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5 Questions with Faculty: Bill Wales

Bill Wales at a health clinic in Costa Rica during a trip hosted by UAlbany’s School of Public Health and the University of Costa Rica to compare health systems.

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 31 2016) — Bill Wales is the Standish Professor of Entrepreneurship and an associate professor in the Department of Management in the School of Business.

A native of Albany and graduate of Colonie Central School and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Wales joined the faculty at UAlbany a year ago, after teaching at James Madison University in Virginia.

What are you working on right now?

I am excited about my work exploring and characterizing entrepreneurial organizations. What drives some firms to be more entrepreneurial than others? Are there dominant characteristics or attributes of top management teams that drive entrepreneurial behavior? What role does hope and optimism play in entrepreneurial strategy-making? These are just a few of the questions that my colleagues and I are working to better understand.

What made you decide to pursue this field?

I’ve always found entrepreneurship to be an extremely fun aspect of management. It’s about solving important consumer problems and devising new ways of creating value for society. I really enjoy how dynamic and fast-moving the field is. It’s really a joy to work in this area.

If you weren’t teaching at a university, what would you be doing?

Perhaps serving as a national park ranger. So far my wife and I have visited over half of the national parks in our great nation and enjoyed every minute of it! We have particularly enjoyed visiting Yellowstone, Yosemite, Big Bend, Zion, Acadia and the Great Smokey Mountains.

What’s your favorite class to teach?

I absolutely love teaching social entrepreneurship. It is a unique and wonderful class which affords students the opportunity to explore how their developing problem solving skills and business acumen can be leveraged to help address important societal issues.

What was the last book you read for pleasure?

“The Martian.” I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. The enormity of the universe, and contemplating our place within it is truly humbling and awe inspiring!

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