Cornell University

International Programs

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Visiting Fellow Profile

Elena Obukhova

Country of Origin: United States
Visiting Period: 2010
Faculty Sponsor: Prof. Diane Burton

Elena Obukhova is an Assistant Professor in the Global Economics and Management group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where she teaches courses in international management. Prior to joining MIT, she completed a PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Since 1995 she spent more than five years studying, working and conducting research in China. She is professionally fluent in Mandarin.

Professor Obukhova’s research is focused on areas of social networks, organizations, and globalization. In her research, she explores how social networks created in one context are used for instrumental purposes in another context. She tackles this question by examining empirical settings that involve individual mobility across organizational contexts. Her current research project examines the effect of return migration on the emergence of a semiconductor design cluster in Shanghai, China. She is particularly interested in understanding what enables some return migrants to act as brokers between two industry clusters. She is also involved in a project that examines the benefits of social networks in job search.

Recent papers:
Motivation vs Relevance: Using Networks to Find a Job in Urban China (under review)
When Sea Turtles Comes Home: Return Migration and Cross-Border Brokerage

- Elena Obukhova