David Choi Appointed Conrad N. Hilton Chair of Entrepreneurship

Dean Dayle M. Smith, Ph.D., has appointed David Choi, professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship, as the Conrad N. Hilton Chair of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University.

“I am delighted to bestow this prestigious honor on David for his leadership and countless contributions to the college and entrepreneurship program,” said Smith. “He has led a number of significant initiatives that have resulted in student engagement, innovative programming, educational partnerships, outstanding scholarship and success stories for young entrepreneurs.”

Through his 18 years of exceptional teaching and his seven-year directorship of the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship, Choi has helped propel LMU to one of the top-ranked entrepreneurship programs in the United States. A highly successful academic, consultant and entrepreneur, Choi’s influence is global and his professional achievements are abundant.

In 2011, he was the recipient of the Innovative Pedagogy for Entrepreneurship Education award, from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, for a collaborative course piloted for students from LMU and the Otis College of Art and Design. In 2019, he received the Fritz B. Burns President’s Distinguished Teaching Award, one of the highest honors the university bestows upon a faculty member. Choi was also instrumental in designing the new M.S. in Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Innovation, and launching the LMU Family Business Program. Most recently, he has been spearheading LMU’s partnership with ASCEND LA, which provides diverse small businesses in Los Angeles with access to management education, capital and contracting opportunities.

“I am deeply humbled and so grateful to Dean Dayle Smith and Associate Dean Larry Kalbers for entrusting me with such an honor,” said Choi. “I must thank all of my colleagues for being such an immense source of encouragement and inspiration over the years. A special thanks goes out to Fred Kiesner, the previous holder of the Hilton Chair and my mentor, who lobbied for me to receive this appointment.”

Choi is committed to producing the best young entrepreneurs coming out of college in the nation. He redesigned the curriculum for the entrepreneurship major, which has become one of the most popular majors on campus. The Business Incubator, an innovative program he started in 2012, has produced a number of successful companies such as Liquid I.V., which recently sold to Unilever for several hundred million dollars.

Over the years, Choi has coached student teams to competition wins, including first place in the U.S. finals of the KPMG Innovation and Collaboration Challenge and second place in the global finals in Argentina; as well as first place in TCU’s Values and Ventures Competition. His extensive private sector experience and deep connections with Silicon Beach’s thriving tech and startup community are helping to establish LMU as a national hub for entrepreneurial talent.

“I feel like the luckiest person on the planet,” said Choi. “We have a wonderful community of colleagues, students and alumni who are more like family than anything else. I am very proud of what we’ve built so far and look forward to continuing to elevate LMU as the nation’s premier institution for entrepreneurship.”

Originally from South Korea and raised in Germany, Choi has taught at other universities around the world including Peking University, Korea University, and Yonsei University. Choi writes broadly about entrepreneurship and innovation and is co-author of “Values-Centered Entrepreneurs and Their Companies” (Routledge, 2010). His research has published in top journals such as Academy of Management Executive, Journal of Management Studies, Business Horizons, Journal of Small Business Management, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Journal of Management Inquiry, and Case Research Journal.

Before joining LMU, Choi worked for 10 years in the private sector with companies like the Boston Consulting Group and Titan Corporation before embarking on his entrepreneurial endeavors. He was also a co-founder and senior fellow of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School. Choi earned his Ph.D. from UCLA and his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Berkeley.