24 May 2023

Five Harvard Business School Faculty Members Receive Class of 2023 Faculty Teaching Award Honors


BOSTON—Students from the Harvard Business School (HBS) graduating class of 2023 honored five faculty members with Faculty Teaching Award honors. Tony Mayo, Sophus Reinert, Charlotte Robertson, Tom Nicholas, and Meg Rithmire were recognized for their excellence and dedication to teaching, and for the positive impact they had both in and out of the classroom.

Students were asked to identify professors who have enhanced the learning experience and to reflect on which professor best demonstrated the following six criteria in both their Required Curriculum (RC) first year and Elective Curriculum (EC) second year:

  1. Inspiration: transfers passion for the subject matter to students
  2. Knowledge Transfer: makes difficult course material accessible to all students through clear explanations and demonstrated relevance
  3. Accessibility: available to students outside the classroom on a personal and professional basis
  4. Career Guidance: helps to identify industry contacts and evaluate potential career options
  5. Quality of Life: helps to improve the quality of life on campus
  6. Feedback: provides feedback that contributes to professional and personal development

“HBS faculty play an outsized role in the student experience—not just in the classroom, but beyond, through mentoring, making themselves available for students to discuss business concepts and ideas, or even helping develop new ventures,” said Sam Deutsch, Katie Donnewald, and Temi Olonilua, 2023 Class Day Committee co-chairs. “This year’s Faculty Teaching Award recipients are no different, as they had a profound impact on the Class of 2023 through our two years here. On behalf of our entire class, we congratulate this year’s winners, and thank all the faculty for their continued support.”

Senior Lecturer Tony Mayo

Tony Mayo (RC), a senior lecturer in the Organizational Behavior Unit, is being honored for the second time. Students recognized his ability to create community in the classroom, with one noting, “Tony has consistently demonstrated a deep passion for teaching and a remarkable commitment to inclusiveness and diversity. His infectious enthusiasm coupled with his willingness to be vulnerable and share personal experiences has greatly enriched the classroom experience. His ability to create a safe space for open dialogue and foster meaningful connections with students has left a lasting impact on my learning journey.”

“He has an incredible ability to ask questions that make us think and he uses humor, usually in one- or two-word witty responses, to remind us to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously,” another student said. “He encouraged us to have thought-provoking conversations while we were still getting to know each other.”

Professor Sophus Reinert

Sophus Reinert (RC), a professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy (BGIE) Unit and a four-time honoree, was called out for his ability to push students to think beyond the text of a case.

“Sophus is an excellent professor, distilling the complex nuances of international relations, economic drivers, and cultural differences into accessible building blocks that support a deeper discussion on worldviews and societal change,” one student commented. “What really differentiates Sophus, though, is the high degree of empowerment and opportunity that he weaves into the discussion. Sophus believes in us—he closed each class by highlighting our ability to effect positive change in the world.”

Another student expanded on that theme: “Sophus did not merely extract leadership learnings from our case discussions, he deeply challenged the embedded assumptions in the comments that we made, and he pushed us to think deeply about the implications of our words. He transcends leadership, inspiring us to think about our sense of self, our humanity, and our relationship to society, past and present.”

Assistant Professor Charlotte Robertson

Charlotte Robertson (RC), an assistant professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy (BGIE) Unit, is a recipient of the Faculty Teaching Award in her first year at HBS. Students were appreciative of her ability to create a lively and thoughtful classroom experience.

“Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Well, Franklin Roosevelt clearly never had a cold call from Professor Robertson!” one student exclaimed. “She encouraged us to think deeply and rigorously about the world and in her first year at HBS quickly became one of our section's favorite professors because of the immense amount of preparation and thoughtfulness she put into her class and the effort she took to get to know us both inside and outside the classroom.”

“Charlotte always did a phenomenal job of facilitating difficult conversations in the classroom while encouraging us to consider history and geopolitics holistically,” said a different student. “Her closing slides were often works of art, which managed to underscore how cyclical yet uniquely important the human experience can be.”

Professor Tom Nicholas

Tom Nicholas (EC), a professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, is no stranger to the Faculty Teaching Awards, having been named now for the eighth time. Over the years, his passion, energy, preparedness, and ability to artfully facilitate a case discussion has stood out to students, and it was the same this year, with one remarking, “Professor Nicholas is a true maestro of the case method, with a rare combination of passion, humor, and sensitivity that makes everyone strive to bring their best. He manages class discussion seamlessly, hammering home key takeaways and historical turning points to contextualize the business world as we know it today. He has an uncanny ability to transform distant case protagonists from decades or centuries ago into familiar and relatable figures, and he masterfully creates a psychologically safe space for students to feel comfortable sharing even their most controversial opinions. We’re lucky to have him at HBS.”

His teaching style also changed how some thought about their education.

“Tom Nicholas has profoundly impacted my outlook on lifelong learning, reigniting a sense of curiosity and intellectual vigor within me,” one student stated. “His remarkable capacity to command the attention of a room teeming with 90 MBA students, guiding thought-provoking discussions on intense and polarizing subjects, exemplifies his unwavering dedication to cultivating visionary leaders for the future. Tom's genuine passion and unwavering commitment to creating an inclusive and empowering educational atmosphere have enriched my learning journey, fostered personal growth, and inspired me to embrace new challenges with confidence.”

Associate Professor Meg Rithmire

Meg Rithmire (EC), an associate professor in the Business, Government, and International Economy (BGIE) Unit is a two-time Faculty Teaching Award winner, with students valuing her empathy, passion, and wisdom, as well as her unique teaching style.

“Never have I been more challenged than in Professor Rithmire’s class, but neither have I ever left a classroom more inspired and invigorated to think deeper, to interrogate further my own worldviews, and to be a better citizen,” one student wrote. “She teaches with the rigor of a political scientist but provokes with the sensibilities of a poet. Her classes are at once extremely analytical and philosophically profound. The lessons and questions she left us with will stay for a long time, as will the ways in which she effortlessly combines sharp wit with empathy, kindness, and candor. Professor Rithmire is a role model and an example of the kind of teacher who illuminates our HBS halls. It has been one of the greatest gifts of my HBS experience to have been her student.”

“Meg’s profound knowledge and passion left me in awe and her enthusiasm was tangible and infectious each and every day in the classroom,” commented another student. “She possesses a unique ability to transform complex cases and intricate topics into engaging and approachable discussions. She ignited a new fire of inspiration, curiosity, and empathy within me by doing so. As I reflect upon my HBS journey, I am certain that, whether it's five, 10, or even 50 years from now, Meg will stand out as the professor who left an indelible mark, making the most profound and positive impact on my overall experience. I am deeply honored to have been her student.”


Mark Cautela

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.