Lior Zalmanson, 38, describes himself as an “academia geek” from a very young age. Beginning his freshman year in high school, he started ordering university catalogs, dreaming about the courses he would take and mapping out his eventual major.
“I believed that lifelong learning is a noble pursuit,” he tells Poets&Quants.
He did not, however, picture himself as a researcher until his first graduate course at Tel Aviv University.
“The MBA professor there, the late Israel Spiegler, encouraged us to explore academic journals and find research that changes our perspective on how people share their knowledge with others,” Zalmanson tells Poets&Quants. “I think the class found this task frustratingly unstructured, but I just loved it! It made me immerse myself in past academic studies and caused me to develop a taste for research.”
Today, Zalmanson studies AI-Human interaction and the future of work as an assistant professor at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management. He examines the organizational and work-related tensions in cases where AI has authority over the worker, like drivers at Uber or food carriers at Grubhub.
“My most recent discovery, together with my PhD student Yotam Liel, shows that there are cases in which people are very willing to delegate ‘thinking’ to the algorithm and accept AI judgment even when it goes against their better judgment. I do worry that if we are not managing AI-human interaction correctly, we will end up in the ’autopilot’ mode, which might create accountability issues and jeopardize our human agency,” he says.
Zalmonson loves robotics, and has a collection of more than 100 vintage robots in his home. He’s a poet, screenwriter, playwright, and founder of the Print Screen Festival, an Israeli digital culture festival connecting internet researchers, activists, and artists. He’s also one of 40 business school professors under the age of 40 to be recognized as this year’s Poets&Quants Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors.
MOST WOMEN EVER MAKE THIS YEAR’S LIST
This is the 10th edition of our annual recognition, and our goal remains unchanged: To identify and celebrate the most talented young professors currently teaching in MBA programs around the world.
This year, more women than any year prior were named 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors. We honor 18 exceptional women on this list, two more than the previous record of 16 set in 2019. Last year, we honored 15 women in the feature compared to 12 in 2020.
They include Ivuoma Onyeador, 33, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Onyeador joined Kellogg in 2020, and when she was asked to sum her first time teaching in just one word, her answer summed up the last two years more succinctly than perhaps any other answer: “Masks!”
Onyeador, who has been named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science, studies how people engage with diversity and respond to discrimination. She’s also writing for organizational leaders and policy makers about how to better approach their DEI efforts. “In general, I’m struck by the effort that people expend to justify a lack of progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals,” she says.
If she weren’t a business school professor, she would still likely work in the DEI space, but as a newscaster, journalist, or podcaster. “I would still engage with the topics I study, but on a shorter timescale, and to a broader audience.”
PROFESSORS COME FROM 33 SCHOOLS, 14 OF THEM INTERNATIONAL
Professors on the 2022 list come from 33 different schools. Three professors are from New York University’s Stern School of Business, the most of any other school. Five schools had two professors each: Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, University College London School of Management, and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
We also have 14 international schools outside the United States, two more than in 2021.
Overall, we received more than 2,240 nominations for nearly 140 individual professors. That’s down slightly from 2021 when we had nearly 150 professors to evaluate. Once we close the nomination period, our editorial staff evaluates each nominee on teaching (given a 70% weight) and research (given the remaining 30% weight).
For teaching, we consider the nominations received — both quality and quantity. For example, if we receive a hundred or more nominations for a professor but there’s little substance to the nominations, they’re probably not as likely to score as high as the professor that receives a dozen in-depth and thoughtful nominations. We also consider any teaching-related awards the professors have won.
For research, we look at the volume and impact of the professor’s scholarly work. To do this we examine Google Citation numbers as well as major media attention received by the professor and his or her research work. Lastly, akin to teaching, we consider research awards and grants the professors have received.
Once the professors are scored, we review the Top 60 and consult each editorial staff member before finalizing our Top 40.
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