2024 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Nada Hashmi, Babson College

Nada Hashmi
Babson College

“Professor Hashmi is a rare gem that we are blessed to have at Babson. She continues to be a beacon of brilliance, and empowerment for students and her colleagues. During times of uncertainty as I searched for a new Muslim Chaplain, Dr. Hashmi without hesitation offered her support and experience as a Muslim woman to support me in finding the best candidate for our community. I was not surprised that her suggestions and recommendations not only superseded my expectations but her standards for excellence, care, compassion, empowerment and leadership impacted my search for my Jewish and Catholic Chaplains. She was intentional in naming the necessity of having someone with interreligious and intercultural experience, and an inclusive attitude and approach to supporting all students equally. Even during the time of distress and heighted fear last October, Dr. Hashmi never allowed me to navigate the political and religious landscape alone. I once again was grateful for her when she found me a candidate for our Jewish Chaplain vacant position.

I once read a quote that said find people in your life that remember your song when you forget your rhythm. Dr. Hashmi has been one of those people for me.” – Denicia Ratley, Babson’s Director of Religious & Spiritual Life

Nada Hashmi is Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Babson College. She is also a Research Affiliate at MIT.

Her research explores the interface between technology and leadership, emphasizing the use of technological tools to enhance collective intelligence, collaboration, and equity in leadership and educational settings. Her academic contributions include a patent and several publications in respected journals.

She is actively involved in initiatives aimed at supporting women in technology and healthcare, reflecting her dedication to making a positive impact through her work.

She was nominated for the Kennedy Awards’ Best Graduate Professor.


At current institution since what year? 2018
Education: PhD in ‘Technology, Innovation, Entrepreneurship’ & ‘Organizational Studies’, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Programming for Business Analytics, Advanced Programming for Business Analytics


What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I’m deeply interested in how technology can enhance team/leadership dynamics and drive success. My research revolves around using collective intelligence scores as an outcome measure to explore the impact of various technologies, particularly collaboration tools and GenAI tools. One of the most remarkable findings has been the significant effect these tools have on both the scale and efficiency of team operations. Large teams are now able to collaborate synchronously, achieving peak performance in considerably shorter time frames than ever before.

Moreover, in today’s world, where virtual meetings and remote work are increasingly commonplace, the strategies businesses employ to distribute their resources—such as time and team size—are crucial. My work helps organizations optimize their resources to maximize team effectiveness, ensuring they achieve the best possible results, even when resources are constrained.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I’d likely be involved in the field of policy making. My aim would be to ensure technology is within everyone’s reach. The current gap in technology access can lead to significant disparities in life chances, and I believe addressing this issue is fundamental. It’s as essential as securing the necessities of food and shelter for all. It’s about equipping individuals with the right tools for success in this digital age.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My dedication to student success is what distinguishes me. I am deeply invested in ensuring that my students not only learn but also apply knowledge in ways that benefit them. This commitment sometimes requires adapting course content mid-semester to align with the latest technological advancements or to meet the unique needs of the class. Beyond academic instruction, I prioritize being a supportive resource for my students in all aspects, offering guidance whenever needed.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Empowering

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Here’s a piece of insight I wish someone had shared with me before I became a business school professor: Students don’t just attend the business schools to learn or refresh their educational skills; they’re really focused on what happens after they graduate. It’s crucial to understand that while the hard technical skills are fundamental, our teaching must extend beyond these basics. Students also need to master a range of soft skills, from effective communication and critical thinking to adaptability and problem-solving. Moreover, networking skills are indispensable in today’s interconnected world, helping students build relationships that could lead to future career opportunities.

Additionally, life skills such as financial literacy, stress management, and the ability to maintain work-life balance are increasingly important. These competencies help them stand out in the competitive job market and navigate their careers successfully. As educators, our role is to integrate these elements into our curriculum and prepare our students not just for the jobs they want, but for a fulfilling career that sustains them in the long run.

Professor I most admire and why: I admire Professor Thomas W. Malone. Tom was my advisor throughout my PhD at MIT. I also had the honor of being a Teacher’s Assistant (TA), multiple times, for a workshop he teaches every winter, Distributed Leadership. Despite my role as a TA in this workshop, he was able to transform that experience into an inspiration. He ‘taught’ leadership using a variety of teaching methods – engaging and interactive lectures, fun and exciting teamwork projects, deep personal reflection as well as learning from other classmates. In addition, he managed to develop direct personal one-to- one relationship with each one of the 40+ students. Every student walked out from the class being inspired to reach their full potential as leaders as well as appreciative of what they had learned. All this, within a short time of three days. He truly embodies the value and philosophy for being inspiration into the classroom.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? One of the things I truly cherish about teaching at an entrepreneurial business school is the incredible diversity of perspectives in the classroom. Each student brings their unique background and experiences. Plus, they’re not just here to learn; they’re eager to apply these concepts in real-world scenarios, which really brings the material to life.

What’s even more exhilarating is the level of innovation and creativity that students bring to the table. Whether it’s their fresh takes on solving business problems or their groundbreaking ideas for new ventures, their energy is contagious. It’s incredibly rewarding to guide and witness their growth as they progress in their careers. This dynamic environment not only challenges me as an educator but also constantly pushes the boundaries of what we can achieve together in the world of business.

What is most challenging? One of the tougher aspects of my job is seeing how many talented students struggle to find employment after graduation. It’s disheartening to witness their frustration, especially knowing their potential and how hard they’ve worked. This challenge motivates me to not only equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge but also to provide robust support and guidance in navigating the competitive job market.

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

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

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


What are your hobbies? I’m an avid reader and a passionate gamer. Books are my escape; I love diving into different worlds and exploring new ideas through literature. On the other hand, playing video games is my way of challenging myself and staying sharp. It’s not just about entertainment; it’s about strategizing, solving puzzles, and connecting with friends who share the same interest.

How will you spend your summer? I will do what I love to do – I will continue to develop my research and tweak my class content.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: the Caribbeans

Favorite book(s): ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and ‘The Sphere’ by Michael Crichton

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? My current favorite show is ‘The 3-Body Problem’ on Netflix – a series based on novels from the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. Although it’s categorized as a science fiction series, it goes much deeper, challenging viewers to contemplate profound questions about humanity’s future and the role of science and technology in addressing existential threats. What captivates me the most is how the series is rooted in real scientific concepts, albeit theoretical ones. It’s this blend of factual science with speculative scenarios that makes it incredibly fascinating.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I am an introvert and have been blessed with two rumbustious loud and amazing kids – so I find myself enjoying silence as the best type of music. ☺


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… If I had my way, the business school of the future would shift significantly towards a learning-centered model, with less emphasis on grading and more on fostering a culture of lifelong learning. The focus would be on equipping students not just to excel academically but to continuously evolve and adapt throughout their careers. We would prioritize teaching methods that encourage curiosity and critical thinking, ensuring that students are not just learning for exams but developing skills that will serve them for life. This approach would help them navigate the complex, ever-changing business landscape more effectively, armed with the ability to learn and adapt on the fly.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to significantly enhance their efforts in inclusion and diversity. It’s not just about hiring a diverse workforce but truly integrating inclusivity into the core of corporate culture. Prioritizing transparency in how decisions are made and openly discussing diversity goals are critical steps towards improvement. A commitment towards this must be sustained and evident in every aspect of organizational practice, from recruitment and retention to development and leadership.

I’m grateful for… I’m deeply grateful for my family, friends, and all the mentors who have guided and supported me on my journey to where I am today. A special thanks goes to my kids, who are my true north stars—constantly inspiring me and giving me purpose. Their light guides me, and their love fuels my drive to be the best I can be, both personally and professionally.


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