Business school professors come in all stripes and colors. But the very best of the lot share a few common qualities: They are all supremely well educated, highly talented researchers, exceptional teachers, and, perhaps most important of all, they inspire students and their students inspire them.
With these qualities in mind, Poets&Quants has compiled its 2015 list of the very best business school professors under 40. Winning an Ig Nobel Prize is not enough to get a spot on this list. Neither is taking students to the Amazon. Or getting a class to show up wearing beer helmets. Or having your research featured on the John Oliver show. Or applying neuroscience to the negotiating process. But all of those things help.
What’s required to get onto this list is the full package: excellence in research, combined with world-class teaching prowess.
We put out a call for nominations and readers responded in a major way. More than 100 nominations were submitted and we’ve narrowed it down to the top 40. These young up-and-comers can be as hilarious as they are brilliant (take UCLA’s Danny Oppenheimer who is currently winning a bet 5-2 on whether he can manage to sneak the strangest citations through peer-review each year, or Stern’s Deepak Hegde, who claims he hurt himself milking a cow) and as humble as they are popular (consider Loyola Marymount business professor Angelica Gutierrez who has received several awards and recognition for her mission to increase diversity within business schools, or INSEAD’s Jennifer Petriglieri, whose teaching delivers knowledge along with valuable personal development).
Some have racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money to fund their research while others have penned books, spoken before Congress and won prize after prize after prize
TEACHING THE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE
As much as their research, expertise–even geographical locations–vary, the 2015 40 Under 40 all share the same commitment to producing the next great generation of business leaders.
In facing such an enormous task, they’ve shared with us the best and worst parts of being a professor. Our top 40 tell us that some of the pros to the job are tying research to the real world, debating with clever students, the always-popular “aha” moments shown by students once they’ve grabbed ahold of a tough concept, and getting to know the students on a personal level. As for the least favorite part; well, let’s just say most are in agreement that they’d happily forego grading if they could. As one professor puts it “Grading and paperwork. Nobody likes grading or paperwork.” And if these top young business professors weren’t business professors? Well, you’d get some marine biologists, and some home renovators, a chef, and, if the Katz School’s Cait Lamberton is to be believed, possibly one “fairly untalented poet.”
In this list, you’ll learn what, and who, inspires the top young professors of today’s business schools. You’ll find out what makes them proud, which books, movies, and TV shows they love, what music they listen to, where they go on vacation. You’ll learn about their most memorable moments at school, and what made them decide to become teachers. You’ll see where each professor earned their degrees, and find out what classes they currently teach.
SIMILAR JOBS, VERY, VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE
What’s remarkable about this list is not what these professors share – obviously they’re all extremely intelligent, hard-working, and dedicated to their professional work – but what distinguishes them one from another. Yael Hochberg at the Jones School is a rock climber; Villanova’s Jeremy Kees was a college basketball star. Craig Garthwaite at Kellogg, if he weren’t a professor, would be a policy wonk; Harvard’s Francesca Gino would be a race-car driver. Maria Mason, at Columbia, names A Fish Called Wanda her favorite movie, while Mushfiq Mubarak at Yale is a fan of Slumdog Millionaire. For vacations, INSEAD’s Petriglieri favors a certain stretch of road in Switzerland, while MIT’s Cynthia Rudin adores the vineyards, coastlines, and islands of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sound. Oppenheimer at UCLA gave us such a vague answer on the vacation question that we suspect he just stays home and watches his favorite TV program, The Muppet Show.
And as interesting it is to compare these professors to each other and chalk up similarities and differences, it’s even more fascinating to discover the diversity of interests within each. Kellogg’s Lauren Rivera teaches management and operations, but she’s also a trained sommelier who rocks out to ‘80s power ballads but dances to jazz. Guillaume Roels of UCLA bakes his own bread every night – when he isn’t climbing mountains or running marathons. Babson’s Vikki Rodgers is a dedicated conservationist . . . who loves to watch The Walking Dead. Panos Patatoukas at Berkeley is a keen cook, has five degrees, takes immense pride in his Greek heritage, and listens to hip hop.
Beyond what these profs say about themselves, you’ll hear what their students have to say as well. You’ll discover which professor peels back a student’s argument like an onion, and which handed out T-shirts to her whole class. You’ll see which professor conducts blind taste tests in class, which professor is so tall that front-row students get a crick in their necks, and which professor can keep his class riveted by his “passion for zero coupon bonds.”
EMPHASIS ON TEACHING AND RESEARCH EXCELLENCE
Fortunately for Lamberton of Katz (and probably some others), Poets&Quants didn’t include the ability to produce scintillating verse in our methodology for selecting the top 40 Under 40. We based our calculations on indicators related to the primary areas of teaching and research. We factored in student feedback, awards and honors, quantity and reach of research, public speaking, and educational qualifications.
And after we selected the top 40 Under 40, we sent them questionnaires, so they could open up and tell us, and you, all about their lives and work. They were remarkably forthcoming (a root beer collection, Neil Malhotra, really?), and often surprising (out of compassion, we’re not going to draw undue attention to the professor who absolutely must listen to Britney Spears when she writes – you’ll have to find that bit for yourselves).
NEXT PAGE: Poets&Quants‘ 40 Under 40 list (alphabetical) with links to individual features
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.