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graphicHyun-Soo Ahn
Associate Professor of Technology and Operations




“Working with faculty in a collaborative academic environment, students develop research and teaching skills that equip them for their academic careers,” says Hyun-Soo Ahn. He has proven to be a solid role model in both areas. “Good research grounded with real-world applications produces takeaways not only for academics but also for practitioners and MBA students,” Ahn says. He studies the issues arising in the interface between operations and a market. In particular, he is interested in the use of operational and/or marketing levers to improve the firm’s ability to better use its limited capacity. “Ross faculty believe that research should advance both theory and practice,” Ahn says. “Our research interests are diverse, ranging from core operations to interdisciplinary boundaries. The open academic environment of the department enables students to collaborate on research with multiple professors.”

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Gautam Ahuja
Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Strategy

 


Gautam Ahuja takes pride in the diverse interests of Ross students and does his best to help fuse their education in strategy with other fields in the social sciences. “We try to develop students who are characterized by a strong discipline orientation but are fundamentally strategy scholars,” he says. “This provides them with a competitive advantage against candidates from other schools. In the end, they combine the rigor of social disciplines with the relevance of business applications of those ideas.” Ahuja acknowledges the University of Michigan offers a welcoming venue. “Ross is at the center of an amazingly resource-rich, full-service university with an unusually strong history of cross-disciplinary intellectual exchange. Well-developed linkages between the Ross School and other parts of the University make this co-location of intellectual resources even more potent,” he says. “Students who come here find depth in the form of the high-quality intellectual inputs you expect from a top-tier school and breadth in the form of the numerous paths they can take and still find support for their interests.” Ahuja’s own interests focus on how firms create and exploit technology for competitive advantage.


graphicGerald Davis
Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor of Management, Professor of Sociology




As the 2009 recipient of the Ross Researcher of the Year award, Jerry Davis excels at asking the questions and pursuing the answers at the heart of important business problems. His current research focuses on effects that dependence on financial markets has had on corporations, banking, governments, and households within the United States. The research became the basis of his book, Managed by the Markets: How Finance Reshaped America (2009). Davis also studies social movements, corporate governance, and social networks. But as a two-time recipient of the PhD Teaching Excellence award, Davis also excels at making good research a collaborative learning process. “The Ross doctoral program involves students as junior colleagues in all stages of research, from conceptualization and design through the review process. This leaves them much better prepared than graduates of other programs to undertake successful careers as faculty at top schools.” Davis says it’s the caliber of students in the program that allows this approach. “Ross PhD students are smart, engaged, hard-working, and entrepreneurial. They are good at bringing together the diverse resources available at a great university to pursue their own distinct research agendas.”


graphicJane Dutton
Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology


 

In an economic climate mired in layoffs, budget cuts, and uncertainty, Jane Dutton is looking for the bright side. Her research focuses on how organizational conditions strengthen capabilities of individuals and firms. In particular, she examines how high-quality connections, positive meaning, and emotions contribute to individual and organizational strengths. Her research has explored compassion and organizations, resilience and organizations, and energy and organizations. This research stream is part of a growing domain of expertise at U-M called Positive Organizational Scholarship. “We intentionally choose students who have a particular passion about organizational or management questions that are theoretically important but also have relevance to the world,” Dutton says. She acknowledges that this requires a certain kind of student. “Ross PhD students make important contributions to their field of study, but they also aspire to contribute to the management field and beyond by studying topics that make a difference and becoming excellent teachers. More than a tag line, ‘leading in thought and action’ is a meaningful commitment to the type of scholar that our students aspire to be.”


graphicFred Feinberg
Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow, Professor of Marketing


 

“Ross students are self-starters with a passion for scholarly learning and getting knee-deep in cutting-edge research,” says Fred Feinberg. The same can be said of the faculty. “We work shoulder to shoulder with students on research from the start. It’s an intense, but unusually collegial, environment. Students pursue their ideas in collaboration with leading researchers at Ross and across the entire University.” Feinberg lists the department’s strengths as consumer evaluation and choice, attitude formation, information processing, behavioral decision theory, consumer satisfaction, and the modeling of pricing, advertising, and promotion through the use of lab, scanner, web-based, and other data sources. When it comes to methodology, Feinberg cites special strengths in experimental design, Bayesian econometrics, consumer neuroscience, dynamic and causal models, and experimental economics. His own research focuses on using statistical models to better understand human behavior, particularly sequences of choices in uncertain environments. Like other Ross faculty, he uses many tools to get a handle on what drives behavior. “One of our strengths is our emphasis on collaborative, cross-disciplinary research,” he says. “We are fortunate to work with world-class scholars across the University, training our doctoral students to the highest levels of scholarship in core disciplines.”


graphicFrancine Lafontaine
Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, Professor of Economics


 

Francine Lafontaine examines how firms — especially franchised chains — organize their transactions, the public policies that affect those choices, and the performance consequences of those decisions. More recently, she has begun to examine business activities outside the U.S. “I have a strong interest in understanding the similarities and differences in how firms organize their activities in international markets,” Lafontaine says, “and I plan to continue pushing the boundaries of what we know in this area.” She praises her department’s ability to do the same. “Our faculty are specialists in a variety of areas that are all relevant to business. The intellectual glue that holds us together is training in the tools of microeconomics analysis and a common approach to the research questions we consider, even as we diverge in terms of the type of issues that we find to be of interest.” She also welcomes such divergence in the student body. “It is very rewarding to work with students from a variety of backgrounds and different parts of the world, all coming together to form a vibrant learning community,” she says.


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graphicWallace Hopp
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, Herrick Professor of Manufacturing, Professor of Technology and Operations

 


“Ross students are smart, creative, and interested in working on real problems with the potential to change the world,” says Wally Hopp. This former editor-in-chief of Management Science is widely published on manufacturing and supply chains, and he also has branched into hospital management and new product development. He is adapting the principles of operations management from manufacturing to developing new operations tenets for knowledge-based work systems. Like most members of the operations and management science group, he interfaces with U-M students and faculty in medicine, engineering, social science, architecture and design, and even music and dance. “In OMS, we are more driven by practical problems than any other top PhD program in operations. We span the analytic, empirical, and behavioral spectrum,” Hopp says.

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graphicM.S. Krishnan
Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow, Professor of Technology and Operations

 

 

M.S. Krishnan understands the importance of innovation in business information technology. Together with the late Ross professor C.K. Prahalad, he co-authored The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value Through Global Networks (2008). The book asserts that to be successful, companies will co-create customized experiences in partnership with consumers and a global network of suppliers. The concept demands new ways of thinking about information technology and other aspects of business. “Pervasive digitization of business and the emergence of new technology architecture are enabling new business models,” Krishnan says. “I investigate why some firms succeed in leveraging technology while others don’t.” He says Ross provides the ideal environment for research to flourish — both his own and his students’. “Ross students are curious and inquisitive, with a good eye for the right problems. Our action-oriented approach provides students with an advantage in identifying some of the most relevant research questions in their respective fields. We focus on empirical research and technology decision models, and we offer opportunities for students to connect with industry partners to identify relevant problems.”

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graphicGregory Miller
Professor of Accounting

 

 

“Collaboration” is a buzzword on many campuses. But as an alumnus and faculty member, Greg Miller knows it’s a way of life at Ross. “What makes Michigan special is how the faculty and students interact,” he says. “PhD students are truly involved in the life of the department, providing great experiences and bringing energy to the faculty. That relationship is the heart of our PhD experience, and I believe it is unique among accounting programs.” Miller calls his student experience “more than just a set of classes; it was an apprenticeship into being a scholar.” Now, he is responsible for cultivating that experience for others. “What makes Ross students stand out is their passion for answering real questions in a way that adds value for researchers, students, and practitioners,” he says. “The diversity of our people allows us to have rich discussions and investigations into many areas — providing true engagement without dogma.” Miller spent 10 years on the faculty at Harvard before returning to Ann Arbor in 2008. His research focuses on financial communication — understanding how managers use financial information and the markets to communicate to outside stakeholders and opinion formers.

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graphicUday Rajan
Associate Professor of Finance

 

 

Discussions can get heated between finance professors and students at Ross, especially when the global financial crisis is the topic. And that’s just the way Uday Rajan likes it. “A Ross PhD student never stops asking the ‘why’ question. We train each student to think through the cause-and-effect relationships behind real-world phenomena at an abstract level,” he says. “The student then has the theoretical and empirical tools to provide insight into the causes of a phenomenon and prescribe improvements for the future.” Rajan says a close level of interaction between faculty and students at Ross leads to several joint projects. “Our department spans all research areas in finance, be it asset pricing, corporate finance, market microstructure, or behavioral finance,” he says. “We have a large mass of junior to mid-career faculty members, and interactions at seminars and workshops are very lively.” Rajan currently is working on the behavior of subprime mortgage lenders leading up to the current financial meltdown.

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graphicKathleen Sutcliffe
Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor of Business Administration, Professor of Management and Organizations

 


Kathleen Sutcliffe helps drive the close correlation between cutting-edge, relevant research and superior teaching that defines the Ross PhD program. “We are respectful of different kinds of research: quantitative and qualitative,” she says. “Our faculty regularly interact with managers and other people in the field to get a deeper and more integrated understanding of developing trends and problems that need to be solved. And we use that information when we do research. We’re not just crunching numbers.” Sutcliffe also cites the collaborative faculty-student relationship as another differentiating factor at Ross. “In order to learn the practice of research, you have to be deeply involved with others who are doing it. That’s why PhD students work with faculty during their first semester here,” she says. “We don’t just put students in a classroom. We get them to really understand the basics of research so they know what makes a good, provocative question. Our students know how to conduct research of interest not only to other academics, but to practitioners as well.” Sutcliffe sees tangible proof that the approach is successful. “Our students are getting jobs at the best universities in the world.”

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graphicJim Westphal
Robert G. Rodkey Collegiate Professor of Business Administration, Professor and Chair of Strategy




Jim Westphal’s research is socially driven. “I’m currently examining corporate governance, strategic leadership, and symbolic and institutional processes in organizations,” he says. “I’m interested in social relations among corporate leaders and between leaders and external constituents of the firm, including financial market actors and other stakeholders. I look at how those relations influence strategic decision-making, corporate governance, and firm performance.” Westphal points out that relationships also are at the core of the Ross PhD experience. “There is more informal interaction between faculty and students in different disciplines here (in colloquia, courses, dissertation committees, and many other contexts) than at just about any other university,” he says. “As a result, students naturally develop richer interdisciplinary theories to explain business problems and develop original solutions to those problems. Ross students are well-trained in methodology and statistics. Developing interesting and counterintuitive answers to important questions using rigorous methodologies is what sets our students apart.”

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