Faculty News & Research, School News
Back to Listing

Three Ross Professors Featured on Poets&Quants’ Top 50 Undergraduate Professors of 2020 List


In recognition of their research contributions and teaching efforts, three professors from the Ross School of Business were recently named to Poets&Quants’ list of the Top 50 Undergraduate Professors of 2020.

Michigan Ross professors Cheng Gao, Jeremy Kress, and Julia Lee Cunningham were honored among professors from 33 of the world’s best undergraduate business programs 

This is the first time multiple Ross professors have earned a spot on P&Q’s list, which is now in its third iteration. The recognition has grown increasingly competitive since the list started in 2017, when it featured only 40 professors based on 190 nominations. In 2018, the list expanded to include 50 professors, including Ross Lecturer Lori Rogala

This year’s nominations jumped to nearly 900, with the publication evaluating a total of 107 professors. Professors were evaluated in two categories: research and teaching. Each nominated professor was given a score from one to 10 for research and teaching. Research was given a 30 percent weight and teaching a 70 percent weight, and the two scores were averaged to give the professors a final score. 

Cheng Gao, Assistant Professor of Strategy

Gao earned a DBA from Harvard Business School and began teaching at Ross in 2018. This past year, Gao won the Neary BBA Teaching Excellence Award from Michigan Ross. He previously received the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. 

At Ross, Gao teaches Strategy 390: Corporate Strategy to BBA seniors. His research looks into how firms effectively navigate and compete in uncertain institutional environments, particularly those characterized by regulatory uncertainty.

Gao told P&Q what he enjoys most about teaching business students: 

Business students bring a wide range of viewpoints and functional expertise stemming from their varied professional, personal, and extracurricular experiences. This creates for really fascinating and rich class discussions, especially in the context of the case method. Business students also have a great feel for the latest technologies, products, and emerging trends, and thus can often shed light on novel business issues with a unique bottom-up, user perspective

Cheng Goa, assistant professor of strategy at Michigan Ross


Jeremy Kress, Assistant Professor of Business Law

Kress’s journey at Ross has come full circle, as he earned his BBA from Michigan Ross in 2005. After completing the JD/MA in public policy dual-degree program from Harvard University, he came back to Ann Arbor in 2016, where he has been since.

Earning nearly a dozen nominations to P&Q’s list, Kress is teaching Business Law 507: Legal Issues in Finance and Banking to undergrads this year at Ross. His research focusing on bank mergers has earned media coverage from The New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He recently co-wrote a case study with an executive from HSBC, centering on being a part of a broader effort to improve ethics in the finance industry.

Kress shared with P&Q the moment he knew he wanted to be a business school professor: 

After working at the Federal Reserve in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, I had a lot I wanted to say about the future of financial regulation and systemic risk. I hoped that becoming a business school professor would give me the opportunity to think, write, and teach about these issues on a daily basis. (And I was correct!)

Jeremy Kress, assistant professor of business law at Michigan Ross


Julia Lee Cunningham, Assistant Professor of Management & Organizations

Lee Cunningham joined Ross in 2015 after receiving a PhD in public policy, a Master of Public Policy, and a Master of Arts from Harvard University. She also has a BA in political science/international relations from Korea University. 

Her unique background in political science and public policy has made her a popular professor among current and former students. 

Lee Cunningham teaches a required year-long course for BBAs who plan to study abroad called Management and Organizations 319: Developing Global Competency. Her research focuses on how people can change the stories they tell themselves so that they start to see themselves as a valued contributor and leader across different contexts.  

Lee Cunningham shared with P&Q what she wishes someone would’ve told her about being a business school professor: 

I was once told that business students are often stereotyped as being ‘sharks.’ I wish someone told me that in reality, I would be so impressed with the students I encounter. My students have been far from sharks; they are open, curious, and want to make the world a better place

Julia Lee Cunningham, associate professor of managagement & organizations at Michigan Ross


Featured Faculty