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MBA Professors To Look Out For—2018

With the academic year just starting, we tracked down the hottest new professors on MBA campuses around the world who should be on your radar

Mon Oct 15 2018


We all know a business school is nothing without its faculty of dedicated professors.

Research from QS suggests that almost half of all global MBA applicants consider a school’s reputation as a top reason for choosing one institution over another.

With MBA faculty sitting on the frontline of research and innovation, it’s no surprise that business schools hire only the best for their MBA programs.

So, who are the rising stars in the MBA world this year?

1. Jennifer Dannals, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business


Jennifer joined the MBA faculty at Tuck as assistant professor of business administration in July this year, after completing her PhD at Stanford.

With a background in psychology, her research focuses on how individuals interact with each other within groups, as well as how startups can be structured to improve performance—significant insights for any aspiring entrepreneur.

“A lot of research at Tuck is done at the organizational level, so my research compliments it,” Jennifer says. “But it also examines questions on a more interpersonal and psychological level.”

In her spare time, Jennifer says she enjoys baking—and aside from Tuck’s reputation for research and teaching, its location provides one other major advantage for her.

“Tuck is right across the river King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont, and that’s been lovely!”

2. Anastassia Fedyk, University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business


Originally from Ukraine, Anastassia majored in mathematics at university and joined the Berkeley faculty earlier this year as assistant professor of finance.

Finance runs in the family for Anastassia—her mother also a PhD from Berkeley in accounting, and Anastassia knew from an early age that she wanted to be a research economist.

But her research explores a much broader scope than simply economics. For example, she has done research on the correlation between financial news and trading prices, as well as more psychological research into procrastination and bias.

3. Paul Kitney, Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School


Paul joined CUHK this year after spending over 25 years working in investment banking in Asia. As well as preparing to teach his own MBA elective next year, Paul serves as chief equity strategist for Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

His previous pursuits include working as a hedge fund portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley and an investment strategist at Blackrock—so he’s bringing a wealth of financial experience to the MBA.

4. Roshni Raveendhran, University of Virginia Darden School of Business


Roshni has just joined the leadership and organizational behaviour department at Darden.

Her research focuses on the rise of new technologies in the workplace—an area she endeavours to make accessible for all, especially considering the increased use of technology in our daily lives.

In particular, Roshni examines how technological advancements influence workplace practices and the management of employees, providing insights on how managers can effectively utilize technology.

5. Karan Girotra, Cornell University Johnson Graduate School of Management


Karan joined Johnson Graduate School of Management in June last year as professor of operations, technology, and innovation. Before this, he served as professor of sustainable development at INSEAD.

Though he may be no stranger to MBA teaching, Karan’s current role is unique—he’s a faculty member at Cornell Tech, a department of Cornell that aims to fuse business teaching with technology. In the department, Karan teaches courses in the field of digital economy, as well as supervising student projects for Johnson’s dedicated technology MBA–so he’s at the...

ont of technological innovations in business.

Dean Mark Nelson states that it’s Karan’s fresh insights in the classroom that make him a valuable member of the faculty: “He’s really excited about what he’s doing in the classroom and in his research, and that’s what we look for in great faculty. That sort of enthusiasm is infectious."

6. John Heater, Duke University Fuqua School of Business


John holds a PhD in accounting from Yale and joined Fuqua School of Business in January 2018 as assistant professor of accounting.

John is bringing his unique corporate background in auditing to the MBA program at Fuqua, along with a few novel research areas.

For example, he’s currently investigating the relationship between CEOs and CFOs and has recently found evidence that CFOs hired by the CEO engage in practices that help the CEO increase their compensation. John says it’s important to bring current research like this into the MBA classroom.

“I’ve made sure to highlight to MBAs areas of financial reporting that involve high levels of discretion—we are teaching the managers of the future, and they should be aware of the areas in accounting that can be ethically challenging so that they can make the right choices,” John explains.

But John doesn’t leave this problem-solving mentality at the office—he comes from a family of mechanics and shares their love of automobiles. In the future, he plans to start a project car and rebuild it from the ground up.

7. Negin Golrezaei, MIT Sloan School of Management

Negin’s background is in electrical engineering, and she was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Google before joining Sloan this year.

As to the question of why she decided to go into teaching, she says that it was always in her blood—”I always wanted to become a professor. From an early age, I used to tutor my younger siblings.”

Negin is currently serving as an assistant professor in operations management at Sloan, and her research covers machine learning and mechanism design, specifically within applications to online marketplaces.

Her work has already been published in some of the world’s top journals, and she says that working at Sloan is the perfect place to put her research into practice.

“Ironically, I developed a passion for research while interning at Google during my PhD studies. It was there that I could see the immediate impact of my expertise and research. I learned firsthand that research can be a very powerful tool in advancing new technology by providing practical insights.”

As to her future at Sloan—what would she like to achieve there? Negin says she’d love to make an impact on the number of women going into technological industries.

“Many technical fields including operations management suffer from the lack of female faculties. Reflecting upon this, I have been motivated to serve as a mentor for other female students—by sharing my passion and achievements in my career, I would like to motivate them to pursue high-impact research in this area.”

8. Maria Ibanez, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management


Maria is new to the MBA faculty at Kellogg this academic year, and was previously a doctoral candidate at Harvard, where she also taught on the core Technology and Operations Management course on the MBA program.

Her primary research focus is healthcare, where she is investigating how data-driven systems can lead individuals to make better decisions—a crucial field of research considering today’s innovations in healthcare technology.

9. John Wisneski, Arizona State University W. P. Carey School of Business


Since joining W. P. Carey in 2017 as faculty director of the MBA program John has made waves, transforming its curriculum and introducing new aspects to the student experience.

One of these is Camp Carey, a yearly three-day trip that all incoming MBA students participate in as part of their program. Though a similar program had previously existed at W. P. Carey, John felt it his duty to reinvigorate the experience and make it a staple of the full-time MBA program.

Kay Faris, the senior associate dean of W. P. Carey, says that John has brought a number of positive changes to the program, including revisiting the program curriculum and updating it. “He is very interested in the student experience and culture while students are in the program. He believes in the students, and he conveys that to them."

What does John say is the secret to his success?

“I just moved to Arizona last year and I’ve really taken up hiking—it’s one of my passions now. I come back from those hikes so much more mentally and physically prepared and it’s made a big difference!”

10. Barbara Biasi, Yale School of Management


Barbara’s research into the economics of education perfectly aligns with Yale’s interests—the student-run Education Leadership Conference has been held at Yale School of Management for 11 years. Despite this, she says she’s one of the only professors directly researching this area.

“This makes it an exciting place for me to be,” Barbara says. “I hope, with my research, to contribute to an already lively atmosphere and to spark even more interest in this field.”

Most recently, Barbara has focused her research on teacher salaries, attempting to answer the question of whether performance-based pay improves teaching in school districts.

Being on the cutting-edge of economic research can be exhausting—so how does Barbara like to relax?

“The days of an assistant professor are usually pretty full, but I like to start my days running or doing yoga, and I am an avid reader of all sorts of novels," she says. "Oh, and my fiance is trying to convince me to take piano classes. Let’s see if he’ll manage to persuade me!” 

11. Elizabeth Baily Wolf, INSEAD


Elizabeth began at INSEAD last academic year as assistant professor of organisational behaviour, and since then her unique research has made an impact on both the staff and students in the MBA program.

“I think one thing that stands out is the rapport that she’s able to build with her students,” remarks Professor Mark Mortensen, chair of organizational behaviour at INSEAD.

“Her very first time in the INSEAD classroom, which is not always the most forgiving environment, her evaluations were stellar,” Mark continues. “Some people said, ‘three hours just flew by and it never felt like a drag or like it was work, it was just really interesting—she got us involved and really pushed us.’”

And what is she like outside of the office? Mark says that Elizabeth’s infectious enthusiasm for her work filters into the faculty as well.

“My sense is that she’s the same in the classroom as outside, she has that same level of excitement and engagement,” he says. “Elizabeth is just one of those people that you like to be around, she always has a smile, and that really makes her a delight to work with.”

12. Michael Anthonisz, Durham University Business School


Though Michael is new to MBA teaching, he has more than 17 years of experience of working in education around the world, having lived in the UK, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates.

It’s this international experience that makes Michael a great addition to the MBA faculty at Durham—the diversity of his experience helps him to bring unique perspectives to his area of expertise, marketing.

However, Michael’s experiences range far beyond the sphere of education. He has previously consulted on projects including for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Manchester City Football Club, and prior to joining the world of academia worked as a chef and hotel manager for seven years.

13. Antonio Ghezzi, MIP Politecnico di Milano


Antonio is a real MIP veteran—he completed his undergraduate, Masters, and PhD degrees at MIP Politecnico di Milano.

Though he has been teaching in various Bachelors and Masters programs at the university since 2014, this was the year he moved into teaching on the prestigious MBA program.

Antonio has recently been appointed co-director of a new course entitled ‘Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Startups’, which was organized alongside Polihub, a startup incubator in Milan. He is also the new director of MIP’s Master in Startups Development and currently researches how startups are innovating their business models—so he’s ready to prepare MBA students at MIP for their own ventures in the future.

14. Nick Lovegrove, Georgetown University McDonough School of Business


Despite only starting at McDonough this year, Nick has worked in consulting for over 30 years, including at McKinsey. He also has a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and an MBA from INSEAD.

So what made him go into teaching on an MBA program?

“During my time at McKinsey, I did a lot of work in personal development, teaching aspiring professionals,” Nick says. “When I left in 2012 I went back to the Kennedy School to do some research that led to a book, and I participated in a number of teaching seminars and workshops there. That’s what gave me the bug for this!”

Nick has also written a book on what he calls tri-sector leadership, the three main sectors of the economy: government, business, and the nonprofit sector. He’s bringing his current research to the MBA program at McDonough, through an elective he’s currently teaching which blends classroom learning with more experiential tasks.

“We’re leading a live case study with the Washington Metro which is obviously a public sector body but with a strong private sector orientation,” Nick says.

Overall, Nick is relishing the opportunity to teach the next generation of leaders. “My hobby has been, until relatively recently, researching and teaching,” he says. “Now I’ve made it my job, which I suppose is what you always hope you can do.”

15. Valentina Assenova, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School


Valentina joined Wharton in 2017 but started teaching social entrepreneurship on the MBA program this year.

Her background is in economics, and she has plenty of experience in the sector as she was assistant vice president at Bank of America Merrill Lynch for almost four years. Aside from her teaching responsibilities at Wharton, she is also on the editorial board of the California Management Review. 

And her research is just as varied—she has investigated the future of crowdfunding, as well as physical music piracy.

16. Ashley Martin, Stanford Graduate School of Business


Ashley only recently began teaching at Stanford this year, but has brought a unique, and socially significant, research interest with her.

She completed a PhD in Management from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University, in which she specialized in the effects of diverse ideologies in the workplace.

More recently, Ashley has completed research investigating how ‘blindness’ to gender differences effects women’s confidence and behaviour in a workplace.

17. Colleen Cunningham, London Business School


Colleen is bringing a unique industry background to LBS. Namely, in healthcare policy.

She is currently an assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the business school and specializes in an important sector—healthcare innovation. Prior to joining the world of academia, Colleen worked as a health policy researcher as well as a consultant for the Government of British Colombia.

18. Marc Torrens, ESADE


Marc has taken a slightly unusual route into academia. He has a PhD in artificial intelligence and has spent the 20 years since finishing his degree creating startups around AI—some of which are now world-renowned.

Strands Inc., a fintech company which Marc co-founded in 2004, now works with the world’s top banks, including Deutsche Bank, Santander, and BNP Paribas.

As chief innovation and product officer at the company, Marc has been focused on growing the company and discovering innovations in artificial intelligence tech.

He now brings his wealth of knowledge to ESADE, where he was appointed an associate professor in the department of operations, innovation, and data sciences just this September.

Luis Vives, associate dean of the full-time MBA at ESADE, says Marc’s appointment brings a host of new innovations to the already established MBA department at the school.

“Marc decided that he wanted to pursue a career that empowered him to think out of the box and break new grounds. His next step is to bring all his passion and state-of-the-art knowledge in artificial intelligence to ESADE to develop brilliant executives and entrepreneurs that transform the world in which we live. Exciting times ahead!”

19. Gang Zhang, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business


Gang Zhang is new to CKGSB this academic year and joins the school as an assistant professor of economics.

He specializes in macroeconomics and has previously researched the economic divide between integrated and less integrated countries.

He has also interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in the US, and was a research fellow at Inter-American Development Bank.

20. Ali Sanati, American University Kogod School of Business


Ali joined Kogod this year as an assistant professor in finance. Aside from his PhD in the subject from the University of Minnesota, Ali has plenty of real-world financial experience to bring to the MBA program at Kogod.

He was previously a financial analyst with IrFinance Group, and he co-founded his own engineering firm in Tehran after gaining his degree in mechanical engineering—so you know that he'll be bringing his own practical applications to teaching finance.