2018 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Manuel Adelino, Duke University (Fuqua)

Manuel Adelino

Associate Professor of Finance

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

What is the secret to being a great teacher? For Manuel Adelino, the answer lies in remembering what it is like to be a student!

“I still remember very well learning what I now teach, and that helps in developing clear explanations for sometimes complicated methods,” he explains.

A great teacher, he is. The winner of Fuqua’s 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award, Adelino is a former McKinseyite who holds a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from MIT. A stellar scholar, his research has been published in outlets ranging from the Journal of Finance to the Journal of Economics. Despite his academic accolades, his biggest impact remains in the classroom, where he has become an in-demand professor due to his teaching prowess

“He was the best class I’ve taken at Fuqua,” writes one MBA student. “Professor Adelino is very insightful, has a great sense of humor, understands his students and knows how to convey a very complex topic in the most simple way.”

Age: 37

At current institution since what year? 2012

Education: PhD in Financial Economics from the MIT Sloan School of Management

List of courses you currently teach: Entrepreneurial Finance


“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…Although the conscious decision to become a professor only came much later, the fact that my father is a finance professor probably helped to settle the issue in my mind very early on.”

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?

I’ve spent the last couple of years looking into how the middle class was affected in the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Contrary to the popular narrative, my work with Antoinette Schoar (MIT) and Felipe Severino (Dartmouth) shows that the increase in mortgage credit in the housing boom that preceded the crisis was shared across the entire income distribution and did not just happen for subprime or low income individuals. The mortgage expansion was especially pronounced in areas with increased house prices (as you would expect), but the average loan-to-value ratios (LTV) at origination did not increase over the boom period. While homeownership rates increased for the middle and upper income households, there was no increase in homeownership for the lowest income groups. Finally, high income and high credit score borrowers made up a large portion of the increase in defaults in the crisis.

“If I weren’t a business school professor…I would most likely be a consultant. I started my professional career at McKinsey and Co, and I think I would have enjoyed the challenge of that alternative career as well.”

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?

I still remember very well learning what I now teach, and that helps in developing clear explanations for sometimes complicated methods.

“One word that describes my first time teaching”:


“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor”:

The process of publishing one’s research is highly competitive, perhaps more so than I anticipated, and that has profound consequences for the careers of aspiring b-school professors.

Professor you most admire and why:

Steve Ross, who recently died, was an extraordinary example of scholarship.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

Our students are generally excited to go out and change the world, and I find that excitement contagious.

What is most challenging?

Life as a business school student is very busy, and there are times when it is hard for them to focus on classes.

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student

Eager (to learn).

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student


 When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…


Fill in the blank: “If my students can use the concepts in my class to view the world through a different lens, then I’ve done my job as their professor.”


What are your hobbies? Playing with my 3 kids (that is all I have time for)

How will you spend your summer? At home in Portugal.

Favorite place to vacation: Sintra, Portugal.

Favorite book: Torga’s “Contos da Montanha” and other work by the same author. Torga could have been Portugal’s second 20th century Nobel prize in literature in my view…

What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Breaking Bad is the show I’ve watched recently that I have most enjoyed. Walter White’s inner conflict is fascinating and Bryan Cranston’s acting is great.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: Hard to answer in general, but my playlist right now has a lot of Ramones, The Smiths and Sex Pistols.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…

Integration of machine learning and artificial intelligence methods (and programming) in the curriculum

In your opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at doing what?

Organizations can’t pretend they don’t influence politics and society in general. The new Internet giants have to recognize and take responsibility for being a primary channel through which hate and intolerance spreads, and they need to decide which role they intend to play going forward.

Faculty Says…

“Manuel Adelino is an easy recommendation to be recognized as one of the Best 40 Under 40 Professors.  He is a fantastic colleague who is recognized inside Fuqua as a fabulous teacher and recognized broadly for his research in real estate finance and entrepreneurship.  Manuel is generous with his time and is a regular speaker at club events and has served as a judge for a number of case competitions.”

Russ Morgan

Senior Associate Dean for Full-Time Programs






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