2023 Best Undergraduate Professors: Sonia D. Marciano, New York University Stern School of Business

Sonia D. Marciano
New York University
Stern School of Business


Professor Marciano has left an indelible mark on her students, and I am a testament to this fact. Her expertise in the field of strategic analysis extends far beyond the classroom. In class, her emphasis on real-world current events and the use of case studies to connect abstract concepts to practical applications demonstrates her profound influence on shaping how we view and engage with business practices and trends. Her teaching style is truly unique. She has an innate ability to cut through the extraneous and dive straight into the heart of complex issues.” – Flavia Carcani


Sonia D. Marciano, 60, is Distinguished Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations at New York University Stern School of Business.

She teaches in Stern’s Full-time, Part-time, and Executive MBA programs, as well as in the Undergraduate College. She is Stern’s academic director for TRIUM – a joint executive MBA program that includes Stern, LSE and HEC. 

Marciano was a recipient of the 2022 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award, which is conferred to up to six faculty selected from more than three thousand across the 20-plus schools that comprise New York University. The award is based on input from current students, alumni, and colleagues. 

Prior to joining Stern full time, she was at the Columbia Business School and prior to Columbia, she spent two and half years at Harvard’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (ISC), where she developed content for the Institute’s Microeconomics of Competitiveness course which she co-taught. She Marciano has authored several HBS cases and co-authored the book “Kellogg on Strategy.” She has worked in consulting, insurance and banking prior to earning her PhD.


At current institution since what year? 2007

Education: BA, MBA and PhD University of Chicago

List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Strategic Analysis, “NYC Consulting Capstone” for seniors


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I took my first few MBA classes and loved them.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I meet with executives at companies I am interested in and discuss the development of innovative capacity – how to recruit, what policies they use to engage talent and what investments the company makes to complement the talent.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be…teaching at a high school and encouraging students to study business in college

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My conviction that for-profit companies are the linchpin of civilization.

One word that described my first-time teaching: Humbling

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:  Don’t bother considering anything else.

Professor I most admire and why: Professors Dennis Carlton and Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago.  Both explain complex material with incredible structure. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? That learning is a two-way street as students share observations from their lives, jobs and internships. 

What is most challenging? The nuance of discussing the importance of firms generating financial returns, which generally entails the production of some negative externalities.

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

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…well-intentioned


What are your hobbies? Lately, my daughters have my husband and me watching Taylor Swift watch football (Fun fact: Taylor does hold an Honorary Doctorate from NYU).

How will you spend your summer? Teaching some summer classes

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Italy and New Hampshire

Favorite book(s):  Biographies…too many to list

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 sucker for any movie that is about the triumph of the human spirit.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? A while back, I used Pandora’s recommendation system –I seemed to always choose songs that would result in Pandora recommending Creedence Clearwater Revival.  I think a lot about fairness, and their songs do as well – kudos to Pandora.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this …due to Stern’s location, we have good connective tissue with companies – the more business education integrates with business needs, the better.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at …discerning people accurately and rewarding them meritocratically.

I’m grateful for…everything working out even better than I hoped.


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