Jackson (Guannan) Lu
Assistant Professor of Work and Organization Studies
At just 29, Jackson Lu is the second-youngest professor to make this year’s list and one of two 20-somethings. But don’t let the age fool you. Lu has already been published in premier scientific journals, such as Nature: Human Behaviour, Proceedings of National Academy of Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and has earned top-marks in student reviews in the classes he has taught over the past year since earning his Ph.D. in Management from Columbia Business School last spring. Broadly speaking, Lu’s research covers the pros and cons of globalization for organizations, groups of people, as well as individuals. The research has been covered in publications like Wired, Pacific Standard, Forbes, and Quartz, among others.
“Professor Lu teaches a Negotiation class at MIT Sloan with over 65 students in each section,” one nominator said. “It was clear that he puts in great effort to ensure that the lectures are not only engaging and fun but evidence-based and practical. He is very receptive to student feedback and the efforts he puts toward the quality of his lectures show how much he cares about students’ experiences in the classroom.”
In his spare time, Lu can be found playing guitar, exploring different languages, or taking in different kinds of sports.
Current Age: 29
At current institution since what year? 2018
Education: Ph.D. in Management, Columbia Business School, 2018; B.A. in Psychology, Mathematics, and Japanese, Williams College, 2013 (summa cum laude)
List of current MBA courses you currently teach: Power and Negotiation
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A PROFESSOR:
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized that I aspired to be not only an intellectual scholar but also someone who helps inform policies and practices in the “real” world. Also, I LOVE the freedom.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
My research focuses on the upsides and downsides of globalization for individuals, groups, and organizations (jacksonlu.net/all-research). One of my exciting research projects is about astrological stereotypes and discrimination in China, where western astrological signs have become wildly popular because of globalization. Our studies reveal that astrological stereotypes and discrimination are salient in China. For example, Virgos are discriminated against in job recruitment and romantic dating because they are stereotyped as having a disagreeable personality. However, our large datasets demonstrate that astrological signs do not actually predict personality. We urge policymakers to prohibit astrological discrimination—before astrological stereotypes unjustly become accurate over time through self-fulfilling prophecies.
If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a travel blogger
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
I strive to take the perspective of the students.
One word that describes my first-time teaching: Exhilarating
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Teaching MBA students is not daunting, but fulfilling.
Professor you most admire and why: My list is truly long, but available upon request 🙂
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
My students are smarter, cooler, and funnier than me
What is most challenging?
My students are smarter, cooler, and funnier than me
Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Engaged
Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Disengaged
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… thoughtful
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM:
What are your hobbies? Classical guitar, learning languages, different kinds of sports
How will you spend your summer? Research and travel
Favorite place(s) to vacation: Galápagos Islands
Favorite book(s): Kafka on the Shore by Murakami Haruki
What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
The Big Bang Theory and Secret (by Jay Chou)
Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: Jay Chou
THOUGHTS OF REFLECTIONS:
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Cultural diversity
In your opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at doing what?
Unfortunately, many jobs are tedious. Organizations should endeavor to take the perspective of the employees to make their jobs interesting and innovative.
“Jackson is my co-author. He is simply a superstar. He has published as much as anyone at this career stage and nearly all of his articles are big, impactful ideas. He also knocked it out of the park on his first try at teaching, getting 4.9/5 evaluations for both sections. He is a perfectionist and is committed to excellence in all that he does.”
“Professor Lu joined MIT Sloan last year and taught in two sections of the course Power and Negotiation in his first semester at Sloan. Despite being one of the youngest professors at Sloan, Professor Lu received the best evaluation Sloan students have ever given to a large-sized class (over 140 students). His success in teaching can largely be attributed to his “overpreparation” before each class and openness to different cultures. As a cultural psychologist, Professor Lu has mastered five different languages and traveled to over 40 countries, which allowed him to understand the needs of students from various cultural backgrounds and communicate efficiently with the highly multicultural MBA class at Sloan. He also brought his well-recognized research in culture and creativity to the lecture. The combination of practical knowledge, social science theories, and real-life stories made his course both interesting and enlightening.”
“Professor Lu teaches a Negotiation class at MIT Sloan with over 65 students in each section. It was clear that he puts in great effort to ensure that the lectures are not only engaging and fun, but evidence-based and practical. He is very receptive to student feedback and the efforts he puts toward the quality of his lectures show how much he cares about students’ experiences in the classroom. Professor Lu is a great scholar and lecturer and has this ability of delivering each lecture in a TED talk-like style. I very much enjoyed and always looked forward to attending his lecture every week and can vouch for him in getting this nomination.”