2023 Best Undergraduate Professors: Johannes Boegershausen, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

Johannes Boegershausen
Rotterdam School of Management
Erasmus University

“His undergraduate course, ‘The Art of Choosing: Making Choices that Maximize Happiness,’ is a truly unique and innovative course that positively impacts students. It differs from most other courses in students’ curriculum given its highly self-reflective and introspective nature. Johannes’ minor is designed to help every single course participant reflect on what a life well-lived means to them. I am very impressed by how Johannes leverages research on well-being and adjacent themes across the social sciences (e.g., social psychology, consumer research, and organizational behavior). His course has broad appeal and attracts not just business school students but also students from various other faculties and schools.” – Bram Van den Bergh


Johannes Boegershausen, 38, is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University.

At Rotterdam, he developed and teaches “The Art of Choosing: Making Choices that Maximize Happiness.” and Brand Development. His research focuses on marketplace morality, polarized consumer sentiments, and metascience with a focus on enhancing the validity of web-based research. His research has appeared in several leading journals including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, and Journal of Consumer Psychology. His work has been referenced in various outlets such as Globe and Mail, National Post, and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

He has received several recognitions, awards, and grants for his research, such as the 2019 C.W. Park Young Contributor Award from the Society of Consumer Psychology, finalist for the 2022 AMA/Marketing Science Institute/H. Paul Root Award, and a Marketing Science Institute Research Priorities Initiative grant.


At current institution since what year? 2020

Education: University of British Columbia, Ph.D., 2019; Maastricht University, M.Sc., 2011; Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, B.Sc., 2009

List of Undergraduate courses you teach: The Art of Choosing: Making Choices that Maximize Happiness


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I was working on my undergraduate thesis at the WFI. I was very much inspired by my early mentor, Bernd Stauss, to pursue this career. He has been a role model of a scholar who is deeply immersed in a particular topic and is extremely effective at disseminating knowledge to students and other stakeholders.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? In one of my projects, I (together with Bastian Jaeger and Gabriele Paolacci) examine people’s ability to detect different types of discrimination in selection decisions (e.g., in hiring or criminal sentencing). We find that attractiveness discrimination often goes undetected compared to more prototypical types of discrimination (i.e., gender and race discrimination). This blind spot does not emerge because people perceive attractiveness discrimination to be less problematic or even desirable. Rather, our findings suggest that people’s ability to detect discrimination is bounded. When scrutinizing decision outcomes (e.g., hiring or sentencing decisions) for bias, people tend to focus mostly on a few salient dimensions, such as gender and race.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be … working in the hearing healthcare industry, probably on the commercial side or in product management. It is a fascinating and dynamic industry with products and services that significantly improve the quality of life of its users.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I am a firm believer in teaching that is grounded in evidence. The critical benefit for students to pursue education at research-oriented institutions relative to other sources of information about marketing and business practices is the ability of the faculty to locate, select, organize, and facilitate the acquisition of knowledge that is not only relevant but also scientifically supported and critically examined. Building an appreciation for an evidence-based approach allows students to transform into managers with a high willingness and ability to learn and grow throughout their professional careers.

Via this approach to teaching, I have built strong connections with students that continue post-graduation. A second pillar of my teaching is to get students to think about their short- and mid-term (career) paths. For example, my minor, “The Art of Choosing,” differs from most other courses in students’ curriculum given its highly self-reflective and introspective nature. Specifically, the minor is designed to help every single course participant reflect on what “the good life,” i.e., a life well-lived, means to them.

Leveraging research on well-being and adjacent themes across the social sciences (e.g., social psychology, consumer research, and organizational behavior), students from various faculties and schools (e.g., business, law, social sciences, engineering) explore different perspectives and decisions involved in realizing the good life. With these teaching principles, if you were to ask my students, they would probably say that I am a highly motivated, caring, and hands-on teacher.

One word that describes my first time teaching: I need two words: a little intimidating but very rewarding.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: I wish someone had reminded me of the mantra, “The only thing that is constant is change.” For example, consider the implications of the pandemic and the emergence of large language models like GPT for teaching and research. Even if one feels like one has carved out a teaching style and curated the right content, we all need to adapt continuously. 

Professor I most admire and why: There are many different people I admire for very different reasons, so it is challenging to pick a single person. I was always inspired by Karl Aquino’s knack for asking fascinating questions and our conversations about the intricacies of people’s (im-) moral behaviors. Another scholar I admire is Anne-Kathrin Klesse; she is not only extremely gifted at designing compelling experiments but also taught me so much about giving maximally constructive feedback to others. Lastly, JoAndrea Hoegg has not only taught me much about designing studies and how to write better but has also been my role model in mentoring students. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I enjoy seeing them grow over the course of the ‘The Art of Choosing’ minor. Given the course’s self-reflective nature, it is extremely rewarding to see how 10 weeks together in the classroom can trigger positive change regarding daily habits and long-term career (and life) choices.

What is most challenging? Balancing teaching needs with other professional and personal obligations.

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

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as … Tough but fair.


What are your hobbies? Reading, cooking, playing squash, and traveling.

How will you spend your summer? Back in beautiful British Columbia (Vancouver and Vancouver Island).

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Mumbai, India, for its bustling energy, incredible culinary experiences and people. I also love Maui, Hawaii, for its natural beauty and climate.

Favorite book(s): Too many to list, given my fascination for Mumbai, I love Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts) and Maximum City (Suketu Mehta). My favorite book of 2023 so far is Georgi Gospodinov’s Time Shelter.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? This year, it has to be Better Call Saul. It is incredibly well written and the story arc is also very compelling. It also has many relevant tacit lessons (around life and choices) for my research and teaching.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Sixto Rodriguez. He has an incredible origin story, a unique voice, and lyrics. The documentary about him (“Searching for Sugarman”) is incredible. I was fortunate to see him live in concert in Vancouver in 2017, given that he passed away in August 2023.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this … a clearer commitment to cutting all red tape to maximize the outcomes that really matter in the different domains, such as research, teaching, and societal engagement (e.g., reducing inequalities).

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at … making workplaces and marketplaces more accessible for all (e.g., people with disabilities).

I’m grateful for … my family, friends, colleagues, co-authors, and mentors. I would not be where I am today without you. A special thank you to all my students over the years who were invaluable in shaping me as a teacher, scholar, and person.


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