2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Scott J. Shackelford, Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Scott J. Shackelford

Indiana University Kelley School of Business

“Scott developed IU’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Program, creating the first degree in the U.S. combining business, law, and computer science to address the complexities of cybersecurity. He creates impact with students by incorporating service learning in his curriculum, working with government agencies and non-profits to mitigate cybersecurity risks. He is a world leader in the push for cyber peace, having authored two books and creating the IU Cyber Peace internship program for graduate students to work with at-risk organizations. He is a highly sought-after thought leader on cybersecurity, providing expertise to the U.S. Senate, House, and the State of Indiana.” – Jamie Prenkert

Scott J. Shackelford, 39, is Professor of Business Law and Ethics at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. He is also Executive Director of the Ostrom Workshop and Chair of IU’s Cybersecurity Risk Management Program.

Shackelford is an Affiliated Scholar at both the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

He has written more than 100 articles, book chapters, essays, and op-eds for diverse publications, and his research has been covered by numerous top media outlets including Politico, NPR, CNN, Forbes, Time, the Washington Post, and the LA Times.

He is the author of The Internet of Things: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2020), Governing New Frontiers in the Information Age: Toward Cyber Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and Managing Cyber Attacks in International Law, Business, and Relations: In Search of Cyber Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He is the winner of a Harvard University Research Fellowship, a Stanford University Hoover Institution National Fellowship, a Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study Distinguished Fellowship, the 2014 Indiana University Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, and the 2015 Elinor Ostrom Award. 


At current institution since what year? 2010

Education: JD (Stanford Law School), PhD in Politics and International Studies (University of Cambridge)

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Cybersecurity Law & Policy,  Cybersecurity Risk Management Capstone, Cybersecurity Clinic


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I took my first business class, which happened to be a legal environment course. I became fascinated by how the law shaped so many aspects of business, society, and our lives. It inspired me to learn more, and eventually led me to attend law school. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My research analyzes pressing legal and policy issues at the intersection of business law, ethics, property, and peace with a special emphasis on the interrelated fields of cybersecurity, Internet governance, and sustainability. In brief, I study governance best practices allowing organizations of all sizes to better meet their risk mitigation goals, including managing cyber attacks. I am also interested in how businesses, nations, and ultimately the international community can partner to address global collective action challenges across frontiers such as climate change and cybersecurity.

I have the good fortune to be the executive director of the Ostrom Workshop, which has been an epicenter for cutting-edge governance research for nearly 50 years now and is named for Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, and her husband Vincent. In that capacity, we develop new empirical tools and techniques to address some of the biggest issues facing humanity from sustainable food systems to AI governance. I myself also lead one of our research programs on cybersecurity and Internet governance, which has had a number of real-world impacts including being a leading voice for the establishment of a Cyber Safety Review Board modeled after the NTSB and creating the first-ever edited volume on cyber peace. We’re currently just starting a new project on making democracy harder to hack.

If I weren’t a business school professor … I would likely be working for NASA.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My students often bring up the energy I bring to our discussions. I love to communicate, talk about my research, and do simulations and role-playing exercises that allow them to see a problem from new and diverse perspectives. 

One word that describes my first time teaching: terrified. 

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: It really is the best gig in the world, in my opinion. Being a professor is a distinct honor and a privilege that I don’t take lightly. It lets me work with incredibly passionate and impressive students and colleagues every day and help craft new academic programs and exciting interdisciplinary research projects tackling some of the biggest issues we face. There’s no other way that I’d rather spend my time, or place that I’d rather be doing it than Bloomington.

Professor I most admire and why: Jamie Prenkert. He was the first business academic to introduce me to the legal environment of business and is a consummate professional and empathetic leader who leads with grace and humility and is now happily our new executive associate dean at the Kelley School. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Their passion and entrepreneurial spirit.

What is most challenging? Getting them to see how there are so many forces shaping business – from ethics, law and policy, to the market and social norms. We talk about all the ways in which diverse stakeholders can come together to engage in dialogue. Communication is vital to coordination, which is essential to build trust and confidence. After all, as Lin Ostrom famously said, ‘Trust is the most important resource.’ 

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: close-minded

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as fair.


What are your hobbies? Running, kayaking, learning guitar, and playing with my three daughters. 

How will you spend your summer? Leading a study trip to the NATO CyCon conference in Tallinn, Estonia that includes our capstone students and faculty, including from HCBUs and community colleges. I’ll also be teaching in one of our partner programs at SKK in Seoul, South Korea, going on adventures with my family, and researching two new books.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Spain

Favorite book(s): A Short History of Nearly Everything, Ender’s Game, This is How They Tell Me the World Ends

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “Ted Lasso” and “Battlestar Galactica.” These are two very different shows, but I love the former for its lessons on leadership and moral character, and the latter for what it says about the human condition. Both wrestle with the light and dark in all of us in really compelling ways. Be a goldfish. So say we all. 

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I’m a big fan of Mumford & Sons, Irish folk, and hip hop. My girls in particular love pretty much anything by Lin Manuel Miranda – Encanto and Hamilton have been played nonstop. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have all the classrooms flipped with more service-learning opportunities for students, and travel-embedded experiences that allow our students to see and experience the world. I’d like to see the boundary between the classroom and the ‘real world’ be further blurred. We’re all students. We should never stop being students, or learning. Instilling that love of lifelong learning is really important to me, and I think that curiosity is also vital for successful professionals. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at taking a broader view of managing risks and reconsidering how some items that used to just be cost centers – like cybersecurity – can be recast as competitive advantages, or even social responsibilities.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve and spend my life doing what I love – researching, communicating, and giving back to a community that’s given me so much.


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