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Best 40-Under-40 Professor Cristina Cruz


Cristina Cruz of IE Business School is among the 40 best business school profs under 40

Cristina Cruz

Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Business

Age: 38

Institution: IE Business School

Before current institution: Universidad Carlos III Madrid

Hometown: Madrid 

Marital status: Married 

Children: 3


PhD in Economics, Universidad Carlos III Madrid

BBA in International Economics, Manchester University

Courses currently teaching: Family Venturing (MBA), Family Business (BBA), Corporate Entrepreneurship (Executive Education)

Fun fact: I teach courses both in Spanish and English. The other day, I jumped into a class and started speaking in Spanish. I talked for five minutes and then asked them, “What happened to you this morning? Did you sleep badly yesterday?” “No, professor,” they said, “we just don’t understand a word… you’re speaking Spanish!” I then realized it was the English intake. I asked them why they didn’t interrupt me, and they answered, “You were transmitting so much energy that we didn’t want to stop you!”

Professor you most admire: Some of the ones I had while I was studying in Manchester. They showed me a more participative and open way of teaching.

Most memorable moment as a professor: When students call me some months or years after their MBA to tell me how much their families benefited from what they learnt in my course.

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…” I think I would be a teacher! I enjoy teaching kids. Or maybe just a mother! I sometimes regret not having more time to spend with my kids.

Professor Cristina Cruz studies a topic that doesn’t often get attention in the business world: family-run businesses. Having been born into a family business, Cruz took five years to research the differences between standard management teams and management teams made up of family members. She concluded that homogenous teams result in “enormous trust,” but when the two types get mixed, things get sticky.

Cruz has now moved on to a new topic: How can families pass on the entrepreneurial spirit from generation to generation? “The founder of a family business is a born entrepreneur, but it does not necessarily follow that subsequent generations will be,” she explains. She uses her findings to teach “Family Venturing,” an elective MBA course. She also consults for family businesses on the side.

Cruz’s work has appeared in leading international academic journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Business Venturing, and Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. In recognition of this research work, IE Business School gave her its Research Excellence Award in 2010, a prize that the school presents to its best researchers.

Cristina Cruz is among “The World’s 40 Best B-School Profs Under the Age of 40