Michael Fern

Associate Chair for Business Affairs & Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship, UNC Department of Computer Science

Michael J. Fern is the associate chair for administration, finance, and entrepreneurship in the UNC Department of Computer Science. Previously, Fern founded two software (SaaS) companies, including ContentGems.com, a content curation platform for marketers, and Utilium.com, an online learning management system. Fern also provided strategy consulting for both high- and low-tech companies, such as Dolby Laboratories and Rift Valley Holdings, one of the largest agribusiness firms in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to his startup and consulting experience, Fern has served as a professor of strategy at Korea University (visiting), Santa Clara University and the University of Victoria. As a professor, he conducted research in the areas of strategic decision-making, new product development and entrepreneurship. He taught in the areas of strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, including teaching the Strategy in High Technology Firms course in Santa Clara University’s evening MBA program and the Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship course in Korea University’s Global MBA program.

Fern’s work has been published in leading academic journals (i.e., Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, and Organization Science), and he has presented his work at a number of US and international conferences and events. He has received fellowships and research grants from Booz Allen Hamilton, the Strategic Management Society, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for entrepreneurship, and the Canadian government. He received his PhD in strategic management from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. He received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Oregon.