2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: M. Murat Kristal, Schulich School of Business

Murat Kristal

M. Murat Kristal

Director of the Master of Business Analytics Program

Schulich School of Business, York University  

How do you measure an educator’s success? That’s easy when it comes to Dr. M. Murat Kristal. In just four years, he has grown Schulich’s business analytics program from 4 students to 42. At the same time, his students have produced a 100% placement rate. One of the youngest professor to ever receive tenure at York University, Kristal is regarded as one of the leading researchers in the areas of supply chain management and data analytics. At the same time, his students laud him for his openness and “relentless passion.”

Age: 39

At current institution since: 2004

Education: PhD in Operations, Technology, and Innovation Management, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Courses you currently teach: Operations Research, Multivariate Analytics

Professor you most admire: Professor Aleda V. Roth, my dissertation advisor and life-long friend. She is a pioneer in research, and her innovative dedicated approach to her field has shaped, and continues to inspire, my own work as a professor.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…I realized I could make a profession out of being a student.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would be a civil engineer. Working on construction projects that I grew up fascinated by.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: The final term of the first year of the Master of Business Analytics program. I was able to see every one of my students successfully find jobs upon graduation. Since then, I have been able to share in the same pride and excitement with two more graduating classes and their 100% job placement.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Establishing the Master of Business Analytics Program at Schulich.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? Working with students, and conducting continuous research in areas that have practical applications, and can provide data-driven solutions for real life problems.

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? Grading

Fun fact about yourself: People seem to often wonder if I’m serious or not. I am told this might be a result of my dry sense of humor.

Favorite book: Len Deighton’s Trilogy: Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match

Favorite movie: Layer Cake and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Favorite type of music: Crooners / Jazz

Favorite television show: Inspector Lewis and Mad Men

Favorite vacation spot: The Mediterranean Coast

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my family and cooking.

Twitter handle: None

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…more courses in analytics.”

Students say…

“I worked as a Project Manager in the Deans’ Office at Schulich for over 3 years until this past October, after receiving my MBA. In that time, Dr. Kristal established his Business Analytics program, which responded to direct industry demand and is now an obvious highlight for Schulich. He has always been invested in student success (during his program, after graduation, and even when considering enrollment). So much so, that he encourages them to reach out to him directly, at any time.

He truly is an inspirational faculty member, both approachable and highly respected, and I can attest to his sincere dedication to the business profession.
Lisa Andrews, MBA | Brand Manager

“Professor Kristal is the sole Founding Director of the Master of Business Analytics Program at the Schulich School of Business, York University. From 2012 to the current year, Dr. Kristal’s program has grown from 4 students to 42 students enrolled, with 100% job placement ratio. He responded to industry feedback when establishing this program, and continues to do so through his creation of an exclusive Business Analytics Advisory Board of industry leaders.

Dr. Kristal received his tenure as the youngest Professor at the Schulich School of Business. He teaches Business Analytics in the Schulich MBAN Program and teaches Multi-Varied Analytics in the Schulich/Kellogg EMBA Program. Dr. Kristal has published in journals such as Management Science, Journal of Operations Management, POMS Journal, and MSOM Journal; has co-authored a book published by Sage Publications; and is personally highlighted, quoted and interviewed often by prominent new outlets such as, Financial Times, Economist, National Post, and Globe & Mail.”
Anonymous Student

“Dr. Kristal is a renowned expert in the fields of organizational strategy and management, agile manufacturing and supply chain management to name a few. He is also among one of the first founders of Business Analytics education programs in the world. He is the founding director of Canada’s first Business Analytics graduate program, which prepares candidates as experts in the fastest growing field of data-driven business analytics. Cutting edge curriculum combines data science and business courses seamlessly and is supplemented by lectures and workshops from world-renowned data science experts.

His relentless passion, drive, engaging teaching methods and vast industry connections are among qualities I admire in him.”
Ilnaz Elle Ameli |MBAN Class of 2016 Academic Representative


  • A Grad who took his class

    I agree with the comment of ‘former student’. I took his class for Operations Research. He was unprepared, EXTREMELY arrogant and obnoxious. He was not prepared and was very casual. He had a “I don’t give a damn” attitude and would be very rude when anyone in class had questions. He would respond to the questions or queries with curt statements. I had to study the course on my own to understand the subject because it was very difficult to have a meaningful interaction with him. As this analysis points out, I’m sure he is very intelligent, but that did not translate to him being a good prof. Which means he was a waste of my time and money.

  • Student

    Tao, the program needs a leader who is not slave of his emotions !

  • Tao Wang

    “Another” former student? This is really meaningless.

  • another former student

    Tao, as a former student myself, I don’t think you are correctly addressing the point that OP is making. There is no argument over his intelligence or the brilliance in creating the program. The question is whether he is fit to take the program to the next level and keep it competitive, especially now that other similar programs are starting to spring up. Usefulness of his slides for your PhD is irrelevant; there is no shortage of great statistics books to learn from.

    In expanding the program rather rapidly, it is not hard to notice that the program suffers from a lack of coordination. Some courses try to cover too much while other courses focus on one concept throughout the whole semester.

    I, for one, believe the program could really benefit from a healthy dose of criticism. I admire that you have a lot of respect for Dr. Krystal and so do I, but his fit as a program director simply cannot be judged based on his promptness in email response or experience in research.

  • former student

    Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership………
    Colin Powell

  • Tao Wang

    Also being a former student, I disagree with you. One can always find positive and negative side from a prof. But the key is if you can learn a great deal from her/him. Dr. Kristal is an outstanding educator and probably the best I have ever met. As founder and ambassador of MBAN program, he is demonstrating much more than statistical techniques to us students. I learned being visionary, entrepreneurial, strategic and frank from him. Those are rare and valuable qualities that I can testify based on my over ten years working experience. They overweigh too much the occasional mistakes in lecture slides. The formulas and theories are the easiest part of learning. And I am still using his slides for my PhD research now – they are extremely helpful. If you still can not walk away from the lemon in slides, put it this way. In a B school, will you learn more from a perfect math teacher who shows you standardized formulas, or a strategic leader who also deliver you the key concepts? For the “crude” comments you talked, I firmly believe it’s due to his “dry” humour. Dr. Kristal cares about students’ learning and progress very much. I witness this during my time in the program, as well as time after the program. And it is not just happening to me. Other fellow student has told me Dr. Krystal replied and helped him promptly even after not contacting for almost two years. I also have personal testimonial with this. Last but not least, with my research area being in entrepreneurship, I have no doubt that Dr. Krystal is the most suitable person who will lead the program to a new momentum.

  • Former Student

    I agree. Very objective comment.

  • Former Student

    Dr.Kristal is an illogical person who is not able to make rational decisions . There are many advertisements about the program in newspapers . However, The reality is completely different … Business Analytics program in Schulich is an unstructured program with many problems and issues . Additionally, He is not an expert in Organizational strategy and management .. I am surprised to read this comment !! I am sure that professors in Organizational strategy and management can comment on Dr.Kristal skill set in this area …. He has a PHD in Supply Chain Management not in OB ! (misinformed comment )
    There are many outstanding professors in Schulich who are unknown … Their picture never appear in newspaper because they do not care about making big news …

  • Former Student

    I Agree.. great comment

  • former student

    Dr. Kristal is indeed a very intelligent person, however he is also very arrogant. For some of his courses he couldn’t even make his own slides besides copy pasting textbook printscreens (copyright infringement?). Often problem sets he presented had mistakes in them, and clearly he didn’t take time to actually go through what he was asking his students to do. He used to make crude comments about his students, sometimes even their appearance and intelligence. I believe there is a great deal of difference between a great researcher and a great lecturer. Dr. Kristal’s classes definitely could benefit from more organizational structure.
    Dr. Kristal did an amazing job setting up this program, his passion, timely understanding of business needs, probably even intuition led to possibly one of the best programs at Schulich currently. However, despite his brilliance and excellence in academical statistics and analytics, his efforts and successes in creation of the program, I believe a person with more strategic, fair, less chaotic traits should be heading the program from now on and making executive decisions about it. Program needs someone a lot more level-headed, who will not make mistakes out of hastiness and passion. Like a good start up, program matured to the point of requiring change of leadership, otherwise it will eventually become a failed start up.