2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Mason Ameri, Rutgers Business School

Congrats to Mason Ameri of Rutgers Business School for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

Mason Ameri

Rutgers Business School

“Mason is an awarding-winning researcher in disability employment who has developed evidence-based solutions to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in organizations and society. He has helped secure over $10 million in grants to operate a wave of innovative disability research at Rutgers.He is also greatly committed to teaching excellence, with a proven track record for success in the classroom based on his continuous innovations. Through his unyielding pursuit of improvement in both the content and the structure of his courses, he’s changing the conversation about effective instruction.” Sengun Yeniyurt, Vice Dean of Academic Programs and Learning Assurance

Mason Ameri, 37, is an associate professor of professional practice at Rutgers Business School. 

He studies disability employment and has developed evidence-based solutions to improve the inclusion of people with disabilities in organizations and society. He has published widely in high-impact journals and popular press, including several New York Times exclusives. His talks at TED, The World Bank Group, and other organizations have driven discussions on promoting accessibility. He has consulted with various public and private entities on policy reform, such as the US Election Assistance Commission. He has helped secure over $11 million in grants to operate a wave of innovative disability research from NSF, MIT, HHS, and EAC.

He has received several noteworthy recognitions, including The Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching and The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Innovations.


At current institution since what year? 2017

Education: Ph.D. in Industrial Relations and Human Resources

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Negotiations


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when: In 2015, findings from my master’s thesis (now published in ILR Review, 2018), which investigated disability-based discrimination, were featured in The New York Times. I became part of the conversation on a topic that’s very personal to me and realized then the impact I could one day have on the lives of people with disabilities as a business school professor doing this work full-time.

It’s been eight years since, and my research on disability and knowledge of DEI allows me to bring a unique perspective to the classroom and industry. Being able to train the next generation of leaders by emphasizing the importance of disability as an integral aspect of human diversity and sharing my research insights is what drives me. But also, conducting research and imparting best practices to members of the business world, including workers with disabilities, employers, policymakers, government officials, etc., is how we all create a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Best job I ever had.

What are you currently researching, and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I’m currently a Co-PI on several grants that address disability from different angles, including voter access, robotics, employer signaling, ADA compliance among small businesses, intersectionality, remote work, and other areas. One study that stands out is a case analysis I recently conducted at a university. It explores how they prepared students with disabilities to cultivate the self-advocacy skills necessary for their career success. In this exploration, I had the pleasure of interviewing several students and alumni with disabilities to evaluate the effectiveness of the university’s support services. Next year, I plan to work closely with these programs to develop a more effective playbook to improve the professional development of students with disabilities.

The most significant discovery I’ve made from my research is regarding disability access in the gig economy. In 2016, my co-authors and I were interested in learning how the rise of online marketplaces may perpetuate the social exclusion of people with disabilities. So, we investigated Airbnb rentals through a field experiment of around 4,000 lodging requests. We found that hosts were less receptive to requests from travelers with disabilities than those without disabilities. This work appeared in The New York Times in 2017 and made waves in the popular press and media. It was also published in the Academy of Management Discoveries in 2020 and won best paper at the AOM annual meeting in 2021. I mention all this because we got the word out (and people were and are still listening), not just in the academic community but worldwide, that there’s so much work to be done to ensure equal access for those with disabilities. This project ignited conversations on policy reform, and that’s a major first step.

If I weren’t a business school professor: I’d be a pilot in the US Air Force, then go into politics.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? This one’s tough! I guess what sets me apart is my dedication to constantly improving both the content of my courses and my delivery. I strive to create an engaging and inclusive learning environment by being caring and passionate in the classroom and breaking down lessons in ways that students find genuinely relatable. During the pandemic, I had the opportunity to innovate my courses by incorporating media, including podcasts that match each lesson and personalized weekly videos with words of encouragement, to enhance the student experience. I also redesigned Canvas (the university’s learning management system), making it more user-friendly for my students. These modifications have been well-received by both students and faculty alike.

I also have a passion for academia that extends beyond teaching. For example, I’ve worked with MBA alumni to help them scale their DEI efforts at work, providing advice and support to promote greater inclusion for people with disabilities.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Electrifying.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: The one thing I wish I had learned earlier about being a business school professor is that it’s not just a job. It’s a lifestyle. Being a professor involves much more than just teaching classes and conducting research. It requires a deep commitment to mentoring and supporting students, collaborating with colleagues at the university virtually every day, and engaging with the broader community. It’s a role that shaped not only what I do but also who I am. Looking back, I wish I had understood the full scope of this lifestyle earlier in my career so that I could have embraced it from the start.

Professor I most admire and why: Easy. I most admire Dr. Douglas Kruse, a Distinguished Professor from Rutgers University, who was my former Ph.D. Director at the School of Management and Labor Relations. Doug has a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and has published extensively on disability. Doug’s such an outstanding scholar that he’s even served President Obama as Senior Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He (literally) convinced me to quit my job at the National Labor Relations Board, where I was an examiner investigating unfair labor practices, to pursue my Ph.D. and perhaps one day be as influential in the field as he is. I’m grateful for his mentorship and guidance throughout my career.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? What I enjoy most about teaching business students is witnessing their growth over the course of a semester. For example, in the Negotiations course, it’s gratifying to see my students analyze their partner’s interests, frame arguments effectively to reach better deals, and call out tactics during our debriefings of their negotiated outcomes. Even after the course ends, it’s nice to hear from my former students, who share anecdotes of applying the concepts and skills they’ve learned to real-life situations, including landing a job, a promotion, or a car at a reasonable price!

The range of perspectives and personal experiences MBA students bring to the classroom is also invaluable. Many work in corporate roles or are self-made entrepreneurs, adding tremendous depth to each lesson with their stories. It’s a privilege for me to facilitate discussions that challenge and expand our understanding of the concepts taught using their insights.

What is most challenging? One of the most challenging aspects of teaching business students is keeping up with the constantly evolving landscape in industry. As an educator, it’s crucial for me to keep the course content up to date with the current state of how the world operates. That means staying informed about the latest disruptions and developments in the market and incorporating them into the curriculum. In the Negotiations course, it’s important to discuss traditional tactics and how they may have changed in response to recent events. An example is how car buying strategies have transformed completely for buyers amid the pandemic due to scarcity. Job negotiations have likewise changed due to the proliferation of virtual communication platforms like Zoom—negotiating over video presents new difficulties in building rapport and reading body language. So, I’m regularly adapting the curriculum to have it remain relevant. But that’s easier said than done!

In a word, describe your favorite type of student: Enthusiastic.

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… I hope that my students would describe me as caring. In the Negotiations course, I focus on helping them master the curriculum. Week after week, I strive to support their development of practical skills through simulated negotiations and relevant assignments. I offer constructive criticism in a supportive way to help them understand their strengths and areas for improvement. This allows them to reflect on their work without feeling discouraged.

I also understand that exams are not always a perfect measure of mastery. If a student doesn’t perform well, I try to provide them with alternative opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of the material. As an educator, it’s always fulfilling when students benefit from this approach and express their appreciation for being allowed to establish their knowledge of the course material in other ways.


What are your hobbies? My hobbies include golfing, weight training, and collecting watches.

How will you spend your summer? This summer is going to be a busy one for me. I’m getting married! I’ll also squeeze in a new study, including paper revisions, with my colleagues and prepare for conference presentations. But overall, I promised myself to create lasting memories this season, as it’s a new chapter of my life.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: For a weekend over the summer, my fiancé and I vacation in Cape May, NJ. (Shout out to the Virginia Hotel!) Overseas, I’ve personally enjoyed traveling to the Amalfi Coast. It’s spectacular.

Favorite book(s): 

  • “Greenlights,” by Matthew McConaughey
  • “The Storyteller,” by Dave Grohl 
  • “Can’t Hurt Me,” by David Goggins

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? When it comes to choosing my favorite movie and show, it’s like trying to pick a favorite child (not that I have any kids!). But if I had to choose, I’d say Succession and Top Gun: Maverick. Succession is a masterclass in storytelling, with its intricate plot and complex characters that leave me and my friends discussing the themes of each episode to no end. And Top Gun: Maverick is just a thrilling ride that brings back all the nostalgia of the original while pushing the envelope with its incredible flight scenes. Both are just so good that I can’t help but be a huge fan.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Credit to my brother, who encouraged me to listen to The Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, Nirvana, Green Day, and other artists in the heavy metal, punk, and alternative rock genres when we were in grade school during the 90s. We spent countless hours listening to albums like Master of Puppets, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Nevermind, Insomniac, etc., debating our favorite songs. Even at 10, my brother schooled me about the complex guitar riffs, intricate drum patterns, and classical elements of these albums and others, which is pretty impressive considering his age. These artists and genres have a unique appeal that drew us in and, even today, are playing in the background while I’m working at home.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…Experiential learning. If there’s anything the Negotiations course has taught me, it’s that the “learning by doing” model is a curriculum game changer. Simulations are a great way to provide students with practical experience in applying concepts and theories. They allow students to experiment with different strategies and see the consequences of their actions in a safe and controlled environment. And this can significantly help students develop the critical thinking and decision-making skills essential for their professional development.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Disability inclusion. It’s an important issue that companies and organizations must address more intentionally. There’s extensive research showing that people with disabilities often face challenges when it comes to finding employment. 

If society has concluded that DEI is good for business, it only makes sense for companies to factor disability into their diversity agendas. Whether that involves making more accommodations for employees with disabilities, actively recruiting and hiring qualified people with disabilities, or promoting disability awareness among all employees to eliminate the stigma against this group, it’s time for companies to step it up.

I’m grateful for… The lessons my mom and dad shared with me on perseverance and determination. In the 70s, my father scaled his auto shop while moonlighting as an NYC taxicab driver to ensure his family was fed. In the 90s, my mother earned a master’s degree in special education while working the graveyard shift in fast food and raising two kids. Enough said. 

Their hard work and resilience have inspired me to pursue my dreams in education and never give up. I’m so proud of their accomplishments and feel fortunate to have them as role models.



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