15 Executive MBA Professors Who Made A Difference In 2021

“Dr. Farrokh Langdana, Rutgers Business School

Dr. Farrokh Langdana is an inspiration and a treasure to all of us who have been through the Rutgers Executive MBA program. His Macroeconomics and International Trade Classes are more than classes – they are experiences that will stay with me. He manages to provide exactly the right level of content to prepare C-suite leaders for their roles, while simultaneously incorporating memorable lessons on leadership, history, global perspectives, current events, art, poetry and more. His classes helped to widen my lens and I was able to see facets of the businesses I support and my life with a new perspective.
Denise Weber, Rutgers University

“My favorite professor was Rajshree Agarwal (strategic innovation and entrepreneurship). Professor Agarwal is a very energetic and eloquent professor who presents strategic innovation and entrepreneurship concepts in a very practical and applicable manner. She also facilitated sessions on personal leadership which had a transformative impact on me and helped me clarify my purpose, value proposition and value network. Her “CEO of Me” approach was especially impactful for me. This concept is the theme of a recent five-part series of columns she wrote for Forbes. It challenges individuals to look inward at their purpose, abilities and aspirations, then look outward at market conditions to determine their value proposition and to identify potential trade partners.”
Kabir Mulchandani, University of Maryland (Smith)

Mary Lea McAnally, Texas A&M (Mays)

“My favorite professor was Mary Lea McAnally. Dr. McAnally was so impressive, and I enjoyed her instruction. She was incredibly engaging, inspirational, and exuded a wealth of knowledge about all things accounting, leadership, and life. Her teaching style appealed to me because she made a difficult topic easy-to-understand. She also emphasized the important stuff while moving quickly through the more tedious but necessary details. Mary Lea led very thought-provoking and interactive class discussions (difficult to do with financial accounting). She’s simply exceptional and If you had to be stuck in an elevator with someone – fingers crossed it’s with Dr. McAnally.”
Martial Byrd, Texas A&M (Mays)

Dr. Brian Pentland (aka. Dr. Decade). Professor Pentland taught Information Systems and brought a passion unmatched by any teacher I’ve ever had. His enthusiasm for the subject was infectious and was a welcome addition to a Saturday morning class. What really made him standout was his desire to ensure his students walked away with a firm understanding of the material and found ways to apply it in the workplace. Professor Pentland inspired me to rollout inventory tracking software in our warehouse. That investment has greatly reduced attrition and helps us plan inventory movements across the country. I will, forever, view Information Systems in a new light.”
Jim Knapp, Michigan State (Broad)

Dr. Stephen Limberg, Professor of Financial Accounting (1st semester).  Our class was Dr. Limberg’s first accounting class since he relinquished his role as Dean of the MBA programs, and his enthusiasm to be back in the classroom was evident even before our class officially convened.  He attended our Accounting Boot Camp weekend session and lent his impressive experience to a group of new students with no accounting experience. Our first classes with Dr. Limberg, during the Executive Week, reinforced my initial assessment of his enthusiasm for teaching. He was personable, approachable, and always went out of his way to make himself available for questions.  He personally conducted weekly office hours via video teleconference to answer questions on the previous week’s class material and on previously assigned homework problems.  He also made the time to meet with students one-on-one.  He did that for me on many occasions, and always at times that were convenient for me…not necessarily for him, I’m sure.  Since I was working at the Pentagon my schedule was often difficult to reconcile, and yet Dr. Limberg always worked around my schedule to support me.  He always went above and beyond for our entire class.”   
Keith Parry, University of Texas (McCombs)

“I really admire Professor Mitchell Petersen. Months before the very first class, he shared the coursework and regularly checked-in to see if everyone was on track with the pre-work. He teaches finance for the real world, one that is messy and that does not lend itself to neat formulas. While inculcating conceptual rigor, he wants us to go beyond number crunching to create strong deliverables that persuade bosses, colleagues, and clients who might have some biases and preconceived notions. At the end of the course, I was really moved by his heartfelt speech that reminded us to pay-it-forward, which is true to the Kellogg spirit. A great educator.”
Modit Ohri, Northwestern University (Kellogg)

Brian T. McCann, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Brian McCann’s work had the greatest impact on me. Brian has a way of introducing thought-provoking ideas and tough questions and then staying completely comfortable in the silence and pause, constructing space for the learner to wrestle with what they know and don’t, what they believe and why, without pressing his own point of view. I have used his teachings in my work each day since, and the impact to my efficacy has been immeasurable.”
Jen Griffin, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Denny Gioia for Management/Strategic Leadership. Denny’s classes were structured more like life lessons bestowed upon us by a guru versus simply serving a curriculum. Denny shared anecdotes from his storied career, which further illustrated the relevant and applicable takeaways. Denny’s was immensely accessible and made classroom discussions seem like a guided roundtable of peers. Moreover, humbly, Denny made it even more evident that shaping leaders, empowering individuals, and building legacy were part of his calling. He encouraged us as managers and influencers to take up the mantle and do the same.”
Keith Spencer, Penn State (Smeal)

Dr. Brent Smith – He is incredibly well credentialled and highly-regarded, both inside and outside the Rice community. At the start of his class, he shared a major personal vulnerability, shedding light on his own challenges with being introverted in a profession that required him to interact with crowds of student. Through his own experience, he demonstrated the power of implementing a plan, asking for help, and growing progressively over time, with the end result being the confident and successful professor standing before us. Brent’s deep understanding of leadership and mentorship – and his artful delivery of those ideas and how they drive healthy cultures – were among some the most impactful lessons instilled at Rice.”
Matthew Goldsby, Rice University (Jones)

Jim Fisher stood out to me among our many excellent professors at Rotman. His courses bookended our program: we took Strategy with Jim at the outset and had Thoughtful Leader in our final week. His impressive business and academic career gave him utmost command of the materials. And, he put much work into creating thorough pre-class materials so that we could spend the bulk of our time together in thought-provoking class discussion. Most important, Jim’s clear enthusiasm for the material was infectious. That he was able to maintain that enthusiasm and the class’ engagement when we were forced to move online is a testament to his skill in teaching.”
Hugh C. Martin, University of Toronto (Rotman)


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