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Ross School of Business PhDs - 2005
  From left to right: Christa Bouwman., Seung-Yoon
Rhee, Ravi Subramanian, Associate Dean Izak
Duenyas, Chris Marquis, Sunil Mithas, Xinxin Hu,
Jane Zhao

Doctoral Recognition Program Honors Graduates, Distinguished Alumnus

4/28/2005 --

Harbir Singh urges future educators to make a difference

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The Stephen M. Ross School of Business celebrated its 10 newest PhDs and honored alumnus Harbir Singh, PhD '84, at the school's sixth annual Doctoral Recognition Program and Distinguished PhD Alumni Award presentation.

In his keynote address, Singh, the Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, encouraged the doctoral students to focus their scholarship on areas that will have the most impact.

"Make sound choices about where you work. Seek to create more impact on public policy," he said. In addition he advised the future professors to maintain their relationships with teachers and advisers, as well as cultivate a "college of colleagues" as a support network. He said incentives and rewards are greater in cooperative settings than in competitive environments.

Singh, co-director of the Mack Center for Technological Innovation at Wharton, is a leading researcher on strategic alliances and strategies for corporate renewal. He has consulted to and held executive workshops for Bell Atlantic, IBM, Merck and AT&T. His current research includes strategies for corporate acquisitions, corporate governance, joint ventures, management buyouts and corporate restructuring. He serves on the editorial boards of Strategic Management Journal and Academy of Management Review and is the author of "Innovations in Cross-Cultural Management" (Sage Press, 2000).

Corporate Governance on the Radar
Singh's expertise is in analyzing alliances and understanding how firms grow. Specifically, he has researched the failure rate of corporate transactions and has found the following to increase the likelihood of failure: problems with integration, internal power struggles and overpayment. Despite the low success rate of corporate acquisition, Singh feels it can be done and can dramatically change a corporation's position for the better.

As corporate scandals of the 1980s gave way to a quieter corporate period in the 1990s, the last few years have witnessed a resurfacing of corporate problems on a global scale. Singh says the reason corporate governance is back on our minds again is that the issues were not properly addressed two decades ago. "It was brushed under the carpet. What I think has been uncovered recently is a lack of effectiveness of corporate boards," he said.

"Problems have arisen when CEOs have had too much clout and boards didn't have the right information. Today, on the positive side, boards are acting more aggressively when they see malfeasance," said Singh.

Boards are asserting their power and becoming proactive, as evidenced in recent Disney and Boeing cases, he points out. They are reexamining executive compensation and keeping incentives in check in order to keep stakeholders happy, he said.

Blending Technology and Classic Classroom Environments
Technology has created dramatic changes in education at the highest levels. With live video, Internet feeds and video conferencing, the tremendous range of possibilities can be overwhelming to some educators, according to Singh.

"There is software that will network the students" computers directly to the computer at the podium to allow questions to come in and be answered in real time. This is all wonderful and can create a more stimulating educational environment. Still, we need the classic modes of discussion to capture current thoughts of people. PowerPoint presentations and the like can be non-spontaneous. There must be a balance between the use of the newer technologies and traditional teaching methods," Singh said.

Recognizing the Student Honorees
The Doctoral Recognition Program was established in 2000. Honorees include all doctoral candidates who will defend or have defended their dissertation this year. The program also featured the announcement of Sendil Ethiraj, the Sanford R. Robertson Assistant Professor of Business Administration and assistant professor of corporate strategy and international business, as recipient of the 2005 PhD Teaching Excellence Award.

Emily Heaphy, PhD Forum president, introduced the 2005 doctoral honorees and their dissertation titles at the April 14 event:

  • Christa Bouwman: Bank Capital, Risk and Liquidity Creation
  • Xinxin Hu: The Effect of Production Uncertainty on Optimal Production-Inventory Policies in Monopolistic and Competitive Settings
  • Chris Marquis: Historical Environments and the Transformation of Twentieth Century Banking
  • Sunil Mithas: Effect of Information Technology on Customer Relations
  • Amrita Nain: Essays in Corporate Finance
  • Seung-Yoon Rhee: How Do Shared Emotions Among Group Members Influence Group Effectiveness? The Role of Broadening and Building Interactions and Narrowing Interactions
  • Ravi Subramanian: Essays in Sustainable Operations
  • Wei (Vicki) Tang: Voluntary Disclosure and Asset Pricing: Empirical Evidence from Chinese Dual-class Firms
  • Harris Wu: Utilizing Structure and Context in an Online Document Repository—Towards Collaborative Knowledge Management
  • Zheng (Jane) Zhao: Transferring Organizational Capabilities: A Multilevel Perspective

Ross School of Business Dean Robert J. Dolan said that the reputation of a school is made by its PhD students after they start their professional careers. "The Michigan tag may be lost on MBAs, but the PhD from Michigan tag will remain. Whether you want to or not, you'll be working for this school," he said. "To be a great business school, you must create intellectual capital—with impact. Our PhD graduates play an important role in that they push us all to new heights."

View a streaming video of the event.
NOTE: You will need a high-speed Internet connection (DSL/Cable modem/LAN) and Windows Media Player 9 or better to view the video.

Written by Nancy Davis

For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Frank
Phone: 734-647-4622