The 50 Most Influential Business Professors of 2013

The world of business professors has long been the domain of older white men. One of the heartening aspects of this list of influential professors is the growing number of women, minorities, and younger people making waves. Presented in no particular order, the 50 most influential professors of 2013.

Vijay Govindarajan

1) Vijay Govindarajan

A world renowned expert of strategic innovation, Dr. Vijay Govindarajan is the Earl C. Daum 1924 professor of international business at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth. He’s penned nine books including two international bestsellers, Ten Rules for Strategic Innovation and The Other Side of Innovation. He’s been the recipient of numerous awards and been recognized as a tep ten professor by Business Week. Along with a colleague, he posed the question which led to the global challenge to construct a $300 house.

Clayton Christensen

2)  Clayton Christensen

After surviving a heart attack, advanced-stage cancer, and a stroke within a span of three years, Clayton Christensen continues to speak, write, and share his views with the world. Rated one of the most influential business theorists, he is now applying his wisdom to the health care system as he continues to serve as the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business. He eloquently articulated his theory of disruptive innovation in his first book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. He continues to be an active and respected member of the LDS Church.

W. Chan Kim

3) W. Chan Kim

Rewarded several years over as one of the top business thinkers as well as the 2008 Nobels Colloquia Prize for Leadership on Business and Economic Thinking, W. Chan Kim is a professor at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France. He co-authored, with Renee Mauborgne, the bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant, which has been translated into 42 languages.  He’s also been extensively published in the Harvard Law Review.

Renee Maborgne

4) Renee Maborgne

Ranked 2 by Thinkers50 as a top mind in business management, the highest any woman has ever placed on that list, Renee Mauborgne also received recognition from Poets & Quants as one of the best business school professors. She currently serves INSEAD as an Affiliate Professor of Strategy. She gained lots of recognition for her wildly successful book, Blue Ocean Strategy, coauthored with W. Chan Kim.

Michael Porter

5) Michael Porter

As a six-time winner of the McKinsey Award for the best Harvard Business Review article of the year, Michael Porter is considered to be a leading mind on company strategy and international competitiveness. He is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business. He is a prolific author as well as a philanthropist; he has founded three major non-profits. His most recent focus has been on the overwhelming problems inherent in the health care system at home and abroad.

6) Roger Martin (No available photograph)

Roger Martin is a widely recognized as a global leader in business strategy and has expanded a few key business concepts, including integrative thinking and design thinking. He is serving his third term as dean of the Rotman School of Management. He is a regular columnist for Businessweek, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times. His most recent focus has been on corporate responsibility and how it can impact economic structure. He’s been named one of the 10 most influential business professors in the world by Business Week, and by Thinkers 50 as the sixth top management thinker in the world.

Don Tapscott by E2 Conference

Don Tapscott by E2 Conference

7) Don Tapscott

The author of the bestselling book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything has also seen recognition from Thinkers50 as one of the most influential living management thinkers in the world. Don Tapscott serves as Adjunct Professor of Management at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto as well as a chairman at the business think tank nGenera Insight. He’s been a TED guest speaker and is a sought after consultant, and public speaker. He’s a global authority on innovation, media, and the impact of technology on our economics and social lives.


Lynda Gratton and Shriti Vadera (Photo by G. Vaillmil for The Financial Times)

Lynda Gratton and Shriti Vadera (Photo by G. Vaillmil for The Financial Times)

8) Lynda Gratton

Dr. Lynda Gratton serves as a Professor of Management Practice and serves as the Director for the Centre for Women in Business at the London Business School. She has been recognized as a top 15 Business Thinker by The Times and The Financial Times selected her as someone most likely to make a difference in the business world over the next decade. She is the founder of the Hot Spots Movement.

Nitin Nohria

9) Nitin Nohria

The present and tenth dean of Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria is seen by some as a step in the right direction for the ethical problems that have plagued some business leaders educated at HBS. He began his career under the influence of his father, Kewal Nohria, the former Chairman of Crompton Greaves in India. He’s been working with Rakesh Khurana, the World Economic Forum, and the Aspen Institute to develop a business oath that can be used globally.

Robert Kaplan (left) and David Norton

Robert Kaplan (left) and David Norton

10)  Robert Kaplan

Ranked as one of the best minds in management by Thinkers50, Robert Kaplan is the Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School. He put forward, along with his colleague David Norton, the idea of the Balanced Scorecard, which is a strategic management tool that helps link a company’s actions with its long-term goals. He’s written several books and Harvard Business Review articles and is the co-founder of Palladium.

Linda Hill

11)  Linda Hill

Linda Hill serves as the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business as the first black female professor at HBS. She is primarily focused on managing change, implementing global strategy, innovation, and talent management. She has authored several books and articles, including the best-selling Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership. She was ranked in Thinkers50 as one of the best management minds.

Teresta Amabile

12)  Teresa Amabile

Dr. Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Her research is focused on creativity in the workplace, originally examining individual creativity but expanding over time to include team and organizational innovation. She is published in several journals and has written a number of books mostly focused on creativity.

Rita McGrath

13)  Rita McGrath

Rita McGrath began her solid career graduating Magna Cum Laude from Barnard College. She now serves as a Professor at Columbia Business School and is a recognized expert on creating strategic business growth in volatile environments. She was recognized as by Thinkers50 as a top business mind and as one of the top business professors to follow on Twitter. She’s a Fellow at the Strategic Management Society.


Richard Rumelt by Financial Times

Richard Rumelt by Financial Times

14)  Richard Rumelt

Recognized by Thinkers 50 as one of the most influential management gurus, Richard Rumelt serves as the Harry and Elsa Kunin Chair in Business and Society at UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has not been a prolific author, but his influence carries, gaining him recognition as ‘the strategist’s strategist’. In his free time, he enjoys mountaineering.

15) Zeynep Ton

Zeynep Ton serves as an adjunct associate professor for MIT’s Sloan School of Management. The Turkish native turned a volleyball scholarship into a successful career that started with a DBA from Harvard Business. She has gone on to be a prominent researcher and professor with works published in prestigious mediums like Harvard Business Review. Her specialty is in operations management, and her views on topics like the treatment of part-time workers and the potential for better business through better employee treatment are worth reading.

William George by World Economic Forum

William George by World Economic Forum

16) Bill George

Bill George is a former business executive that teaches Management Practice at Harvard. His time in the business world includes serving as President and CEO of Medtronics and positions on the Board of Directors for companies like Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs. His teaching career also includes time spent at the International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, and Yale School of Management.

Richard D'Aveni

17)  Richard D’Aveni

Twice named by Thinkers 50 as one of the most influential management thinkers in the world, Richard D’Aveni serves as the Professor of Strategic Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. He’s authored a number of articles and several books, including the best-selling Hyper-competition which was reprinted in 11 languages.

Jeffery Pfeffer

18)  Jeffrey Pfeffer

Jeffrey Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University where he has served since 1979. During his tenure, he’s authored over a dozen books and over a hundred articles. For several years, he had a monthly column “The Human Factor” for Business 2.0, and currently writes a column for Capital, a leading business magazine in Turkey.

David Ulrich

19)  David Ulrich

David Ulrich is a professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He was recognized by Thinkers 50 as one of the top business management minds in the world, and #1 Management Educator & Guru by BusinessWeek, and as one of the 10 most innovative and creative leaders by Fast Company. He’s the coauthor of over 20 books, focused on HR, leadership, and organization.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter

20) Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The daughter of a school teacher and small-town lawyer, Rosabeth Moss Kanter pushed herself from an early age, penning a novel and entering several essay contests by the tender age of 11. She went on to obtain a degree in sociology which gives her a unique perspective in her role in business management. She presently holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School and has been recognized both for her writing and research numerous times.

John Deighton

21) John Deighton

John Deighton is a Harvard Business School professor who focuses on the connections between marketing and the tools available in the Digital Age – namely, the Internet. He has served as an editor for publications like the Journal of Consumer Research and the Journal of Interactive Marketing, the latter of which he co-founded. He teaches marketing related courses at Harvard, including Interactive Marketing and Digital Marketing Strategy.

Nirmalya Kumar

22) Nirmalya Kumar

Dr. Kumar is presently the Professor of Marketing and the Co-Director of Aditya Birla India Centre at London Business School. He’s considered one of the world’s leaders on strategy and marketing. He’s written a number of books and a number of articles in respected scholarly journals. He’s won the Global Village Award and been called a ‘rising superstar’ by the Economist.

Pankaj Ghemawat

23) Pankaj Ghemawat

Pankaj Ghemawat has an impressive background, entering Harvard at the age of 16 and graduating from HBS’s Ph.D. program at the age of 24, he was later appointed as the youngest full professor in Harvard’s history and currently serves as a professor of strategic management at IESE Business School. He’s authored a number of books and more than 100 research articles and case studies, and is one of the world’s best-selling authors of teaching cases.

Indian businesswoman in a conference room

24) Herminia Ibarra

Herminia Ibarra serves INSEAD as the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, and the Area Chair for their Organizational Department. She’s a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda and was recognized by Thinkers 50 as being a foremost mind in business management.  Her research has been widely picked up by media sources like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.


25) Thomas Eisenmann 

Thomas Eisenmann is the Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration and Chair of the MBA Elective Curriculum for Harvard Business. His focus on entrepreneurial management and lean startups has combined well with today’s Internet world, resulting in the creation of MBA electives like Launching Technology Ventures and The Online Economy. He is also the course head for The Entrepreneurial Manager, a required course for every MBA student.

Henry Mintzberg

26) Henry Mintzberg

Henry Mintzberg is a prolific writer focused on management and business strategy and currently serves as the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studeies at Desautels Faculty Management, McGill University in Montreal. He’s a vocal critic of traditional MBA programs and has challenged established paradigms in his written work.

Warren Bennis

27) Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis is a prolific figure in the business world, having been described as the leading voice in leadership as a study by a number of publications. Most of his over 30 published books are focused on the theory behind leadership in connection with business management. The extensive list of achievements mentions his time serving as advisors to four U.S. Presidents. His teaching career includes time spent at Harvard Business and Boston University, but he now teaches at the University of Southern California.

Costas Markides by World Economic Forum

Costas Markides by World Economic Forum

28) Costas Markides

A native of Cyprus, Costas Markides is a professor of strategic and international management and holds the Robert P. Bauman Chair of Strategic Leadership at London Business School. He’s currently focused on how management ideas can be used to effect change in social issues like education and drug-related crime. He’s a big fan of Manchester United.


Bob Metcalfe by Dell's Official Flickr Page

Bob Metcalfe by Dell’s Official Flickr Page

29) Bob Metcalfe 

Bob Metcalfe is a successful businessman and electrical engineer. He co-designed the Ethernet technology that is one of the driving technologies behind information networking in general. While more strictly serving under the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Texas, he is labeled the “Professor of Innovation” and imparts his wisdom related to business startups alongside the introduction of new creations.

Amy Edmondson

30)  Amy Edmondson

Before she became the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, Amy Edmondson worked for Buckminster Fuller, famous for ‘Bucky Balls’ and geodestic dome construction, as chief engineer and worked with him to explain his work to those without math backgrounds. In her role as a business researcher, she focuses on learning processes and team dynamics.

Timothy Vogus

31) Timothy Vogus

Known for laying down lessons with his own rap lyrics set to popular hip-hop tunes, Timothy Vogus is a popular assistant professor of management at Vanderbilt University Owen School. He also has conducted excellent research that look at widespread safety concerns within health care organizations.

Rakesh Khurana

32) Rakesh Khurana

Rakesh Khurana serves as the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at Harvard Business School. He also serves as the co-Master at Cabot House. He’s written a fair amount on executive labor markets, business school history, and the foundations of leadership as an academic field. His second book earned him the Max Weber prize and the Gold Medal Axiom Business Book Award. He’s working with Nitin Nohria, the World Economic Forum, and the Aspen Institute to create a global business oath.


33) John Gallaugher

John Gallaugher is an associate professor of Information Systems at Boston College’s school of management. His work bridges the line between Information Systems and Business Management, earning him publications in works like the Harvard Business Review’s MIS Quarterly. The teaching methods he employs have earned him a number of awards and recognition for his skill as an educator.

Benjamin Ho

34) Benjamin Ho

Benjamin Ho is a young assistant professor of economics at Cornell University. Prior to his position there, he served as the Lead Energy Economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisors and was a research analyst for Morgan Stanley. He was recognized as one of the best business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants. He also happens to be a fan of Batman and Neal Stephenson.

Stewart Friedman

35) Steward Friedman

A long-time professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Steward Friedman is also the founding director of the Wharton Leadership Program and their Work/Life Integration Project. He’s published a number of books and articles, with his most recent book earning a spot on the USA Today bestseller list and a number of awards.  The New York Times talked about the ‘rock star adoration’ he inspired and Working Mother named him one of the most influential men improving things for working parents.

Sheena Iyengar

36)  Sheena Iyengar

Coming from a tough background has shaped Sheena Iyengar into a speaker with a unique and inspiring perspective. Her father helped establish the first permanent Sikh temple in Queens, passing away when she was only 13. She herself was diagnosed as a young girl with a degenerative eye disease which took her sight entirely by the 11th grade. Her primary focus is on choice, how people perceive and respond to it. Her research on the subject has been frequently cited and she has won a number of awards and honors for her teaching and writing.

Robert Fisman

37) Raymond Fisman

Raymond Fisman is the Lambert Family Professor of Social Enterprise at Columbia University; prior to his position there, he worked for the World Bank as a consultant. He once ran a dating service for research purposes. His more serious work has been focused on examining global corruption, altruism, and corporate ethics. His first book was a fun examination of the ‘gangsters’ of the corporate world.

Alison Fragale

38) Alison Fragale

Alison Fragale is a lauded educator who teaches the skills of leadership and negotiation to students of the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Her research has focused on the nature of conflict and the resolution of said conflict within organizations. As her work crosses over into the realm of divining the inner workings of the mind, her writing have appeared in several Psychology journals in addition to Business reviews.

Robert Sutton

39) Robert Sutton

Robert Sutton is the Professor of Management Sciences and Engineering at Stanford Engineering School. He’s written over a hundred articles and chapters as well as eight books and edited volumes, one of which was selected as the Best Management Book of 2000.  He is primarily focused on the links binding managerial knowledge and organizational action. He was named as one of the 10 best business all-stars by BusinessWeek.

40) Katherine Milkman

Katherine Milkman, while not at one of the more prestigious universities, is a notable researcher and educator on behavior, decision making, and how they relate to economics. Her work on investigating why people make poor decisions, whether at the grocery store or with their investment portfolio, has won her honors such as The Wyss Award for Doctoral Research from Harvard Business School.

41) J.P. Eggers

J.P. Eggers is the Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at NYU Stern School of Business where he focuses on strategic decision-making, technological uncertainty, and new product creation. Prior to his position as a professor, Eggers was a consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates and Viant, Inc. He was named as Stern’s 2010 Professor of the Year and as one of the top B-School Profs under 40 by Poets and Quants. He also once performed and taught the art of fire eating and flying trapeze in circus school.

Jeremy Siegal

42) Jeremy Siegal

Jeremy Siegal, the ‘Wizard of Wharton’, sits in the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance position. He is a frequent commentator on the economy and financial markets and writes regular columns for Kiplinger’s and Yahoo! Finance.  He has been recognized as one of the world’s best B-school professors by Poets and Quants. He learned finance and the financial market entirely on his own time.

Joshua Ackerman

43) Joshua Ackerman

Joshua Ackerman is in the Class of 1957 Career Development Professor and an Assistant Professor of Marketing at MIT Sloan School of Marketing. He utilizes an evolutionary perspective to the mechanisms that drive consumer behavior. Recent work of his on vicarious self-control was featured in Time Magazine. His work has appeared in several journals and he was named as one of the best B-school Profs Under 40 by Poets and Quants. In his personal life, he enjoys photography.

Phanish Puranam

44) Phanish Puranam

Phanish Puranam is currently on a leave of absence from his position as Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School to serve as a professor for INSEAD graduate business school. His research focuses on the creation and implementation of collaborative structures, or simply the framework that allows large organizations to combine the work of multiple persons.

Gad Allon

45) Gad Allon

Gad Allon is a professor of managerial economics and decision science at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He won the 2009 Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. He uses game theory and queuing theory in his research applied to customer service. He’s well-respected for his academic research chops, though he is also an exceptional teacher. He also runs a charity fantasy baseball league every year.

David Bach

46) David Bach

As a Professor of Strategic Management and Dean of Programs at IE Business School, David Bach has gained recognition for his talents as a professor, placing on Poets and Quants list of the top b-school professors under 40. He also placed twice on the Guru radar by Thinkers 50 for his insights into where business and politics collide.

Heather Tookes

47) Heather Tookes

Heather Tookes is an Associate Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management by way of Cornell and Brown universities. Her research is focused around price discovery and market microstructure. Her current works in progress include papers on corporate risk management and short sales alongside securities offerings. She played Rugby when she was a student at Brown.

Scott DeRue

48) Scott DeRue

Scott DeRue is the assistant professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. He was ranked among the world’s best business school professors under 40. His research has been published in a number of scholarly journals and is often cited in media outlets like BusinessWeek and the New York Times.

Ashleigh Shelby Rosette

49) Ashleigh Shelby Rosette

Ashleigh Shelby Rosette serves as an Associate Professor of Management and Organizations for Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Her research has focused on the fields of diversity and negotiation in the workplace, with several publications on the issues of gender and racial considerations in the business world. Her teaching regimen currently includes two courses: “Negotiation,” and “Leadership, Ethics, and Organization.”

Anita Elberse

50) Anita Elberse

Anita Elberse is the Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. She is recognized as a master case study teacher, and her course covering the business of entertainment is highly popular. Her research is focused on how creative industries create success. She was made a full professor with tenure at 38, one of the youngest female professors in HBS’s history.



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