40 Next: Roland Fryer Jr.

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 Next celebrates the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

These BE Nexters—those 21–35 years old making a measurable impact within their respective business, organization, industry, or field—are standouts in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate America, academia, nonprofit, the arts, and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). And they prove every day that “business as usual” is not so usual. For them, leveraging expertise in one area to maximize an opportunity in another is standard operating procedure.

Using the legacy of their business predecessors to forge their own way, this new generation of leadership accepts the torch without trepidation. But the commonality between then and now is that success still takes a focused, strategic, and passionate mindset. Here, we introduce you to one of our 40 Next.

Roland Fryer Jr., 33
Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

It’s quite a feat for any economist to earn some of Harvard’s most coveted fellowships and become its youngest-ever African American tenured professor by the age of 30. It’s another achievement entirely to consistently produce economic research that doesn’t put non-economists to sleep. His body of work is an investigation into the causes of economic inequality and the gap between blacks and other races in classroom and workplace achievement. Fryer’s must-read published research, including An Empirical Analysis of Acting White and The Causes and Consequences of Distinctly Black Names helped land him on The Economist’s list of the world’s top young economists and Time magazine’s 2009 list of the world’s 100 most influential people.

Be sure to pick up the commemorative 40th anniversary August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise, which contains the entire 40 Next list.