June 12, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 18

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    2003 Graduate Teaching Awards in the Professional Schools: Haresh Sapra, Assistant Professor of Accounting in the Graduate School of Business

    By Jessamine Chan
    Graduate School of Business

    Haresh Sapra
    Haresh Sapra, Assistant Professor of Accounting in the Graduate School of Business, is the recipient of the 2003 Emory Williams Award for Excellence in Teaching.

    "For students to take the time to recognize what I've done is the highest compliment I could ever hope for," said Sapra.

    Sapra teaches an accounting elective course on mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring. To demystify a highly technical subject, Sapra focuses on studying real world acquisitions and urges his students to think about the long-term payoffs of mastering the material. He frequently stays in touch with former students who are practitioners in the field to adapt his course to current business needs.

    "From day one I make sure my students know I'm not teaching them for a quarterly grade," he said. "Five years down the line when they are working, they'll still be able to use the tools they learned in my course and adapt these tools to any situation they face in the real world."

    Sapra, who has taught at the GSB since 2000, makes sure to keep abreast of changing accounting and tax rules, and he invites GSB alumni to his class as guest lecturers to discuss deals they have worked on.

    "When I present accounting rules to students, I make sure they question what these rules are trying to measure," said Sapra. "It forces them to think critically about the economic trade-offs that result from mandating these accounting rules.

    "I teach accounting as a language to measure economic events," he added. "Once students understand that accounting is just a language, then they can easily adapt to the fact that this language is always subject to change."

    The Emory Williams Award is given annually to a junior faculty member at the GSB in recognition of communication, accessibility, enthusiasm and innovation in teaching. Nominations for this award were submitted by students from the school's full-time and part-time M.B.A. programs.

    Former chairman and chief executive officer of the Sears Bank & Trust Company and the Chicago Milwaukee Corp. and a long-time supporter of the GSB, Emory Williams established the award in 1984.