2024 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Gaurav Chiplunkar, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

Gaurav Chiplunkar
Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

“Professor Gaurav Chiplunkar has distinguished himself as a key contributor to the Darden community since joining the School in 2019. Among a group of exceptional professors, Chiplunkar stands out, and was nominated by students for the Outstanding Faculty Award in both 2022 and 2023. In 2023, Chiplunkar received the Faculty Diversity Award, a student-voted recognition awarded to a faculty member with a commitment to creating an inclusive environment in the classroom.” – Darden admin team

Gaurav Chiplunkar, 37, is Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

His research focuses on studying the causes and consequences of labor market frictions in low-income countries, with a particular emphasis on the barriers faced by women and youth. He also studies how policy reforms and the advent of digital technologies can help mitigate these barriers, as well as their aggregate implications on the allocation of resources and talent in the economy, and its consequences on economic growth and productivity.

He is Research Affiliate at the Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), J-PAL (MIT), and Y-RISE (Yale University). He won the Faculty Diversity Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Darden School of Business in 2023 and was named an MBA Professor to Look Out For by Business Because in 2020.

BACKGROUND

At current institution since what year? 2019
Education: Ph.D. Economics, Yale University
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Global Economies and Markets; India in the Global Economy

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… My first class in a business school was actually as student during my PhD days. The MBA students came with notable accomplishments even before starting business school. This clearly reflected in rich and engaging conversations, with different perspectives on the same topic! This student-centric approach was extremely refreshing, and in sharp contrast to the teacher-centric monologue that I was used to. This experience motivated me to pursue a career as a professor at a business school and thankfully, Darden has provided me with all of that and much more!

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently analyzing a large dataset, with billions of individuals across 90 countries spanning around 50 years, to understand how individuals transition across sectors and occupations with economic development.

Our findings reveal a striking narrative: while traditional economic progress has seen men migrating from agriculture to manufacturing and services, women, in contrast, are more likely to exit the labor force altogether before re-entering at higher levels of economic development, and often within the service sector. Despite significant advancements over these decades, women continue to be disproportionately relegated to clerical and secretarial roles, with managerial positions remaining elusive, even in the most developed nations.

These glaring gender disparities have spurred an ambitious research agenda to examine the socio-economic forces that shape the reorganization of countries as they develop, and its implications for building an inclusive labor force in the future.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a musician practicing Indian classical music, which I have learned for over 15 years!

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? A classroom at Darden has a global diaspora encapsulated within its walls. My aim is therefore not to dictate, but rather to guide and support our students, as they navigate their own learning journeys by leveraging the wealth of insights and expertise within our diverse community.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Chaotic!

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: While all the reasons mentioned above are great ones to be at a business school, students also (rightfully) hold you to a very high bar. They come with experience in the “real world” and so can easily catch you if you try to pull a fast one on them. Moreover, managing students’ opinions, their personalities, varied expertise on topics, and yet ensuring they all learn productively, is very hard and exhausting to accomplish over and over again in every class!

Professor I most admire and why: There are many professors who I have (and still do) look up to as role models and who have shaped me into who I am today. It truly isn’t possible for me to pick just one name!

TEACHING MBA STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Learning from them as much as they learn from me!

What is most challenging? Managing expectations and how much they (still) care about grades and marks!

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Know-it-all

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Tough, but fair

LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? I really enjoy learning music, which I have been for the past 15 years. Apart from that, cooking gives me great joy and helps me unwind after a long day! I also enjoy traveling and hope to one day travel to each country in the world (I even have a scratch-map in my office to keep track)!

How will you spend your summer? It is not going to be as exciting as you might think. Since it’s a break from teaching for everyone, most economics research conferences are held in the summer. So, I’ll mostly be focusing on my research during this time. But I’ve signed up for conferences in some cool places. If I get to travel there, I’m hoping to mix work with some fun!

Favorite place(s) to vacation: My wife and I just enjoy being in the mountains. So ranging from the Rockies to the Alps, and the Andes to the Himalayas, all are top vacation destinations.

Favorite book(s): “An Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I am really, really late to the party, but I am currently binge-watching Schitt’s Creek (I know!). It unlocks humor at so many levels.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? My first love will always be Indian classical music, but living in Virginia has got me hooked on to country music!

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… The world is becoming a smaller place and yet, we only hear the same few voices. I would really love for us to throw open our classrooms to a wide spectrum of curious minds from various identities, backgrounds, and experiences, especially those who are shut out of these conversations.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… in the words of billionaire Ratan Tata, being “industrialists” and not “businesspersons.” While the former have a social responsibility to consciously help shape industries and contribute to the development of a nation (and society), the latter are more “transactional” and focus on individual, profit-making ventures, which is sadly where most businesses are today.

I’m grateful for… being where I am today and for all the people and circumstances that have guided me to this moment.

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2024 ROSTER OF THE WORLD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS

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