Professor Profiles: Rawi Abdelal, Harvard Business School

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 Rawi Abdelal from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Rawi Abdelal (“Business Government and the International Economy”) is the course head for the “Business Government and the International Economy” required curriculum class. In addition to teaching, he serves as a faculty associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, an international research center that facilitates individual academic research as well as intellectual dialogue among scholars and practicing experts. Abdelal also serves on the executive committee of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. His first book, National Purpose in the World Economy, won the 2002 Shulman Prize for outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision-making of any of the states of the former Soviet Union or Eastern Europe. He also received the HBS Robert F. Greenhill Award in 2002 for outstanding members of the HBS community who are making significant contributions to the school, as well as the Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching in the required curriculum in 2004.

Abdelal is a student favorite, we were told by those we interviewed, because of his willingness to spend time with students outside the classroom (even those who are not in his section), explaining macroeconomic concepts that can be difficult to grasp. He is also known for incorporating unusual references from literature and popular culture into his class discussions. He has made allusions to Shakespeare, the movie “Fight Club” and even rapper Jay-Z’s song “Blue Magic” to help explain complex topics.

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

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