Jeremy Petranka headshot

Jeremy Petranka

Duke economist Jeremy Petranka knew he found his calling as a business school professor after hosting a get-together for executive MBA students to share their questions and observations about weighty cultural issues.

More than 100 students showed up that night, expressing themselves bravely and honestly. Petranka would call it one of the highlights of his teaching career.

“It was at that moment that I realized how the richness of experiences that exist in an MBA program can lead to truly transformational outcomes,” he told Poets & Quants in 2016. (The publication was honoring him as one of its ‘Best 40 under 40 Professors’ for the year.)

Petranka is still at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, where he is now the senior associate dean for Executive MBA and Quantitative Management programs, and associate professor of the practice.

He’s a data guy with a broad spectrum of expertise. He teaches classes on strategy, leadership, entrepreneurship, economics and structural institutions. He often engages with industry on data and its impact on sports; ways to use analytics to build a racially equitable workforce; and how “big data” can help organizations.

Originally on a path to be an engineer, Petranka received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Virginia Tech. But he was drawn to consulting instead. Before entering academia, Petranka consulted with companies trying to better integrate data and information technology with their business strategies. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from UNC Chapel Hill.

Petranka said of prospective students in Fuqua’s Business Analytics program, which focuses on data analytics and communication for business, “I have a natural affinity for STEM kids who love the tools they’ve developed … the students who care more about how Boeing can improve its business strategy than how Boeing builds airplanes.”