Professor Profiles: James Van Horne, Stanford Graduate School of Business

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 James Van Horne from the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB).

In an interview with mbaMission, a Stanford GSB alumnus described James Van Horne (“Topics in Corporate Finance”) as an “old school professor,” because he addresses students formally, calling them “Mr./Ms./Mrs.” He is notorious for cold-calling students, and once he has selected a student to cold-call, often focuses on that same student for the duration of the class. As a result, students tend to prepare for his class with vigor. The alumnus added, “He pushes and pushes to make you justify every excruciating detail of your decisions, and will force you to make a definite decision before continuing with the discussion.” An advanced finance class open to second-year students, Van Horne’s “Topics in Corporate Finance” course indicates in its description that it is a quasi-seminar, because 50% of the sessions involve case discussions, and enrollment is limited. The course focuses on applications of such finance topics as capital structure, distribution policy, mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. Van Horne is now professor emeritus at the GSB and is a recipient of the school’s MBA Distinguished Teaching Award (1982, 1997) and Sloan Teaching Excellence Award (1997).

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

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