Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a school, but the educational experience at the business school 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 Peter L. Rodriguez from the University of Virginia’s (UVA’s) Darden School of Business Administration.
Peter L. Rodriguez (“Global Economies and Markets”) has three areas of expertise: international trade and development, international business and corruption, and ethnic entrepreneurship. He has used his PhD in economics from Princeton University to study investing—coediting the book Angel Investing in Latin America (Darden Business Publishing, 2005)—and is currently Darden’s senior associate dean for degree programs and chief diversity officer. In 2008, Rodriguez received an award for outstanding teaching at Darden, and in 2007, he won the school’s John Colley Award, which recognizes those who perpetuate Darden’s tradition of close interactions between professors and students. He has written seven cases for Darden on topics ranging from the recent economic difficulties in the United States to financial challenges emerging in Vietnam to the effects of corruption and the economic impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Because of his personal interest in business developments in Latin America and Africa, Rodriguez has both planned and participated in Global Business Experiences (courses in which students travel to countries outside the United States to explore the culture and business environment there firsthand for several weeks) to countries in those areas.
Students with whom we spoke view Rodriguez, known to many as simply “P-Rod,” as a very caring professor who pays special attention to each student, asking about their families and remembering their concerns. One second year described him to us as “one of the most loved professors [at Darden].” And an alumnus with whom we spoke described Rodriguez as “very funny, very articulate, not dry” but added that “he asks tough questions.” This graduate also noted that Rodriguez is very patient with students, helping each to probe deeply for answers and thereby guiding them to deeper insights. “He fills the room with kinetic energy when he walks in,” said an alumna we interviewed. “He understands who gets it and who doesn’t.”
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