Paul Nary

Paul Nary
  • Assistant Professor of Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    2017 Steinberg-Dietrich Hall
    3620 Locust Walk
    Philadelphia, PA 19104

Research Interests: corporate strategy, M&A, corporate development, private equity, technology & innovation management, business & technology history

Links: CV


Paul Nary is an Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a strategy researcher who is interested in how firms reconfigure their resources, reshape their boundaries, and source capabilities externally. Paul’s research explores topics in corporate strategy, technology and innovation management, and the role and behavior of private equity firms in public markets. Paul was Strategic Management Society’s SRF Dissertation Scholar and an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota, where he conducted archival research at the Charles Babbage Institute. Most recently, he was a recipient of research proposal funding awards from Wharton Dean’s Research Fund, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, and Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research. Paul currently teaches the Strategy module in the core MBA course: Managing the Emerging Enterprise (MGMT 612), as well as Corporate Development, Mergers and Acquisitions (MGMT 721).

Prior to his academic career, Paul worked for Intel Corporation, where his work spanned corporate venturing, new business development, mergers and acquisitions, and external technology collaborations. Before Intel, he worked for a boutique PE firm, a commercial real estate investment fund, and started two small businesses.

Paul completed his Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He also holds a Master’s degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and an M.B.A. and a B.S. in Finance from DePaul University.


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  • Aseem Kaul, Paul Nary, Harbir Singh (2018), Who Does Private Equity Buy: Evidence on the Role of Private Equity from Buyouts of Divested Businesses, Strategic Management Journal, 30.

    Abstract: We examine the role of nonventure private equity firms in the market for divested businesses, comparing targets bought by such firms to those bought by corporate acquirers. We argue that a combination of vigilant monitoring, high‐powered incentives, patient capital, and business independence makes private equity firms uniquely suited to correcting underinvestment problems in public corporations, and that they will therefore systematically target divested businesses that are outside their parents’ core area, whose rivals invest more in long‐term strategic assets than their parents, and whose parents have weak managerial incentives both overall and at the divisional level. Results from a sample of 1,711 divestments confirm these predictions. Our study contributes to our understanding of private equity ownership, highlighting its advantage as an alternate governance form.

    Description: Private equity firms are often portrayed as destroyers of corporate value, raiding established companies in pursuit of short‐term gain. In contrast, we argue that private equity investors help to revitalize businesses by enabling investments in long‐term strategic resources and capabilities that they are better able to evaluate, monitor, and support than public market investors. Consistent with these arguments, we find that when acquiring businesses divested by public corporations, private equity firms are more likely to buy units outside the parent's core area, those whose peers invest more in R&D than their parents, and those whose parents have weak managerial incentives, especially at the divisional level. Thus, private equity firms systematically target those businesses that may fail to realize their full potential under public ownership.

  • Paul Nary (Work In Progress), Borrow and Buy: Complementarity and Substitutability of Acquirer’s Alliances and Technology Acquisitions.

  • Paul Nary and Aseem Kaul (Working), The Best of Both Modes: Using Transaction Portfolios to Capture Resource Complementarities.

  • Sunasir Dutta and Paul Nary (Work In Progress), People or Place? The Fungibility of Embeddedness in Entrepreneurial Ventures.

  • Paul Nary (Draft), Strategy, Technology, and Acquisitions: Through the Lens of Control Data Corporation in 1958-1972.

  • Paul Nary (Work In Progress), Networks, Alliances, Investments, and Acquisitions: Role of Social Embeddedness in Acquirer Performance.


Current Courses

  • MGMT612 - Managing Emerg Entrprse

    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.

    MGMT612001 ( Syllabus )

    MGMT612002 ( Syllabus )

    MGMT612003 ( Syllabus )

  • MGMT721 - Corp Dev: Merg & Acquis

    This interactive, applied, and case-based course explores the various modes of corporate development available to managers to drive firm growth and change, including alliances, outsourcing, corporate venturing, and particularly mergers and acquisitions. The objectives are three-fold: (1) to arm the student with a set of tools to facilitate the selection of the appropriate growth strategy in a given situation; (2) to provide insights as to how to manage partnerships like alliances, outsourcing, and corporate venturing; and, (3) to develop a comprehensive framework for executing M&As, from initiation to implementation. The emphasis is on strategic and operational aspects of these transactions, rather than financial considerations. Please note that you must fulfill the prerequisites in order to enroll in this class.

    MGMT721001 ( Syllabus )

    MGMT721002 ( Syllabus )

Awards and Honors

  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2019 Recipient, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, 2019-2021
  • Wharton Dean’s Research Fund research proposal funding award, 2019-2021
  • Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research grant proposal award, 2019-2020
  • Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2018 Recipient, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School, 2018
  • Strategy Research Foundation (SRF) 2017-2018 Dissertation Scholar & Grant Recipient, Strategic Management Society, Chicago, IL, 2017
  • Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship 2017-2018, Office of Interdisciplinary Initiatives, University of Minnesota (Year-long academic fellowship with support of, and in residence at the Charles Babbage Institute & Center for the History of Information Technology), 2017
  • PhD Student Travel Fellowship Recipient, Carlson School of Management, 2015-2017
  • PhD Student Teaching Award Recipient, Carlson School of Management, 2015
  • Intel Labs Role Model, Divisional Recognition Award, Chandler, AZ, 2011
  • Tauber Institute for Global Operations Fellow, University of Michigan, 2010
  • Tauber Spotlight 2010 Scholarship Recipient (honorable mention), Tauber Institute for Global Operations, University of Michigan, 2010

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton


In the News

Finding the Virtue in Private Equity Firms

Many view private equity firms as villainous actors intent on the singular goal of profit. But new Wharton research provides better insight into the benefits of PE buyouts.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 12/18/2018
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Wharton Magazine

Finding Virtue in Private Equity

The industry’s investors often are portrayed as greedy corporate raiders, but a new study argues the opposite may be true.

Wharton Magazine - 04/19/2019