2020 Best Undergraduate Professors: Matthew Hashim, University of Arizona Eller College of Management

Matthew Hashim of the University of Arizona Eller College of Management is a 2020 Poets&Quants Best Undergraduate Business School Professor

Matthew Hashim

Associate Professor of MIS

Eller College of Management, The University of Arizona

Matthew Hashim is an award-winning professor of management information systems at the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Hashim teaches the college’s main undergraduate management information systems course — Managing Information Systems. Hashim has received the Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at the Eller College twice and the Eller College Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Faculty award and Eller Undergraduate Faculty Member of the Year award.

Like others on this year’s list, Hashim’s path to becoming a business school professor began from a chance encounter. Years after graduating from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Hashim bumped into a former MIS professor at a business mixer for information systems professionals. “I was working in IT and information security for a local firm and reconnected with him at the event. After we caught up, he invited me to apply to teach a class at Cal Poly as an adjunct lecturer,” Hashim says. “It was immediately apparent after teaching that class that I needed to be back in a university environment as a full-time faculty member.”

Hashim moved his family from the West Coast to Purdue University in Indiana, earned his Ph.D. and has since been at the Eller College at the University of Arizona.

Current age: 42

At current institution since what year? 2011

Education: Ph.D. Purdue University, MBA California State University Fresno, B.S. California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo

List of courses you currently teach: Using and Managing Information Systems (multiple sections; ~220 students each section)


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…

I bumped into one of my former MIS professors at a business mixer for information systems professionals in San Luis Obispo, CA. I was working in IT and information security for a local firm and reconnected with him at the event. After we caught up, he invited me to apply to teach a class at Cal Poly as an adjunct lecturer. It was immediately apparent after teaching that class that I needed to be back in a university environment as a full-time faculty member. I had been in industry for a number of years by then, so it was a risk for me and my family for me to change careers and join a doctoral program. Looking back, it was the right choice and I would not change my decision to join academia. Plus, I have been able to use my prior work experience in the classroom as well as in my research.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?

One of my current areas of interest is social engineering (i.e., human hacking). Technology vulnerabilities will always exist, but many of us believe humans are the weakest link threatening information security. My colleagues and I are trying to understand why humans fall for social engineering, and have been conducting randomized experiments accordingly (and yes, our experiments have been approved by the institutional review board). We have been doing in-person elicitation of private information, elicitation of passwords, and manipulation of rogue Wi-Fi hotspots. One of our early results is surprising, in that 18% of individuals willingly provide private information to our social engineers, with nearly 30% of those victims providing extremely sensitive and identifiable private information. Further, it turns out that the chance of winning a pizza dinner results in more personally identifiable information gathered in comparison to the chance at winning an iPad. We are also gathering qualitative insights during this research to assist individuals in how to deal with social engineers. The research is still early and needs significant development, but we hope to make a strong impact for both individuals and industry.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… a really terrible professional soccer player. I absolutely love the beautiful game, but knee injuries (and lack of skill) forced me into retirement 🙂 Otherwise, I don’t have a great answer to this question as I love being an academic and the work that I do each day.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?

My interest in and ability to connect with students. To be effective in an undergraduate classroom, I believe it is important to convince students that the content is relevant and will have a positive impact on their careers, regardless of their major. My feeling is the students appreciate my efforts to connect with them, and they respond in kind with active class discussions and by stepping outside of their comfort zone when it comes to learning new technology. Classroom engagement improves and we all win by having a responsive, inclusive, and fun learning environment.

One word that describes my first time teaching: amped – the first time I taught in a large lecture hall I made the mistake of walking down the stairs from the top of the auditorium to the bottom. It was nerve-racking feeling like the students were watching me the whole way down the stairs, but I settled into the content after a few minutes and had an amazing time.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:

I wish I would have known more about the complexities involved with business schools. Obviously, early-career faculty should focus on their research and their teaching to prove their abilities to the college and university. However, beyond that we all need to make sure we are breaking out of our comfort zones and engaging with initiatives across the college. One simple win that we’ve had at Eller in the last year is making a concerted effort to link technology usage and problem-solving skills across the curriculum, so that we can effectively build on student experiences. It is challenging to retool coursework and expectations across majors and faculty from every department, but the end result is better for students, faculty, and future employers. Thankfully, our college leadership and Eller professional development center has advocated successfully for each of the constituents, and we have made amazing progress as a college in just one year of work!

Professor I most admire and why:

I have a lot of respect and admiration for my colleague Joe Valacich. As I enter the middle part of my career, I have learned a ton from him as regards the complete picture of being an academic. He is selfless to his colleagues regarding his service to the department, college, and university. He is an award-winning teacher and delivers a great product to his students. He is a prolific scholar and one of the best researchers in our field. He is a successful entrepreneur and has been working on commercializing his research. Lastly, he is a great colleague and friend, and I am lucky to be his office neighbor.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

I enjoy the variety of interests and experiences that business students bring to the class. It is one thing to work diligently and learn the content. It is something entirely different to observe the students processing the content and applying it to what they perceive as important for their future. They keep me on my toes!

What is most challenging?

Building on the last question, appealing to the diverse interests and experiences of our students is most challenging. It takes significant work to bring variety and relevance to the content that I am covering, otherwise, the students are only memorizing facts and figuring out the steps to solve a problem. So, if I am to push them towards application, synthesis, and other higher levels of learning, I need to help the students to make the connections between the content and what they find personally important. It takes work, but I love observing the “a-ha” moment that happens each semester when we hit the mark successfully.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious – it is most rewarding to interact with curious students. When students display curiosity, they ask questions, engage in discussion, and not only enhance my experience, but also the learning for the whole class. I acknowledge that it is intimidating to speak up in class, but curiosity can also manifest in small group discussions, office hours, and hallway chats.

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Effort – as in lack of effort. I understand that not everyone appreciates the class, and some would rather be elsewhere. But lack of effort draws the energy from other students and has the potential to harm other’s outcomes.

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair. I make a point to listen to concerns and treat every student in a fair manner. Accordingly, accommodations and changes are made when necessary that are fair for all students. It is certainly administratively challenging, especially with more than 400 students in a semester, but I think all appreciate that they have the same chance as others at earning their desired grade.


What are your hobbies?

Playing sports with my 4 kids (especially soccer), mountain biking, and working on my cars.

How will you spend your summer?

Well, this is an interesting summer due to COVID-19. I had planned to teach in the Eller Global Cohort in Lisbon, Portugal. Instead, I’ll be teaching a course online, working on my research, and having fun with the kids.

Favorite place(s) to vacation:

My favorite place to vacation is in the mountains. I enjoy camping in the tall trees at higher elevations to escape summer heat, but my favorite place in the world is Yosemite, California. There is a small town on the way to Yosemite Valley called Wawona that is beautiful, simple, and quiet. The town has blacksmiths, a covered bridge, horse-drawn wagons, and an ice-cold river. Perfect!

Favorite book(s): The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?

I have really enjoyed The Expanse series recently. I haven’t read the books, but I find the storyline fascinating in the way science fiction is linked with tension and interactions among the groups in the series. It is really well done and would recommend it to any fan of the science fiction genre.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?

I find myself listening to EDM, such as deadmau5, Skrillex, and Marshmello. I often wear headphones when writing and the rhythmic beats don’t require too much thinking or mental processing. It also doesn’t make me sleepy like other types of calming music, so it works for me.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Students of all majors would have increased technology problem-solving skills because of their work with data embedded throughout the curriculum. We are doing a great job moving that direction at Eller, and we will continue to prepare our students for the modern workforce.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Engaging with the business school by sharing problems that students and faculty can work on together. We already do much of this with case competition and other projects, but when companies become more connected to the school the students gain better real-world experiences. Professors can also lend research expertise to help solve open research questions for organizations. Note, we already do both of these things, but there is always room to do more.

I’m grateful for… I am most grateful for my wife, Allie, as she has been incredibly encouraging and was supportive of my desire to go back to graduate school and become an academic. I am also grateful for my department head, Sue Brown, as she helped guide me through the challenges of being a junior faculty member. I am also grateful for my doctoral program advisors, and especially Karthik Kannan, as he challenged me to push myself more than I thought possible.

Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:

“Matt Hashim, or Dr. H as he’s known to the students, is one of those natural-born educators. He finds ways to connect with the students – maybe by bringing sports into the conversation or talking about his family – he does things that highlight what a genuine person he is. He’s also not afraid to laugh at himself. Between his passion for the topic and his down-to-earth nature, it’s no wonder students in his classes learn a lot and have a positive experience!” – Sue Brown, Professor of MIS and MIS Department Head

“As a professor, Matt is constantly engaging with students both in and out of the classroom. He is unique in the sense that he is consistently looking for ways to improve his class and help make his students more attractive to potential employers. He has also been an invaluable asset to Eller’s newly formed Technology and Innovation Team. In his role as the head of the upper level courses he has provided valuable insights to our team and has helped shaped our initiative that is meant to incorporate more technology into the Eller experience. He is a great professor and an even better individual. I consider myself lucky to be able to work with him on a consistent basis.” – Gray Hunter, Lecturer in Economics

“Anyone who has taken a class from Dr. Hashim can attest to his exceptional teaching ability. Having had the fortunate opportunity to work with him outside of the classroom, I can also confirm his ability to coach, mentor, and inspire students to reach their full potential. His excitement about his research and field of study has had a positive impact on students and the Eller College of Management as a whole. As business students know, building a network is everything…and Dr. Hashim is someone you want to be in yours.” – Kaeli Otto ’20 BSBA (MIS)

“Dr. Hashim was one of the most engaging professors I have ever had. He really took the time and effort to make sure each one of his 300+ students was gaining valuable insight from his class.” – Osaso Ighodaro ’21 BSBA (finance & business economics)

“Matt Hashim has been an asset to the Eller College since he joined us as an assistant professor in 2011. In the last year, he has been co-leader of our transformational Technology and Innovation Team at the undergraduate level, which is helping raise the bar for business education in the 21st century. Well-regarded by students and peers alike, Matt is both a promising educator and researcher.” – Paulo B. Goes, dean and Halle Chair in Leadership

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