Aks Zaheer stands outside.

Aks Zaheer Receives Prestigious Teaching Award

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

For his lifelong commitment to teaching and mentoring doctoral students, Carlson School Professor Aks Zaheer is receiving the Irwin Outstanding Educator Award from the Strategic Management Division of the Academy of Management. The most prestigious international teaching award in strategic management, the award honors an established strategy scholar who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to PhD and doctoral education, as well as the ongoing development of junior colleagues.

“It is a tremendous honor to win this award and I’m humbled to receive it,” Zaheer says. “Mentoring and supporting doctoral education is a passion of mine, and I hope I’ve left as much of an impact on them as they have on me.”

Zaheer, the Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Strategic Management, has been the primary advisor of 13 PhD graduates of the Carlson School and two current students. Each of the 13 graduates earned professorships at outstanding research universities and went on to have productive research and teaching careers. Further, he’s served on the dissertation committees of an additional 27 PhD students at UMN and mentored dozens of junior faculty members. 

In support of the award, a former advisee wrote that Zaheer works with PhD students "by focusing on the whole individual." Another said, "It is hard for me to overstate how much of an impact Aks has had on my career."  

Across the nomination materials, Zaheer’s students spoke to a professor who invested in their development. From giving feedback and guidance across the range of dissertation topics he has supervised, to spending hours supporting and advising them not only as scholars, but also as a mentor and friend. As one nominator wrote, "When Aks signs up to mentor you, it's for life!"  

Zaheer has won numerous awards throughout his career including: 

Zaheer will receive the award at the August 2023 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Boston.

To win the award, a professor must have a lifelong dedication to PhD student development and curricula, involvement in dissertation committees, participation in doctoral consortia and workshops, and mentorship of junior faculty, according to the academy. In odd-numbered years, such as 2023, the award committee evaluates nominees on their contributions to PhD and doctoral education. In even years, nominees are judged on their contributions to MBA and executive education in strategic management.

Previously, Carlson School Professor Myles Shaver, the Curtis L. Carlson Chair in Corporate Strategy, won the award in 2014 for his work with MBA and executive education students.