Professor Profiles: Nicolaj Siggelkow, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand, but the educational experience itself is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor as identified by students. Today, we focus on Nicolaj Siggelkow from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Known for being a protégé of the strategy guru Michael Porter, Nicolaj Siggelkow (“Strategy and Competitive Advantage”) is just as well-known at Wharton for pushing students to clarify their answers in his class—using buzzwords such as “added value” and “frameworks” can earn a cold-called student 30 minutes or so of additional questioning. One second-year student called Siggelkow simply “the best professor at Wharton for leading a case,” and another remarked, “He will whip your ass into shape, so you must prepare for class or don’t bother coming!”

Siggelkow expects his students to come prepared to class, and students in the Wagat guide (Wharton’s nod to the Zagat guide—but for courses rather than restaurants) say the workload for each session of his course is far heavier than the norm, to say the least. (According to course evaluations from a prior academic year, the workload required for his classes is rated 3.78, whereas the average is 3.13.) Still, students respect him for this toughness, and he has earned five teaching awards (seven, if we include undergrad business awards) in his 12 years at Wharton.

For more information about Wharton and 13 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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