2021 Best 40-Under-40 Professors: Jia (Jasmine) Hu, Ohio State University (Fisher)

Jia (Jasmine) Hu of Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business is a 2021 Best 40 Under 40 Business School Professor. Courtesy photo

Jia (Jasmine) Hu

Associate Professor of Management

The Ohio State University

Jia (Jasmine) Hu is one of the most prolific researchers on this year’s 40 Under 40 list with nearly 5,000 Google Scholar citations already wracked up. The organizational behavior specialist has been a professor at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business since 2017. Hu represents exactly what we are looking for on this list. At 37, she’s already a very accomplished researcher, who earned many rave reviews from current and former students as well as other faculty and administrators at the Fisher College.

Hu’s most recent research focuses on servant leadership.

“My primary research interest is prosocial leadership in teams,” Hu says. “My most recent research paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology is on servant leadership, which consists of behaviors that put employees first and show concern with their career growth and development (Greenleaf, 1977). My coauthors and I found that such leadership is particularly valuable for helping employees navigate challenges and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic. Servant leaders treat their employees as whole people, help them find meaning during a crisis, and encourage them to engage at work and to volunteer in larger communities.”

Hu has also been a semi-professional table tennis player since the age of six and has won nearly two-dozen city and state-level titles in the U.S. and China.

Current age: 37

At current institution since what year? June 2017

Education: Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, University of Illinois-Chicago (2012)

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Leadership; Organizational Behavior and Leadership. I have been teaching leadership core courses to MBA students since I joined Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I am the third-generation of a family of college professors. To be quite honest, when I was little, I never thought of being a professor; I wanted to be something different. After college, I worked in management consulting. When I participated in consulting projects, I was always intrigued by the theory behind the practices and the generalizability of companies’ experiences. When I started my master’s program and got involved in research projects, I found myself fascinated by doing research and disseminating knowledge. Then, I applied to doctoral programs in organizational behavior, received my Ph.D., and started my career as a business school faculty member at the University of Notre Dame in 2012.

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

My primary research interest is prosocial leadership in teams. My most recent research paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology is on servant leadership, which consists of behaviors that put employees first and show concern with their career growth and development (Greenleaf, 1977). My coauthors and I found that such leadership is particularly valuable for helping employees navigate challenges and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic. Servant leaders treat their employees as whole people, help them find meaning during a crisis, and encourage them to engage at work and to volunteer in larger communities. Using field and laboratory data from the United States and from China when coronavirus was surging there, our latest findings have timely implications for research and practice in times of crisis. These findings have been discussed in several media outlets such as Forbes, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Ohio State News.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would like to start a company focusing on environmental sustainability, an employment lawyer, or a novelist.

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

My passion and enthusiasm for management research contribute to my open-mindedness and learning attitude about teaching.  I think that teaching is a two-way street, and I find it to be an invaluable platform that not only allows teachers to disseminate knowledge to students and but also provides opportunities for teachers to learn from the experiences and ideas of students.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Trepidation. But I am grateful that my students in my first class were very kind to me.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Business school professors can strive for real-world impact. Organizational behavior is an applied discipline, but a significant gap remains between management research and practice. Research knowledge comes from the workplace and should be disseminated to practitioners who might benefit from it.

Professor I most admire and why: I am fortunate enough to have a few incredible mentors who truly make a difference to me. I am thankful for Dr. Bob Liden, my doctoral advisor, who taught the first seminar in my graduate program, constantly encouraged me to pursue my idea further, and supported me in turning my term paper into a top-tier journal publication. I am also particularly grateful for Dr. Tim Judge, who inspires me to become a better and more impactful researcher and sees more potential and ability within me than I see in myself.  I hope to be a mentor of their caliber and help the next generations of management scholars and business leaders.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

My MBA classes are usually filled with active discussion, and I always enjoy having opportunities to exchange knowledge and ideas with my business students. Their passion and caring for others and motivation to make a prosocial impact are inspiring.

What is most challenging?

Oftentimes, business students are trained to look for the single best solution to a problem. However, people are complex, and so is each situation. Teachers need to learn how to inspire students to be more open-minded and gain a more balanced, systematic view of management phenomena. In my classes, I emphasize the importance of combining one’s own and others’ experiences with scientific methodology and evidence to evaluate management practices and make management decisions.

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

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: I honestly don’t have a word for the least favorite type of student. As said in the movie The Karate Kid, “there is no such thing as bad student, only bad teacher.”

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Someone who invests effort in reviewing drafts before the final work is submitted, has a clear expectation and fair standard of the grading criteria, and provides feedback so that assignments and exercises can be helpful for future development.


What are your hobbies?

Reading, yoga, and table tennis. I am a semi-professional table tennis player and since the age of six, I have won over 20 city/state-level championships in both the United States and China.

How will you spend your summer?

I am not sure if I will go anywhere far during the pandemic, but I will spend my summer with my husband and children.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: I love to go to any place with a different culture, history, customs, and cuisine. I also love to visit beautiful natural wonders. My family and I enjoy such travel experiences because they help us open our minds, develop wider worldviews, strengthen our bonds and achieve a greater appreciation for life.

Favorite book(s): I have a long list of favorite books and have been updating it each year. A few of my recent reads include Adam Grant’s Think Again, David Epstein’s Range, Diane Tavenner’s Prepared, Dava Sobel’s Longitude, and Bob Iger’s The Ride of a Lifetime.

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

Since adolescence, my favorite movies have been the film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, especially Sense and Sensibility (1995), Pride and Prejudice (2005, 1995), and Persuasion (1995).

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

Jazz music because it makes me feel more joyful, relaxed, and focused.  I also love Broadway musicals.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… If I had my way, the business school of the future would pay much more research and practical attention to the well-being of people at work and the prosocial impact that they can have on their organizations and larger communities. There would be more investment in education and training to inspire leaders to be prosocial and future-oriented rather than focus on short-term financial gains or performance goals. Also, more attention would be given to students of different backgrounds, races, genders, and socioeconomic statuses; such students would receive more support in bringing their talents to future managerial positions.

In my opinion, companies, and organizations today need to do a better job at… In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at helping employees find and reach their fullest potential, promoting more talented women and minorities to top management positions, and creating value for the long-term well-being of society.

I’m grateful for… I am grateful to be doing a job that provides me with meaning, purpose, and opportunities to learn. I am also truly grateful for many wonderful people in my life, such as my mentors, colleagues, and friends who inspire and genuinely care about me. I appreciate my former and current students who have shared their insightful views and valuable experiences with me and are highly motivated to make the world a better place. Lastly but perhaps most importantly, I am deeply indebted to my family: my supportive parents, beloved husband, and wonderful children.

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

“Professor Hu is a rising star on all dimensions by which we evaluate professors. Her teaching and research focus on organizational behavior. She has served as a core instructor in the College’s MBA program, for which she has received rave reviews. She was one of the most researchers (in terms of top-tier publications and publications overall) from the cohort of Ph.D.’s of which she is a part. Add to it, she has been an exemplary contributor to the service needs of the Fisher College and of the profession.”

“Jasmine is a phenomenal instructor. She is incredible at facilitating difficult conversations, encouraging growth inside and outside the classroom, and contributing research in her field. She is always willing to take the time to help students grow, develop, and consider new perspectives. I highly recommend Jasmine as she exceeds every commitment and goal she embarks on.”

“Professor Hu was an amazing leader and teacher. Her class was my first class completely online she had a great cadence to the structure of the class that the 2 hours flew by. I enjoyed her discussions she leads and the work she had us do was very meaningful.”

“Dr. Hu’s approach to teaching leadership is open and authentic. She allows her class to have honest conversations around how they’ve experienced leadership and how they would like to lead in the future.”

“Professor Hu certainly sets a high bar among faculty at Fisher. She’s dedicated both to her students and her research but she also approaches her teaching with such humility and kindness. It’s infectious and I’m grateful to have had her as a professor for my leadership course.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.