Ann McGill, the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science in the GSBBy Jessamine Chan
Graduate School of Business
“What do I love about teaching? What’s not to love about it? What a great job,” says Graduate School of Business Professor Ann McGill, whose teaching, she adds, is guided by a “learning philosophy.”
“If I am learning more every year, each class can learn more every year. GSB students will get mad at you if the course isn’t hard enough. You’ve got to love that.”
McGill, the Sears Roebuck Professor of General Management, Marketing and Behavioral Science in the GSB, is the recipient of the 2005 McKinsey Award for Excellence in Teaching. “A highly prepared instructor and highly prepared students jointly produce a class,” she says. “Good teaching shakes up your thinking and re-orders your relationship to the world so that you are never complacent.”
McGill teaches Marketing Strategy, an introductory strategic course covering the goals and framework for decisions in marketing. She compares her course to toiling at the foundation of a high-rise building—building the framework to support an enormous structure rather than fixating on completing the smaller rooms.
“Most people think of marketing as a way of selling things, but what good marketing really is, is a long-run strategy for profitability and survival,” notes McGill.
For McGill, numerical analysis is secondary and supportive of conceptual logic. She notes that if mathematical ability were the sole root to success, success in business would be more common.
In addition, McGill makes an effort to ensure that her students are not hemmed in by M.B.A. jargon so they can better articulate their ideas outside the classroom and see the applicability of marketing concepts in the real world.
“Plain spoken-ness tends to be underrated in business school,” says McGill. “The language of business school should not be isolated from the language of life.”
McGill earned a B.B.A. with high distinction in accounting from the University of Michigan in 1979, and an M.B.A. in 1985 and Ph.D. in 1986 in marketing and behavioral science from the Graduate School of Business.