2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Will Geoghegan, Whitman

Will Geoghegan

Assistant Professor of Management

Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University


Will Geoghegen, third from right

Will Geoghegen, third from right

Will Geoghegan is a visiting instructor turned assistant professor at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. Among students, he’s beloved for his calm, yet engaging, demeanor and the sincere enjoyment he gets from working with students. On several occasions, he’s been labeled as one of the top favorite professors at Syracuse. Geoghegan’s research interests center on university-industry technology transfer, innovation systems and innovative capabilities, and has appeared in top academic publications including Research Policy, Science and Public Policy, Prometheus, and the International Journal of Technology Management.

Age: 34

At current institution since: 2010

Education: PhD in Management, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2009.

Courses currently teaching: MBA Level (Corporate Strategy, Competitive Strategy, Designing High Performance Organizations); Undergraduate (Introduction to Strategic Management, Advanced Topics in Strategic Management, Managing in a Global Context)

Professor you most admire: There are too many people to mention. One of the aspects I love most about academia is that every day I get to work and interact with people of the highest integrity. They have given their lives to education and research.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when” I didn’t have much of an appreciation of what it is like being a b-school professor until I got an opportunity to teach tutorials during my Masters. This experience was my eureka moment. I knew then how much I enjoyed the interaction and engagement in the classroom.

“If I weren’t a b-school professor” I’d probably be a snowboard instructor or working somewhere in the snow sports industry.

Most memorable moment in the classroom or as a professor: One of the most memorable experiences thus far has been taking an Executive MBA class to Dublin to study High Performance Organizations.We visited companies such as Deloitte, Facebook, Google, Airbnb, Jameson, Guinness, IDA Ireland and Croke Park. All 20 students that came along made it one of the best professional experiences I have had as a professor.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Probably getting my PhD. Without it I wouldn’t be here right now. I need to get it mailed from Ireland so I can hang it on my office wall!

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Without sounding like an answer from the Miss World Pageant… I love the student engagement. I love getting to know 150 people every semester. I love that ‘aha’ moment in the class when we discuss a concept and a student suddenly ‘gets it.’

What do you enjoy least? Sometimes the cyclical nature can be tough. You get to know a student for a year or two and then they graduate. Also, dealing with student disappointments – whether it is in a job application or an exam score.

Fun fact about yourself: I have run with the bulls in Pamplona and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Favorite book: I am a big fan of Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I like to reread it every couple of years and I love its redemptive theme. One I am reading at the moment is The Bloodied Field by Michael Foley, which thus far has been an amazing read.

Favorite movie: Cinema Paradiso or Life is Beautiful.

Favorite type of music: I like to listen to Indie, Rock and Alternative genres, although a lot of rap music has made its way into my gym playlist of late.

Favorite television show: The IT Crowd… and being Irish, a love for Father Ted is instilled at birth!

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with snow, specifically, British Columbia or Mont-Tremblant (Quebec).

What are your hobbies? All sports, watching and playing – everything from soccer, tennis, snowboarding, running togaelic football. I also love to read and travel.

Twitter handle: @willgeoghegan

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have” An immersive international experience. I find that we need our students to think more internationally in an era of globalization. I know at Syracuse University they have the option to go abroad and students do come back with a different perspective on business.

Students say…

“Will has a calm and engaging demeanor that drives excitement and interest from students. His strategic infusion of technology, current events and distinguished business speakers in the learning environment adds depth, insight and practical application that helps students better dissect complex and challenging business concepts. Will’s enthusiasm and ubiquity is underscored by his intense and demonstrated commitment to instruction and mentoring. He remains a respected friend, trusted adviser and confidant.”

– Justin Saia, MBA@Syracuse ‘15

As a graduate student, it is important to be able to go an extra mile with the way you think; to be able to ask questions that normally would not be asked; to be able to evolve in your decision-making process. Professor Geoghegan facilitated all of this for us. It was interesting how he managed to inspire a class of about 35 very different individuals to come together and ask pertinent questions, as well as make unique observations about the competitive strategies of a myriad number of companies. For this and his affable demeanor, he will remain one of my favorite teachers.

– Aishik Barua, MBA ‘15

Professor Geoghegan brings an uncommon sincerity to the classroom, and I believe it is this genuine concern for the student experience that leads him to be the best-prepared professor I have ever taken. In his lectures, assignments, and assessments, it is abundantly evident how much forethought shaped each facet of his class – he seamlessly integrates academic and current events content. The resulting effect is equal parts thought provoking and relatable. Further, his masterful control of the classroom makes for an inclusive and equitable experience. He is an excellent professor, all-around, possessing tremendous ability to connect with students while imparting knowledge. Will (as he insists on being called) has been a real highlight of many undergraduate careers, mine included.

– Ethan Rothschild, BS ’15 – Management; BA ’15 – Public Relations

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