Cheng Gao is an Assistant Professor of Strategy at the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business. His research focuses on strategy in nascent industries, technology and innovation, entrepreneurship, and nonmarket strategy. In particular, Gao’s research examines how firms compete in uncertain institutional environments, particularly those characterized by regulatory uncertainty. He is the recipient of the Academy of Management's Best Dissertation Award (Technology and Innovation Management Division) and the Heizer Doctoral Dissertation Award (Entrepreneurship Division). His research has been published in Strategic Management Journal and Organization Science.
Gao teaches Corporate Strategy (Strategy 390), the senior-level required core course in the Ross BBA curriculum. Previously, he taught Strategy and Competitive Advantage at Harvard University (Economics 970). Gao is the recipient of the 2020 Neary BBA Teaching Excellence Award (Ross School of Business) and the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.
Prior to academia, Gao was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, where he conducted engagements in strategy, operations, and risk management for Fortune 500 clients. 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 Doctor of Business Administration 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.