Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez

Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez
  • Max and Bernice Garchik Family Presidential Associate Professor

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2021 SH-DH
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: immigration, global networks, firm internationalization, innovation, corporate strategy

Links: CV


Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez is the Max and Bernice Garchik Family Presidential Associate Professor (with tenure). He studies the globalization, innovation, and performance of firms. His research contains three main themes. The first explores how immigrants facilitate the foreign expansion and performance of firms. The second focuses on how global networks and national institutions affect the innovation outcomes firms get from cross-national knowledge partnerships (e.g. R&D alliances). The third considers how firms strategically use corporate strategies (acquisitions, divestitures) to improve their positions in innovation networks. Zeke’s papers have been published in top tier journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and Academy of Management Journal. 

Zeke has been selected as the winner of the Emerging Scholar Award by the three major academic bodies in his fields of expertise: the Strategic Management Society (2018), the Strategic Management Division of the Academy of Management (in 2017) and the International Management Division of the Academy of Management (in 2016). In addition to these career recognitions, he’s received awards for individual papers in each of the three themes of his work. Research on the relationship between immigration and the internationalization of firms has been recognized with multiple prizes, such as the Temple/AIB Best Paper Award by Academy of International Business. Studies on how firms can strategically use acquisitions to better position themselves in alliance networks have been given best paper awards by the Strategic Management Society and the Academy of Management. And studies on how institutions affect firms’ access global innovation networks have been nominated for a best paper award by the Strategic Management Society.

As a teacher, Zeke has been recognized by Poets & Quants as a Best 40 Under 40 professor and received several teaching excellence awards. He teaches global strategy courses in all of Wharton’s MBA programs (full-time, EMBA, and JDMBA) and trains executives from leading companies around the world.

Zeke is a proud alumnus of the University of Minnesota, from which he received his PhD in 2011, and of Brigham Young University, from which he received a BS/MS degree in Accounting in 2006.

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  • Emilie Feldman and Exequiel Hernandez (2021), Synergy in Mergers and Acquisitions: Typology, Lifecycles, and Value, Academy of Management Review, forthcoming.

    Abstract: Value in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) derives from the synergistic combination of an acquirer and a target. We advance the existing conceptualization of synergies in three ways. First, we develop a theoretically-motivated, parsimonious typology of five distinct sources of synergy based on two underlying dimensions: the level of analysis at which valuable activities occur and the orientation by which those activities are governed. The typology uncovers three novel synergy sources (relational, network, and non-market) arising from acquisition-induced changes in firms’ external cooperative environments, and classifies two other well-known synergies (internal and market power). Second, we introduce the concept of synergy lifecycles to explore how the timing of initial realization and the duration of gains vary across the five synergies, based on differences in the post-merger integration required and in the control the acquirer has over the assets and activities combined by the merger. Third, we consider how the synergy types interact, yielding co-synergies when they complement each other and dis-synergies when they substitute for one other. This enables us to expand the traditional conceptualization of the total value created by M&A as the sum of each of the synergy types, their co-synergies, and their dis-synergies.

  • Exequiel Hernandez and Anoop Menon (2019), Corporate Strategy and Network Change, Academy of Management Review.

    Abstract: Networks change when either the ties or the nodes are modified. Research on interfirm networks has conceptualized network change as driven almost exclusively by modifications in ties (additions and deletions). Yet firms frequently engage in actions that modify the ownership and existence of nodes: acquisitions ‘collapse’ nodes, divestitures ‘split’ nodes, industry entries ‘create’ nodes, and industry exits ‘remove’ nodes. The literatures on corporate strategy and organizational networks have mostly overlooked the implications of node-modifying actions for network change. We explore those implications in three ways. First, we systematically analyze and compare the network-changing properties of the six node- and tie-changing actions. Second, we link the strategic objectives that boundedly rational firms pursue through each corporate action to changes in their ego network positions (openness, closure, and status). Third, we consider how these ego-network changes set off ripple effects that create externalities for the networks of the focal firm’s immediate partners and that produce unintended structural effects at the global network level. The result is a much more expansive understanding of the mechanisms driving structural change in interfirm networks.

    Description: Conditionally Accepted at Academy of Management Review.

  • Sarath Balachandran and Exequiel Hernandez (2018), Do Institutional Reforms Perpetuate or Mitigate Matthew Effects? Intellectual Property Rights and Access to International Alliances, Strategy Science (forthcoming).

    Abstract: Institutional reforms can profoundly alter the competitive positions of firms. Yet there has been limited research on which firms benefit most from these reforms: are the opportunities they create seized primarily by the most prominent firms, thus perpetuating a ‘rich get richer’ dynamic, or by previously peripheral firms, thus leveling the playing field? We address this question by exploring how intellectual property rights (IPR) reforms affect firms’ access to international alliances, a valuable channel of resources for firms in emerging markets. We find a significant increase in the number of international alliances formed by firms from the reforming countries corresponding precisely with the timing of IPR law improvements. This increase is strongest for firms that were ‘peripheral’ pre-reform: those that were of low status in the global alliance network and those located outside major cities in the reforming countries. Peripheral firms also benefitted the most from IPR improvements in terms of the quality of their alliance portfolios, gaining partners of higher status, from technologically stronger countries, and from a wider diversity of countries. Our study suggests that institutions play a role in mitigating Matthew effects in global alliance networks.

  • Exequiel Hernandez and Mauro Guillen (2018), What’s Theoretically Novel About Emerging Market Multinationals?, Journal of International Business Studies, 49 (1), pp. 24-33.

    Abstract: We review the classic theory of the MNE and past attempts to use it to understand the internationalization of firms from emerging markets. We offer two criteria to determine whether EMNEs modify classic theory or not: (1) establishing appropriate theoretical reference points and (2) distinguishing between theoretical constructs and empirical variables. We suggest that the literature can benefit from moving beyond comparing EMNEs to DMNEs and focusing instead on more fruitful issues. Specifically, emerging markets offer the opportunity to observe the origin of the capabilities of MNEs in general and the development of the institutional ecosystem that supports internationalization.

  • Sarath Balachandran and Exequiel Hernandez, Mi Casa es Tu Casa: Immigrant Entrepreneurs as Pathways to Foreign Venture Capital Investments.

    Abstract: Cross-border venture capital investments are inherently uncertain and risky, and VC firms vary significantly in how much and where they make such investments. We propose a mechanism to explain such variation: investing in startups founded by immigrants provides VCs with knowledge and connections that facilitate subsequent investments in startups from the immigrants’ home country. Empirically, we find that U.S. VCs that invest in Indian immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S. subsequently invest more in India—in the exact region where the immigrants are from and with a lower likelihood of using a local co-investor. These effects are stronger for VCs with ethnic Indian partners. We find no such effects from investing in ethnic (non-immigrant) Indian entrepreneurs, who lack direct knowledge and connections in India.

  • Yong Li, Exequiel Hernandez, Sunhwang Gwon (2018), When Do Ethnic Communities Affect Foreign Location Choice? Dual Entry Strategies of Korean Banks in China, Academy of Management Journal (forthcoming).

    Abstract: Research shows that firms tend to expand into foreign locations with sizeable co-ethnic communities. Yet many cases exist in which the same firm chooses to co-locate with an ethnic community in one location but not in another. We offer an institutional lens to explain this heterogeneity in location choice. Ethnic groups function like informal institutions by facilitating exchange between a foreign firm and customers, suppliers, and information providers in the host location. We argue that relying on ethnic communities to mediate transactions in foreign markets is valuable but limited because the number of possible exchanges is confined by the scale of these communities. In contrast, relying on formal institutions allows firms to expand more broadly into the foreign market because formal governance relies on impersonal exchange, which is more scalable. This is manifested in ‘dual entry strategies’ by which ethnic communities have a significant positive influence on location choice in places with reliable formal institutions but not in places with unreliable formal institutions. We test these ideas with a unique dataset covering the locations of all South Korean banks across Chinese provinces during 1992-2013. Taking advantage of a historical migration that created a quasi-random distribution of ethnic Koreans across provinces, we find support for our ideas. Our work contributes to research on foreign expansion, ethnic communities, and institutional theory.

  • Exequiel Hernandez and Anoop Menon (2018), Acquisitions, Node Collapse, and Network Revolution, Management Science, 64 (4), pp. 1652-1671.

    Abstract: Research on networks emphasizes the addition or deletion of ties as the primary mechanism through which firms alter their networks to obtain valuable positions. This overlooks another mechanism of network change that is at least equally important: the ability of a firm to acquire another firm and inherit its network ties. Such ‘node collapse’ can radically restructure the network in one transaction, constituting a revolutionary change compared to the evolutionary effect of tie additions and deletions. Moreover, acquisitions occur in competitive markets, making it crucial to account for multiple firms simultaneously seeking to reach advantageous network positions. We explore how these issues affect the dynamics of the network at the firm and industry levels through a simulation in which actors acquire one another to span more structural holes. We find that acquisition-driven change affects the distribution of individual firms’ performance and the structural properties of the industry-wide network.

    Description: Finalist for the Best Conference Paper Award at the 2015 SMS Annual Conference.

  • Exequiel Hernandez and Sarath Balachandran (2018), Networks and Innovation: Accounting for Structural and Institutional Sources of Recombination in Brokerage Triads, Organization Science, 29 (1), pp. 80-99.

    Abstract: Research linking interorganizational networks to innovation has focused on spanning structural boundaries as a means of knowledge recombination. Increasingly, firms also partner across institutional boundaries (countries, industries, technologies) in their search for new knowledge. When both structural and institutional separation affect knowledge recombination, aggregate characterizations of ego network attributes mask distinct recombination processes that lead to distinct types of innovation outcomes. We address this issue by focusing on triads as the locus of recombination in networks. We partition firms’ networks into three configurations of open triads—foreign, domestic, and mixed—based on the distribution of the broker and its partners across or within institutional boundaries. We argue that each configuration embodies distinct recombination processes, with foreign triads offering high access to novel knowledge, domestic triads facilitating relatively efficient knowledge integration, and mixed triads balancing the two. We apply this approach to a global research and development alliance network in the biotechnology industry, using countries as institutional boundaries. The results show that domestic triads affect innovation volume (i.e., the productivity of innovation) more strongly than mixed or foreign triads. In contrast, foreign triads have a greater impact on innovation radicalness (i.e., the path-breaking nature of the innovation) than mixed or domestic triads. The findings suggest that different brokerage configurations embody unique recombination processes, leading to distinct innovation outcomes. Our research provides a deeper understanding of how networks and institutions jointly influence distinct aspects of innovation.

  • Exequiel Hernandez and J. Myles Shaver (2017), Network Synergy, Administrative Science Quarterly.

    Abstract: Acquisitions can dramatically reshape interorganizational networks by combining previously separate nodes and allowing the acquirer to inherit the target’s ties, potentially creating network synergy. Network synergy is the extent to which combining an acquirer’s and a target’s networks through node collapse results in a more favorable structural position for the combined firm as the acquirer gains control of the target’s existing ties. We hypothesize that the likelihood  of selecting a target increases when the expected network synergy is greater. Using data from the biotechnology industry (1995–2007), we find support for this hypothesis by showing that acquirers prefer targets that generate greater expected increases in network status and greater expected access to structural holes—even when we control for other known sources of synergies. We further show that these effects are driven by complementary combinations of the acquirer’s and target’s networks that go beyond the attractiveness of the target’s network per se. By integrating the networks and acquisitions literatures, we introduce a novel source of synergies, provide evidence of a previously unexplored mechanism of network change, and show how firms can exert agency in the process of network change.

  • Exequiel Hernandez Uber Growth: The Globalization of a Startup (Teaching Case).


Current Courses

  • LAW 516 - Managing The Established Enterprise

    LAW 516920

  • MGMT611 - Managing Est Enterprise

    This course is about managing large enterprises that face the strategic challenge of being the incumbent in the market and the organizational challenge of needing to balance the forces of inertia and change. The firms of interest in this course tend to operate in a wide range of markets and segments, frequently on a global basis, and need to constantly deploy their resources to fend off challenges from new entrants and technologies that threaten their established positions. The class is organized around three distinct but related topics that managers of established firms must consider: strategy, human and social capital, and global strategy.


Past Courses


    The objective of the capstone study is to provide participants with the opportunity to integrate the knowledge gained in various courses Huntsman students take in Wharton and the College in a focused application to a specific project. The project would have sufficient breadth and depth to require participants to draw upon multiple analytical perspectives, theoretical lenses, and stocks of empirical data to collaboratively develop distinctive insights in relation to a given problem. The end product is a paper summarizing the research/application journey of the students, as well as a group presentation highlighting key findings as well as their theoretical and practical implications. Prerequisite: This course is only open to students in the Huntsman Program.


    This course is about managing large enterprises that face the strategic challenge of being the incumbent in the market and the organizational challenge of needing to balance the forces of inertia and change. The firms of interest in this course tend to operate in a wide range of markets and segments, frequently on a global basis, and need to constantly deploy their resources to fend off challenges from new entrants and technologies that threaten their established positions. The class is organized around three distinct but related topics that managers of established firms must consider: strategy, human and social capital, and global strategy.


    This course is about managing during the early stages of an enterprise, when the firm faces the strategic challenge of being a new entrant in the market and the organizational challenge of needing to scale rapidly. The enterprises of interest in this course have moved past the purely entrepreneurial phase and need to systematically formalize strategies and organizational processes to reach maturity and stability, but they still lack the resources of a mature firm. The class is organized around three distinct but related topics that managers of emerging firms must consider: strategy, human and social capital, and global strategy.



    This class is designed to develop world class, globally-minded managers. Many of the most important business issues of today are global in nature. Both "macro" phenomena (e.g. nationalism, protectionism, demographic change) and "micro" trends (e.g. competition within and from emerging markets, distributed talent and innovation, digitization and automation) are inherently international issues. They require firms and managers to think, innovate, and organize globally. This class offers a comprehensive set of tools to evaluate opportunities and challenges in global markets, to leverage cross-country differences to enhance innovation and performance, to manage the complexities of a business spread across multiple countries, and to win against foreign rivals. The course will focus on both the formulation and execution of global strategy, with a heavy emphasis on current events and hands on activities. Sample topics include: quantifying opportunities and risks of foreign investments; formulating and executing strategies that balance local responsiveness, global efficiency, and innovation; exploiting differences across countries to enhance innovation while protecting intellectual property; managing organizational structure, culture, and people in multinational organizations; structuring and managing cross-national and cross-cultural teams; developing a global mindset among managers and employees. This course builds on the global management portion of MGMT 611 or MGMT 612, but taking those classes is not a prerequisite for MGMT 871.


    This course explores network models and their applications to organizational phenomena. By examining the structure of relations among actors, network approaches seek to explain variations in beliefs, behaviors, and outcomes. The beauty of network analysis is its underlying mathematical nature - network ideas and measures, in some cases, apply equally well at micro and macro levels of analysis. Therefore, we read and discuss articles both at the micro level (where the network actors are individuals within organizations) and at the macro level (where the network actors are organizations within larger communities) that utilize antecedents or consequences of network constructs such as small worlds, cohesion, structural equivalence, centrality, and autonomy. We begin by examining the classic problem of contagion of information and behaviors across networks, and follow by considering the various underlying models of network structure that might underlie contagion and other processes The next two sessions address a variety of mechanisms by which an actor's position in a network affects its behavior or performance. Then, the following two sessions address antecedents of network ties via the topics of network evolution and network activation. We close with a "grab bag" session of articles chosen to match class interests.


    WIEP features short-term courses that focus on various industries and feature visits to businesses, lectures, extracurricular activities, and networking opportunities with alumni. Students must apply online: https://undergrad-inside.wharton.upenn.edu/wiep/

Awards and Honors

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Knowledge @ Wharton

Wharton Stories


In the News

Do Foreign Firms Thrive in Immigrant Enclaves? O Da!

New research coauthored by Wharton's Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez looks at why, and under what circumstances, foreign firms boost their performance when they move into areas inhabited by immigrants from their home countries.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 11/18/2019
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Wharton Magazine

What Does the Future Hold?
Wharton Magazine - 10/16/2020

Wharton Stories

Students smile in front of a large yellow gate that reads: Paramount Pictures.3 Lessons This Undergrad Learned from Arts and Entertainment Leaders in Los Angeles

After leaving the country for the first time on a Wharton International Program (WIP) to Italy last spring, I wanted to find more amazing opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Wharton offers a plethora of these experiences and this year, along with 39 other students, I spent my spring…

Wharton Stories - 04/30/2019
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