Gary and Sharron Kalbach Professor in Entrepreneurship
Founding Director, Experimental Social Science Laboratory (Xlab)
Faculty Co-Director, Fisher Center for the Strategic Use of Information Technology
Haas School of Business
Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching
At Haas since 2002
Haas School Professor John Morgan's popular course on game theory offers students a puzzling experience. The course challenges students to formulate strategy by learning to forecast the reactions of rivals.
"My teaching style is conversational, exploratory, and interactive," says Morgan, whose in-class experiments call upon students to develop strategies for everyone from OPEC nations to NBA teams. He has found that students respond to the interactivity of his classes, as well as the accountability—answer a question in class and a follow-up "Why?" from Morgan is sure to follow.
This enthusiasm for inquiry has led to Morgan's role as a founding director of Xlab, UC Berkeley's laboratory for economic experiments, and to research such as his work on eBay auction pricing, which showed online sellers how to boost profits. Game Theory students got an early look at Morgan's innovative research through a lecture on auctions and an in-class experiment on online pricing. The class culminates with a final paper that lets students demonstrate their newfound knowledge of game theory, strategy, bargaining, and conflict negotiation.
With explorations that have ranged from Google's IPO auction to the pros and cons of walking slugger Barry Bonds, Morgan finds the work of his students compelling. "I want them to feel that we're on a journey to learn together," he says. "They're curious, interesting, and end up teaching me as much as I teach them."