Marvin Zonis

Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Booth School of Business


Booth School of Business

At Chicago Booth, Marvin Zonis taught courses on the international political economy, political risk, and business leadership. He was the first professor at the Business School to teach a course on the effects of digital technologies on global business. He is the recipient of both the Quantrell Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Norman Maclean Award for outstanding contributions to teaching and to the student experience at the University of Chicago.

He consults to corporations and professional asset management firms throughout the world, helping them to identify, assess, and manage their political risks in the changing global environment. He is a member of the board of advisers for the comptroller general of the United States at the GAO, the board of directors of CNA Financial, a fellow of PWC Advisory Services, and also a member of the board of directors of the Fondation Etats Unis.

Zonis has written extensively on globalization, digital technologies, emerging markets, Middle Eastern politics, the oil industry, Russia, and US foreign policy. His writings have been published in numerous newspapers and journals, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Japanese Nikkei, among others. He is a leading authority on the Middle East and has spent the last 50 years studying the region and Islam. He is the former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago and former president of the American Institute of Iranian Studies. He has lived in Iran, hitchhiked in Afghanistan and Pakistan, studied Islam in Iraq beginning, and has traveled extensively throughout other parts of the region.

He was educated at Yale University, the Harvard Business School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago.


With Daniel Lefkovitz, Sam Wilkins, and Joe Yackley, Risk Rules: How Local Politics Threaten the Global Economy (May 2011).

With Dan Lefkovitz and Sam Wilkins, The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis Driven World (2003).

With Dwight Semler, The Eastern European Opportunity: The Complete Business Guide and Sourcebook (1992).

Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah (1991).

With Daniel Brumberg, Khomeini, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Arab World (1987).

The Political Elite of Iran (1971).


Courses Taught

Read about executive education

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