2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Ivuoma Onyeador, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management 

Ivuoma Onyeador

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management 

“Professor Ivy is a world class educator. I was very fortunate to have been in her class as she shared some of her research on how gender, sexuality and ethnicity may have impacted the cases that we considered. Her class challenged world views and affirmed the leader that I want to be. This broader world view is something I hope that all B-School candidates get. 

Ivuoma Onyeador, 33, is an Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Her research examines how dominant and non-dominant group members reason about group-based discrimination and disparities. Through her research program, she aims to increase people’s understanding of and willingness to address inequality. She has been published in leading journals such as Psychological Science and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Her work has also been featured in popular press outlets including The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Vox.

The Association for Psychological Science named her a Rising Star. She is the winner of the SAGE Early Career Trajectory and Service to SPSP awards by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and she was given a Mission Award from the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science. She was also awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation.


At current institution since what year? 2020

Education: BS, with distinction, Yale University; MA, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Leading and Managing Teams 


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I served as a teaching assistant at UCLA Anderson for the first time. I loved how engaged the MBAs in our class were. I enjoyed how the MBAs, who were working full time, were able to immediately implement concepts and frameworks taught in class, and bring their feedback and suggestions to the next class session. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I study how people engage with diversity and respond to discrimination. More recently, I’ve started to write pieces for organizational leaders and policymakers about how to better approach their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. In general, I’m struck by the effort that people expend to justify a lack of progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. 

If I weren’t a business school professor… I’d probably be a newscaster, journalist, or podcaster. Basically, I would still engage with the topics I study, but on a shorter timescale, and to a broader audience.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My sense of humor and ability to engage and discuss social issues in the classroom.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Masks

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: My LinkedIn account is way more active than ever before. 

Professor I most admire and why: My postdoc advisor Jennifer Richeson. She embodies excellence and has maintained her sense of self and purpose throughout her career.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Organizations are increasingly having to engage with a wide variety of social issues. I enjoy thinking with MBAs about whether and how to engage social issues in their work.

What is most challenging? My exposure and experience in corporate/non-academic work environments ar largely second hand. 

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Engaged

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

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


What are your hobbies? Peloton bike, yoga, and strength workouts, Instagram stories, reading advice columns and news articles, discussing current events, exploring neighborhoods and restaurants in Chicago and around the world

How will you spend your summer? Attending weddings, conferences, beach dance parties, (revising my class and moving my research forward, of course!)

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Anywhere with a Black diasporic community and good food

Favorite book(s): Hard to choose but books I read recently that I loved include Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. I often recommend Attached by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I watched the Ultimatum on Netflix and I was just fascinated by the relationship dynamics at play.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I love Afrobeat music. It feels like home and bests represents the African millennial in the Diaspora intersection that I inhabit. I’m also fascinated by how some of the songs have taken off on TikTok with creators well outside of that demographic.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Black faculty

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… designing and implementing their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.

I’m grateful for… progress.


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