2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Andrew Brodsky, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin

Congrats to Andrew Brodsky of the McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

Andrew Brodsky

McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin

“Professor Brodsky is among elite company within McCombs – a unique combination of top notch research, a world class instructor, and a thought leader on issues that are top of mind among today’s executives: how to excel in technology mediated environments. He conducts high-quality research using methodological diversity that includes experience sampling, laboratory experiments with local populations and those from survey platforms, using written scenarios as well as audio and video samples of actors, nationwide sample surveys, and with archival field studies. This is quite rare for someone so early in their tenure in the field.”Ethan Burris

Andrew Brodsky, 35, is an assistant professor of management at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin.

His research centers on individual work-based technology usage and workplace communication challenges, with a particular interest in the overlapping area of workplace virtual communication.

To address these topics, Brodsky has conducted research, led training, and consulted with organizations around the world such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Amazon, Dell Technologies, and Novo Nordisk. His research has been covered in media outlets such as The Economist, Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, The Hill, NPR, and CNBC

He has previously taught courses on negotiation and organizational conflict resolution at the Harvard Extension School and has facilitated courses on leadership for both the Harvard Business School Executive Education and MBA programs.

BACKGROUND

At current institution since what year? 2017

Education:  Ph.D. Harvard Business School; B.S. The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

List of MBA courses you currently teach: The Art & Science of Negotiation

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized I’d be a horrible investment banker because I was more interested in the people side of business than finance.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My research has focused heavily on virtual communication, which suddenly became even more relevant when COVID hit. Some of my more recent work has focused on the benefits of the often-overlooked option of telephone conversations or having Zoom/Teams calls with video off. It turns out that audio conversations can at times be a “sweet spot” where it is a more authentic means to communicate than email, but reduces the stresses involved in video calls.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I imagine I’d still want to be in a job that was business-focused and involved the creativity and high-level thinking that academia provides. So, I’d want to be either an entrepreneur or a business book author.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I’d say it would be my empathy. It’s easy to get focused on our own situation without considering what others might be going through. Whenever I’m teaching or interacting with others, I try to make it my goal to try to see the world through their eyes, as well. 

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: How important it is to know when to call it quits for the day, as there is always new and exciting work to do without any clear ending point.

Professor I most admire and why: Adam Grant. Aside from the fact that he was the one who introduced me to academia, I aspire to one day have even close to the degree of impact that he has. That, and we have the same haircut.

TEACHING MBA STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? That they are generally so driven to learn and push themselves out of their own comfort zones. 

What is most challenging? Having to find creative ways to make course-specific content relevant to students who have a variety of interests, majors, and backgrounds.

In a word, describe your favorite type of student: Passionate

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

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

LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? Hiking, tennis, word games, and hanging out with my dogs

How will you spend your summer? A mix of catching up on writing and renting a house in the Ozarks to road trip to with my wife and dogs to have a quiet retreat. 

Favorite place(s) to vacation: My favorite place I ever visited was Japan, as the food was spectacular.

Favorite book(s): My wife, who is my main inspiration, is a fantasy author. So although I’m heavily biased, I love getting lost in her books. If I had to choose two favorites of hers, they would be Hex Kitchen and Opal Smoke. 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I’d have to say the movie RRR on Netflix, as the movie just nailed every part (cinematography, story, acting) and had killer signing/dancing. It was just one of those movies that makes you feel great after watching it.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? My favorite artist at the moment is Stromae, as he does an amazing job of managing to strike that balance of songs that have deep and interesting commentary while still being incredibly catchy. 

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… More methods for students to get expertise for more niche fields that aren’t generally covered by the overarching majors/concentration topics.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… understanding the broader stakeholders they impact beyond just shareholders. Businesses couldn’t function without their employees and the communities in which they are located. But often, those key relationships are overlooked and lost due to tunnel vision on increasing short-term profits at the cost of the long-term well-being of both those stakeholders and the business itself. 

I’m grateful for… every day. One of the keys that has made me so happy in my job is realizing the importance of living in the moment and appreciating the small things that happen every day. Especially in a field as competitive as academia, it’s so easy to accidentally focus all your attention on the longer-term goals that you miss out on the joy of the journey along the way. 

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2023 ROSTER OF THE WORLD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS

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