Ph.D. Alumni Profile: Almantas Palubinskas ’20

headshot of Almantas Palubinskas

Ph.D. Alumni Profile: Almantas Palubinskas ’20

Almantas Palubinskas ’20 Ph.D. may have arrived at Emlyon Business School in France in the middle of a global pandemic, but he has greatly enjoyed his past months as a postdoctoral researcher. In fact, the 2020 graduate of the Whitman School of Management’s doctoral program will be extending his stay in Lyon. “I am pleased to say that I have been hired as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Emlyon Business School starting in January 2022,” he reports.

Moving overseas felt natural to Palubinskas, who has always had one foot in Europe. Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., he frequently visited his grandparents in Lithuania. “In addition to traveling to other countries in Europe, this has made me feel at home whether I am in the United States or there,” he explains. An expert on the relationship between regulations and innovation, Palubinskas was also drawn to Emlyon’s strong group of scholars with related interests.

Palubinskas’ new job marks the next step on a path he chose early on. Surrounded by an academic family—various relatives hold doctorates in such fields as public policy, marketing, mathematics and history—Palubinskas knew as an undergraduate at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia that he wanted to pursue a doctoral degree. But an internship with the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania showed him it wasn’t in economics as he’d first thought. Instead, two summers working closely with highly innovative entrepreneurs at Lithuanian startup incubator Nextury Ventures kindled a passion for entrepreneurship.

Whitman was an exciting choice for graduate school, thanks especially to the Institute for an Entrepreneurial Society (IES) and its director, Bantle Chair in Entrepreneurship and Public Policy Maria Minniti, who became Palubinskas’ advisor. His experience was everything he had hoped for. “It was a pleasure learning from and working with some of the top scholars in entrepreneurship,” he says, fondly remembering Minniti’s mentorship, a supportive department and his colleagues in the Ph.D. program.

My dissertation examines how regulations influence the emergence of different types of innovation and analyzes the political strategies used by entrepreneurial firms.” - Almantas Palubinskas ’20 Ph.D.

At Emlyon, Palubinskas has been continuing his work on the non-military drone industry, preparing his doctoral research for publication. “My dissertation examines how regulations influence the emergence of different types of innovation and analyzes the political strategies used by entrepreneurial firms,” he summarizes. Specifically, he took a closer look at the heavy involvement of drone manufacturers, including entrepreneurial companies, in shaping federal regulations. “This was fascinating because there has been a long-held assumption that entrepreneurial firms lack the ability to influence their regulatory environment during an industry’s emergence, compared to large companies entering a new industry,” Palubinskas explains. For his most recent projects, he has pivoted to the emergence of the counter-drone industry, exploring how innovation in a related industry may influence the emergence of innovation in another.

Now, as Palubinskas prepares for his new role and COVID-19 restrictions have eased a bit, he is working on his French and further settling into Emlyon, finally meeting some of his colleagues in person. “It has been funny to see someone you have been talking to for months over Zoom and realize they are much taller than you expected,” he says. And because he misses his Whitman friends, he stays in touch with them through occasional virtual coffee hours—keeping one foot in the United States.