Every freshman thinks the same thing: Professors have it made. They can say whatever they want. The schedule is pretty flexible. Who wouldn’t enjoy the job security, travel, and esteem? Best of all, they get to live the college life forever – they never have to grow up.
Tell me where to sign up!
Reality is, faculty life is far harder than it looks. Professors don’t just show up and rattle off their same notes from 2007. They’re constantly incorporating student feedback, new research, and current events to make classes more urgent and relevant. During discussions, they aren’t sitting back because they want to take it easy. They know exactly where they want to go – they’re just leveraging the experiences of their students to get there. That’s something teaching assistants see every day. Working side-by-side with their former teachers, they witness the meticulous preparation needed to make a classroom come alive.
At Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Negotiations – specifically Jae Kwon’s Negotiations – is one of the program’s most popular courses. It certainly left an impression on Daniella Nakash, a ’23 alum who joined Warner Bros. Discovery this summer. In fact, she enjoyed Kwon’s Negotiations course so much that she ultimately served as his TA. While Nakash bought into his collaborative, win-win approach, she ultimately admired how Kwon treated teaching as his vocation.
“He goes above-and-beyond to support his students both inside and outside the classroom by staying informed about our campus climate, and our extracurricular and professional endeavors. Professor Jo never fails to congratulate a student on any accomplishment, no matter how big or small.”
In business school, professors play a variety of roles: surrogate parent, cheerleader, collaborator even – the sages who can see what their pupils can’t and guide them to where their talents flourish. At the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce, Professor Carrie Heilman will display three photos on a board, telling her students that she will, at times, personify these roles: coach, drill sergeant, and teacher. Those weren’t the only “hats” she wore, observes Lexi Magenheim, a commerce and media studies major who graduated last spring. Indeed, Mangenheim is happy to add a few more roles to her long list of superlatives.
“[Heilman] has also become a sincere mentor, friend, and role model. Professor Heilman inspires me to constantly learn, never settle, and always give the extra effort.”
GIVE ‘EM A SHOW
Indeed, Heilman follows in the long tradition of great professors. To turn stumped sophomores into poised professionals, they demand that the pupils sift through the root causes and details – all while never losing sight of the big picture. For them the classroom is just the beginning of teaching, as their offices are always open and their emails always answered. They may demand a lot, but they give back even more. That includes pursuing every edge to make their teachings easier to understand, remember, and hopefully use. In many cases, that meant making their classes fun. Look no further than Ty Longmire-Monford, who teaches Strategic Digital Marketing at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.
“He constantly kept class new and engaging,” writes Rachel Anderson, a ’23 Best & Brightest Business major. “He would incorporate pop culture into our lessons, sometimes even dressing up as different characters that went with the theme of our lecture. Each class was always fun, and I learned a lot through the lectures, simulations, and end-of-semester group project that I have applied to other marketing classes.”
Who are other business school faculty who made a difference to their students? This spring P&Q posed this question to its Best & Brightest Business Majors – the top graduating seniors at the top undergraduate business programs. From Binghamton University to the Wharton School, here are the professors who made the biggest impact on their students – and how!
“My favorite business professor is Associate Dean George Bobinski. I was fortunate enough to have him as a professor my first semester freshman for Management 111, and again as a junior for Management 350. I also worked closely with him throughout my junior year as I was the coordinator of the mentor program for Management 111.
In Management 111, Dean Bobinski is tasked with the responsibility of introducing 400 freshmen to both the School of Management and world of business in an engaging way. As a freshman, while I certainly found the class rewarding and helpful, I did not completely appreciate all the effort that goes into making the course the success it is. As a junior, I got to see all that Dean Bobinski does to make the course as effective as it is. Dean Bobinski regularly seeks feedback from current and past students, alumni, and professors teaching similar courses at other universities to improve students’ experiences. On numerous occasions, Dean Bobinski asked my thoughts on various situations, carefully listening and considering my input. His genuine interest in my responses gave me, a junior team member, confidence that my voice was important and, therefore, pushed me to express my ideas in a logical and cogent manner. Being the mentor coordinator for Management 111 was an invaluable learning experience, and I am very grateful to Dean Bobinski for offering me that opportunity.”
Abigail Sneddon, Binghamton University School of Management
“Professor Amber Lawson taught two of my favorite classes at Bucknell: Foundations of Accounting II and Auditing & Assurance. She has a naturally-engaging personality and brings real-world experience as an auditor to the classroom. She regularly relates concepts to her background experiences to make difficult ideas more understandable and concrete. Her enthusiasm for accounting, along with her willingness to share her experiences with her students, influenced my interest in an accounting career. I also had the privilege of serving as one of her teaching assistants and developed a valued friendship through this experience. She is always generous with her time and advice and continues to serve as a mentor to me as I prepare for the CPA exam and workplace.”
Danny Cecere, Bucknell University
“I have learned from many incredible professors, but one of my most memorable has been Professor Pedro Pérez. I remember walking into his class as a first-semester freshman, having no idea what to expect. Throughout the semester, he brought kindness, expertise, care, and passion – so much so, that I remember him jumping up and down in front of the class with excitement on more than one occasion. On the last day, as he came full circle with the material, I remember sitting in my seat thinking “What just happened to me” as I really took in the depth of his teaching. He has a unique ability to make core business concepts come alive, and uncovering all the layers of his teaching makes his classes feel really exciting to be a part of.”
Andrew Darby, Cornell University (Dyson)
“Kathleen E Davisson, or KED, has had an immeasurable impact on my college career. I have taken three of her courses—Accounting for Decision Making, Accounting Information Systems, and Robotic Process Automation in the Business Environment—and her instruction has taught me to be inquisitive, analytical, and detail-oriented. She consistently pushes students not only to produce high-quality work, but to look beyond the problem at hand to understand its underlying causes and business significance. In addition to being an impactful professor, KED is an incredible advisor and mentor. She was one of the first professors to encourage me to combine my interests in accounting and data analytics and show me what my career could look like. KED goes above and beyond to ensure all students in the accounting program are set up for success and will go out of her way to make sure students thrive throughout their time at the University of Denver and post-graduation. I cannot thank KED enough for all of the support she continuously provides me and all of the other accounting students at DU.”
Ben Boxell, University of Denver (Daniels)
“Professor Caroline Love is my favorite business professor because of her high energy and positive attitude. Professor Love invests in her students’ growth and success. She goes out of her way to ensure students understand the material and always makes time to meet with students outside of class. She works through any questions we have about the content she’s teaching, which courses to take next, and provides career advice. She also helps students network with public accounting professionals to gain internships and valuable connections.”
Katie Sharp, Florida Southern College
“Matthew Cypher is the best professor I’ve had in business school. I’ve taken Real Estate Finance and an MBA-level Real Estate Multifamily Clinic with him.
Professor Cypher’s teaching style requires that students show up ready to roll their sleeves up and dig into the class material. He brings his professional experiences in the real estate industry to give a practical glimpse into the industry rather than a solely theoretical approach. I was initially intimidated by the industry, having no prior experience or exposure. However, I quickly found that his teaching style engaged me in thinking deeply about the material while having fun!
Professor Cypher creates opportunities for students to find success inside and outside of the classroom. If you walk by his office, you can almost guarantee he is working with students who want to jump into the real estate industry and get involved with Georgetown’s Steers Center for Global Real Estate. He has been a fantastic mentor to me this year, and I know that his support will follow me once I graduate. I am so appreciative of the positive impact he has had on my Georgetown education.”
Elizabeth Collingsworth, Georgetown University (McDonough)
“My favorite business professor is Professor Michael Lowe, who had a profound influence on my academic journey as he is the reason that I decided to pursue a marketing concentration. I took his Marketing Management class in Spring 2021 when classes were still completely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Professor Lowe went above-and-beyond to make our virtual experience memorable through his engaging and creative approach to teaching. For example, he wrote a rap about the “Four P’s” of marketing and made a music video to the rap featuring his kids. He even held outdoor office hours on our campus green space to allow us time to meet in person despite the circumstances. His passion for teaching and helping students understand and apply the content in a meaningful way was highly evident. He always reminded us how rad we were and to him, I am forever grateful for the impact he had on me and my career.
Lauren Gordon, Georgia Tech (Scheller)
“Easily, Dr. Michael Parks! I had the privilege of being a student of his for the Transaction Processing course and I can vividly remember how interesting it was to have an entire syllabus built on an HTML website with animations and interactive links to better engage us students. Dr. Parks would encourage us to let our curiosities and inexperience take prominent roles in the way we learned; he wanted us to try things on our own. That way, we could appreciate the origin of what he calls the “Turning Machine” and what we call computers so we could ultimately polish our foundation of understanding coding languages! I enjoyed the course and Dr. Parks as a professor so much that I returned as a volunteer virtual proctor where I monitored the behavior of other students and indulged in the course material yet again. I must also appreciate him as one of the founders of the Management Information Systems Student Organization (MISSO) – the premier IT Business Organization!”
Edward Anthony Blanco, University of Houston (Bauer)
“My favorite business professor is Jim Bertram. I had Professor Bertram for FIN 463-Investment Banking and also worked closely with him as a member of the Illinois Investment Banking Academy (IBA). Professor Bertram is extremely personable, engaging, and passionate which directly translates to his classroom. He has incredible industry experience, which makes him such a valuable addition to the Gies community. I also work closely with Professor Bertram through the organization Prime Mergers & Acquisitions as it is a feeder program into IBA. He is always open to listening to my suggestions on how to improve the pipeline and increase interest and diversity. Professor Bertram is very invested in his students and truly cares about helping them find success in their academic and professional careers. I can confidently say that Professor Bertram has been one of the most impactful teachers in my life.”
Maddy Whirledge, University of Illinois (Gies)
“As a young entrepreneur, I was lucky to learn from Professor David Haeberle. He is the son of the “Godfather of Entrepreneurship,” William L. “Bill” Haeberle, who created one of the nation’s first collegiate entrepreneurship programs.
Professor Haeberle has a unique style of teaching, which is extremely relevant in the real world. His ability to connect class courses with his experiences in startups and as an investor provides students with a wholesome learning experience. He always adds a personal anecdote with each of the concepts, making class fun and educational for all his students. I truly believe I learned so many little things in his class that go beyond the class material. As a budding entrepreneur, his tips on wealth creation and idea generation – as well as little things like the best ways to connect with a VC – are extremely invaluable. Many of the concepts taught in class and the little nuggets that he dropped here and there were extremely unique and inspiring.
All in all, at Kelley, I have had the opportunity to learn from several amazing professors that have all had a deep impact on me, but Professor Haeberle has truly stood out as a teacher and a mentor.”
Sankalp Mohan Sharma, Indiana University (Kelley)
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