Mary Laci Motley has a name for her favorite business professor: “Superwoman.” What else would you call someone who’ll order food at midnight from your late night food startup, let alone start classes at 3 a.m. to teach students who are stuck overseas. In fact, “Superwoman” might even be an understatement. After all, Shimul Melwani was once teaching class while she went into labor – and then returned to finish the semester a few days after the birth of her second son!
Melwani has left an indelible mark on thousands of students in just a decade teaching at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. On Rate My Professors, she is described as a “fan favorite” and a “true angel” who is “caring”, “entertaining”, and “inspirational.” And you won’t get any argument from Motley, who calls Melwani’s passion “unmatched.” More than that, Motley credits Melwani for helping her discover her own passion.
“She was the first professor I had in college and exposed me to the world of entrepreneurship that would later define my career path. She is not afraid to go above and beyond to support her students, and works intentionally to create an inclusive and empowering classroom.”
Shimul Melwani is just one of the professors cited by this year’s Best & Brightest Business Majors for making a difference in their college experience. These faculty members were the ones with the vision to see the best in the students – and the talent to bring it out. They could make what’s dense clear and what’s overwhelming possible. In other words, the best professors didn’t just teach content, but instilled the confidence to apply it in innovative ways.
That was the case for Syracuse University’s Ruth Yehyun Bang. At the Whitman School of Management, Yehyun Bang discovered a love for supply chain by taking classes with Professor Zhengping Wu. This love led her to be named one of the nine recipients worldwide for MIT’s Supply Chain Excellence Award. At Whitman, her efforts were the reason why she was named the business school’s class scholar and class marshal. For this, she commends Professor Wu for pushing her beyond her self-imposed limits.
“Every day that I was in class with him, I felt myself become more confident in my business knowledge and more excited to continually learn more. Having a professor who believes in you is one of the most uplifting experiences a student can have, and I can say with full confidence that Professor Wu goes above and beyond in believing in his students and inspiring them to love learning as much as he does. The world needs more professors like him.”
Luckily, there are plenty more like Professor Wu. And they are one of the reasons why this year’s Best & Brightest class is so formidable. Chances are, these professors will be the voices that these graduates hear as they face down the legacy of a post-pandemic world. From the University of Arizona’s Sarah Doyle to Wharton’s Adam Grant, here are the teachers who helped shape this year’s Best & Brightest Business Majors.
“There have been many professors that have impacted me during my time at Marian University, but none quite as much as Dr. Jennifer LeSure. Throughout my academic career, Dr. LeSure has been a constant source of encouragement and guidance. As my academic advisor, she always had my best interest at heart and provided me with many opportunities to grow professionally and academically. As my professor, she constantly challenged me to be disciplined, ask for help when needed, and think critically. Ultimately, I am so grateful for her mentorship and for believing in my ability to succeed – inside and outside of the classroom.”
Rachel Kassing, Marian University
“When I reflect on my college career in Farmer, I have had so many wonderful professors, but there is one person in particular who has had a tremendous impact on the path I have taken. That person is Jan Taylor. It was in the first class I took with her that I first discovered my true passion for the business world (which I was not sure I would find as a freshman). It was where I even started to entertain the idea of becoming a business professor one day to inspire students just as she inspired me.
Jan challenged me in every case I worked on and pushed me to go for my dream internship when I was not so sure I could achieve it. Her straight talk, while it might not have been what I wanted to hear at times, was just what I needed. From my first interaction with her as a freshman applying to Business Honors, to the three classes I had her as a professor – and finally to her career advice and calming my nerves before interviews – I always knew that Jan Taylor believed in me and supported me. Knowing this gave me a boost of confidence when I needed it most, because when you have Jan Taylor on your side, you feel invincible. I have Jan to thank for much of the success I have experienced, including landing a job in the consulting industry, running for the president of my business organization, and learning to be bold in the business world.”
Maddie Krueger, Miami University (Farmer)
“Jeanette Heidewald of the Kelley School of Business has been an essential part of my educational career and personal journey throughout college as she has been for many generations of Kelley students. Her ability to connect with students beyond the classroom makes her more than just a professor in the hearts of students: it makes her a friend and a lifelong guide to so many.
“Professor Heidewald is Kelley-famous for her unique information sessions that inspire students to travel the globe and teaches us how to make the world our classroom. Her practical emphasis on the value of being a global citizen helps students to feel comfortable traveling and to develop a deeper sense of connection to a shared identity of humanity. Within the classroom, Professor Heidewald focuses a lot of energy on creating meaningful connections with her students in a way that helps students find a sense of community on IU’s campus.”
Blake Nolan Bradley, Indiana University (Kelley)
“My favorite professor is Dr. Sarah Doyle who teaches Organizational Behavior. Dr. Doyle has a strong commitment to increasing organizational efficiency and enhancing the student experience. The content that she imparted to me was applicable in my student organizations and in my internship experiences. The class activities prompted a higher level of engagement with the curriculum that furthered my understanding of the material. In addition to Dr. Doyle’s innovative style of teaching, she goes above and beyond the call of duty to be a resource to students. I believe Dr. Doyle sets a new standard for educators.”
Brennen Feder, University of Arizona (Eller)
“Professor Andy Hannah has been beyond instrumental in my growth as a student and aspiring business professional throughout the past two years. While taking Professor Hannah’s Applied Business Analytics Project in the spring of 2019, I recognized that the path he followed beyond undergrad, coupled with his passion for analytics, was very similar to how I envisioned myself navigating through my early professional career. Therefore, he has remained a professional and personal mentor for me throughout the years. Recently, I have joined Professor Hannah’s company, Othot, as a research analytics intern where I work directly with his team to deliver important demographic research analyses for our clients.”
Rohil Chada, University of Pittsburgh