Cheng Gao

Faculty Associate, Center for Positive Organizations

Assistant Professor of Strategy, University of Michigan

Cheng Gao is an Assistant Professor of Strategy. His research focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship, and nonmarket strategy. His research examines how firms compete in uncertain institutional environments, particularly those characterized by regulatory uncertainty.

Gao’s research is published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, and Organization Science, and received the Academy of Management’s Best Dissertation Award (Technology and Innovation Management Division) and the Heizer Doctoral Dissertation Award (Entrepreneurship Division). Gao serves as an editorial board member of Administrative Science Quarterly and Strategic Management Journal.

Gao teaches Advanced Competitive Strategy across the MBA, MM, and BBA programs. He is the recipient of the 2022 Neary WMBA Teaching Excellence Award and the 2020 Neary BBA Teaching Excellence Award, and previously received a Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. In 2020, he was named by Poets & Quants as a “Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professor”.

Prior to academia, Gao was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman based in New York. Previously, he was principal research assistant to a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state at CSIS, a non-partisan Washington policy think tank. Gao graduated from Harvard Business School with a doctoral degree in Strategy and received the HBS Dean’s Award for Service to the School and Society. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College with high honors in economics.