2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Nailya Ordabayeva, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

Congrats to Nailya Ordabayeva of the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

Nailya Ordabayeva

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

“Professor Ordabayeva deserves to be recognized for her remarkable impact on the academic culture of Tuck. Her engaging teaching style, thought-provoking discussions, ‘Shark Tank’ style product assessments, and going above and beyond make her an exceptional educator. Additionally, her research on advertising and consumer behavior has a notable influence on business practices and has contributed to her becoming a highly recognized expert in her field, making her an excellent candidate for this recognition.”Betty Tran

Nailya Ordabayeva, 39, is an associate professor of business administration at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.

Before joining Tuck, Ordabayeva was a faculty member at Boston College and Erasmus University. Her research examines the role of social and market hierarchies in consumer behavior, with a focus on the effects of economic inequality, social status, political ideology, as well as sensory perceptions on purchase decisions. 

Her work has appeared in marketing and psychology journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. She is the winner of the Journal of Consumer Research Best Article Award and the Society for Consumer Psychology Early Career Contribution Award.

She is the Associate Editor at the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Consumer Psychology, and an Editorial Review Board member at several other top journals. He is also a member of the American Marketing Association Academic Council. 


At current institution since what year? 2022 

Education: Ph.D. in Management, INSEAD

List of MBA courses you currently teach:  Core Marketing; Marketing in Society, Research-to-Practice Elective Seminar


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… TA’ing for the Economics course in college. I realized how much I enjoyed and learned from interacting with students. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently fascinated by the role of politics in the marketplace. In particular, I’m interested in the implicit influence of consumers’ political identities and beliefs on purchase behavior. I find stark differences in the consumption preferences and outcomes of liberal and conservative consumers, with important consequences for firms. 

For example, in one project I find that liberals and conservatives prefer different products as a way to stand out from others in the marketplace. Conservatives like products that distinguish them vertically in the social hierarchy, such as products of premium quality, price, or status, which signal their superior abilities and credentials relative to others. In contrast, liberals like products that distinguish them horizontally in the hierarchy, such as products with unique designs and colors, which signal their unique personality in the marketplace. In another project I find that liberals and conservatives differ in their acceptance of seemingly inferior products, such as ugly produce: conservatives are more interested in such products than liberals because they infer that these products’ weaknesses along observable dimensions (such as aesthetics) are balanced out by their strengths along some unobservable dimensions (such as taste). 

Finally, I find that the differences between liberal and conservative consumers do not stop at the product evaluation and choice stage and that they also shape consumers’ post-purchase outcomes and experiences. For example, conservative consumers report higher satisfaction with products and services they purchase relative to liberals, because conservatives’ stronger endorsement of free will increases their confidence and trust in their purchase decisions. The findings have obvious implications for firms by highlighting the benefits of understanding and accounting for the political identities of customers in marketing strategies.  

If I weren’t a business school professor… I’d probably be a journalist documenting current events and listening to voices from different corners of the globe.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My international experience. Being originally from Kazakhstan and having spent a fair amount of time researching and teaching marketing in different parts of the world (e.g., Turkey, France, Netherlands, and the U.S.), I have a deep appreciation for students’ varying backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. I encourage students to share their diverse perspectives and experiences in class discussions, and we all learn a lot as a result.  

One word that describes my first time teaching: Adventure

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: It takes hard work, a ton of luck, and a healthy sense of humor.

Professor I most admire and why: My undergraduate professor of Math who always found inventive ways to explain complex concepts. I admired his desire to put himself in students’ shoes and see things from students’ perspectives.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Learning from my students and seeing students connect the knowledge that we create together to their personal goals and experiences in meaningful ways.

What is most challenging? Students’ hectic schedules that sometimes spread them too thin and deprive them of the opportunity to slow down and make the most of their MBA experience.

In a word, describe your favorite type of student: Energy-giving

In a word, describe your least favorite type of student: Absent

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Tough but fair


What are your hobbies? Hiking & discovering new cultures and traditions through travel, food, and fun cocktails.

How will you spend your summer? Traveling and enjoying long-awaited reunions delayed by the pandemic; Exploring new research ideas at summer academic gatherings.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: My all-time favorite is Tokyo. The mix of delicious flavors, creative spirit, fast pace, and spiritual traditions of the city is mind-blowing and inspiring. 

Favorite book(s): “In the Time of the Butterflies” by Julia Alvarez which offers a fictionalized account of the life and struggle of the Mirabal sisters, known as The Butterflies, in the Dominican Republic.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? My favorite movie is Interstellar – the intensity with which it explores questions surrounding the essence of humanity, with all of its hopes and shortcomings, is moving. My favorite show is Seinfeld – its plot twists, self-deprecating humor, and one-liners never get old!

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I enjoy a variety of music genres and artists. At the moment, the most replayed artists on my playlist are probably Colombian singer Fonseca and The Killers. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Representation and real opportunities for students from diverse, underrepresented, and underprivileged backgrounds.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… contributing creative solutions to urgent problems including climate change, inequality, and (public and mental) health crises.

I’m grateful for… the kindness of my mentors, the trust of my colleagues, and the open-mindedness and enthusiasm of my students.



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