Stanford Graduate School of Business faculty members Ilya Strebulaev, Baba Shiv, and Alan Jagolinzer were honored with 2009 Distinguished Teaching Awards by students in the school's MBA, PhD, and Sloan Master's Program, respectively.
Strebulaev, an associate professor of finance, inspired MBA students with his mastery of classroom dynamics, "including the use of the technique every MBA student, worldwide, is taught to fear—the cold call," said MBA student Roanak Desai. He sets high expectations for them as well as for himself, rigorously challenging his students; he integrates real-world relevance into the classroom by regularly drawing on the day's headlines; and he demonstrates a sincere enthusiasm to help students both inside and outside the classroom.
Responding to students' comments about his use of the cold call, Strebulaev said, "When I first came to Stanford five years ago, my colleagues told me, 'First-year professors are usually scared, and MBA students can go after them.' Well, I did get scared, and when I thought about what to do about it, I decided that I should get YOU before you could get ME. That is the origin of cold calling, and it seems that this strategy has worked."
Several students noted he learns and memorizes everyone's name and background prior to the first class. "You deserve no less than that," he said. He makes this extra effort, he said, because "I have come to believe over these years, strongly and passionately, that in any class I teach at the GSB I do see in front of me the future leaders of our society — those whose decisions will affect many and whose judgment will change lives. Feeling that I have contributed even marginally to these future judgments and decisions is both thrilling and deeply satisfying."
Acknowledging the particular significance of this year's award, Strebulaev noted, "It is, of course, even more special because the recipient of last year's award who stood in my place a year ago, Professor Garth Saloner, has just been announced as our new Dean, who will lead the GSB for many years to come."
Shiv, a professor of marketing and a Graduate School of Business Trust Faculty Fellow for 2008-2009, received the PhD Distinguished Service Award for his personal warmth, infectious enthusiasm, and motivational energy. "His positivity can electro-shock back to life things that have started to seem stale, and in a way that reminds us, especially when wracked with doubt and self-questioning, why we thought they were interesting in the first place," said doctoral student Abninder Litt. Others also appreciated that Shiv fostered a greater sense of community among PhD students, generously volunteering even his family members' time to student projects. Shiv was also praised as an "awesome teacher" who effectively straddles both the world of research and classroom with ease: "Besides teaching us how to think about ideas in a more holistic manner, he also taught us some invaluable lessons about the publication process."
Students in the Sloan Master's Program honored Jagolinzer with the Sloan Teaching Excellence Award, citing dedication to students, integrity, and innovative teaching. Jagolinzer, who is an assistant professor of accounting and the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Faculty Scholar, impressed students with his ability to tailor his two courses to the students' differing ability levels and prior experience. "He kept every class interesting, and really made an effort to incorporate students' feedback throughout the course," said one student John Matsushima.
Jagolinzer and Strebulaev have been at Stanford Business School since 2004; Shiv since 2005.