2016 Best 40 Under 40 Professors: Jeremy Petranka, Fuqua School of Business

Jeremy Petranka of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Jeremy Petranka of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

Jeremy Petranka

Associate Professor of the Practice (Economics)

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

Jeremy Petranka can work with anyone. From undergrads to full-time MBAs to executives, they all paint a strikingly similar portrait of Petranka: Passionate, concerned, tech savvy, and open. His versatility and love for people enable him to make fast friends. In his actions, Petranka is always looking to help the people around him connect with each other.

Of course, he wasn’t always a business professor. He studied engineering in college and worked as a consultant for PwC. Eventually, he found his true calling: Economics. He earned a Ph.D. in the field from the University of North Carolina where he taught for three years. After winning seemingly every teaching award there, he moved over to Fuqua in 2014, where he views teaching as a means to bring out talent. “Every student has an almost immediate potential to create significant change in the world,” he writes. “Seeing students magnify our small nudges into extraordinary results is extremely rewarding.”

Age: 39

At current institution since: 2014

Education: Ph.D. Economics, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, 2009

Courses you currently teach: Managerial Economics; Strategy; Culture, Civilization, & Leadership; Global Markets & Institutions; Global Institutions and Environments; Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise

Professor you most admire:  Dr. Jennifer Francis. Amazing researcher, teacher, administrator, and person.

“I knew I wanted to be a b-school professor when…I held an optional session for 100+ EMBA students to discuss deep cultural issues in a safe, supportive environment. Almost every student attended, and the honesty, vulnerability, and love that was shown that night is still one of the highlights of my teaching career. It was at that moment that I realized how the richness of experiences that exist in an MBA program can lead to truly transformational outcomes.”

“If I weren’t a b-school professor…I would attempt to create change at the intersection of poverty, inequality, education, and innovation.”

 Most memorable moment in the classroom or in general as a professor: Laura Rozo, a student at UNC, gave a TedXUNC talk months before she passed away from cancer. “Death is not a threat, but the condition that maximizes my life.” At her memorial, her friends and family celebrated her life, salsa dancing outdoors on a beautiful North Carolina morning.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? In 2013 I was awarded the Carolina Chiron award by the students at UNC. As part of the award, I was invited to give a “Last Lecture” presentation where I was able to teach to my students, friends, and family.

What do you enjoy most about being a business school professor? Every student has an almost immediate potential to create significant change in the world. Seeing students magnify our small nudges into extraordinary results is extremely rewarding.

What do you enjoy least about being a business school professor? Shorter terms make it more difficult to develop relationships with long arcs.

Fun fact about yourself: I own 4 guitars and a trumpet and can’t play any of them particularly well.

Favorite book: Godel, Escher, Bach

Favorite movie: Frozen (dedicated to my niece, Tenley)

Favorite type of music: Jazz, Metal, Hip-Hop, Electronic, Funk, Alternative, Latin, Reggae, Jam, World, and Blues (not necessarily in that order)

Favorite television show: Big Brother (embarrassing, but I like to pretend there’s a game theoretic element)

Favorite vacation spot: Grand Cayman

What are your hobbies?  Good food, good drink, good friends

Twitter handle: N/A

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have…a curriculum built from the ground-up, building a singular student experience with class topics and experiences intertwining and reinforcing each other throughout the journey. Cases in the first term would be built upon in the last term. Assignments would span classes, allowing students to develop a deep, multi-faceted view. Data would be incorporated throughout the program, forcing students to address the same potentially limitless information set they face in their post-MBA careers. Throughout the program, leadership, cultural awareness, and a truly global perspective would be incorporated into every course.

Students say…

“I met Jeremy through the Fuqua Improv Club. We run a faculty improv session and although he didn’t know me when I first reached out to him, Jeremy was happy to participate. In my eyes, he is someone who projects high energy, always willing to try new things and is actively connecting with students outside of the classroom. Jeremy brought students from our Weekend Executive MBA program to improv sessions to interact with students from our full-time MBA program, doubling our normal attendance. He encouraged the executive students to mix with students from other programs and with professors they didn’t know. Jeremy truly embodies the Fuqua spirit of appreciating and learning from the differences in others. He not only helps students to learn in his classroom, more importantly, he connects with students and helps them broaden their networks outside of the classroom.”

Ruyin (Rebecca) Wang

Candidate for MBA, Class of 2016 (Full-time)

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

“Professor Petranka is one of the best professors I have ever had in my life. His passion shows through his teaching and he articulates very well with his incredible radio voice. His methods ensure that every student has a firm grasp of the materials. He even made high quality lecture videos as additional resources for us to refer to. He truly cares about his students and goes above and beyond to help them succeed. I am honored to have been in his managerial economics course and to be his friend.”

David Le

MBA Candidate (Health Sector Management)

Weekend Executive MBA Class of 2016

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business

“Jeremy teaches a wide range of MBA students, from the Daytime to the Cross Continent and Weekend Executive MBA programs. What distinguishes Jeremy is his concern for students’ understanding of the material taught in class. Jeremy will take the extra time via phone, email, and in person to ensure students fully understand the concepts he teaches. Another positive aspect in Jeremy’s teaching style is his use of technology in the classroom, notably clicker scoring to encourage more participation. He is also known for engaging with students outside the classroom, be it in taking part of the school’s Improv Club or in providing advice to the winner of the 2015 Duke Startup Challenge. In the last four years, Jeremy received eight awards recognizing him as an outstanding professor in service of his students from different organizations at Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill.”

Bryan Johnson

Candidate for MBA, Class of 2016

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business


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