2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Luis Diestre, IE Business School

Luis Diestre

Associate Professor of Strategy

IE Business School


Luis Diestre-2

Luis Diestre started out as a research assistant in IE’s strategy department, and now he’s taken over. Diestre studies the interface between corporate strategy and environmental management, focusing on how a company’s ability to satisfy environmental regulations affects its diversification strategy. He also explores the risk of knowledge appropriation in research and development alliances. At IE, Diestra has won a teaching excellence award and was twice named a finalist for best professor awards. His research and journal reviewing have also earned him honors, including from the Academy of Management. He has a BS in telecommunication engineering from the University of Zaragoza, and a PhD in business administration from the University of Southern California.

Age: 38

At current institution since: 2009


PhD in Management, University of Southern California, 2009

BSc in Telecommunication Engineering, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, 2001

Courses currently teaching: Strategic Management

Professor you most admire: Nandini Rajagopalan (USC) for her contributions as a scholar and invaluable guidance and mentorship.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor…” a minute after I became one. I decided to do a PhD mainly for the research dimension of it. To be fully honest, I had not considered whether I would like to be a professor until I had to do my teaching assignment in the last year of my PhD program. Once I started, I realized how much fun it is to be paid so much attention by people interested in what you have to say.

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…” I guess I would have continued my career as an engineer.

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: When I was voted as the best professor of the MBA program. I was really honored to receive so much affection and support from my students.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Maintaining a good relationship with former students and co-authors.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? When students tell me after class that they now think differently about things.

What do you enjoy least? Grading

Fun fact about yourself: I’m one of those hyperactive and nervous professors that cannot stop moving in class. One day, some of my MBA students spent a whole class counting the number of times I walked from one side of the classroom to the other and then calculated that distance. They told me I had walked more than 6 miles!

Favorite book: Descartes’ Error, by Antonio Damasio. I went to one of his talks while at USC during my PhD program and since then I think of neuroscience as the most fascinating thing to read about.

Favorite movie: The Hustler (Paul Newman, 1961), after watching that movie I was completely convinced that I would be a pool player when I grew up.

Favorite type of music: recently, the music my 1 and 3-years old daughters like to hear. I frequently find myself humming those songs on my way to the classroom.

Favorite television show: I try to watch as many TV series as I can, right now I’m watching “Honorable Woman” and the third season of “House of Cards”.

Favorite vacation spot: Any of the many small bays and coves in the south of the island of Menorca.

What are your hobbies? I try to do as many different outdoor activities as I can. Specifically, I love swimming, diving, and anything that has to do with the sea, in spite of living 300km away from it.

Twitter handle: @diestreluis

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…” nice and honest people inside.

Students say…

His classes were always highly engaging and academically on point, but more importantly he brings a vigor and level of professionalism that make each class consistently excellent. Whilst excellence in teaching can be found if one looks hard enough, it is extremely rare for that quality to be paired with a sense of humility and humor, and a deep genuine respect for every student in the class. It is thus, perhaps no surprise then, that armed with all of the above, Luis was not only the best professor during my MBA but in fact probably across all of my education so far.

– Barnaby Ferrero, MBA 2014

It is hard to keep track of time when you are in discussion in class with Luis. He is one of those incredibly engaging and enthralling professors and definitely one of my most favorite professors I ever had. It goes without saying that Luis teaches strategy with great expertise, insight and passion. Most importantly however, he has the ability to distill concepts down to the most important elements after guiding the class through cases with many junctions and meanders. On a final note I want to say that Luis managed to catch the class’ attention in his pleasant-natured way and his irrepressible sense of humor – I have not met one student at IE that was not inspired by Luis.

– Karl Josef Maier, MBA 2014

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