Recognition for rising star academics from Poets&Quants

Yael Hochberg holds many titles at the Jones School: Ralph S. O'Connor Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Associate Professor of Finance, Academic Director of Rice Alliance, Head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Managing Director of the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. Recently, she was awarded another: one of Poets&Quants’ “Top 40 Under 40″ best business school professors.

“Yael is the premier academic expert on startup accelerators and their effect on startups and local entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said K. Ramesh, deputy dean. “Her addition to our teaching and research team has broadened our connection to the national venture capital network and been an exciting development for the Jones Graduate School of Business.”


Jones School Assistant Professor of Management Hajo Adam was selected last year for the same award. Nominations for the 2015 40 Under 40 were open to business school administration, faculty, students and alumni. The award recognized rising stars that represent elite schools from around the world. Former student Brad Miller said in his nomination, “Her classes truly inspired me at Cornell, and became practical in my later career as I established not only a successful health care consulting business, but as I advise health care startups in San Francisco. And now, 10 years removed from her class, I still find myself calling Yael for advice, and she continues to network me with her classes and efforts at Rice. That’s a powerful combination for a professor.”

That combination took shape while she was at Stanford earning her degrees. “When the internet bubble imploded, I looked around at the destruction in Silicon Valley and decided there was just so much we didn’t know about startups, entrepreneurship and innovation. I wanted to be part of putting together that puzzle,” Hochberg said. “As a professor, you touch so many lives and influence so many careers. You have the opportunity to inspire your students to greatness, guide them, and help them see the myriad opportunities they can pursue for success.”

Success comes in many forms, however, and Hochberg’s vision has a more integrated and experiential framework. “Management in today’s world is becoming increasingly inter-disciplinary, and our graduates should understand how the different pieces of a business fit together and interact. This is especially true for students who hope to lead entrepreneurial, innovation-driven or high-growth companies.”

A nomination from Aziz Gilani added, “I was one of Yael Hochberg’s students while pursuing my MBA at Kellogg. I participated in her Venture Lab program, an experiential learning class that placed students in startup companies, accelerators and venture capital firms to help us get hands-on experience and exposure to what and how those groups do what they do. I found her classes and mentorship vital. Together, she and I co-authored the Seed Accelerator rankings, which were quoted in publications like The New York Times and Businessweek. Her research is a highly regarded and used by venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, who have quoted her work directly to me on multiple occasions.”

It is managing the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project that Hochberg identifies as a professional achievement she is most proud of. “When we first started out, we had no idea how impactful the project would be. There is very little transparency and knowledge about the relative quality of accelerator programs and their startups’ outcomes outside of a few famous programs like YCombinator and Techstars. And there are hundreds of programs out there,” Hochberg said.

“We have heard from so many entrepreneurs who appreciate how our rankings project has helped them identify the high-quality programs and find the ones that are a good fit for their business and their goals,” she continued. “The rankings have allowed the best programs to showcase their outcomes, and they have allowed us to give back to the community in the form of rigorous research.”

Hochberg has conducted early research about the competitive effects of venture capital markets. Her paper, “Whom You Know Matters: Venture Capital Networks and Investment Performance,” published in a top finance journal, has been cited more than 500 times in published work and won an Emerald Citation of Excellence award for the Best of the Best for its long-term impact. She’s given nearly 200 invited talks and was will write a policy piece on venture capital and accelerators for the National Bureau of Economic Research Innovation Policy meeting in Washington, D.C. this spring.

Hochberg earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, an A.M. in economics at Stanford and a B.Sc. in industrial engineering and management at Technion—Israel Institute of Technology.