Andy Wu - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Andy Wu

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Andy Wu is an assistant professor of business administration in the Strategy unit, teaching the Strategy course in the MBA required curriculum. Using the lenses of organizational economics and strategic management, he studies organizational structure as a capability for the acquisition and utilization of human, financial, and social capital in technology-focused entrepreneurial ventures.

Professor Wu is a founder and investor in Identified Technologies, which delivers cloud-hosted aerial data—collected via proprietary unmanned aerial vehicles and dock stations—to the upstream energy industry. He has 11 patents granted or pending across rapid prototyping, medical imaging, robotics, and e-commerce. He is passionate about linking theory with the practice of technology commercialization entrepreneurship, and he advises high technology companies in both an informal capacity and as a board member.

Professor Wu received his PhD and MS in applied economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior fellow at the school’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management. While at Wharton, he received a Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship. Professor Wu also taught in Wharton’s MBA, Executive MBA, and undergraduate programs and was recognized as one of the top 10 graduate teachers across the university. He earned his SB in economics and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Journal Articles
  1. Organizational Decision-Making and Information: Angel Investments by Venture Capital Partners

    Andy Wu

    We study information aggregation in organizational decision-making for the financing of entrepreneurial ventures. We introduce a formal model of voting where agents face costly tacit information to improve their decision quality. Equilibrium outcomes suggest a theoretical tension for group decision-making between the benefits of information aggregation and a cost from the participation of uninformed agents, and this tension presents a boundary condition for when a group decision is superior to an individual decision. We test the implications of the model for a particular phenomenon in venture capital: private angel investments by the partners outside of their employer, which represent investments passed on by the employer. Venture capital partners, acting independently with their personal funds, make investments into younger firms with less educated and younger founding teams than their employing VC firms, but these investments perform financially similarly or better on some metrics even when controlling for investment size, stage, and industry. Geographic distance and technological inexperience by the VC increase the probability the investment is taken up by a partner and not the VC. This work contributes to an emerging stream of literature on information aggregation in organizations and the established literatures on resource allocation and incumbent spin-outs.

    Keywords: Information; Strategy; Organizations; Entrepreneurship; Decision Making; Financing and Loans;


    Wu, Andy. "Organizational Decision-Making and Information: Angel Investments by Venture Capital Partners." Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings (2016): 189–194.  View Details
Working Papers
  1. Equality and Equity in Compensation

    Jiayi Bao and Andy Wu

    Equity compensation is widely used for incentivizing skilled employees, particularly in new technology businesses. Traditional theories explaining why firms offer equity suggest that workers with higher rank should receive compensation packages more heavily weighted in equity. However, we observe the puzzle that many firms adopt an equality-in-equity strategy: they offer different cash salaries across all jobs but the same equity compensation. We propose a behavioral theory of domain-contingent inequality aversion to explain this finding: we argue that workers view salary and equity as two domains and are more inequality averse in the equity domain. Inequality in equity has a negative asymmetric effect on effort whereas the effect of inequality in salary can be positive. Our experimental findings are consistent with the existence of domain-contingent inequality aversion; we also find that inequality aversion in equity is more severe than in salary because of the perceived scarcity of equity.

    Keywords: Inequality Aversion; compensation; Stock Options; equity; scarcity; Experiment; Compensation and Benefits; Equity; Equality and Inequality; Perception;


    Bao, Jiayi, and Andy Wu. "Equality and Equity in Compensation." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-093, April 2017.  View Details
  2. The Structure of Board Committees

    Kevin D. Chen and Andy Wu

    We document and analyze board committee structures utilizing a novel dataset containing full board committee membership for over 6,000 firms. Board committees provide benefits (specialization, efficiency, and accountability benefits) and costs (information segregation). Consistent with these benefits and costs, we find that committee activity increases with firm size, the proportion of outside directors, board tenure and size, and public information available to outside directors. Moreover, boards allocate directors in ways to alleviate information segregation through multi-committee directors. Specifically, multi-committee directors tend to serve on related committees and be outside directors with more expertise and experience. Also, busy directors are less likely to serve on multiple committees, possibly to avoid being overloaded.

    Keywords: corporate governance; board of directors; board committees; specialization; accountability; information segregation; overloaded directors; multi-commitee directors; Sarbanes-Oxley Act; Corporate Accountability; Governing and Advisory Boards; Accounting; Corporate Governance;


    Chen, Kevin D., and Andy Wu. "The Structure of Board Committees." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-032, October 2016.  View Details
Cases and Teaching Materials
  1. Cisco Systems and OpenDNS: Strategic Integration

    Andy Wu, George Gonzalez and David Wang

    With more than 72,000 employees and revenues approaching the $50B mark, Cisco Systems is one of the largest information technology and networking firms globally. As the company grew and expanded into different lines of businesses, Cisco consistently looked outwards for acquisition targets that could supplement its considerable size and reach. As a follow-up to its well-received $2.7B acquisition of SourceFire in 2013, which seamlessly integrated new cybersecurity offerings into the Security business group, Cisco began conversations with OpenDNS. OpenDNS was a fast-growing start-up with credibility in the cloud security space, but there were also concerns about how its Silicon Valley culture and flat organizational culture would mesh with Cisco’s more staid corporate environment. This case considers the dilemmas that two Cisco executives, Karen Ashley and Dianne Nakanishi, face as they make a final decision about whether and how to acquire and integrate OpenDNS.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Corporate Strategy; Change Management; Entrepreneurship; Organizational Culture; Information Technology Industry;


    Wu, Andy, George Gonzalez, and David Wang. "Cisco Systems and OpenDNS: Strategic Integration." Harvard Business School Case 718-489, April 2018.  View Details
  2. Rise of the Drones: Identified Technologies

    Andy Wu and George Gonzalez

    The founder and CEO of Identified Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based drone software and services company, faces a dilemma when San Francisco-based DroneDeploy begins to disrupt the industry with its drone software platform. Identified Technologies needs to consider network effects, customer needs, and the overall state of the drone industry to determine its future path.

    Keywords: Software; Technology Platform; Disruption; Network Effects; Computer Industry; Web Services Industry; Pittsburgh; San Francisco;


    Wu, Andy, and George Gonzalez. "Rise of the Drones: Identified Technologies." Harvard Business School Case 718-482, February 2018.  View Details
  3. Cotopaxi: Managing Growth for Good

    Andy Wu and Laura Huang

    Cotopaxi, an innovative outdoor gear business targeting millennials, focuses on profit and social impact. This registered benefit corporation was formed by Davis Smith who coalesced his experiences as a Wharton MBA student along with professional knowledge from an unpaid internship in Peru and his previous e-commerce startups in the U.S. and Brazil. Cotopaxi’s social cause is fighting global poverty; their target is to donate 10% of their profits, but as a new capital-intensive business they give 2% of their revenue. Their income streams are mainly direct-to-consumer sales along with corporate sales and a special experience-based event—Questival. Their direct-to-consumer model lowers costs compared to competitors and allows Cotopaxi to offer lower prices, but they face a challenge in positioning their products as high quality.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; social venture; benefit corporation; B-Corp; retail; consumer products; Apparel; social impact; Social Entrepreneurship; Business Model; Product Positioning; Social Enterprise; Mission and Purpose; Consumer Products Industry; Retail Industry;


    Wu, Andy, and Laura Huang. "Cotopaxi: Managing Growth for Good." Harvard Business School Case 717-488, May 2017. (Revised November 2017.)  View Details