Assistant Professor of Business Administration
University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Roshni Raveendhran is an award-winning business school professor from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. At 31, Raveendhran is one of the youngest professors on this year’s list. Raveendhran teaches in the full-time residential MBA program, the executive MBA program, and in Executive Education at Darden. In 2020, she won the Darden Faculty Diversity Award, which is a student-nominated award. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern California, Raveendhran won the USC Award for Excellence in Teaching, which recognizes the top-10 Ph.D. student instructors int he entire university and the USC Marshall Ph.D. Teaching Award, which recognizes the top-two Ph.D. student instructors at the Marshall School of Business. She has also won multiple awards for her research.
Like many other professors on this year’s list, we loved Raveendhran’s research and its focus on creating a better world.
“My research focuses on predicting and understanding the future of work with the goal of leveraging novel technologies for creating positive social impact,” Raveendhran says. “The most significant discovery I’ve made so far is that technology has the potential to reduce concerns about potential negative judgments and can enable us to experience a context as informational rather than evaluative. Therefore, we can leverage technology in situations that can typically trigger concerns about potential negative judgment to enable people to overcome these concerns and experience those situations as informational.”
Current age: 31
At current institution since what year? 2018
Education: Ph.D. (Business Administration)
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Leading Organizations (First Year Core Leadership); Negotiations (First Year Elective)
TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I taught my first course to business school students at the University of Southern California while getting my Ph.D. The potential to make lasting positive impact in the lives of future business leaders through both research and teaching was the primary draw for me.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
My research focuses on predicting and understanding the future of work with the goal of leveraging novel technologies for creating positive social impact. The most significant discovery I’ve made so far is that technology has the potential to reduce concerns about potential negative judgments and can enable us to experience a context as informational rather than evaluative. Therefore, we can leverage technology in situations that can typically trigger concerns about potential negative judgment to enable people to overcome these concerns and experience those situations as informational.
If I weren’t a business school professor… I would probably be an entrepreneur in the higher education space. I’ve always wanted to create effective ways to support young people making crucial choices about education and their careers.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
Care and empathy. I have learned from some amazing colleagues that being successful in the classroom comes down to one thing – showing that you care. I deeply care about my students’ holistic development and strive to be empathetic and see things from their perspective. In my class, I’m learning as much from my students as they are from me.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Exhilarating
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:
Knowing when to say ‘no’. Being a business school professor comes with so many exciting opportunities that may put competing demands on your time. Knowing when and how to say ‘no’ is an important skill, and I hope to get better at that.
Professor I most admire and why: Professor Warren Bennis. I was incredibly fortunate to have interacted with Professor Bennis while at the University of Southern California. Despite the innumerable laurels to his name including being an advisor to four U.S. Presidents, Professor Bennis was the embodiment of humility, kindness, thoughtfulness, authenticity, and conscientiousness. Professor Bennis showed what it is to be an amazing human being beyond being an incredible success in his career. Here’s an anecdote. I was only a second-year doctoral student when Professor Bennis sat through my entire (amateurish) research talk and waited till the end to personally let me know how much he enjoyed my talk. His encouraging feedback about my presence and presentation style is something that I go back to and remind myself of before every talk I give.
TEACHING MBA STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
Business students are super smart and eager to learn and shine. I thoroughly enjoy walking into Darden’s case classroom and learning something new from my students each time I teach a case. Their eagerness to take on important problems in the world makes each class session incredibly meaningful for me as I know that I am creating a positive impact on the next generation business leaders.
What is most challenging?
In a case classroom, I believe it is crucial to make everyone in the room feel invested and included in the conversation we are having. This can be challenging sometimes, and is something I consciously pay attention to each time I begin a case discussion.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Committed
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Uninvolved
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Thoughtful and fair
LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy food, movies, music, and spending time outdoors. Basically, any activity with my husband and our dog, Nalan, a six-year old chocolate lab is my way of relaxing. We now have a newborn who is a month old, and I love spending time with him.
How will you spend your summer?
This summer, I will be doing two things – Spending time with our newborn son and moving several research projects forward.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: New Zealand
Favorite book(s): One of my most favorite books in recent years is Give and Take; Growing up, I was a huge of fiction especially Harry Potter.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
I have been enjoying sports documentaries recently – The Last Dance, The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team. It is so fun and inspiring to learn about how people in sports perform at the highest levels. I also enjoy keeping up with all the recent Tamil language Indian movies.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?
My all-time favorite musician is AR Rahman. Adele is another favorite.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… More concerted initiatives around how to effectively leverage novel technologies like AI, VR and Mixed Reality to create responsible business leaders of the future.
In my opinion, companies, and organizations today need to do a better job at… Setting up the right incentives for people who are naturally driven to make the world a better place to thrive.
I’m grateful for… The love and support of my husband, my family, and my friends and mentors who root for me and whom I continuously learn from.
Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:
“Roshni always makes an effort to get to know every student in her class. She was very generous with her time, often staying late to make herself available. As the faculty advisor for GWIB, one of two clubs that won club of the year, she supported their work and initiatives to make the Darden community more inclusive, with intentional focus on intersectional identities. She was a champion for diversifying the case collection at Darden and increased representation within the cases. Students said her classroom was a safe space for people to discuss changing issues within the community. She led negotiation workshops and often met 1:1 with women at Darden strategizing and encouraging them to ask for what they deserved. Roshni’s efforts as a professor, a faculty advisor, and as a member of Darden are felt throughout the whole school. She is a great example of a servant leader, who meets people where they are.”