J.P. Eggers is an Associate Professor of Management & Organizations at NYU’s Stern School of Business. His research primarily focuses on the overlap between two domains – the evolution of technologies and industries, and the cognitive decision making process of managers. He has explored how the failure of technological investments affects subsequent organizational decision making, how managerial attention shapes firm strategy, and how managers make decisions about where and how to grow their firms. His research has been published in leading outlets, such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and Strategic Management Journal, and has received multiple awards from conferences and professional organizations.
At NYU he teaches the core MBA strategy class, a capstone strategic elective for MBAs, and in the Business Analytics program, as well as in multiple executive education classes. J.P. received his PhD from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, his MBA from Emory University, and his BA from Amherst College.
What do you do best?
I think I’m pretty good at working through complex issues, without overly simplifying them in ways that makes them meaningless. The world is a complex and messy place, and while simplifications can be helpful to consider complex things, oversimplification can lead to a number of truly awful mistakes and erroneous assumptions about cause and effect relationships. I also learn new things and adapt pretty well. I have been pretty efficient in general, but that’s gotten harder and harder as my career has progressed due to competing demands.
What makes you the best?
I’m a huge proponent of broad based, liberal arts education. I can trace back most of the skills that have made me successful to having studied Colonial American history (among many other things) in an immersive and challenging environment. To me, undergraduate education isn’t about learning facts or tools, but about learning how to think, learn, analyze, and communicate. I think my career path would have been very different had I actually started out in business, as opposed to history.
What are your aspirations?
To be a good parent (or at least not be an awful one). To connect with and inspire a handful of students every year (I’d love to connect with more, but I’m also a realist). I want to stay intellectually challenged through my entire career.
Being willing to walk away from a lucrative and important career in consulting to pursue what I really wanted to do in life by getting a PhD. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more fully self aware as I was in making that decision.
Most Challenging Moment?
Well, high school. And then there was a time that my wife and I both quit our jobs, sold our house in Atlanta, bought a new house in Philadelphia. I started a PhD program after a decade of non-academic work. And we had a brand new baby boy who had terribly colic for the first five months. I never really questioned the decisions that we had made, but there were some incredibly difficult months of nearly zero sleep, being intellectually lapped by people ten years younger than me, and adjusting to a place where we had no friends and no social life.
"Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
I like people that don’t make me feel bad for being an introvert. I like being around people and enjoy meeting new people, but being social can be exhausting. As a result, the really close friends that I have who don’t mind when we don’t talk for a while are incredibly important to me. More generally, I also really like meeting people with new and different stories to tell.
Too many to count. The Blue Hole and Aktun Tunichil Muknal in Belize. The San Juan Islands in Washington. Kyoto, Japan (temples and cherry blossoms!). Trogir in Croatia. I tend to like places that combine natural beauty with interesting interactions with humans. Plus great history. In many ways, the answer should also be “wherever I’m going next”, as I love to see new places.
I’ve been having fun with Amazon Echo. I love my camera (mostly just having a camera — come see my office walls). But I try to be as non-material as possible. I mean, we all own a lot of stuff, but the best things in life are always experiences.
Swimming. Live music. ComicCon. Quality beer. Seeing the world (and showing it to my kids).