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Darla Moore School of Business


Donald J. Schepker

Title: Assistant Professor
Research Director, Center for Executive Succession
Department: Department of Management
Darla Moore School of Business
Phone: 803-777-5977
Office: Darla Moore School of Business, Room 410D
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
David Schepker


Donald J. “DJ” Schepker is an assistant professor of strategic management in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and is a faculty member in the Center for Executive Succession. Schepker received his Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the University of Kansas and B.S. from Babson College with a focus on finance and economics. His research focuses on corporate governance, executive succession and turnover, board level decision-making, and dynamics between executives, including among leadership team members and between boards and the leadership team. His research has appeared in outlets such as the Journal of Management, Leadership Quarterly, Corporate Reputation Review, and Managerial and Decision Economics and he is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Management. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Schepker worked in the Internal Audit Services Advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers based out of the Boston office, assisting a variety of publicly traded organizations and institutions of higher education. 

What courses do you teach?

Strategic Management (MGMT 478), Global Strategic Management (DMSB 711), Thinking Strategically (Executive Development), Translating Strategy into Results (Executive Development)

Why should a student take your class? How does your class help students become employable?

My focus is on helping students to build critical thinking skills to analyze company decision-making and strategy with an emphasis on bringing real-world experiences into the classroom and applying coursework from across the Darla Moore School of Business’ curriculum through experiential exercises. At the undergraduate and MBA level, this includes using knowledge application through involvement in an extensive business simulation where you compete as a team against other students in the course.

What do you research? What kind of projects are you working on?

Much of my current research revolves around how organizations manage and groom executive talent to prepare for executive succession. This includes understanding how boards of directors get access that is necessary to better understand the qualifications of executive talent both internal and external to the company.

How do your research projects make a difference?

My research assists boards of directors and executives in understanding the common problems that are encountered when planning for changes in executive leadership. Many board members and executives experience only a handful of succession events, and thus much of the best practices in this area revolve around these limited experiences. By aggregating these experiences and sharing the successes and failures of organizations collectively, we can help by identifying solutions means to ensure success while avoiding common pitfalls.

Briefly describe a few of your current projects.

I am working to help understand how a variety of succession planning processes influence the efficacy of decision-making. My current work is also exploring whether certain successors have changed in their effectiveness over time or if market changes influence the speed at which organizations choose to dismiss executive talent.

How do you involve students in your projects?

My research involves a variety of doctoral students who assist in research design and testing. However, we also use a variety of masters students to collect important data. For instance, we have been gathering data on large company executives over a series of years to learn how the composition of executive leadership teams and changes in those teams over time influences performance.

What inspires you about your work?

I love having the opportunity to explore the questions I find most interesting and working with businesses to understand their problems. This blend of academic knowledge with practical application allows me to share interesting insights and stories in my research as well as the classroom. 

What are you doing when you're not working?

Spending time with my family on little adventures; Enjoying sporting events or playing (any) sport at any time; Traveling for new experiences or to spend time with family in more distant places