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Dec 1, 2020 2020-12 Business Administration Faculty

3 Gies faculty named to P&Q’s Top Undergraduate Business Professors

Three Gies College of Business professors have been recognized among the Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professors in the country, according to business education publication Poets&Quants. Associate Professor Michael Bednar, Assistant Professor Aravinda Garimella, and Teaching Associate Professor Mark Wolters all made the list for 2020.

In addition to his duties as associate professor in the Department of Business Administration, Michael Bednar also serves as the academic director of the Magelli Office of Experiential Learning at Gies Business. He teaches Business in Action, a course required of all third-year undergraduate students. Business in Action is the largest experiential learning course in the nation.

“Experiential learning forces interdisciplinary thinking and requires complex problem solving in a practical context,” said Bednar, who has been on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent every year since 2008. “It is the perfect complement to traditional academic classwork because students can cross subject boundaries and put theory and concepts into action. Experiential learning also shows students that there is often not a single, easy solution to complex problems.” Read Michael Bednar's full P&Q profile here.

Since joining Gies College of Business in 2018, Aravinda Garimella has immediately become a favorite of her students. She teaches Database Design and Management for undergraduates, a technical course that can be intimidating for many. She says it’s important to make sure to take time strengthening fundamentals in a systematic manner before introducing advanced content.

“When teaching programming, on the first day, I do no coding,” said Garimella. “Instead, I trigger students’ algorithmic thinking by having them break a complex problem into smaller manageable parts and display their results using art supplies. I always ask myself – if I were taking this course, what would I wish the professor did to help me learn better?” Read Aravinda Garimella's full P&Q profile here.

There may be no more popular professor on the entire University of Illinois campus than Mark Wolters. The teaching associate professor in the Department of Business Administration teaches Principles of Marketing and Social Media Marketing to undergraduates. He also serves as the academic director of the Marketing major. Wolters is always looking for ways to positively impact the lives of his students. Last spring, he tackled a one-man teaching marathon in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. He taught his entire Principles of Marketing course via free livestream over the span of 15 hours, all while raising money for the Gies Emergency Scholarship Fund, which supports students facing a personal financial crisis.

“The best part of my job at the University of Illinois is getting to meet and work with so many incredible students from diverse backgrounds,” Wolters said. “In my nine years at the U of I, I've never felt like I was going to work. It has been such an amazing experience being a part of so many students' lives. I have been truly blessed to have such intelligent and driven students. They have made my life so much better, and I thank them for that.” Read Mark Wolters' full P&Q profile