Hiram Samel is an Associate Professor of International Business and a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. His current research examines how entrepreneurial firms compete in global technology markets by leveraging government innovation and production policies. His present focus is on the clean energy, semiconductor, electronics, biopharma and advanced materials industries, and he is particularly interested in how company strategies impact larger national policy goals of social and economic development. Hiram joined Saïd Business School in August 2013. He brings extensive management experience to his research, having been an entrepreneur for 25 years before receiving his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2013. His work, in conjunction with colleagues at MIT, on the process and pathways American entrepreneurial firms take in scaling novel production-related technologies has attracted the interest of US policymakers and is highlighted in two forthcoming books from the MIT Press on Production in the Innovative Economy.
His recent research examining the nature of technological upgrading in middle-income countries highlights how global consumption patterns coupled with increasing brand concentration in many consumer-facing industries create significant product demand volatility at the point of production. Findings from Malaysia demonstrate this trend by showing how a set of domestic companies became successful by strategically exploiting this volatility, but at the cost of not moving into higher value activities. He has presented his findings at the World Bank and they will be part of a forthcoming joint publication of the Korean Development Institute and the World Bank on Leadership in Industrial Policy in Late-Industrializing Countries. His earlier work, with Richard M Locke of MIT, on labour standards in the global electronics industry, demonstrates how retail concentration, product proliferation and demand volatility can help explain the persistent problem of long working hours seen in the production networks of leading consumer electronics and computer makers. This research has been featured in The Economist, The New Yorker and other leading publications.
Hiram received his AB from Brown University in history, magna cum laude, in 1982 and SM (2006) and PhD (2013) in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was a Beyster Fellow and a Ford-MIT Energy Fellow. Prior to starting his PhD programme, Hiram was an entrepreneur, building and managing medium-sized companies that operated in 20 countries. In particular, he has had extensive experience in helping companies build technological and organisational capabilities in a number of emerging economies. He is an investor in and director of a variety of early-stage energy and medical device companies. He is also on the advisory board of the Boston Review and a trustee of various nonprofit organisations.