UVA Darden’s Saras Sarasvathy Awarded Honorary Doctorate from Athens University of Economics and Business

By Gosia Glinska

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Saras Sarasvathy recently added a third honorary doctorate to her celebrated career, conferred by the faculty of science, management and technology at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

AUEB rector Dimitris Bourantonis recognized Sarasvathy for her pathbreaking work at a conferment ceremony held on 13 June in Athens, Greece. Bourantonis noted that the honorary doctorate was a “tribute to Sarasvathy’s longstanding contributions to the field of entrepreneurship.”

Sarasvathy, who two years ago was honored by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum with the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research, is renowned for the development of “effectuation,” a logic of entrepreneurial expertise that eschews prediction in favor of nonpredictive control.

Sarasvathy discovered that logic, which she distilled into five teachable principles, in the late 1990s while studying how expert entrepreneurs make decisions in the initial stages of venture creation. She published her findings in a groundbreaking book, Effectuation: Elements of Entrepreneurial Expertise.

Effectual entrepreneurs start with immediately available means — who they are, what they know and whom they know — to come up with doable venture ideas. They control the downside by investing only what they can afford to lose. They collaborate with self-selecting stakeholders who are willing to commit resources to their fledgling ventures.

“The goal is to co-create rather than predict the future,” Sarasvathy says.

Sarasvathy is also known for pioneering the framing of entrepreneurship as a method à la the scientific method. Along with Darden Professor Sankaran Venkataraman, Sarasvathy has long believed in teaching entrepreneurship the way we teach science — to everyone who has access to education.

“When we start teaching entrepreneurship to everyone as a necessary skill,” says Sarasvathy, “people will be more entrepreneurial, not only in starting companies but also in solving problems in their lives and in the world.”

At the end of the conferment ceremony in Athens, Sarasvathy delivered a keynote address titled “Effectual Entrepreneurship as a Method to Cocreate New Futures under Uncertainty,” in which she invited the audience of newly minted PhDs to “become participants in building entrepreneurial method and entrepreneurship education.”

View the entire Athens conferment ceremony here.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Molly Mitchell
Associate Director of Content Marketing and Social Media
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia