2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Regan Stevenson, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

Regan Stevenson

Kelley School of Business, Indiana University

His hands-on teaching practices have a transformative impact on students as evidenced by student testimonials.” – Laureen Maines, Executive Associate Dean of Faculty and Research and Conrad Prebys Chair

Regan Stevenson, 41, is the Shoemaker Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, where he’s been since 2016. He currently teaches Advanced Practicum in Entrepreneurship, Disruptive Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Venture Concept Development, and the Sharpf Entrepreneurship & Innovation Workshop.

He has a PhD in Business Administration and MS in Modeling & Simulation from the University of Central Florida, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba. 

He is the recipient of the Indiana University Trustee Teaching Award and the Kelley School of Business Innovative Teaching Award. Before teaching, he was an entrepreneur who started several new ventures, and was selected as a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“He teaches ‘action based’ entrepreneurship courses for undergraduates and MBAs. He teaches ‘The Spine Sweat Experience,’ an intensive undergraduate capstone course previously selected as the No. 1 entrepreneurship course in America by Inc. Magazine,”  Laureen Maines, executive associate dean of faculty and research, tells Poets&Quants. “His research contributes to entrepreneurship best practices and public policy literatures.” 


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I’ve always loved ideas. After starting and scaling a few businesses I was faced with a dilemma, what to do next? There were many opportunities to start something new, but as an entrepreneur, I knew I was always most excited during the idea development phase. While considering what the next chapter would be for me, my wife and I went on a six-month backpacking trip through Asia and the week we got back I started applying to PhD programs. Exploring new places (and getting lost a few times) solidified for me that it was time for a new intellectual challenge. I now spend my days grappling with ideas, working on my own research interests, and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs – I could not think of a better way to spend my time!

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I study the psychological aspects of entrepreneurship and innovation. My research has identified how entrepreneurial behaviors and pitch cues — such as coachability, entrepreneurial hustle, emotional intelligence, sponsorship, or positive psychological capital — help entrepreneurs acquire resources, raise capital, or overcome early-stage constraints or biases. Because entrepreneurial challenges are highly contextualized and often manifest at the individual level, I have embraced the micro lens in my research. This has also allowed me to contribute to new scholarly conversations on the usefulness of behavioral experiments in entrepreneurship/innovation and strategic management settings. 

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Starting something new as an entrepreneur or running analytics as a defensive coordinator (football coach). After college, I started several businesses including a couple successes and some failures along the way. My passion for the study of entrepreneurship was sparked and remains fueled by these experiences. Although I loved the challenge of being an active entrepreneur, I feel very fortunate that my entrepreneurial path eventually led me to my current life as a business school professor, which ironically, I often say can be at times more entrepreneurial than being an entrepreneur (when you consider Howard Stevenson’s early definition of the word). 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Passion for the subject, authenticity in the classroom, and the belief that any of my students can become successful entrepreneurs if they are ready to put in the work. 

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Hooked

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: It is less about the content you create (from the professor’s perspective) and more about finding unique ways to unlock the learnings from the student’s point of view. 

Professor I most admire and why: Rather than name specific people, I’ll talk about the commonalities of those I admire. Professors that get students excited to learn, treat people with respect regardless of their ‘level,’ try new things in teaching & research, and create useful conversations that link theory and practice. I’ve been fortunate to be around many amazing scholars that exemplify these qualities, truly too many to name here. Thank you for the role you’ve played in mentoring and challenging me over the years! 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Seeing the lightbulb go off when they realize that through a series of small but focused actions, they can work their way toward becoming entrepreneurs and changemakers (the process of entrepreneurial experimentation).

What is most challenging? Getting students to prioritize action over contemplation. You don’t always have to get every answer right, but you can’t make any progress if you are standing still. 

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

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Closed-Minded

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…Fair with high expectations.


What are your hobbies? Reading, traveling, playing tennis, playing hockey, running, and hanging out with my family. 

How will you spend your summer? Enjoying time outside with family, short weekend vacations, baseball games, hikes, maybe a theme park with the kids, and perhaps up to Canada if we can fit it in. 

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Exploring a new country for the first time or beach days in the Florida Keys or on an Island somewhere.

Favorite book(s): I enjoy books that draw you into the minds of unorthodox or misunderstood characters or get you thinking in new ways about human psychology or philosophy. I also like to read the biographies of changemakers. In one of my classes I require students pick a non-business book to build an ‘outside perspectives’ final integration project. This has surfaced many great books, so my recommended reading list is long and best shared over a dinner conversation.  

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? After moving to Bloomington, I discovered Breaking Away, the 1979 Academy Award winner. It is a great story of two worlds colliding, overcoming challenges, and finding oneself; set to the backdrop of the beautiful Indiana University campus. Currently I am into Netflix history documentaries and kids shows – whatever my kids pick for us to watch (Bluey – a cartoon about a family of dogs from Australia is our current favorite!). 

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Jack Johnson, Darius Rucker, John Mayer, Jakob Dylan, and Zack Brown Band because this kind of music makes me happy. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Courses that combine disciplines and focus on integrative long-term thinking.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Preparing for disruption, creating opportunities for organization-wide innovation and testing, and implementing evidence-based pivots based on experimentation. 

I’m grateful for… So much! Starting with an incredibly supportive and understanding family, an immense amount of good fortune to be in a position to capitalize on all the opportunities I have had in my life, and a career that I enjoy every day! 


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