Faculty Profiles

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Peter Cohan

  • Lecturer
Academic Division: Management

Bio

Peter Cohan teaches strategy and entrepreneurship to undergraduate and MBA students including courses such as Strategic Problem Solving and Strategic Decision Making. He also developed and teaches Foundations of Entrepreneurial Management for undergraduate transfer students.

Cohan joined Babson in May 2002, as an executive-in-residence, advising teams in their consulting work with companies through Management Consulting Field Experience (MCFE) programs.

He created and led the Hong Kong/Shenzhen Start-up Strategy Offshore elective for MBA students and teaches the Strategy and the CEO capstone in the evening MBA program. For undergraduates, he created and runs the Paris, Israel and Portugal/Spain Start-up Strategy Offshore electives. In May 2020, he launched an undergraduate elective -- The Israel Startup Ecosystem.

He teaches in two of Babson's graduate programs. He instructs a section of the Global Entrepreneurship Experience in the Masters of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSEL) program. He also teaches Strategic Transformation in Babson's Master of Science in Advanced Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSAEL) Program.

In June 2016, he was promoted to a Lecturer of Strategy and in February 2021, he was appointed a Member of the Faculty Board of Advisors at Babson's Butler Institute for Free Enterprise through Entrepreneurship.

Cohan began his career at Index Systems, a management consulting firm founded by several MIT professors. While there he worked with James A. Champy, co-author (with former MIT professor, Michael Hammer) of Reengineering the Corporation (HarperBusiness, 1993). Following business school, Cohan worked at The Monitor Company, a strategy consulting firm co-founded by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. Cohan then worked in strategic planning at Bank of Boston and in the Finance Department of Liberty Mutual.

In 1994, Cohan started Peter S. Cohan & Associates, a management consulting and venture capital firm. His management consulting unit helps managers with strategy, best practices, operational improvement, and litigation support. Since 1981, Cohan has completed over 100 consulting projects.

His venture capital business has invested in seven companies including Andromedia, an Internet software company, which Macromedia purchased in 1999 for $440 million; SupplierMarket.com, an online marketplace for industrial supplies, which Ariba purchased in 2000 for $930 million; and Lexar Media, a digital media company that was sold in 2006 to Micron Technology (MU) for $690 million.

In December 2014, he invested in Social Finance, a peer-to-peer lending company in San Francisco, which went public at a valuation of $18 billion billion in June 2021 in a merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Corp V, a publicly-traded Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

Cohan has authored 15 books and contributed to six management compendiums. His most recent book is Goliath Strikes Back: How Traditional Retailers Are Winning Back Customers from Ecommerce Startups (Apress, December 2020). Prior to that he authored Scaling Your Startup: Mastering the Four Stages from Idea to $10 billion; (Apress, February 2019). Startup Cities: Why Only a Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene and What the Rest Should Do About It (Apress, February 2018); Disciplined Growth Strategies: Insights from the Growth Trajectories of Successful and Unsuccessful Companies (Apress, February 2017) and Hungry Start-Up Strategy: Creating New Ventures with Limited Resources and Unlimited Vision (Berrett-Koehler, November 2012).

His other books include Export Now: Five Keys to Entering New Markets (Wiley, September 2011) co-authored with Frank Lavin; Capital Rising: How Capital Flows Are Changing Business Systems All Over the World (Palgrave-Macmillan, June 2010) co-authored with U. Srinivasa Rangan; You Can't Order Change: Lessons from Jim McNerney's Turnaround at Boeing (Portfolio, 2009); Value Leadership: The Seven Principles That Drive Corporate Value in Any Economy (Jossey-Bass, 2003); e-Stocks: Finding the Hidden Blue Chips Among the Internet Impostors (HarperBusiness, 2001); e-Profit: High Payoff Strategies for Capturing the E-Commerce Edge (AMACOM, 2000); Net Profit: How to Invest and Compete in the Real World of Internet Business (Jossey-Bass, 1999); and The Technology Leaders: How America's Most Profitable High Tech Companies Innovate Their Way to Success (Jossey-Bass, 1997).

Cohan has published articles in Business Strategy Review and Knowledge@Wharton; he writes two columns: Forbes Startup Economy and Inc, The Hungry Start-Up.

With Babson Professor Sam Hariharan, Cohan has co-authored four published cases: Apple in China and India (2020), Growing Pains at Commonwealth Dairy (2016), Warren Buffett and His Newspaper Investments (2014), and Chokehold on Live Entertainment (2010).

Cohan serves on the Babson faculty senate and as coordinator for Strategic Problem Solving, the required capstone strategy course for undergraduates. He also served on the small business subcommittee of President Joe Biden's Economic Policy Committee.

Cohan is a frequent commentator on developments in economics, technology, and finance. He has been a guest on ABC's Good Morning America, CNN, CNBC, PBS's Wall $treet Week, Boston's local ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates and New England Cable News (NECN). He has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Barron's, Red Herring, Time, Business Week, Fortune, and Newsweek International.

He has spoken at MIT's Sloan School 2020 Retail Conference, Stanford University's Forum for American/Chinese Exchange (FACES) and taught in its Industry Thought Leaders program, Columbia University's Senior Executive Program, as the Verizon Visiting Professor in Business Ethics at Bentley University, as a visiting professor at EADA in Barcelona, at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Monterrey in Mexico, Tel Aviv University and other universities in Europe and Asia. He has also conducted management development programs in the US and Asia sponsored by leading corporations, such as IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, Fidelity Investments, and Procter & Gamble.

Cohan also appeared in the 2016 movie, We the People: The Market Basket Effect.

Academic Degrees

  • MBA, Wharton School
  • BS, Swarthmore College

Academic Interest / Expertise

Competitive Strategy; Corporate Strategy; National Competitiveness Strategy

Awards & Honors

  • 2021 — Top 100 Retail Influencer , RETHINK Retail
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Courses

  • Degree Courses 2021

    • MOB 4510 STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING
    • ASM 3300 STRATEGIC PROBLEM SOLVING
    • MSM 6110 GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP EXPERIENCE
    • MOB 6602 STRATEGIC TRANSFORMATION
    • MOB 1000 FOUNDATIONS OF ENTREPRENEURIAL MANAGEMEN
  • Degree Courses 2020

    • MOB 1000 FOUNDATION OF ENTREPRENEURIAL MANAGEMENT
    • MOB 4510 STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING
    • ASM 3300 STRATEGIC PROBLEM SOLVING
    • MOB 3540 ISRAEL START-UP STRATEGY
    • MBA 7501 DOING BUS GLOBALLY:HIGHWAYS & LANDMINES
    • MOB 1000 FOUNDATIONS OF ENTREPRENEURIAL MANAGEMEN
    • MSM 6110 GLOBAL EPS EXPERIENCE-ISRAEL
    • MOB 7553 SINGAPORE/HONG KONG STARTUP STR

Publications

Journal Articles

  • Cohan, P.S. (2009). Helping your people get 15 percent better. Leader to Leader.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2008). Riding the Value Cycle. Business Strategy Review.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2008). Value leadership: the principles driving corporate value. Business Strategy Review.
  • Cohan, P.S., Rangan, U.S. (2007). Follow the Legend: Seven Strategy Lessons from Entrepreneurs. Business Strategy Review. Vol: 17, Issue: 4, Page: 56-61. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2007). When the blind lead. Business Strategy Review.
  • Cohan, P.S., Unger, B. (2006). Four sources of advantage. Business Strategy Review.

Books

  • Cohan, P.S. (2020). Goliath Strikes Back: How Traditional Retailers Are Winning Back Customers from Ecommerce Startups: Goliath Strikes Back: How Traditional Retailers Are Winning Back Customers from Ecommerce Startups. Page: 192. Apress.
  • Cohan, P.S., Cohan, W.D. (2019). Executive Compensation and the Ethics of Misguided Incentives. Business and Society Review.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2019). Scaling Your Startup: Mastering the Four Stages from Idea to $10 Billion. Apress. link
  • Cohan, P.S. (2018). Startup Cities: Why Only a Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene and What the Rest Should Do About It. Apress.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2017). Disciplined Growth Strategies: Insights from the Growth Trajectories of Successful and Unsuccessful Companies . Apress.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2012). Hungry Start-up Strategy: Creating New Ventures with Limited Resources and Unlimited Vision: BK Business Series. Page: 256. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  • Cohan, P.S., Lavin, F. (2011). Export Now . Wiley.
  • Cohan, P.S., Rangan, U.s. (2010). Capital Rising. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2008). You Can’t Order Change. Penguin Publishing Group.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2003). Value Leadership. Wiley.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2002). E-Leaders. Capstone.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2002). Technology Leaders. Capstone.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2001). e-Stocks. Harper Business.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2001). Net Profit. Jossey-Bass.
  • Cohan, P.S. (2000). e-Profit. AMACOM.
  • Cohan, P.S. (1997). The Technology Leaders. Jossey-Bass.

Cases and Teaching Notes

  • Hariharan, S., Cohan, P.S. (2020). Apple in China and India -- Teaching Note: Apple in China and India. Harvard Business Publishing.
  • Cohan, P.S., Hariharan, S. (2020). Apple in China and India: Apple in China and India. Harvard Business Publishing.
  • Hariharan, S., Cohan, P.S. (2016). Growing Pains at Commonwealth Dairy: Growing Pains at Commonwealth Dairy. Page: 17. Babson College.
  • Hariharan, S., Cohan, P.S. (2016). Growing Pains at Commonwealth Dairy - Teaching Note: Growing Pains at Commonwealth Dairy. Page: 17. Babson College.
  • Cohan, P.S., Hariharan, S. (2014). Warren Buffett and his Newspaper Investments. Babson College.
  • Cohan, P.S., Hariharan, S. (2014). Warren Buffett and his Newspaper Investments - Instructor Spreadsheet. Babson College.
  • Cohan, P.S., Hariharan, S. (2014). Warren Buffett and his Newspaper Investments - Teaching Note. Babson College.

Book Chapters

  • Cohan, P.S. (2002). Business: The Ultimate Resource. Basic Books.

Other

  • Cohan, P.S. (2018). Rise to Leadership: Become a CEO: Rise to Leadership: Become a CEO. Babson X. link
  • Cohan, P.S. (2017). Digital Strategy and Action: Digital Strategy and Action. Babson X. link
  • Cohan, P.S. (2016). Five Commandments for Faster Growth: Knowledge@Wharton. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School. link
  • Hariharan, S., Cohan, P.S. (2010). Chokehold on Live Entertainment (B). Vol: 89-C-10-B. Babson College .
  • Hariharan, S., Cohan, P.S. (2010). Chokehold on Live Entertainment (A). Vol: 89-T-10-A. Babson College .

Articles - Circular or newsletter (e.g., Babson Insight)

  • Cohan, P.S. (2015). Beating Activist Investors at Their Own Game. Babson Insight. link
  • Cohan, P.S. (2013). Entrepreneurial Actions for Restarting Growth. Babson Insight. link
  • Cohan, P.S. (2011). Four Tests for Successful Acquisitions. Babson Insight. link

Presentations

  • Distance Is Not Dead: Why A Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene and What the Rest Should Do About It Cohan, P. BIFETE Spoltight Series, Wellesley, Mass. (2021)
  • Goliath Strikes Back: How Giant Retailers Change Their Mindsets to Win Back Customers from Ecommerce Upstarts Cohan, P. , . MIT Sloan Retail Conference, Cambridge, Mass. (2020)
  • The Future of Israeli Business Cohan, P. The Future of Israeli Business, New York, NY (2020)
  • Can Worcester Become A Startup City? Cohan, P. President's Night, Worcester, Mass. (2019)
  • Startup Cities: Why Only a Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene …and What the Rest Should Do About It Cohan, P. INCmty, Monterrey, Mexico (2018)
  • Executive Compensation and the Ethics of Misguided Incentives Cohan, P. Cohan, W. Verizon Visiting Professorship of Business Ethics, Waltham, Mass. (2018)
  • Startup Cities: Why Only a Few Cities Dominate the Global Startup Scene …and What the Rest Should Do About It Cohan, P. Babson Research Day 2018, Wellesley, Mass. (2018)
  • Why Israeli Companies Co-Locate in Tel Aviv and Boston Cohan, P. Israel in Boston Innovation , Newton, Mass. (2017)
  • Five Dimensions of Growth Cohan, P. Beta-I Entrepreneurship Forum, Lisbon, Portugal (2016)
  • Corporate Innovation Cohan, P. Corporate Innovation Conference, Lisbon, Portugal (2015)
  • The Startup Common Cohan, P. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Comparison Panel, Lisbon (2015)
  • Entrepreneurship and startups Cohan, P. Innovation Ecosystems, Coimbra, Portugal (2015)
  • Hungry Startup Strategy Cohan, P. Babson/HKSTP Workshop, Hong Kong (2015)
  • Corporate Innovation Cohan, P. Corporate Innovation Conference, Lisbon (2014)
  • Hungry Startup Strategy Cohan, P. Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile (2013)
  • Hungry Startup Strategy Cohan, P. EADA Business School, Barcelona, Spain (2013)
  • Hungry Startup Strategy Cohan, P. University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (2013)
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