2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Lori Rosenkopf, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

Lori Rosenkopf
University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

“Lori founded the first course in the Wharton Industry Exploration Program, introducing Wharton undergraduates to alumni ventures and networks in the Bay Area tech sector ecosystem. She simultaneously built a companion course, Culture and Institutions of the Tech Sector, that brought West Coast alumni into her classroom, challenging students to discern tech sector reality from hype by triangulating between academic research findings and popular press coverage.” – Brian Bushee, Senior Vice Dean of Teaching and Learning; and Nancy Rothbard, Deputy Dean

Lori Rosenkopf, 59, is the Simon and Midge Palley Professor and Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship at University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School.

In her teaching, Rosenkopf focuses on the tech sector, drawing on her expertise as a systems engineer. Her research focuses on technological evolution, organizational networks, and digital transformation.

Her work has been published in leading journals including Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, Research in Organizational Behavior, and Organization Science.

She has received a Wharton Teaching Excellence Award each year since 2018.


At current institution since what year? 1993
Education: BS Cornell University, Operations Research & Industrial Engineering; MS Stanford University, Operations Research; PhD Columbia University, Management of Organizations
List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Culture and Institutions of the Tech Sector: Bridging Research and Practice


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I did an independent study with my favorite undergrad professor, Howard Taylor.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? With two former doctoral students who are now professors, I’m looking at how pharmaceutical firms use alliances to access technology developed by biotech startups. Surprisingly, only about half of these alliances access novel approaches…the rest wind up duplicating current technological solutions!

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… a stand-up comic.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My efforts to connect students with alumni to bridge our academic learning with insights from practice. My focus on how to think, not what to think.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Over-dressed

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: While you have incredible latitude to choose what you work on, you will work on so many things for so many people that time management will always be a challenge.

Professor I most admire and why: My doctoral advisor, Mike Tushman. His research has influenced academics and practitioners alike, and his generous spirit is inspiring too!


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Their drive and enthusiasm are unparalleled.

What is most challenging? Helping them remember that there is room for everyone to succeed, because they are surrounded by such driven and enthusiastic students.

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

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Entitled

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… expecting a lot, but also compassionate


What are your hobbies? Pilates, walking, e-biking

How will you spend your summer? Traveling and working

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Cape May, New Jersey

Favorite book(s): Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Tom Robbins)

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? For All Mankind – it’s a great mix of sci-fi, history and soap opera

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? John Mayer and Billie Eilish – both are old souls


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… integration across functional areas, because most interesting problems are not siloed

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at…communicating their purpose and how each activity contributes to it

I’m grateful for… my family and my Wharton community


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