IMPACTS IN BUSINESS EDUCATION AND SOCIETY
Many of the professors on this year’s list are making big impacts, either on their prospective business schools, fields of study, or society at large.
Nitya Chawla, 31, would have been a physician if it weren’t for her current path. She was even admitted to the University of Manchester medical school. But, after taking a psychology course, she knew it was a subject she wanted to explore further.
Today, she researches women’s experience in the workplace – from the gender-based harassment they may encounter in their careers to the challenges they face as they begin families. She and her coauthors are seeking to understand ways organization members can serve as allies as women transition back to work after giving birth.
“In studying why and how these forms of allyship are beneficial, our results highlight the implications these reentry experiences have for working mothers’ careers, families, and their own well-being,” says Chawla, assistant professor of management at Texas A&M University Mays School of Business.
Jawad M. Addoum, 39, associate professor of finance in the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, studies in the emerging field of climate finance. He examines the links between weather patterns and extreme events on financial outcomes and markets.
“Broadly speaking, the most important finding is that climate change isn’t ‘all bad, all the time’ for business outcomes. It’s much more nuanced – some parts of the economy could be damaged while others actually benefit,” he says. “In turn, any policy interventions should carefully account for the distribution of consequences.”
And Ahmed Maged Nofal, 32, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at France’s Emlyon Business School, knew he wanted to be a business professor after watching a loved one suffer as a result of the decisions of his employer. Nofal now studies how entrepreneurship can help people turn adversity into an edge.
“At the core of my most recent work on developmental origins is exposure to hardships and adversity, such as child labor, homelessness, and wars,” he says.”This line of work indicates that hardships and adversities free people to try new things, engage in entrepreneurship, and trigger further entrepreneurial dynamics.”
VARYING PATHS TO BUSINESS PROFESSORSHIP
Our 2022 honorees also walked very different paths to becoming business school professors.
Take Greg Hohn who knew he wanted to be a business school professor when –
Well, when he was offered the job.
After earning his bachelor’s in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, he worked as an actor and director in film, television, radio and theater. He joined Transactors Improv, the South’s oldest improvisational theater, in 1989 and became its company director in 1996.
In the 1990s, he used soft skills learned in improvisation – communication, creativity, collaboration, quick thinking, etc. – to develop an applied improv curriculum. He sent it to a law school, a university theater department, and UNC’s Kenan-Flagler
Business School. Kenan-Flagler was the one to bite. He’s been teaching his Applied Improv and Business course for 22 year, believed to be the first such course offered at a business school.
“Greg creates a playful, open and safe environment through physical games and informal discussion to set up serious discussions and valuable takeaways. He asks students to make connections between play and ‘real life’ to find serious nuggets within the silliness of his craft,” says Sharon Cannon, Clinical Professor of Management and Corporate Communication.
“His approach, one that is profoundly Socratic and lighthearted, involves getting them to question their assumptions about themselves, others, and situations. Students are encouraged to discover what connections are possible through vulnerability.”
Shiri Melumad’s path to a business classroom was similarly winding. Her father was a business school professor, and she would sometimes sit in on his classes in awe at the way he interacted with students.
“He was so brilliant and charming, and students were completely engaged with him and the material, even though it was an accounting class,” says Melumad, 33, assistant professor of marketing and Wolpow Family Faculty Scholar at University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School.
But, she majored in psychology and planned to go to law school before her father sat her down. He gently suggested she consider a PhD in marketing because it would combine her love of research with her interest in applied psychology.
“Soon thereafter, I became a research assistant for a marketing professor and became enamored with the field. I knew at that point that I wanted to be a business school professor, so I switched from studying for the LSAT to studying for the GMAT!” she says.
Today, she studies the impacts of new technology and media on consumers’ lives.
We hope you enjoy learning about each of the 50 accomplished, innovative, and compassionate professors on this list as much as we did. They, along with past winners of our series, represent the best of what an undergraduate business degree can offer.
We leave you with the words of Steve Diasio, 42, of the University of South Florida’s MUMA College of Business School on what makes a great business professor stand apart from the crowd. Versions of this sentiment are reflected throughout the profiles on the following pages: “I believe that every student is talented and has the agency to create the future that they desire. My classes are designed in a way where students learn/discover this for themselves. This is transformative and changes the trajectory of what they believe is possible.”
NEXT PAGE: See the full list of 2022’s 50 Best Undergrad Professors and read through their profiles
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