Cabrera received his undergraduate and master"s degree in telecommunications engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and earned his Mississippi and Doctor of Philosophy in cognitive psychology from Georgia Institute of Technology as a Fulbright Scholar.
His scholarship includes work on learning, management and leadership. He joined the faculty of Individual Education Business School in 1998 and was dean from 2000 to 2004. He was appointed President of Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2004 and President of George Mason University in 2012.
He is the only Spaniard to have served as chief executive of an American institution of higher education.
The World Economic Forum named him a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2002, a Young Global Leader in 2005 and chairman of the Global Agenda Council for promoting entrepreneurship in 2008. He was named a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute in 2008.
His paper with Elizabeth Cabrera, "Knowledge-sharing dilemmas" published in Organization Studies in 2002 has been cited more than 1,000 times. The paper presents a theory of why some people are more inclined than others to volunteer their expertise and ideas in shared repositories.
The theory is based on the notion of social dilemmas in the provision of public goods.
He has served on the boards of three public companies: eFunds, PetSmart and Inovio. Cabrera is married to Elizabeth F. Cabrera, an organizational psychologist. Together, they have two children.
Member American Psychological Association, European Society Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Science Society.
Married Elizabeth Jean Frazer, March 19, 1994.