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, alliances, & corporate venture capital, private equity, technology & innovation management, technology entrepreneurship, 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. His current work spans two closely related research streams in corporate strategy and technology and innovation management. In the first stream, Paul studies how firms source capabilities by engaging in multiple external corporate development modes, such as alliances, acquisitions, and corporate venture capital investments, while paying special attention to choice and interdependence of these modes. In the second, complementary stream, he investigates the distinct roles of various types of external actors (whether private equity funds, VC investors, or other firms) and their investments, both when it comes to their roles in the markets, as well as their influence on firm-level and transaction-level outcomes. 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

    Emerging enterprises, the focus in this course, are small, new, fast-growing organizations. Their founders and managers face multifaceted challenges: how to assess the competitive position of their business model and develop a strategy; how to develop the internal organizational structure, culture, and policies for selecting and managing employees; and how to pursue global opportunities. We cover these challenges in separate modules on strategy, human and social capital, and global issues. The human and social capital module covers classic management challenges of aligning interests of the individual and the organization; managing individual psychological needs and social influences; and developing employee capabilities that provide competitive advantage. Also covered are unique challenges that yound organizations face, i.e. building an effective culture; recruiting, selecting, and retaining talent; building systematic approaches to motivating employees; coping with the stresses of rapid growth; and leveraging the benefits (and avoiding the liabilities) of the founder's powerful imprint. The strategy module covers fundamental issues central to the competitiveness of the enterprise. Because the strategy field is broad, MGMT 612 emphasizes topics and frameworks that are most relevant for younger firms, such as innovation, disruption, managing resource constraints, and building capabilities. However, a key insight of the module is the importance of seeing the playing field from the perspective of the competition. Thus, by the end of this section, students will have a robust grounding in strategy that will allow them to succeed, whether their career path leads to a Fortune 100 firm or a garage start up. The global module covers the emerging firm's decision about when (and whether) to internationalize. This decision must address which foreign markets to enter; the mode of entry; the sequence of moves to develop capabilities; what organizational form to choose; where to establish HQ; and how to adapt to the unique economic and institutional features of different markets. In all these issues, the emphasis is on how young, resource-constrained firms can position themselves profitably in globally competitive markets. For the final project, student teams provide integrated analysis across the modules for an emerging enterprise of their choice.

    MGMT612001 ( Syllabus )

    MGMT612002 ( Syllabus )

    MGMT612003 ( Syllabus )

  • MGMT721 - Corp Dev: Merg & Acquis

    This course explores the role of mergers and acquisitions and alternative methods of corporate development in advancing the strategies of operating business. Emphasis is on the way companies use acquisitions to alter business mixes; seize opportunities in new products, technologies and markets; enhance competitive positioning; adjust to changing economics, and promote value-creating growth. Although the course will emphasize strategic acquisitions, it also will explore leveraged buy-outs and hostile financial acquisitions as well as their influence on corporate buyers. Please note that you must fulfil 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 - 2018/12/18
All News

Awards and Honors

Mack Institute Research Fellowship 2019 Recipient, Mack Institute for Innovation Management 2019
All Awards