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2021 Best 40-Under-40 Professors: Bart De Langhe, Esade Business School

Bart De Langhe of Esade Business School is a 2021 Best 40 Under 40 Business School Professor. Courtesy photo

Bart De Langhe

Associate Professor of Marketing

Esade

With 155 nominations from students, former students, faculty, administrators, and even his wife, Bart De Langhe of Esade Business School earned more nominations than any other professor making this year’s list. Now, it takes more than nominations to get a professor on this list. Some professors with 100 or more nominations have been left off this year and previous years. But the depth and quality of nominations left along with the quantity made it very easy to put De Langhe on this year’s 40 Under 40.

We were also impressed by De Langhe’s body of research, which is nearing 800 Google Scholar citations and has earned attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Forbes, Time, and others. “I study how consumers and managers make decisions with data,” De Langhe says. “People often worry they’re bad with numbers. That concern is not productive to make better decisions, and pure numeric abilities are not the most relevant factor. The biggest mistakes are made when people feel confident about their knowledge and the data they use.”

Current age: 38

At current institution since what year? 2017

Education: Psychology

List of MBA courses you currently teach: (1) Tools for Thinking, (2) Winning Customers in a Data-Driven World, (3) Data Analysis and Decision-Making

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized psychology is essential to do well in business, and some of the best research in psychology is done at business schools.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I study how consumers and managers make decisions with data. People often worry they’re bad with numbers. That concern is not productive to make better decisions, and pure numeric abilities are not the most relevant factor. The biggest mistakes are made when people feel confident about their knowledge and the data they use.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I think I would be a psychology professor.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I’m very tall.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Motivated.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: My advisor was extremely generous sharing his time, information and opinions. The expectations I formed very early in my career based on my conversations with him turned out to be fairly representative.

Professor I most admire and why: Professors that are intellectually humble and generous. I have had the good fortune to meet many.

TEACHING MBA STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I’m inspired by their optimism and enthusiasm.

What is most challenging? Designing classes that are effective for students with diverse backgrounds and ambitions.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious.

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… someone who cares more about learning than grading.

LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? Biking, hiking, padel.

How will you spend your summer? Eating and drinking with family and friends.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Islands.

Favorite book(s): The remains of the day; Guns, germs, and steel.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Coco, because it beautifully illustrates the importance of memory to understand the value of life and death.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? 90s hip-hop. I don’t know why.

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more… displays to better connect with people in different places.

In my opinion, companies, and organizations today need to do a better job at… asking precise questions that can be answered with data.

I’m grateful for… having met some of my best friends at work.

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

“Bart is making an incredible impact on his students’ learning experience at ESADE Business School. He has motivated me personally to think outside of the box and question the status quo. In my current role as Product Marketing Manager at Amazon I still often think back to the theories he taught in his class and apply them when deriving innovative ways to improve product or marketing strategies.”

“Throughout the whole course, even when he was unwell, his dedication and way of teaching was brilliant and highest among all. There were never any students who were bored during his class. Understanding Consumers was an eye opener to all Marketing Students through him.”

“He has excellent teaching skills engaging all the students in the class, he is extremely knowledgeable and to the point, and he took a lot of time and effort to help me with the psychological research parts of my thesis despite the fact that it was not his responsibility at all.”

“I had the plaesure to be taught by professor De Langhe during my master studies at ESADE in 2018. He is a great professor with a truly pssion for his subject. He uses a variety of teaching methods, he has the ability to keep the interest of the class, he is friendly and he can trasmit the knowledge smothly. In the class, he used to also share the useful and interesting results of his research about the consumer behaviour. The knowledge that I obtained during his course is valuable not only for my professional but also for my personal life. I vote for him.”

“Behavioral economics is where the reality of humanity conflicts with the frameworks of education. Bart did a phenomenal job of showing us the limitations of our knowledge and how to look, and react to blind spots. His paper on Linear Thinking is one of the few that I have shared with family and friends.”