24 May 2021

Five Harvard Business School Faculty Members Receive Class of 2021 Faculty Teaching Award Honors


BOSTON—In a vote by the Harvard Business School (HBS) MBA graduating class of 2021, students honored faculty members Malcolm Baker, Tony Mayo, Kristin Mugford, Tom Nicholas, and Sophus Reinert 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

“Students pursuing their MBA at HBS balance a complex web of classes, recruiting, networking, entrepreneurship opportunities, and extracurricular interests, which are all supported by our extraordinary faculty in and out of the classroom,” said Ryan Flamerich and Abby Burcham, 2021 Class Day Committee co-chairs. “I know we speak for the full class when we say that we appreciate all our faculty for their thoughtful transition to the virtual classroom and for some to the hybrid classroom during this trying year. We would especially like to thank this year’s Faculty Teaching Award recipients for going above and beyond their normal duties to help students gain the most possible out of our HBS experience.”

Malcolm Baker, Faculty Teaching Award recipient

Malcolm Baker, the Robert G. Kirby Professor of Business Administration, was recognized for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of Finance (FIN 1) during the class of 2021’s RC year. This is the second time Baker has received the Faculty Teaching Award. In their nominating comments, students noted Baker’s humor, energy, and ability to make financial systems accessible and even fun.

“Simply put, Professor Baker’s teaching method sets the bar for the quality, care, and candor that is expected at HBS,” a student reflected. “He effortlessly guided the classroom and ensured that the fundamentals were taught clearly. He mixed humor with the serious nature of our financial systems and through his personal and thoughtful reflections showed that he truly cared about each section.”

“Professor Baker was incredible at intriguing us with finance and tricking us into understanding systematic and idiosyncratic risks with his humor and humility,” another student said. “Even into our EC year, Professor Baker was a constant support to our section and sent us off with laughter and inspiration. Thank you for nursing my interest in finance and giving me the tools and curiosity to start building my career in investing.”

Tony Mayo, Faculty Teaching Award recipient

Tony Mayo, the Thomas S. Murphy Senior Lecturer of Business Administration and C. Roland Christensen Distinguished Management Educator in the Organizational Behavior Unit, was recognized for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) in the Class of 2021’s RC year. Students particularly noted Mayo’s ability to discuss difficult topics with sensitivity, vulnerability, and respect.

“Professor Mayo always knew how far to push us to get the best out of us—far enough to bring our comments to a level deeper but not so far that we froze,” commented one student. “His classes made me ask myself the most important questions through my time at HBS: Who am I? What type of person, leader, mother, and boss do I want to be? How can I create a life that I am proud of? Thank you, Professor Mayo, for teaching me through example what leadership in action looks like.”

“Professor Mayo led by example through being open and authentic, and he created a unique environment where students felt comfortable being themselves, challenging each other, and discussing difficult topics,” said another student. “He built a welcoming yet robust learning environment—not only in the familiar setting of Aldrich Hall, but also in a virtual classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without his personal openness, I would not have felt as comfortable having the type of impactful discussions that LEAD and ALD are uniquely positioned at HBS to produce, and I wouldn’t be graduating with as full a sense of who I am as a person and as a leader.”

Kristin Mugford, Faculty Teaching Award recipient

Kristin 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 2021’s EC year. This is the third time Mugford has received the award. She also earned 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 spoke of her going above and beyond both inside and outside the classroom to provide an exceptional experience during a tumultuous year.

"Professors often ask if there’s anything they can do to make HBS, the classroom, or their teaching effectiveness better," one student said. "Professor Mugford goes a step further and brainstorms and executes on unique ideas such as small group dinners, frequent group office hours, medium-sized social gatherings, relevant article packs, weekly emails previewing academic and social things in the week ahead, and checking in out of the blue.”

Another student reflected, "Kristin is so much more than a professor. She sent us off in our final semester of EC year teaching one of the toughest finance classes on an obscure topic that inspired us to be tough, creative negotiators who are also compassionate and thoughtful leaders. But she also had unlimited time to be a mentor, advisor and cheerleader in our personal lives. She was always an easy call away, whether encouraging you to fight even harder for that dream PE job, or backing you up when you weren't valuing yourself, or urging you to celebrate success and joy with your loved ones.”

Tom Nicholas, Faculty Teaching Award recipient

Tom Nicholas, the William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration, was recognized for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of The Coming of Managerial Capitalism (CMC) during the class of 2021’s EC year. This is his seventh Faculty Teaching Award. Students commended Nicholas for his energetic and impassioned teaching, which challenged, inspired, and engaged the entire class.

“In the same way a symphony orchestra conductor leverages his musicians to get the most out of a symphony, Professor Nicholas plays on the strengths of different students and experiences to get to the core of every issue,” commented a student. “Somehow he seems to know everyone’s background, he seemingly remembers every comment anyone has ever made, he knows exactly who to ask if he wants a certain point of view, and he has that great ‘fingerspitzengefühl’ for when to push a student or when to hold back. And he does it all with that British sense of humor and in a manner that makes everyone be at their very best for every class. He leads discussions on tough but critical topics ranging from economic policy to racism and inequality in a straightforward, humble and authentic manner—all in a course on American history.”

“Professor Nicholas brought passion, energy, and thoughtfulness to class in a way that elicited the best from us as students,” said another student. “He facilitated thoughtful conversations and challenged our thinking, all while exhibiting a unique ability to empathize and respond to feedback from students. He cared deeply about making CMC the best possible experience, and I am glad that we have a chance to recognize him.”

Sophus Reinert, Faculty Teaching Award recipient

Sophus Reinert, a professor of Business Administration in the Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE) Unit, was recognized with a Faculty Teaching Award for the third consecutive year for his outstanding contribution as a teacher of BGIE during the students’ RC year. His students noted his ability to make BGIE subjects come alive, creating relevant connections out of seemingly mundane topics.

“Professor Reinert was able to take the notoriously long and dense BGIE readings and transform them into fully immersive and engaging experiences, with references to art, poetry, Latin, spirits, and a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor,” said a student. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think so much laughter could come out of a class on the balance of payments. But Professor Reinert does more than teach his students business acumen. Sectionmates with strong conviction regularly left class second-guessing long-held beliefs, while others emerged with a newfound sense of confidence after being coached through a difficult cold-call.”

“Sophus was truly an incredible teacher and facilitator,” said another student. “When the Covid crisis hit and all our plans were upended, he was able to strike the right balance between calming us, continuing to teach, and providing advice to help us persevere through the challenge. He always knew the right thing to say, and I am grateful for his leadership.”


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.