2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Matthias Seifert, IE Business School

IE Business School's Matthias Seifert, 37, teaches Decision Sciences

IE Business School’s Matthias Seifert, 37, teaches Decision Sciences

Matthias Seifert

Professor of Decision Sciences

IE Business School

IE’s Matthias Seifert is an expert in the Decision Sciences. His research focuses on issues such as individual and group decision-making under risk and uncertainty, managerial forecasting, and multi-attribute choice models has been featured in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review among others. He has earned several research awards from institutions in the U.S., U.K., and Germany – combined with his editorial board positions for top academic journals that include Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes (Elsevier) and Decision Analysis (INFORMS) – make him a rising star in his field. Students love Matthias’ unconventional, comedy-like approach to teaching statistics and he regularly receives top student evaluations. Outside the classroom, Matthias is the bassist of faculty band “Random Error” and regularly performs at student events throughout the year.

Age: 37

At current institution since: 2009

Education: PhD in Management, field: Behavioral Decision Making, Judge Business School, Cambridge University in 2009; MSc in Decision Sciences, Operational Research Group, London School of Economics in 2004; MA in International Business, Department of Social and Economic Sciences, University of Hamburg in 2004

Courses you currently teach: Managerial Decision Making (MBA), Quantitative Methods II (PhD & DBA), Advanced Topics in Statistics (DBA), Seminar in Decision Sciences (PhD & DBA)

Professor you most admire: My co-authors, who, in addition to being brilliant academics, showed me that professors can actually be cool. My wife, who patiently listens to my weird science jokes and inspires me to be better at what I do.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…I got first introduced to the field of Decision Sciences by Professors Larry Phillips and Daniel Read during my postgraduate studies at the LSE, which fundamentally changed the way I think today.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…my dream would have been to compose film music.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: When past students tell me that I managed to take away their long-standing fear of using quantitative methods.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? My paper on quantifying intuition, which was based on my doctoral dissertation and, after a long, long battle eventually found its academic home in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes in 2013- however, it was accepted under the condition that I deleted any mentioning of the word “intuition”…

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? The combination of working on fascinating research questions, testing new ideas in the classroom and having a good laugh with my students.

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? I actually enjoy every aspect of this profession.

Fun fact about yourself: I play the bass guitar in our faculty rock band called “Random Error” and we have live performances at different occasions throughout the year.

Favorite book: I passionately hate reading novels…

Favorite movie: Rocky I-VI and all the parts that (I am sure) are yet to come.

Favorite type of music: A wild mixture of Russian composers from the late Romantic period, iconic heavy metal bands from the 90’s, and my favorite funk/jazz bass guitarists.

Favorite television show: Let’s just say that there is a possibility that I may have watched some episodes of “Keeping up with the Kardashians”…. Or, all of them….

Favorite vacation spot: Fjällbacka, Bohuslän, which is located around 120 kilometres north of

Gothenburg and happens to be the crime scene in all of Camilla Läckberg’s novels. In reality it is a peaceful, extremely picturesque fisher village, where I spend my time swimming, fishing, hiking and bbq-ing everything I can get my hands on.

What are your hobbies? Running, hiking and, more recently, I started getting interested in restoring vintage bass guitars.

Twitter handle: Don’t have one as I am still trying to figure out the meaning of a “hashtag”…

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…Holodecks like in Star Trek to meet up with my co-authors as I am not a big fan of using skype.”

Students Say…

“Matthias Seifert’s classes are unique: academically on point, clear, precise, but concomitantly his drive, sense of humor, humility and presence, they highly engage participation, interest, and learning. He is by far one of the best professors at IE, no one can teach managerial decision making as entertainingly as he does.”

Deborah Wanzo

“I have first-hand witnessed Professor Seifert turn quantitative haters into future statistical evangelist, by simply being himself, teaching with his inner passion.”

 George Stoyanov

“Professor Seifert helps us make sense of complex statistical methods with ease, it is almost like watching David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear, but instead, Professor Matthias makes the understanding appear in our heads.”

“Professor Matthias Seifert has excellent skills of transmitting knowledge to the last link of the chain in the class. The complex topics of decision making are made interesting by starting each session with a game and involving the class in the game so that all the basic concepts of the topic are deep into our heads. Moreover, his calm, patient and helping attitude not only lets us remain focused on the topics but also encourages us to ask about our doubts and seek active assistance from him. It has been a great interactive learning experience with the Professor.”

Anagh Mohan


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