2024 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Jun Li, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Jun Li
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

“I had the privilege of taking Applied Data and Regression Analysis with Professor Jun Li. She was a remarkable instructor with a gift for explaining highly technical statistical material in an incredibly accessible manner. Throughout the course, we analyzed real-world data sets from a dozen different industries and focused on solving problems across a wide variety of business functions. It’s no secret that the business world is changing and becoming more analytical every year—regardless of industry or functional area. This course opened my eyes to the power of statistical methods and helped me to significantly improve my computer programming skills..” – Soroush Shahbazi

Jun Li, 39, is Professor of Technology and Operations at Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.

Her research focuses on revenue management and pricing, health care, supply chains, corporate social responsibility, and public sector operations. Throughout her career, she has worked closely with partners in air-travel, hospitality, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and education, and she brings these experiences into her classrooms.

She won the 2015 INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Practice Award for implementing competition-based dynamic pricing in online retailing. She was also awarded the 2020 INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Award.

Her research on crowdfunding K12 school teachers was a finalist for the 2022 Financial Times Research Impact Award, and won the 2022 POM Applied Research Challenge as well as the 2022 MOSM Responsible Research Award.

She is the recipient of the 2022 MSOM Young Scholar Prize, which recognizes exceptional young researchers under 40 who have made outstanding contributions to scholarship in operations management.


At current institution since what year? 2012
Education: PhD in Managerial Economics and Management Science, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Bachelor of Engineering, Tsinghua University.
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Operations Management, and Applied Business Regressions.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I attended an air-travel conference in 2011. I shared my doctoral dissertation topic with a few folks from American Airlines during the break, and they absolutely loved it and told me they really wanted to know what I would find out. Since then, I knew I wanted to be a business school professor and make impacts in business.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently researching the childcare crisis that has challenged America for decades. I find over half of the population live (work) in childcare deserts, areas where there is no or extremely low childcare supply compared to the number of children who need care. I also find that there is a large variation when it comes to the quality of childcare centers. I further find lack of quality care impedes scientists’ career development and undermines gender equity in science. I am currently researching ways to fix the system.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I would be a dancer. Dance is another thing besides research that I could do without ever feeling tired of.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I bring both professional and life experiences to my classes. I teach how to apply operational principles not only in businesses but also in life. I care deeply about my students. It is an utmost joy for me to see my students achieve their potentials in ways they haven’t thought possible.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Standing and walking in high heels for 6 hours was absolutely killing me – worst idea ever.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Nothing. It is exactly what I wanted.

Professor I most admire and why: Professor Serguei Netessine from the Wharton School — the best advisor I could ever ask for, who trusted me more than I trusted myself. Professor Gerard Cachon from the Wharton School who taught me to be an original thinker. Professor Marshall Fisher from the Wharton School who taught me the value of being practical. Professor Wallace Hopp from the Ross School of Business is a legend, a mentor, and a friend who influenced me in every way from my career to life. Professor Bill Lovejoy from the Ross School of Business who always asked thought-provoking questions that got me thinking. Professor Ravi Anupindi from the Ross School of Business who taught me to be a critical thinker.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Getting to know each person’s aspirations and ambitions.

What is most challenging? Managing a heated discussion and still ending the class on time!

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

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Sloppy

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Easy going (I hope? 🙂 )


What are your hobbies? Dance

How will you spend your summer? Taking my kids (4 and 6 years old) to travel in Asia

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Lake Superior

Favorite book(s): Quiet by Susan Cain

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Oppenheimer. I cannot stop thinking about the ups and downs of Oppenheimer’s life after watching the film, how complex and simple humanity is, and how strong and fragile life is.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? 80s, because I was born then? 😉


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Visionary thinkers, risk takers, and doers.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Understanding and using AI

I’m grateful for… Being a business school professor! A wolverine! Go Blue!


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