Every top-tier business school has its list of star faculty whom the students adore. The Columbia faculty is populated with many prominent business leaders, researchers, and teachers. Among Columbia students, there is a handful of professors who are considered a “must have” for a class, due to their reputation both as educators and as experts. This list isn’t merely a collection of famous names, but rather the instructors that Columbia students deem to be essential for the full experience.
Bruce Greenwald, Robert Heilbrunn Professor of Finance and Asset Management, Director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing
Among Columbia’s luminaries, few professors have reached the rock star or guru level of finance professor Bruce Greenwald. In addition to being the leading authority on value investing—or, as the New York Times put it, “the guru to the Wall Street gurus”—Professor Greenwald is an expert on productivity and information economics. The titles of his classes suggest the range of his interests: Value Investing; Economics of Strategic Behavior; and Globalization & Markets & the Changing Economic Landscape. Not only is he well versed on multiple subjects, but he’s also a great teacher in the Socratic Method, so students who are unprepared for class should be on high alert. Year in and year out, Professor Greenwald’s classes are significantly oversubscribed, but about 650 students annually find a way into at least one of them. Professor Greenwald is by far the one professor that alumni clubs beg to have sent to them, goosing an event’s attendance significantly by his presence. (Quick note: The Columbia finance department has several faculty members whose names are sometimes confused—an error that could cause extreme embarrassment. Bruce Greenwald is the head of the Value Investing Program. Joel Greenblatt and David Greenspan have been on the adjunct faculty of the Value Investing Program in years past. Michelle Greenwald, an adjunct professor in Columbia’s marketing department, has no known relation to Mr. Greenwald. However, Ava Seave, also a Columbia marketing professor, is Mr. Greenwald’s wife.)
Murray Low, Associate Professor of Management, Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center
Professor Low stands out as one of the school’s most adored teachers. Having started several successful companies himself, Professor Low now devotes himself to studying the context in which entrepreneurship occurs—searching for causal links and debunking supposedly commonsense links. He has helped to increase the school’s reputation for turning out entrepreneurs who graduate both with viable business plans and funding, and who in turn circle back to help stoke the cauldron of creativity and process management on campus.
Gita Johar, Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business , Vice Dean for Research, Cross-Disciplinary Areas
Professor Johar proves that not all beloved Columbia professors teach finance. She teaches courses on consumer psychology and cognition, and how these can be factored into marketing, branding, and advertising activities. Her seminars can entail highly specific “field trips,” such as a trek to the Calvin Klein store on Madison Avenue. Recent course titles include Advertising and Branding, Global Marketing Consulting for Social Enterprise, Research Methods, and Consumer Behavior. Her youthful, low-key teaching style is a large factor in her increasing popularity on campus. Professor Johar was named vice dean of research and is in charge of Columbia’s new cross-disciplinary areas.
Laurie Simon Hodrick, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Economics, Founding Director, Program for Financial Studies
ProfessorProfessor Simon Hodrick has a distinguished career bridging theory and practice. Selected as “One of Forty under Forty” by Crain’s Chicago (while she was a professor at Kellogg), Columbia lured her to New York both for her many prestigious fellowships and for her approachable yet demanding teaching style. She has been awarded the Columbia University President’s Medal for outstanding teaching, and students rave that what they learned from her about corporate finance and the market for corporate control has proved valuable over the course of their careers. Professor Simon Hodrick is also launching the new Program for Financial Studies.