Transitions can be treacherous – especially when you start college. You’re no longer the smartest student in class. The demands are higher and the patience is thinner – and you’re never quite sure who really has your back. Genesis Santana experienced a similar transition when she arrived at Cornell University’s Dyson School as a freshman.
Back then Santana says she felt like an imposter – a first generation student who wondered if she “didn’t belong” and needed to “catch up to my peers.” That changed when she took Pedro Perez’s Introduction to Business Management course. Here, she found a professor who was on her side, building her up and committed to her success – all while pushing her to be better.
“Perez continually ensured I felt seen in the class, called on me to answer questions, and once invited me to do an impromptu presentation to the class during lecture,” Santana reminisces. “He instilled confidence in me and many of my peers. He also challenged us to difficult business ethics questions and encouraged us to dig deeper in class discussions.”
WHAT MAKES GREAT PROFESSORS
Santana’s academic career came full circle when she served as Perez’s teaching assistant, which she describes as one of her “most rewarding experiences ever.” Now an analyst at Goldman Sachs, Santana pays her mentor the ultimate compliment when she looks back on her time at Dyson.
“Professor Perez’s class is truly essential to each Dyson’s student experience, and I hope he keeps teaching for many years to come!”
For some students, a class is a means to a grade – something you go through to get to what you want. Many times, it can be a transformational experience. That starts with faculty. They are the difference-makers who bring content to life with the examples and activities they choose. They focus on preparing their students for the world to come, so they are ready to take on anything. More than that, they invest their time in students, always available to coach and eager to champion. As a result, they command their students’ respect – not just by what they know, but how much they commit.
Want to know the real difference between faculty members? In an average professor’s class, students leave wondering how to do something or why it is relevant. After a great professor’s class, students are questioning what they’ve learned before and imagining how to apply their new knowledge to other aspects of their life. That’s true of the Best & Brightest Business Majors from the Class of 2022. This year, P&Q asked 100 top business majors to share their favorite professor and how he or she made a difference in their lives. From those who made the time fun to those who made the journey easier, here are business faculty members recognized by their students for making the experience invaluable.
“My favorite professor at Binghamton University is Assistant Professor Alfred Yebba. Before taking Auditing, I was extremely hesitant about the course as I had only known about the practice from prior research and networking with audit professionals. However, Professor Yebba made the class enjoyable and taught the material in a way that was very engaging. Participation was required in class, which allowed me to stay focused and better understand the material.
Moreover, laptops were not used in his class, which was extremely helpful to remain attentive and comprehend the material being taught. Professor Yebba printed out outlines of each chapter so that our notes were right at our fingertips. I am glad I had the opportunity to learn by his method and I believe I will be able to apply his teachings when studying for the CPA.”
Raquel Shapiro, Binghamton University
“Professor Gina Powers, who taught my Real Estate Law, and Law and Risk Management classes, has invigorated my life mission to contribute to a more equitable society. Thanks to Professor Powers, I served as a fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services, where I came to understand the inequality perpetuated by certain laws and how individuals can utilize the law to restore justice. This experience, combined with her mentorship, opened my eyes to the different careers I can pursue with my accounting knowledge (coupled with a potential law degree). During office hours, I immediately connected with Professor Powers over our shared background of being a first-generation student and love for figure skating. I am deeply grateful for Professor Powers ferociously rooting for every step I took and for believing in me when I needed it most. Her faith in me has allowed me to uncover my true potential and to shoot for the stars.”
Jasper Tangchitsumran, Boston University (Questrom)
“Professor Alia Stanciu stands out. Although I only took one class with her, Simulation and Forecasting for Business Analytics, I will never forget her enthusiasm, passion, and dedication to our success and learning. Professor Stanciu made herself available at any time, adding more office hours and always encouraging students to reach out with anything related to the course or even their personal lives, if needed. Now, whenever I see her in our new building, Holmes Hall, she takes the time to chat, and I will always appreciate her commitment to helping me grow as a student and person. I look forward to keeping in touch with her and all of my other professors after
Bridget Tobin, Bucknell University (Freeman)
“Professor Ben Spanbock has had a significant impact on my life. Professor Spanbock taught me how to be a rigorous and effective investigator. Over the course of the semester, I completed a series of tasks to complete a final research paper on the most pressing problems affecting low-income families in California and how to better allocate temporary assistance to needy families (TANF) funds to address these problems. Professor Spanbock was patient when answering all my questions; he was supportive when helping me develop my research paper, and he encouraged me to continue drafting to improve my writing skills. By the end of the semester, I felt confident when I presented my research paper at the Chiang Research Festival. Professor Spanbock’s course and his constant support opened up my eyes to the world of academic research – a world I was not aware of before I came to UC Berkeley.”
Natalia Nava-Urbina, University of California-Berkeley (Haas)
“Alyssa Martina has been not only my professor but my close mentor ever since I first stepped on Elon’s campus. Professor Martina has seen my potential, energy, and love for learning and social impact. She challenges me to think deeply about difficult issues, both within the Elon community or beyond. Professor Martina and I traveled to the University of Applied Science and Technology of Salzburg in Austria to lead a workshop for University Innovation Fellows from all over the world about designing curriculum for engaged learning through design thinking and innovation principles. This is just one impactful example of so many times when Professor Martina has empowered me to see challenges as an opportunity to better myself in order to better the community and world around me. She sets high expectations for her students because she can identify their unique talents and leadership styles. She wants to support them to grow to become their best, most empowered version of themselves.”
Lilly Rothschild, Elon University (Love)
Teaching a course during COVID is no easy task, but Dean Andrea Hershatter did so in a way that made me look forward to each class. Prior to joining Goizueta, I found myself naturally drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of entrepreneurship. However, it wasn’t until I took Dean Hershatter’s OAM 436: Entrepreneurship course that my interest in the subject came to life. In this class, I was given the opportunity to channel my inner founder mentality and create a new venture. While daunting, Dean Hershatter made sure to guide us through each stage of the entrepreneurial process, while also allowing us to learn from one another. During a time when classroom engagement was nearly impossible to cultivate, Dean Hershatter made it feel effortless. There is no better professor or role model that I could have learned from during my time at Goizueta.”
Michelle He, Emory University (Goizuetta)
“One professor who has specifically changed the way I see the world is Dr. Benjamin Cole. I had the opportunity to take two of Dr. Cole’s courses during my academic journey, first in the Ignite Honors Readings Course. His lectures taught me the importance of discernment in media consumption and how business professionals must be opinionated. He also emphasized the importance of concise writing by preparing us to effectively convey information to one’s audience. This year, I also had the opportunity to take Dr. Cole’s Blockchain: Industry Disruptor & Creator Course. This class exposed me to over ten different blockchain industries and forty different project areas. As a pioneer in the evolution of crypto education, Dr. Cole’s focus on teaching students to see the world differently and understand the technology that continues to evolve is inspiring. His commitment to Fordham students is remarkable. Dr. Cole’s teaching methodology promotes attitudes of lifelong learning, and he has even created virtual spaces for his students to remain in touch after the semester to share articles and ideas with one another.”
Colin Wexler, Fordham University (Gabelli)
“My favorite professor at Scheller is Dr. Ryan Blunck. As one of the accounting professors, Dr. Blunck is both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subject matter that he teaches. He has a skill for bringing tedious material to life through real-world examples and animated explanations. He is also a naturally entertaining person who never fails to make classes fun and engaging. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Blunck has always made a point of remembering each students’ career goals and has offered personalized guidance for navigating the various career paths accounting offers.”
Kara Pomerantz, Georgia Tech (Scheller)
“Dr. Dale Rude. From the very first day, I felt comfortable and supported in his class. Dr. Rude was able to create an atmosphere that was conducive to learning and making mistakes along the way. He took the time to explain his teaching style and personality, so students understood his intentions and trusted him as a professor. He also took interest in each and every student that walked through his door (and remembered students who were in his classes 20+ years ago). He made students feel valued and empowered, which led to a high sense of belonging in his class. I utilize many aspects of his personal and teaching philosophy in my own life and career to help build psychological trust with others.”
Brianna Robertson, University of Houston (Bauer)
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