The 40 Most Outstanding MBA Professors Under 40

Some of the outstanding business school professors on our 2017 roster of the world’s best 40 under 40 MBA profs

Imagine you’re a second-year MBA student. At a café, you spy another patron sporting your school gear. What do you do? Naturally, you walk up and extend your hand, assuming he is a first-year candidate you haven’t yet met.. There’s just one problem: he isn’t a student.

Embarrassed? Brace yourself for another twist. He’s actually a professor…your negotiations professor for the upcoming semester.

A true story!

Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business Professor Daniel Feiler, an award-winning teacher and researcher, still chuckles over that one. It’s just one of the many memorable moments brought to us by this year’s 40 most extraordinary business school professors under the age of 40.


Ivey’s Ning Su received a record 72 nominations.

It’s been six years since Poets&Quants published its very first list of The World’s Top 40 Business Professors Under 40. Since then, we’ve identified and bestowed this honor on some of academia’s most impactful young professors: UPenn Wharton’s Adam Grant, Dartmouth Tuck’s Leslie Robinson, and Harvard Business School’s Rory McDonald, to name a few.

If you thought the 2017 edition would be just another list, boy are you in for a treat.

Thanks to our readers, the number of incoming nominations quadrupled this year. The 2017 list is the result of a record-breaking 431 nominations in support of the highest number of professors ever nominated (118). Compare this to 2016 when 62 individuals were singled out of a total of 115 nominations, or 2015 when there were 90 individuals nominated from 110 nominations.

All of this made the job of assessing the nominees very tough this year. There were so many nominations, so many truly deserving professors–and our editorial team  loved every second of it.


One interesting twist this year: Many MBA students and alumni banded together by the dozens in guerilla marketing style campaigns to support the professors who most inspired them in and out of the classroom. One after the other, the nominations for Ivey Business School’s Ning Su just kept coming and, seemingly, wouldn’t let up. At the end of the nomination period, the 34-year-old professor of information systems racked up a mind blowing seventy-two nominations, obliterating the previous record for the most number of nominations held by Harvard’s Rory McDonald. In 2016, McDonald was the all-time front-runner with 20 nominations from students and alumni.

Some of the top vote-getters on this year’s list include Babson’s Jerome Taillard (46), Georgia Tech’s Dong Liu (23), Babson’s Ruben Mancha (20), Rotterdam’s Ting Li (18), Amsterdam Business School’s Sebastian Kortmann (14), Rotman’s Mikhail Simutin (12), U.C-Berkeley’s Marcus Opp (12),and ESMT’s Linus Dahlander (12). While most of the nominations came from students and alumni, administrators and fellow faculty also got into the act.

Still, it takes more than a mountain of nominations to make the list. Each nominee is assessed on the quality of their scholarly research, the impact of their scholarship as measured by publication in academic journals as well as more popular media, and their ability to motivate, inspire and translate difficult concepts in a classroom to students. Greater weight is placed on the quality of teaching–judged by student ratings and awards–because the essence of a truly outstanding teacher is to reach and enrich students in profound and enduring ways. Students should complete a course grateful for having had a teacher who has had a positive impact on them.

At 31, Tuck’s Eesha Sharma is this year’s youngest member of 40 Under 40.


Sadly, at many research-focused universities, teaching is not considered an important part of a professor’s job. As long as a tenure-track prof doesn’t fuel a stream of complaints to the dean, mediocre teaching isn’t likely to harm the case for tenure. That’s not true for the professors who have won recognition on our 40-under-40 list. If a professor isn’t a star in the classroom, his or her research accomplishments mean little to the real world.

This year’s list of the best includes a noticeable number of institutions that hadn’t been represented on 40/40 lists of old. Appearing for the first time are an impressive group of young professors from business schools that aren’t always in the limelight. Saint Mary’s University Sobey School of Business in Canada, the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, and the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) are just a handful of schools proving that they–and their faculty–aren’t to be counted out.

Indeed, what the list shows is that the most highly ranked schools hardly have a lock on young talent. In fact, several Top 20 schools failed to place a single professor on the list, including the University of Virginia’s Darden School, generally known as the school with the best MBA teaching faculty in the world.

Finally, as if this year’s list wasn’t epic enough, there’s one school setting a new record. 2017 marks the very first time that three professors under 40 all hail from one school. At NYU’s Stern School of Business, Lisa Leslie, Ilan Lobel, and Nathan Pettit are three truly extraordinary professors, all housed under one academic roof, each making highly recognizable names for themselves in B-school academia.

Daniel Feiler of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business

See Page 3 for Poets&Quants‘ 40 Under 40 list (alphabetical) with links to individual features

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