The Incredible Women Teaching the RC this Year

Ziana Kotadia, Women Leadership Editor

Ziana Kotadia (MBA ’22) asked the RC professors to introduce themselves and share their advice to the new class of students joining us this fall.

Welcome Class of 2023. We hope you enjoy the year ahead, it promises to be a great one.

Professor Jill Avery, Marketing

In 2021-2022, I will be teaching two courses: RC Marketing and my EC elective Creating Brand Value. I will also have the honor of serving as a Section Chair for an incoming RC section and continuing to work as a Section Chair with EC (Old) Section G. I am starting my ninth year on the faculty at HBS, I love to ski, visit art history/museums and hike. I also love fly-fishing, enjoy reading fiction, and try to spend as much time as I possibly can with my family and friends. My advice to you is find, hone, and contribute your own unique voice to the HBS experience, both in and out of the classroom—that’s why we invited you to be here with us. Remember who you are, where you came from, and who you would like to be, and hold those things dear to help you prioritize your time and energy. Relax and focus on your own learning—take risks, allow yourself to make mistakes, and challenge yourself to stretch your skill sets beyond what you believe is possible.

Professor Emily McComb, Finance

​​I am a Senior Lecturer in the Finance Unit (which I joined in 2017), and I have the honor of being a Section Chair as well as teaching FIN2 to two sections in the spring. This year, I am also very excited to be one of 5 faculty members involved in launching the HBS Impact Fund as an EC course, hoping to grow the vision of a group of dedicated students of the Class of 2021 who helped to launch the fund as an IP last year. My background is in public markets investing, I live in Boston’s South End with my husband and two kids, and I was born and raised in Canada (and you can certainly still hear some Canuck in my speech). Welcome to the class of 2023, and I hope to have the chance to meet many of you this year. Until then, I hope you enjoy every hectic minute. My advice to you: find time to take care of yourselves, including getting some sleep!

Professor Shunyuan Zhang, Finance

I’m an assistant professor in the Marketing unit at Harvard Business School. I’ve been at HBS for two years. I teach the first-year Marketing course in the MBA required curriculum. As a marketing professor, I’m always fascinated about how technology can quickly change our business, economy, and daily life, and the many ways to incorporate my passion into research and teaching. If I weren’t a professor, I think I would become a makeup artist. Outside of my academic work, I like playing Guzheng (a Chinese classical musical instrument).

Professor Sara Fleiss, Finance

Class of 2023, Welcome! I am Sara Fleiss, a senior lecturer in the Finance Unit. I have the honor of being a Section Chair as well as teaching two EC courses this year. This fall I will be running the Winternship Program to facilitate students making career switches into Investment Management; this program is a combination of training, lectures and short internships with investment firms. I have a background in public markets. I am from Boston, and now live in Brookline with my husband and three children. I can’t wait to meet many of you over the next year!

Professor Jaya Wen, Business, Government & the International Economy

I joined the BGIE unit in July 2020 and am proud to be part of the BGIE RC teaching group. When I’m not in Aldrich or doing research, you can find me kayaking on the Charles, reading at various Boston coffee shops, or tending to my native wildflower garden.

Professor Marlous van Waijenburg, Business, Government & the International Economy

HBS class of 2024: Welcome! I joined HBS as a Professor in the Business, Government and International Economy unit in 2021. I am trained as an economic historian, and am interested in questions about the historical roots of global economic inequality. My own research focuses on the long-term development patterns of African economies, and on the business practices and legacies of the transatlantic slave trade. I look forward to working with (many of) you in BGIE this year, where we will explore a range of political economy aspects of business!

Professor Natalia Rigol, The Entrepreneurial Manager

Hello HBSers! I’m an Assistant Professor in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit. I teach “The Entrepreneurial Manager” in the RC in the spring semester. My colleague Benjamin Roth and I also hope to launch a new course this spring in the EC called “Managing for Impact: Harnessing Data for Effective Philanthropy and Social Entrepreneurship.” In this course, we will expose students to tools from data science and economics in order to become informed and discriminating consumers of evidence for managerial decision-making. I am an economist by training and conduct research on finance and gender norms in emerging economies. In my free time I love scuba diving, woodworking, and, as of the pandemic, baking bread (which I hope to share with my students!). I can’t wait to meet students very soon and wish you all a wonderful fall semester. 

Ziana Kotadia (MBA ’22) is from the UK, and most recently made the move from London to Boston. She loves to travel, learn about new cultures and enjoys eating her way through cities. She loves to cook and is passionate about great food.