Roy Nelson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Global Studies
Areas of Expertise: 

Latin American business issues, Doing business in Brazil, Doing business in Mexico, International business/government relations, Foreign direct investment, Global political economy


Contemporary Business in Latin America, Field Seminar in Brazil, Global Business Leadership, Global Political Economy, Intrapreneurial Project, Regional Business Environment: Latin America, Regional Business Environment: North America

Professional Bio: 

Roy C. Nelson, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Global Studies at Thunderbird School of Global Management.

His knowledge of Latin American business practices and his field research in nearly a dozen Latin American countries have made him a foremost expert on Latin American business strategy. He served as academic director of Thunderbird’s former Executive MBA program in São Paulo, Brazil, 2000-2004.

Dr. Nelson has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles in top academic journals, as well as Latin American case studies in the Thunderbird case series that are staples in business schools across the country. In addition to his expertise on Latin America, Dr. Nelson is recognized as an authority in international business/government relations, foreign direct investment and global political economy.

Dr. Nelson’s most recent book is “Harnessing Globalization: The Promotion of Nontraditional Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America” (Penn State University Press, 2009), based on his extensive field research in Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore, and Ireland. An earlier book, “Industrialization and Political Affinity: Industrial Policy in Brazil” (Routledge Press), is based on his field research in Brazil.

Dr. Nelson’s industry experience includes working at Pharmacia & Upjohn Corporation in São Paulo, Brazil. He has also worked as a consultant for various clients, including the World Bank and the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO). His work on behalf of CORFO has served as an introduction to his Thunderbird students to the agency and an opportunity to work directly with senior executives. Dr. Nelson has also been a visiting professor at the University of Memphis and at Vanderbilt University.

At Thunderbird, he teaches courses on Global Political Economy, Regional Business Environment: Latin America, Regional Business Environment: North America, Foundations for Global Business Leadership in the 21st Century, and the Executive MBA course, “Contemporary Business in Latin America.” He also teaches intensive versions of some of his courses on location every year in Santiago, Chile; Monterrey, Mexico; Lima, Peru; Geneva, Switzerland; and South Korea. He is the leader of the Executive MBA Field Seminar in Chile and Peru each September, as well as another Field Seminar in Chile, Argentina, and/or Peru in May.

Cited in a Business Week survey of former Thunderbird students as “among the professors they enjoyed/respected the most,” Dr. Nelson is a multiple recipient of the “Outstanding Professor” award at Thunderbird. He has given presentations to executives at many corporations, including Johnson & Johnson, Honeywell International, Acer, LG, and Hewlett-Packard.

Dr. Nelson, who speaks English, Portuguese and Spanish, received his Ph.D. and MA from Cornell University. He also received an MA from Yale University, while earning his BA (with Honors) at Stanford University.