20 Most Influential Business Professors Alive Today


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Influence in the business world can be hard to quantify, but there are some business professors that stand out as being among the cream of the crop. This list consists of professors that any student would count themselves fortunate to study under. The professors hail from all over the world and their experience and specialties are as diverse as the business world itself. This list of the top 20 most influential business professors strives to achieve diversity in experience, age, and perspective, and to showcase the best of the best from across the world of business.

#20. Eric Sussman


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This Senior Lecturer at the University of California Los Angeles has been voted Teacher of the Year 13 times. Not only has he had this internal honor bestowed on him for his excellence in teaching, but he was also awarded the Citibank Teaching Award, and the Neidorf Decade Teaching Award. BusinessWeek lists him as one of the top ten most popular business professors. His devotion to providing his students with practical, engaging education has made him one of the most influential business professors of our day.

#19. Shane Dikolli


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Shane Dikolli is an associate professor at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. He is well known among students for making accounting fun, engaging, and interesting, a rare quality in what most consider to be the most tedious business field. Dikolli teaches Managerial Accounting in both the Full Time and Weekend Executive programs at Duke. He also holds editorial board member positions at several academic journals including The Accounting Review, Accounting, Organizations, and Society, Contemporary Accounting Research, and more.

#18. Greg Fairchild


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Greg Fairchild is the E. Thayer Bigelow Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is also the academic director of Darden’s Institute for Business in Society. Fairchild teaches courses in strategic management, entrepreneurship, and ethics. He is one of Poets and Quants top fifty most influential business professors, is highly regarded by Fortune Magazine, and has been cited in Inc. Magazine, The Economist, NPR, USA Today, The New York Times and other major publications.

#17. Sharon Oster


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Sharon Oster is the Frederic D. Wolfe Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, and the Director of the Program on Social Enterprise at the Yale School of Management. Her specialty is competitive strategy and microeconomic theory, and she has written on the subject of regulation of business and competitive strategy. One of her books, Strategic Management for Non Profit Organizations applies the competitive strategies of for profit businesses to the non profit realm. She earned her BA from Hofstra and her Ph.D. from Harvard.

#16. Alison Fragale


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This young Professor of Organizational Behavior teaches courses in negotiation, leading and managing, and leadership immersion at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. Fragdale’s primary area of research is on the determinants and consequences of power, status, and influence in organizations. Her research has been cited by The Boston Globe and The Financial Times. She is well loved by students for teaching high impact lessons that both communicate the principles of the subject and allow students to adapt principles to their own personal experience. She has been published in the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes among other major academic publications, and is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

#15. Stewart Friedman


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This Wharton School of Business professor is the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program. His primary body of work has been in leadership development, work/life integration, and human resources. Friedman has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Friedman’s BA is in Psychology which he earned from SUNY Binghamton, his M.A. in Psychology and his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology he earned from the University of Michigan.

#14. Herminia Ibarra


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This INSEAD Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Area Chair for the Organizational Behavior Department has previously served on the faculty at Harvard Business School and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Councils and also chairs the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Business School. Ibarra is a world renowned authority on professional and leadership development and her book, Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career, is one of the most influential works on the subject of making major changes within your current career.

#13. David Ulrich


David Ulrich is a professor of business at the Ross School of Management at the University of Michigan. He is a speaker, author, management coach, and management consultant. Ulrich was ranked the #1 Management Educator and Guru by BusinessWeek and selected by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative and creative individuals in business. Ulrich earned his undergraduate degree from BYU and his doctorate from UCLA.

#12. Jeffrey Pfeffer


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This professor has been at the Stanford Graduate School of Business since 1979, though before this long held post he taught at the University of Illinois and U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Pfeffer has authored over 120 articles and book chapters during his long career. He is one of the most provocative and influential thinkers on the subject of organizational power and politics. He earned his B.S. and M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, and his Ph.D. from Stanford.

#11. Zeynep Ton


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Zeynep Ton is an Adjunct Professor of Operations Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Ton’s current research involves discovering ways in which companies can design and manage operations in ways that satisfy the big three: employees, customers, and investors. Her works have been published in the Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, and Production and Operations Management. Ton also taught for seven years at the Harvard Business School where she was awarded the HBS faculty award for teaching excellence.

#10. Jennifer Chatman


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Now the Paul J. Cortese Professor of Management Chair of the Haas Management of Organizations Group at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley, Chatman also earned her BA in psychology and her Ph.D. in Business Administration from that same school. From the late ‘80s into the early ‘90s Chatman taught at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, after which she began her career at Haas School of Business. She has been one of the foremost educators in management throughout her career and has been published extensively in world renowned business publications including the California Management Review, and the Academy of Management Journal. Chatman is also an academic partner of the consulting firm The Trium Group.

#9. Rita McGrath


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This Associate Professor of Management at Columbia University is well known for her efforts in strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She pioneered the principle of discovery driven planning. McGrath graduated Magna Cum Laude from Barnard College in 1981 and earned her Masters in Public Administration from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs in 1982. Since then her research and teaching in the business world has had a major impact on the way business is conducted in the modern era.

#8. Lynda Gratton


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One of the most influential women and educators in the business world for nearly two and a half decades, Lynda Gratton is currently the Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School. She is the author of many books and articles dealing primarily with organisational behavior, an area of study in which she is can apply principles from her psychology education. Her undergraduate degree and Ph.D. in psychology were earned from Liverpool University. She is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement, which strives to bridge the gap between academic research and the practical applications of that research to the business world.

#7. Roger Martin


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This business leader has been  the dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto for three terms. This is exceptional because of a two term limit generally adhered to at the school, which can only be negated by a special appointment by the president of the university. Martin remains at the University of Toronto and has refocused his attention on business strategy research and teaching. His primary focus on exploring the future of democratic capitalism is reflected in his involvement with two major think tanks, The Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, and The Martin Prosperity Institute, which is named for his parents. Martin has written definitive works analyzing such modern issues as the recent financial crisis, its fallout, and ways to go about fixing it through the application of capitalist principles.

#6. Prashant Kale


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This Associate Professor of Strategic Management at the Jessie H. Jones School of Business at Rice University earned his Masters of Strategic Management at UPenn’s Wharton School. Kale has been published in at least eight major business review publications including the Harvard Business Review, the Sloan Management Review at MIT, the California Management Review, and the European Management Journal. One of his management papers was one of the fifty most cited business management papers in 2011.

#5. Renee Mauborgne


One of the most influential women in the business world, Mauborgne is the co-chair of INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy Institute and an Affiliate Professor of Strategy. She is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and one of President Barack Obama’s advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She co-authored many articles with colleague W. Chan Kim for the Harvard Business Review, the reprints of which are international bestsellers. One series of articles have been distinguished as being among the best articles ever written for the Harvard Business Review.

#4. Raymond Hill


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This Senior Lecturer in Finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School began his academic career as an economics professor at Princeton. He returned to teaching in 2003 at Goizueta Business School after spending time as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers between 1982 and 1993, after which he worked for the Mirant Corporation for ten years as CFO except for 18 months during which he was CEO of one of the largest independent power companies in Asia. His undergrad degree was earned from Princeton and his Ph.D. from MIT. Bloomberg BusinessWeek named him one of the most popular professors at the top business schools in the country, a status earned because of his unique ability to use his interactive teaching style to make finance, often considered the most boring part of business education, engaging and interesting to his students.

#3. W. Chan Kim


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One of the most influential current business thinkers in the world, W. Chan Kim, is the co-director of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute, and is also the Boston Consulting Group Bruce D. Henderson Chaired Professor of International Management, Professor of International Strategy and Management at INSEAD, which has to be the longest title in the business world as well as one of the most prestigious. In addition to his current post, Kim has served as a professor at the University of Michigan, and a board member and advisor for many EU based multinational corporations. He is also a Fellow of the World Economic Forum, and the articles he has written for the Harvard Business Review are international bestsellers, having sold over half a million reprinted copies.

#2. Clayton Christensen


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This Harvard Business School business administration professor made a huge impact on commercial enterprises throughout his career and belongs to both the Technology and Operations Management, and General Management faculty groups at Harvard. Christiansen earned his B.A. at Brigham Young University, his M.Phil. from Oxford, and his Ph.D. from Harvard. His work on the concept of disruptive innovation has changed the way entrepreneurs and tech startups view the market, and changed the approach of an entire generation of innovators and business thinkers. Despite numerous health difficulties including a battle with cancer and a stroke, Christensen has remained one of the most influential figures in the business world.

#1. Vijay Govindarajan


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A world leader in strategy and innovation, Vijay Govindarajan is currently a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. This Harvard-educated businessman has been a force to be reckoned within the business world for most of his career. Vijay was rated one of Forbes’ top 50 business thinkers, and he is one of the most influential business bloggers, writing for his personal blog, the Harvard Business Review, and BusinessWeek. His resume is impressive–he has worked with over 25% of the current Fortune 500 companies. Prior to accepting his current position at Tuck, Govindarajan was on faculty at Harvard Business School, INSEAD, the Indian Institute of Management, and the International University of Japan.

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