Dr. Simon Mak (@profsmak) is Executive Director of the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Practice in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Business Economics at the SMU Cox School of Business. He directs the Caruth Institute staff and its many community service programs, such as the Dallas 100 Entrepreneur Awards, the Southwest Venture Forum, the Starting A Business certificate course, and the Startup Camp for Teens. In addition, Dr. Mak leads the academic entrepreneurship programs at Cox by overseeing the BBA Specialization in Entrepreneurship and the MBA/graduate program in entrepreneurship, managing a team of over a dozen adjunct professors in teaching over 20 entrepreneurship courses. Dr. Mak also works with the Lyle School of Engineering on the MS in Engineering Entrepreneurship degree program.
Dr. Mak is one of the leaders at SMU in researching blockchain and created an MBA class called Blockchain Entrepreneurship where he taught about CryptoKitties as one of the first NFT (Non-Fungible Token) startup business models. He has traveled to London, Berlin, Malta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Israel, Beijing, and Shanghai researching blockchain startups. He has formed a company Genesis Blockchain Academy, LLC that is supported by the SMU Incubator.
Dr. Mak also researches esports entrepreneurship and just completed a project with a graduate assistant researching startup business models in esports. He is the faculty advisor for the SMU Esports Club and co-director of the newly created SMU Esports Business Management Certificate. He has traveled to London, Stockholm and Israel researching esports startups. His newest research interest is in space entrepreneurship.
Dr. Mak specializes in ideation (having created an BBA course called Identifying Entrepreneurial Opportunities), emerging business models and strategies, corporate entrepreneurship (having created an MBA course called Corporate Entrepreneurship:Intrapreneuring), and global entrepreneurship (having created an MBA course called Global Explorations in Entrepreneurship and brought his students to Berlin, Zurich, Israel, and Kuala Lumpur to study their local entrepreneurship ecosystems). Dr. Mak also teaches strategic thinking in the SMU Cox Executive Education program called Transformational Leadership.
Prior to joining SMU, Dr. Mak worked as an engineer for Fortune 50 companies Raytheon and Digital Equipment Corporation, and then was an early employee of venture-backed software startup Mercury Interactive in Silicon Valley as a field applications engineer and then was the Texas Regional Sales Manager after the company’s IPO. He was involved in his own healthcare dot.com startup and presented to top-tier venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, and then was the vice president of sales and marketing for a startup Asian business magazine, and most recently he was vice president of marketing and business development for a small, Dallas-based private-equity backed Linux software company and led the sales expansion into the Japanese market and the eventual company sale to a large Japanese systems integration company.
When asked what motivates his work, he replied:
Give a person a fish and s/he will eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and s/he will eat for a lifetime. Inspire a person to build a fishing business, then s/he will feed her/his community for a lifetime. This is my personal mission as an entrepreneurship professor.
Dr. Mak earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an MBA in Finance from the SMU Cox School of Business, and a Ph.D. in Applied Science (Systems Engineering focus) from the SMU Lyle School of Engineering, where his PhD dissertation was entitled: Improving Investment Performance of Venture Financing Utilizing Bayesian Fundamentals. Dr. Mak is also the recipient of the SMU Cox Teaching Innovation award, SMU Distinguished Community Service Award, the SMU Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award, and the Global Educator of the Year by the Dallas Global Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Mak is also the faculty advisor to the SMU Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club, the MBA Entrepreneurship Club, the SMU Intervarsity Fellowship, is on the SMU Incubator Advisory Committee, and also helps judge the annual Big Ideas undergraduate business plan competition.
In January 2021, Dr. Mak helped launch the USASBE (United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Special Interest Group (SIG) on Tech Entrepreneurship and serves as the inaugural chair.
In January 2021, Dr. Mak was appointed to the Dallas Mayor’s Task on Innovation and Entrepreneurship where he chairs the Big Fat Hairy Audacious Idea Committee.
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