Entrepreneurship in the Classroom

Pankaj Patel teaching a class

With his current research on how testosterone impacts entrepreneurship, how sunny days affect tips for taxi drivers, and whether family firm franchises do better or worse than non-family firm franchises, Pankaj Patel, PhD, has his fingers on the pulse of entrepreneurship.

“How people manage risk has always fascinated me,” he says, “If I’m an entrepreneur, there’s a significant chance that I’ll fail. So I’m always looking at how to mitigate that risk.”

Dr. Patel joined Villanova in 2015 as the inaugural Frank J. and Jane E. Ryan Family Endowed Chair in Strategy and Innovation at the Villanova School of Business—a position established through a gift from the Ryan Family Foundation. The endowed chair attracted Dr. Patel because it focused on the integration of high-quality teaching and research.

Prior to academia, Dr. Patel successfully started and sold two high-tech firms, and he is currently involved in two start-up companies. He brings this expertise into his entrepreneurship classes by having his students create a Kickstarter campaign. Students test their ideas on a small scale, so they can get feedback quickly and adjust the business model fluidly.

“In my entrepreneurship classes, I look to create an environment where failure isn’t punitive,” Dr. Patel says.