2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Joseph Simmons, The Wharton School

Wharton's Joesph Simmons teaches operations

Wharton’s Joesph Simmons teaches operations

Joseph Simmons

The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions

Wharton professor Joe Simmons is a triple threat. He’s sought after by academicians and corporations alike for his research on the psychology and judgment of decision making. He’s widely known and respected for his second stream of research that focuses on identifying easy-to-adopt research practices to improve the integrity of published findings. And to top it off, he’s a high-impact performer inside the classroom. In the five years since he joined The Wharton School, the 38-year-old Simmons has racked up an impressive five awards for his outstanding teaching and, in 2012, was one of ten faculty nominated by Wharton’s MBA student body for the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award which recognizes exemplary teaching.

Age: 38

At current institution since: 2011

Education: PhD in Psychology, Princeton University, 2004

Courses you currently teach: Managerial Decision Making

Professor you most admire: The late Dr. Nik Kierniesky, my undergraduate advisor at Mount Saint Mary’s College.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…a b-school hired me.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would be criticizing others’ decisions without getting paid for it.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: During one of my lectures, a praying mantis flew across the room, “attacking” one of my (terrified) students. I befriended that insect and now use him (her???) to help me regulate in-class conduct.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? My research collaboration with Wharton professor Uri Simonsohn and Berkeley-Haas professor Leif Nelson.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? Being able to collaborate with ridiculously smart people to do exactly the type of research I want to do.

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? The importance of saying “no” to many requests and opportunities. I’m much better at my job when I give a lot of time to a few people (advisees, collaborators, students) than when I give a little bit of time to many people.

Fun fact about yourself: I will sometimes bet against my favorite sports teams, as an emotional hedge.

Favorite books: Catch-22; 1984; The Unbearable Lightness of Being; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. (In general, anything uplifting).

Favorite movie: The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Favorite type of music: The National

Favorite television show: The Wire

Favorite vacation spot: Paris

What are your hobbies? Running; listening to music; optimistic planning

Twitter handle: @jpsimmon

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…(1) a technology that allows professors to disable students’ electronic devices, and (2) easy access to peanut butter cookies.”


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