SMS Educational Impact Award

The Educational Impact Award recognizes excellence in contributing to the teaching mission in strategic management. It will be given to an individual who has made an exemplary contribution to quality and innovation in the teaching of strategic management, either through their own teaching and mentoring activities and/or by empowering other teachers with innovations and high-quality teaching materials.

Award Timeline

Nominations for the SMS Educational Impact Award will be accepted until April 15 of each year and should be submitted to the SMS Executive Office through the Submittable form.

Past Educational Impact Award Recipients

picture of Jackson Nickerson
Jackson Nickerson
Washington University in St. Louis

Nominees for this award will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Innovation in the teaching of strategic management (e.g. new pedagogies, new media for learning and knowledge sharing)
  • Development and dissemination of teaching materials, such as texts, case studies and digital materials
  • Writing and publishing on pedagogy
  • Evidence of excellence in teaching at their home institution and other places they have taught (e.g. teaching awards, reference letters from administrators or peers, etc.)

The Award will be presented at the SMS Annual Conference and recipients will be invited to participate in the SMS Awards & Honors Webinar Series. 

The selection committee for this award includes members of the Board of Directors and the leadership of the SMS Teaching Community. 

Nominations are invited from any member of the SMS and should include: 

  • A nomination letter of not more than two pages in length specifically addressing the nominee’s achievements vis-à-vis the above criteria
  • Two additional letters of recommendation for the nominated individual
  • A full current CV for the nominated individual

2021 Award Recipient: Pankaj Ghemawat

We are honored to present this year’s SMS Educational Impact Award to Pankaj Ghemawat of IESE Business School. 

Pankaj Ghemawat is the Anselmo Rubiralta Professor of Global Strategy at IESE Business School and Global Professor of Management and Strategy at NYU Stern Business School where he leads the Center for the Globalization of Education and Management. Between 1983 and 2008, he was on the faculty at the Harvard Business School where, in 1991, he became the youngest person in HBS's history to be appointed a full professor. He has written seven books and more than 100 research articles and case studies on globalization and business strategy and is one of the world's best-selling authors of teaching cases.

Pankaj's impact teaching in the field of strategic management began early in his career and continues today. His nominators shared several insights with the committee about how he has innovated teaching in the field and created a lasting impact with his students. Some of their comments are included below. We are proud to recognize Pankaj for his innumerable contributions as an educator in the field of strategic management.

Anita McGahan
University of Toronto
“Pankaj Ghemawat’s innovations in pedagogy include the translation of detailed, fully theorized, and fully instrumented research findings on companies into teaching cases published by the Harvard Business School Press for dissemination around the world to business-school students. Pankaj is also the author of Strategy and the Business Landscape, which is now in its 4th edition. This textbook contains critical case studies interspersed with analytical frameworks, tools, and analysis. Pankaj’s website at includes links to information on the courses that he has developed, his teaching notes, survey results, digital tools, and other resources for instructors. Each piece of work is outstanding in its own right, but the collective impact of the body of work is unparalleled.”

“What I can add on Pankaj’s excellence as an educator is my perspective as one of his students. From 1993 to 1997, Pankaj served as a member of my dissertation committee. He continued to educate me when I joined the HBS faculty: he led the seven-faculty teaching group that delivered the first course I taught, the required course in business strategy. In that context, he taught me to teach and to write case studies. Without hesitation, I can say that no one influenced my education more than Pankaj. He stood out in three ways.

  • First, Pankaj taught me that great business scholars pay attention to real-world phenomena first and foremost. At a crucial point in the development of my dissertation, I realized that a particular phenomenon which fascinated me did not lend itself to analysis by means of conventional economic tools. I faced a choice: continue to examine the phenomenon with unconventional tools, or shift my attention to other matters. Pankaj encouraged me to stick with the phenomenon and to find scholars anywhere who had studied similar matters. It turned out that scholars in evolutionary biology had developed useful tools for studying what interested me. With some translation, I could use the biological tools to make headway on the phenomenon of interest. This guidance from Pankaj set me off on what turned out to be a very productive path, one I would have missed without his guidance to stay true to real phenomena.
  • Second, Pankaj helped me understand how powerful it could be to combine rigorous research with case studies. He exemplified this approach in his own work. For instance, his book Games Businesses Play couples case examples with game theoretic analysis in a way that both sheds light on the cases and advances game theory. When I began to write cases myself, Pankaj guided me through the process of finding cases that would drive my research agenda forward. With his help, I found important synergy between my research and my case writing efforts.
  • Third, Pankaj taught me the power and joy of bringing research directly into the classroom. When I started teaching, I felt some pressure to take the “pointy-headed academic” out of my class sessions and focus exclusively on the practical aspects of my classes. Pankaj showed me how, and why, to insert research into classes in ways that even my most practically-oriented students would value.
In sum, I’d say that Pankaj stands out not only as an educator but also as an educator of educators. This magnifies his impact.”
Jan Rivkin
Harvard University

David Collis
Harvard University
“Pankaj Ghemawat came to teaching at the ripe old age of 24. In his first MBA classroom he was younger than all except one student! The anecdote demonstrates how far ahead of his time Pankaj has been throughout his career as an educator. He has always been at the forefront of innovation. His 2003 Zara case was one of the first multimedia teaching vehicles, while his Globalisation maps feature unique graphic representations of economic data. Indeed, he was an early proponent of online education and customized much original material that is available on his website as a source for other teachers. His teaching materials for strategic management use cases as examplars of theory in the best tradition of a scholareducator. Typically, like the Walmart cases, they allow for a detailed quantitative analysis of strategy. The combination led him to be a Case Centre best-selling case author of classics that have been taught widely and for many years. But beyond celebrating individual pieces of material, Pankaj has developed complete curricula that provide a coherent framework for others to utilise in the classroom. Moreover these contributions were acclaimed in two different fields of strategy – business unit and global strategy – and captured in the books “Strategy and the Business Landscape” and “Redefining Global Strategy”. These are not textbooks in the sense of a summary of the work of others, but the articulation of his own perspectives that are now widely taught to students and employed by executives. A more than competent teacher at the most demanding institutions, perhaps his greatest contribution to teaching was to hire, nurture and develop a cadre of students who became the best teachers of the next generation.“

"Where would the pedagogy of teaching strategic management be without Pankaj Ghemawat? I first met Pankaj when I visited Harvard while on the job market. He was gracious, generous, and thoughtful. These personal attributes struck me as wonderful foundations not only for teaching but also for developing pedagogy and content. Indeed, as I read, studied, and used his teaching materials I often heard in my mind his voice guiding me on how to help the students think about strategic business decisions.

A core feature of Pankaj’s teaching materials is that they guide disciplined thinking through a deep connection between actual phenomena and theory. In essence, he is a fellow phenomenologist on a journey to deeply understand business decisions and help students understand these decisions as well as the underlying economic forces at play.

My reflections may sound personal because they are. But then I discovered that I am not alone in thinking that I have a personal connection to Pankaj. Many strategy scholars speak of him as if he is in the classroom with them, guiding them, helping them develop their students. Through his books, cases, and research, Pankaj has globally impacted the teaching of strategic management by making faculty feel that he is personally guiding and helping them succeed in their educational mission. As I experienced long ago, this guidance is gracious, generous, and thoughtful. His impact is unique among scholars and leads me to conclude that bestowing the 2021 SMS Educational Impact Award on Pankaj Ghemawat celebrates his contributions while simultaneously raising the esteem of the award."

Jackson Nickerson
Washington University in St. Louis