2024 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Solène Delecourt, UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Solène Delecourt
UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

“In Professor Delecourt’s class, students are active participants in their own learning journey. Through her emphasis on practical application over theory, she imparts invaluable negotiation skills that are essential for success in both professional and personal lives. I have personally witnessed the transformative effect of her teachings, as I was able to negotiate my spring internship salary by 20% using the skills learned in her class—a testament to the real-world applicability of her curriculum.

“What truly sets Professor Delecourt apart is her dedication to experiential learning and hands-on practice. Each week, students engage in real-life negotiations with peers, allowing them to hone their skills in a supportive and constructive environment. Professor Delecourt’s insightful debrief sessions after the negotiation provide invaluable feedback and highlight key lessons learned, equipping students with practical strategies for achieving their goals and fostering win-win solutions in real life.” – Arnaud Paquet

Solène Delecourt, 31, is Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Her work focuses on inequality in business performance. Her research has appeared in academic journals such as Nature, Management Science, and the Strategic Management Journal and has been featured in top media outlets.

She is currently an editorial board member of the journal Organization Science. She is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Effective Global Action and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH).

Her work has won multiple awards, most recently the 2024 Wharton People Analytics Competition. She is also the 2024 recipient of the Cheit Award for Teaching Excellence for full-time MBAs, the school’s top teaching honor.


At current institution since what year? 2020
Education: PhD at Stanford University, Masters and Undergrad from Sciences Po Paris, France
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Negotiation


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I accidentally fell under the spell of this career path, and I am in love with it. I did not know it was a possible career choice until I started my PhD at Stanford. What I love most is continuously learning from my peers and students.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Most of my work is at the intersection of entrepreneurship and gender. I am an experimentalist and recently ran a field experiment to test whether access to generative AI can increase business performance for small business owners in Kenya. We find no effect overall, but we do find that it helps people who were already high-performers. I was also excited that one of my other research projects was recently published in the journal Nature. As part of this paper, we ran an experiment to show that individuals are influenced by the content they see online, and that googling for images rather than text amplifies gender bias.

If I weren’t a business school professor… I think that the most important things in life are to be able to advocate for one’s self (negotiating), as well as eat delicious bread and have a healthy family. So, if I were not teaching negotiation, I would be either running a bakery or a midwifery practice. The bakery would be called “Madame Baguette”. And the midwifery practice would empower families at the most crucial time of their lives.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I am having fun!

One word that describes my first time teaching: Wired, I could not fall asleep that night

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: This job will take everything that you can give to it. It can be incredibly rewarding. It is an endless source of inspiration and growth. It comes with many incredible opportunities but also many responsibilities and hard work. Rarely an hour goes by when I am not thinking about my job. Thankfully, it’s usually in a positive way.

Professor I most admire and why: I admire people who can bring out the best in others and excel at mentorship. For that reason, I most admire the three members of my dissertation committee: Jesper Sørensen, JP Ferguson, and Aruna Ranganathan. I am forever indebted to them for their terrific mentorship. Even though it sounds cheesy, it’s true in my case. Mentorship is difficult, and I had a lot of room for growth (to put it in a nice way).


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? It is an exhilarating feeling to encourage my students to say “no” when they deserve better.

What is most challenging? Running on time is the most challenging. I am constantly watching the clock to ensure that we have enough time to cover and digest all of the materials.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: My favorite students show up to class and listen to their classmates.

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: I get frustrated when students disappear halfway through the class (physically or mentally).

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


What are your hobbies? I love swimming outdoors and camping. Being in nature brings me a sense of calm and gratitude. I also would not survive the stresses of the job if not for my regular workouts, which include riding on my Peloton, swimming outdoors on campus, doing TRX in my yard, and lifting weights.

How will you spend your summer? I will mainly be working on publishing my academic papers. But I will also enjoy life in beautiful California, where I like weekend camping trips to one of the many majestic state parks. I will also present my work in Montréal (Canada), Nice (France), Chicago, and NYC.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: I love tropical vacations with hot and humid weather, a warm evening breeze, and a quiet beach. When I put my feet in the warm sand, I feel my shoulders immediately start to relax. Accordingly, my drink of choice is a margarita.

Favorite book(s): I love reading novels. Recently, I have loved The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and Le Pays des Autres by Leïla Slimani. I prefer to read in French as it’s more relaxing for my brain and sounds more poetic to my ears.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I do not watch movies or TV.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I love Beyoncé and reference her lyrics regularly in my class, as my students know. Recently, I have started to love Dua Lipa. I listen to fun dance music daily to get into the flow, especially before teaching. Listening to dance music makes me feel alive.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… I wish everyone were not so busy all the time, but I am guilty of that, too. For example, I wish there would be more unstructured and spontaneous opportunities to interact between faculty, staff, and students.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… being joyful and bringing out the best in people. I am convinced that people don’t need to be afraid to perform at their best. Instead, they should be challenged in a way that makes them feel supported and safe. On an unrelated note, we should be more inclusive of people for whom English is a second language (as is the case for me). Having a mother tongue other than English is a source of strength and beauty and should be celebrated.

I’m grateful for… being alive and having a beautiful and healthy family, including my husband Ehsan and our two boys, Léon Parsa and Louis Parhom, who give me so much energy. Thank you, Ehsan, for initially encouraging me to apply for PhD programs in the US, which is now my home. Et merci pour tout, Papa!


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