2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Kejia Hu, Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Oxford University Said Business School

Congrats to Kejia Hu of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management and Oxford University Said Business School for being named a 2023 Best 40 Under 40 MBA Professor.

Kejia Hu

Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management, Oxford University Said Business School

Professor Hu has been one of my favorite professors at Vanderbilt not just inside the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. She is an incredible professor that makes operations management (something I am not particularly interested in) easy to understand and actually quite enjoyable. She is incredibly approachable before and after class, and runs a very tight ship so that we receive our grades in a timely fashion with personalized feedback. Overall, she is a great professor, a great person, and a wealth of information.” – Joseph Donald Udina

Kejia Hu, 34, was an associate professor at Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management until this spring. She will join Oxford University Said Business School this coming fall. 

She is an award-winning scholar and expert in operations management, specializing in service operations, artificial intelligence, and business analytics. At Vanderbilt, she was a Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellow.

Hu’s numerous accolades include Best Paper Awards from INFORMS, POMS, and MSOM, and her case study on Jointown Pharmaceutical Group is among the Top 100 MBA Case Studies in China. She has collaborated with leading industrial partners such as L’Oreal, Marriott International, Dell, Alibaba, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, TikTok, and Nissan. 

Hu also serves on the editorial review board for two flagship operations management journals, and the advisory board of Enquire AI, and holds leadership positions in several professional organizations.


At current institution since what year? 2017

Education: Kellogg School of Management (Ph.D.)

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Management of Service Operations


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I realized the impact I could make by sharing my knowledge, experience, and research with the next generation of business leaders. The opportunity to shape their perspectives and provide them with the tools needed to succeed in the ever-evolving business landscape became a driving force for my passion in academia.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently researching the application of artificial intelligence and data-driven decision-making in businesses. The most significant discovery I’ve made is the immense potential these technologies have in transforming traditional business models and management styles. 

If I weren’t a business school professor … I would likely be a data-oriented entrepreneur, utilizing my knowledge and skills to drive data-driven decision-making and innovation in organizations.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My dedication to continuous improvement, engaging and motivating students effectively, emphasizing practical applications of course concepts, and utilizing an organized, structured approach to make the material relevant and interesting.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Exploring

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Balancing research, teaching, service, family, and personal needs can be challenging, but developing effective time/energy management strategies early on will be invaluable for long-term success.

Professor I most admire and why: I admire my mentors at Kellogg, Cornell, Wharton, and elsewhere, who have provided me with invaluable guidance and insights throughout my academic journey. Their dedication to teaching, passion for their respective fields, and commitment to shaping the next generation of business leaders inspire me to strive for excellence in my own career as a business school professor.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Witnessing their growth as they grasp complex concepts, develop critical thinking skills, and prepare themselves for real-world challenges in their careers.

What is most challenging? Ensuring that I engage students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles effectively while maintaining a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical applications.

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

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as: fair


What are your hobbies? Playing the piano.

How will you spend your summer? Traveling, Meeting and Research. Shake my body and mind. 

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Coastal destinations.

Favorite book(s): the Bible

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Slam Dunk, a highly anticipated watch because it continues the story of my beloved childhood cartoon

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? It’s not easy for Spotify to classify me — I have a wide range. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… on the practical applications of artificial intelligence and data-driven decision-making in the curriculum, preparing students for the rapidly evolving business landscape.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… fostering a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and adaptability to stay competitive and thrive in the fast-paced, ever-changing global market.

I’m grateful for … all the events and experiences that have occurred up until this point, as they have collectively contributed to my personal journey and growth. 


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.