2 Darden Professors Named to Poets & Quants’ ’40 Under 40′ List

23 April 2019

By Dave Hendrick

Poets & Quants has confirmed what MBA students at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business already know: The School boasts some of the top professors working in graduate business education.

The MBA-centric publication on 22 April named two Darden professors — Lalin Anik and Luca Cian — to its list of “Best 40 Under 40 Business Professors.”

The publication reported receiving 2,643 nominations for the 40 slots, calling the 2019 list the most competitive in history.

Darden was one of only four schools with multiple professors on the list.

“While the 2019 class is our seventh version, our mission has remained consistent over the years: to identify the world’s best young business school professors in terms of research prowess, teaching chops, and impact they have on current students, former students, colleagues, business education research, and society and the world in general,” the publication wrote.

Poets & Quants scores nominees on teaching and research, with teaching given a 70 percent weight.

Anik, who teaches in the Marketing area, was lauded for the deep connections she establishes with students in the classroom, with multiple nominators noting the depth of her care for their well-being.

“Professor Anik is an innovative, energetic and highly skilled professor at the Darden School,” one student wrote. “Her classes are transformative and inspiring. She cares deeply about her field, her students and delivering the best educational experience a business school student could have.”

In the Poets & Quants story, Anik shares her teaching philosophy, whom she admires and how she spends her time outside of the classroom.

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?

Learning with them. Teaching business students involves constantly learning, growing, and changing with bright minds. The dynamism of collaborating with students keeps the mind young, stretches and softens my edges, makes me a better teacher and researcher. Learning with them does not only happen in an intellectual sense. Since my time at Darden, students have invited me to be a part of their journey and have welcomed me into their lives. When I see their brilliance wrapped in kindness, it is deeply touching.

What is most challenging?

Making them feel comfortable with uncertainty and helping them realize that everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end.

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student:


Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student:


Cian, who also teaches in the Marketing area, was cited by Poets & Quants as someone whose “skills and background align perfectly with what we aim to measure in this feature,” given his frequently cited research and multiple teaching awards.

“Luca is an amazing teacher. He brings energy and enthusiasm to every class. He is incredibly passionate about marketing and the success of his students,” one student wrote. “In the first quarter when I took his marketing class, he scheduled individual meetings with all 67 of us to get to know us better. No other professor has done that. Luca is awesome.”

Luca also shared his insights on teaching and more about his interests.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?

I am very passionate about what I teach. When I was a student, I remember professors that appeared bored and unexcited about their topics, and I remember thinking, “If s/he is not excited about this topic, why should I be?” As such, I try to pour every drop of energy I have into my classes and my teaching. Also, I genuinely care about the students’ success.

One word that describes my first time teaching:


Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor:

Sometimes you can give all your effort and energy, but things are not going to go the way you want. Colleagues, reviewers, and students may have a bad day, and it is does not necessarily have anything to do with you or your effort. Do not take everything personally. Be the best you can be, help others, and then enjoy the ride!

Read the full profiles on Poets & Quants.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia