Exequiel Hernandez

Assistant Professor of Management at The Wharton School


The Wharton School

Professor Exequiel (Zeke) Hernandez is an expert on global networks and the internationalization of firms. He is interested in how firms grow by establishing subsidiaries in foreign countries, by forming alliances and other types of network ties with foreign partners, and by making strategic acquisitions. Zeke's research deals with two challenges firms must manage as they grow in this manner: creating and transferring knowledge across units scattered throughout multiple parts of the world and dealing with competitive threats from rivals in multiple locations. He has published in top tier journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Management Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, and_ Academy of Management Journal. _

Zeke was recently selected as the winner of the Emerging Scholar Award by two divisions of the Academy of Management: Business Policy and Strategy (in 2017) and International Management (in 2016). These awards "recognize a promising scholar who has established a research record of exceptional quality early in his career, has a notable publication record, and has already demonstrated an impact on the field of strategic management. Candidates are judged by the relevance, academic contribution, theoretical and methodological rigor, and practical implications of their work."

In addition to these career recognitions, Zeke has received awards for specific research topics. His work on the relationship between immigration and the internationalization of firms has been recognized with several awards, most recently the Temple/AIB Best Paper Award in 2016 by Academy of International Business. His studies on how firms can strategically use acquisitions to better position themselves in alliance networks have been granted best paper awards by the Strategic Management Society (2015) and by the Academy of Management (2017).

In his teaching, Zeke strives to apply cutting edge research to the current opportunities and challenges faced by managers. He currently teaches the global strategy course in all of Wharton's MBA programs (fulltime, EMBA, and JDMBA) and trains executives from leading companies around the world. He has been recognized for teaching excellence by three different universities, most recently receiving the Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation award in the Wharton fulltime MBA program (2017).

Zeke received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2011. Before joining Wharton, he was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Exequiel Hernandez and J. Myles Shaver (2017), Network Synergy: How Firms Use Acquisitions to Enhance their Network Positions , Administrative Science Quarterly (conditionally accepted).

Abstract: Research shows occupying certain structural positions in an interfirm network can confer competitive advantage, but overlooks the possibility that acquisitions can dramatically alter the the structure of the industry alliance network by recombining nodes into new structural arrangements. Work on mergers and acquisitions has also ignored this possibility, and focused primarily on synergies between internally owned resources of the combining firms instead of synergies that may arise from changes in the network position of the merged entity. We consider how network synergy–the expected improvement in a firm's position arising the combination of the acquirer and target's alliance networks–affect the decision of whom to acquire. Using the biotechnology industry during 19952007 as the empirical context, we find that acquirers are more likely to purchase targets when inheriting the target's network reduces the acquirer's structural holes and increases its status (after controlling for the internal synergies discussed in prior research). This research integrates the literatures on networks and on acquisitions, and introduces a novel rationale for corporate combinations.

Exequiel Hernandez and Anoop Menon (2016), Acquisitions, Node Collapse, and Network Revolution, Management Science, forthcoming.

Abstract: We explore a novel mechanism of network change that occurs when a firm acquires another one and inherits its network ties. Such ‘node collapse’ can radically restructure the network in one transaction, constituting a revolutionary change compared to the incremental effect of tie additions and deletions, which have been the focus of prior research. We explore several properties of node collapses: their efficacy in helping firms achieve superior network positions, the externalities they impose on other network actors, and how they provide exclusive control over both internal and network resources. Using a simulation in which actors compete to acquire one another, we model network dynamics driven by node collapses. We find that node collapses directly affect the performance of the acquirer and indirectly that of other actors, and that the direction of network evolution hinges on the degree to which firms pursue internal vs. network synergies through node collapses.

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

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

Exequiel Hernandez and Elena Kulchina (Under Review), Immigrants and Firm Performance: Effects on Foreign Subsidiaries versus Foreign Entrepreneurial Firms.

Sarath Balachandran and Exequiel Hernandez (Under Review), Liberty in Law? Intellectual Property Rights and Global Alliance Networks.

Exequiel Hernandez and Sarath Balachandran (Under Review), Disentangling Structure and Composition: Brokerage Configurations and Innovation in Global Alliance Networks.

Abstract: While there is broad agreement that the structure and composition of interorganizational networks affect innovation, disentangling the two is challenging. Existing approaches to this issue typically conceptualize structure (e.g. brokerage) and composition (e.g. a nodal attribute) as distinct properties and interact the two to empirically assess their effects on innovation. We demonstrate that this “interaction” approach masks heterogeneity within the network in the processes of knowledge access and transfer that drive innovation. We propose a “configuration” approach that partitions firms’ networks into distinct triadic configurations, each embodying an intersection of structural and compositional attributes associated with different knowledge access and transfer properties. Applying our approach to brokerage in crossnational knowledge networks, we identify three configurations based on the distribution of the broker and its partners across or within countries: all foreign (AF), all domestic (AD), and a mix of foreign and domestic (MX). Using a sample of R&D alliances in biotechnology and a matching methodology, we find that certain configurations affect innovation volume (the productivity of innovation) while others affect innovation radicalness (the path breaking nature of the innovation). An interaction approach fails to explain these two innovation outcomes. Our research provides a deeper understanding of how networks (structure) and institutions (composition) jointly influence innovation outcomes.

Exequiel Hernandez Uber's Challenges in Foreign Markets (Teaching Case).

Exequiel Hernandez and Anja Tuschke (Working), Cooperative vs. Adversarial Learning: How the Experiences of Rivals and NonRivals Affect Foreign Market Entry.

Abstract: Research on mimetic learning in market entry has tended to theorize and test the influence of rivals and nonrivals separately. Starting from the notion that the relationship of the focal firm with rivals and nonrivals is fundamentally different, we distinguish between “adversarial” and “cooperative” learning. We posit that nonrivals’ experiences have a stronger impact on a focal firm’s market entry than rivals’ experiences, that this difference is mitigated when the focal firm and its rivals are geographically proximate, and that the two learning sources substitute one another when the firm is exposed to both. We find support for these ideas in a study of FDI by British, French, and German firms into Eastern Europe between 1990 and 2008. 

Yong Li, Exequiel Hernandez, Sunhwang Gwon (Working), Ethnic Communities, Informal Institutions, and Foreign Location Choice.

Abstract: This study examines the institutional role of transnational ethnic communities in MNEs’ location choice. Research has revealed that ethnic communities facilitate international expansion by serving as conduits of knowledge. We propose that ethnic communities also fulfill a governance role by facilitating entry into locations that present high transaction hazards for foreign firms. This effect is based on community norms and social enforcement, and becomes particularly helpful in places with weak formal institutions and high transaction hazards. We test these ideas on the location choices of Korean banks across Chinese provinces during 19922013. Taking advantage of a historical event that created a quasirandom distribution of Koreans across provinces, we find support for our ideas.

Exequiel Hernandez, Gurneeta Vasudeva, Akbar Zaheer (Working), Dual Embeddedness: Networks, Institutions, and Knowledge.

Abstract: Interorganizational networks increasingly span institutional boundaries, such as those separating countries and industries. If institutions affect the behaviors of organizations in crossinstitutional networks, the validity of universalistic explanations of network positions (e.g. brokerage invariably allowing access to novelty) may be questionable. Our main proposition is that the legitimating effects of institutional contexts in which organizations are embedded operate such that network positions are not necessarily related to fixed behaviors or outcomes. Instead, the institutional contexts of the focal firm and its partners impact the roles and structures most suited to a particular network position. Using crossnational institutions and the brokerage position as an application, we develop a framework showing that a firm brokering across partners from competitive institutional settings exploits the disconnection between its partners (tertius gaudens), whereas a broker with partners from cooperative institutional settings plays a joining role with its partners (tertius iungens). We also suggest that closed and open network structures are preferred in societies favoring informal and formal trust, respectively. We then develop propositions showing that the combination of role and structure chosen by the brokering firm based on its partners’ institutional backgrounds impacts the quantity and nature of knowledge obtained by the broker. 

Current Courses

MGMT611 Managing Est Enterprise

The management of large, established enterprises creates a range of multifacet challenges for the general manager. A general manager needs to understand the internal workings of a firm, how to assess and create a strategy, and how to take into account increasing, globalization. While these issues are distinct, they are very much intertwined. As a result, this course will provide you with an integrated view of these challenges and show you that effective of an established enterprise requires a combination of insights drawn from economics, sociology, psychology and political economy.


Past Courses


The management of large, established enterprises creates a range of multifacet challenges for the general manager. A general manager needs to understand the internal workings of a firm, how to assess and create a strategy, and how to take into account increasing, globalization. While these issues are distinct, they are very much intertwined. As a result, this course will provide you with an integrated view of these challenges and show you that effective of an established enterprise requires a combination of insights drawn from economics, sociology, psychology and political economy.


Emerging enterprises, the focus in this course, are small, new, fastgrowing 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, resourceconstrained 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.

  • Emerging Scholar Award, Business Policy and Strategy Division, Academy of Management, 2017
  • Teaching Commitment and Curricular Innovation Award, 2017 MBA Program, Wharton, 2017
  • Emerging Scholar Award, International Management Division, Academy of Management, 2016 Description

The IM Division Florida International University College of Business Emerging Scholar Award is given to a junior scholar, who has shown exemplary scholarship in international management research. The criteria for thisaward is demonstrated academic excellence in international management. Successful candidates for this award are within 58 years from the completion of doctoral degree, who have shown a strong record of publication and professional activity.

Temple/AIB Best Paper Award, Academy of International Business, 2016 Description

Awarded during the 2016 Academy of International Business meeting to the best conference paper, for "Immigrants and Firm Performance: Effects on Foreign Subsidiaries vs. Foreign Entrepreneurial Firms" (with Elena Kulchina).

  • Runner Up, Best Paper Award, Strategic Management Society, 2015
  • Finalist, Outstanding Faculty Member, Freshman Class of 2016, Washington University in St. Louis (University wide recognition), 2013
  • Finalist, Outstanding Dissertation Research Award, BPS Division, Academy of Management, 2012 Description

2012 Academy of Management Meetings

  • Finalist, Outstanding Faculty Member, Freshman Class of 2015, Washington University in St. Louis (University wide recognition), 2012
  • Best Paper with Practical Implications, Strategic Management Society, 2009
  • Best PhD Student Paper, Strategic Management Society, 2009
  • Finalist, Best Conference Paper, Strategic Management Society, 2009
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Carlson School of Management, 2009

How a Country the Size of North Carolina Became a Global Startup Hub, Inc 03/13/2017 Description

Second only to Silicon Valley, the Swedish capital has produced the most billiondollar companies, per capita. It’s also the No. 2 city for fastgrowing companies, according to the 2017 Inc. 5000 Europe.

  • The “culture advantage” and how to build a rock star team with no budget 01/30/2017
  • How Stockholm Became a Unicorn Factory, Knowledge@Wharton 11/09/2015
  • Can Cloning Businesses Work? Ask Rocket Internet, Knowledge@Wharton 10/12/2015
  • Can Cloning Businesses Work? Ask Rocket Internet, Knowledge@Wharton 10/12/2015
  • The First Step to Successful Innovation? Choosing the Right Partners, Knowledge@Wharton 07/23/2015
  • Common Bonds: How Immigrants Can Influence a Firm’s Foreign Expansion, Knowledge@Wharton 05/27/2014
  • Where will China’s firms establish subsidiaries? Where there are Chinese, Organizational Musings 04/01/2014
  • How Government Incentives Are Boosting Latin American Films, Knowledge@Wharton 10/01/2013
  • The stock market generally hates acquisitions, but there is an exception to the rule, Forbes 12/17/2010

Knowledge @ Wharton

  • Growth vs. Profits: Uber’s Cash Burn Dilemma, Knowledge @ Wharton 01/24/2017
  • Big Risks, Big Rewards: Emerging Multinationals in the M&A Game, Knowledge @ Wharton 12/09/2015
  • How Stockholm Became a ‘Unicorn Factory’, Knowledge @ Wharton 11/09/2015
  • Can Cloning Businesses Work? Ask Rocket Internet, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/12/2015
  • The First Step to Successful Innovation? Choosing the Right Partners, Knowledge @ Wharton 07/23/2015
  • Common Bonds: How Immigrants Can Influence a Firm’s Foreign Expansion, Knowledge @ Wharton 05/13/2014
  • How Government Incentives Are Boosting Latin American Films, Knowledge @ Wharton 10/01/2013


Courses Taught

Read about executive education

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