I am a doctoral candidate in the Management Department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I study how demand-side factors, like buyer preferences, can point to strategic opportunity based on an understanding of how offerings compete in the marketplace, and how that competition evolves over time. My current research looks at competition between partial substitute technologies, to see how firms can compete not only by creating the single most valuable offering, but also by being part of the most valuable combination of partially-substituting offerings. The empirical aspect of this research focuses on the digital camera industry, where I find evidence of indirect complementarity - where the adoption of a new technology (smartphones with cameras) can induce some buyers to switch from a more proximate substitute (compact cameras) to a more distant offering (interchangeable lens cameras). I expect to receive my PhD in 2018 (unofficial transcript available here), and received an M.S. in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Babson College.
- 2017 - Winner of the Robert J. Litschert Best Doctoral Student Paper Award, BPS division (published in Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings)
- 2017 - Academy of Management Outstanding Reviewer, BPS division
- 2017 - Wharton Innovation Doctoral Symposium Outstanding Reviewer
- 2016 - Academy of Management Outstanding Reviewer, BPS division
- 2016 - Academy of Management Best Reviewer, TIM division
- 2015 - Academy of Management Best Paper Finalist, MOC division (published in Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings)
- 2015 - Babson Entrepreneurship Research Conference among top papers (published in the best paper proceedings, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research)
- 2014 - Academy of Management Outstanding Reviewer, BPS division
I received a certificate in college and university teaching through the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Teaching and Learning. In addition to leading two required recitation sections for Management 101, I served as the Head TA for Management 101 (managing 15 sections), and as a TA for undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA courses, including Culture and Institutions of the Tech Sector: Bridging Research and Practice, Wharton Industry Exploration Program - The San Francisco Bay Area Tech Sector, Venture Capital and Entrepreneurial Management, Technology Strategy, Strategy and Competitive Advantage, and the strategy component of Managing the Enterprise.
In a prior life...
Life in the technology industry
After college, and prior to beginning my doctoral studies, I worked for the enterprise software company Oracle. I began as a software license contract specialist, where I wrote software license agreements. Think "I Agree" - but negotiable. The timing could not have been better, as repeated acquisitions grew the company from under 40,000 employees to over 100,000 employees during my tenure, providing countless opportunities for growth. From the contract drafting position, I moved to the license business practices team for Oracle's strategic accounts, negotiating and approving non-standard pricing and terms for deals with many of the largest companies in the US. Following a move back to contracts, managing the strategic accounts contracting team, I took over the North America operations team for the Contract Services division. Given the rate of change, no written job description was ever created, but my experience ranged from interviewing, hiring, and training to set up a shared service center in Costa Rica, planning and executing merger integration efforts for a range of software and hardware acquisitions, temporarily taking on teams of up to 100 people from acquisitions, rolling out new systems within the division, and developing interviewing and hiring standards for front-line and managerial positions across the division. The constant change, along with an agreement that I could spend 20% of my time reading, provided my first exposure to management research, which eventually led to the decision to become a producer of research, rather than just a consumer. For my final year at Oracle, I took on management of the hardware business practices team, signing off on non-standard pricing and terms for hardware transactions while processes from the acquired Sun Microsystems were adapted into the Oracle way of doing business.
While working for Oracle, I was actively engaged in community service, particularly in the area of affordable housing. My first exposure to this world was as a board member for a non-profit organization, which managed affordable housing property and advocated for local housing reform. Based on this experience, I ran for and won public office with a write-in campaign, for Commissioner for the Wellesley (MA) Housing Authority. Shortly after moving to a new town, I was appointed to the town Affordable Housing Committee. In addition to these experiences, I also served as an auxiliary (volunteer) police officer for a neighboring town. While at Wharton, I served as the student representative for the Management department, arranging social events and participating in selection and recruitment of the next generation of PhD students (well, a couple years behind me, anyway).
I was born in Austin, MN, home of Spam. I have one older and four younger brothers. As particularly photogenic children, a photo of four of us has since been featured in the Most Beautiful People issue of People magazine (as well as books, calendars, and board games). My father returned to school to become a science teacher after losing his job at the meatpacking plant during the Hormel strike of 1985. Upon graduation, we moved to Breckenridge, MN, where sugar beets and sunflowers are grown. I was able to take advantage of Minnesota's Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program, and took classes full time at a community college in place of my junior year courses. My parents moved just before my senior year, and I took classes at Winona State University in place of my senior year classes, graduating from a high school where I had never taken a single class (my senior quote in the yearbook: "Never forget me"). Upon graduation, I attended Babson College in Wellesley, MA. There, I worked in media services (providing classroom technical support, and lugging camcorders around campus), became managing editor of the campus paper, and worked with Maria Minniti, who was the first person to encourage me to consider a PhD. My father now works for the Minnesota Department of Health, my mother is a paraprofessional (working with special needs children). My brothers (in alphabetical and chronological order): cook for Memphis Taproom (Adam), do a little of everything for Sanborn Canoe Company (Mark - Sanborn was started in his/Michael's garage and basement), work on automated industrial IT systems for Fastenal (Michael), manage two really cute kids (Peter), and make camping quilts at custom products at Enlightened Equipment (Tim).
I married my beautiful wife, Jennie, in 2009. She is currently the Associate Director of Leadership Annual Gifts & Special Projects for Penn, meeting with [future] philanthropic alumni from across North America and Europe. Our family is expected to grow by 50% sometime around April 3rd.