2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Kriti Jain, IE Business School

Kriti Jain

IE Business School

“I have attended Professor Kriti Jain’s training programs for women Entrepreneurs in East Africa. To summarize her impact on me, I strongly believe that ‘transformed mindsets lead to transformed businesses’. The training days with her were the best gift in our entrepreneurship journey. I was stuck mentally and socially, but after her course, I was ready once again. My heart was so full from these days with her that I vowed to use my life not only to better my business but also myself as an entrepreneur and a woman in general. Professor’s own achievements and how she conducts her programs with empathy and humility are tremendously inspirational.” – Maureen Banzi

Kriti Jain, 38, is Associate Professor at IE Business School. She works with global business leaders and policy makers on topics of leadership and strategic decision-making.

She is a recipient of several prestigious research grants from the European Union, United States, and Spanish governments, and has won awards for teaching excellence and The Case Centre Bestselling Case Award in 2020. Dubbed as the Oscars of management thinking,Thinkers50 recognized her in 2018 as a radar thinker with the potential to change the world of theory and practice.

Her research work has been published in leading science and management journals including, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, Human Resource Management, Nature´s Scientific Reports, Journal of Behavioral Ethics, and Journal of Operations Management

Her Indian background, combined with work experiences in Europe, US, Middle-East, and Africa provides her with a multi-dimensional lens to issues of business, education, and society. She is on the advisory board of businesses and universities, is a public speaker, and a regular media commentator. 


At current institution since what year? 2013 

Education: PhD in Management, Decision Sciences specialization, INSEAD

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Leading People & Change, Decision Making, Experimental Design


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… Education has always been extremely important in my family. As a teenager, I saw my dad transition from being an entrepreneur to a management academic. The kind of impact he had in corporate boardrooms, classrooms, and society inspired me. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I enjoy multi-disciplinary research that combines objective decision-making frameworks with the complexities arising from emotions (e.g., gratitude, envy, guilt), power, and competition. In one research, also featured in an HBR article, I found that gauss curve performance ranking systems – common in b-schools and workplaces – can encourage unethical behavior.  

If I weren’t a business school professor…  I was working with McKinsey before starting my Ph.D. I might have continued being a consultant. My childhood dream was to become a badminton or tennis player though. 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Designing experiential learning pedagogy. Combining different disciplines. Taking a philosophical view of business and leadership. Asking uncomfortable questions about growth. Creating a safe space to share vulnerabilities and learn from each other. Pushing everyone’s limits including my own. 

One word that describes my first time teaching: Exciting 

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: In many ways, you will be your own boss – so guard your own time, make space for your priorities, and learn to say ‘No’. 

Professor I most admire and why: Those with a scientific mind, zest for life, and risk-taking skills. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? After the first few days of being shy or skeptical, when students begin to deeply explore their own thoughts, vulnerabilities, and emotional processes that subconsciously influence their business decisions, it becomes a magical environment. Learning becomes exponential. 

What is most challenging? Distracted minds where multi-tasking is considered smart and fashionable. The trend of gaining skills (or worse, wisdom) by bite-sized courses. 

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

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… honest and supportive, hopefully.


What are your hobbies? Sports. Exploring new places. Learning languages. Reading Indian philosophy. 

How will you spend your summer? Leisure time with family. Working on my book. 

Favorite place(s) to vacation: I enjoy the serenity of the mountains. The Glacier Express train route through Swiss Alps or a yoga retreat in Indian Himalayas.

Favorite book(s): Bhagavad Gita. It is a masterpiece on the art of living. 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?  Money Heist and Squid Games for the thrill and human behavior. Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj for the satire on world events. And of course, Bollywood.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Shakira – when I need some energizing. Indian instrumental classical as meditative music while doing focused work.  


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…  Teach students to be confident yet humble, competitive yet harmonious, ambitious yet kind. This, I believe, would come from a holistic connection of business education with nature, art, and spirituality. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… There’s a famous ancient Sanskrit saying Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam which means that the world is a family. There is an urgent need of cultivating an inclusive mindset and being humane – toward people, animals, and our planet. Businesses that do this have a much better future than those that are focused only on the bottom line.

I’m grateful for… this life with all its different flavors. 


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