2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Jūra Liaukonytė, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University

Jūra Liaukonytė

Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University 

“Professor Jūra Liaukonytė is a world-renowned professor who has a remarkable impact on students. In both of her popular undergraduate courses, she uses a creative combination of rigorous, innovative, and inclusive teaching strategies to infuse students with her expertise on how to uncover actionable insights from Big Data, quantify advertising impact, and incorporate insights from behavioral economics.” – Cornell University Charles H. Dyson School Awards Committee

Jūra Liaukonytė, 40, is a Dake Family Associate Professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. She has been with Dyson since 2009.

She has a PhD in Economics from the University of Virginia and a BS in Economics from Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. She currently teaches Economics of Advertising and Strategic Pricing.

Professor Liaukonytė’s students rave about how much they learn in her class, and she averages a 4.9 out of 5 on her course evaluations.  She is the recipient of a Young Faculty Teaching Excellence Award from Cornell along with several other teaching and research awards. 

“Professor Liaukonytė’s thoughtful teaching and advising have been instrumental in helping students develop skills critical for their careers, illuminate career interests and passions, and land internships and jobs,” writes the Cornell University Charles H. Dyson School Awards Committee in their nomination. “Her phenomenal, innovative, and incredibly thoughtful teaching make her extremely deserving of this honor.” 

Liaukonytė studies the intersection of applied microeconomics, industrial organization, and quantitative marketing. Her current research focuses on finding actionable insights from Big Data and quantifying advertising impacts on consumer choice. Her work has been featured in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, and published in prominent journals such as Marketing Science, Annual Review of Resource Economics, and RAND Journal of Economics.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized that professors mostly get to create their own research paths. Being a professor is not only about knowing the existing answers, but also it is about pushing the knowledge frontier.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Most of my research and teaching is focused on advertising and pricing questions.  In one stream of research, I try to uncover insights from big data and quantify advertising’s impact on various outcomes. In one recent paper, my co-author and I documented a predictable pattern between real-time investor exposure to TV ads and subsequent retail stock trading. We found that immediately after an ad there’s a spike in searches for the advertiser’s financial info on Google and SEC EDGAR (a government site that hosts financial reports such as 10-Ks). We also showed that these searches translated to increased stock trading. For example, there was an increase in the number of investors holding the firm’s stock on Robinhood App immediately after the ad aired. This effect was especially strong after ads aired during live sporting events. This is somewhat unexpected because advertising is primarily intended for consumers, not investors. 

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Probably an anthropology professor.  I love traveling and learning about different cultures and understanding what historical, political, geographic, and other factors influenced these very diverse cultural paths. 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I get really excited about ideas. I was told that I bring that enthusiasm into the classroom when I share those ideas.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Excited

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That I will have to update a significant amount of my teaching materials every year. Of course, this is a self-imposed requirement as I try to bring the most relevant material to my students. Both general topics that I teach (advertising and pricing) are experiencing rapid changes—both technological and in the channels through which they operate and reach potential customers—that I need to keep track of. I also try to bring the frontier of academic scholarship into the classroom. 

Professor I most admire and why: I admire many many professors. But if I had to single out any, those would be Catherine Tucker (MIT) and Avi Goldfarb (Toronto). Both are intellectual powerhouses bringing insights from multiple disciplines to push our field forward.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The diversity of backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences that students bring to the classroom discussions. At the end of a lecture, it’s not only students who learned something new; I typically learn from them as well.   

What is most challenging? Probably grading.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Inquisitive

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student:  Disengaged

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… I would like to think that they would describe me as fair.


What are your hobbies? Traveling, eating local food, cooking.

How will you spend your summer? Usually, I go to a rotation of European conferences during the summer and visit my family and friends in Europe.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: The next place that I have not been to before! More predictably, my family spends some time every summer on Cape Cod.

Favorite book(s): Since I read a lot for my work, I don’t have time to read much for pleasure. But I have been known to go down various Wikipedia rabbit holes.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I like absurdist humor. Anything from Monty Python to Portlandia.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? My taste in music is rather eclectic. But I suppose not a lot of people know this about me —  I really like electronic music. Recently I have been fascinated by some electro-folk artists.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…  Business education is not only about learning how to maximize the bottom lines of corporations, it can also be about using the same tools to help society, the environment and the world. At Dyson, we are striving to be that type of business school and try to embody our tagline “Our business is a better world” through teaching and research. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at Appropriately weighing short-term and long-term objectives. Employee retention and customer loyalty require investment that might not seem rational initially. 

I’m grateful for… I am grateful for winning a life lottery that endowed me with many privileges.  I try to be keenly aware of my privilege and pay it forward for those who are less privileged. “Lift as you climb” is the mantra I try to follow.



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