When we sent a questionnaire asking Kinda Hachem what she thought made her stand out as a professor, she responded with, “You’ll have to ask my students.” We didn’t need to do that as more than 50 students from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business reached out on their own accord to let us know what sets Hachem, 36, apart from the other world-class teaching faculty at Darden.
“Kinda breaks down even the most complicated economics topics so that everyone an understand it,” enthused one grateful recommender. “She is an expert at leading the class and moderating the discussion which could be really tough given that Darden uses the case method. Even though she has been at Darden for only two years, she has mastered leading the case. In addition, the depth and breadth of her knowledge is remarkable.”
Said another admiring MBA student, “Kinda actually loves to teach. It is her first and foremost love, one that is exudes out of her as she explains economic concepts in three different fashions because she knows there’s at least one student sitting in her class who it won’t click for until the third time.”
Her research interests have evolved into a passion for teasing out the unintended consequences of regulation, particularly financial regulation. It’s not, as she has discovered that government regulation can be ineffective, it’s that the regulation can be entirely counter-productive.
Her dedication to the craft of teaching and research— and appreciation among students and alums — is what made Hachem, who is an associate professor of business administration, an easy choice for our editorial staff to include in this year’s Best 40 Under 40 Professors recognition. A Toronto-native, Hachem says her hobbies outside of the classroom and business school are learning how to cook and watching the Toronto Raptors play basketball.
Associate Professor of Business Administration
Current age: 36
At current institution since what year? 2018
Education: B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., University of Toronto
List of MBA courses you currently teach:
- Global Economies and Markets I (First Year Core)
- The Economics of Money and Banking (Second Year Elective)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A BUSINESS PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I had an epiphany at some point in grad school that economists, especially those interested in economic theory like myself, need to talk to business managers. We model agents and make assumptions about their preferences and constraints and then talk amongst ourselves in seminars and conferences. But the agents that we model have real-world counterparts, and some of the biggest decision-makers in this group develop their foundations in business school. Being a business school professor opens up a two-way dialogue that broadens thinking on both sides. Faculty provide frameworks, curated from academic research, to help students interpret the world around them, and students provide insights, both in the classroom and later on as alums, from their experiences in actual firms and markets. It’s a very complementary relationship.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
I’ve become fascinated by the unintended consequences of regulation, particularly financial regulation. There is a lot of research on bank capital requirements, but the liquidity problems experienced during the 2007-09 financial crisis have ushered in a new era of liquidity regulation. My co-author Michael Song and I have delved into these issues and found that an aggregate credit boom can be born out of stricter liquidity regulation. This is a striking result; it’s not that the regulation can be ineffective, it’s that the regulation can be entirely counter-productive. We isolate interbank market power as the key to understanding this result and present a quantitative application to illustrate the practical relevance of the mechanisms in our model. Our results portend an important lesson for policy-makers, namely that tightening liquidity standards when the central bank does not target short-term interest rates (e.g., in countries with managed exchange rates) can have severely unintended consequences.
If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a central banker.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
You’ll have to ask my students. I don’t walk into the classroom intending to stand out; I just do the things that I think every professor should do to maximize learning. On that, I feel strongly about my students being able to break complicated concepts down into the simplest possible terms. I used to do that for myself all the time as a student and still do it whenever I come across something new. I never felt like I truly understood something until I could break it down into things that were first-order and things that were second-order. Lots of events and institutions that appear complicated and different are fundamentally simple and similar if you boil them down.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Caffeinated
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: You will write out detailed lesson plans for your case-based classes, only to abandon them in the first 5 minutes of class and dynamically re-optimize.
Professor I most admire and why:
I learned a lot from Randy Kroszner as a first-year assistant professor in Chicago. I sat in on his MBA Money & Banking class before teaching my own. I had never taught MBAs in grad school so I was a blank canvas on that dimension. Randy is incredible. He’s a great researcher, former Fed governor, and just a genuinely good person. His ability to navigate wrong answers without making anyone feel bad but while still making sure the class had clarity was remarkable. That left an imprint on me for sure.
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? What is most challenging?
What I enjoy most is also what’s most challenging. Business students have such diverse backgrounds, so those more familiar with a given subject are eager to get into the details while others, whose expertise is in a different subject, want to spend more time on the basics. This is also true outside of business students, but it’s much more salient in the case-based discussions at business schools. Some of the biggest insights come from interactions between students who are seeing a concept for the first time and students who have examples and counter-examples from the field. It’s a delicate balance to keep everyone learning and engaged so that those interactions can occur, but, when they do occur, it’s awesome.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Motivated
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Unprepared
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies?
Learning how to cook; watching Toronto Raptors games.
How will you spend your summer?
Research. Summer is usually also conference season, but, given the ongoing concerns surrounding Covid-19, the conference circuit for this summer is lighter than usual. All the more time to catch up on research.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: Probably Miami, but also Niagara-on-the-Lake for something a bit homier.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. It’s a book that sticks with you. Bauby was the editor of Elle. He suffered a stroke and lived in a pseudocoma until his death. He dictated the entire book, which goes between memories of his past life and the reality of his current one, by blinking his left eye. It’s been over 20 years since I read it, but everything about it, especially how it was written, is so profound.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
Chopped. Four mystery ingredients that don’t obviously go together describes the contents of my fridge half the time. I started watching somewhat flippantly, but, over time, I began to really like that I can learn about food (see hobby 1 above) in a creative way.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?
I have favorite songs at any given point in time, but not really favorite artists or genres. Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa has my all-time favorite instrumental, though.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Research conferences with practitioners as discussants.
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Embedding modularity into strategic plans.
I’m grateful for… My family.
Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:
“I’ve had Kinda for two first-year core economics classes and now a second-year elective (The economics of money and banking), and I can tell you without a doubt that she has been my favorite professor at Darden. Kinda is exceptional – she does a masterful job connecting with her students and guiding each classroom discussion to get at the crucial concepts at the center of each case. She has incorporated her research into her lesson plans which is incredibly interesting and topical to our class discussions.”
“Kinda is amazing. A top researcher (one of the very few in NBER) who delivers top-quality classes without pandering to students (“I come with models, not treats”), in her second year at Darden I entrusted her with running our area’s recruiting efforts. Her ‘rubric’ was such a step forward for Darden that it has quickly become the norm for all areas recruiting. Top research, top teaching, top service (to both the profession and the school)…the world needs more Kindas.”
“Kinda taught me two-quarters of first-year core economics classes, and I’m eternally grateful for her clarity, sense of humor, and patience. It was an incredible learning experience, and she’s an incredible person. I feel so lucky for the opportunity to have learned from her. Not to mention, it was her first time teaching the case method and she adjusted incredibly well and facilitated incredible learning and conversations — something that’s by no means easy to do!”