28 May 2020

Four Harvard Business School Faculty Members Receive Class of 2020 Faculty Teaching Award Honors

Group Recognized for Positively Affecting the Learning of Students
Top Row: Josh Margolis, Kristin Mugford
Bottom Row: Ting Zhang, Sophus Reinert

BOSTON—In a vote by the Harvard Business School (HBS) MBA graduating class of 2020, students honored faculty members Josh Margolis, Kristin Mugford, Sophus Reinert, and Ting Zhang with a Faculty Teaching Award for their excellence and dedication to teaching, and for the positive impact they had both and in and out of the classroom.

As part of the nomination process, students identified professors who have enhanced the learning experience and were specifically asked to reflect on which teacher 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

“The MBA experience is a fast-paced learning environment in which students are often focused on both learning and contributing to a variety of interests, but it takes the support of the HBS faculty for them to realize their full potential,” said Robbie Dixon and Melanie Sperling, 2020 Class Day Committee co-chairs. “We would like to thank this year’s Faculty Teaching Award recipients for going above and beyond in helping students gain the most from the rich learning environment at HBS.”

Margolis, the James Dinan and Elizabeth Miller Professor of Business Administration and the head of the Organizational Behavior Unit, was recognized for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of Leadership and Organizational Behavior during the class of 2020’s RC year. This is the fourth consecutive year Margolis has been named a Faculty Teaching Award recipient, and represents his sixth award overall. When talking about what made him an easy choice, students noted the importance he placed on being a great listener.

“Professor Margolis is a once in a lifetime professor who, through the case method, emphasized the importance of truly listening to others and how to be a kind yet effective leader,” commented one of his students. “He certainly taught me how to be a better leader, but more importantly, he taught me how to be a better person. He led by example—sharing stories about overcoming adversity in his career, introducing us to his wife and daughter so that we could witness the value of family, and bringing his all to every class each day.”

“To me, Professor Margolis epitomizes the way in which HBS has the ability to develop young leaders for the future challenges they will face,” another student said. “The single most important lesson I learned at HBS was that listening to each other, really listening, without preconception, assumption, or bias, gives a leader the power to see through the noise and make the most effective contextual decision. This lesson was imparted our first day in class by Professor Margolis, and over the course of a semester his energy, compassion, and charisma drove us to become better listeners. I can honestly say that the time I spent with Professor Margolis is the greatest highlight of my academic experience at HBS.”

Zhang, an assistant professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit, was recognized for her outstanding contribution as a teacher of Leadership and Organizational Behavior, also during this year’s graduating students’ RC year. Zhang is a first-time recipient in only her second year at HBS, and students noted her empathy and energy when they selected her.

“Professor Zhang came in on day one of the RC year with the kind of energy that kept you excited all-through class, racing around the room, asking pointed questions, and making sure to bring in diverse perspectives,” one of her students stated. “She made us laugh, pushed us to think further, and created a safe space for vulnerability. And when the section cried, she cried with us. I was always excited to go to her class, and admired her for the way she brought energy, preparation, and passion to everything she did, in and out of class. She invested so much time in our section; hosting unlimited office hours, attending our section MyTakes (student-run events in which two to four students share personal stories that you may not hear in the classroom), and even sharing her own personal stories. Professor Zhang was a true highlight of my time at HBS and I hope, as her first section, she’ll keep us in her heart as much as she will be in ours.”

Mugford, the Melvin Tukman Senior Lecturer of Business Administration in the Finance Unit, was recognized for her outstanding contribution as a teacher of Creating Value Through Corporate Restructuring (CVCR) during the class of 2020’s EC year. This is the second time Mugford has received the award, also earning a special recognition in 2015 for the founding of Bridges, three days during which all graduating students, led by a faculty teaching team, take time to reflect on the past two years and consider next steps on their career and life journeys. This year, her students talked of her willingness to go above and beyond to make herself accessible and offer advice.

“Professor Mugford tirelessly committed herself to her students in ways that extended beyond the course—from remembering students’ birthdays, to offering what seemed to be unlimited office hours where she generously shared CVCR, HBS, and career-related advice,” one of her students said. “Beyond her mastery of course content, her infectious enthusiasm and dedication was inspiring. Always holding her students to high standards, she managed to make a technical class very rewarding, accessible, and fun.”

“HBS is a better place because of Kristin Mugford’s presence. In getting to know her personally, she has pushed me to be my best, and empowered me to go into the world and make a difference,” an additional student said. “Her commitment to helping women and other minority groups enter and find success in investing has positively impacted me, many of my classmates, and alumni.”

In winning a Faculty Teaching Award for the second year in a row, Reinert, a professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE) Unit, was recognized for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of Globalization and Emerging Markets (GEM) during the students’ EC year.

“Professor Reinert's energy and passion for GEM was contagious and undoubtedly the highlight of my HBS learning experience. He inspired and challenged us to grapple with the deep struggles and staggering successes of some of the most prominent to most peripheral nations in the world,” a student stated. “Covering the gritty realities that don’t often surface in regular history books, each case made you stop, stare, and feel compelled to explore beyond the classroom. His office hours were perennially oversubscribed, offering unexpected personal twists on the classroom narratives, and he invested additional time to partner with many students on independent projects. Professor Reinert not only transformed my HBS journey with his teaching of the GEM course, but also how I understand and intend to engage with the world far beyond this campus.”

“Sophus Reinert is one of the best professors that I have ever had,” another of his students reflected. “He teaches with incredible flair. I loved his questions, his humor, and his generosity. He builds classrooms that welcome everybody in and make us think.”


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.