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From the Founders: Who Are Business School Professors?

July 18, 2011 :: Admissionado Team


There seems to be a bit of mystery around who the PROFESSORS are at top b-schools. Everyone (who follows our blog, anyway) has a pretty good sense for who the student peers will be, and even met some alums from time to time. But who are the guys who are actually TEACHING your classes? Who are b-school professors?

Well, let’s get into it. It’s actually a neat question.

You will have a few different types of professors standing in front of the class in MBA programs.  Let’s narrow it down to three main types:

1. Extremely smart young people who have never had a real job.  Now, while these folks have never worked a day in their lives, often, they are EXTREMELY smart.  Smart enough to get one of these cushy MBA teaching jobs.  They pay well, the hours and lifestyle are great, and they are quite prestigious.  If a college professor makes $60K USD, an MBA professor at a great school makes $100K more than that.  And the PhD programs that these folks go to are IMPOSSIBLE to get into.  I’m talkin’ ten people in the PhD programs… TOTAL.  These folks make up for what they lack in business experience, with SMARTS.

2. Extremely smart older people who have been extremely successful in business, prior to teaching.  Sometimes these folks wont even have MBAs, or PhDs.  But schools will ask them to be lecturers.  They are VERY valuable, and teach lots of courses (at CBS, for example). They tell folks what it’s like “in the real world.”  No theories, no BS.  Just real life lessons from the trenches.  Often they teach these courses for free.  After all, they are filthy rich.

3. Extremely smart people who started out in #1 above, and now do CONSULTING for companies in industry.  Many folks will never work in industry, but once they are tenured professors (after 5-7 years as a teacher at an MBA program) they will start to do consulting for big companies.  BIG bucks to be had here too – these are the guys who write books, the gurus of business.

As you can see, no matter where they come from, there are lots of smart folks teaching business school out there. That’s one reason why it is so important to go to a great school, and why we always recommend going to the best school you can get into. The caliber of professors (and ultimately what you’ll take with you when you leave) is at stake.

Conventional wisdom is that at bschool, you will learn the most from your classmates and peers. And, of course, that is true. But the professors at top schools…they’re not too shabby either.
— Jon and Raj