2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Hatim A. Rahman, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Congrats to Hatim A. Rahman of the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University for being named a 2023 Best 40 Under 40 MBA Professor.

Hatim A. Rahman

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

I have personally experienced the immense impact of his teachings on my career journey. Beyond his exceptional ability to convey complex concepts, what sets Professor Rahman apart is his commitment to elevating and supporting underrepresented groups, particularly women and people of color, in the AI space. At a time when diversity and inclusion remain pressing concerns in the field, Professor Rahman actively encourages diverse perspectives and challenges mainstream views.” – Karolina Kim

Hatim A. Rahman, 35, is an assistant professor at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. 

His research investigates how artificial intelligence and algorithms are impacting the nature of work in organizations and labor markets. He uses field data to study how algorithms are being used by digital platform organizations in ways that change our understanding of control.

He is now examining how to empower more adults without a college degree to obtain higher-paying STEM jobs created by AI and new technologies. 

Rahman’s research has been published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Academy of Management Discoveries and has received several awards across different disciplines, including from the National Science Foundation (CAREER Award), INFORMS, Academy of Management, Psychology of Technology Institute, Industry Studies Association, and ICIS.


At current institution since what year? 2019

Education: B.S., University of Illinois, Urban-Champaign; M.S., Ph.D. Stanford University

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work, MBAi Organizational Design and Ethics


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…Other than when I gave up on my dream to be Like Mike and play in the NBA (I grew up in Chicago!), it was when I was an undergraduate business student at the University of Illinois. I was really inspired by the faculty’s approach to research and teaching, focused on how to use business to improve society. It was also at UIUC that I was introduced to studying issues at the intersection of technology and management.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My newest project looks at how adults without a college degree in the United States can reskill to achieve higher-paying, more stable jobs that are core to the “future of work.” We have discovered that some organizations are more willing than ever to consider hiring people who reskill through non-traditional pathways, such as professional certificate programs. This result is promising because employment remains the primary way in which people gain social and economic mobility in the US. As a result, empowering more people, especially those without college degrees, to obtain jobs created in relation to new technology can help reduce income inequality and ease the fears associated with the advancement of artificial intelligence and automation.

If I weren’t a business school professor…I would probably be involved in the legal profession in some manner. I have always been fascinated by occupations that regularly engage with trying to improve the way society functions. The legal profession, at its best, is often at the forefront of shaping the most pressing issues around the world from new technology to taxes!

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? The ethos of my class and teaching approach is to provide research-based insights that challenge people’s conventional wisdom, especially about AI and the Future of Work. I also think students appreciate my willingness to engage with the most recent changes related to AI and the Future of Work in ways that every student can understand, regardless of their educational background.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Zoom

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Getting on time to an early class is still hard, even when you’re on the other side of the classroom!

Professor I most admire and why: All my advisers in graduate school had a profound impact on me and continue to do so. Steve Barley at Stanford University was the first to really believe in me and give me a chance to work on a project with him in grad school. After we started working together, he has always been generous with his time and mentorship.  


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I love when students have the “light bulb” moment in class and they understand a concept in a new, relatable way. Because my class touches on subjects that are traditionally taught in technical courses, many students come into class nervous about what they will learn. But even after the first class, students without any technical background can make connections related to AI that they did not expect.

What is most challenging? Trying to ensure students can connect class concepts to their own careers in the short- and long-term. MBA students come from a variety of backgrounds and have different career goals so sometimes it takes time to provide students with additional resources so that they can apply what they learn in ways that benefit their career.

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

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

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


What are your hobbies? Spending time with my family and playing sports, especially racket sports

How will you spend your summer? Research and travel

Favorite place(s) to vacation: California

Favorite book(s): The Autobiography of Malcolm X (classic); The Black Box Society (more recent)

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “What If…?” I enjoyed most of the Marvel superhero movies and the “What If…” animated series was a creative, thought-provoking extension of the movies.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Spoken word; I love artists that make me think and look at the world in a new way, which for me most often happens through poetry, rap, and other spoken word.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… students from diverse disciplinary, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. In my experience, the best learning environments happen when people from diverse backgrounds are in the same room. I have learned so much from students who are different than me, especially those whose educational and life experiences are different! 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at…including diverse voices, stakeholders, and representatives from different levels of the organization in their design and decision-making processes, especially when designing and implementing technology. 

I’m grateful for…my family and colleagues who have mentored and supported my career. There are so many amazing people who have and continue to support my career, without which I would not have made it this far. 


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