Two Questrom Professors Receive BU Career Development Awards

Two BU Questrom School of Business professors were recently featured in a BU Today article as recipients of Boston University Career Professorship awards.

Career Professorships, variously named for the donors and alumni who fund them, are awarded annually from among those nominated by their deans and colleagues as promising scholars in their fields. Most of the professorships are tied to specific BU schools; all are for three years and provide stipends for the recipients’ salaries and scholarship.

Sanaz Mobasseri (bottom left in photo), a Questrom School of Business assistant professor of management and organizations, was named an Isabel Anderson Career Development Professor for her scholarship in discrimination against black job applicants. Inspired by others’ research showing the difficulty applicants with criminal records securing work, Mobasseri recently studied almost 400 applications submitted to 184 employers in Oakland, Calif.

“I was expecting to find that employers varied in how negatively they interpreted a job applicant’s criminal record, and that this variation was related to their neighborhood crime level,” she says. To her surprise, she discovered that while working near recent violent crime cut the likelihood of blacks getting a callback, that happened regardless of whether they had a criminal record or not. She didn’t find the same bias in white and Hispanic callback rates.

Addressing that bias, she says, “is a difficult problem to solve, and it remains an open question for researchers” who are looking at such things as hirers being open to their bias, and intentionally blinding themselves to race on applications. Whatever the answer, her new professorship will help her with workplace-interactions data she’s been collecting, ensuring “much faster progress on building and analyzing these new data sets because I’ll be able to hire a few team members.”

Robert Metcalfe (top left in photo), a Questrom assistant professor of markets, public policy, and law, is the latest Reidy Family Career Development Professor. A behavioral economist, Metcalfe uses extensive data sets to help large companies address managerial problems, from health to the environment to digital matters. One recent article he authored studied hundreds of airline captains across 40,000 flights and found that if they knew their fuel efficiency was being monitored, they improved in that area, which lowered carbon dioxide emissions.

Visit BU Today to read the full article.

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