Joel M. Podolny

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Joel M. Podolny
Education St. Xavier High School
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Academic
Employer Apple University

Joel Marc Podolny is an American sociologist. Formerly the dean of the Yale School of Management, he is currently an executive at Apple Inc. where he is the Dean of Apple University (the in-house corporate training center for Apple employees) and as a vice president of the firm. Previously, he was Vice President for human resources.


Podolny is a 1982 graduate of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati.[1] He earned his A.B. (magna cum laude), A.M., and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.[2]


Podolny served on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business for 11 years. He held the position of Senior Associate Dean during the latter part of his Stanford tenure. He was later a professor and Director of Research at Harvard Business School, where he taught courses in business strategy, organizational behavior, and global management. He also taught that the HBS only invited to speak hugely successful alumni, not those who simply managed their work-life balance.[3]

Podolny arrived at the Yale School of Management in 2005. The next year, Podolny led a major restructuring of the Yale MBA curriculum in response to the increasingly complex and cross-functional global environment in which businesses and their executives operate.[4]

On November 1, 2008, Podolny stepped down as dean to be replaced by Sharon Oster, and in early 2009 assumed the position of Senior Vice President of Human Resources,[5] and Dean of Apple Inc.'s new venture, Apple University.[6] Subsequently, Podolny stepped down from his position in charge of human resources but continues as Dean of Apple University and as a vice president at the firm.[7]


Podolny has developed a sociological theory of market competition based on status dynamics. In order to do so, he has examined a variety of industries including venture capital, semiconductors, and investment banking. Podolny has also conducted research on the role of social networks in mobility and information transfer within organizations. He is the author of Status Signals: A Sociological Study of Market Competition and co-author (with Garth Saloner and Andrea Shepard) of the textbook Strategic Management.


  1. ^ "Keeper of the Apple Culture". St. Xavier High School. November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Joel Podolny". LinkedIn. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  3. ^ Broughton, Philip Delves (2009). What They Teach You At Harvard Business School: My Two Years Inside the Cauldron of Capitalism. London, U.K.: Penguin Books. p. 112. ISBN 9780141046488. OCLC 559782256. 
  4. ^ Leonhardt, David (May 2007). "Revamping the MBA". Yale Alumni Magazine. Yale Alumni Publications. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Steve Jobs to live on, virtually, in Apple University". The Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. 2011-10-06. 
  6. ^ "School of Management Dean Joel Podolny Resigns". Yale Daily News. Yale Daily News Publishing Company. 2008-10-22. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Podolny leads an annual symposium on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an event he cites as his passion project. Podolny's lectures on the topic have been canonized as the standard for all MLK Studies. Chen, Brian X. (2014-08-10). "Inside Apple's Internal Training Program". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 

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