Business school professors at top institutions are under intense pressure. And it comes from all sides–the publish-or-perish demands of academia, the university administrators wrapped up in rankings, and ambitious students determined to squeeze every cent out of a $100,000+ investment.
Young professors face added stress: Most are decades younger than their tenured colleagues and only a few years older than their students. They have to prove themselves to MBAs, faculty, and peers in their respective fields. However, a select few thrive in this academic crucible, outperforming senior teaching staff, winning the admiration of their students, and producing standout scholarship.
Poets&Quants’ “Top 40 Under 40” recognizes these rising stars, who represent elite schools from around the world. These uncommon profs have excelled in research while overcoming the green-professor label in the classroom. To uncover this remarkable group of men and women, Poets&Quants asked B-school officials, faculty, students, and alumni for their top picks and put out an open nomination.
The results poured in from U.S. heavyweights like Harvard Business School, lesser-known programs flung across the country, and a handful of international institutions, such as Europe’s ESSEC and IE business schools. Some MBA students organized Facebook polls to select their top prof nomination; others wrote vivid descriptions and robust arguments for why their instructors deserved consideration. Research chops were important, but Poets&Quants gave more weight to teaching–even the best researchers must convey their material compellingly to be effective in the classroom.
These young professors represent a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines, ranging from economics to behavioral science, as well as marketing to entrepreneurship. They hail from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Canada, India, China, Mexico, and Belgium, among others. Their interests range from big data to entertainment marketing to negotiation strategy.
However, a few common characteristics cut through the whole group: Most, if not all, of the top profs leverage their youthful energy and Generation Y knowledge to create an engaging classroom environment. They naturally build genuine and meaningful relationships with their students, and they pursue another profession or serious hobby on the side.