Clinical Associate Professor of Management
Krannert School of Management, Purdue University
For Amy David, her career as a business school professor began on a flight.
“I was boarding a flight with a friend who turned to me and said, ‘I wonder how Southwest charges so much less than other airlines,’ prompting me to turn the flight time into a two-hour lesson on operations management,” David says. “I realized that I really enjoyed explaining my field to a layperson with little prior knowledge and that it came very easily to me.”
A professor of management at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, David’s research is fascinating and unique — she researches the impact of the arts in business education.
“We found that exposure to live theatre can influence business school students to make more ethical business decisions,” she says. “This is really interesting, as business schools constantly hear from employers about the importance of soft skills and character, but at the same time, cost pressures in higher education limit the resources allocated to the humanities.”
That fascinating research with some strong nominations from current and former students easily landed David on this year’s list.
Current age: 37
At current institution since what year? 2014
Education: Ph.D.: Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, University of Illinois – Chicago
MBA: Lake Forest Graduate School of Management
BS: General Engineering, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
List of courses you currently teach:
Introduction to Supply Chain Management
Manufacturing Planning and Control
Global Supply Chain Management
Experiential Learning in Operations Management
TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was boarding a flight with a friend who turned to me and said, “I wonder how Southwest charges so much less than other airlines,” prompting me to turn the flight time into a two-hour lesson on operations management. I realized that I really enjoyed explaining my field to a layperson with little prior knowledge and that it came very easily to me.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
I’ve been doing research on the impact of the arts in business education, and we found that exposure to live theatre can influence business school students to make more ethical business decisions. This is really interesting, as business schools constantly hear from employers about the importance of soft skills and character, but at the same time, cost pressures in higher education limit the resources allocated to the humanities.
If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Working in a supply chain technology role.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
I worked in industry prior to getting my Ph.D., and I have a lot of knowledge about how it really feels to be in an entry-level job, to be a new manager, to be on the hiring side, etc. I bring this to my students and it enhances what they are learning in the classroom.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Sweaty
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: You can change your syllabus mid-term if you must. It’s better to make changes than to remain committed to something that isn’t working.
Professor I most admire and why: Pietra Rivoli, at Georgetown. Her book, “The Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy” has influenced me a lot, and she has done a lot of work to bring attention to social justice issues in the global supply chain.
TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
Business students are good at seeing the “big picture” and understanding links across disciplines – I teach supply chain and operations, but that’s important whether a student intends to pursue marketing, finance, strategy, human resources, etc..
What is most challenging?
Students are often set on careers at companies with big consumer name, and it can be a challenge to point them towards a broader range of opportunities and help them find a career path that is right for them, regardless of brand prestige.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Well-balanced
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Cheater
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Most interested in thinking processes – most of my assignments require an explanation of what a student/team did and why, rather than just calculations.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies?
I play on the local roller derby team, and I love reading fiction – especially Afrofuturism and Magical Realism
How will you spend your summer?
I have a variety of teaching projects in progress: advising students in their summer internships, teaching a portion of Krannert’s Empowering Women in Business course for high schoolers, and preparing courses for the launch of our online MS in Global Supply Chain Management next spring.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: I’ve only been there once, but I’m really glad I got to visit Cuba before travel from the US became restricted again.
Favorite book(s): Citizen: An American Lyric, The Broken Earth Trilogy, Midnight’s Children
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
Pose, on FX. The cast is so, so talented.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?
I’m not much of a music person; on long car trips, you’ll find me listening mainly to podcasts.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Equity and justice for BIPOC students, staff, and faculty.
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Understanding the structural barriers that exist for members of marginalized groups and working to remove those barriers rather than occasionally helping one or two group members past them.
I’m grateful for… The opportunity to do a job I love.
Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:
“She is a fabulous instructor. She consistently receives exemplary scores from her students in regard to her teaching practices and her course overall is ranked one of the highest in the Krannert School of Management. She demonstrates leadership, kindness, innovation and support in her classroom and goes beyond what a normal professor would for their students. She has crafted a course where students are allowed to receive feedback and mentorship from former alumni of Purdue, as well as Pepsi-Co since she has partnered with them for the course in order for students to gain real-world experience. She is the ideal candidate for this award.”
“Dr. David has always striven to make her courses a more enriching learning experience. She incorporated case studies as a way for students to gain real-world practice. Dr. David’s classes allow students to engage with alumni which enhances students’ professional development early on in their college experience. Students have acquired summer internship and full time offers by taking her class. Furthermore, Dr. David’s course has been replicated by other universities.”
“In addition to her work to make an introductory supply chain course a semester-long case study, Professor David teamed with a faculty member in another area of campus to study how live theater can be used as a teaching tool in business ethics education. Students were asked to analyze the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy before and after attending a live performance of Frankenstein featuring related narrative themes; that is, how did Union Carbide abandon its responsibility to victims as Dr. Frankenstein turned his back on his creation? The pair found a significant difference in which parties students held responsible, what actions students think should have been taken and how cultural norms affect students’ perceptions of ethical obligations. Their findings were published in the Humanistic Management Journal special edition on the integration of the humanities and business.”
From a student email:
Hey Dr. David!
I really just wanted to take a second and thank you for this past semester in this course. I have gained a lot of knowledge, and I truly believe this course will help me in my future in the Supply Chain world. Before taking this class, I didn’t know exactly what Supply Chain was and if it was something I really wanted to do. Your class has confirmed I am in the right major, and has provided me with the base I need to continue at Krannert.
I hope you have a wonderful break! Thank you so much for the past semester!