2021 Best 40-Under-40 Professors: Ina Toegel, IMD

Ina Toegel is a 2021 Best 40 Under 40 Professor. Courtesy photo

Ina Toegel

Professor of Leadership


With nearly 100 nominations, Ina Toegel of IMD was one of the most nominated professors we’ve seen in the history of this 40 Under 40 recognition. One of the things that stood out most among the nominations we received for Toegel was her empathy.

“Very impactful in class on Diversity and Inclusion,” one nominator told us. “Present, empathetic, and quoting research, she managed to create a safe space for the class to share experiences and have constructive conflict as necessary. She is also an accomplished academic with a focus on leading self and leading high-performance teams, emotion management, and leading organizational change.”

It was evident from the nearly 100 nominations, Toegel has had a massive impact on the IMD community and should be included in this year’s 40 Under 40 recognition.

Current age: 39

At current institution since what year? 2016


  • BA in Economics, Columbia University
  • MSc in Management Research, Saïd Business School, Oxford University
  • Ph.D. in Strategic Management, INSEAD

List of MBA courses you currently teach:

  • Exploring Culture for Strategic Impact
  • High Performance Teams


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor from an early age: the apple wouldn’t fall far from the tree.

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

I am currently researching dynamics in high performance teams. A preliminary finding is that those who are considered opinion makers by their peers makers are also those they view as skilled at mediating conflict among them.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I would have been a screenwriter.

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

Connecting different disciplines; Designing action learning for impact; Leveraging technology such as VR in my classes / programs; Conviction that fun makes learnings stick

One word that describes my first time teaching: Fun.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: How much of my life will be spent at airports (pre-Covid).

Professor I most admire and why: Adam Grant –insightful research, practical applications for leaders, and positive impact through a wide reach and inclusive approach.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

They are a motivated and diverse group of people.

What is most challenging?

Students trapped in their own success.

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

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

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


What are your hobbies?

Playing the piano, Reading (the New Yorker).

How will you spend your summer?

Working on a research paper in between baby diapers.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Italy – a country that has it all (art, history, food, architecture, nature, and warm people).

Favorite book(s): Works by Shakespeare, Goethe, Camus, Marquez, and Hemingway.

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

Dave Chappelle’s standup shows – because of their edge, risk-taking, and depth; The Sopranos – because of the sharply written dialog and insight into psychological drivers.

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

The Beatles (timeless, creative, silly & deep at the same time) and Beethoven (dynamic and temperamental music featuring the full spectrum of emotions).


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more focus on designing for impactful action learning experiences.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at inspiring curiosity in its employees in two areas 1. Within the company – curiosity about different functions, units, backgrounds within the company 2. Outside environment – changes that could inspire transformation.

I’m grateful for… family and health.

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

“Ina is one of our best leadership professors at IMD. She is not only a great teacher, but a great role model for all women and men at IMD. Her empathy and compassion is evident in all interactions, but at the same time she pushes everyone to do their best and have those difficult conversations.”

“Ina is an accomplished academic with a focus on leading self and leading high performance teams, emotion management and leading organization change. She is also a much appreciated and highly impactful instructor and a valued colleague and member of the IMD community.”

“Ina brings into the classroom a mix of three things that make her an exceptional professor: creativity about how to engage students in learning, deep research expertise, and an infectious energy.”

“She is an outstanding professor of leadership, relates so much to the audience, has distinctive angles around leading digital teams and on emotion management. The ways she uses music in her teaching, particularly the experience of the Beatles, is groundbreaking.”


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