Katherine Milkman has been named one of the world’s top 40 business school professors under 40 by Poets and Quants. She is an associate professor at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and holds a secondary appointment at UPenn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Her research uses big data to document the many ways individuals and groups deviate from making optimal decisions. In particular, she looks at what produces self-control failures and how to reduce them. (For self-control failures, think: undersaving for retirement, exercising too little, or eating too much junk food). Through her research, Milkman explores how to create wise choice architecture and nudge initiatives to guide customer and employee behavior in helpful directions.
Milkman is the recipient of an early career award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences. She has published dozens of articles in social science journals that have reached a wide audience through op-eds in The New York Times and frequent coverage in such outlets as NPR, The Financial Times, and Forbes. Her work was also the focus of an entertaining Freakonomics podcast entitled, “When Willpower Isn’t Enough.” Milkman has received multiple excellence in teaching awards at Wharton, and was voted Wharton’s “Iron Prof” in 2013 by the school’s MBA students. She has worked with numerous companies on research and/or consulting, including the American Red Cross and Google.