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Professor Profiles: Paul Marshall, Harvard Business School

Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school to attend, but the educational experience is what 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 Paul Marshall from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Paul Marshall, Harvard Business SchoolAccording to a second-year HBS student we interviewed, Paul Marshall’s “Entrepreneurial Management in a Turnaround Environment” class is always oversubscribed, and the course description indicates that the class is designed for students who are interested in becoming “turnaround professionals,” being president or CEO of a company, joining a start-up or starting a search fund. The second year added that the primary reason for the course’s popularity, though, is Marshall himself, who has twice received the HBS Faculty Award from the RC (required curriculum, or first-year) class—in 1998 and 1999. In 2008, Marshall was named an honorary professor at Xiamen University in Xiamen, China.

Marshall has also been a practitioner, having served as chairman and CEO of Rochester Shoe Tree Company, managing the company during a four-year turnaround and implementing a major reorganization and cost reduction program—his leadership helped improve the company’s profitability in the face of declining sales. Students find his course so enjoyable because, according to one second year with whom we spoke, Marshall “tells it like it is.” The first half of the course is very numbers intensive, but the second half introduces cases that focus on issues of strategy and people leadership in turnaround situations. Marshall has also served as course head for the RC class “The Entrepreneurial Manager” and taught the EC (elective curriculum, or second-year) course “Running and Growing the Small Company.” In 2011, Marshall won both the Charles M. Williams Award for teaching excellence and the title of Outstanding Professor of the Year, awarded by the HBS Class of 2011.

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