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Professor Profiles: Paul Marshall, Harvard Business School

Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose which business school to attend, but the educational experience itself 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 School According to a second-year HBS student we interviewed, Paul Marshall’s “The Entrepreneurial Manager in a Turnaround Environment” course (with Senior Lecturer J. Bruce Harreld) is always oversubscribed, and the course description indicates that it 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 student 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, Inc., managing the company during a four-year turnaround and executing a major reorganization effort and a system to reduce costs. 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 (required curriculum, or first year) 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 Excellence in Teaching and the title of Outstanding Professor of the Year, awarded by the HBS Class of 2011.

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