10 Professors

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  • Shayan Bardhan from Co12 blogs about 10 cool professors who taught in the core terms this year at ISB. It is reproduced here, but the original post and other musing from Co12 can be seen at blogs.isb.edu/pgp2012students. In somewhat of a chronological order:


    1.       Ravi Mantena (U. of Rochester): If you’ve never done statistics in life, he will make sure you do it now. And he isn’t kidding when he tells you that it will be used in every class that follows from there on. Z-tables will be your new best friend. Also, dummy variables are not what you call your friends.

    Cool fact: Uses a tablet to write notes, which are then posted online. Lazy people rejoice.


    2.       Shivaram Rajagopal (Emory): Welcome to the world of financial accounting. A dry subject that can only be taught with patented dry humor and annual reports of Anheuser Busch (aah, the irony). Did you know that Goodwill is what you get when you pay more for something than it is worth? How’s that for a life lesson?

    Cool fact: Also uses a tablet. Wait, is this the benchmark at ISB?


    3.       Mohan Venkatachalam (Duke): Accounting on Red Bull! Is this how I write off bad debts!? LIFO FIFO! Credits and debits will never mean the same things again! I can never fall asleep in this class! Why is there an exclamation after every sentence!?

    Cool fact: Accounting is so much fun! I’m going to major in it! Wow, this is infectious!


    4.       John Zhang (Wharton): Your first marketing course. Pricing strategies of high end home theater to industrial anti microbial agents. Finally figuring out why women’s fashion can have differential and dynamic pricing strategies. And why Hina Rabbani Khar is willing to shell out that much for a Hermes Birkin.

    Cool fact: Epic final class with an assortment of classic TV ads. Including the Pepsi one with Cindy Crawford.


    5.       Sumit Kunnumkal and Milind Sohoni (ISB): One word – DMOP (Decision Models Optimization). Thank the heavens for being able to come to terms with this subject in 5 weeks. And then thank these painstakingly patient professors for their divine intervention on figuring out Transportation problems and oil blending arbitrage opportunities.   

    Cool fact: Excel Solver. You’ll find out it exists.


    6.       Prashant Kale (Rice): A man who needs no introduction. Voted among the 10 most popular business school faculty in the United States. With a fan club that rivals local movie stars. Strategy sounds like a brilliant concentration, right? He will convince you on every counter-argument (so Strategy is not a good choice…?) If he took an elective term class, people would be left with no bid points.

    Cool fact: You are ready to take on Southwest Airlines halfway through this class. Or replicate Wal-Mart in India.


    7.       Krishna Kumar (RAND Corporation): Macroeconomics is often the red-headed stepchild, or so I’m told by my economist friends. Guess what, exchange rates aren’t just what they display on red LED boards at Thomas Cook. And inflation is more than your autowallah overcharging you on every trip. Incisive discussions that will make you want to solve the Eurozone crisis.

    Cool fact: Watching Commanding Heights (a PBS documentary) to trace the history of free markets. Way better than having to read about it. 


    8.       Ram Bala (ISB): This class is about Operations. You will learn to solve the News vendor problem and compete on the Littlefield simulation. You will also go to every McDonalds/restaurants/any place with long queues after this and point out bottlenecks and capacity issues. Be prepared to go very hungry during the class, as apparently all the best examples are food production related.

    Cool fact: Seinfeld and I Love Lucy were truly ahead of their time. Episodes from the shows illustrate concepts in queuing and processing time variations.


    9.       Ramana Sonti (ISB): You might walk into this class expecting to walk out at the end of 10 sessions an expert in Investment Analysis and ready to take on the stock market. You will learn to appreciate messrs. Sharpe, Treynor and Jensen. However, once you find out that Nobel Laureates such as Merton and Scholes can screw up big time and lose a lot of money (refer Long Term Capital Management), you’re probably back where you started. But the journey would have been accompanied by the best sense of humor on campus.

    Cool fact: There is a bandicoot menace on campus. It has the unfortunate habit of eating a lot of important data.


    10.   A. K. Shiva Kumar (Kennedy School/UNICEF): If you wanted to reduce your six degrees of separation to Sonia Gandhi, then it’s probably prudent to know someone in the National Advisory Council. A course that will shed light on India’s social and public policy problems. Profit maximization can wait for a couple of hours.

    Cool fact: Amartya Sen was his PhD advisor. How much cooler can it get than that?

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