2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Ahmed Maged Nofal, Emylon Business School

Ahmed Maged Nofal
Emlyon Business School

“I worked with Ahmed in Cairo University and strongly believe he’s a prime candidate for this honor. He is one of the few Egyptian professors to earn their PhD in their 20s. During his time in Cairo University, he received the best teaching award in 2014. I have also known Ahmed while we were both doing our post grad studies in the UK. His research skills are phenomenal as despite being a second year student still, he had his paper published in a top journal. Not only that his capabilities as a teacher and researcher are outstanding, but also he reaches out to help and encourage his students, motivate PhD candidates in their journey, and contribute with his econometric knowledge to his fellow colleagues.“ – Raghdaa Ali Ismail, Assistant Teacher at Cairo University

Ahmed Maged Nofal, 32, is Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Emlyon Business School.

His research interests lie at the intersection of entrepreneurship and labor economics. Specifically, he examines the developmental origins of entrepreneurial dynamics such as entry, growth, and exit.

He is winner of Warwick Business School’s outstanding research paper award in 2018. His most recent work has been published at the Journal of Management, Journal of Business Venturing, and PloS One.

Prior to joining Emlyon, he did research work for the American University in Cairo and London Business School, and completed his doctoral training at Imperial College London and University College London.


At current institution since what year? September 2020
Education: PhD in Business & Management, University of Warwick
List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Start-ups & Business Venturing, Corporate Entrepreneurship, and Innovation Management.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I saw a close person suffering grief over a business decision of his employer, which in turn eventually led to further medical issues, and his death. Thus, I wanted to generate new insights into entrepreneurship as a tool to alleviate people’s suffering.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I examine the developmental origins of entrepreneurial dynamics (e.g., entry, growth, and exit). These developmental origins include conditions that span over time, from birth to retirement. At the core of my most recent work on developmental origins is exposure to hardships, and adversity, such as child labor, homelessness, and wars. I investigate how people engage in entrepreneurship to turn their adversities in different stages of life into an edge. This line of work indicates that hardships, and adversities free people to try new things, engage in entrepreneurship, and trigger further entrepreneurial dynamics (e.g., growth, and survival).

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A data analyst.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Care – I care about my students, their engagement, well-being, passion, and future. I care about impact, and alleviation of people’s suffering.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Responsibility

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: I wish someone had told me early enough that subjects from different disciplines intersect, and are intertwined.

Professor I most admire and why: I am very fortunate that I have very remarkable professors. The professor I admire the most is Dr. Maged Nofal; my father. I owe him any achievement I have attained, or aspire to attain. Among many examples, perhaps his eagerness to treat his patients and his passion to educate his students, help the poor and people in disadvantaged communities have always been impressive for me. His discussions inspired many of my research topics on disadvantaged communities and turning their adversities and hardships into advantages through entrepreneurship. I would also like to acknowledge Professor Frederic Delmar, who had a very remarkable impact on my career. In addition to his belief in me, he is among the very few who believe in the importance of investing in researchers. I learned from him that good researchers develop good research, not vice-versa.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? In-class dynamics. Different developmental origins, and backgrounds underly the diverse student body in the classroom which in turn floods the in-class discussions with different cultures, skills, ideas, etc. When combined, these different features result in new ways of seeing things, new ideas, products, services, and ventures. In short, I enjoy the new perspectives that students bring to the class, and in turn the development of a student body of “Early Makers” – that is early movers and makers, which is a at the core of our research and teaching at EMLYON.

What is most challenging? EMLYON has a very diverse student body from the entire world, which means that students, especially executive students, tend to challenge the different theories, and insights. Though enjoyable, this challenge requires additional efforts to understand students’ prior experiences, the nature of their entrepreneurial engagement across-the-globe, and obtain case-studies from different regions word-wide, or at least from the countries to which my students belong.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Eager-to-learn.

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair.


What are your hobbies? Watching football, TV series and Movies, and Reading.

How will you spend your summer? I will finalize some work in my research pipeline, attend some conferences, and spend some time with my family on the beach.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Beaches on the North coast of Egypt, and Egyptian cities on the red sea, such as El Gouna, Dahab, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Marsa Alam.

Favorite book(s): The Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? The pursuit of Happiness because it is inspirational, uplifting, and empowering.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I love classics because I feel that my personality fits more into the past century.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… New ways of seeing, embracing diversity, and convergence, such that we converge what we have known, for long, as unfavorable to favorable outcomes.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Corporate entrepreneurship, and creating new ventures to support marginalized groups and to explore potential future products, and services.

I’m grateful for… My family, particularly my father (Maged Nofal), mother (Manal Assal) who have always been the best parents, and friends, as well as my lovely sisters. I am also very grateful for being part of EMLYON.


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