Rita Gunther McGrath

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Rita Gunther McGrath
Rita Gunther McGrath, 2013
Born (1959-07-28) July 28, 1959 (age 59)
New Haven, Connecticut
Nationality American
Alma mater The Wharton School
Scientific career
Fields Strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship
Institutions Columbia Business School
Website www.ritamcgrath.com

Rita Gunther McGrath (born July 28, 1959 in New Haven, Connecticut) is an American strategic management scholar and professor of management at the Columbia Business School. She is known for her work on strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, including the development of discovery-driven planning.[1][2]

Life and work[edit]

McGrath graduated Magna Cum Laude from Barnard College in 1981, and earned a Masters of Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 1982. In 1993, she completed her Ph.D. at The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) with the dissertation, entitled Developing New Competence in Established Organizations consistent with her longstanding interest in corporate ventures and innovation.

McGrath started her career working in government and the political arena and founded two entrepreneurial startups. After her graduation in 1993, she joined Columbia as assistant professor of management, was promoted to associate professor of management in 1998, and recently became a full professor in the Faculty of Executive Education. In 2014, she was elected Deputy Dean of the Strategic Management Society Fellows[3]

In 1999, McGrath received the "Best Paper" Academy Of Management Review, in 2001 the Maurice Holland "best paper" award from the Industrial Research Institute,[4] and later the McKinsey 'best paper' award from the Strategic Management Society for McGrath and Nerkar, Real options reasoning and a new look at the R&D strategy of pharmaceutical firms.

In 2009, she was elected fellow of the Strategic Management Society,[5] and in 2013 of the International Academy of Management. In 2013 she also received the Thinkers50 Distinguished Achievement Award in Strategy.[6] She was named one of the top 20 thinkers in 2011,[7] and one of the top 10 thinkers in 2013 by the Thinkers50.[8]

Selected publications[edit]


  • McGrath, Rita Gunther, and Ian C. MacMillan. The entrepreneurial mindset: Strategies for continuously creating opportunity in an age of uncertainty. Vol. 284. Harvard Business School Press, 2000.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther, and Ian C. MacMillan. MarketBusters: 40 Strategic moves that drive exceptional business growth. Harvard Business School Press, 2005.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther, and Ian C. MacMillan. Discovery Driven Growth: A breakthrough process to reduce risk and seize opportunity. Harvard Business Review Press, 2009.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther The End of Competitive Advantage. How to keep your strategy moving as fast as your business. Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.

Notable articles[edit]

  • McGrath, Rita Gunther, Ian C. MacMillan, and Sankaran Venkataraman. "Defining and developing competence: a strategic process paradigm." Strategic Management Journal 16.4 (1995): 251-275.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther. "A real options logic for initiating technology positioning investments." Academy of Management Review 22.4 (1997): 974-996.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther. "Falling forward: Real options reasoning and entrepreneurial failure." Academy of Management review 24.1 (1999): 13-30.
  • McGrath, Rita Gunther. "Exploratory learning, innovative capacity, and managerial oversight." Academy of Management Journal 44.1 (2001): 118-131.


  1. ^ Zahra, Shaker A., and Gerard George. "Absorptive capacity: A review, reconceptualization, and extension." Academy of management review 27.2 (2002): 185-203.
  2. ^ Hitt, Michael, R. Duane Ireland, and Robert Hoskisson. Strategic management cases: competitiveness and globalization. Cengage Learning, 2012.
  3. ^ "SMS Fellows - Strategic Management Society - Welcome from Dean". Fellows.strategicmanagement.net. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "THE MAURICE HOLLAND AWARD". Iriweb.org. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "Fellows of the Strategic Management Society". Fellows.strategicmanagement.net. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Distinguished Achievement Awards 2013". Thinkers 50. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "The Thinkers50 Ranking 2011". Thinkers 50. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Thinkers50 Ranking 2013". Thinkers 50. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 

External links[edit]