As part of our profiles of TIM people, let us introduce Mahka Moeen of University of North Carolina which is in North Carolina, we suppose. Mahka, so…

What are your research interests right now?

I like to understand firms’ entry strategies into nascent industries, in particular to-be-industries that have not yet reached their first product commercialization milestone. My research often refers to them as industries in their incubation stage, meaning the period between a technological discovery and its first commercialization. My dissertation about the incubation stage of the agricultural biotechnology documented not only the existence of this industry stage, but also its dynamism. So, I became more and more interested in learning how firms navigate this terrain. For example, what types of firms can commercialize products after initiating a pre-commercial investment in a to-be-industry? What types of capabilities do they leverage in this process? How do they pursue alliances and acquisitions to gain access to needed capabilities? What types of economic experiments do they undertake? We have some answers for these questions post-commercialization, but no systematic evidence for pre-commercialization.

What do you think is your most exciting contribution to academia?

The reviewer 2 in me would like to clarify this question. Should I talk about what I wish others would find exciting? Or, should I talk about what I perceive as my contribution?

I think that the question of entry into nascent industries is exciting, because it spans two units of analysis. In this case, you can’t understand firm-level strategy without industry-level dynamics. Nascent industries are not out there for firms to enter them. Nascent industries are created by firms who enter them. So, if firms’ pre-commercial strategies during an industry incubation stage are not effective, we lose both firms and to-be-industries. In my ongoing research, I hope to shed light on this entanglement and its implications for firm strategy. 

Tell us something personal about yourself.

Nail polish. I like nail polish, not nail art and not probably in a wide range of colors. When I was in college, it looked like an act of civil disobedience. In my new academic life, I spend most days typing on a keyboard, or writing with a pen, or maybe scrolling through pages on my iPad. If I want to do something personal for myself, something that I see while doing all these tasks, it is nail polish.

Thanks Mahka!

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