2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Rand Park, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

Rand Park

Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

“I heard such good things about Rand that I waited to take MGMT1005 until I could take his class and it was certainly worth it. Lectures are clear, to the point, never confusing, and he always uses real life cases/examples. Gives super good feedback and answers questions thoroughly if you ask.” – Student

Rand Park, 56, is a senior lecturer in the Department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He has been with Carlson since 2013. 

He has a PhD in Organizational Leadership and Policy & Development from the University of Minnesota, a JD from Hamline University School of Law, and an MA and AB from the University of Georgia. 

He currently teaches Corporate Responsibility  and Ethics (Honors) at the undergraduate and executive MBA levels. He also teaches Ethics and Leadership jointly with Tongji University in Shanghai.

He has an incredible 117 5-star ratings on Rate My Professor, which is hard to achieve on a site that asks students to anonymously grade professors who just spent the semester grading them. Student after student describes him as patient, engaging, and even hilarious. 

He previously was the Vice President of Development for the Minnesota Private College Council, and worked in corporate relations and fundraising at the Carlson School of Management and other University of Minnesota departments. He trains executives on ethical decision making and speaks about corporate philanthropy at national conferences. 


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I started teaching Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility as an adjunct at my law school alma mater in 1997, and I continued on teaching business ethics courses for many years part time in other degree programs, including business, public administration and nonprofit management. When this full time position was posted in 2013 at Carlson I had sixteen years of part time experience to draw upon. From that first day teaching back in ’97 I knew I wanted to be a full time professor at some point in the future!

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?

My research explores the ways the business school curriculum, including the ethics course that I teach, affects the attitudes and perspectives of undergraduate students with regard to ethics and corporate social responsibility as they discern their future career choices from internships to full time positions upon graduation.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Before I became a full time professor I worked in corporate and foundation relations in higher education, making the case for financial support for students and faculty from the firms and organizations that benefit so significantly from the impact of institutions of higher education. I could easily return to that role at some point, with an even greater understanding of all that a university education has to offer its students after having been a full time professor.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I only teach a class that I would want to take myself. I am a high-energy person who wants my students to get as excited about the topics that I teach as I do! I spent a lot of time doodling in class in elementary and high school, and now I find that my whiteboard drawing skills are very useful! I also enjoy making funny and informative short videos for my students to help keep them on track with assignments and group projects. 

One word that describes my first time teaching: Awkward!

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Business is not just about finance and accounting. Business is about PEOPLE and how they interact with each other, and our job as business school professors is to balance the big-picture perspective even as we teach the technical details. 

Professor I most admire and why: There are many! One professor that I admire a great deal is Professor Mary Zellmer-Bruhn here at the Carlson School. The reason why I (and so many others) admire her is because she truly excels at every facet of being a professor. She is deeply committed to teaching and working with students, and has won several teaching awards. She serves as a department chair (Work & Organizations), maintains a very active agenda of research and publishing, and she travels around the world giving presentations. She’s a rock star! And a really nice person, too.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? My students are curious, hilarious, motivated and ambitious. They love discussing and analyzing current events as much as I do, which motivates me to bring interesting cases and examples in to my classes.

What is most challenging? When you teach full time, and your students are taking full-time credits, neither you nor they ever can properly give 100% to any one assignment or activity. But that’s how real life works!

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Engaged

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Disinterested

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…Very straightforward with expectations. If you do the work….all of the work…you can get a good grade in my class. 


What are your hobbies? Biking, playing the guitar, cooking

How will you spend your summer? I will do some teaching in our Executive Education program, and my wife and I will take our canoe around to paddle the various lakes in Minnesota. I will also grill many meals outside!

Favorite place(s) to vacation: The north shore of Lake Superior

Favorite book(s): “The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor”; Zora Neale Hurston,  “Their Eyes Were Watching God”; F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I am a huge Guy Fieri fan and I can watch the tv show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” for hours and hours. The show is about food, people, business, communities, etc. So many great lessons from entrepreneurs that are useful for folks from all walks of life. Guy Fieri is also a very community-focused business leader who is incredibly charitable and truly embraces the idea of business as a force for good.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I spent most of my high school and college years in the 1980’s, so I love music from that era. I went to college in Athens, Georgia during the height of the band REM’s fame, and I still enjoy the “alternative rock” from that era, with jangly guitars and vocal harmonies.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Experiential education. Real-life projects, connections with active businesses and stakeholders, guest speakers every week, etc. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Embracing true diversity and inclusion, lowering barriers to entry, and drawing upon all of the diverse ways that people can contribute to business success.

 I’m grateful for… The incredible opportunity that I have every day to do a job that I love and to help others achieve their goals and dreams. 


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