2020 Best Undergraduate Professors: John Molloy, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management

John Molloy of the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management is a 2020 Poets&Quants Best Undergraduate Business School Professor

John Molloy

Senior Lecturer

University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management

John Molloy is an award-winning senior lecturer of finance at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. Molloy won the Carlson School of Management Outstanding Faculty Member Award in 2009 and 2011. And he was awarded the Carlson School of Management Annual Faculty Teaching Award in 2010.

Molloy teaches Fundamentals of Finance, Financial Modeling, and Corporate Investment Decisions at the Carlson School of Management. He was first introduced to teaching as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when he says he had a great teacher who made the job seem fun.

Molloy was chosen to this year’s list because of the high teaching marks he’s received consistently throughout his more than 10 years at Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Current age: 52

At current institution since what year? 2007

Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison, BBA, MS

List of courses you currently teach: Fundamentals of Finance, Financial Modeling, Corporate Investment Decisions


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was an undergraduate and had a great teacher who really made it seem like a fun job.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… a history professor.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? 

I always try to make the student’s learning and experience the top priority.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Green

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Be yourself in the classroom.  Yes, you need to master the material, but you need to let your personality into the class as well.

Professor I most admire and why: Steve LaFave.  He is a former colleague who, when I sat in on his class to observe, blew me away.  He really knew how to engage students and make learning fun.  I got a lot better at that AFTER sitting in on his class.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? 

I like how these students have some big ideas about things they can do in the world.  What’s great is some of them are going to make those things happen.

What is most challenging? 

Getting students to realize they can do well in finance, even if it’s not their major.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious.

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Grade-monger.

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair, but firm.


What are your hobbies?

I love music and reading history and biographies.

How will you spend your summer?

Relaxing and going to the cabin.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: The San Francisco and Bay area.

Favorite book(s): Best and Brightest by David Halberstam

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? 

The Man in the High Castle.  I love the idea that there could have been alternative ways the world could have worked out and what that might look like.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?

I love Jazz.  John Coltrane and Miles Davis are two of the best in this genre.  I love their creativity and spontaneity.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… We would have much more applied and active learning.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… understanding work-life balance and developing their people.  I wish they would put more value on seeing their employees as long-term investments.

I’m grateful for… my parents.  They had expectations for me and always supported me.

Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:

“Inspiration is tough to define since it comes in various paths. In my instance, learning from John day in and day out became my motivation to continue on my career track in Finance. Till this date, I have not met a professor as passionate about the subject they teach. John’s empathetic nature and intriguing lectures are unparalleled at this school, and I’m sure elsewhere.”

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