2017 Top 40 Undergraduate Professors: Holly Schroth, U.C.-Berkeley (Haas)

Holly Schroth

Senior Lecturer, Management

U.C. Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Holly Schroth, a senior lecturer at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, holds Faculty “Honor Role” and teaching excellence merits dating all the way back to 1992. Her claim to fame stems from the ability to impart negotiation and conflict resolution skills to undergraduate, graduate, and executive education level students in engaging and meaningful ways. Students say Professor Schroth takes the time to make her material relatable and memorable and she demonstrates a unique understanding and compassion toward students. Previously, she was named a favorite professor among undergraduate business students by BusinessWeek.

Outside of Haas, Scroth also owns and manages her own business offering workplace trainings on how to negotiate more effectively and resolve conflict. Companies she’s helped in the past include Google, Apple, Ebay, and Samsung.

Age: 51

At current institution since: 1992

Education: PhD Social Psychology, U.C. Santa Barbara, 1992. I spent 1991-1992 at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern, while writing my dissertation.

List of courses currently teaching: Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, Leading People (Organizational Behavior)

Fun fact about yourself: I was on the first women’s water polo team at U.C. Santa Barbara, which was a club before it became a Division 1 sport.

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I had the opportunity to leave my Ph.D. program in social psychology and spend a year studying at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. It was there where I found my calling, studying procedural justice (fairness of process), and its application to negotiation and team interactions.

“If I weren’t a business school professor…” I would own my own consulting and training business, which I do!  My business is Strategic Business Interactions, which focuses on improving people’s negotiation, influence, and communication strategies in order to work more effectively with others.

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Thrilling

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? The opportunity to make a positive difference in their lives

What is the biggest challenge that comes with teaching undergraduate business students? Having them take risks in the learning process by fully engaging in exercise simulations and being introspective.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? I have had so many impressive students over the past 25 years.  It is difficult to single any out.

What is the least favorite thing one has done? What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? The students need to be open to new ideas about social interaction, be willing to fully engage in challenging simulation exercises, and be receptive to giving and receiving feedback.  If they do, I guarantee that I can help improve their ability to work effectively with anyone, anywhere.

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …” Hopefully, tough but fair. I have high standards because I want to give them my best every time and expect they will put in equal effort.

“But I would describe myself as …” Different. According to the MBTI (Myers-Brigg), my personality is ISTP which constitutes the lowest percentage of the population among the 16 personality type categories. I have always felt different but appreciate and embrace that difference now. It is part of the reason I enjoy studying social interactions.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy all sports. I regularly play tennis, golf, ski, bike, and walk my three dogs.  I have just taken up surfing, tougher than wind surfing but more rewarding.

How did you spend your summer? I taught summer school, traveled to the Balkans, and spent a lot of time watching water polo (my son plays).

Favorite place to vacation: I love to travel. I enjoy every place I go.

Favorite book: So many. I love to read. There are two that I re-read quite a bit: 1/ Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People; 2/ Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The Psychology of Success.  

Favorite movie and/or television show: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Always makes me laugh and I can, unfortunately, relate to too many of the situations.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: I like a variety of music; pop, classic rock, classical, blues, metal, and I like to go see live music.  The last three acts I saw this year were classic 70/80’s: Cat Stevens, Moody Blues, and Hall & Oats. They still sounded great.

Bucket list item #1: I’ve done all of my bucket list items. I have to create more.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Creating negotiation exercise materials that are used worldwide by professors and recently co-creating a non-profit with my mentor from graduate school, Jeanne Brett, and her husband Stephen Goldberg. The mission of our non-profit, Negotiation and Team Resources, (https://negotiationandteamresources.com/) is to promote learning and facilitate teaching in the area of negotiation, conflict management, and teams.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? Too many great moments to single any out.

Professor you most admire and why: Jeanne Brett at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Integrity is the word that comes to mind. She is an amazing role model who has been instrumental in guiding me not just in my career but in life. I can write pages about why I admire her and try to model myself after her. She has won numerous awards not just for her scholarly activities but for her initiatives such as starting the Dispute Resolution Research Center at Kellogg and the first Negotiation MBA course back in 1981 at Kellogg.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My area of study is procedural justice, the fairness of process.  My favorite research study looked at words and phrases and how they impact social interaction. The most important take-away from that study is to be mindful in your language so that another person doesn’t feel inferior or dismissed.  To improve social interaction, be relatable and have others feel listened to and acknowledged. I am currently studying how procedural justice impacts the Millennial generation’s tenure in companies.

Twitter handle: @bizinteractions

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more …” Interactive simulation exercises

“And much less of this…” Long lectures

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would like for you: Creating the most popular and widely used negotiation, conflict resolution, and team simulation exercise materials in the world.

Students say…

“Prof. Schroth genuinely cares about her students and will go out of her way to help them succeed if they ask her for help. She takes the time to make her material relatable and memorable. Her Leading People and Negotiations and Conflict Resolution classes were a couple of my favorite classes during my time at Haas.”
“Professor Schroth is an exceptional instructor. She takes great pride and interest in her work and her students. She not only provides support and direction with the coursework and student career choices, she demonstrates a unique understanding and compassion toward her students. Professor Schroth goes beyond the customary duties of a professor by making them and their education her priority.”

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.