Marketing Professor Teck Ho Receives Top Berkeley Teaching Award

Haas School Marketing Professor Teck-Hua Ho received the highest teaching honor the UC Berkeley campus bestows — the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award — at a ceremony April 22. Ho is the eleventh Haas professor to win this award.

The Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award is given to four Berkeley professors each year after a rigorous selection process that begins with nomination by the department chair or dean of the professor's school. Then a selection committee of the Academic Senate winnows down the nominations, receives recommendations from students, and visits the nominees' classrooms.

Ho teaches Strategic Pricing, an extremely popular MBA elective, and serves as chair of the Haas faculty's Marketing Group and faculty director of several executive education programs, including Pricing for Profitability in the Information Age, a four-day program scheduled for April 27-30. In addition, Ho is director of the Asia Business Center, which operates an Asian Fellows Program; conducts research collaborations; and organizes an annual conference in Asia, the next one scheduled in Shanghai in March 2011.

"I could not think of a more appropriate person to receive this award than Teck Ho," says Dean Rich Lyons, a former Haas finance professor who won the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998. "He has proven himself with an engaging, innovative approach to teaching marketing, while always remaining open to learning from his students as well."

The statement of teaching that Ho submitted during the selection process sheds light on the keys to his success. “My vision is to have students leave the class with the ability to think strategically about pricing and with the practical tools they need for their future careers. I also want to make learning fun so that students love the subject and see its relevance in practice,” he writes in his submission.

Learning, according to Teck Ho, is more concrete when it is hands-on. That’s why at least one in four of his class sessions is interactive. “To achieve these goals, I design the class such that it consists of interactive lectures, company case studies, computer role-playing simulations, in-class experiments, and outside guest speakers."

“I learn a lot too from my students. I find that what I put in (my time in and out of class, energy, enthusiasm, and research) is what I get out of these students," he adds. "I enjoy making a difference in their lives."

That Ho was being honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award came as no surprise to his students. “What sets Teck Ho apart is that he wants to get to know the students on a personal level and tries to find out what the students want so he can adjust his teaching material based on their needs,” says evening and weekend student Vijay Bhaskaran, MBA 10. “At Haas he’s the best I’ve ever had, and I speak for a lot of students.”

Luke Filose, MBA 09, agrees. “His reputation precedes him, and it’s one of those classes that everybody talks about in the MBA program, so your expectations are high. But he’s able to exceed them,” Filose says by phone from Ghana, where he is traveling as part of his work as vice president of business development for Fenix International, a stealth-phase renewable energy startup. “Ho’s sense of humor is a big part of his approach. He really understands the MBA mindset, and he’s always cracking jokes, which makes the class a lot of fun.”

Ho is the eleventh professor from the Haas School to receive the Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award. In addition to Dean Lyons, others have included Sarah Beckman in 2001, former Dean Earl Cheit in 1989, Laura Tyson in 1982, and former Associate Dean Andrew Shogan in 1979.

The other Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award winners this year are Daniel Klein in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Line Mikkelsen in Linguistics, and J.M. Pestana in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Read more about Professor Teck Ho's teaching philosophy, in his own words, at the Berkeley Blog.