2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Gustavo Manso, Haas School of Business

Gustavo Manso


Gustavo Manso

Associate Professor

University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

After teaching for just one semester at Berkeley-Haas, Associate Professor Gustavo Manso received the school’s highest teaching award in 2012–The Cheit Award, an honor of distinction because recipients are nominated and selected by students.

Manso is co-founder and past board member of the Finance Theory Group, an initiative highly respected among finance faculty and thought leaders that gives young professors opportunities to collaborate and present their research in finance theory. Today, the FTG has grown from 30 to 150 members and hosts its bi-annual meetings at the top b-schools including Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford.

Professor Manso’s research focuses on identifying incentives for promoting innovation in organizations. He examines how managerial compensation affects a firm’s innovation activity and he’s shed tremendous light on how the structure of scientific research funding influences breakthrough studies.

Age: 38

At current institution since: 2012

Education: Stanford University Graduate School of Business, PhD in Finance, 2006; Instituto de Matematica Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), Brazil, MS in Math, 2001

Courses currently teaching: Corporate Finance, FTMBA course

Professor you most admire: John Roberts, Stanford Graduate School of Business, for his outstanding contributions to research, teaching, and student mentoring.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…as part of my undergraduate program in Brazil, I spent a year at UC Berkeley as an exchange student. During this time, I got to see first-hand what a PhD program and life as a Professor are about. When I went back to Brazil I knew I wanted to come back to pursue an academic career.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would be an entrepreneur. My father is an entrepreneur in Brazil and I enjoy the challenges involved in starting new companies. To some extent, academic research actually resembles entrepreneurship. Coming up with novel ideas, convincing other people you have a great idea, and being able to navigate through uncertainty during implementation are all key to success in both activities.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: Receiving Berkeley-Haas’ top teaching award after my first semester at the school. I was truly honored to receive so much support from my MBA students.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Publishing the first chapter of my dissertation, on incentives for innovation, in a top journal. I spent so much time on this project as a graduate student and am quite proud of the final research article.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? “I enjoy teaching and learning from my students. I also enjoy the freedom to do research on topics that interest me.”

What do you enjoy least? “Grading and administrative work.”

Fun fact about yourself: “I was an exchange student at Berkeley during my undergraduate years. Then, I did my PhD at Stanford. Now I teach at Berkeley. When these schools play sport games, my heart is always divided.”

Favorite book: “Crime and Punishment,” Dostoyevsky

Favorite movie: “Talk to her,” Almodovar

Favorite type of music: Classic, Jazz

Favorite television show:  I barely watch TV.

Favorite vacation spot: Big Island, Hawaii

What are your hobbies? Photography, Cooking, Hiking

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…virtual classrooms where students from all over the world could interact as if they were physically there.

Students say:

“Great teacher. Good knowledge, dynamic, engaging and very clear what he wanted us to know, how to teach it, and how to have us learn it”

“Class felt like a ‘spa treatment’ because you learned a lot in a relaxed environment.”

“Professor Manso is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had in my life.”

“A very good overview of all facets of corporate financial decision making. Professor Manso is well prepared and elevates thinking to a high level. Workload is relatively heavy, but group-based and very relevant.”

“He cares about the student’s learning and is really good in communicating the essentials.”

“He is the best professor at Haas. Everyone should take this course with Manso before graduating.”