Management Professor Mines for New Knowledge

Catherine Maritan, associate professor of management at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, began her professional career working at a coal mine.

Maritan received her B.Sc. in mining engineering from Queen’s University in Canada, a country in which mining is an important sector of the economy. While working in that field, she quickly found herself gravitating toward the business of mining rather than engineering.

“When I finished my undergraduate degree, I wanted to graduate and get a job with no thoughts of further education,” said Maritan. “Then, after I was working, I became interested in learning about the business side of mining and thought I may want to work in a head office one day.”

Seeking the training that would prepare her for a corporate role, Maritan decided to pursue an M.S. in management with a focus on finance at Purdue University. Post-graduation, she was able to combine her degrees by working for a chemical company that served the mining industry. Later, she was employed as a corporate banker by a bank based in Toronto with a large presence in mining finance. During her time with the bank, she also worked in the European operations, based in London with clients in media and communications.

“I decided I liked the analysis of companies competing in specific sectors better than negotiating deals and dealing with transactions, so I went back to school for a Ph.D. in strategic management allowing me to study how firms compete,” said Maritan.

She joined Whitman in 2005, after teaching at SUNY Buffalo and Purdue. At Whitman, Maritan teaches strategic management at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels, and conducts ground-breaking management research. Her research focuses on strategic processes, strategic investment, and how firms build and use capabilities. Her work has been published in major outlets, including the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Journal of Management.

“The subject that I teach and research—strategic management— consists of numerous conceptual frameworks and tools,” said Maritan. “Those frameworks and tools are used to take a lot of information and reorganize it in a systematic way – patterns become evident and relationships more visible.”

According to Maritan, one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is being able to help students develop skills that change how they approach the business world.

“What is great to see is when students apply the lenses of the course to view situations differently,” said Maritan. “This allows them to gain insights they wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Outside of Whitman, Maritan is also an associate editor of the Strategic Management Journal, oversees the Strategy Research Foundation which funds academic research, and has a visiting appointment at Dartmouth College.