Seong named a top 50 undergrad business professor by Poets & Quants

Well, that didn’t take long.

Sorah Seong, an assistant professor of management at the UW Foster School of Business, has been selected by Poets & Quants to its 2020 list of the world’s Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professors.

Seong only joined the Foster Department of Management and Organization in 2018, upon completing her PhD studies in organizational theory and entrepreneurship at INSEAD.

But her fledgling status didn’t stop the leading business school news site from selecting her among the best in the business. Seong has made a big impact teaching the strategic management capstone and introduction to entrepreneurship at the Foster School.

Instant impact

Former students—especially those with entrepreneurial aspirations—described Seong as an indelible figure in their future careers.

“After her course,” wrote one former student, “I fell in love with entrepreneurship.”

“I wish I had taken her class before I started my own business,” wrote another. “That made me realize how incredible a job she was doing by not only teaching the most important aspects of a startup but also teaching students confidence, how to tackle a difficult situation with so much enthusiasm, and how to work better in a team. She was passionate, and it motivated everyone to be present and excited to learn. She is always reachable and always willing to help and advise.”

“Sorah is someone who will be there for a student who needs help, whether it is for her class or not, anytime that she can,” noted a third. “I can tell that what’s most important to her is to help her students grow to be the best people they can be.”

Fostering “co-captains”

Seong’s impact likely derives from her driving teaching philosophy of making students feel like “co-captains” of the class.

Sorah Seong

“This allows me to know them personally and let their emerging voices fill in the details of my teaching, such as whom to invite as external guest speakers and which in-class activities to pair with case discussions,” Seong explained to P&Q. “By harnessing the power of ‘uncoordinated coordination’ in teaching, I can expose my students to the changing mechanisms of today’s business landscape and let them explore and formulate different ways of solving managerial puzzles in sync with the spirit of our times.

“Letting my students co-steer the maiden voyage of each class session also allows me to implement a safe haven for everyone, including myself, to voice their opinions freely and be their authentic, vulnerable selves around one another.”

Award-winning work

Seong’s early performance in the classroom (and, these days, online) earned her a nomination for the 2020 University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award.

She also received the 2018 Emerald Literati Award. This award, coming from one of the world’s largest academic publishers, recognized her outstanding author contribution in the areas of semantic strategies in nascent market and organizational settings, the interpretive dynamics of categories and identities, and creativity.

Her latest research delves into the brave new world of emerging markets.

“In the online era, the ways in which new market spaces emerge are uncoordinated and massively distributed compared to how big firms pioneered new businesses in the past,” Seong explains. “This fundamental transformation provides new opportunity for young, private ventures to identify rhythmic differences between what’s trending on social media versus news media and use the real-time learning to gain greater attention and legitimacy (via institutional funding).”