Contact Modupe

Modupe Akinola is the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School. Modupe’s research examines how organizational environments can engender stress, and how this stress can influence individual and organizational performance. She uses multiple methodologies, including physiological responses (specifically hormonal and cardiovascular responses), behavioral observation, and implicit and reaction time measures, to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress. Additionally, Modupe examines the strategies organizations employ to increase the diversity of their talent pool, as well as the biases that affect the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in organizations.  

Modupe has written on these topics in numerous academic journals and her research has been covered in various media outlets including The New York Times, National Public Radio, WIRED, Scientific American, Forbes, The Economist, and The Huffington Post. Her co-authored Sunday New York Times op-ed titled “Professors are Prejudiced, Too” (with Dolly Chugh and Katherine Milkman) was one of the Top 20 most-emailed/read/tweeted articles the weekend it was published. Modupe was recognized as a Rising Star by the Association of Psychological Science, and received Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellowship

Modupe teaches the Core Leadership course to Columbia Business School MBAs and lectures in several executive education programs at Columbia Business School. Modupe has extensive corporate training and coaching experience through her consulting work with organizations including HSBC, Staples, The Bridgespan Group, The Executive Leadership Council, CoreNet, Harvard Divinity School, KIPP Schools, and several public school districts across the country. In addition, Modupe has advised numerous police departments across the country in their reform efforts, and most recently has assisted the Cleveland Division of Police in implementing its consent decree with the Department of Justice. 

Modupe blends her experience in the business world with cutting-edge academic research on the biology of leadership in creating a dynamic, experiential, and high-impact learning experience for her students and the organizations she advises. She is one of the most highly rated business school professors at Columbia Business School and received Columbia Business School’s Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015.

Prior to pursuing a career in academia, Modupe worked in professional services at Bain & Company and Merrill Lynch. In addition, Modupe has worked in Accra, Ghana, where she created several nurseries and literacy centers aimed at providing child care for underprivileged babies, teaching literacy to homeless mothers and children, and offering them the opportunity to learn a trade or receive formal education. 

Modupe holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, as well as a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University. She also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.


Awards and Honors

  • Rudolph Schoenheimer Faculty Fund Award, Columbia Business School (2017)
  • Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, Columbia Business School (2015)
  • Author of One of the 10 Most Downloaded Papers of the Year, Social Science Research Network (2014)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013)
  • Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Science (2011)
  • Best Graduate Student Paper Award, Society of Personality and Social Psychology (2009)
  • Wyss Award of Excellence in Doctoral Research, Harvard Business School (2009)
  • Student Poster Award, Society for Psychophysiological Research (2008)
  • Diversity Award, Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2006)
  • Wyss Fellowship for Graduate Study, Harvard Business School (2004-2009)