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New Ivey faculty: Daniel Clark

  • Communications
  • |
  • Aug 9, 2021
New Ivey faculty: Daniel Clark

Ivey welcomes 12 new faculty members to campus! To help you get to know our new colleagues, we asked each of them a list of questions about their academic – and personal – interests.

Get to know: Daniel Clark

Daniel Clark is back living in Canada for the first time since 2012 as an assistant professor of Entrepreneurship at Ivey who will be teaching Design Driven Innovation. For the past three years, he and his family lived in Spain while Clark taught Entrepreneurship at IE Business School. He has a diverse background and has worked in market research as a consultant and for two large pharmaceutical companies, and as a business analyst in new product development at Capital One. He also started three businesses: a restaurant, a market research consultancy, and a real estate services company. His education is equally extensive and Clark jokes that his family was relieved when he finally stopped after obtaining four degrees. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Dalhousie University, an MBA from Queen's University, and both a Masters in Business and a PhD from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Q&A with Daniel Clark

What is the most important thing business executives can learn from your research/area of expertise?

My research is on how entrepreneurs make complex decisions under uncertainty. The vital lesson I want executives to learn is that, when we make decisions, it is critical to pay attention to process. Human nature is to simplify and reduce the decision. Indeed, the more successful decision-makers we are, the more we fall prey to this tendency. The problem is that we will simplify decisions that shouldn't be simplified: decisions with unique variables or ones that fall outside our historical expertise. Before we commit, it is important that we go back and critically examine the process. Ask yourself, Did you consider all the critical variables, were you analytical, and is there a better option out there?

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I was born and raised in Toronto. I loved growing up in a big, diverse, and exciting city. It gave me a very open mind and the ability to adopt different perspectives and points of view.

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

When I was younger, I was obsessed with biographies of Canadian political leaders. Whether it was Sir John A. MacDonald, Louis St. Laurent, or Brian Mulroney, there is no "typical" political career path. You have to carve your own way – follow your passions and beliefs and see where they take you. This path led me to a brief career in television followed by market research, entrepreneurship, politics, and now academia. It has been an amazing ride – my ride. No guidance counsellor could have charted this course for me. It was my own path, guided by passions.

What led you to your career?

I had big plans for my restaurant, which I opened in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It was a unique model, think Panera Bread-meets-fish restaurant. But the pricing on the fish was so variable that it didn't really work in the fast casual business model. It was never going to grow into the franchise-driven business I imagined, so I sold it. In the final days, I remember my mother asking me, "What are you going to do now? You liked university; I don't suppose you can go back." And I thought, Well, I could do a PhD. The rest is history. 

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I spend most of my time with my wife and daughter. We love to travel, go to movies, and play with our dogs. My personal passions include cooking, wine, reading, sports, and history. 

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

Two things: I was a candidate in the 2000 federal election, and I studied improv comedy at The Second City.

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

The Oasis song, Wonderwall. I sing it to my daughter, a lot. 

What book would you recommend to others? On the personal side? On the business side?

Phil Knight's Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, and Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. I read for my own personal interests, and I draw ideas for my research and teaching from diverse sources ... so, there is no distinction between business and personal reading for me.