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2020 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Victor Jose, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Victor Jose of Georgetown University is a Poets&Quants Best 40 Under 40 MBA Professor

Victor Jose strikes the exact balance of strong researcher and impactful teacher we set out to identify and recognize when creating this list of young talent at business schools around the world. With more than 500 Google Scholar citations and many research awards, Jose’s work in decision and risk analysis and forecasting is impressive. What’s more, Jose received many nominations citing his classroom and teaching prowess. The 39-year-old’s teaching has also received numerous awards including the 2017-2018 MBA Teaching in Excellence award for Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business — where he is the William and Karen Sonneborn Associate Professor.

“Professor Jose embodies everything I value in a professor – he’s very smart but doesn’t take himself too seriously,” one nominator put it. “He tries to incorporate real-world scenarios into his curriculum instead of just discussing concepts in the abstract and most importantly – he actually cares about his students learning.”

It is that care, humility, and putting abstract concepts into understandable lessons that placed Jose squarely on this list of top young faculty members in business education. Outside of the classroom, Jose says he enjoys travel, cooking, and the study of paper money and coins. When asked what he plans on doing for the summer, Jose stuck true to his craft in his answer. “I will likely be spending most of it at home,” he said. “Statistical models suggest this pandemic will extend at the very least to the start of the summer. If things get better (which I hope would be soon), I dream of sitting again in a DC restaurant and slowly enjoying a meal with friends.”

Victor Jose

William and Karen Sonneborn Associate Professor

McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University

Current age: 39

At current institution since what year? 2009

Education: BS Management Engineering and Mathematics, Ateneo de Manila University, 2003, Ph.D. Business Administration, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, 2009

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Managerial Statistics

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I first interacted with students as a teaching assistant.

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

My research is in the area of business forecasting, where I try to find ways organizations can properly account for uncertainty in forecasting models through the use of statistics and machine learning methods.  Right now, I am working on a project that examines how to incorporate human judgments in machine learning-based forecasting models that are commonly used in applications such as sports forecasting and bankruptcy prediction.  One of the key insights in this work is that focusing on expert’s performance in singular and recent tasks is short-sighted.  Organizations and managers often focus on recent singular outcomes and value individuals/models that give sharp accurate judgment on say a recent task.  Those who may not necessarily have performed well on a recent task may still provide an important contribution in predicting other future outcomes.  The reason behind this is that these individuals provide diversity, which is a key component beyond expertise in properly accounting for variation and uncertainty.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I most likely would have been a lawyer.

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

I think it is my ability to make a technical class accessible to most students

One word that describes my first time teaching: Stressful

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: It doesn’t necessarily get easier over time.

Professor I most admire and why: For this, I have to name two people.  The first is my PhD advisor (Bob Winkler from Fuqua) who continues to teach me new, critical, and creative ways of thinking about complex problems.  The other is my undergraduate thesis adviser (Mari-jo Ruiz from Ateneo) who has inspired generations of undergraduate students to embrace mathematics, statistics, and operations research before she retired.  She believed in me when I had doubts that I could get accepted into a Ph.D. program in the US.  I had to name them both because it is like choosing between your mom and dad.  Of course, I can choose one, but I know I will later regret choosing one over the other.

STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

It may sound surprising to some but I enjoy learning from my MBA students at Georgetown.  Every semester I discover new ways organizations and individuals use data and statistics from my class. I find it especially fascinating how people in non-statistical and non-technical fields find clever, creative, and non-traditional ways of solving problems related to data.

What is most challenging?

Teaching a core class in the MBA program, I find choosing the right balance in terms of pace and difficulty as the most challenging.   Every entering MBA class has a unique mix of backgrounds and experiences related to data and statistics.  Ideally, I would like that people who had little or no experience to have the ability to follow and succeed in class, while also making sure that the more experienced students still learn a few new things along the way.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Prepared

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Disengaged

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Predictable. I like structure and I guess this applies to the way I format my class. Students typically have an idea how exams are formatted and I try my best to give timely and regular feedback on graded material so things are not surprising in the end.

LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies?

Travel, Cooking, Numismatics/Notaphily

How will you spend your summer?

I will likely be spending most of it at home.  Statistical models suggest this pandemic will extend at the very least to the start of the summer.  If things get better (which I hope would be soon), I dream of sitting again in a DC restaurant and slowly enjoying a meal with friends.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Berlin, London, and Paris (I’m more of a city person)

Favorite book(s): Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture

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

Right now, I am mostly watching travel-related shows.  This perhaps is the closest thing to traveling in the age of social distancing and staying at home.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?

I have a broad range of musical interest.  But currently, my go-tos are (i) opera/classical music, (ii) techno, and (iii) 90s Filipino rock music.  The first is for relaxing, the second is for dancing, and the third is for reminiscing.

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

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

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Using data and their own people at making better decisions

I’m grateful for… Family

Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:

“Victor has the unenviable position of level-setting the statistics knowledge of the incoming MBA class, including folks like myself who, before his class, did my last math coursework 20 years ago (English MA in a former life). Not only did he engage me in the material, he went above and beyond to open his office door for tutorials and kept the conversation going over a beer after class. He sets the tone for Georgetown’s MBA program and establishes a high bar for the whole of students’ experience.”

“Professor Jose embodies everything I value in a professor – he’s very smart but doesn’t take himself too seriously, he tries to incorporate real-world scenarios into his curriculum instead of just discussing concepts in the abstract and most importantly – he actually cares about his students learning.”

“Victor Jose is an amazing professor and researcher. He cheerfully and unflinchingly teaches core Statistics to full-time and part-time MBAs, in addition to keeping up an agonizing research regimen. He’s always available to his students and fellow researchers.”

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2020 LIST OF THE WORLD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSORS