2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Yuri Levin, Smith School of Business (Queen’s University)

Yuri Levin 3

Yuri Levin

Professor & Distinguished Chair of Operations Management, Director of Master of Management Analytics program, and Director of Scotiabank Centre for Customer Analytics

Smith School of Business, Queen’s University

How do you know that you’ve reached your students? They compose a rap song about a tool that you’re teaching them. Such is the affection for Yuri Levin, who has won his school’s “Professor of the Year” award for four years running. Attribute this consistency to his sense of humor and ability to simplify complex concepts, along with going above-and-beyond for his students. A Rutgers Ph.D., Levin is responsible for launching the Smith School’s acclaimed analytics program in 2013. Not surprisingly for a analytics guru, one of his favorite books is Moneyball.

Age: 39

At current institution since: 2002

Education: Ph.D., Operations Research, Rutgers University, 2001

Courses you currently teach: Analytical Decision Making, Pricing Analytics, Strategic Analytics

Professor you most admire: Adi Ben-Israel from Rutgers University

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…I got a chance to teach my first MBA class while still a PhD student.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would be doing Analytics in the Financial Industry.”

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: When my MBA students composed a RAP song about a YASAI simulation for their project. [YASAI is a tool for performing a computerized mathematical technique that enables users to account for risk in quantitative analysis and decision making.]

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Launching the Master of Management Analytics program, which has seen 127% growth (and counting) since its inception in 2013.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? The opportunity to interact with a diverse pool of talented people

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor?  Grading

Fun fact about yourself: To make ends meet in my late teen years, I ran (legally purchased!) cars between Western Europe and Belarus – a first exposure to the principles of arbitrage.

Favorite book: Moneyball (Michael Lewis) and Predictable Irrational (Dan Ariely).

Favorite movie:  Schindler’s list.

Favorite type of music: Classical and rock.

Favorite television show: Shark Tank.

Favorite vacation spot: Europe.

What are your hobbies? Skating, running, reading about history and politics, spending time with my family.

Twitter handle: I don’t tweet; (I speak ;-).

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…a common understanding among students, faculty and administration of the need for balance between education and training.”

Students and faculty say…

“I had the pleasure of being a student of Dr. Yuri Levin’s, in the Master of Management Analytics program at Queen’s University. Yuri has an amazing gift of being able to connect with people, through deconstructing complex problems into manageable components and then building up a student’s understanding as well as confidence in the subject.  He does this by simplifying concepts and then gradually adding more complex theories and ideas through the use of practical examples.  Stimulating discussion with a sense of humour was a staple of every lecture.

Perhaps what I appreciate most about Yuri was that he always displayed a caring side for his students, offering guidance well beyond the classroom and office hours, always putting his students first. His passion for teaching is second to none, and years later I can still appreciate his lively and engaging lectures. Over the past few years, I have kept in touch with Yuri, asking for his guidance and perspective on innovative ideas I am contemplating in my professional career.

Yuri was an influential and inspiring professor and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to study under him and get to know him.  He has my strongest endorsement for top 40 under 40 professor, and quite frankly I couldn’t imagine a more deserving candidate.”

Michael Friedman

Managing Director, Management Information & Analytics

Scotiabank, Global Banking and Markets

“Professor Yuri Levin has been a phenomenal contributor to students, businesses, research, and the Smith School of Business at Queen’s. Since 2013 Yuri has won professor of the year awards four times in our MBA and Master of Management Analytics programs, where he is notable for motivating students to undertake original projects with real potential for future start-ups. He is Director of our Master of Management Analytics program and Director of a new Scotiabank Center for Customer Analytics and was instrumental in launching both initiatives. He has published multiple influential research papers in analytical pricing and related areas and has been co-winner of two awards for successful applications of research: the 2013 INFORMS Revenue Management & Pricing Practice Prize (with Molson Coors) and the 2009 INFORMS COIN-OR Cup for applications of open source O/R software. I find it difficult to conceive of a more appropriate recipient of this award.”

Jeff McGill, PhD

Professor of Management Science and Operations Management

Smith School of Business, Queen’s University


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