Lior Zalmanson, 38, describes himself as an “academia geek” from a very young age. Beginning his freshman year in high school, he started ordering university catalogs, dreaming about the courses he would take and mapping out his eventual major.
“I believed that lifelong learning is a noble pursuit,” he tells Poets&Quants.
He did not, however, picture himself as a researcher until his first graduate course at Tel Aviv University.
“The MBA professor there, the late Israel Spiegler, encouraged us to explore academic journals and find research that changes our perspective on how people share their knowledge with others,” Zalmanson tells Poets&Quants. “I think the class found this task frustratingly unstructured, but I just loved it! It made me immerse myself in past academic studies and caused me to develop a taste for research.”
Lior Zalmanson, Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management
Today, Zalmanson studies AI-Human interaction and the future of work as an assistant professor at Tel Aviv University’s Coller School of Management. He examines the organizational and work-related tensions in cases where AI has authority over the worker, like drivers at Uber or food carriers at Grubhub.
“My most recent discovery, together with my PhD student Yotam Liel, shows that there are cases in which people are very willing to delegate ‘thinking’ to the algorithm and accept AI judgment even when it goes against their better judgment. I do worry that if we are not managing AI-human interaction correctly, we will end up in the ’autopilot’ mode, which might create accountability issues and jeopardize our human agency,” he says.
Zalmonson loves robotics, and has a collection of more than 100 vintage robots in his home. He’s a poet, screenwriter, playwright, and founder of the Print Screen Festival, an Israeli digital culture festival connecting internet researchers, activists, and artists. He’s also one of 40 business school professors under the age of 40 to be recognized as this year’s Poets&Quants Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors.
MOST WOMEN EVER MAKE THIS YEAR’S LIST
This is the 10th edition of our annual recognition, and our goal remains unchanged: To identify and celebrate the most talented young professors currently teaching in MBA programs around the world.
This year, more women than any year prior were named 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors. We honor 18 exceptional women on this list, two more than the previous record of 16 set in 2019. Last year, we honored 15 women in the feature compared to 12 in 2020.
They include Ivuoma Onyeador, 33, an assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Onyeador joined Kellogg in 2020, and when she was asked to sum her first time teaching in just one word, her answer summed up the last two years more succinctly than perhaps any other answer: “Masks!”
Ivuoma Onyeador, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management
Onyeador, who has been named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science, studies how people engage with diversity and respond to discrimination. She’s also writing for organizational leaders and policy makers about how to better approach their DEI efforts. “In general, I’m struck by the effort that people expend to justify a lack of progress toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals,” she says.
If she weren’t a business school professor, she would still likely work in the DEI space, but as a newscaster, journalist, or podcaster. “I would still engage with the topics I study, but on a shorter timescale, and to a broader audience.”
PROFESSORS COME FROM 33 SCHOOLS, 14 OF THEM INTERNATIONAL
Professors on the 2022 list come from 33 different schools. Three professors are from New York University’s Stern School of Business, the most of any other school. Five schools had two professors each: Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, Indiana University Kelley School of Business, McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, University College London School of Management, and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
We also have 14 international schools outside the United States, two more than in 2021.
Overall, we received more than 2,240 nominations for nearly 140 individual professors. That’s down slightly from 2021 when we had nearly 150 professors to evaluate. Once we close the nomination period, our editorial staff evaluates each nominee on teaching (given a 70% weight) and research (given the remaining 30% weight).
For teaching, we consider the nominations received — both quality and quantity. For example, if we receive a hundred or more nominations for a professor but there’s little substance to the nominations, they’re probably not as likely to score as high as the professor that receives a dozen in-depth and thoughtful nominations. We also consider any teaching-related awards the professors have won.
For research, we look at the volume and impact of the professor’s scholarly work. To do this we examine Google Citation numbers as well as major media attention received by the professor and his or her research work. Lastly, akin to teaching, we consider research awards and grants the professors have received.
Once the professors are scored, we review the Top 60 and consult each editorial staff member before finalizing our Top 40.
Next page: What business (and business schools) should have more of
Angélica María Sánchez-Riofrío, Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador
THE POWER OF EDUCATION TO CHANGE THE WORLD
Each winner filled out a P&Q questionnaire we hope reveals some insight into their backgrounds, teaching styles, and research. You can find their individual profiles by going to page 3 and clicking on the professors’ names.
We ask them about their hobbies, favorite music, and teaching MBA students. We also ask them about why they wanted to become business school professors. Several pointed to the impact that sound business research and practice can have on people’s lives.
For example, after growing up in Ecuador and earning her BSc in International Business from the Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador, Angélica María Sánchez-Riofrío, 37, went abroad to continue her education. When she returned in 2014, she went back to her alma mater as part of the faculty, becoming the first PhD hired by the school. She is also one of the founders of her home country’s first doctoral programs in business administration.
An important aspect of her research focuses on the role of women in Ecuador’s economic development.
Simon Porcher, IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School
“We found out that female-owned firms’ performance should not be evaluated based only on their financial outcomes,” she says. “From a feminist perspective, female business owners have a more comprehensive vision of performance, which is why economic and social measures should be included to measure the performance of companies led by women.”
When asked what she wishes someone would have told her about being a professor, she cites a similar theme: “As a teacher, you won’t get rich. However, wealth is not measured by the millions you have in your bank account but by the number of people you help with your work. And in this profession, you can leave such a significant positive (or negative) impact on your students, future entrepreneurs, business people, and politicians, who can change the world.”
Simon Porcher, 38, associate professor at IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School, has a similar view of the impact of business education.
Porcher grew up in one of the poorest districts in France. Neither of his parents had much education–his father immigrated from Vietnam at age 14 and his mother dropped out of school at the same age–but, they stressed education for their sons.
“For my fifth birthday, they gave me a sweatshirt that said ‘University of Paris’ to encourage me to pursue a college degree later on,” Porcher says.
“I was trained in social sciences and truly believed that we could find a way to use the companies’ know-how and massive revenues to invest in grand challenges. This is why I became a business school professor: to study these issues and to educate the future managers who will change the world!”
ACADEMIA OFTEN RUNS IN THE FAMILY
For several of our young professors, academia runs in the family.
Howei Wu, 37, assistant professor in economics at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), is the daughter of a renowned economics professor himself. As a young girl, she liked copying the equations she would see lying around his desk.
Howei Wu, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
“But I did not see going into academics as a real option until I started to find interest in economics while I was pursuing a degree in quantitative finance. I had the chance to TA a few times during my PhD studies, and found a lot of joy in teaching, so pursuing a professorship became a natural path,” she says.
Wu is also an accomplished illustrator, and several of the students who nominated her commented specifically on the joy they had in seeing her art in class. If she wasn’t a business school professor, she’d be a children’s book illustrator or a private chef: “My signature dishes are red wine braised ox tail and minced pork over rice (Lu rou fan/ Lo bah png),” she says.
Like Wu, Yiting Deng, 38, didn’t at first picture herself as a business school professor, even though both her parents are in academia. Then, about 15 years ago, she worked as a teaching assistant in Peking University’s BiMBA program.
“I was in awe of the business professors who were so persuasive and graceful in the classroom, and I was profoundly attracted to research conducted by marketing professors that are rigorous and deeply connected to business practice,” says Deng, assistant professor at University College London’s School of Management. “It was absolutely fascinating (and surreal) that 10 years later, I went back to the same campus to teach the marketing core course for the MBA program jointly run by Peking University and my home university, UCL.”
WHAT BUSINESS (AND B-SCHOOLS) SHOULD HAVE MORE OF
If Johannes Stroebel, 36, had his way, business schools would have more courses on sustainability baked into the core curriculum. Last semester, the David S. Loeb Professor of Finance at NYU Stern taught a new climate finance course exploring the economic and financial implications of climate change that will ultimately affect all of us. “I hope that eventually these topics will not only be taught in stand-alone classes, but that considerations around sustainability become a core ingredient in all courses,” he says.
Along a similar vein, Andrea Contigiani believes companies themselves should be doing a lot more to fight climate change. “The sad truth is that we just don’t care enough about it. You see it in everyday life, in how we abuse transportation, heating, waste management, and so on,” says the professor of management at Ohio State University’s Max M. Fisher College of Business. “If a top-down approach doesn’t work, we need to go bottom-up. We really need to act.”
Robert Nason, 38, the William Dawson Scholar at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, agrees. He asserts that businesses and organizations must own their role in society, and work themselves to change their own harmful actions.
Johannes Stroebel, NYU Stern
“We have to stop pretending that business is some kind of separate sphere from politics or social life. Organizations are embedded within society – their actions shape society and society shapes them,” he says. “You see a lot of organizations today who are now being forced to grapple with societal issues that they once considered to be outside of the corporate domain. Not only environmentalism, but also racism, misogyny, and inequality. Organizations need to realize that even though they didn’t talk about these issues in the boardroom, they have long been complicit in them and need to own their role in designing solutions to address them.”
Finally, Alison Jing Xu, 39, would like to see both businesses and business schools “being driven by a force for the greater good,” says the associate professor. “These are also the goals actively pursued by Carlson School of Management.”
PRESENTING THE 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS OF 2022
Poets&Quants congratulates each man and woman in this year’s crop of 40-Under-40 MBA professors. No matter what they study, the courses they teach, or where they work, all are among the most promising young professors tasked with transferring their knowledge and experience to promising young professionals embarking on their careers.
U. David Park, Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management
Their profiles on the following pages reveal the professors’ anxieties, triumphs, and personalities. In their answers to our questions, the professors are candid, funny, and insightful. They tell us about their favorite type of MBA student, as well as what they would be doing if they weren’t B-school professors. (For Christopher Myers, 34, of Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School, he’d be a stand-up comedian: “Though based on how my jokes go over in class, my students would probably say it is a good thing the professor option worked out for me!”)
They also talk about their research in AI-human interaction, machine learning, and so many other topics at the cutting-edge of business. We’ll write about this more thoroughly in the coming weeks.
We encourage you to make the time to read about each and every one of this year’s honorees. To end each profile, we ask professors to finish the following prompt: “I am grateful for …”
“Everything. So much to be thankful for,” answers U. David Park, 38, assistant professor at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “Thanks, P&Q for the 40 under 40. I “grew” up reading the 40 under 40 articles and admiring great professors on the list when I was in my PhD program. It feels unreal that my name is on this list. I am honored and humbled.”
10 YEARS OF P&Q’s 40-UNDER-40
In 10 years, we’ve honored 400 up-and-coming star MBA professors as part of our popular 40-Under-40 honor roll. You can see winners from our past nine editions by clicking the years below.
Nominations will open for the 2023 list late this fall. Please keep an eye out at Poets&Quants.com as well as on our various newsletters and social media platforms for the start of our open nomination period. We don’t invite individual schools to participate, but open the contest to all who want to nominate an MBA professor, whether it be students, faculty, deans or schools themselves via our website.
See the next page for the list of all 40-under-40 business school professors for 2022.
THE BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS OF 2022
Leading People and Organizations
Saint Joseph’s University, Haub School of Business
Alba Graduate Business School, The American College of Greece
Operations Management; AI and Analytics for Managers
Entrepreneurship and the Business Plan
University College London, UCL School of Management
University of Exeter Business School
Leading Self & Organizations
Leading People & Change
University College London, UCL School of Management
Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management
Entrepreneurial Thinking and New Venture Creation
Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School
Leadership Development, Organizational Behavior
Leadership in Organizations
Leading and Managing Teams
Opportunity Recognition and Ideation
University of Reading, Henley Business School
Leading for Impact
Macroeconomics and Political Economy
IAE Paris Sorbonne Business School
Strategy, Data Analytics
Universidad Espíritu Santo-Ecuador
Strategic Management and Research Methodology
Cybersecurity Law & Policy
Analytics I & II, Quantitative Digital Marketing
MBA start competition and Family Business
Strategy and Innovation
Machine Learning for Business, Business Intelligence and Analytics
Online Environments, Information & Technology Management
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