LESSONS BIGGER THAN BUSINESS
Indeed, such lessons were considered to be gifts by these Best & Brightest MBAs. Georgetown’s Ellen Davis, for example, credits Reena Aggarwal with teaching her how to read — the financial section at least. “I am not a numbers person, and was very apprehensive to take Finance,” Davis admits. “To my surprise, she was able to help me — and many of my other numbers-challenged cohort members — not only learn finance, but apply it. To this day, I read company financials or watch CNBC not with a blank stare but an understanding of what is being discussed, and I think about Reena. It is truly a gift to be so brilliant yet teach complex subjects in a way that people can understand and learn from them.”
The lessons often go beyond financial fundamentals and marketing models to the heart of what makes a successful career and a happy life. For the University of California-Berkeley’s Sally Allain, the most profound lessons came during the last day of a marketing class taught by Dr. Steven Huff.
“He closed with a summary of themes he had used over the course, which defined subsets of our course objectives,” Allain reminisces. “The themes he weaved into our curriculum were from business but also applied to life, such as: ‘choose your hill’; ‘brand yourself’; ‘don’t follow the crowd, the crowd is often wrong’; ‘relentlessly develop your abilities, become so good so people can’t ignore you’; ‘stand for something different — you can’t do everything in your career, so choose your focus’; and ‘long-term profit comes from relationships — life is the same’. I keep his list on my desk and often sit and reflect on these impactful business reminders.”
These are just a few examples of professors who made a positive impact on the lives of this year’s graduating EMBAs. But they are not alone. Here are other professors who were celebrated by the Class of 2016 for epitomizing the best in graduate teaching.
Serve as a Bridge Between Theory and Practice
“It is very hard to determine one favorite professor out of our entire faculty, as the teaching level was extremely high during the program. But if I have to point out one professor, I would mention Professor Scott Meadow, who taught us his Commercializing Innovation course during our electives week. As one of the most experienced and successful VC and Private Equity investors in the U.S, Professor Meadow spiced up (with tons of humor and charisma) the academic materials with practical examples from his long career, such as being one of the initial investors in Sports Authority (and how he declined being one of the early stage investors in Starbucks …).” – Omri Krigel, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
“It would be Professor Kandarp Mehta in Negotiation. Negotiation is a skill that is required daily in our functions as managers. To get more and the best out of people, we have to negotiate and ensure there is an alignment. It is within this context that the simplicity that Prof Metha applied in breaking the concept down in the lectures with several role plays, offered me the opportunity to understand the art of negotiation very well. The assignment structure also helped us go over the complete framework of negotiation and offered an even stronger bridge between theory and practice.” – Elo Umeh, IESE Business School
Get Students Out of Their Comfort Zones
“Dr. Katherine Schipper. Professor Schipper changed my lens on the world. Throughout the year, she traveled with us teaching the Global Markets and Institutions course at Duke. She expects nothing less than professionalism in being prepared for every single minute in the classroom with her, and she is always on top of her game. She has a deft ability to challenge and enable us to critically think before we create an opinion and support it. She expanded our boundaries on important global business topics that included social and labor topics, environmental issues, as well as property rights, to name a few. Global Markets and Institutions is a very good course, but the delivery from Dr. Schipper made it one of my favorites.” – Kirsten Castillo, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business (Global Executive MBA)
“Professor Pierre Yared was among my favorite professors. He leant such a thoughtful purview on the global economy, and how it impacted our daily lives. In my undergraduate studies, I would have named Economics as my least favorite course. Due to Professor Yared’s insight and approach to the topic, the course was one of my favorites, and my classmates and I felt encouraged to think more deeply and expansively about the world.” – Shannon Talbert, Columbia Business School
“Violina Rindova taught our Strategic Innovation class. She incorporated a healthy mix of concepts, but also practical design thinking experience. This was the one class that taught concepts that were very different from traditional MBA classes, which are often geared towards creating rational economic managers. This was also different than typical entrepreneurship classes in that she really emphasized business model innovation and we explored the process of transformation within traditional industries as well as nascent and new markets. She was able to get us to truly think differently.” – Mark Shen, University of Texas, McCombs School of Business
“Supply Chain & Operations Professor Chris Nachtsheim’s statistics course was a direct integration of perhaps one of the most important tools for today’s business leaders. He made it easy to understand and apply modeling, deviations, and tolerances to data. Doing so has allowed me to challenge the status quo in my professional career knowledgably and respectfully.” – Jarred Roy, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management