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Best 40-Under-40 Professor Hajo Adam

Hajo Adams of Rice University's Jones School of Business

Hajo Adam of Rice University’s Jones School of Business

Hajo Adam

Visiting Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior

Age: 29

Institution: Rice University, Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business

Since: 2012

Before current institution: Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

Hometown: Monheim, Germany

Marital status: Married

Children: None


INSEAD, Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior

INSEAD, M.Sc. in Organizational Behavior

International University in Germany, B.B.A. in International Management

Courses currently teaching: Bargaining

Fun fact: 

My four grandparents are from four different countries, making me one quarter Japanese, one quarter South Korean, one quarter French, and one quarter German. Despite that, everyone says I am very, very German.

Professor you most admire: My wife

Most memorable moment as a professor:

I was extremely nervous when I taught for the first time. The students were, on average, older and more experienced than me and had paid a lot of money to be there. After the last session, one of the students stood up to say something, which made me anxious. I was afraid he was going to ask for his money back. Instead, he announced that the class had nominated me for a teaching award. This was the most memorable moment for me as a professor, because I have never been as surprised and honored–that is, until I learned I was selected for this list!

“If I weren’t a B-school professor…”

I’d be failing miserably at trying to become a professional soccer player.


Students say: 

Hajo Adam has an unorthodox teaching style–he teaches a negotiations class completely through a series of games. He’s a young upstart and my nomination for Rice’s top professor.

-Daniel “GCM” Chang, Rice MBA, Class of 2013 

This top professor hasn’t even celebrated his 30th birthday, but he’s already proven his teaching chops. As a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management,  he received the Faculty Impact Award for teaching excellence–an honor, and a surprise, coming from students roughly his own age. The German-born academic clearly punches above his age and teaching experience, earning an impressive 9.8/10 on his instructor evaluations.

Adam has excelled outside of the classroom as well, diving into a research area no doubt influenced by his background–a melting pot of South Korean, German Japanese and French influences. The professor of organizational behavior studies the effects of cultural, emotional, and physical factors on people’s decisions and reactions. He searches for answers to questions such as: How are people’s decisions shaped by their cultural backgrounds? Leading media outlets have taken an interest in his findings, which have informed stories in The New York Times, the BBC and The Washington Post. He’s also won the more rigorous approval of his peers, and his work has appeared in Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Psychological Science.

Hajo Adam is among “The World’s 40 Best B-School Profs Under the Age of 40