The Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business launched a new postdoctoral fellowship program with the hire of Maria Kurakina, a young scholar with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Haas School of Business.

Postdoctoral programs provide recent Ph.D. graduates with an opportunity to grow their expertise and publish original research, while also contributing to a department’s existing projects and efforts.

With the new hire, the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy begins a postdoctoral program that plans to hire additional fellows in the next few years and leverages world-class faculty and support from the Sorenson Center for Discovery & Innovation, Goff Strategic Leadership Center and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

“We are excited to have Maria with us as our inaugural postdoctoral fellow,” said Matthew Higgins, the department chair. “She is a stellar young scholar and has set a high bar for future applicants. We expect that our postdocs will continue their own research while working with faculty mentors. We already have a top-10 entrepreneurship program. By leveraging our world-class faculty along with support from our centers and institutes, we have every intention of making this a globally recognized program.”

Since coming to Utah, Kurakina has already joined a number of faculty projects, furthered her own research, and is taking notes on the groundbreaking entrepreneurship teaching methods being developed in the unique programs at the Eccles School, such as the Master of Business Creation.

“The faculty here are exceptionally dedicated to their research and to the students, ensuring they are not only receiving the required material and attention, but also engaging and enjoying the learning process,” Kurakina said, adding that she also always wanted to visit Utah and experience its natural beauty.

“During the postdoc, I hope to extend and improve my research and teaching portfolio, and gain more knowledge and experience in the areas of strategy and intellectual property through collaboration and mentoring by the faculty members,” she said.

Kurakina’s primary research interests are in the areas of economics of innovation, corporate finance, strategy, and applied microeconomics. Her current research focuses on the impact of firm’s innovative activity on its product market and participants.

Kurakina currently has several working papers with a number of them currently under review at leading strategy journals. One of them explores the effect of strategic patenting on firm and competitor performance, productivity, innovative output and market concentration. Using a novel definition of strategic patenting, she finds a positive effect of strategic patenting on market concentration. A second paper focuses on how microeconomic shocks affect aggregate fluctuations, particularly on the effect of patenting on the supply chain. In a third paper, she looks at how research and development tax credits change innovative search strategies, influence the types of inventions that result, and ultimately shape industrial and competitive dynamics.

Before receiving her Ph.D., Kurakina graduated with undergraduate and master’s degrees in economics and finance from the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and University of London.

“We are already one of the best schools in the country for entrepreneurship and strategy research and education,” Higgins said. “Our new postdoc program will help us continue growing this reputation and continue attracting the best faculty and students.”

Learn more about the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Eccles School at

About the David Eccles School of Business
The Eccles School is synonymous with “doing.” The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers nine undergraduate majors, four MBAs, eight other graduate programs, a Ph.D. in six areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to 12 institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit or call 801-581-7676.

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