2019 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Rosalind Chow, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

Rosalind Chow

Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory

Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

With over 700 Google citations to her name, Rosalind Chow’s research focuses on how individuals experience and understand hierarchy, gender and racial diversity, and intergroup relations and intragroup processes.

Chow, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, has been published in major scholarly journals including the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Journal of Psychology and Social Psychology. Since joining Tepper School in 2008, she has been honored as Tepper School of Business Faculty Giving Chair (2009), and Xerox Junior Faculty Chair (2011), and is also the 2016 winner of Carnegie Mellon University’s Berkman Faculty Development Grant.

“Professor Chow is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking, and open professors I have ever had in my educational career,” one nominator said. “She teaches in a down to earth style with a focus on skills we can directly implement into our lives. Chow does this with the support of others research and her own. Without a doubt, Chow is one of the best professors under 40 and I am excited to see where her career takes her.”

Current Age: 38

At current institution since what year? 2008

Education: BA in Psychology from Columbia University, 2002, PhD in Organizational Behavior from Stanford GSB, 2008

List of current MBA courses you currently teach: Negotiations


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I took an intro OB class as an undergraduate and realized that I could apply my interest in social psychology to the business world.

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

I am currently really excited about gender differences in sponsorship. Who gets sponsorship? Who gives sponsorship, and how? Who is effective at sponsoring? All of these are really important questions to understand if we want to explore how to increase diversity not only at the hiring stage, but also the promotion stage. Thus far, what I’ve found is pretty depressing – women tend to be sponsored by women, and men tend to be sponsored by men. But, male sponsors are taken more seriously than female sponsors, so even when they make the exact same recommendation, people trust the male sponsor’s recommendation more. This finding goes a long way to helping us understand why women aren’t progressing up the leadership ladder at the same rate as men.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I’d be a biologist studying marine mammals.

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

One of the most important tactics I teach my students in Negotiations is to build rapport. I try to do that with each and every one of my students.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Terrified

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

That serving two masters is really hard. Research and teaching require two completely different skill sets. Being excellent at both at the same time is almost impossible.

Professor you most admire and why:

As a researcher, my adviser, Brian Lowery. He is one of the most expansive thinkers that I know. Otherwise, Linda Babcock. She’s a true inspirational figure in my research and my life. She’s a great leader who gets stuff done in a no-nonsense manner.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

I love that my students can take material from my course and immediately apply it. When they come to me and tell me about their negotiation experiences and how they’ve used the strategies they learned in my class, it’s a great feeling.

What is most challenging?

Many MBA students come into OB courses thinking that they are already natural leaders or have good people skills. More often than not, the students who think this are those who have gotten where they are by being overly dominant and aggressive, and other people have, to that point, just put up with it. But that means they haven’t gotten the feedback that they need in order to grow as leaders. Teaching someone whose mind is already closed to the possibility that they can improve is incredibly challenging.

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Open-minded

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

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


What are your hobbies?

I sew in the wintertime and garden in the summertime. I also weightlift for fitness.

How will you spend your summer?

Taking the kids to spend time with their grandparents in CA, and prepping a new course (Managing People and Teams, which is the Tepper OB Core course)

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Hawaii.

Favorite book(s): Ender’s Game, Cryptonomicon

What is your favorite movie and/or television show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?

It’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I continually think about Interstellar. I love science fiction, and it’s got amazing visuals and ideas. But the thing that really puts it on top is the emotional story about the father/daughter relationship.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist:

The soundtrack of my life right now is all Disney. I haven’t listened to new music in years.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Organizations will always have people working together. The best organizations are those that have leaders who are able to bring together a group of people to collectively create things that they could not have otherwise achieved independently. If business schools are the testing grounds for those leaders, we need to do more to provide them with the skills and experiences that will enable them to mobilize that collective talent.

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

Taking a long-term view of their business and where it fits into the needs of society writ large.

Faculty and administrators say:

“Professor Chow’s course easily had the biggest impact on me during my first year at Tepper. My improvement throughout the course was very noticeable and tangible, and I have a high degree of confidence that I am better prepared for life after business school as a result. Professor Chow always took the time to address student questions, encourage discussion to facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and provide specific, actionable feedback to enhance student understanding of development opportunities. I cannot recommend her course highly enough, and that is largely due to her merits as a professor.”

“Prof. Chow has a reputation of teaching one of the “must take” courses at Tepper, and that is a direct correlation of her expertise in negotiation, but also her care for her students success. Throughout the course, she gave us real-world examples to work from, and she called on students to bring their own work experiences into the conversation. It was not about always “winning” the negotiation, but she wanted to make sure you were actually taking principles into consideration. She challenged us to do work outside of the classroom in order to see how we could actually put what we were learning into effect. After completing her course, I feel that I truly have a new set of tools in my arsenal. The experience of her course is one of my top thus far in my Tepper experience.”


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