“Let’s just say my student evaluations were not very stellar,” Braun explains. “After those first mediocre student evaluations, I’ve always made a point to get detailed student feedback about what I’m doing that works well for them, and what doesn’t work well, so that I can continually improve.”
Improve, she has. In addition to being actively involved in accounting education on a national level, Braun has received the Weatherhead School of Management Undergraduate Teaching Award four times in the past eleven years — the achievement she says she’s most proud of as a business school professor.
Speaking of accolades and notoriety, it’s not surprising that this year’s top professors are clad with them. Nermeen Shehata’s contributions to the field of corporate governance has led the way to her becoming the youngest Egyptian professor to receive the Millstein Center Rising Star of Corporate Governance Award and the Trust Across America’s 2018 Top Thought Leaders in Trust. In 2013, the accounting professor from American University in Cairo prepared two international reports on corporate governance disclosure in Egypt and the Gulf countries which then led to her being the youngest and only Arab speaker at the 30th Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting meeting of The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. A year later, she became the first Egyptian professor to receive the European Foundation for Management Development MENA (Middle East North Africa) Management Research Fund Award for her research on corporate governance disclosure in the MENA region.
Rob Chandra of the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business maintains a reputation as a renowned venture capitalist, being a five-time member of Forbes Magazine’s “Midas List” of Top Venture Capitalists, previously named to the Top 50 among “Most Influential Global Indian Men,” and once named Forbes Magazine’s “Most Thoughtful Investor.”
Between all 50 top professors, there are countless financial grants and awards in support of the knowledge they create through their academic research as well as a seemingly limitless number of awards for impact on students through teaching.
EMPOWERING STUDENTS TO IMPLEMENT SMART BUSINESS DECISIONS IS WHAT DRIVES MOST
Because that’s truly what being a top professor is all about: student impact. As William & Mary student John Murphy put it in his nomination for management professor David Long, “Some professors are passionate about what they teach and are excited to communicate the material they have dedicated their careers to. Some professors care deeply about their students, and are excited to interact with them.” Murphy expresses, however, rarely do the two categories overlap as comprehensively as with his favorite teacher, Professor Long.
With student impact in mind and the mantle carried by top professors to produce the next generation of successful business leaders, Poets&Quants for Undergrads wanted to know what motivates these professors each day. What we found is that much of it comes down to teaching students how to engage in and execute smart decision-making in business. For Y. Sekou Bermiss, a management professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, he’s driven to equip students with the ability to diagnose and repair issues within their organizations. Wayne Shaw, Distinguished Professor of Corporate Governance at Southern Method University’s Cox School of Business wants students to think rather than simply memorize while Lehigh University College of Business and Economics professor Ozias Moore says if his students can think critically and be willing to take calculated risks, then he has satisfactorily completed his job as a b-school professor.
On the other hand, there are profs like Michael Donohoe from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business who want to ensure life isn’t taken too seriously by students. “If my students can think deeply and remember to laugh, then I’ve done my job,” he says.
Laughter is good and you’ll find a great deal to laugh out loud about when reading the 50 professor profiles that follow.
When asked what does he wish someone would have told him about being a professor, Arnold Barnett, a longtime professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management says to go easy on humor and anecdotes. “You’re there to convey challenging ideas, not to amuse yourself.”
While William & Mary’s David Long reveals the least favorite thing a student has done is to oversleep on exam day — for a 2 p.m. class.
“C’mon dude,” Long gripes.
More comedic anecdotes, a glimpse into top professors’ lives outside the classroom, and their reflections on the biggest challenges facing business education await in the pages and profiles that follow.
VISIT THE NEXT PAGE TO SEE THIS YEAR’S LINEUP OF TOP UNDERGRADUATE BUSINESS PROFESSORS