The Favorite Professors Of Executive MBAs

University of Virginia’s Saras Sarasvathy

“One of the most important things I’ve learned in my leadership career is to not just teach or coach the fundamentals, but integrate the fundamentals of learning with the realities and complexity of the “real world.” Dr. Thomas Eppel, (Risk Management & Business Analytics) has a style and talent of doing just this. He is passionate about teaching and was determined we would learn. His “keep it real” style encouraged us to respect that we can model a business problem all day, but if we don’t understand the consequences of our decisions, then we haven’t optimized our effectiveness as problem-solvers. While many of our instructors were stylistic this way, Dr. Eppel also reminded us to stay grounded and remember the lives we touch and our personal impact.  His closing comments at the end of our last in-residence session was to remember that you can replenish income, but you can’t replenish time.  A thoughtful reminder that balance in our personal and professional lives should always be top of mind.”
Jenny Greminger, Purdue University (Krannert)

Saras Sarasvathy is small, but with a larger-than-life presence with an infectious optimism. She teaches Starting New Ventures at Darden but also teaches entrepreneurship globally. She introduced me to the principles of effectuation and changed my preconceived notions about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. She taught me to take risks. She also taught me how to recognize and hold on to self-doubt while struggling to put ideas into action. The momentum surrounding my class project has ultimately led me to start my own company.”
Leigh-Ann Webb, MD, University of Virginia (Darden)

“Professor Ori Heffetz has the rare ability to demystify the counterintuitive aspects of Macroeconomics and demonstrate real-world impact. On the first day of class, he told us to skip the “pizza examples” where Jack and Jill want to find out how to sell more pizza and dive into the real problems affecting the economy that are currently in the news. He made it clear that the slides were “plan B”, and the real learning would come from thinking through the concepts and discussing them openly with the group of experienced professionals in our class.”
Brendan Wyker, Cornell University (Johnson)

“My favorite professor was Brian McCann; he is passionate about the subject matter and inspires his students by using a hands-on approach to learning. Professor McCann also advocates for his students and is willing to think “outside the box”, which encourages students to ‘follow suit’.”
Mary Britt Nichols Murphy, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

INSEAD’s Javier Gimeno

“Professor Javier Gimeno is extremely invested in the development of his students. He is the kind of professor who is so excited about teaching Strategy that he nearly jumps up and down as he reveals the “B case”.”
Chandler Elizabeth Hatton, INSEAD

Dr. Jim Anton. Jim simplified managerial economics so that even those of us with little background in economic theories could easily understand them. His lectures are engaging and humorous. The course helps students think critically about economic principles and comprehensively about economic trends and their impact. Lastly, the polling questions were great checkpoints to ensure that the class understood concepts.”
Jameelah Melton, Duke University (Fuqua)

“Professor Eric Richards, who is a well-respected business law professor in Kelley’s MBA program, with lots of real-world experience as a lawyer. He was always willing to listen to students and tried to help them whenever and wherever. One day, I spoke with him about my business coaching and said that I would do my best to help CEOs and management at the companies who need support, so they could recover from failure, grow and succeed. After hearing it, he suggested that I write a book about CEO coaching. After receiving his advice, I began writing one. My book examines why Korean CEOs and successors are so worried today, what skills they need to be more successful and what the CEO’s successors must do in order to transition into the position effectively. Indeed, he was the first person who recommended that I write a book about what I do. Moreover, he is a Taekwondo martial art champion with a black belt. I admire him for everything he’s done in his life, not to mention his passionate classroom teaching.”
Julia Shin, Indiana University (Kelley) / Sungkyunkwan University

Rajshree Agarwal and the course, Strategic Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She’s an incredibly bright, talented leader and she engages the class in such a dynamic way. Her class comes alive. She presents the material in such way that the class goes fast, and you learn in different ways and challenged to express, understand, and examine why you’re learning these concepts. During the first class she told us, “In this class I am going to make you think! There are no wrong answers. You just need to effectively back up how you respond.”
Gretchen MacLeod, University of Maryland (Smith)

U.C.-Berkeley’s Lucas Davis

“Although Haas has many excellent professors, my favorite so far has been Lucas Davis, who taught Statistics for Decision Making. He was one of our very first EMBA professors and he had a level of enthusiasm for statistics that warmed even the most stat-phobic amongst us. He also was an excellent instructor. His course was well organized, his lectures were clear and engaging, the assignments were interesting and challenging, and he maximized and diversified the use of class time with lectures, student engagement, and group activities. Finally, and most importantly, he exemplified Haas’ Defining Leadership Principles in his engagement with the class.”
Lisa Rawlings, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Dr. Frederick Morgeson was my favorite professor, as he had an uncanny ability to make his Human Resources class so applicable, so relatable, and incredibly individualized to each of the students in class. He asked each of us to perform insightful self-reflection throughout the course that really helped me realize, and humanize my leadership style. He pushed us to be our best selves, personally and professionally, in the classroom, at home, and at work. His course was thoughtful, all-encompassing, and his preparation for every session was outstanding (those slides!). He truly put care into each and every class, and his teaching style really resonated with me.”
Rebecca Findlay, Michigan State (Broad)

“It would be Professor Farrokh Langdana for inducing a love for economics; his unique ability to mesh history, world events, leadership lessons and economic principles; and for contributing to the idea that learning and application of knowledge is never in isolation, but have to be considered in macro terms and should be a lifelong quest. He was the first to point out that international policies in trade and economics have historical underpinnings influencing them and drive global policy matters. I also learned from him how free trade and open markets could become powerful incentives and tools for world peace and prosperity.”
Rojo Mathai, Rutgers Business School

Texas Christian University’s Suzanne Carter

“My favorite MBA professor was Gauri Bhat, from our Managerial Accounting class. I was impressed with how she would extend her hand to help our class; she literally did an 8 p.m. ZOOM session every night up until the Final Exam. As well, I felt she took the time to explain the importance of why managerial accounting is important in a business, and how allocating costs can help make business decisions.”
Amy Byalick, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

Dr. Suzanne Carter is invested in the individual development of each student in the class. This is not only through the exceptional relevant topics and content delivered in her classes and curriculum in general, but more impressively through a personal connection. I have seen her genuine concern while talking with students going through a tough period, as well as her joy and pride when students achieved milestones in terms of growth or career advancement. She is at the same time the strategist and the “glue” of the program. It would not be the same without her.”
Nicoleta Bugnariu, Texas Christian University (Neeley)

“My favorite MBA professor would have to be Richard Blundell. I remember one day in our Sustainability course in Johannesburg. He was quite ill with food poisoning. He was up all night….but that in no way stopped him from giving us all his energy for the six hour lecture the next day. As a student, you can feel that he genuinely cares about our success and is not afraid to show his failures in life so that we may learn from them. He is the type of professor who frets over your problems overnight and comes to you in the morning with solutions he has thought of for you. I have learned so much from his teaching methodology that I will apply them to my surgical trainees at uOttawa.”
Angel Arnaout, University of Toronto (Rotman)

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