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The New Minds of Business: 11 Forward-Thinking Faculty Join the Wisconsin School of Business

Introducing WSB’s newest faculty members—the people leading the charge for a new type of business and a new type of business leader

By Paul Smirl and Clare Becker | Photography by Paul L. Newby II

September 1, 2021

New Minds of Business - three new WSB faculty

In a business world that is grappling with what’s next, the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is paving a path forward. Today, organizations have to be agile and team-focused. They need to optimize technology to meet demands, and they need people who can develop creative solutions to problems not yet realized.

To meet the challenges of today’s economy, WSB is investing heavily in its faculty and bringing in scholars and teachers with future-focused outlooks who are ready to shape the next wave of business research and grow the next generation of business leaders.

Eleven new faculty members join WSB this academic year, bringing research expertise, innovation, and teaching excellence while building upon the School’s growing investments in STEM and data analytics. This year’s cohort of new hires, one of the largest groups ever for WSB, advances the School’s strategic plan, Roadmap 2025, which includes the goal to attract top-notch faculty talent across a diversity of fields, backgrounds, universities, and disciplines.

“I am thrilled to welcome such an impressive class of faculty to the Wisconsin School of Business,” says Vallabh “Samba” Sambamurthy, WSB’s Albert O. Nicholas Dean. “Each person is an excellent scholar and teacher, and I’m excited by the amount of new talent joining our learning community this year. Not only do we bring in researchers with in-demand expertise, but our new faculty’s knowledge in data science, marketing, technology, finance, and management will help us transform the curriculum of our undergraduate and graduate programs.” 

Meet the new minds joining the Wisconsin School of Business:

Operations and Information Management

Qinglai He: Examining Platform Creativity, Policy, and Human-Bot Collaboration 

Qinglai He’s research examines user-generated content creativity, human-bot collaboration in platform regulation, and platform policy and polarization. With a background in computer science and research on information visualization and visual analysis, she will be teaching business analytics at WSB. She received her PhD in information systems from Arizona State University and joins WSB as an assistant professor.

“My top interest lies in how AI and platform policy shape our online environment and society. This area is so fascinating to me because online platforms have become part of our lives and deeply influence how we think and behave.”

-Qinglai He

Emaad Manzoor: Understanding Online Behavior

Emaad Manzoor’s work is at the intersection of information systems and computer science. His research avenues include persuasion in text-based communication (such as text messages, email, instant messaging), machine learning, and online human behavior. Manzoor, recently recognized by the University of Chicago as a rising star in the field of data science, will be teaching business analytics as an assistant professor at WSB. He holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University. A self-professed “avid debater” since his college days, Manzoor says text-based communication has more influence than people might think.

“Text-based communication is the primary medium via which conspiracies, misinformation, and propaganda designed to polarize society spread. My research can help understand, quantify, and counter the persuasive power of such propaganda, and pave the way toward a more harmonious society at large.”

-Emaad Manzoor

Nicholas Petruzzi: Navigating Uncertainty in Operations and Supply Chain

Nicholas Petruzzi’s research explores the economic implications of uncertainty within the primary focus areas of operations and supply chain management. His work centers on a primary question: How can business—or society at large—optimize the value-add it provides to stakeholders from limited resources? Petruzzi brings a passion for learning that informs his teaching philosophy and process. He will join WSB in January 2022, coming from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business where he has served as both a professor and the department chair in supply chain management.

Marketing

Ishita Chakraborty: Mining Insights From the Digital World

Ishita Chakraborty studies the development of algorithmic market research tools to derive richer, more accurate, real-time insights from unstructured data. Her research interests include digital marketing, online platforms, text and video analytics, and mobile apps. Chakraborty holds a PhD in marketing from the Yale School of Management and joins WSB as an assistant professor.

“One of the challenges in our field is that as we rely more and more on big data and analytics to uncover customer preferences, we have to be mindful of privacy concerns. Moreover, while we want to use machine learning and AI to do better targeting and customer service, we have to be careful that these algorithms are fair and do not magnify existing social biases.”

-Ishita Chakraborty

Remi Daviet: Merging Neuroscience and Consumer Decisions

Remi Daviet’s research focuses on understanding and predicting consumer decisions using insights from neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, genomics, and economics. His recent work explores how DNA data is used in microtargeting marketing strategies. Daviet joins WSB as an assistant professor after serving as a postdoctoral research fellow at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Aziza Jones (BBA ’13): Connecting Branding, Community, and Privacy

Aziza Jones’ researches branding, community, and privacy. She studies how others impact our consumption and how social identities influence decision-making. Her recent work examines parental buying habits and how parents will align themselves with certain products, brands, and people in attempts to help their children. An alumna of WSB, Jones is thrilled to return to her alma mater as an assistant professor after completing her PhD at Rutgers University.

“It’s incredible to be back. I’m so happy to be back at the Wisconsin School of Business to walk these halls in a different way, with a different energy, with a different ability to contribute to this institution and the university at large.”

-Aziza Jones

Management and Human Resources

Stav Atir: Exploring Pathways to Knowledge and Business Success

Stav Atir grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel, moved to the U.S. for her undergraduate degree, fell in love with psychology, and decided to pursue a PhD in it at Cornell University. Her research explores what we know—and what we don’t know. She explores why some people think they know things that they truly don’t know, and how knowledge or the lack thereof contributes to business success. Atir is looking forward to teaching courses on teams and negotiations, and giving students hands-on experience in these areas. Atir joins WSB as an assistant professor after serving as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Chia-Jung Tsay: Examining How Psychological Processes Influence Performance

Chia-Jung Tsay joins WSB as an associate professor after nearly ten years on the faculty at the University College London School of Management. Tsay’s research looks at what factors influence how we perceive and evaluate performance. Her recent work on entrepreneurial pitches found that investors were more influenced by the “stage presence” or silent visual performance of the entrepreneurs’ presentations than the actual pitch content itself. She also investigates the role of perception, expertise, and nonconscious biases in professional selection and advancement. Tsay holds a PhD from Harvard Business School in organizational behavior and psychology as well as music. In 2021, she was named one of the world’s Best 40 Under 40 Business School Professors by Poets & Quants.

Victoria Zhang: Studying Social Networks’ Darker Side

Victoria Zhang’s research examines behavioral change, social networks, and norm violations. Zhang joins WSB as an assistant professor after receiving her PhD in organizations and management from Yale School of Management. A current stream of her work focuses on high-risk prescribing and the opioid epidemic, and how social networks have the power to promote or dampen norm-violating behavior such as overprescribing.

Accounting and Information Systems

Minjeong (MJ) Kim: Harnessing Impact Using Data Analytics and Accounting

Minjeong “MJ” Kim looks at how incentive systems affect executives’ behaviors. Her research illuminates how business leaders’ decisions impact the economy, environment, and welfare of others. Kim brings a future-focused tool set with expertise in data analytics. In her accounting courses, students will learn how to organize and visualize data, use Python and Tableau, and grow their abilities in data-based decision-making. Kim joins WSB as an assistant professor after completing her PhD at the University of Illinois–Urbana Champaign.

“By learning data analytics and having domain knowledge of accounting, you will have a competitive edge when you go out into the job market.”

– Minjeong “MJ” Kim

Finance, Investment, and Banking

Hengjie Ai: Top-Level Expertise in Finance and Economics 

Hengjie Ai is a financial economics and macroeconomics expert who researches asset pricing and the connection between volatility and asset returns. He has the rare distinction of having published repeatedly at the very top level in both economics and finance. Ai will teach in both the PhD and MBA programs at WSB. He will join the School in January 2022 as a full professor after serving as an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. 

This year’s new faculty members join the six who WSB hired in the 2020-21 academic year, adding to the School’s investment in forward-thinking teachers and scholars, and complementing the recent growth WSB has seen in its undergraduate and graduate enrollment.

“We are excited to move forward with these talented faculty members, whose commitment to research excellence and passion for inspired teaching and learning help make the Wisconsin School of Business a top-tier business school,” says Sambamurthy.


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