2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Howei Wu, CEIBS

 

Howei Wu

CEIBS

The most impressionable professor so far in the first two terms combined, in my opinion. The epitome example to reflect “China depth, global breadth.” Teaching macroeconomic in both a global and Chinese context, with a mixture of real life examples and quotes from classical books (both English and Chinese), this is a thought provoking class which I will definitely remember in a very ‘long run.’ Jason Shen

Howei Wu, 37, is Assistant Professor in Economics at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).  Her research focuses on macroeconomics, monetary economics and financial economics, but she also has interest in innovation economics, computational economics, and China’s economic development.

Beginning in 2014, she taught intermediate macroeconomics in both Chinese and English at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. As an economist, she has contributed to China’s bi-annual economic policy reports and has participated in numerous quarterly economic conferences. Her paper, “Modeling Diverse Expectations in An Aggregated New Keynesian Model,” was published in the Journal of Economics Dynamics and Control. 

BACKGROUND

At current institution since what year? 2018

Education: Ph.D., Economics, Stanford University; B.A., Economics, Tsinghua University (Taiwan); B.S., Quantitative Finance, Tsinghua University (Taiwan)  

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Macroeconomics

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was an undergrad. My father is a renowned Economics professor in Asia, and I have always liked copying the equations I see lying around his desk since a young age. But I did not see going into academics as a real option until I started to find interest in Economics while I was pursuing a degree in Quantitative Finance. I had the chance to TA a few times during my Ph.D. studies, and found a lot of joy in teaching, so pursuing a professorship became a natural path. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My diverse research has a common theme- the role of the market. I focused on micro-founded macro models during my Ph.D. studies. Using a New Keynesian Model with heterogeneous beliefs, my coauthors and I find that market expectations are a crucial factor in influencing the efficacy of monetary policy. The results imply that policymakers need to take into account how firms shape their expectations in order to conduct effective policies. After moving to China, I started to be interested in economic growth, and especially the role of innovation in driving it. In one of my recent research projects, my coauthors and I find that the effects of provincial patent subsidy policies on patent quality were not significant over the long term and depend on persistent patenting behavior. As firms are the main engines of innovation, our results highlight the importance of providing a supportive environment for firms to engage in continuing R&D.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a children’s book illustrator or a private chef. My signature dishes are red wine braised oxtail and minced pork over rice (Lu rou fan/ Lo bah png). 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I try to be accountable for what I say in class. I stick to what I (think I) know, and only discuss the topics I had training in. It’s always good to bring up-to-date examples into classroom discussion, but I try to not chase the hot topics outside of my expertise since admitting what I don’t know is also an important aspect of being a professor. Having said that, I study hard and try to reduce the things I don’t know.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Anxious

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That you need to remind yourself constantly about your priorities. 

Professor I most admire and why: I admire many. Aside from my main Ph.D. advisor Professor Mordecai Kurz, who have taught me that good research starts with asking good questions, I have benefited greatly from my colleague and mentor at CEIBS- Professor Bin Xu. If any of my students enjoyed my classes, I have Prof. Xu to thank for!

TEACHING MBA STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The best part about teaching is the interaction with students, and by teaching business school students, I get to converse with the brightest and the most creative ones. They force me to make my courses more practical and applicable. 

What is most challenging? To bring macroeconomics down to earth. Most students think macroeconomics is unrelated to their future work, but on the contrary, the issues that macroeconomics studies and the fundamental logic of the discipline are very relevant. I try to show my students that the basic underlying theory can be applied to understand most economic policies.

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

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Lazy. Learning is a two-way street. 

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Supportive ex-ante and fair ex-post

LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? Draw, cook, read, jog, crossfit, yoga, daydream 

How will you spend your summer? Being in academics, there’s no off time 

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Anywhere, as long as I’m with the right people.

Favorite book(s): Historical fiction and mystery novels. I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie. 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “All creatures great and small.” So nice to see animals being treated properly, a very heartwarming series. “Friends” is also my go-to show, might have watched it more than 20 times.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Jazz, R&B, hip-hop … anything that melts away the rigidities in life.

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Volunteer work. Most business school students have lived a relatively more comfortable and privileged life and will continue to do so. I believe doing volunteer work will have a greater impact than donating money alone (which is also very good). 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… understanding the tradeoffs between short-term and long-term performances. Especially in China, where the pace is extremely fast. Many companies/organizations tend to lose sight of the consequences of the long-term costs of their business decisions and implement policies that are not sustainable.

I’m grateful for… all the kindness and help I have received along the way. Hard work is important, but so is luck!

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2022 ROSTER OF THE WORD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS

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