Shweta Gaonkar

B.E., National Institute of Technology Karnataka

Area: Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship

I study new venture alliances and entrepreneurship. My dissertation examines the impact of founders’ prior affiliation in shaping the inter-organization network ties established by these new ventures. 


University of Maryland, College Park
PhD, Strategy, Expected May 2014

National Institute of Technology Karnataka
Bachelor of Engineering,  Metallurgy and Material Science, June 2003

Dissertation Title

The Strategic Network of Entrepreneurial Firm: Impact of Heterogeneity in Founder Background

Dissertation Summary:

My dissertation examines how heterogeneity in founders’ background influence the formation of strategic inter-organizational networks ties of new firms founded by these entrepreneurs. In the first essay, I examine how the knowledge inherited by employee entrepreneurs shape the strategic networks of these new firms or spinouts. I find that the inheritance of both technical and market knowledge increases the proclivity of the firms to establish ties with firms outside the parent network. On the other hand, spinouts inheriting either technical or market knowledge tend to seek partners within the parent network. The second essay extends this study to examine the impact of academic entrepreneurs in shaping strategic networks. In the last essay, I compare the network structure of firms founded by employee entrepreneurs to those founded by academic entrepreneurs. I use a unique panel data of pharmaceutical and medical device firms from 1986 to 2012 for these studies. These results contribute to the theory and have strong practical implications for questions related to the role of founders in shaping the inter-organizational ties of their firms.

Dissertation Chair: Rajshree Agarwal

Dissertation Committee

Primary Research Interest

  • Inter organizational ties
  • Prior Founder affiliation
  • Employee entrepreneurship

Primary Teaching Interest

  • Strategy
  • Entrepreneurship

Working Papers

Shweta Gaonkar. Parent Ego Or Alter? Impact Of Knowledge Distance On Spinout Alliance In Pharmaceutical And Medical Device Industry.  (Job Market Paper).

Rajshree Agarwal, Martin Ganco, Shweta Gaonkar. Shedding Leg Irons: The Impact of Mobility Constraints on High Skilled Immigrant Wages over The Career Life Cycle.

Shweta Gaonkar, Martin Ganco. Small Firms as Sources of Entrepreneurship: The Moderating Effect of Immigration Status.

Work In Progress

Shweta Gaonkar. Heterogeneity In Entrepreneurial Background: Firm Network And Performance of Firms Founded by Academic and Employee Entrepreneurs.

Honors and Awards

2013 Ewing Marion Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship

2013 All S.T.A.R Fellowship, FY 2013-14

2013 GRID (Graduate Research Interaction Day) Award, First Place

2011 Dingman Entrepreneurship Award for Research in Progress, Third Place

2007 Excellence award for coding at Infosys Technologies limited

2007 Team excellence award at Infosys Technologies limited

Prior Experience

University of Illinois, Research Assistant, 2008-2010

Infosys Technologies Ltd, Software Engineer, 2005-2008

Indian Institute of Science, Research Assistant, 2003-2005 


Robert H. Smith School of Business
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University of Maryland
Robert H. Smith School of Business
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