Milena Head and Yaqin Hu Receive Dr. S. J. Basu Teaching Award

April 7, 2022 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Olivia Stankovich, Web and Marketing Specialist

The students have spoken! Congratulations to professor Milena Head and assistant professor Yaqin Hu on being this year’s recipients of the Dr. S. J. Basu Teaching Award. Facilitated by the MBAA, the Dr. S. J. Basu Teaching Award is voted on by students and given to two professors or instructors teaching in the MBA Program. Recipients best reflect teaching excellence to foster the type of teaching displayed by Dr. Sanjoy Joe Basu.

We sat down with Milena & Yaqin to find out more about their teaching styles and what this award means to them.

Milena Head
Professor, Information Systems / Wayne C. Fox Chair in Business Innovation

Photo of Milena Head, Professor, Information Systems, recipient, Dr. S. J. Basu teaching award, teaching in class smiling. Also includes quote "Coupled with encouraging feedback and enthusiastic energy, I emphasize celebrating successes and laughing at and learning from our mishaps."

How special is receiving the Dr. S. J. Basu award, knowing you are being recognized by students?

This award is so special to me as it comes directly from the students. It really warms my heart to know that my students took the time to recognize the learning experience in my classes through this great honour.

What is it about your teaching that resonates with students?

That’s probably best answered by my students, but I think it comes down to passion. I truly love teaching and being part of my students’ learning journey. I’m passionate about my student’s development at an individual level. Whether it be broadening their horizons with new perspectives, helping to develop their critical thinking skills or building their confidence in how they communicate and make an impact. I hope that what resonates with my students is my genuine passion and unwavering commitment and enthusiasm for their development and success.

How do you make your courses fun and engaging for students?

I strive to make my courses as interactive as possible and to continually challenge my students.  I know that challenges can be stressful, so it’s important to provide a safe and positive environment where students can really push themselves and try new things.  Coupled with encouraging feedback and enthusiastic energy, I emphasize celebrating successes and laughing at and learning from our mishaps.


Yaqin Hu
Assistant Professor, Accounting and Financial Management Services

Photo of Yaqin Hu, Assistant Professor, Accounting, recipient of Dr. S. J. Basu teaching award, smiling. Also includes quote "It is all about examples and discussions. Accounting is real. Being able to present a story behind the numbers is the most effective way to have students’ attention and engage them in the classroom discussions."

How special is receiving this award, knowing you are being recognized by students?

It is a great honor to be recognized by our students. It is not only for teaching excellence, but also for student learning excellence. Students made tremendous effort, especially during the pandemic, and made unbelievable achievements in my accounting classes. I am very fortunate to be part of their learning journey at McMaster.

What is it about your teaching that resonates with students?

There might be several things that I can relate to students. First, respect each student in learning. Students in our MBA program excel in various academic majors. However, they come with different levels of understanding of accounting. I respect the differences, so we can work toward the same goal.

Second, provide practical examples in teaching. Students can first show up with biased opinion, thinking that accounting only crunches numbers. Numbers are not attractive. I agree. However, I always emphasize the informational role of accounting numbers in real business. How the numbers reflect the past performance and how future corporate decisions are made based on the numbers. Examples help students understand how important accounting stands in our real economy. That is what I, as a professor, want to provide and is also what the students want to know.

Third, care for students’ success. I feel accomplished if they join discussions, present ideas, and solve problems in the classroom. Similarly, I am proud to see they obtain internships and come back with more professional experience. As a parent of three kids, it is just very natural to feel great when I see students learn in the classroom and succeed at work.

How do you make your courses fun and engaging for students?

It is all about examples and discussions. Accounting is real. It is related to many aspects of the business world: earnings, cost, investment, analysts, CEOs, CFOs, compensation, regulations, stock, and debt, just to name a few. If there is such a course called “account-for-all”, I assure you that accounting is one. Being able to present a story behind the numbers is the most effective way to have students’ attention and engage them in the classroom discussions.


Sanjoy Joe Basu taught accounting at the DeGroote School of Business. He passed away in January 1983 at the age of 37. The Dr. S. J. Basu Teaching Award aims to foster the type of teaching excellence achieved by Dr. Basu. Friends, colleagues and accounting organizations also established the Basu Medal, which is awarded to a graduating student who has displayed outstanding achievement in accounting.

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