2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Lindsey D. Cameron, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania by: Kristy Bleizeffer on June 02, 2023 | 3,375 Views June 2, 2023 Copy Link Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Share on Reddit Lindsey D. Cameron The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania “Lindsey teaches in the MBA core – human and social capital – and receives great ratings. She experiments with new ways to present material, incorporating storytelling and improv. Her research, on how algorithmic management and the gig economy affect lower-paid workers, is award-winning. She goes deep into her research – she drove for Uber for three years! Next year she will be visiting the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, the intellectual home of Einstein. Fun fact, she wrote a two-volume book about her African-American family history.” – Wharton dean’s office Lindsey D. Cameron, 39, is an assistant professor of management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Cameron went to college at age 15 and taught her first college class at 16, guest lecturing to a graduate class on thermodynamics which she studied as an undergraduate. She is a faculty fellow at the Data and Society Research Institute. Her research focuses on how algorithmic management is changing the modern workplace, especially individual’s behaviors at work. Her work has been published in leading academic journals including Organization Science, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Process, and Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior. Her research has also been mentioned in numerous media outlets including Bloomberg, NPR’s Marketplace, Fast Company, the World Economic Forum, CNBC, Forbes, The Skim, and Inc. She is the winner of eight best paper awards. Cameron spent more than a decade in the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic communities as a technical and political analyst and completed several overseas assignments in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. BACKGROUND At current institution since what year? 2019 Education: Ph.D., University of Michigan M.S., George Washington University S.B., Harvard University Graduate work at the American University in Cairo & the Maryland University of Integrative Health List of MBA courses you currently teach: The Human and Social Capital module of the MBA core class: Managing the Emerging Enterprise TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… In boarding school, I had a picture on my wall of a female military cadet climbing up a rope extolling the value of teamwork, perseverance, and grit. I knew I wanted to do government service and study such topics. Understanding how to actually formally study such topics didn’t become clear until much later. In my mid-20s, I was having a conversation with a stranger at an airport Starbucks in upstate New York, flying back to my home in Algeria, when she said that with the questions that I was interested in I should get a Ph.D. That weekend, I read the last three abstracts of every professor at a top 50 business school and decided what topics I wanted to study. I ended up moving back to America and working in a research lab part-time for two years to get ready to apply to a doctoral program. Now, more than ten years later, that random stranger, Katherine Klein, is now my friend and colleague. The world moves in unpredictable and synchronous ways — still working on being able to climb up a rope, though! What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My research focuses on how algorithmic management is changing the modern workplace, including how work is structured and how individuals adapt to these changes. Most of my research looks at work in the gig economy, such as Uber, Instacart, and Doordash, and I worked as a ride-hailing driver part-time for several years. Most significant discovery: Even though algorithmic management is a more comprehensive and invasive form of organizational control, my research highlights how workers find agency in their jobs. Indeed, I find that many workers in the on-demand economy like their work while, at the same time, they (rightly so) want to be paid a fair, living wage. If I weren’t a business school professor… A writer, writing a mix of historical and creative non-fiction. Or, an acrobat if only I had enough talent. I’m hoping to go to the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival for my 40th birthday. What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I wear bright colors, including African prints, headwraps, and 1950s vintage. Really, have you seen how many profs wear dark colors? One word that describes my first time teaching: Overwhelming Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That I am no longer anonymous. Professor I most admire and why: Historical, Ida B. Wells: An educator well ahead of her time, she worked tirelessly for racial justice under the most dangerous and hostile of conditions. Contemporary, Tressie McMillam-Cottom: Insightful, sharp, witty, and a public intellectual. Check out her book, Thick, and her NY Times column. TEACHING MBA STUDENTS What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Being in your mid-20s is an exciting, complex, and messy time. I enjoy interacting with folks who are in the middle of figuring things out and asking themselves big questions. What is most challenging? Herd mentality In a word, describe your favorite type of student: Inquisitive In a word, describe your least favorite type of student: Absent When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Straight-forward LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM What are your hobbies? Genealogy and Ancestor Work: I’ve traveled across the country multiple times interviewing folks, delving into archives, and visiting old cemeteries. I’ve written two books about my family history and am working on the third. Acrobatics: Well, until I broke my hand last year! Right now, I ride my Peloton (shout out to #HannahFrankson and #AlexToussaint!). Hopefully, I’ll be back to flipping and dancing soon now that the threat of COVID has lessened. I read a lot, probably three books a week. Currently, I’m reading about African and indigenous philosophy. How will you spend your summer? On the move! I’ll be doing research, collecting field data for a few projects and conferencing. I am also spending a few weeks in Italy and Brazil. Two summers ago, I lived in a van and drove across the country for three months, #vanlife! Lucas, Kansas was the coolest place I visited – I can’t even explain it, you’ll have to visit it yourself! Favorite place(s) to vacation: So many! I’ve been to 39 states and 48 countries. I recently visited Ojo Caliente, nine hot springs in the high desert of New Mexico, that were sacred to the indigenous peoples. Already have my return trip planned. One of my favorite countries to visit is Egypt. Rightly so, she’s called Um el-Dunya or the Mother of the World. Favorite book(s): Racehoss: Big Emma’s Boy, by Albert Sample. A moving story about growing up and incarceration in early 20th century Texas; The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair; and The Yacobian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I’m currently rewatching The Good Place. It’s scary smart! What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Anything with a good fiddle and a bittersweet melody which means I love country, bluegrass, and old-timey spirituals. Rhianna Gideons and the Carolina Chocolate Drops are a perfect blend of all three. THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Thinking about ways to humanize capitalism. In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Thoughtfully handling and responding to internal activism and dissent I’m grateful for… A friend once said it takes a lot of work to safeguard one’s own liberation. I’m grateful to have the support to do that work. Random Fact about me: I went to college at age 15 – go Mean Green! DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2023 ROSTER OF THE WORLD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS Comments or questions about this article? Email us.