2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Yixing Chen, Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame

Congrats to Yixing Chen of the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame for being named a 2023 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professor.

Yixing Chen

Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame

“I was impacted significantly by Professor Chen’s Marketing Analytics course. Professor Chen pushed me to dive deeper into a subject that was previously unfamiliar to me. He is also one of the kindest people I have ever met, but he simultaneously manages to be one of the brightest minds in the marketing domain of any age. At just 32 years old, he is among the youngest faculty at Notre Dame,  yet his teaching skills and research are of a quality higher than most of his more senior colleagues. Professor Chen makes time for his students despite his busy schedule, and he was always willing to meet to discuss course material or career questions. Dr. Chen is one of the finest MBA professors at Notre Dame of any age, and he is certainly deserving of this award.”Nathaniel Cieplik

Yixing Chen, 32, is an assistant professor of marketing at the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame. He is a faculty affiliate of the Mike and Josie Harper Cancer Research Institute, Lucy Family Institute for Data & Society, and Eck Institute for Global Health at Notre Dame. 

He studies the social impact of marketing with an aim to measure and improve the effectiveness of marketing interventions for social sector organizations (e.g., health care and education). He is also interested in measuring the value of data and algorithms in digital markets.

His research has appeared in premier marketing and medical journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, and Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 

Chen won the Financial Times Responsible Business Academic Research Award, AMA-EBSCO-RRBM Award for Responsible Research in Marketing, John A. Howard/AMA Doctoral Dissertation Award, and University of New Mexico Inspirational Young Alumnus Award. His research has also been selected as a finalist for best paper awards such as the Paul E. Green Award and AMA/Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award.


At current institution since what year? 2020


  • Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • M.B.A., University of New Mexico
  • Bachelor of Economics, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Marketing Analytics


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… The idea of being a marketing professor did not occur to me until my junior year when I studied abroad at the University of New Mexico. At the University of New Mexico, I met O.C. Ferrell and Linda Ferrell (both are at Auburn University now). I was (and still am) fascinated by the idea that business school professors are academic entrepreneurs who can make their mark through research, teaching, reviewing, writing, advising, consulting, serving on boards, etc., all in one job. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am exploring how valuable large digital platforms’ data can be for smaller players. This research is motivated by two observations: First, smaller players increasingly reach data-sharing agreements with large digital platforms to improve their offerings. Second, regulations such as the Digital Markets Act require large digital platforms that provide core services (e.g., search engines) to provide data access to enable the growth of smaller players. 

My co-authors and I worked with a tech firm in China and experimented on its search product with access to the leading search engine’s application programming interface (API) for about 16 weeks. Whereas a random sample of users saw their suggested search results supplied by the external API and our partner firm, others saw those supplied by our partner firm only. We find that removing access to the leading search engine’s API hurts the partner firm’s search product performance. However, this negative impact is much weaker in the longer term because removing API access enables the partner firm to improve the development of its internal data. This highlights a key trade-off between the short-run benefits of using the external data source and longer-term growth potential through enriching internal data. 

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would most likely be a stand-up comedian. I really enjoy bringing energy and fresh ideas to the “stage” and getting instant feedback from a live audience. To me, the two professions share many similarities.  

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? As a professor, I strive for excellence in four aspects of teaching: 

  • Communicate: I communicate complex and technical concepts in plain language. Simplicity matters. 
  • Engage: I bring enthusiasm and humor to the classroom. Experience matters.
  • Connect: I enjoy getting to know my students and learning about their personal and professional growth. Every year, I invite former students to share with current students how they applied what they learned in my course to their careers. Relationship matters.
  • Educate: I help students develop intuition to complement their analytics skills and demonstrate the power of industry-academia partnerships. Mindset matters. 

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Nerve-wracking.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Prioritization is hard. It could be challenging to discern between an opportunity and a distraction in this profession.  

Professor I most admire and why: Professor Hai Chen, my late grandfather, demonstrated the virtues of a gentleman and exemplary scholar. Professionally, he inspired me to be patient with the process of finding my passion, developing deep domain expertise, and seeking opportunities for interdisciplinary discovery. Personally, he taught me to be honest, and persistent, and to lift others up.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Business students demand practical relevance in their education, appreciate the value of industry-academia partnerships, and care about impact. 

What is most challenging? Striking a balance among analytics toolkit, real-world case demonstrations, and framework thinking because of students’ diverse professional backgrounds.

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

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

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


What are your hobbies? Movies, Mahjong, Anime & Manga, Singing

How will you spend your summer? After three and half years, I will visit family, friends, and pandas in my hometown (Chengdu, China). I have planned several trips with my family and friends. I will also meet with several industry partners to discuss research collaborations.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: San Diego. I plan to visit Japan, France, the UK, Switzerland, and Sweden soon. Stay tuned for the new list!

Favorite book(s):  Chinese Novel: Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en; Chinese Novel: Joy of Life by Mao Ni; Japanese Manga Series: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003 film series) for its novel worldbuilding and how different characters fight their battle against temptation. 

The Long Season (a 2023 TV show). I am drawn to the show because of the conversations it starts about the (thin) line between good and evil. 

Three other movies that make me happy: Chef (2014), 21 (2008), and August Rush (2007).

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Pop music, Jacky Cheung and Shen (Charlie) Zhou. Both singers are incredible storytellers!


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… (a) immersion learning where students work with organizations (not limited to for-profit companies) to address managerial and societal challenges and (b) an ecosystem where professors are motivated to partner with private and public sectors.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… developing a strong pipeline of versatile talent.

I’m grateful for… I am grateful to my parents, grandparents, dissertation co-chairs, mentors, students, and friends for having faith in me.


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