Professor Peter A. Heslin

My Expertise

Being in learning mode, learning agility, leadership development, resilience, employee engagement, sustainable career success, recovery from stress, successful aging.


Fields of Research (FoR)

Learning, motivation and emotion, Organisational behaviour, Leadership

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Dr. Peter Heslin is a Professor of Management, Academic Fellow at Warrane College, and Scientia Education Fellow at UNSW Sydney. He is a Registered Psychologist who was elected Chair of the Academy of Management Careers Division.

Peter pioneered research on growth mindsets in organisations and wrote the most cited ever sole-authored peer-reviewed article on career success. His paper with Lauren Keating and Sue Ashford on How Situational Cues...view more

Dr. Peter Heslin is a Professor of Management, Academic Fellow at Warrane College, and Scientia Education Fellow at UNSW Sydney. He is a Registered Psychologist who was elected Chair of the Academy of Management Careers Division.

Peter pioneered research on growth mindsets in organisations and wrote the most cited ever sole-authored peer-reviewed article on career success. His paper with Lauren Keating and Sue Ashford on How Situational Cues and Mindset Dynamics Shape Personality Effects on Career Outcomes was Finalist for the Careers Division’s Award for Best Paper Published in 2019. Peter’s ongoing research on mindsets in careers, leadership development, and sustainability appears in leading scholarly and practitioner-oriented outlets (e.g., Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Personnel Psychology, and Harvard Business Review). 

Peter developed and has published widely on the concept of being in learning mode. He leads the Micro Theory pre-doctoral course and teaches the Leadership course that launches AGSM students on their MBA(Executive) journey. A former consultant at KPMG Career Navigation, Peter won faculty and university-level awards for sustained teaching excellence. He is an innovative educator, consultant, researcher, and speaker who enjoys conducting research and delivering keynote addresses and workshops across Australia and around the world. 

Peter is a proud dad who enjoys challenging and enabling (future) leaders to be in learning mode about how to realise their immense potential to bring out the best within themselves and those in their team, organisation, family, and communities. 

My Grants

2019   Lead a successful Business of Diversity Visiting Scholar grant application to support Distinguished University Professor Tammy Allen (U of South Florida) visiting UNSW three times between 2019-2021 to collaborate with myself and other School of Management colleagues (Suz Chan-Serafin, Hugh Bainbridge and Josh Keller) on three diversity-related research projects: Funding: AU$108,883.

2019   Heslin, P. A. UNSW best practices at priming students to be in learning mode. Scientia Education Fellow Funding: AU$5,000.

2018   Heslin, P. A., Keating, L. A., & Ashford, S. A. UNSW Business School Linkage Research Seed Funding (LRSF) scheme: The role of being in learning mode in meeting adaptive organisational challenges. Funding: AU$25,000.

2016   Heslin, P. A. International seed research grant to facilitate collaboration with partners at MBRU and Stanford University: Potential predictors of medical students’ adaptability and academic success from Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) in Dubai. Grant number - RG162835. Funding: AU$16,507.00.

2012   Heslin, P. A., & Minbashian, A. Better at anything? The role of entity implicit person theories (IPTs) in personnel selection. UNSW Business School Research Grant. Funding: AU$15,000.

2011   Heslin, P. A., & Minbashian, A. Pilot project on limitations to the utility of an incremental implicit person theory. UNSW Business School, School of O&M Faculty Research Grants. Funding: AU$9,521.

My Qualifications

B.A. (Hons), M.Psych (Applied), PhD. (Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management)

My Awards

Research Awards

2020   Finalist for the Academy of Management Career Division’s Award for Best Careers Paper Published in 2019 for: Heslin, P. A., Keating, L. A., & Minbashian, A. (2019). How situational cues and mindset dynamics shape personality effects on career outcomes, Journal of Management, 45, 2101–2131

2016   Finalist for the 2016 Academy of Management Career Division’s Best Overall Symposium Award for When and why objective career success deserves a demotion.

2014   Finalist for the 2014 Academy of Management Career Division’s Best Overall Paper Award for Managerial moral disengagement and career demise.

2012   Winner of the Academy of Management’s Best Overall Paper in Management Education Award for the paper that “offers the most significant contribution to management education” for Rockstar vs. ringmaster: Balancing complementary teaching roles to develop management skills.

2006   Best poster featured at the SIOP all-conference reception for Who’s procedurally just? The role of managers’ implicit personal theory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Dallas, TX.

Teaching Awards

2018   UNSW Award for Teaching Excellence Medal, which “recognise(s) individuals … who have shown sustained excellence in teaching, enhancing student learning and/or the student experience over a period of at least five years.” (AUD$10,000)

2018   UNSW Business School’s Bill Birkett Award for Sustained Excellence for “sustained effort over a period and clear demonstration of practices that make a difference to student learning.” (AUD$3,000)

2014   AGSM MBA Programs Teaching Excellence in a Core Course Award, which the Business School Dean Professor Chris Styles noted is “probably the hardest teaching award to win because MBA conscripts can be the hardest to inspire.” (AUD$2,000)

2006   C. Jackson Grayson Endowed Faculty Innovation Award for Excellence and Creativity in Teaching, from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. (USD$1,000)

My Research Activities

Leadership development, learning mode, learning agility, mindsets, self-regulation, sustainable career success, resilience, successful aging.

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

I enjoy supervising students who are eager to forge a productive scholarly career.

My Engagement


Executive Education

Since the 1990s, I have led celebrated leadership programs and workshops focused on topics including cultivating growth mindsets, resilience, impactful communication, nurturing change, and leadership development for organisations including:

  • BHP
  • BUPA
  • Department of Industry
  • Department of Defense
  • Downer
  • Gumtree
  • Oracle
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Wesfarmers
  • Westpac
  • Woodside.


Recent Presentations and Workshops to Support Colleagues within UNSW

Co-facilitated a workshop with Mark Uncles on 17 February 2020 on Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Required Peer Review of Teaching. 

Delivered a webinar for professional staff within the faculty on Building High-Quality Connections During the Pandemic on 22 April 2020. 

  • Impact: Organiser Jen Lafferty emailed me: “I found it very enjoyable and learnt a lot. You clearly put a lot of time and effort into the content and also in taking time to train up on zoom to do the presentation. Thank you for all that you have done.”

Presented on principles for Moving from Coping to Thriving as part of the AGSM’s ‘Leadership in Times of Crisis’ webinar series on 1 May, 2020. 

Presented to a Business Faculty workshop on Developing Your Case for Promotion to Full Professor on 6 June 2020.

Delivered a UNSW-wide presentation on Preparing Your Education Case for Promotion to Full Professor on 18 June 2020

Facilitated a Bounce Back Resilience Training session for the Academic Women’s Career Advancement Program (AWCAP) AWCAP on 1 Sept 2020 and for the Early Career Academics (ECA) program on 23 October 2020.

  • Impact: AWCAP organiser Wei Chen emailed: “Great to attend the inspiring resilience session this morning! It was excellent, and I have learned a lot of techniques and strategies.”
  • Impact: ECA organiser Weiting Zheng emailed: “It was a very useful and fun session. Hope to have you back for next year’s program too.”

Presented on Developing Supportive Learning Communities at the UNSW Inclusive Education Showcase on 28 October 2020.

  • Impact: Another presenter in this showcase (Alanya Drummond) emailed me: “I really liked the idea of learning how to create positive impact. I find that when I ask students to critique the work of others they often fall back on just generic comments like ‘it’s great’ – the framework you suggested puts the onus on specific, personal feedback which is a really great idea.”

Chaired a session on Rethinking Assessment during the UNSW 2020 Learning and Teaching Forum -Learning without limits: Leading the change on 19 November 2020.

  • Impact: Session moderator Zac Rushton emailed me: “You did such a great job despite the audio problem you mentioned. Thank you for making my hosting role easy.”


Current Service Roles within UNSW

  • Serve on the university-level Summative Peer Review of Teaching Reference group
  • Scientia Education Fellow
  • UNSW Peer Reviewer of Teaching 
  • UNSW Peer Support of Teaching Mentor
  • UNSW First Responder 
  • Ally@UNSW Network
  • UNSW Academic mentor
  • Academic Women’s Career Advancement Program (AWCAP) mentor to Katja Hanewald
  • BizLab Management Committee meeting
  • SoM Subject Pool Coordinator 
  • SoM Advisory Board Member 
  • SoM Well-being Champion
  • HDR Review Chair. 


Recent Media Engagement

  • Coronavirus mental health crisis: 5 ways leaders can help”  BusinessThink, 19 May 2020. 
  • Never underestimate the power of a simple thank you” BusinessThink, 4 November 2019:
  • 5 ways to develop a practice growth mindset” Quoted extensively in this article by Beth Anderson in INTHEBLACK. 1 March 2019: 
  • Three ways to achieve your New Year’s resolutions by building ‘goal infrastructure’ by Peter A. Heslin. The Conversation, 31 December 2018. This article had over 30,000 “reads” (see The 3rdth highest readership of all UNSW Business School publications in The Conversation over the last year.
  • Can a growth mindset future-proof your career?” Quoted extensively in this article by Beth Anderson in INTHEBLACK. 1 December, 2018.


Professional Memberships and Honorary Roles 

  • UNSW Scientia Education Academy Fellow: 2018 – 2022
  • Academic Fellow, PCI Media Impact, New York: July 2015 – Dec 2016
  • Chair, Academy of Management Careers Division: 2013 – July 2014
  • Academic Fellow, Warrane College, UNSW Sydney: Feb 2012 – present
  • Academy of Management: July 2000 – present
  • Registered Psychologist: March 1996 – present

My Teaching

My teaching primes students to lead themselves and others in ways that enable them to be more effective in their studies, their careers, in their life at home, and in their communities. A core element of how I do so is routinely priming my students to be in learning mode, that is, deliberately engaging in a series of experiential learning tasks with more of a growth than a fixed mindset (Heslin & Keating, 2017; Heslin et al., in press, 2019). How I teach is guided by my assumptions that:

  • We are all an unfinished project, so it is exciting to discover and systematically apply useful, evidence-based concepts to work towards improving ourselves and attaining our goals.
  • I teach best when I approach my classes with a spirit of service towards my students and appreciation for the opportunity to guide their systematic experimentation with relevant course concepts.
  • It is essential for me to role-model the openness to continuous learning that I espouse.
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Room 550, West Wing
UNSW Business School Building E12


+61 478103355