Professor Profiles: Rawi Abdelal, 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 Rawi Abdelal from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Rawi AbdelalRawi Abdelal (“Business Government and the International Economy”) is the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration and chair of HBS’s first-year required curriculum (known as the RC). 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: Post-Soviet States in Comparative Perspective (Cornell University Press, 2001), won the 2002 Shulman Prize for outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision making of any former Soviet Union or Eastern European state. That same year—and again in 2013—he received the Robert F. Greenhill Award, given to outstanding members of the HBS community who are making significant contributions to the school. Moreover, in 2004, he was awarded the Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching in the RC.

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 15 other top-ranked business schools, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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