Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Prior entrepreneurial experience, financial payoffs, big data, serial entrepreneurship, the matching model

Major Advisor

Timothy B. Folta

Associate Advisor

Qing Cao

Associate Advisor

David Souder

Field of Study

Business Administration


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


My dissertation includes three essays with an attempt to understand the financial payoffs to prior entrepreneurial experience. In essay one, we re-visit the important relationship between prior entrepreneurial experience and the probability of switching into entrepreneurship from wage employment using two different models: logistic regression – a standard statistical model commonly used by management scholars and random forests – a powerful machine learning tool for analyzing big data. Through comparing the findings of these two models, essay one reconciles the theoretical and empirical uncertainty on this relationship. It also illuminates the benefits of using contemporary approaches to handle big data in re-visiting fundamental questions in entrepreneurship. In essay two, we examine the relative financial payoffs to prior entrepreneurial experience inside versus outside the entrepreneurial context. Testing from a sample of entrepreneurs who were at risk of making a career choice between serial entrepreneurship and wage employment, our study shows that the financial payoffs to prior entrepreneurial experience can be extended, and much higher, in serial entrepreneurship than in wage employment. By doing so, it holds a host of novel implications for understanding the motivation of entrepreneurship and also adds to the research of serial entrepreneurship. In essay three, we argue that the matching model, which suggests individuals self-sect themselves into a career with relative advantages, may help explain serial entrepreneurship. Through decomposing prior entrepreneurial experience into venture success experience, venture managerial experience and venture industry experience, we find partial supports for this argument. Essay three then enhances our understanding for the motivation of serial entrepreneurship.