and made me feel comfortable with my decisions.”
Veronique Falkovich, Cornell University (Johnson)

“My favorite MBA professor has been Professor Kevin Lane Keller, who is the E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing at Tuck. I had the pleasure of taking his Strategic Brand Management course in winter term of 2022. Professor Keller has exceptional skills in connecting with his students, bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom, and creating a collaborative, highly engaging class. While this was just a “mini” class (5 weeks), my relationship with Professor Keller quickly extended beyond his brand management class. I consulted him on my First-Year Project in the spring of 2022, collaborated with him in my capacity as Marketing Club co-chair, and worked with him to drive the Super Bowl Ad Review event at Tuck. My relationship with Professor Keller really shows how Tuck professors want to get to know their students and work with them beyond the typical classroom environment, and I’m very thankful for the opportunities to learn from and work with him.”
Carly Wolberg, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

“It’s hard to choose because I am obsessed with so many of the amazing professors that I had at Fuqua, but Daisy Lovelace is a standout! I had the pleasure of joining her for Women in Leadership. She is personable, funny, and candid. Spending three hours together and keeping engagement high is no easy feat, but she somehow managed to do it week-after-week. She is a reflective leader and backed everything that she said with research. I am sure that I am a far better professional and, most importantly, a better person after taking her class! It was also the icing on the cake to be able to sit in class and be in awe of another Black woman!”
Janyiah Olawale, Duke University (Fuqua)

Ray Hill, Emory University (Goizueta)

“Professor Ray Hill has the most intellectual horsepower of anyone I have met in my life. He pushes you to challenge all commonly-held beliefs and form your own opinion on everything. He is famous for his random number generator cold calling and will take every opportunity to point out when your answer could have been stronger. His teaching style is a great reminder that in life you will not be the smartest person in the room and that you need to be able to explain your rationale and thoughts in the clearest manner possible. He teaches Core Economics, Project Finance, and the Economic Environment of Business.

Despite his intimidating classroom sessions, he is actually a very warm person. We have worked together through the Goizueta Energy and Cleantech Association (GECTA). He is the sponsoring faculty member and has opened up his unparalleled network of energy professionals to meet with students.”
Peter Danis, Emory University (Goizueta)

“Professor Charly Porcher – he was the very first professor of our very first core class (Structure of Global Industries) we had to take during the opening term. He is a young and successful professor who is very knowledgeable in his field, but ensures that his class contents are easy to follow. He does very well at simplifying complex concepts for students to be easily understood and is very engaging during class. He goes above and beyond to help students outside of class time and does a good job at teaching his course.”
Kanokbhorn (KK) Saha, Georgetown University (McDonough)

“My favorite professor is Marty Parker, who taught me as an undergraduate and at the MBA level in Supply Chain and Operations Management. While Professor Parker is a good instructor who brings a ton of workplace and professional experience into the classroom, that is not why he is my favorite professor. During the first class of the semester, he told students his goal is to teach them the course, but also help them earn the jobs they want after graduation. He goes out of his way to have career appointments with each student, where he goes over résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and most importantly, reaches out to contacts at the prospective companies you are considering. He strives and goes beyond his role as professor to connect students with the job and companies they want, which is an incredible asset to have inside a business program.”
Ryan McEnaney, University of Georgia (Terry)

“My favorite professor at Scheller is Michael Oxman, who taught my Sustainability Practicum course. Not only does he do an incredible job bringing in his sustainability consulting background into our course, but he also co-founded the Drawdown Georgia Business Compact, which brings academia and the business community together to reduce carbon emissions around Georgia. I admire his dedication to sustainability and connecting students with triple-bottom-line organizations; his connections have given Scheller’s students access to interesting, purposeful, and important work! Finally, the consulting methodology that Professor Oxman taught us will certainly be invaluable as I begin my next chapter in consulting at McKinsey.”
Bill (William) Landefeld, Georgia Tech (Scheller)

Susana Martinez Meyers, IE Business School

“My favorite HEC Paris MBA professor was Professor Ai-Ting Goh, who teaches the Macroeconomics for Business course. Understanding that our MBA experience was more than what we discussed in the classroom, Professor Goh would often ask about our past experiences and projects, helping tie together the MBA experience with our overall career journeys. Going beyond academics, Professor Goh shares a genuine care for her students and their wellbeing, empathizing with and supporting MBA students as they figure out their next step in their careers. Building a rapport, Professor Goh would avail herself to students both after class and over lunch to discuss different concerns whether academics or career. It was obvious that she wanted to support students as much as she could and that meant a lot for MBA students. Beyond just me, Professor Goh is a role model for many inside and outside the classroom.”
Vernice Arahan, HEC Paris

“While I enjoyed working in different roles, I knew for a fact that despite being good with numbers, I did not want to work in finance. I graduated in finance and auditing, but found the subject not suited to my interests.

“Professor Susana Martinez Meyers changed that for me. She ensured that I went from a begrudging student who simply knew financial concepts, to one that enjoyed understanding and analysing the stories told by financial statements. She provided a solid foundation of concepts and ensured we discovered the practical applications through doing instead of listening.

I have had the fortune of meeting brilliant professors at IE, but Susana stands out because she taught me a subject I had never liked and in 16 sessions, made sure I was equipped to integrate my knowledge, apply it in the real world, and enjoy the process.”
Ashmita Dutta, IE Business School

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