2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Johan Sulaeman, National University of Singapore

Johan Sulaeman

Assistant Professor of Finance

National University of Singapore Business School


Johan Sulaeman_National University of Singapore-2

Johan Sulaeman is a top professor at the National University of Singapore. His research areas include the effects of ownership structure on corporate decisions, the effects of geography on economic outcomes and the role of economic agents in market efficiency. He also studies mutual funds, institutional investors, and labor discrimination. Papers written by this former SMU Cox professor are published in the leading academic journals for economics and presented at popular industry conferences. Sulaeman’s research on institutional investors was awarded the Xia Yihong Best Paper Award which honors outstanding research by a young financial economist.


Age: 37

At current institution since: January 2015

Education: PhD, Finance, University of  Texas, Austin, 2008

Courses currently teaching: Options and Futures for undergraduate and graduate programs

Professor you most admire: Peter M. Chen, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan.  “I would like to emulate Prof. Chen’s attitude towards research and teaching.  He’s an embodiment of a true scholar: a superstar teacher (multiple teaching awards at Michigan), a great researcher, and a great mentor. I had no intention of being in academia before I took his class almost 20 years ago.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or as a professor: I had to miss a class when my daughter was born.  The next class meeting, the students gave me a long applause at the beginning of class. That gave me enough energy to finish teaching two sections after being awake for almost 48 hours straight at the hospital (Note: I don’t remember what else happened during those sessions)

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Having my research published in top economics and business journals.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Being able to see students’ faces light up as they grasp a difficult concept.

What do you enjoy least? Dealing with students who were experiencing too much (external) pressure. I tend to sympathize with their situations, but I have only limited ability to reduce the pressure.

Fun fact about yourself: I spent the first 18 years of my life in Indonesia, and the second 18 years in the U.S. I can’t wait to see what the next 18 years hold for me.

Favorite book(s): The Buru Quartet, particularly Anak Semua Bangsa, by Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Favorite movie: Casablanca

Favorite type of music: Jazz

Favorite television show: The Amazing Race

Favorite vacation spot: Japan

What are your hobbies? Traveling, swimming

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have” Students who care about more than just themselves and are willing to do something for others.

Students say…

“Great energy for 3 hour night class”

– student survey

“Open to questions and effectively answered them”

– student survey

“Great at explaining difficult concepts”

“He is the best finance professor we have!!!”

– student survey

DON’T MISS: Poets&Quants 2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors

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