P&Q’s 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors Of 2024

The lives of Jun Li and Andrew Wu are linked by many “boths.”

Both are accomplished professors at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. They are researchers at the top of their fields, winning multiple honors for their work. Both were finalists for Financial Times Research Impact awards.

Both earned their PhDs at The Wharton School. It’s where they met, actually. Li noticed Wu staring at her from across a Philadelphia bar and asked if he knew her. They didn’t realize they were in the same program until they got to talking.

Both are parents to four and six year olds about to turn into five and seven year olds.

And today, both are featured on Poets&Quants’ annual list of the 40 best MBA professors under the age of 40. It’s the first time (we think) we have featured a married couple in the same year, both selected on their individual accomplishments and merits.

“It is beyond our expectations, really exciting,” Li tells P&Q. “Thinking about all these years working together – both as family and partners – it is really rewarding. I tell people all the time that Andrew is the best co-author I’ve ever had.”

More on that a little later.

34 SCHOOLS FROM 9 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED

We at Poets&Quants are proud to announce our collection of the 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors for 2024. This is the 12th 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.

Federica De Stefano, HEC Paris

Professors on this year’s list come from 34 different business schools. That includes 15 schools outside of the United States, more than in any other year. The United Kingdom has the most professors outside the USA at five, while France has three and Spain has two. The list also includes professors from China, India, Italy, Mexico, and the Netherlands.

Five schools have two professors each:

  • Kelley School of Business, Indiana University
  • Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

We also honor 21 exceptional women, the most we’ve ever recognized in a single year. Included is Federica De Stefano, 36, Assistant Professor of Management and Human Resources at HEC Paris.

She was diagnosed with cancer for the first time in her early 20s, one week after graduating with her Master of Science. As a research assistant at Bocconi University, she started reading research on work, careers, and human resources. That’s when she knew she wanted to be a business professor.

“That research had a tremendous impact on my ability to navigate that phase of my life in an informed way. It answered some of my questions and left me with some more. I therefore decided that I wanted to find those answers to support people like me in navigating their work life, and that a business school was the right place to develop and share knowledge on this topic,” she says.

“As a survivor, I’m grateful for the so many amazing humans who have made this possible, giving me time and space to recover. I’m grateful for the other survivors I’ve met and who don’t cease to inspire me. I’m grateful for my mentors and co-authors who have been kind, patient, and not giving up on me. I’m grateful for the institutional and human support of my colleagues at HEC Paris during my disease and recovery. I’m eternally grateful for the unwavering support of my family and my beloved partner, who never gets tired of reminding me that ‘we’re going to be fine.’”

FIRSTS, YOUNGESTS & RISING STARS

At Poets&Quants, we love a good trailblazer. Along with our first married pair of professors, 2024 has several examples of the youngests, the firsts, and the rising stars.

Jennifer N. Wynn, 39, is the first Black woman to be a full-time faculty member at NYU Stern School of Business. She is the creator of the popular Stern courses Difficult Conversations and Inclusive Conversations.

Oliver Hauser, Exeter University

At 35, Oliver Hauser is the youngest full professor at Exeter University in England. He is a Professor of Economics and interim co-director of the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. He’s also faculty affiliate at Harvard University’s Sustainability, Transparency and Accountability Research Initiative. Outside of the business school, he’s served as advisors to the UK Cabinet Office; the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology; and BBC Children in Need.

“Oliver is the rare academic professor with such deep and meaningful insight into the world of practice that the students in his classroom actually feel like they are in the middle of real-world situations,” says Siri Chilazi, a researcher at Harvard University.

And Corrine Low, 39, is the first out, queer woman of color to receive tenure at The Wharton School. She created the popular “Economics of Diversity and Discrimination” course, a core part of the new DEI major.

“Professor Low’s class is one of the most impactful that I’ve taken at Wharton. It has prompted the most (and some of the most thought-provoking) conversations with classmates/friends/family outside of the classroom,” writes student Genny Silva.

Agni Orfanoudaki, Associate Professor of Operations Management at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, is the youngest entrant on this year’s list at 29. The average age of all professors is 36.6.

PROFESSORS AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF RESEARCH

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, etc. Others engage directly with the biggest problems of the day.

Darden’s Gaurav Chiplunkar is analyzing a dataset with billions of individuals across 90 countries and spanning five decades. He’s looking to understand how economic development affects people’s movement through the work force.

Rahul Bhui, MIT Sloan School of Management

“Our findings reveal a striking narrative: while traditional economic progress has seen men migrating from agriculture to manufacturing and services, women, in contrast, are more likely to exit the labor force altogether before re-entering at higher levels of economic development, and often within the service sector,” Chiplunkar says. “Despite significant advancements over these decades, women continue to be disproportionately relegated to clerical and secretarial roles, with managerial positions remaining elusive, even in the most developed nations.”

In his research, Jermain Kaminski of Maastricht University School of Business and Economics combines methods from machine learning and natural language processing with a specific focus on large text, audio and video data in entrepreneurship. He is a co-founder and co-chair of the Causal Data Science Meeting.

And Rahul Bhui combines cognitive science, computational neuroscience, and behavioral economics in his research to reveal the deep unifying principles that capture both rationality and irrationality. He is an Assistant Professor of Marketing as well as the Class of 1958 Career Development Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

“My goal is to unravel a paradox of human nature: how can we be so smart and so stupid at the same time? Yes, this is a serious question,” Bhui says.

HOW WE PICKED THEM

Overall, we received more than 1,000 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.

Jun Li and Andrew Wu, both professors at Ross School of Business were married in 2014. They met in their PhD programs at The Wharton School. Courtesy photo

ABOUT THAT ‘BEST CO-AUTHOR EVER’

Together, Li and Wu have published four papers. Now that their kids are starting school, they expect that number to pick up.

Their first paper on companies adopting ESG and its impact on society took just one month – from ideation, to finishing the paper, to sending it off to the journal. They talked about it on the way to work, at work, and they talked about it on the way home. They didn’t have to wait for email replies or meeting schedules because the other was typically right there or in the next room.

“I have no other project ever beat that,” Li says.

Both Li and Wu say they have found a home at Ross. A place where they are supported, have inspirational mentors, and teach highly impressive students.

“Ross is a school of explorers, innovators, and risk takers – both faculty and students,” Wu says.

Students are out there building companies and raising tens of millions of dollars. Engineers and other disciplines are teaming up with Ross students to build out their inventions. When Wu wanted to start a new FinTech program upon joining Ross back in 2016 – before Bitcoin was a thing – the school said go for it. Ross was one of the first B-schools to offer FinTech on a large scale.

“And now we’re doing the same thing for generative AI,” Wu says. “I said, we’ve got to integrate this thing into our business education; it’s going to be tremendously transformative.

“I think both of us are now engaged with building out the next chapter of integrating generative AI into the classroom and also in research.”

NEXT PAGE: The entire roster of P&Q’s 2024 40-Under-40 Best MBA Professors

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