Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School
“Professor Vittert cuts right through the core concepts of the curriculum with multiple real-life examples and a focus on making sure her students know the reasons behind what they are learning. From enabling creative freedom in projects to further developing students’ skillset, professor Vittert is highly engaged and leaves students with a solid understanding of topics.” – Aviral Asthana, student
Liberty Vittert, 33, is a professor of the practice of data science at Olin Business School where she’s been since 2019.
She has a PhD in statistics from the University of Glasgow, a Diplome de Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and a BSc in mathematics from MIT.
She is a regular contributor to television, radio, podcast media, appearing on the BBC, ITV, PBS, and FNC. She also has her own cooking show, “Liberty’s Great American Cookbook,” which airs in Scotland. She is a regular opinion editorial contributor for the Fox News Channel, and has been featured in Popular Science, US News, Newsweek, Business Insider, International Business Times and more. Her book, “30-Second Data Science: The 50 Key Principles and Innovations in the Field of Data Gather,” was released in 2020.
She is a Royal Statistical Society Ambassador, a BBC Expert Woman, and an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute. Vittert is also a senior fellow at the Harvard Data Science Initiative and the feature editor of the Harvard Data Science Review.
LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized the incredible base that Olin gives to all students for both their careers and life in general. I wanted to be a small part of that!
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Facial shape analysis is my research field and the most exciting thing we have done is find ways to make the lives of children with facial deformities and their families have a better quality of life.
If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A food taste tester (you could still convince me if there are any job openings.)
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I’m not sure I would say I stand out but I do my best and try very hard to make every class worthwhile to the student with Olin’s ethics of data driven and values based by giving real-life examples of every single methodological/theory piece we do. And I really the subject so hopefully students can see that enthusiasm
One word that describes my first time teaching: Terrified
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Getting to teach these students is the greatest gift- enjoy it.
Professor I most admire and why: Professor Adrian Bowman, my PhD supervisor and a more generous, kind and wholly good man doesn’t exist.
TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Their curiosity!
What is most challenging? Also their curiosity! Sometimes I have to spend hours researching to find the answers to their (very smart) questions!
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: The ones that are as enthusiastic as I am about the subject, not necessarily academically, but come to class ready to think.
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: There aren’t any bad students- we just haven’t figured out the right way to teach them.
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…Hard exterior but really a marshmallow inside.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies? My dog Henry is the cutest guy in the world, and I’m not the worst cook 😉
How will you spend your summer? Hopefully somewhere with a lounge chair and a beach.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: I’m a homebody!
Favorite book(s): “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “It’s a Wonderful life.” No words to describe it–it’s just the best.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I won’t try to come up with something cool here – my students all know I’m not.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Real life scenarios, situations our students will really be presented with
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Giving their employees the room for creativity- I see the endless possibilities every day
I’m grateful for… My family and Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip ice cream