Friday, October 24, 2014

Having the BEST Job in the World - that of a Business Prof

I do believe that one is the sum of one's experiences and that includes all the jobs that one has ever held.

In my case, that has included, during summer breaks from college (Brown University), being a camp counselor in the Catskills with memories of hiking for miles and miles and sleeping in tents with outhouses, and working at St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers as a nurses' aide the 4PM to midnight shift, where I took temperatures, delivered refreshments, gave backrubs, made beds, emptied bedpans, assisted in placing the deceased in body bags, and also tried to uplift the still living and recuperating patients through conversations. I especially enjoyed talking to the elderly patients and sometimes would be shocked by seeing patients that I knew!

During the academic year, I had jobs helping in the Rockefeller Library in the Slavic department at Brown, which was fun, and I also worked on  the Ratty cafeteria dishline (the dirty ones) Saturday evenings (less fun), which  taught me to seek the highest level of education that I possibly could, and I did, completing my PhD at Brown University in Applied Mathematics with a specialty in Operations Research.

While pursuing my Master's at Brown in Applied Math - I always loved networks, operations research, and economics -  I also worked in industry in high tech consulting in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island for two different firms. These experiences were extremely valuable in my position now as a Professor at the Isenberg School of Management.

I LOVE being a business school professor and do believe that I have the best job in the world.

Perhaps I am experiencing a bit of an afterglow - our department meeting, which was scheduled for 2 hours ended after only 1 hour  and it was quite productive, and the students in my Logistics & Transportation class did great on the midterm yesterday that I just finished grading.

I am a tough instructor and have very high standards but if you raise the bar and motivate the material well the students respond.

Some of the reasons that I have the best job in the world:

  • The students at the Isenberg School of Management are fabulous - I teach both the undergrads in our Operations & Information Management Department and doctoral students in the Management Science track, along with students from across campus that register for my classes.
  • I get to teach subjects that are always evolving and very timely and exciting - Logistics & Transportation, Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, and Networks, Game Theory, and Variational Inequalities.  
  • The research and projects that I get to work on with students and collaborators within and across disciplines are challenging, tough, and never, ever boring! There is nothing like the "Aha!"  moment when everything comes together and you solve a problem that you have been working on and that has even filled your dreams!
  • I have colleagues who are smart, entrepreneurial, and interesting and some have really great senses of humor, which is needed with the busy life of a business professor!
  • I get to travel to give invited talks at conferences, companies, and universities, and I have taught and lectured  in different countries.
  • I get to meet fascinating people.
  • As a professor, you are always evolving, adapting, learning, and growing, and always trying to do your very best.
  • A professor gets to see undergraduate students mastering material and becoming adults that we can all be very proud of. Students' successes warm our hearts!
  • One gets to grow one's academic family also through the doctoral students that one has supervised that receive their PhDs and go on to become professors or industry leaders.  Together we celebrate their achievements and successes.
  • One gets to be part of great professional societies and communities such as INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), where one makes friendships, learns the latest professional news, keeps up-to-date with research and industry practices and needs, and has a great time at conferences.