5. Extracurricular / Professional Interests

I began my career with Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) in retail management.  During my three years working for the company, I rapidly gained additional responsibilities through leveraging academic knowledge to solve retail marketing and logistics problems.  My experiences in turning around struggling stores and helping to open new ones gave me a lasting impression on persistent problems with regard to retail supply chains.  Many of much current research interests are direct manifestations of these issues.

A defining moment for me during my professional experience is when I noticed that despite my highly accurate on-hand inventory status, orders generated by my system and placed with our warehouse frequently indicated that the warehouse was out-of-stock on many individual SKUs.  Although I did not know this at the time, but what I experienced was actually the outcome of demand variance amplification upstream along the retail supply chain, otherwise known as the bullwhip effect.  As frustrations mounted, I saw limitations of the extent to which I may influence factors such as inventory accuracy and in-stock level, promotional execution, supplier collaboration, and ultimately bottom line profitability.  As a result, I have decided to indulge myself to study these issues in depth by returning to academia.  Specifically, several central questions permeate my research interests:

  1. Beyond maintaining high inventory accuracy, how can in-stock status be systematically improved in a retail supply chain?
  2. How to gain control over demand uncertainties from factors exogenous to historical demand?
  3. Why do some suppliers actively, openly, and happily collaborate with stores and others do not?  What is the impact on retail operations?
  4. Do consumers view corporate social responsibility as a vital dimension applicable to all retailers, categories, brands, and products? And what are the implications for the entire supply chain?

Outside of the office and the classroom, I enjoy sports, working out, music, and independent/foreign films.  In particular, I have had the pleasure in the past to be a member of the media to cover Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets games for a local Chinese newspaper.  During that time, I became acquainted Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese basketball player in the NBA, and have had the pleasure of translating for him after games during his earliest days as a member of the Mavericks.  I have also had the pleasure of meeting Yao Ming, the number 1 overall draft pick of the Houston Rockets in 2002.  Along with meeting almost half of the players in the NBA, my experiences as a sports writer made me a life time fan.