Modupe Akinola Robinson

Modupe Akinola Robinson is an assistant professor in the Management department at Columbia Business School. Robinson's research examines how organizational environments—characterized by deadlines, multi-tasking, and other attributes such as having low status—can engender stress, and how this stress can have spill-over effects on performance. She uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation, implicit and reaction time measures, and physiological responses (specifically hormonal and cardiovascular responses) to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress. In addition, Robinson examines workforce diversity. Specifically, she examines the strategies organizations employ to increase the diversity of their talent pool. She also explores biases that affect the recruitment and retention of minorities in organizations.

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

Robinson teaches the Leadership course to MBAs and lectures in several executive education programs at Columbia Business School. Robinson also has extensive corporate training and coaching experience through her consulting work with organizations including Bain & Company, HSBC, The Bridgespan Group, The Executive Leadership Council, Harvard Divinity School, KIPP Schools, and several public school districts. She 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 companies she advises.

Robinson holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, as well as a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She was born and raised in New York City, where she currently resides with her husband, Craig Robinson, a commercial real estate executive. Robinson serves on the board of directors of The Bert King Foundation and The International Youth Leadership Institute. She is also a member of The Philanthropy Connection, a nonprofit that inspires, teaches, and enables women to engage in collective philanthropy by providing high-impact grants to charitable organizations working to improve the quality of life for people in Massachusetts.