They come to the Carroll School of Management with a breadth of scholarly passions ranging from the meaning of work to the valuation of stocks and the vagaries of data. And for the past couple of months they’ve been bringing their passions and insights into classrooms and conversations. They are the Carroll School’s newest tenure-track faculty members—taking their places in the departments of Accounting, Finance, Information Systems, Management and Organization, and Operations Management. Here’s a look at each of the new assistant professors.
Management and Organization
Lyndon Garrett’s research focuses on a particularly profound question in management and organizations—“the challenge of humanizing the experience of work,” as he puts it.
Specifically, he examines how organizations cultivate positive relationships, which in turn can “make work and life more meaningful and energizing.” His pursuit of this question has taken him inside a variety of workplaces—ranging from hospital ICUs to sports teams and theatre casts—where he has interviewed and observed many in the course of their work. His findings have appeared with coauthors in influential management publications such as the MIT Sloan Management Review.
“I study relationships at work because relationships are what give my life meaning. And my relationships with students are central to what makes this work meaningful,” says Garrett, whose Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
“I passionately believe that it is essential to model the principles of positive organizing in the way the classroom is constructed,” he adds. “I try to use the classroom as a living laboratory to empower students to build exceptional teams and form high-quality connections. When students experience what it is like to form high-quality connections in the classroom, they carry this image with them into the workplace as a replicable model.”
Ben Yost’s doctoral dissertation—at the MIT Sloan School of Management—focused on how corporate decisions by CEOs are influenced by their own personal tax incentives.
In particular, he found that CEOs are more averse to corporate risk when they have substantial stock holdings in the firm and are reluctant to sell those holdings because of the capital gains tax they’ll have to pay. On the other hand, when capital gains taxes are lowered, the top executives are more likely to sell their stocks, diversify their holdings—and take on more corporate risk.
Clearly, the assistant professor has found his scholarly stride, but Yost wants his students to know something about him. “Probably like some of them, I struggled for some time to figure out what career I wanted to pursue, switching through three different majors in college and working in industry for several years before following an academic career,” he explains. “Eventually I found that being a business school professor was a good match for me—it offered the right balance between theory and practical thinking.”
He adds that research “keeps me excited about teaching,” and “teaching reminds me to think about corporate concepts from a more practical perspective.” That is, from the perspective of future CEOs and leaders now studying at the Carroll School of Management.
As a scholar, Xuan Ye’s work has straddled the border between information systems and economics, especially labor and organizational economics. Her research has turned light on such questions as the extent to which digital employees value learning—and are willing to take jobs that pay somewhat less if the work offers them opportunities to learn new tech skills.
As a teacher, she uses the insights gained from working on research projects related to recruitment issues in tech firms. She’s learned about the importance of analytical and reasoning skills in the new economy, and she makes it a priority to help strengthen these skills among her students.
“I try to cultivate a classroom environment where students feel comfortable raising questions and challenging the instructor’s ideas,” says Ye, who received her Ph.D. from the Stern School of Business at New York University. Ye’s findings have been featured in Harvard Business Review, and another paper is under revision for Management Science.
“My students should know that I think finance provides many benefits to society. You can study finance with the intention of improving people's lives,” says Rawley Heimer, who received his Ph.D. in 2013 from Brandeis University before spending four years as a research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Heimer’s point is underscored by his scholarly research, which focuses generally on financial services used by households. One stream of his research throws light on how online social networks often give people what he describes as “distorted beliefs” about investments, leading to costly financial errors. Another stream deals especially with disadvantaged households. He’ll look, for example, at how public policy and decisions by politicians influence the availability of consumer credit.
“My research has a strong influence on my teaching,” Heimer adds, pointing to the mistakes people make with their personal finances. “Some of these mistakes relate closely to the sorts of challenges that students can have when learning new material.” He’s ready when that happens.
Management and Organization
People often speak of a desire to find greater “meaning in my work,” but what exactly do they mean when they say this? For Curtis Chan, who earned his Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Harvard University, meaningful work is “a lot of things.” These include what he describes as “an intensely personal journey and aspiration, an ongoing accomplishment, and an object of gratitude.”
Discovering meaning in one’s work is not easy. “It often takes effort and reflection, personal space and self-compassion,” says Chan. He finds that meaningful work thrives on gratitude, which also doesn’t come easily but can be cultivated. Chan specializes in qualitative research studies, which has led him to study people in a variety of occupations including security screeners at the Transportation Security Administration and consultants at a strategy consultancy. His studies have appeared in Administrative Science Quarterly and the Academy of Management Annals.
“In today’s data-rich environment, managers are not suffering from lack of data, but lack of useful data,” says Nan Liu, an operations researcher and data scientist by training. “I challenge students to look for useful data and leverage these data to make good decisions driven by sound models.”
Liu comes to the Carroll School from the faculty of Columbia University’s Health Policy and Management Department. In the classroom, he sees himself as “a catalyst to stimulate the exchange of knowledge and innovative ideas among students.” As a researcher, he focuses on operations management issues in healthcare, retail, transportation, and other service industries. He looks in particular at how to match service capacity with fluctuating customer demand.
David H. Solomon
David Solomon says he is deeply interested in how people “actually behave, not just how they should behave if they’re acting rationally in accordance with standard finance models.” The applicable field is behavioral finance, and his research stands at the intersection of psychology and financial markets.
“I’m interested in how investors think about their portfolios, and what impact this has on trades and prices,” says Solomon, who has taught for the past eight years at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “I’ve studied the way investors do things like compare gains and losses, seek out dividend streams, and overreact to recent corporate disclosures. I’m also interested in the mechanics of how information gets transferred and how this affects markets, including things like media publications and in-person meetings.”
Undoubtedly he gets a chuckle out of students when he draws a playful connection between his ancestry and his chosen field. He’s Australian, descended from one of the many British citizens transported to the old penal colonies there for petty crimes (larceny, in the case of Solomon’s ancestor). He quips: “With this ancestral background in theft, it was only natural that I’d gravitate toward finance.”
Part of Solomon’s research deals with how investors and others follow their intuition for better or worse. It’s a focus that helps him with both research and teaching, he says: “Understanding this intuition helps me figure out where markets can get things wrong, and also how to better explain concepts to people so they hopefully can learn their way out of the mistake.”
Management and Organization
How do employees form friendships at work? And why do these relationships have the power to make employees loyal to their jobs, regardless of whether they like what they do? Those are a couple of the questions that draw the scholarly eye of Beth Schinoff, who received her Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Arizona State University.
Schinoff says she seeks to better understand how employees nurture positive relationships at work, and how these relationships influence their experiences within the organization. The research carries over into her teaching.
“I teach through the lens that everything in organizations occurs in the context of relationships. The more that we understand the people and relationships around us, the more we can successfully navigate organizational life,” Schinoff explains. “And as someone who studies positive relationships at work, I strive to form such relationships with each of my students. I also work hard to create a classroom environment in which students can forge them with one another.”
Vincent Bogousslavsky is primarily interested in asset pricing and “market microstructure,” a research domain that seeks to understand the economic forces that affect trades and prices. In his current work, he is investigating why some stocks tend to perform better than others, looking in particular at how stock returns accrue over the trading day and overnight.
His findings have been going against standard asset pricing theory, which suggests that returns should accrue gradually over the day. “In contrast, I find that, for some stocks, returns are concentrated at specific times of the day, such as right before the close or during the overnight period,” says Bogousslavsky, who received his Ph.D. from the Swiss Finance Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland. The higher returns overnight, for example, are explained often by traders who are reluctant to hold stocks after the markets close. They tend to sell lower at that time.
Bogousslavsky’s approach to teaching is very similar to his research approach. “When giving a lecture, I encourage students to be critical of the material as I am in my own research projects,” he says.
William Bole is Senior Writer and Editor at the Carroll School.
Photography by Gary Gilbert.