Category Archives: Research

On the Operations Job Market: Reflections and Insights

The pdf is available here. Written by Renyu (Philip) Zhang in April 2016 after receiving placement at NYU Shanghai. The discussion is tuned for students looking for placement in OM departments of business schools. The advice is not overly surprising, but rings true. One snippet:

Compared to the need and connection attributes, the communication attribute is more controllable by a PhD student. I want to emphasize again that, in order to excel on the OM job market, you have to be a great communicator to convince schools that you have the potential to become a good colleague, a good researcher, and a good teacher. You need to train yourself to become a great communicator through continuous practices, both in casual small talks and in formal seminar presentations/teaching/public speaking. To improve the communication skill in small talks, it is advised that you regularly attend some social events (including the ones during conferences) to practice talking with others. You should also learn from the great small-talkers. Your school may also offer some communication classes that you can take. Your objective should be that, after years of practices, any stranger that speaks with you would find you a delightful person to talk with. For presentation skills, I would recommend you take as many opportunities as possible to present in classes, seminars, and conferences. You can also learn some presentation skills by taking presentation classes and/or watching videos of great presentations in, e.g., YouTube or TED Talks. Your objective of the year-long presentation skill practice is that your presentation will be clear, engaging, technically solid, and broadly appealing to the audience not familiar with your work or even your area of study.

Thanks to Xuan Feng for sharing.

Excerpts from ‘Elements of Style for Writing Scientific Journal Articles’

The full, short paper is here. These are the suggestions I thought most relevant:

-Write for the busy reader who is easily distracted.

-Use the present tense for known facts and hypotheses. Use the past tense for describing experiments that have been conducted and the results of these experiments. Avoid shifting tenses within a unit of text (paragraph, sub-section or section).

-Use the active voice to shorten sentences.

-Eliminate redundant words or phrases. “Due to the fact that” becomes “because”.

-Write direct and short sentences. The average length of sentences in scientific writing is only about 12-17 words.

-Avoid making multiple statements in one sentence. Link sentences together within a paragraph to provide a clear story-line.

-Put statements in positive form. Use “He usually came late” instead of “He is not very often on time”.

-Provide a logical transition from one paragraph to another.

-Avoid using “this” unqualified. It’s not always obvious what “this” is.

-Avoid subjective or redundant words or phrases that will date the paper. Examples: “high resolution”, “new result”, “latest findings”.

-Avoid expressions of belief, instead giving logic as to why something will be true.

-Cross-reference equations, figures, and sections both by their number and by their name. I hadn’t thought about this and never do it. Use “as discussed in the methods Section 2” instead of “as discussed in Section 2”. Makes life easier for the reader.

-Allow the reader to digest a figure’s main points without reading the text. Figures should be able to stand alone.

-When editing, read your work as an interested and smart non-expert.

2017 Early-career Sustainable Operations Workshop

Re-posting the call for presentations from Professors Kraft and Agrawal:

Dear colleagues,

We are happy to announce that the 2017 Early-career Sustainable Operations workshop will be held March 3rd – 5th, 2017 at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.

The program will follow a format similar to the past two years, with a dinner to be held Friday night, followed by a full day of presentations and panels Saturday, and then a half day of presentations on Sunday. The conference is sponsored by the Darden School of Business, the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business.

The program committee includes Atalay Atasu (Georgia Tech), Eda Kemahlioglu-Ziya (NC State), Beril Toktay (Georgia Tech), Vishal Agrawal (Georgetown), and Tim Kraft (Darden). We plan to schedule 6-8 presentations on Saturday and 3-4 presentations on Sunday. We are inviting junior academics (untenured faculty) and PhD students who are interested in presenting to submit a 1-page abstract or a working paper, if one is available, to by November 4, 2016. Notice of acceptances will be sent by December 16, 2016. Ties will be broken in favor of full papers.

For more information or questions, please email Tim Kraft at or Vishal Agrawal at

Thank you!
Vishal and Tim

Tim Kraft
Assistant Professor
University of Virginia
Darden School of Business
Charlottesville, VA 22903

Vishal Agrawal
Associate Professor
McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.

Checklist to use before submitting paper

-Are your research questions clear and well-motivated?
-Is there a consistent narrative throughout paper?
-Is the contribution well-justified?
-Are the journal guidelines and formatting instructions followed?

Paraphrased from a talk at the Young Scholars Workshop of the Behavioral Operations Conference in July 2016.

Links 20160825: Writing and Teaching Posts

Elements of Style for Writing Scientific Journal Articles. Funny because I’m also re-reading Strunk and White right now.
How to write a paper. One.
How to write a paper. Two.
Prototyping mathematical papers.

Defining the relationship between professor and student.
Where are we heading? Asked in an academic job interview.
Probabilistic true-false questions.

INFORMS 2016 Presentations

Nov. 14, 2016, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Mind The Gap: Coordinating Energy Efficiency And Demand Response
Eric Webb, Owen Wu, Kyle D. Cattani, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 15, 2016, 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Predicting Nurse Turnover And Its Impact On Staffing Decisions
Eric Webb, Kurt Bretthauer, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 16, 2016, 12:45 – 2:15 PM
Linking Customer Behavior And Delay Announcements: Are Customers Really Rational?
Eric Webb, Qiuping Yu, Kurt M. Bretthauer, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

Nov. 16, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Using Past Scores And Regularization To Create A Winning Nfl Betting Model
Eric Webb1, Wayne L. Winston2, 1Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, Houston, TX

Busy busy busy

-I am sprinting to finish two papers (“Mind the Gap: Coordinating Energy Efficiency and Demand Response” and “Linking Customer Behavior and Delay Announcements: Are Customers Really Rational?”) by July 24.

-I am presenting the delay announcements paper at the Behavioral Operations Conference this Friday in Madison, WI.

-After the conference, Maria and I are doing an amusement park tour of the Great Lakes region: Michigan’s Adventure, Canada’s Wonderland, Hersheypark, Dorney Park, possibly Wildwater Kingdom, and Cedar Point. We’ll also stop in Indiana Dunes State Park, Chicago, Detroit, Niagara Falls, Philadelphia (for a Phillies game), and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We’ll be back in Bloomington on July 26. During the trip, I’ll frequently be finalizing the two papers above while Maria drives.

-After I get back, I am sprinting again to re-submit “Incentive-Compatible Prehospital Triage in Emergency Medical Services” by mid-August.

-As such, there won’t be many website posts for the next month or so.

-After that, I will be working on a project inspecting the behavioral aspects of staffing and turnover, a new energy project, and finishing up my NFL betting project.

Call for Seminal Papers

As described on this page, I have started to collected a list of seminal papers in Operations Management and Information Systems. Seminal papers include classical results, well-cited results, and results that have inspired other research.

If you are a researcher or practitioner in OM, IS, or a related field, please consider sending me ( a list of 1-10 suggestions for seminal papers. I will add your suggestions to the posted list.

Talks I attended at POMS 2016

These are the talks I attended at the Production and Operations Management Society Conference, mostly listed for my future reference:

Friday 8am, Track 4:
-Optimal Workload Management During a Physician’s Shift in an Emergency Dept by Zhankun Sun and Nan Liu
-The Impact of Delay announcements on Hospital Networks Coordination and Waiting Times by Jing Dong, Elad Yom-Tov and Galit Yom-Tov
-An Empirical Study of the Impact of Introducing Physician Assistants During Critical Care Consultations by Mor Armony, Carri Chan, and Yunchao Xu
-Steady-State Approximation for Discrete Queue in Hospital Inpatient Flow Management by Pengyi Shi and Jim Dai

Friday 9:45am, Track 56
-Understanding Customers’ Retrials in Call Centers: Preference of Service Speed and Service Quality by Kejia Hu, Gad Allon, and Achal Bassamboo
-Modelling Service Times in a Call Center by Rouba Ibrahim, Pierre L’Ecuyer, Haipeng Shen, and Mamadou Thiongane
-Vertical Probabilistic Selling: The Role of Consumer Anticipated Regret by Yong Chao, Lin Liu, and Dongyuan Zhan
-Want Priority Access? Refer Your Friends to Skip the Line by Luyi Yang and Laurens Debo

Friday Plenary: Fulfillment Challenges Create Research Opportunities at Amazon by Russell Allgor

Friday 1:30pm, Track 80:
-Project Management under Risk-Sharing Contracts by Sina Shokoohyar, Elena Katok, and Anyan Qi
-The Impact of Decision Rights and Long Term Relationships on Innovation Sharing by Ruth Beer, Hyun-Soo Ahn, and Stephen Leider
(PRESENTING)-Linking Customer Behavior and Delay Announcements Using a Duration Model by Qiuping Yu, Eric Webb, and Kurt Bretthauer
-Equity Bargaining in Startups by Evgeny Kagan, Stephen Leider, and William Lovejoy

Friday 3:15pm, Track 133:
-Closing a Supplier’s Energy Efficiency Gap: The Role of Assessment Assistance and Procurement Commitment by Jason Nguyen, Karen Donohue, and Mili Mehrotra
(PRESENTING)-Energy Efficiency and Demand Response on a Production Line by Eric Webb, Kyle Cattani, and Owen Wu

Friday 5pm, Track 170:
-How to Get the Conflict Out of the Mineral Supply Chain by Han Zhang, Goker Aydin, and Sebastian Heese

Friday 5pm, Track 169:
-Carbon Leakage: The Impact of Asymmetric Emission Regulation on Technology and Capacity Investments by Kristel Hoen, Natalie Huang, Tarkan Tan, and Beril Toktay
-Carbon Tariffs: Effects in Settings with Technology Choice by David Drake
-Dynamics of Capacity Investment in Renewable Energy Projects by Nur Sunar and John Birge

Saturday 8am, Track 182:
-Variability in Labor Schedules: Effects on Customer Satisfaction and Employee Turnover by Hyun Seok Lee, Saravanan Kesavan, and Camelia Kuhnen
-Social Media and Traffic: A Cross-Section Study by Dennis Zhang and Ruomeng Cui
-Do Consumers Benefit from Dynamic Pricing? Evidence from SFpark by Pnina Feldman, Jun Li, and Hsin-Tien Tsai

Saturday 9:30am, Track 220:
-Impact of Severity-Adjusted Workload on Health Status of Patients Discharged from an ICU by Song-Hee Kim, Edieal Pinker, Joan Rimar, and Elizabeth Bradley
-Public Relative Performance Feedback in Complex Service Systems by Hummy Song, Anita Tucker, Karen Murrell, and David Vinson
-Quantifying the Impact of Care Coordination on Health Outcomes by Vishal Ahuja and Hari Balasubramanian
-Are Patients Patient? The Effect of Universal Healthcare on Emergency Department Visits by Diwas Kc

Saturday Plenary: Data-Driven Research in Revenue Management by David Simchi-Levi

Saturday 1:30pm, Track 267:
-An Analysis of Time-Based Pricing in Electricity Supply Chains by Baris Ata, Asligul Duran, and Ozge Islegen
-Kicking Ash: Who (or What) is Winning the War on Coal? by David Drake and Jeff York
-Feed-In Tariff Versus Rebate for Renewable Energy Generation by Ruben Lobel and Volodymyr Babich
-A New Approach to Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) Design for Wind Energy Projects by Xinyuan Zhu and Qingbin Cui

Saturday 3:15pm, Track 303:
-The Effect of Sourcing Policies on a Supplier’s Sustainable Practices by Vishal Agrawal and Deishin Lee
-Trust and Transparency in Social Responsibility by Tim Kraft, Leon Valdes, and Yanchong Zheng
-Design and Technology Choice for Recycling: The Value of Capacity Ownership and collaboration by Luyi Gui, Morvarid Rahmani, and Atalay Atasu
-Truth-Inducing Mechanism for Medical Surplus Product Allocation by Can Zhang, Atalay Atasu, Turgay Ayer, and Beril Toktay

Sunday 9:45am, Track 373:
-A Hybrid Data Envelopment Analysis Approach for Performance Evaluation: A Food Industry Case Study by Gazi Duman, Ozden Tozanli, and Elif Kongar
-Evaluation of Different Designs of End-of-Life Products Using Linear Physical Programming by Aditi Joshi and Surendra Gupta
-Application of Multi Criteria Decision Making in Optimizing End-of-Life Processes by Aditya Pandit and Surendra Gupta
-Two-Dimensional Warranty for an End-of-life Derived Products by Ammar Alqahtani and Surendra Gupta

Sunday Plenary: Being Relevant in the Age of Analytics by Mark Spearman

Sunday 2:30pm, Track 409:
-The Implication of Extended Warranties on a Closed-Loop Supply Chain by Wayne Fu and Atalay Atasu
-A Framework to Measure the True Impact of Take-Back Legislation by Megan Jaunich, Hadi Gashti, Joe DeCarolis, Robert Handfield, Eda Kemahlioglu-Ziya, and Ranji Ranjithan
-The Effect of Refurbished Products’ Quality on Recycling Incentive Strategies under Retailer Take-back Mode by Xiaoyan Wang and Weilai Huang
-When Remanufacturing Meets Product Innovation by Gendao Li and Marc Reimann
-Lemons, Trade-Ins, and Remanufacturing by Natalie Huang, Atalay Atasu, and Beril Toktay

Sunday 4:15pm, Track 440:
-Competitive Dynamic Pricing Under Capacity Constraints: An Experimental Study by Bahriye Cesaret and Elena Katok

Monday 8am, Track 492:
-A Dynamic Clustering Approach to Data-Driven Assortment Personalization by Sajad Modaresi, Fernando Bernstein, and Denis Saure
-Managing Product Transitions via Strategic Customer Selection by Adam Elmachtoub, Vineet Goyal, and Roger Lederman

Monday 9:45am, Track 509:
-The Role of an Inpatient Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program and Slack in Improving Hospital Performance by John Ni and Xiaowen Huang
-Bundle Payment vs. Fee-For-Service: Impact of Payment Scheme on Performance by Elodie Adida, Hamed Mamani, and Shima Nassiri
-Impact of Healthcare Reform on Hospital Suppliers by Sayan Mukherjee, David Dobrzykowski, and Alok Baveja
-Are Penalties “Sticky” in the Long Term? An Empirical Investigation in U.S. Nursing Homes by Rachna Shah, Gopalakrishnan Narayanamurthy, and Anand Gurumurthy

Monday 11:30am, track 556:
-Impact of Digital Embeddedness on Organizational Purchase Behaviors by Haris Krijestorac and Rajiv Garg
-An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Jump Bidding in Overlapping Online Auctions by Lin Hao, Yong Tan, and Arvind Tripathi
-Exploring the Drivers of Success of Mobile Apps by Eunho Park, Ram Janakiraman, Kaushik Dutta, and Subodha Kumar