Professor Profiles: James VanHorne, Stanford Graduate School of Business

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 James VanHorne from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).

In an interview with mbaMission, a recent alumnus described James VanHorne (“Topics in Corporate Finance”) as an “old school professor,” because he addresses students formally, calling them “Mr./Ms./Mrs.” He is notorious for cold-calling students, and once he has selected a student to cold-call, he often focuses on that same student for the duration of the class. As a result, students tend to prepare for his class with particular vigor. The alumnus added, “He pushes and pushes to make you justify every excruciating detail of your decisions, and will force you to make a definite decision before continuing with the discussion.” An advanced finance class open to second-year students, VanHorne’s “Topics in Corporate Finance” class indicates in its course description that it is a quasi-seminar, because 50% of the sessions involve case discussions, and enrollment is limited. The course focuses on applications of such finance topics as capital structure, distribution policy, mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. VanHorne is now professor emeritus at the GSB.

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

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