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Best 40-Under-40 Professor Nathanael J. Fast

Nathanael J. Fast of the Marshall School is among the 40 best business school profs under 40

Nathanael J. Fast of the Marshall School is among the 40 best business school profs under 40

Nathanael J. Fast

Assistant Professor of Management and Organization

Age: 38

Institution:University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business


Since: 2009

Before current institution: Doctoral student at Stanford University

Hometown: Fresno, CA

Marital status: Married

Children: Son (8); Daughter (6)

Education: Stanford University, PhD, Organizational Behavior

Courses currently teaching: Leading Organizations; Power, Politics, and Influence

Fun fact: Grew up on three different continents (North America, Europe, and Africa), helping to fuel a lifelong passion for learning about different cultural and organizational systems.

Professor I most admire: Deborah Gruenfeld, my advisor in graduate school. Deb is a master teacher who skillfully guides students of all ages and backgrounds toward discoveries that change their lives. I’m deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her as well as serve as her teaching assistant.

Most memorable moment as a professor: One day I asked a student to share in class about her experience of successfully applying one of the concepts we had covered. As soon as she finished, more than a dozen students spontaneously jumped in, one after another, to share their own stories of attempting to apply the class material. I felt honored and thrilled to have the privilege of teaching and learning from such dedicated and talented students.

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…” I’d start a benefit corporation.

Nathanael Fast’s research can be summed up by the words of Abraham Lincoln, who once said if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. The “power of power” within organizations and how it affects judgment and decision-making is this top professor’s claim to fame.

His research, which focuses on the psychology of organizational behavior, demonstrates when and why higher-ups seek to bully, denigrate, and silence subordinates. It is this discovery that has landed Professor Fast’s research in publications ranging from The Economist and the Associated Press to Forbes. His work has also earned him three excellence in research awards at USC. In the classroom, Fast says he sees himself not as a one-way conveyor of facts, “but as a tireless coach whose role is to challenge, inform, and interact with students, pushing them to reach their highest potential.” In 2013, he received the Golden Apple Teaching Award.

Nathanael J. Fast is among “The World’s 40 Best B-School Profs Under the Age of 40