06 Oct 2023

New Faculty Profiles: Emanuele Colonnelli


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Emanuele Colonnelli, visiting associate professor, Entrepreneurial Management

What is your educational background?
I have a PhD in economics from Stanford University, an MSc in economic and social sciences from Bocconi University, and a BSc in economics from the University of Siena. During my undergrad, I also spent a year visiting Pembroke College at Oxford University.

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
I am deeply passionate about economic development, and my research focuses on two main related areas. One is the intersection between finance and development, with a focus on high-growth entrepreneurship, talent allocation, and venture capital and private equity in emerging markets. I believe we know very little about how the entrepreneurial ecosystem of many emerging markets actually works. This is especially true for what’s relevant to talented, young entrepreneurs in the lowest-income countries, especially across Africa. A lot of this specific research focus developed during my years in the Silicon Valley while a PhD student at Stanford.

My other main area of research relates to the interactions between governments, firms, entrepreneurs, and investors, and focuses specifically on political economy issues in private-government relationships, such as corruption. I have had a special interest in these aspects of private sector development since at least my highschool years, reading books and talking about traveling and geopolitics both at home and with friends.

In terms of methods, I regularly conduct worldwide surveys and field experiments, and I collaborate with several government agencies in low-income countries to access a range of confidential microdata.

What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching the MBA elective Entrepreneurial Finance.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an academic?
I would probably be an entrepreneur, or at least I’d like to think so.

Where are you from?
I am from the center of Italy, near the Adriatic Sea. I spent most of my childhood in Ascoli Piceno, which is in Le Marche region on the border with Abruzzo (the region where I was born).

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
If I could, I would travel all the time to new places and meet new people from the most different backgrounds. Doing so with my family is certainly my favorite activity of all. I also like playing basketball, scuba and free diving, and anything related to contemporary African art.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite books and movies are too many and too mood-dependent. As for art, it’s usually the last piece I hung at home, which right now would be a painting by Stacey Gillian Abe.

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