Professor of Practice
- Executive Director, Albert Lepage Center
- Albert R. Lepage Professorship in Business
Rob Lalka is Professor of Practice in Management and the Albert R. Lepage Professor in Business at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business and the Executive Director of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has twice received the A.B. Freeman School’s Excellence in Intellectual Contributions Award and is the author of a forthcoming book, The Venture Alchemists: How Big Tech Turned Profits Into Power, from Columbia University Press.
Lalka moved to New Orleans from Washington, DC, where he was a director at Village Capital and a senior advisor at the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Prior, he served in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships and was on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff, for which he was recognized with the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and its Meritorious Honor Award.
Lalka currently serves on the boards of Public Democracy, Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and Venture For America in New Orleans. He graduated from Yale University, cum laude with distinction in both history and English, holds his master’s degree in public policy from Duke University, and earned executive education certificates from Harvard Business School.
Student Venture Accelerator I and II
Undergraduate Seminar Course
Taught Fall and Spring Semesters, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
In this two-semester course, students will develop an understanding of the resources, strategies, and management skills required to launch a new business. Working out of the Lepage Center’s Student Venture Incubator, you will have the opportunity to take an idea from its earliest inception to analyze potential product-market fit. Throughout this course, you and your team will work on your new venture by developing your business model and business strategy; creating financial, marketing, sales, and hiring analyses; developing your founding documents and policies; setting up your chart of accounts; and developing a new venture pitch.
The Entrepreneurial Landscape of New Orleans
Undergraduate Seminar Course: Freshman TIDES
Taught Fall Semester, 2022 and 2023
In this course, students will be given a behind the scenes look at the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Orleans –the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts and what needs to happen to have a vibrant startup community that is equitable, accessible, and collaborative. From local entrepreneurs to community partners to support organizations to investors and more, this course will bring together some of the most important stakeholders in the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem. We will also leverage our data from the Greater New Orleans Startup Report, hearing from our very own Lepage Center to present an in-depth overview of the current state of the early stage business economy in New Orleans.
Cases in Entrepreneurship
Undergraduate Lecture Course
Taught Spring Semester, 2023 and 2024
Students in this course review thirteen actual business cases. The cases are supplemented with interviews of visiting CEOs, investors, and other business executives. The class explores problems and opportunities encountered in the search, evaluation and acquisition of new, as well as ongoing, ventures. Students will further develop analytical skills in finance, accounting, business analysis, management and marketing that they have acquired in other courses. Brainstorming sessions will challenge and improve innovative thinking while assignments and presentations hone business communication skills. With interactive and dynamic classroom discussions, you will learn how to address the challenges of entrepreneurship head-on, which will prepare you for not only a more entrepreneurial career but also a more entrepreneurial mindset in how you think about many of life’s choices.