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Business School Recognizes 15 PhD Graduates

4/18/2003 --

The public sees the benefits---flexible hours and freedom to work where they want and on topics of one's choosing---that come with the PhD, notes Gerard J. Tellis, PhD 1983.

Not so obvious are the joys and challenges associated with creating new ideas, convincing others of the validity of those ideas and passing them on to students, Tellis told the Business School’s newest PhDs at the school’s fourth annual Doctorial Recognition Program held on April 16. Tellis is the Jerry & Nancy Neely Chair in American Enterprise and Professor of Marketing at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.

Family, friends, faculty and staff honored 15 students who will receive their PhDs in 2003. They are:

Jeffrey Doyle, accounting; Artyom Durnev, finance; John Godek, marketing; Elania Hudson, marketing; Troy Janes, accounting; Aldas Kriauciunas, corporate strategy; Ming Li, statistics and management science; Anne Parmigiani, corporate strategy; Ryan Quinn, organizational behavior; Mark Soliman, accounting; Ramanath Subramanyam, computer information systems; Klaus Weber, organizational behavior; Julia Welch, organizational behavior; Mina Yoo, organizational behavior; and Yeosun Yoon, marketing.

On behalf of the doctoral students, PhD Forum President Marcin Kacperczyk presented the 2003 PhD Teaching Excellence Award to Anjan Thakor for his outstanding teaching, mentoring, dissertation committee work, contributions to program policy and administration, and advocacy on their behalf. In addition to thanking the students, Thakor, the Edward J. Frey Professor of Banking and Finance, said, “The PhD program is extremely important to me, the most meaningful thing I do. Our doctoral students have been a source of great pride and joy over the years. This is a tremendous honor.”

The Life of a Scholar

Society pays a premium to those who think for a living, said Tellis, who warned that coming up with great, original ideas is not easy. Developing a hypothesis, gathering and analyzing data, and lobbying for support for new ideas through conference presentations and journal publications requires perseverance. The scholarly review process, confrontational by design, often is discouraging, Tellis admitted. Many great ideas are laughed at the first time they are introduced, he added.

Tellis recounted the history of photocopying, which began in 1935 with a lawyer who was tired of copying notes by hand. Working with engineers, he invented xerography, a method of electrostatic printing. Numerous attempts to interest firms in his idea and to market the photocopier failed. It wasn’t until the first Xerox copier was marketed in 1959 that the public began to appreciate the importance of Chester Carlson’s revolutionary idea.

Scholars must persevere and challenge accepted positions, Tellis advised. “You need to break away, to think broadly, to think about the big issues and to think differently.”

Izak Duenyas, associate dean for faculty development, congratulated the graduates and their families. The Doctoral Recognition Program is meaningful to him, Duenyas said, because it celebrates the development of broad-based intellectual capital---“the foundation of everything we do at the University of Michigan Business School.” Noting that the graduates join a community of scholars with lifelong ties to the Business School, Duenyas said, “Ever since joining the University of Michigan, I have worked with nearly 10 PhD students. I keep working with and learning with many of them, and I do not think I am unusual in maintaining a lifelong connection with my PhD students. I encourage all the students graduating this year to keep coming back to Michigan; it could be to give a seminar or to teach a class or for a short visit. I do believe that as you look back at your years during the PhD Program, you will find them some of the best years of your life, a time when you could focus on uninterrupted exciting intellectual discovery.”

For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Frank
Phone: 734.936.2150