2015 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Deepak Hegde, Stern School

Deepak Hegde

Assistant Professor of Strategy

New York University Stern School of Business


Deepak Hegde Photo-2

In his teaching, NYU professor Deepak Hegde focuses on corporate and competitive strategy. In his research, he probes the challenges innovation poses to business strategy and public policy. His research into the behavior of inventors produced surprising results: 93% chose to reveal their patent applications while they were still pending, to reap the benefits of informing potential investors and licensees. At Stern, Hegde has received extremely high ratings for his teaching in the part-time Langone MBA program. Of particular interest to his students may be Hegde’s research finding that venture capitalists are more likely to put money into startups with executives from the same ethnic background, and that when VCs and entrepreneurs shared the same ethnicity, startups were more successful.

Age: 37

At current institution since: 2010

Education: PhD, Business and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, 2010

Courses currently teaching:  Strategy, Business Strategy, and Corporate Strategy

Professors you most admire: David Mowery (University of California, Berkeley), Bronwyn Hall (University of California, Berkeley) and Bhaven Sampat (Columbia University). I consider myself lucky to have been mentored by all three.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…” I was offered a job as one!

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…” I like to think I’d be a biologist, a detective, or a venture capitalist.

Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor:

Teaching my first Strategy course. Trained in an Economics program, I had never taken Strategy or any other case-based course as a student, and found myself quite nervous before my first class. As I was entering the class, one of the enrollees asked me whether I too was a student. I said “yes, but not in the way you might think,” and proceeded to chat up the student. Surprisingly, this exchange calmed my nerves, and set the tone for an engaging session in which rather than worrying about delivering my prepared lecture, I found myself moderating students vying with each other to contribute to the class discussion. To realize that I could achieve my teaching objective in this manner was indeed liberating, and before I knew, the three-hour class was over, and the rest of the course flew by. Each class of this first course was so full of anticipation and fun—it made me discover the joys of teaching. I look back fondly on the experience each time I start a new teaching assignment.

What professional achievement are you most proud of?  Publishing my first article in Science as a graduate student.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? The learning—I learn a lot and broadly while preparing for classes. This is a perfect complement to the highly specialized learning that happens while doing research. I also very much enjoy discussing cases—my approach to teaching them involves very little “instruction”—I like to ask a series of questions, and nudge students’ responses such that they arrive at the main takeaways themselves. I believe good case discussions can be like Agatha Christie’s mystery plots: the answers are not obvious beforehand, but after systematically organizing case-based facts and analyzing them, lead to conclusions that seem perfectly self-evident.

What do you enjoy least? Grading.

Fun fact about yourself: I have flown kites, milked cows, and juggled with golf balls (I gave up all three activities after sustaining minor injuries in each).

Favorite book:  Henderson the Rain King (fiction), Guns, Germs, and Steel (non-fiction)

Favorite movie:  Cool Hand Luke, The Seventh Seal, Chinatown

Favorite type of music:  Pretty much anything by Bob Dylan

Favorite television show:  The Big Bang Theory, The West Wing, Saturday Night Live

Favorite vacation spot:  The Western Ghats of India

What are your hobbies?  Movies, tennis and cooking

Twitter handle:  Don’t have one.

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…” 

Classes in philosophy and logic, more feedback for students and grade disclosure for employers, and a later, shorter, recruitment season.

Students say…

“I cannot say enough about what a great job Professor Hegde does in structuring lectures, leading discussion and creating a comfortable space for class discussion. He is an effective communicator and very good at eliciting constructive comments from students. This is the first class that I’ve taken (in undergrad and another grad school program) that I have felt comfortable sharing ideas and speaking up in class. For this reason, I’m really grateful to Professor Hegde for indirectly instilling confidence in me by creating an intellectually safe environment for students in his class. He is an extremely gifted teacher and intelligent person. I would take another course with him in a second.”

– student survey

Deepak was a great instructor – he engaged students really well, and I found that the class went by very quickly since he made me want to pay attention and continue to think about the discussion. He listened really well to students and could draw the right answer out of students through leading the direction of the conversation well. He was extremely prepared and organized. He was one of the best instructors I’ve had at Stern!

– student survey

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