When Gorgi Krlev teaches sustainability to his MBA students at ESCP Business School in Paris, he takes a holistic approach. From understanding planetary boundaries to societal causes for our sustainability challenges, to developing effective solutions, he attacks the topic from a variety of interconnected, integrated viewpoints.
His course “not only covers the role of corporate responsibility but also deals with entrepreneurial approaches, civic engagement and policies—all of which are indispensable for a sustainable transformation,” he tells P&Q.
Krlev, 38, is an assistant professor of sustainability at ESCP. He knew he wanted to be a business professor when he realized that in order to move society from injustice to equity, from exclusion to cohesion, we need better research. His work has been honored with numerous awards including a First Prize from the Roman Herzog Institute for social impact research that matters to society.
“I have extensively studied social innovation and societal impact. One of my core arguments is that we fail to support either effectively if we try to understand them by way of their commercial counterparts. Instead, we need to remodel our mindsets, norms, and resources to cope with their inherent complexity and collaborative nature,” he says.
Krlev, one of Poets&Quants’ 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors of the Year, likes that he has a direct influence on the minds, deeds, and souls of future leaders. But, if he wasn’t a business professor, he likes to think he’d be running the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England, which has been closed since 2020.
“I would do it to preserve a place where academics can invest substantial amounts of time to think about their masterpiece. Just as the 12 years Tolkien spent working on the Lord of the Rings,” he says. “And undoubtedly, it would be great fun.”
THE LIST FEATURES 16 EXCEPTIONAL WOMEN
Today, Poets&Quants is proud to announce our collection of the 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors for 2023.
This is the 11th 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. We’ve highlighted 440 exceptional MBA professors to date.
Professors on this year’s list come from 36 different schools – the most of any year prior – including 11 international schools outside of the United States. Four schools have two professors each: UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business, Emory University Goizueta Business School, London Business School, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find myself surrounded by a diverse group of extremely talented nerds from every discipline under the sun, including ones from fields not traditionally associated with business such as psychology, sociology, anthropology, and even physics,” she says. “I realized that B-school is a great place for interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s kind of like the Avengers, but instead of saving the world, we are collaborating on scientific research!”
FIRSTS, YOUNGEST & RISING STARS
We at Poets&Quants love a good first, best, and other “ests,” and 2023’s list has several:
- Nilam Kaushik of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, is the first female professor in strategy at her school, and also the first professor from an Indian business school to make our 40-Under-40 honor roll.
- At 31, Anna Stansbury, Assistant Professor in Work and Organization Studies at MIT Sloan School of Management, is the youngest professor on the 2023 list. She studies how to make labor markets work better. If she had her way, business schools would require students to spend more time talking to and learning from frontline and low-wage workers.
- And Lindsey D. Cameron of The Wharton School almost certainly started teaching before any of her peers. Cameron went to college at age 15, and she taught her first college class at 16, guest lecturing to a graduate class on thermodynamics. If she weren’t a business school professor, Cameron tells P&Q she would be a writer or an acrobat.
Many of the professors on the list research the topics at the cutting-edge of business, technology and the future of work: AI, machine learning, sustainability, and more. Others engage directly with the biggest problems of the day.
For example, Anastassia Fedyk, 34, Assistant Professor of Finance at Haas School of Business, is co-leader of Economists for Ukraine, a group she founded in response to the Russian invasion of her native home. It informs policy on sanctions against Russia, spearheads plans for the reconstruction of Ukraine, supports Ukraine’s education sector, and organizes humanitarian aid on the ground.
“I am grateful for my Ukrainian heritage,” she tells P&Q. “Over the last year and a half, I have been incredibly proud to come from such a beautiful and resilient place.”
There’s also Joshua Becker, 37, whose research in collective intelligence tackles some of the planet’s most “wicked” problems. Think climate change or healthcare design – complex, almost unfathomable problems that involve both technical challenges and multiple stakeholders with competing needs and interests.
“This is a brand-new paradigm I’m developing, and the most exciting discovery so far is that we can apply the principles of collective intelligence to complex multi-party negotiations,” says Becker, an assistant professor at the UCL School of Management, University College London.
Being a business school professor is an opportunity to be a scientist without getting stuck in the ivory tower, he says. “Not only do I learn constantly from our incredible MBA students, but I also get to be out there in the world, actively promoting the use of effective and inclusive decision tools.”
HOW WE PICKED THEM
Overall, we received more than 1,500 nominations from students, colleagues, business schools, and professors themselves. P&Q’s editorial staff evaluated each nominee on teaching (given a 70% weight) and research (given the remaining 30% weight).
For teaching, we considered the nominations received — both quality and quantity. For example, if we received a hundred or more nominations for a professor but there was little substance to the nominations, they weren’t as likely to score as highly as the professor that received a dozen in-depth and thoughtful nominations. We also considered any teaching-related awards the professors have won.
For research, we looked at the volume and impact of the professor’s scholarly work. To do this we examined Google Citation numbers as well as major media attention received by the professor and his or her research work. Lastly, akin to teaching, we considered research awards and grants the professors have received.
We reviewed the Top 60 and consulted each editorial staff member before finalizing our Top 40.
Franklin Shaddy, 35, almost wasn’t a business professor at all. The Assistant Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making at UCLA Anderson School of Management was rejected from all the PhD programs he applied for the first time.
His secret to finally getting that acceptance? “Persistence something,” he tells P&Q. “Though remember survivorship bias anytime you hear that advice.”
If he hadn’t made it, he figures he’d be something boring like an investment banker or consultant. Less boring, he’d be a journalist.
We think he could try stand-up comedy – seriously, just read his profile. In fact, he thinks it’s his lame jokes that make him stand out as an MBA professor: “The trick is to explain them pedantically afterward. Two rounds of half-hearted laughs for the price of one.”
NEXT PAGE: The entire roster of P&Q’s 2023 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors
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