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Rice University School of Social Sciences

Gateway Study of Leadership TURNING POINTS

{Series V | 2015 - 2016}

Turning Points 2015-16

Gateway School of Social Sciences Rice University 6100 Main Street Houston, Texas 77005-1827 U.S.A.

Turning Points The Turning Points book series is a product of the School of Social Sciences’ Gateway Study of Leadership (GSL) at Rice University. Each year GSL Fellows conduct interviews with faculty from a different school and feature select excerpts in five sections. The sections in Series V (2015 - 2016) are dedicated to the Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business and Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Previous Turning Points series: Series I (2011 - 12) – Rice University School of Social Sciences Series II (2012 - 13) – Rice University School of Natural Sciences Series III (2013 - 14) – Rice University School of Engineering Series IV (2014 - 15) – Rice University School of Humanities Copyright 2016 Rice University. All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the School of Social Sciences at Rice University. Requests for permission should be directed to

2015 - 16 Turning Points Production TURNING POINTS DIRECTOR Mary Charlotte Carroll EDITORS Simone Bergsrud Jackie Li Aislyn Orji Karen Pan Emily Rao Thresa Skeslien-Jenkins CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Natalie Danckers, Olivia Hernandez, Yasna Haghdoost, Bo Kim, Hanna Kim, Whitney Li, David Ratnoff, Courtney Stefancyk, Yves Ye, Melody Yip GRAPHIC DESIGNER Cindy Thaung PRODUCER Alex Wyatt ADVISOR Ipek Martinez

2015 - 16 Gateway Study of Leadership CO-DIRECTORS Bradley Hamilton, Giray Özşeker SENIOR FELLOWS Mary Charlotte Carroll, Elisabeth Kalomeris, Kevin Pang, Bridget Youngs INTERNATIONAL LIAISONS Nitin Agrawal, Cathy Hu, Tanya Rajan FELLOWS Simone Bergsrud, James Carter, Carlin Cherry, Avi Gori, Eileen Huang, Sophia Huang, Caroline Lee, Jackie Li, Albert Nabiullin, Aislyn Orji, Karen Pan, Fasai Phuathavornskul, Emily Rao, Juan Saldana, Thresa Skeslien-Jenkins, Tim Wang KOÇ FELLOWS Filinta Abuşoğlu, Özge Bitik, Güngör Alp Oktuğ, Umurcan Yılmaz, Nazlı Özkul, Ege Su Acar, Merve Şahin KOÇ PROGRAM COORDINATOR Mert Çetinkaya ADVISORS Ipek Martinez, Gateway Director Dr. Lyn Ragsdale, Dean of Social Sciences Dr. Brandon Vaidyanathan, Research Consultant Alex Wyatt, Gateway Administrator


Section 1. Leadership in Academia Page 3 Section 2. Choosing Academia Page 29 Section 3. Creativity, Curiosity, & Research Page 63 Section 4. Success & Failure Page 103 Section 5. Role of Academia Page 133 About the Featured Faculty Page 170


The 2015 - 16 Turning Points series contains one of our most remarkable collections of stories, advice, and insights yet. Since 2011, Turning Points has highlighted excerpts from interviews conducted by Rice University’s Gateway Study of Leadership, which seeks to understand the motivations, passions, and obstacles that characterize a life in academia. This year, Rice’s GSL partnered with the Global Engagement Certificate Program at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. Over a period of several months, we conducted interviews with more than 40 faculty from Rice’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Koç College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Each section of this book features excerpts from our interviews and explores a different aspect of academic life as experienced by these business professors—from the challenge of facing criticism to the creativity necessary to conduct research to the pivotal choice to make a life in academia. We are extremely proud to present these excerpts to you and extend our sincere gratitude to all who took the time to share their experiences with us. - Mary Charlotte Carroll, Turning Points Director




REFLECTIONS ON: LEADERSHIP IN ACADEMIA In this collection of excerpts, faculty reveal what leadership requires and resembles in a university setting, in business, and in other aspects of life. The ideas and experiences expressed by the faculty are diverse - ranging from unconventional characteristics like the importance of “followership,” as Dr. Hajo Adam puts it, to conventional, administrative leadership. For these professors, leadership is about integrity, balance, trust, and creativity, but it is first and foremost about forging new paths in teaching and research. As Dr. Insan Tunalı told us, "A sign of leadership is being able to open new paths...Academia is always involved in pushing the frontier to create more knowledge." This is the first year GSL has collaborated with Koç University, and we hope these stories offer a fuller, more varied picture of what defines leadership in academia. This section provides a glimpse into how professors see leadership within themselves and their thoughts on what makes an effective leader in business and life. - Simone Bergsrud, Editor




Gustavo Grullon, Ph.D. It’s Like Running a Business


Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D. Starts with Trust


Sharad Borle, Ph.D. On the Human Level


Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D. Teaching is Not an Easy Job


Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D. Do You Love It?


Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D. Creating Balance


Deniz Aksen, Ph.D. Containing the Crisis

8. 9.

Barış Tan, Ph.D. Building an Instituion


Birgül Arslan, Ph.D. Take Initiative


Robert Hoskisson, Ph.D. What’s Just Right


Barış Tan, Ph.D. Finding My Role


Duane Windsor, Ph.D. Leadership Potential

İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D. Establishing Paths



Stephen Zeff, Ph.D. Team Player


Hajo Adam, Ph.D. Be Like Josh



It’s Like Running a Business Gustavo Grullon, Ph.D. Jesse H. Jones Professor of Finance Rice University

There are two characteristics required to be a leader in academia. One is to be curious. The other is you have to be an entrepreneur. Being an academic is like running a business. You have to think about the product, which is your research. You have to sell it to your peers because you have to publish it. In order to have a good product, you have to have a good business model. Not only that, you have to be aggressive; you have to be on top of things. This is why I think that to be a good academic, you need to be a good entrepreneur. You have to come up with good products. You have to come up with the best way to deliver that product. To be an academic, you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit.



Starts with Trust Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

Leadership is based on integrity and trust. If you do not have the trust of your students, you cannot communicate with them or teach them effectively. I believe that good communication is the most important pillar of leadership. The foundation of leadership must be integrity and trust. Leadership rests on three pillars over this foundation. The pillars are: vision, achievement, and - the heaviest pillar of the three - communication. Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commander-in-chief of the Allied forces at the end of World War II. He was also a great leader. His soldiers did what he wanted them to do, because they wanted to do it. They trusted him, and he effectively communicated his objectives to them. So effectively that they were ready to die to achieve it.



On the Human Level Sharad Borle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Rice University

I would interpret leadership as the administration leaders within the school or the senior faculty. I think it’s important, because at the end of the day, researchers are human beings. They have emotions; they respond to motivations. They respond to positive strokes; they respond to negative strokes. I think leadership is very important, to take care of the person as a person.



Teaching is Not an Easy Job Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Operations Management & Information Systems Koç University

In class, you are supposed to be a leader by inspiring through your teaching - figuring out what new topics should be taught. We touch students and inspire them to do better as a person and also professionally. We give them the tools to do so and give them the curiosity to learn more, explore more. That is for teaching. In research, leadership is about identifying new topics, identifying new approaches, and being able to disseminate that to the research community. Hopefully, we disseminate those by writing papers, seminars, and direct contact with institutions that might benefit from the expertise that we have. If you come up with an idea and it just stays put, it is not going to have an impact. Make sure it gets used.



Do You Love It? Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Relations Koç University

Self-discipline and persistence are the two characteristics that I believe are necessary to be a leader within academia. Obtaining a Ph.D. is a really tough process. Imagine yourself in the middle of the water trying to reach the coastline. You know what is on the coastline, but you don’t know the path to reach it. You can even see the line. And there is this water around you. That water is the existing research in the field. To reach the coastline, you have to find your own path. Finding that path is the most difficult thing to do. It starts with formulating a research question, but it can’t be any research question. It took me six to eight months to formulate the research question about the dissertation that I wanted to write. A very highly reputed professor who had a great impact on my life and on the rest of my career once told me that there were many smart


people he encountered throughout his life, but they wouldn’t make it in academia because they were not persistent enough. You have to have the nerve to work on the same thing again and again, going back to the same question to find that very simple answer. I have one single piece of advice that I can give to all prospective academics: Do it if you really love it. You have to be prepared not to sleep for three days in a row and sometimes not to take vacations. If you are not dedicated and you think that it is not for you, don’t do it. People start Ph.D. programs, and they drop after a semester or year. Very few people make it to the very top after they become assistant professors. It’s a cumbersome, painful process. If you are not sure about whether to pursue an academic career, which is a question I frequently get these days, try it and if you decide it’s not for you, do not hesitate to drop it. We shouldn’t be living by the decision that we make back when we are in our 20s for the rest of our lives just because we didn’t make good choices.



Creating Balance Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

It’s important for a leader to be able to create a balance: provide and ensure the academic freedom for each individual faculty member while also keeping oversight. A good leader also has to make sure that certain duties of teaching and service are equally distributed. Another characteristic for any type of leader is being decisive. In academia, everybody feels like they know in what direction a university or college should evolve; while a good leader should listen, he or she should also be able to go above that and make effective decisions.



Containing the Crisis Deniz Aksen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Information Systems Koç University

Leadership arises in moments of crisis. If you can manage a crisis, then you are a good leader, whether you manage a whole conglomerate such as Koç Holding, or a whole country such as Turkey, or just your study group. It’s about whether you can contain the crisis, get out of it with minimal harm, and restore the comfort of the people who trust in you, who see a leader in you. I’m the leader of my classroom, and I’m the leader of my graduate students because I supervise and advise them. But when it comes to leadership on a broader scale, leadership at large, I would consider myself a leader in what I am trying to do, what I am trying to teach, what I am trying to research.



Building an Institution Barış Tan, Ph.D.

Professor of Operations Management and Industrial Engineering and the Vice President for Academic Affairs Koç University

When I joined Koç University in 1994, there were two other faculty members, two deans, and one president. I found joining an institution that was newly established and feeling the responsibility to contribute to its further development quite motivating. I worked as an assistant professor, then as an associate professor for six years. After that I had administrative positions. In different administrative positions, I could contribute in measurable ways. It has been a unique experience to observe and then take part in the establishment of an institution.



Establishing Paths İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Koç University

Leaders in academia are probably the ones that break new paths. Academia is always involved in pushing the frontier to create more knowledge and discover more about the subject that we are engaged in. But there is also a conservative side to academia in that this pushing the frontier forward usually is done through established paths. Great leaders in academia are the ones who find new paths and all of a sudden you find a new way of looking at a problem and that brings incredible achievements. A sign of leadership is being able to open new paths or re-examine old questions. However, academics are loners. They work in their little cubical, or ivory tower. Leadership is something not all academics are comfortable with. Some just like to be in their little corner and push the frontier in that way, and that’s a form of leadership as well. If they are


the ones that are finding these new paths, of course they are leaders as well. Now in my case, I took on a responsibility as an associate dean at some point in the College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. That is probably the closest I have come in having the opportunity to make some changes along the lines that I have been preaching. I am a very critical person, and I think given our resources, if we are not doing the best we can, we should be adjusting what we do.



Take Iniative Birgül Arslan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

Scholarly work is hard as it is, and following creative ideas is leadership in itself. In addition, taking initiatives in academia is very important for the department or university. For instance, I have taken the lead to start and build my department’s Ph.D. program. I believe that it will contribute to our department’s academic output and I am glad to have invested my time in the initiative.



What’s Just Right Robert Hoskisson, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Management Rice University

My first job as a professor was at Texas A&M University; I subsequently was a chaired professor at both the University of Oklahoma and Arizona State University before arriving at Rice University. I found over time that I was successful at research and publishing as well as teaching. But to be successful as a professor, you must get your ideas published by your peers. To get published at top peer-reviewed academic journals, the reviewers have to feel that your work is interesting. What is most interesting to your peers is usually to challenge the established thinking in some way. This is where the Goldilocks story with the three bears is an appropriate metaphor. In the Goldilocks story, she determines that one of the items she tries is always too much in one extreme (too hot or too large), one is too much in the opposite extreme (too cold or too small), and one is “just right.” Although


in publishing, what’s different is interesting and it is the creative idea that sparks reviewer interest. It can’t be too different; that is, if you deny all of the previous work and the assumption ground, then what you present to reviewers becomes absurd. But if you don’t add anything new, then there is no advance. When you challenge the literature, you have to build on what has been said before at the same time you’re challenging a piece of it. It’s got to be just right. So, although this may sound simple, it is often a wonderful challenge to get your theoretical perspectives and associated research accepted by highly critical reviewers. I enjoy the challenge in getting my work published and in mentoring doctoral students in the research process.



Finding My Role Barış Tan, Ph.D.

Professor of Operations Management and Industrial Engineering and the Vice President for Academic Affairs Koç University

In 2000, I went to Harvard for sabbatical. At Harvard, there was a meeting room where we were having tea every afternoon. On the wall there were photographs of previous deans who served for long periods of time - ten, twenty years. Under the photographs, there was only a short sentence describing what they accomplished during their tenure. It’s like, “He started the Ph.D. program,” or “He established a particular center.” So it is possible to summarize your accomplishments in a very short sentence, and it can be very important for the institution. You should focus on a couple of things which are important and make significant contributions. If you try to do many things at once, at the end it may not be substantive.



Leadership Potential Duane Windsor, Ph.D.

Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Management Rice University

I think intellect, determination, persistence, hard effort, and demeanor are important for leadership in business. There’s a lot of politeness and diplomacy among managers, at least in public, that is absent from academia. They may or may not treat employees that way, but there's certainly a kind of political finesse and smoothness, and by the time someone becomes a more senior business manager, they’re pretty successful and effective people. Those characteristics are fairly key to success. On the other hand, you have to distinguish business managers from entrepreneurs and innovators. If you go see the new movie about Steve Jobs, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to come across as smooth, having political finesse; so entrepreneurs like Gates or Jobs are a different kind of personality type. The M.B.A. students who come in here in general want to have successful careers. They want to make money. They want to do things. M.B.A. students should have a


general set of qualities and also something that is more mysterious, like leadership talent or leadership potential where leadership has to deal with influencing other people. Experience is not quite the same thing as leadership potential.



Team Player Stephen Zeff, Ph.D.

Professor of Accounting Keith Anderson Professorship in Business Rice University

There are many valuable qualities needed to succeed in the business world. Being able to find creative solutions and not to want to take credit for everything, but rather spread the credit so everybody feels that they’re contributing and working with other people in an organization where everybody is trying to produce are qualities that are very important in any organization. There’s the self-discipline you have to impose on yourself to be effective. On the other hand, in academia you can be a sole resource. You can do research by yourself; you can teach by yourself. You come together from time to time with your colleagues, but you tend to be a unit unto yourself and so you’re freer to do what you like when you like and how you like.



Be Like Josh Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

Leadership is a very fuzzy concept to me. I attended a leadership conference a few years ago, and we spent hours trying to just define leadership. To be honest, I’m still not sure how to define it. I’m not an expert on leadership by any means, but personally, I think it would be worthwhile to spend more time studying followership. What does it take to be a good follower? You can’t make everybody become a leader, because there can only be so many. But we should appreciate not just great leadership, but also great followership. There’s a quote from The West Wing I love, when President Bartlett says to Josh, his deputy chief of staff: “You know what the difference is between you and me? I want to be the guy. You want to be the guy the guy counts on.” I think we need more people like Josh in the world.




REFLECTIONS ON: CHOOSING ACADEMIA The decision to pursue academia, while a turning point for all professors, is not one that can be reduced to a broad generalization. To some professors who grew up in an academic household, the decision was often influenced by familial expectations, a general environment where academic excellence was valued and prioritized. To others, it was an option that provided a conditional freedom that a career in industry could not offer. Still others, especially professors from Koç University, discussed the influence of a particular political environment on their journey to academia. Yet, regardless of background, all shared a fierce curiosity - a desire to pose and answer questions in order to uncover some small piece of truth. Our interviews revealed the immense, if quiet, pride academics have in their work and the path they have taken to academia. In the words of Dr. Anastasiya Zavyalova, “I grew up in a very small rural town in Kazakhstan. When I go back, I don’t stop being surprised at the distance I’ve come from there to here.” - Emily Rao, Editor




Haiyang Li, Ph.D. Doing What You Love, Fearlessly


Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D. Distance Traversed


Stephen Zeff, Ph.D. Dynamism of Teaching


Richard Batsell, Ph.D. Generous Mentorship


Hajo Adam, Ph.D. A Pragmatic Decision


Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D. An Act Not Entirely Planned


Sumru Altuğ, Ph.D. Affecting Society


Robert Hoskisson, Ph.D. Higher Education: One Step After Another


Eric Floyd, Ph.D. Friday Nights


Utpal Dholakai, Ph.D. The Pros and Cons of Choice


Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D. The Impact of a Politically Charged Childhood Environment

27. Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. The Empowerment of Academic Achievement



Duane Windsor, Ph.D. A Self-Reflecting Journey


Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. A Process of Self-Discovery


Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D. The Appeal of an Academic Life


İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D. Families Always Have to Understand


İdil Yaveroğlu, Ph.D. Living Up to Familial Standards


Yael Hochberg, Ph.D. The Ubiquitous Doctorate



Doing What You Love, Fearlessly Haiyang Li, Ph.D. Professor of Management Rice University

When I was little, my parents cared for me but they let me do whatever I wanted, and they encouraged me to perform and to achieve excellence in school. They didn't give me a specific direction, saying where I should go, or whether or not I should be in academia. It was more like a kind of intrinsic interest. When I was in college, I realized that it was important for me to pursue something related to academics. I liked writing, and I liked to publish. So when I was in college, I tried to publish articles. It was rewarding. Over time, I became more interested and committed to it. My parents let me do whatever. I pursued my own career. And, eventually, I didn't even consult their opinion. I just started to do something I liked.



Distance Traversed Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Rice University

My closest family member is my mom. She made it very salient to me and my sisters that education would be an important path. She was good about checking our homework, making sure we made good grades, constantly being there on top of things and checking the quality of our work. After some time, it became a habit to do good work. Because I was the oldest sister of three, I felt some responsibility, so gradually I’ve been able to adhere to those expectations. I grew up in a very small rural town in Kazakhstan. Whenever I go back, I don’t stop being surprised at the distance I've come from there to here. When I reflect on my path, I realize that it’s unbelievable, so I don’t think I’ve even adhered to the expectations - I never even expected these things would happen to me.



Dynamism of Teaching Stephen Zeff, Ph.D.

Professor of Accounting Keith Anderson Professorship in Business Rice University

In my family, there never was an academic. I was the first, and there was nothing about people becoming professors in universities. I went to the University of Colorado and began taking courses. One of the first courses I took happened to be in accounting, and I liked it. I liked it enough that I decided to major in the field. Near the end of my four years, the professor from whom I’d taken the most work, and whom I'd gotten to know fairly well, approached me because he knew I was looking for a master's degree in the field before becoming a practicing C.P.A. He said, “Why don’t you stay here at Colorado? We need someone to teach the beginning courses in accounting, and you could earn all the money you need in order to pay for the master's program." I thought it was an interesting idea and a good way to test out if I would like to be a teacher. As an


undergraduate, I was on the school newspaper for all four years, eventually becoming managing editor. By the end, I realized that I liked explaining things to people, reporting things to people, expressing opinions, communicating, and I wondered if that might suggest that I might like teaching. And I did. I liked teaching. I taught four classes three times per week with about thirty-five students in each one, and as far as I was concerned, each one was different, because each class had different students even though the subject was exactly the same. And as a result of teaching for four semesters, I discovered that I loved teaching and enjoyed research enough that an academic career made a lot of sense. So it was simply through that experience that I acquired the self-insight that an academic career was something that I would like to do.



Generous Mentorship Richard Batsell, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management Associate Professor of Psychology Rice University

I had a great undergraduate experience. In my sophomore year, I had an unbelievably good statistics instructor. He was just so clear, logical, and precise. I said to myself, “Boy, if I could ever get to do that, I would love it.” But I didn’t know if I would get through my undergraduate courses well enough to be able to aspire to a Ph.D. In that statistics course, I saw what he was doing and for me - there was an "ah-ha" moment - and I thought, if I could be responsible for other students having that same experience that would be such a rewarding way to spend my life. In addition, there was also a physics professor at the University of Texas at Austin that I will never forget. Actually, he was the father of a girl I was dating at the time. I had a conversation with him where I was sincerely questioning whether I could manage a


Ph.D., and he looked at me and said, “Oh no, you’ll do fine.” That was a kind of a reassurance and boost in confidence. I’ll never forget the fact that he said that. At my first job, I was writing a financial accounting system, and that was really boring. After a couple of years of that, we had a customer come in who wanted data analyzed, and I volunteered to do that because it sounded like fun - well, at least more fun than writing financial accounting packages. That went well, and they came back for more, and then other companies heard about what we did and started asking us to do their stuff. Soon, I got bored analyzing other people's data and decided to see if I could get a Ph.D. and analyze my own data. I got accepted into the Ph.D. program and loved it. This is just a wonderful life. I love the teaching, I love the research, and I enjoy doing some consulting, so it's like I couldn't have chosen anything better. I am not sure academia will continue to be so idyllic, but I feel like my life has been very rewarding, and I think Rice has been an unbelievably great place to be.



A Pragmatic Decision Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

I grew up in Germany and was raised by my Korean mother. Contrary to the stereotype of Asian moms, she was not very strict and didn't impose requirements or standards. I never really had any strong interests; I just hung out with my friends and played video games and watched movies. I studied, but it wasn’t a big part of my life. I spent one year as a high school exchange student in Virginia, and I did my undergrad at a private university in the south of Germany. I studied abroad and spent one semester in Florida, another in London, and I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I chose business as an undergrad, probably because I was pragmatic. I was passionate about video games and movies, but I didn’t think I’d be able to make money off of that, so I thought, "Business is probably something safe and sensible." As I studied business,


accounting came naturally to me. It just made sense to me, and I thought during the first couple of years, "That’s what I wanted to do." But then I took a class in organizational behavior, and for the first time I was genuinely interested in a topic I was studying. I paused and started contemplating a career as a professor of organizational behavior. The more I learned about it, the more this option appealed to me. After I graduated, I completed my civilian service, which is a mandatory service that the German government required at the time of all males who turn eighteen, and I worked for a bit at Citibank. But at the same time, I started to study for the GMAT, took the GMAT, and I sent some applications to a bunch of business schools for a Ph.D. in organizational behavior.



An Act Not Entirely Planned Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Operations Management & Information Systems Koç University

I come from a family where pretty much all my cousins have undergraduate degrees, more than half have graduate degrees, and quite a few of them have Ph.D.s. We have four professors. So the family environment was implicit of higher education, but I don’t think it was an exercise of trying to comply with the expectations. During my undergraduate career, I realized I wanted to do my master’s degree to widen my horizons. I was curious. I wanted to learn more. I really like discovering new things and learning. I was thinking I would probably work in the industry, because I am interested in seeing the immediate impact of my work. I like to create value with what I do. It turns out, the professor I was working with, my advisor, was happy with my work and suggested I stay for my Ph.D. So I did. It wasn’t an entirely planned act, but I was happy having chosen that road.



Affecting Society Sumru AltuÄ&#x;, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Koç University

I come from a highly educated family in Turkey who were instrumental in consolidating the Turkish Republic, so my family is full of doctors, engineers, people who worked in the government, and people who worked in even ministerial jobs. The notion that you should be educated was ingrained in us from an early age. On the other hand, there is this notion that women should get married even though they are from highly educated, very influential backgrounds, so there was that aspect, too. I got married at a very early age, but the other part of my upbringing weighed in more heavily, and I continued with my educational activities after my marriage ended. The notion of academic excellence is present in my family, and I displayed it from a very early age. Even from elementary school, I was


a straight A student. When I entered university, I could have easily gone into engineering because I have enough technical skills to be an engineer. But I also wanted something that was a bit social, and I remember thinking like this: I want to help society move forward. I want to affect society in an important dimension.



Higher Education: One Step After Another Robert Hoskisson, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Management Rice University

I come from a family with four siblings where I was the second child. My mom was a registered nurse, so she had some formal training. My dad was only a high school graduate. So there were not a lot of expectations in regard to my education; it was my choice whether I wanted to go college or not. Higher education was important to me, and I just kept going, one step after another. I didn’t start out saying I wanted to be a professor. In fact, my undergraduate work was in youth leadership, more like outdoor recreation and education. Camping, hunting, and fishing had been a large part of our family life, having grown up in the west. As part of my undergraduate work, I did six thirty-day wilderness experiences, leading students through real wilderness experiences similar to Outward Bound courses. So, I was really training to be an outdoors education specialist, but I had a minor in sociology and Italian. After my


undergraduate work, I continued receiving a master’s degree in organization behavior and a Ph.D. in strategic management. Between my master's degree and Ph.D., I worked for three years in a consulting position. A turning point for me was realizing in my consulting work that I was more interested in researching ideas and writing than in the application of the ideas, which led me to getting a Ph.D.



Friday Nights Eric Floyd, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Accounting Rice University

Growing up, there was a lot of pressure from my father to be academically successful. He always wanted me to do my best, but he insisted that my best was an A. So really, he was saying, “You better get an A.” My dad’s life circumstances were very interesting, and he wanted a life for me that didn’t have the same difficulties that his had. In his world, that meant making sure I did academically well; that’s what pushed me. Most of my time in high school was spent studying - including Friday nights.



The Pros and Cons of Choice Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor Marketing Rice University

I come from a very traditional Indian family. My parents value education a lot. From the very beginning, my family emphasized studies and always told me, “Focus on studies.” I’m sure you’re familiar with the cultural stereotype that the typical Asian parents have a very strong influence on you. So that fits me very well. You could call it a "tiger mom." I spent a lot of time studying; that was pretty much my focus throughout all my school years, up until some of the college years as well. I stuck to the path my parents expected and wanted. There are some pros and cons to that, of course. The pros are you don’t have to make a choice. Students often have difficulties, when they get to make the choice themselves but the choices are awfully overwhelming; you have so many different paths you could follow. For someone in my situation, it’s exactly the opposite. I didn’t have to make any


choice about where I’d go to college. So it’s almost like you’re forced to go down a certain path. Horrible as that sounds, it is a positive. The cons to that are you often end up in a situation where, for example, I have an undergraduate degree in engineering. I went through the whole program, got a degree, and did very well in all of my classes. After that, I worked as an engineer for a year and realized that I didn’t like it at all. There was no way I was going to be an engineer. That’s a con. After a year and a half of working as an engineer, I said, “Okay, maybe I want to try something different.” And it just so happened that I landed in graduate school. I worked with a professor to do marketing consulting, and that’s how I became interested.



The Impact of a Politically Charged Childhood Environment Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Relations Koç University

The political environment in Turkey had a major influence on my pursuit of a career as a political scientist. Growing up during the 1990s, Turkey was always an unstable country with coalition governments made and broken. In addition, the ongoing terrorism within Turkey’s borders and the First Gulf War were contributing to my curiosity about political matters. Politics was part of our everyday life. Whenever someone visited our house, the topics of conversation would be about politics. I would engage in deep debates with people about the social and political problems in Turkey, in the Middle East, and the world in general. For an average teenager, I was very much engaged in politics. Learning and knowing political issues were signs of intellectual ability for me. It was just fascinating to me. I always had this dream as a child, back in those days where you have those pink dreams that you can fix the world if you had the


tools. That was how I felt back then. I loved school, and I loved research, so I thought, “Why don't I choose a career path along these lines?� Those were the external circumstances that pushed me to pursue a career in political science, and I thought that if I went to the U.S. to get a Ph.D., I would find solutions to the problems we face every day. Until this day, I don't know if I have found a solution, but I think if I keep working persistently, I will get closer. I knew I wanted to be an academic when I was fourteen years old. I know the exact age because I was in middle school, and I was debating politics with pretty much every guest who came to our house. The first thing that pushed me to pursue a career in academia was my family environment. I am the oldest child in the family and have a younger brother. My parents, even though they are from the Black Sea region of Turkey, the kind of region that values boys more than girls, didn't follow that. Instead, they believed in seniority. They always told my brother to listen and obey me because I was the eldest in the family. I think this upbringing had a great impact on my personality. I was the responsible elder sister for my younger brother. It didn't matter that I was a girl and he was a boy. They were not glorifying him in that


sense. I grew up with this idea that I could fix the world because I grew up feeling very valued in whatever I wanted to do. My parents did not attend higher education, but they always believed in the virtues of education and motivated me to continue my education as long as I wanted to. My dad has always been very supportive. He told me, “You can go wherever in the world you want to pursue your dreams.�



The Empowerment of Academic Achievement Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

I was very lucky when I was growing up. I have an older and younger brother, but there were never any differences between the boys and the girls. I was a very good student, and I was always treated specially because of the fact that I was a very good student. So I never felt inferior or felt that I didn't have the same opportunities as boys. I was raised being treated equally. I also had very good female role models. There were a few female professors who were really influential to me.



A Self-Reflecting Journey Duane Windsor, Ph.D.

Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Management Rice University

As an undergraduate, I don’t think I made an early decision as to what I was going to do. I was in social sciences, and it was not strictly clear to me until early in my senior year whether I wanted to go to law school or to graduate school. By the middle of the fall of my senior year, I had pretty much made a decision that I would not go to law school but that I would go to graduate school. I whittled it down to a further choice between something like public service with a master’s degree or pursuit of a doctorate. Ultimately, I decided that I would prefer to do a Ph.D. So I made a kind of halfway selection to get an academic Ph.D., but it wasn’t strictly a decision that I wanted to engage in a research career as distinct from public service. My Ph.D. is called Political Economy and Government, housed administratively in the Kennedy School of Government, and so that program tends to be oriented


toward public service, and in some sense it was a matter of serendipity that I became an academic rather than going into government. A series of opportunities opened up, and I went that way. My choice to pursue a Ph.D. therefore was not what you’d call a carefully calculated decision. I had made a calculated decision that I did not want to go to law school, and so I was still sort of weighing master’s versus doctoral programs, and in some sense I may have picked the halfway choice, which was a doctoral program in the Kennedy School. So it was sort of halfway rather than making a specific, concrete decision, and I only came to formal research scholarship interest later in my career. I would describe my choices as more of a partially self-reflecting journey. This is not like being pre-med, where you arrive knowing you want to be a doctor.



A Process of Self-Discovery Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Professor of Management Rice University

My parents always set high expectations in terms of what I would do. They never pushed me into being an academic; that was something I discovered on my own. So this was very much a process of self-discovery for me. But certainly the idea of the importance of hard work, which is extremely valuable in academics, was something I got from my early childhood.



The Appeal of an Academic Life Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

In the ‘60s, upper-middle class Turkish families, including mine, expected their boys to be engineers, doctors, or lawyers. My family made most of the selections of my schools. Accordingly, I went to Robert College, to engineering school, received a B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering, and continued my education to receive a M.B.A. in industrial administration. In short, I did what was expected from me and did not stray from the charted route. My family did not explicitly tell me or force me to be an engineer, but I could feel what their expectations were. Going for M.B.A. was my own choice. I realized that Turkey needed to be more industrialized in the future and wanted an education in industrial administration. This decision proved to be quite useful at the early years of my career. Peter Drucker said, “ If you don't plan the


second half of your life in the first half, you will be too late.” In my mid-career I started to think about what I would like to do after I retired from management. Sharing my knowledge and experiences with the younger generations seemed an attractive idea. That was the first time I seriously thought about being an educator. I already had some experience teaching engineering drawing to undergraduates during summer in engineering school, and artillery technique to junior officers during my military service. I liked lecturing on various business and engineering subjects to young engineers in the companies, and later on, to young recruits who joined the group, Koç Holding. I realized that I liked to share my knowledge with people. When I retired from executive work in March 2002, I started teaching in Koç University.



Families Always Have to Understand İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Koç University

I was expected to continue in the family business, which I didn't. I got trained as an industrial engineer so I could one day become a manager. However, following the path my parents wanted me on, I got acquainted with research and academia and decided that was my path. So, I strayed away from what my family was hoping. It was tough. But they understood ultimately. I guess families always have to understand in the end, and it was all settled in a positive way.



Living Up to Familial Standards İdil Yaveroğlu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

I come from a family with an academic background. My father was a professor of organic chemistry at Middle East Technical University, and he also took on a lot of administrative roles at METU. He was the vice president, dean for several years, and worked at the Council of Higher Education for a number of years as well. So was my father a great influence? I would say yes. My dad always set the bar high, and I usually tried to live up to his standards. I ended up following his footsteps; although I ended up in a completely different area, I ended up in academia like him.



The Ubiquitous Doctorate Yael Hochberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship Ralph S. O’Connor Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship Rice University

My father is a math professor, and my mother is an English literature professor. So from my perspective, my assumption in life was that education continued until you finished your Ph.D., and that was what everybody did. My father’s brother also holds a Ph.D. in math, and my mother’s father also had a Ph.D. in English literature. Two of my mother’s brothers are medical doctors. Basically everyone has the title doctor. So my assumption was that everyone in the family winds up with the word doctor in front of their name. All three of my siblings have either Ph.D.s or M.D.s. Whether or not it was expected of us, we all certainly followed in our family’s footsteps.



REFLECTIONS ON: CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY, & RESEARCH Faculty at both Rice and Koç University expressed choosing research topics as one of the most important parts of an academic’s career. According to many, conducting research requires creativity, curiosity, freedom, and passion. New and creative ideas are crucial, because without them, one would not have a flourishing career. Professor Birgül Arslan of Koç University highlights the importance of creativity in research in an especially apt way: "Every paper is one creative idea... The research idea creation process rests on analyzing existing work, criticizing it, and trying to think outside the box." To be creative, academics first have to be curious about a question or problem and seek out answers or solutions. The more curious a person is, the more creative their research can be. Professor Scott Sonenshein of Rice University said: “Curiosity. That’s the reason I got into the academic world. There are just questions that I find interesting to answer.” An academic environment fosters creativity and curiosity when it provides the freedom to pursue whatever research interests the faculty most. This appears to be especially relevant after tenure, when


the faculty are free of constraints and the pressure to, as some say, publish or perish. This freedom allows professors to cultivate their passions and research identities in any way they see fit. This is the case for Professor İnsan Tunalı of Koç University. He values his freedom and says, “I have always been lucky. There were no constraints on what questions I could work on.” This section provides a glimpse into the academic world and the pursuit of research at both Rice University and Koç University. - Thresa Skeslien-Jenkins, Editor



Sharad Borle, Ph.D. Research is Doing Something New


James Weston, Ph.D. Creativity is Undervalued


Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. The Lightbulb Comes On


Birgül Arslan, Ph.D. Think Outside of the Box


İdil Yaveroğlu, Ph.D. Learning to be Curious and Creative


Vikas Mittal, Ph.D. There’s Always More to Discover


Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D. People are Just Born that Way

41. 42.

Sumru Altuğ, Ph.D. Curious, Unbiased, Ambitious


Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D. Curiosity is Intrinsic


Gustavo Grullon, Ph.D. Changing Thinking in Schools


Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D. New, New, New


Haiyang Li, Ph.D. Criticisms are Just Challenges

Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. An Entrepreneur of Ideas



襤nsan Tunal覺, Ph.D. Intellect Comes with Curiosity


Deniz Aksen, Ph.D. More than Just Business Research


Amit Pazgal, Ph.D. Freedom to Research Whatever You Want


襤nsan Tunal覺, Ph.D. Free Exchange of Ideas


Hajo Adam, Ph.D. Once You Have Tenure, You Have Freedom


Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. Academic Environment


Richard Batsell, Ph.D. Breakthroughs at the Strangest Times


Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D. Passion and Identity in Academia


Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Where Ideas Intersect



Research is Doing Something New Sharad Borle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Rice University

Creativity in work is absolutely important, because when you are creating something new, you require creativity. Research is doing something new. And doing something new either could be incremental additions to whatever body of knowledge you have, or it could be some earth-shattering stuff, but everything requires creativity. Good research I think is also, especially in the field of business, something that begins with the substantive problem, and then tries to delve up some kind of research about that.



Creativity is Undervalued James Weston, Ph.D. Professor of Finance Rice University

Creativity is key, because every research paper that you publish in an academic journal has to be innovative or new. It has to be something no one has thought of or has shown before. If anything, creativity is undervalued. Most people are cranking out bland and boring research. We need more creativity. The people that have really new ideas are the ones that rise to the top. There is usually some big thinker who throws a grenade and blows up preconceived notions and causes all the other researchers to come in and start mopping up and fixing some of the inconsistencies, tweaking the new theory to make it even stronger.



The Lightbulb Comes On Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

In academia, perseverance is key. You have to continue and be consistent. For example, even when a project does not work and the results come to be the complete opposite of what you expected, you still have to continue. You have to continue to learn and modify and not to give up. In academia, that is critical. Creativity is also very important, especially in selecting research topics. It influences who is interested in your research. Creativity is also important when you face an obstacle and you cannot move on. Sometimes you need time. But at some point, the light bulb comes. You need to be patient, and you need to keep thinking about it.



Think Outside the Box BirgĂźl Arslan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

Every paper is one creative idea. Once you realize that, it really forces you to try to think out of the box. The research idea creation process rests on analyzing existing work, criticizing it, and trying to think outside the box. What if I take this perspective, or what if I take another perspective? That process actually creates an idea and subsequently the paper, the academic manuscript. Creativity is a pretty important part of academic and scholarly work.



Learning to be Curious and Creative İdil Yaveroğlu, Ph.D. Instructor of Marketing Koç University

I think intellectual curiosity can be fostered. I think that’s based on the education system. I see it in my son. He spent the first year of his school life, as well as his preschool years, in the U.S. The way they were approaching learning at his school was inquisitive, always questioning, “Why do you think that happened?”, “What should we do now?”, “What do you think?” Breeding a lot of creativity and not having a set answer to things is moreso part of the American system than the Turkish system. Here, we learn things in set ways, and we have to memorize that. When you do that, you’re not questioning anymore, and you can’t change things unless you are questioning and understanding why something is happening. Progress comes through being curious. And as educators, you can certainly do things to feed curiosity.


Across the globe, we have to make sure that we educate children who are curious, eager to learn, and question the status quo. Inquisitive youth is the key for future generations. If the world could solve the education problem, then the world would be a better place for the upcoming generations. Academia should play a very key role in society because you have institutions where the smartest, brightest minds are working together. They're great resources. Universities are a great research source that you can look at for future projects, as far as societal influence or anything else.



There’s Always More to Discover Vikas Mittal, Ph.D.

J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing Rice University

What keeps me motivated to do my research? First, intellectual curiosity. Just when you think that all of the questions have been answered, there’s nothing left, you say - now, because we know this, there are three other things we could potentially look at, right? Second, you get a lot of inspiration. When you read the journals in your field, it sparks a lot of ideas. You might read somebody’s paper and then read your own paper and say, “Wow if you put these two together, there’s a new research question.” In that sense, every time you think knowledge has a limit, you realize that it doesn’t. There’s always more to discover; there’s always more to learn. Third, this is my job. It is a common misnomer - many people think that professors should teach a lot. A different way to think is that a big part of the university’s contribution to society is creating knowledge (and not just dissemination of knowledge through


teaching). The dissemination of knowledge that happens in a classroom is the visible part of my job. People get to see it, and students experience it. For Rice, knowledge creation is a huge part of our mission. How do you create knowledge that is new? How do you create knowledge that is useful and insightful? That mission inspires research.



People are Just Born that Way Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Relations Koç University

Intellectual curiosity is in someone’s genes. Some people are just born that way. They are just curious about the world around us. But some people aren't. When I witnessed this as a professor, I initially wondered why these students didn’t care, but I later realized that not everybody has to care about politics. Sometimes, the teachers we have, the schools that we attend, the social environment that we live and grow up in influence our curiosity, and we continue building on that. Intellectual curiosity is really fostered within the academia by each other; it’s an accumulation of knowledge and communication. In classrooms, it’s the professors’ job to really show the student what the benefit of the discipline they are studying. It’s really important for a professor to do this early on and build on the students’ expectations and guide the students to an area where they can evoke some curiosity.



Curious, Unbiased, Ambitious Sumru AltuÄ&#x;, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Koç University

I find Turkish society to be very judgmental: they judge everything good or bad. They even judge an animal, let alone a person - what you wear, whether you gained weight or not, and so on. There is too much intrapersonal comparison. I do not like it. Lots of things are not to be judged, they just exist. I think this judgmental approach shuts down intellectual curiosity. To have intellectual curiosity, you have to have an instinct for new ideas, and for that you must be unbiased. Do not identify yourself with anything - a party, a person, a specific line of thought, etc. Most of it is wrong just try to build on existing knowledge in an unbiased way. Then you are able to come up with lots of different things, and you will feel a lot happier. People should be open and ambitious in a way not to surpass somebody else but surpass themselves. They should try to understand


their own talents and work to surpass them. They will be extremely successful if they do that.



An Entrepreneur of Ideas Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Professor of Management Rice University

Collecting data is very different than analyzing data, which is very different than writing up data, which is very different than teaching. The freedom is very important, too. I consider myself to be an entrepreneur of ideas. Part of it is the development of ideas, which I find really fun, and that is all driven by curiosity. Part of it is the dissemination of ideas, which is also really fun but uses a very different type of skill set. That requires being able to communicate these ideas, whether it be through writing or through teaching. What motivates me? Curiosity. That’s the reason I got into this academic world. There are just questions that I find interesting to answer. I like the tools that I use to answer those questions. Every time you answer a question, you end up asking several more questions,


so it’s a foundation of a ‘never-ending’ career. I like to address research questions that I’m personally curious about. I don’t like to take projects that I’m not intrinsically interested in. I think it’s just such a waste of privilege in this position to go after research questions that you do not care about or are not passionate about. So for me, it’s all about finding questions that interest me.



Curiosity is Intrinsic Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

I think intellectual curiosity is something intrinsic. That’s why if you are genuinely interested in finding out new things, then academia is a good place to be. If you don’t have that intrinsic desire, you won’t end up in this environment anyway. I think there’s a simple selection bias in the sense that people that are working at the university probably have an intrinsic desire to learn. There’s a slogan at the University of Leuven: “Discover yourself. Start with the world.” I think it’s a nice one, because it’s the reverse of what you typically say. Start with looking into the world and try to understand it, and you’ll learn something about yourself eventually. And that goes with the intrinsic aspect. If a university wants to really stimulate curiosity, and accommodate academics’ intrinsic desire to learn, they should provide the time for exploration.



Changing Thinking in Schools Gustavo Grullon, Ph.D. Jesse H. Jones Professor of Finance Rice University

There are two potential sources of curiosity for doing research. One comes from facing new problems. There is a problem out there, and you want to fix it, but first you have to come up with a good solution. The other source comes from looking at what is going on around us and trying to figure out what could explain those things. One question is: Why? Why are we seeing this? It may not be a problem directly affecting us, but we would like to know the answer. Not only that, we would like to know the implications of these new observations on society. Those are the main drivers of intellectual curiosity. I think you can foster curiosity in others. I have two kids, and I try to do that with them. I show them that you have to think outside of the box. Some people may have better ability to develop


these skills, but I think it is something that can be developed over time. I think it’s a problem in higher education, because sometimes we focus on teaching material without motivating people to think about what is going on. When you look at middle schools and high schools, the problem is that students are focusing more on memorizing the material than on developing the skills on how to solve problems and on how to think outside the box. This is problematic. It may be changing over time, but I think this is something that we need to be careful about because, if we don’t teach people how to think, we are going to get in trouble because computers are going to do it for us.



New, New, New Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Operations Management & Information Systems Koç University

What is so different about the 21st century is the speed at which we create new ideas, new professions, and new expectations about what graduates are supposed to be able to do. That speed has just gone through the roof, and it is accelerating. That means academia should not just be about learning facts. It should be about establishing a framework in the mind of the student and enabling that person to go out and learn more as needed. And also, inspiring them to keep updating themselves. Otherwise, they are going to be out of the game. Keeping the faculty up to date is important as well. It is similar to the research side - making sure that research topics are keeping up with the change in society and the economy, the types of things that people are worrying about.



Criticisms are Just Challenges Haiyang Li, Ph.D. Professor of Management Rice University

In academia, I won’t consider it a criticism; it’s always kind of a challenge. People always have a different view, different perspective. To deal with this kind of thing, you have to be professional. The way we are doing research uses evidence and convincing arguments to try and convince the audience or the readers. So, every time I submit a new paper to a journal, I always get a lot of criticism from the reviewers. I think in most cases, the reviewers are very constructive and very professional, and very insightful as well. Indeed, they are trying to help me to think deeper about what I am examining. Sometimes, you may think what you are doing is perfect, but you send it to other people and they say, "oh no." There’s nothing perfect. You always have some kind of holes you need to fill. I guess the issue is that, to be an academic, you have to be very open, try to think from different perspectives,


and I think that is very important. I’m not trying to compromise. I never think that they are criticisms; they are just challenges, constructive comments, and suggestions.



Intellect Comes with Curiosity İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Koç University

What generates intellectual curiosity is what you see. I think it has to start with early childhood. There is a lot of evidence coming from the economics literature that this is the best time to intervene in a child’s development. Intellectual curiosity strikes one as a big word, but it’s the curiosity part that matters. Once it’s there, intellectual part will come and do the rest. Curiosity is a great motivator. When you pursue a Ph.D., the way you look at the world changes. You keep finding questions begging for answers. But this could be a silly question like, why do we always see the same side of the moon? Clearly, other people asked this question and found answers, but I remember spending long time with my friends in my Ph.D. program answering questions like this. There is no end to questions. They are all over the place, and the hard thing is how to prioritize, how


to set an agenda. My agenda has changed over time. I have tried to maintain a certain discipline in what I do. I like to pay attention to problems that involve methodological concerns.



More than Just Business Research Deniz Aksen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Koç University

I don’t like to call myself an academic, and I don’t like the title academician. Instead, I prefer the much longer version, university teacher and researcher, because my profession has absolutely two elements. These are teaching and researching. You cannot be a university teacher and researcher unless you teach and unless you research. I admit that my research and teaching are completely disjoint. Their overlapping is as good as zero, and the intersection set is probably empty. Although I am a professor at the management school of the university, and although my research areas go more in the direction of industrial engineering, none of my previous deans or my current dean has ever asked me, “Why don’t you do more business-related or management-related research?” I benefit from this a lot, because this way, I can develop myself both


in the direction of my research and teaching areas. Research-wise, I’m working in the area of logistics: transportation, facility location, hub location problems, and distribution and collection logistics. I look into the mathematical models of these problems formulated as an optimization problem, and I try to solve this class of problems using exact solution methods. I like the challenge of hard-to-solve optimization problems. Most of these problems are deterministic problems, which means that there is a solution. There’s absolutely an optimal solution, maybe not a unique one, but there’s an optimal solution. However, it is very hard to figure out that solution. I like the challenge of pursuing the best solution and trying to come up with the so-called ‘best heuristic’ feasible solution, which is as close as possible to the actual optimal solution of the problem.



Freedom to Research Whatever You Want Amit Pazgal, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing Rice University

There is freedom in academia. I can work on whatever I want. I can research topics that are interesting to me. When I graduated, I had offers from consulting firms offering more money than I could hope for. But to me, the most important thing was that they tell you what you’re going to do. In academia, once you get tenure, you can research whatever you want. From the beginning, people told me I’m making a mistake by choosing eclectic topics, I’m making a mistake by not becoming the world leading expert in some tiny area no one else knows anything about. But that was a conscious choice on my part; I love variety. I actually co-founded a start up as a young assistant professor. I did it because I wanted to experiment. I thought it might change the world. It didn’t make me a millionaire, but I’ve learnt a lot. I think especially in business, it’s hard to be a professor if you haven’t


actually worked. I can talk about marketing in front of people, but if I’ve never marketed anything in my life, it’s going to be hard for me to convince them of my expertise. Business is an applied field, so if I’m going to teach someone how to do it, I’d better know how to do it in practice not just in theory. We are measured by our impact on the academic field. But impact on the field isn’t just influence on other academics and citations of your paper, it’s also influence on the real business world. From the moment you get to academia, you’re taught from day one to become the world's leading expert in one area because then people will look for your name, people will associate you with a certain phenomenon.



Free Exchange of Ideas İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Koç University

We are not happy with where we are. We want to go somewhere. And the question is: where is that somewhere, and how do we get there? I think that it’s imperative that these questions be pursued in an environment where democracy prevails. When leaders start thinking that they have all the answers and stop consulting with the people who are closer to the ground where changes are taking place, that doesn’t overwhelm. My sense is that our main challenge is creating a platform where this freedom for the exchange of ideas can take place freely and so decisionmaking can take a democratic form. Sometimes leaders have to make tough choices, and we have to respect them, but there has to be transparency in the decisionmaking. There have to be valid reasons for choosing certain paths, and there should always be room for criticism.


I have always been lucky. There were no constraints on what questions I could work on. Actually, it’s not always the case that you have a research program and you stick to it. Sometimes opportunities come about - you meet new people or circumstances change. I have never felt constrained. I have been lucky to be in a place where the constraints were not present. But of course there are times when such constraints were present in Turkey. If it weren’t for the coup in 1980, I would have returned to Middle East Technical University as a faculty member. I couldn’t; my older colleagues told me that the environment was not conducive to pursuit of a free research agenda. It’s not that I would have been doing something that would be deemed dangerous, but just the atmosphere being repressive certainly influences people’s ability to engage in research. I hope we won’t see a period like that again.



Once You Have Tenure, You Have Freedom Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

In theory, I have complete freedom to research what I want. However, I’m on the tenure track. When I submit my tenure package, it’s important to have a reasonably coherent research identity. If, for example, I wanted to explore something on motivation, I could do that. However, it would be completely unrelated to anything else I’m doing; it’s probably not a wise pursuit of my time at this point in my career. The reality is, as long as you’re on the tenure track, you need to stick with what you’ve started, so whatever you started doing in your dissertation or in the first few years of your career, you need to see those interests through and have a research stream that hangs together, that establishes your identity until you come up for tenure. Once you have tenure, you really have the freedom to do anything you want research-wise. You can explore things unrelated to what you do, as well as big questions that take five,


ten, or fifteen years to answer. You can’t really do that as an assistant professor; you need to focus on things that you can write a paper about in a year or two to keep your research and your publications going. Also, once you get tenure, what normally happens is that you do a bit more for the school, you might be more involved on some committees in terms of how to improve the school, how to improve recruiting, how to improve the curriculum, and that’s something I can see myself doing, but right now, research and teaching are the two things that I like the most and that I would probably want to spend the most time on, even after I get tenure.



Academic Environment Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Marketing Rice University

The role of academia differs a lot, depending on which field you are in. If you talk to a physicist or mathematician, they have very different goals. We are in applied academia. In the business school, our mandate is to actually have an impact on managers, and in my case, on consumers. My role is to provide guidance on what you as a consumer should do by employing some rigorous research and finding new things that are useful. That is my goal. One good thing about being in academia is you always get exposed to new ideas and the environment encourages you to constantly think of new things. It would be much harder in industry if I worked in a corporate environment, because you often tend to get into routines and several ways of doing things which tend to be almost cyclical.



Breakthroughs at the Strangest Times Richard Batsell, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing Rice University

I have found that if you really want to research a topic, you need to understand it so well that you have actually internalized it. This enables you to think about it while you are taking a walk, engaged in a run, or even in the shower. Essentially, you know the problem you are trying to solve so well that you can think about it even subconsciously or while you are sleeping. I find that real breakthroughs come to me at the strangest times.



Passion and Identity in Academia Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Rice University

It’s difficult in the beginning, because you have to know what you like to work on, what’s your passion, what’s your identity. At the same time, you have to relate it to what the field is interested in and what you know are the topics that managers want to look at. If you find that intersection, then it becomes easier, but the initial search is difficult. After that you will really know the literature. Whenever I write the discussion section of the paper, I can reflect on the study and what future research could do. Those are the kind of facets that make me think of other projects.



Where Ideas Intersect Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Professor of Management Rice University

I think that interdisciplinary work is critical. A lot of my work draws off of different areas, whether it is social psychology or sociology. Research is where a lot of interesting ideas intersect. People approach similar topics from different perspectives. The unfortunate trend is that we’re in an era where interdisciplinary work is getting weeded out because of practical reasons. It’s hard to be well versed in multiple literatures from multiple paradigms. People, as they move up in academia, tend to become more specialized, and with that comes a loss of different perspectives, though many are all looking to answer similar questions. There are other practicalities to specialization. Journal reviewers themselves might not be well versed in multiple literatures. That makes it hard to publish


interdisciplinary work. The structures and incentives of academia tend to mitigate the influence of interdisciplinary work.



REFLECTIONS ON: SUCCESS & FAILURE Success and failure are not mutually exlusive; this section focuses on the fluidity of the two concepts and their interconnectedness. Through reading about business school faculty’s experiences, we hope you will gain some insight into the mind of business professionals and how they approach the highs and lows of a career in academia. Many of them encounter failure hundreds of times, but soon the failure is seen as less of an end in and of itself, and more as another step in the journey towards success. As Professor Eric Floyd from Rice University remarked, “Every time you succeed, there is an associated failure.” Failure is crucial, because it shows us how to succeed. Faculty members mentioned experiences where they put all their blood and sweat into writing and publishing an academic paper, only to receive negative and critical reviews. They admit that it does affect them at first, but they soon learn to see it as constructive criticism - an opportunity to improve. In fact, “I actually feel worse if I don’t get any feedback, for instance, after presenting a paper. It means that I haven’t been able to connect with and interest the audience,” as said by Professor Birgül Arslan from Koç University.


We hope this section provides insight into the struggles and successes in academia and the many ways in which professors respond to the peer review process. Read on and enjoy. - Jackie Li, Editor



Zeynep Aycan, Ph.D. Failure is a Part of Professional Life


Hajo Adam, Ph.D. It’s All Part of the Game


Birgül Arslan, Ph.D. Critics are for Your Own Good


Sharad Borle, Ph.D. Criticism Shatters You


Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. It’s a Numbers Game


Eric Floyd, Ph.D. Explore Outside Your Comfort Zone


Yael Hochberg, Ph.D. Failing is Extremely Useful


Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Every Research has Weaknesses


Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Bombarded by Negative Feedback


Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D. Disappearance of Your Safety Net


İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D. People that Create Value


Duane Windsor, Ph.D. Attitude toward Setbacks


Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D. Expose Yourself to Criticism



Barış Tan, Ph.D. Mutual Ownership


Amit Pazgal, Ph.D. Tradeoffs between Academia and Industry


Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. Circular and Noisy Processes


Hajo Adam, Ph.D. Delayed Positive Impacts


Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D. Nothing to Fall Back On



Failure is a Part of Professional Life Zeynep Aycan, Ph.D.

Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology Koç University

I was lucky to experience failures very early in my life. I’m proud of my failures, because I learned a lot from them. As a scientist, you always face rejections from juries of grant applications, reviewers of scientific journals, and so on. Your work is always subject to public scrutiny, and this is what helps us grow. I read the reviewers’ comments and improve my manuscript and submit it somewhere else. If it’s rejected again, I’ll submit it somewhere else. Failure is basically part of our professional life. One has to take it lightly and learn from it.



It’s All Part of the Game Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

Failure is part of being an academic. You work for months or years on a research project. You have an idea, collect data, test it, and if it works, great. Then you collect more data to test it in a different way to have some robustness and some confidence in your findings. Then you write it up and submit it to a journal. At a good journal, the acceptance rates tend to hover around five to ten percent, so even if you’re really, really good, you get rejected most of the time. You have to have thick skin because the reviewers and editors sometimes destroy your paper. There are many papers that you just have to re-submit over and over again or collect more data to address what the reviewers and the editors pointed out. It takes a lot of grit and perseverance to push these articles through. Ultimately, because it’s part of the game and because everybody knows that’s part of


the game, I learned to just go with it and not take it personally.



Critics are for Your Own Good Birgül Arslan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

In academia, success depends on publications. Publications are subject to peer review. In that sense, a scholar has to be able to deal with constant criticism of their work. The process of paper acceptance takes a lot of time, investment, and patience. Although the system has its problems, peer review has merit. A single mind is not enough to overcome biases and claim contributions to human knowledge, so criticism should be well-taken, understanding that critics are for the paper’s own good. I actually feel worse if I don’t get any feedback, for instance, after presenting a paper. It means that I haven’t been able to connect with and interest the audience.



Criticism Shatters You Sharad Borle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marketing Rice University

When you come out as a fresh faculty, after your Ph.D., you’re all gung-ho about working. And then criticism really hurts a lot. You feel shattered when you feel good about your work, and then it goes out for peer reviews, and the peers do not think nice things about it. Over the years, you recognize the importance of that peer review system, and slowly, you mellow down, and you start taking the criticisms not as criticisms but as more of a critique to improve your work. That’s the right spirit.



It’s a Numbers Game Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Marketing Rice University

In academic research, you really don’t have too many signals of the quality beyond your own judgment of how good your work is. In some cases, if you believe that some research is good enough, then you persist and just try to make it better and send it back. So, for example, I remember a paper was rejected three times by this journal, by far the best journal for marketing. And I kept going at it for five years. I kept making changes, improving, improving, improving. This was a longitudinal field study, and they take time to do. Finally, eventually, it was voluntarily accepted into the journal. It’s a numbers game; you have to keep playing until you succeed. I fail every month. The hardest thing about this profession is the constant rejection. I have to write journal articles. I have letters and letters of rejections.


I probably have a hundred rejection letters. That’s the hardest part of working as an academic. Of course it sets me back. It makes you feel bad. Months and months of hard work and the editors are basically saying your work is not good enough for them. You just get used to it. That’s part of the game. If you want to stay in this profession and succeed, you have to keep persisting.



Explore Outside Your Comfort Zone Eric Floyd, Ph.D.

Assistiant Professor of Accounting Rice University

Success and failure are not mutually exclusive. Every time you succeed, there is an associated failure. I've always thought of failure as something that shows you’re expanding outside of your comfort zone. Any decision you make has risks and rewards. At times you will fail, and that never changes. What changes is that as you get older, you get more comfortable with that fact and accept that it is just part of the process. Life is an ongoing process. We just make different types of mistakes along the way.



Failing is Extremely Useful Yael Hochberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship Ralph S. O’Connor Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship Rice University

Almost everybody from the dot com era has a startup crash story. This happens to be an arena in which failing is actually an extremely useful thing to do. You learn a lot from it. Among other things, what I learned from the experience of having my startup fail is what I wish I had learned as a student before I had started my startup. That informs how I teach but more importantly what kind of curriculum I want to put in place and what support I give for students who want to be entrepreneurs. I want to help entrepreneurs, because I wish I had had a better experience. I wish I had had more mentorship. I wish I had had more guidance as I was doing what I was doing. We had to go out and scrounge up our seed financing, find our mentors, find our networks, get


our connections into investors, figure out a way to get through the door. If I had had the opportunity to go through the kind of program we’re trying to build here, or the kind of program they have built, for example, at MIT, I would have approached it very differently, and my startup experience would have looked very different.



All Research has Weaknesses Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

In the first years when I was very young, I took criticism personally and would get very disappointed. We get the most criticism when we submit our papers to journals and the reviewer trashes those papers. I remember instances where I would get the letter and start to cry. But, as years pass, you get used to it. You start looking at it more objectively. You start thinking that maybe they are saying something that I haven’t seen. I started to see the process as learning instead of taking it personally. Also, I have become more humble. I know every research has weaknesses.



Bombarded by Negative Feedback Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Management Associate Professor of Psychology Rice University

Academia is a field where you’re constantly bombarded by negative feedback, so failure and disappointment are quite frequent. Our journal acceptance rates are under ten percent. More likely than not, a piece of research that you have spent several years working on - putting in your blood, sweat, and tears - will receive negative feedback. Part of what I like to do is to reframe what that feedback is and to try to embrace the perspective, not of the person who had done this research, but as the person who is evaluating the work and ask, “What can I learn from what this person said?” Regardless of whether or not I truly agree with the review, I think it’s useful to embrace his or her perspective.



Disappearance of Your Safety Net Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

My early mistakes as an engineer and then as a manager were tolerated in the Koç Group. That gave me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and not to repeat them. Early in my career, I felt as if there was a net under me which would save me from hitting the ground if I fell. That confidence enabled me to make bolder and better decisions. As I become more experienced with time, I forgot about the net. I believe good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. I was provided with the opportunity to make mistakes and gain experience by learning from them.



People that Create Value İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Koç University

I remember when I applied to Berkeley, I wrote a statement of purpose to them which I discovered a couple of months ago, where I say things like, "I would rather raise my own fruit and pick the fruits from the trees that I grow." But there are other ways of doing that. You don’t have to be a businessman, it’s also a matter of how you see your mind fitting in with the challenges of the different field. I just loved being at Berkeley where people were asking questions. So, for me, the path was obvious. I’m here in Turkey today living happily ever after in my academic environment.



Attitude Toward Setbacks Duane Windsor, Ph.D.

Lynette S. Autrey Professor of Management Rice University

Certainly over a long career I’ve had some setbacks; things didn’t always go the way I wished, planned, or expected. But my reactions were generally either, how do I overcome this, or what else should I be doing? There’s a lot of disappointment in academic life, in a research career. Students may think more poorly of my teaching than I do; if so, that’s disappointing. Colleagues may think more poorly of my research efforts than I do; if so, that’s disappointing. But I’ve always been reasonably self-confident. I think most successful academics are self-confident people and reasonably optimistic. I rarely see academics who appear to be highly depressed and holding their heads in their hands. On the other hand, that could be the context. My education has been at Rice and at Harvard, and those


are hardly places where there are unhappy people all over the place. They are very hard-working, highstandard institutions, so I wouldn’t attribute this to internal talent or character. It’s both whatever talent and hard-working effort I have within context, and that context for me has been very valuable in the sense that it set standards and showed me how to do things.



Expose Yourself to Criticism Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Rice University

Gradually, you expose yourself to more criticism. My first presentation was in front of an audience of thirty or thirty-five business professors. I was just starting my career, and that was the most brutal experience for me. I thought I needed to answer all the comments. After some time, the more you expose yourself to this criticism, the more you realize that some things you need to think through before you respond to them, or you don’t present before you’ve thought through things more carefully, and others you can respond that they are outside the scope of the project. It takes time and experience.



Mutual Ownership Barış Tan, Ph.D.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Koç University

I can fail and can get my motivation going quite readily, and I found that is a very important characteristic. In 2001, I was the director of the graduate school of business. I initiated an accreditation process and thought I could do everything myself, without delegation or without forming a committee. And I did. It was a lot of work, but I did it myself because I thought I shouldn’t take other faculty members’ time. At that time, the accreditation process was not completed. I learned that you need to work as a team to accomplish strategic initiatives. Team work is necessary not only for the delegation or allocation of work, but also for ownership, there should be a mutual ownership of the project. As the team leader, you should lead the way, but you can lead the way by providing a structure where it is easier for others to contribute.



Trade-offs in Academia and Industry Amit Pazgal, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing Rice University

I think that a lot of business faculty think about trade offs. Finance faculty, for example, could go work on Wall Street. In fact, I just had a meeting with Google. We do very similar research on some aspects. I met with the research group, and they have Ph.D.s from top business schools, and they’re very happy about the research they’re doing, and it’s even interesting. They have resources I don’t have. Google can collect data, that as a researcher, I had no idea even existed. They can clearly answer questions I can’t. However, their perspective is not just looking at an interesting question, rather it is about whether Google can become more profitable answering it. The top research universities want you as their graduate to go into academia, but it’s hard to get a job as a research professor.


I think teaching is highly influential, though, and you don’t have that in consulting, and you certainly don’t have that working at Google. Just because you are a good researcher doesn’t mean you're a good teacher, and if you are a good teacher, how many papers you have published might be irrelevant. So the incentives at top research universities are kind of skewed. If you want to be promoted as a professor, you need to publish. I teach executives and get emails five years later from people who suddenly understand why what I said in class was important. Now, I’m not talking undergrads, I’m talking seasoned business people who don’t know unless they encounter this specific situation that what I’m saying is relevant. When they finally encounter it and remember, they share the story with me. For me, that’s incredibly rewarding.



Circular and Noisy Processes Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Marketing Rice University

The process of doing research is very circular. There’s no structured process; you might have an idea that you need to refine. You might do all the work and find out that there is nothing; that happens all the time. You just put in a lot of effort. One project I worked on - we spent several months working all night, we collected data from different studies, and then found out that we weren’t getting consistent results. We just had to drop it. All that effort and there’s nothing to show for it. The whole process is very circular and noisy.



Delayed Positive Impacts Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

In academia, as an assistant professor, you primarily have impact in two ways: one is more indirect through research. You publish, and most of what you publish is read by the few other people who work on the same topics you do. Every now and then, you publish something that reaches a broader audience, which is great and very rewarding. But in general, you have a more direct impact through teaching and being in the classroom. Some students come to you after class or a year later and share how they applied what I taught them, so that’s a very direct and positive impact that you can have on others.



Nothing to Fall Back On Anastasiya Zavyalova, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Rice University

I did not have a fall back position. I didn’t have someone I could go back to and they would support me. It was just me. I was also thinking, it’s not just me, I also had my mom and sisters to take care of. Not having any safety net to fall back on pushed me. It’s a difficult adjustment to the grad school environment, especially after seeing what American high schools were like and college, so going back to grad school was difficult: very demanding and very challenging. All of a sudden, you are competing with very smart students from all over the world. My first semester in grad school was that moment when I did not know if I would be able to go through it. That’s the kind of setback where I thought maybe I would just give it up and try to get a job. In business schools, they admit two or three students at a time, so


I had two other students who were going through the same things. Knowing they were going through the same classes and difficulties helped. I didn’t attribute it to my incompetence or abilities. Everyone was going through the exact same things, and that helped me a lot.



REFLECTIONS ON: ROLE OF ACADEMIA In this section, which highlights the changing role of academia, business professors of Rice University and Koรง University give personal takes on what academia means to them and how their work can be used to effect lasting changes in society. They offer notable insider perspectives into a realm that is often seen as divorced from reality. In reality, as these excerpts demonstrate, business professors constantly engage with the outisde world, offering new forms of knowledge for the business sector and society as a whole. As Professor James Weston put it, "Academia makes the world a better place." Through exploring the responsibilities of universities, the impact of research on society, and the view that society has of academia, these excerpts speak to the passion within the ivory towers and the ways in which professors hope to leave a lasting mark on their students and society. These ideas and anecdotes expressed by professors present many facets to supplement our understanding of academia. We hope you read these excerpts with an open mind and take away a richer understanding of academia and its place in society today. - Karen Pan and Aislyn Orji, Editors




Sumru Altuğ, Ph.D. Keeping Academia Relevant


Yael Hochberg, Ph.D. Disseminating Cutting Edge Knowledge


Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D. Basic Values Do Not Change


Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D. Product of the 20th Century


Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D. It’s a Long-term Committment

79. 80.

Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. Role of Faculty for Students


Zeynep Aycan, Ph.D. Science is What I Would Like to Serve


Stephen Zeff, Ph.D. No Ulterior Motive


Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D. Pioneers of Social Development


Birgül Arslan, Ph.D. Academics vs. Practitioners


Sharad Borle, Ph.D. Leading the World of Innovation


Deniz Aksen, Ph.D. Three Questions to Ask

İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D. Common Goods for Humanity



Hajo Adam, Ph.D. Education is the Silver Bullet


Birgül Arslan, Ph.D. Facilitating Learning


Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D. Influence of Knowledge


Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Networking in Universities


Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D. Academia as a Mediator


Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D. Incremental Nature of Research


Deniz Aksen, Ph.D. Academia Keeps Me Young


James Weston, Ph.D. Academia Makes the World a Better Place



Keeping Academia Relevant Sumru Altuğ, Ph.D. Professor of Economics Koç University

I’m more of a reflective type. I like to read lots of books, such as history and philosophy books. I have cross-interests, somewhat multi-disciplinary interests. However, I don’t want to say industry is not attractive for me, because as the director of Koç Economic Research Forum between 2010 and 2016, I was involved with businessmen and policy makers. I think that academics should have some contact with the business world to keep them a bit honest, to keep their work relevant, because the private sector is worried about what works and what does not. I would not say I am only interested in academics, but being an academic is a self-driven position, which is nice. I get to travel to so many different places, and I can pursue my own interests. I am an external supervisor for the University of Groningen; I supervise master’s students.


I visited the City University of Hong Kong, I visited Central European University in Budapest, and I have people in the U.K. and U.S. that I collaborate with.



Disseminating Cutting Edge Knowledge Yael Hochberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Finance and Entrepreneurship Ralph S. O’Connor Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship Rice University

I believe there are two roles to academia as it exists today. One is knowledge production, and one is knowledge dissemination. Knowledge dissemination includes the educational mission. You could separate the production and the dissemination of knowledge, but I actually think that if you’re doing your job correctly at an educational institution, you are disseminating the cutting edge knowledge that you are producing in your lab or office. You’re not just teaching the same stuff out of the textbook that was there twenty years ago that hasn’t been updated. You’re bringing people closer to what it is that you’re producing on a day-to-day basis.



Basic Values Do Not Change Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

Every new term in the university, at the end of my first lecture, I hand out a one-page excerpt from Robert Flughum’s 1988 book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, to my students. It is about the basic values (like play fair, don’t hit people, don’t take things that are not yours, clean up your own mess, etc.), which we learn at home and in kindergarten when we are very young and need throughout our lives. In this age of the internet, people have numerous sources to access the knowledge they need. They can Google it, or look it up on the web. Technology and related knowledge changes very fast. But the basic values do not change. They will never be old fashioned. People who remember and adhere to these basic values will manage their lives successfully. I tell my students, "I cannot make managers out of you in a


classroom, just as I cannot make you tennis players in a classroom. I can teach you principles of tennis shots - the backhand, forehand, overhead, and the serve. I can give you all the information you need about scores, the rules, and history of tennis. But until you step on a court, hold a racquet in your hand, and hit a ball over the net to an opponent, you are not a tennis player." Similarly, you will not be a manager until you lead a group of people to achieve an objective. I tell them to remember and adhere to basic values they learned in kindergarten to enhance their chance of sustainable success.



Product of the 20th Century Hasan Subaşı, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

In industry, I could see the results of my performance from the number of units produced, revenues, market share, profits etc. In academia, I can't get that sort of solid feedback which I am used to, and that makes me feel uncomfortable. I am a product of the 20th century. I was born, raised, educated, and worked in the last century. My values and experience were shaped by 20th century environment and values. I have problems in understanding and accepting the values of this century. I observe that today’s students see a university degree as a status symbol and do not care much about the quality of education they get. Their main objective is to receive a diploma from a prestigious university, which can provide priority in job applications, higher wages, faster promotions, and ultimately a higher income.



It’s a Long-term Committment Özden Gür Ali, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Operations Management & Information Systems Koç University

After my Ph.D., I actually did not go for academia. I worked in the industry for ten years: four years in research and development at General Electric and six years in analytical consulting in the U.S. Then, I came back to Turkey and became an academician. At GE, we would define our research projects, keeping in mind how it would be useful for the business on real data and real problems. That research, at times, was published in top journals, so I was really happy with it, because I could see my impact. I could think about interesting problems, explore them, and put them in a rigorous framework. Those things excited me. But then we moved to Chicago, so I had to change jobs, and I went for analytical consulting. I was working with a lot of data and coming up with new methods that the consulting practice would use. Again, I was able to work on real problems, make an impact, and see my impact. In Turkey, I could


have done something else, and I didn’t have to be an academician, but I wanted to keep learning; I didn’t want to stagnate. I wanted to work on problems that mattered. The upside of academia is that it allows you to think about issues in depth. It is a more longterm commitment, and you take one issue and keep working on it, whereas things in the industry are more short-term focused.



Role of Faculty for Students Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Marketing Rice University

I think faculty only plays a really small role for students. They can bear a large role for certain students, but by and large, the experience as a student here is going to be driven by your peers - all the wonderful interactions you will have with them and all the friendships you’ll form. You’ll interact with faculty on a much smaller scale. It’s not a matter of effort but priority. The relationships you form here are the ones which are going to be lifelong friendships. As faculty, we try to do the best we can to nurture and support students, but it’s a relatively small piece.



Common Goods for Humanity İnsan Tunalı, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Economics Rice University

Academia is broad. I remember when I was a young, aspiring faculty member at Middle East Technical University, I went to a panel which was dedicated to the responsibilities of an academic towards society, the same question that you are asking me today. This was just about forty years ago. I remember sitting in the audience, and there was an imminent mathematician, Cahit Arf, speaking. When he was directing this question, he said, "The responsibility of an academic towards society is no different from the responsibility of a child who finds 25 kuru on the street." Now, of course I didn’t like his answer then, I was very young; this was the time that there were a lot of social issues that were being eroded at Middle East Technical University campus, and I was of the opinion


that academics should be more in tune with the needs of the society. But now I think differently. I think academics can do what they do best, and if that’s their job, they have to be the very best at what they do. And that’s a great way to help society in the end. As long as we strive for common goods for humanity and the environment and so on, we don’t have to demarcate and create artificial borders among society. We can’t expect the government to find solutions to all ills. Sometimes, the solutions that the government offers by way of social programs create incentives for people to shirk and do things in a way that may not benefit society, so one has to take all this into consideration. That’s part of my work.



Science is What I Would Like to Serve Zeynep Aycan, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Koรง University

My areas of expertise are of interest to many organizations who seek consulting and training from me. At one point years ago, I felt I had to make a decision to either fully pursue science or be a scientist-practitioner (i.e. engage in consulting and training). This was a difficult decision to make, but I decided to choose the first path. My real passion is science and scientific discoveries of new ideas originating from cultural contexts similar to Turkey. I am also very passionate about helping the next generation world-class scientists develop in social sciences. That is why I accepted to be the director of graduate programs in social sciences and humanities at Koรง University; I provide voluntary trainings to young scientists to develop and publish their original ideas; I am leading the effort of establishing the Young Science Academy in Turkey. Business


organizations may feel upset that I don't serve them, but science and young scientists are who I would like to serve.



No Ulterior Motive Stephen Zeff, Ph.D.

Professor of Accounting Keith Anderson Professorship in Business Rice University

I think that, especially in the low trust society of today, academia is looked upon as a center of objective inquiry and study. I think we need that very much in our society. Academics don't have an ulterior motive to produce something or to make a lot of money doing something. They’re simply out in the pursuit of truth. Therefore, I think it’s very important in society to have a healthy academia. We have wonderful universities, both public and private, in this country, which very few other countries can say, and therefore we produce really solid academics, as opposed to other societies that lack the resources and time for research or teaching. So I would say that, in this country, academia is a very important source of objective analysis for solutions to problems, which is especially important in the scientific and medical fields. I don’t know where


we would be without universities which conduct research and teach. Of course, the importance of teaching is preparing bright students to go out and have a positive impact on society and enjoy a positive, lucrative, and satisfying career.



Pioneers of Social Development Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Relations Koç University

I see universities in the 21st century being more diverse in teaching and research and more interdisciplinary. I think that the boundaries across disciplines are lifting, but I don’t think they are at the same pace with the advances in other aspects of social life, such as technology and communication. We have to be pioneers of social developments, but these days it feels like we are lagging behind. There should be more communication, interaction, and interdisciplinary research across disciplines, and the university is responsible for creating this environment to foster interdisciplinary research, communication, and diversified teaching. Academics shouldn’t be following behind; they should be taking the lead. This is not only for academic life but also for the stability in the society. We have to be leaders and shape the agenda in every sector of human life. We shouldn’t let policy makers set the agenda for us. We should be teaching our students how to be leaders in their fields. They don’t have to be


politicians, but they need to learn how to mobilize the masses for a specific cause, because we will need more of that in the future.



Academics vs. Practitioners Birgül Arslan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

In Turkish society, being an academic is quite prestigious. In our field, however, practitioners are a bit suspicious, especially if they have accumulated experience. They generally think that academicians don’t know enough about the business itself. Only they could know better. It will take a bit of time until this issue will be resolved. It’s becoming more and more frequent that academicians meet with the practitioners, and as these meetings continue, I think there will be a common ground where both parties will finally understand that they are mutually beneficial for each other.



Leading the World of Innovation Sharad Borle, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing Rice University

Especially here in the U.S., there is a much better perceived notion of the role of academics. There is this notion of the U.S. leading the world of innovation. I think it’s primarily driven by the academia, the center of universities. In the U.S., especially, the way academia is set up, it really is the engine for innovation in the country. And because of that, I think society has a very positive view of that. Overall, I think the society has a very positive opinion of academia and its contribution in society.



Three Questions to Ask Deniz Aksen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Koç University

I'm sure that you came across the standard answer to this question about the role of universities: They should teach their students how to do research, and they should teach the students how to investigate. It’s not the wrong answer, but it's absolutely insufficient. That answer is incapable of driving the route to the future. At the university, we should teach our students to have the following three questions in their minds all the time: How?, Why?, and Is it the only way? The question “How?” is answered by knowledge. The question “Why?” is answered by proof, by validation, by double checks, and by application and implementation. So put your knowledge to the test, implement it, and see if it works. The third question is “Is it the only way?” We should teach our students to be self-sufficient from what they are getting from the university. At the


university, you learn on the basis of the coursework; you learn subjects. But you should also learn how to explore more. Is there an easier, more effective, and more efficient way of doing the same thing? This is like the exploration of outer space by NASA. Did NASA give up its exploration efforts beyond the solar system? Absolutely not. They wanted to go beyond the boundaries of the solar system. This is the macro; this is the big picture. Now take it to the microscopic level, to the individual level, to the world of a young person who just graduated from a university. He or she should expand her knowledge, put it to the test, and ask those three questions.



Education is the Silver Bullet Hajo Adam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Management Rice University

What is the role of academia in society? At the most fundamental level, I think that there are two functions: one is to generate new knowledge through research, and one is to disseminate that knowledge at the very least to the students in the classroom, but then, ideally, to a broader audience through papers, conferences or books. There's a quote I love from The West Wing, saying, "Education is the silver bullet." Sorkin is saying that we should pour more resources into education, and that very much resonates with my worldview. This might sound lofty or idealistic, but I really do think this would make the world a more civil and overall much better place.



Facilitating Learning Birgül Arslan, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Strategic Management Koç University

The role of academia is to contribute to what we know about phenomena and to the education of the next generation. In social sciences, we build human knowledge to deal with the complex problems of society. Although social scientists may find it hard to provide hard evidence like in physics or chemistry, they nevertheless provide the frameworks that help people to make better sense of the complexity of the world and make informed decisions. About educating the next generation, I think our role in today’s world is to facilitate learning. In the old times, the professors had monopoly over knowledge. Today, knowledge is freely available for anyone interested. Therefore, our role today is, rather than transferring knowledge, helping our students to open up to new ideas, teaching them how to learn, and providing the opportunity for exercises so that they actually train themselves to synthesize, to derive their own conclusions, and to innovate.



Influence of Knowledge Utpal Dholakia, Ph.D.

George R. Brown Professor of Marketing Rice University

When you work in a company, what tends to happen is you have very narrow goals that you need to accomplish. There are only certain things you can do. In academia, you can study all kinds of new things that interest you. You create new knowledge, and you also have more influence. In a single company, you only have influence over people in that company. In academia, the better your ideas, the more impactful your ideas, the more impact you can have on a lot of different people.



Networking in Universities Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Marketing Koç University

In the 21st century, there will be a lot of learning individually from home. But even so, universities will still be a place where people socialize, build networks, exchange details, and challenge each other. I think universities are going to be places where we give students and academics the opportunity to interact with others like them. Universities will also begin to teach people how to learn but not teach them what they should know. People will reach what they know themselves, but universities will help them learn how to learn.



Academia as a Mediator Belgin San-Akca, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of International Relations Koç University

As academics, we escape from the real world. It’s much easier to bury yourself in books than it is to go out and argue. It’s an escape from reality, but at the same time, you want to spread your experience as you acquire expertise on certain things. You want to be useful. As academics, we are always criticized for being distant from the real world, for our research not having any real policy implications, etc. We are always more focused on explaining things and less on predicting and finding solutions. But that is beginning to change. Academics are starting to put more effort into predicting the future. Academics now are more knowledgeable and desire to speak more about the real world implications of their research. I should praise social media for that. Academic language has a lot of jargon. Social media pushes academics to write blogs on certain issues to reach lay people within seconds,


rather than writing those lengthy articles filled with jargon that no one outside a specific group of very invested people understands. That pushes academics to think seriously about simplifying their language and about how they can better speak to society and discuss the implications of their research for real policy makers. We are in the age of bridging this gap between the real world and academia. Academics have a mission in society to guide and shape people’s views. They also have a role to mediate between polarized groups. Mediation starts with framing the problems properly, playing the middle ground, and using moderate language.



Incremental Nature of Research Stefan Wuyts, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marketing Koรง University

You need to train the younger generation to develop the skills that are necessary to perform the jobs that we need in society. The university is the primary place where this is happening. The other part of academia is research. The research agenda has to be developed with somewhat close linkage with society. Here in business administration, we need to work very closely with companies and develop new frameworks and theories. That's a challenge because most academic research nowadays is of somewhat incremental nature. Since you need to publish, you need to have an article, and then you need to have another one. If you need articles on a regular basis, it becomes more difficult to develop genuinely novel ideas.



Academia Keeps Me Young Deniz Aksen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Koรง University

People ask me "Why don't you work in the industry? Why are you trying to make a living as a university teacher and researcher, as a professor?" The answer is, as far as Turkey is concerned, nowhere else in Turkey do you have this degree of freedom and independence in your profession. Being the boss and leading a company is a very tough job and brings about much stress. But without being an administrator of the institution where I am working, I can still be my own boss. That's the number one reason. Also in the industry, you wouldn't have the opportunity to work with young people who are eighteen, nineteen, and in their early twenties. Thirteen years ago, I joined Koรง University, and I was only thirty-one years old. Now I am much older than that, but I'm still dealing with young people of ages between eighteen and twenty-five. This keeps you young. Whoever, whichever professor


in the world, regardless of major, regardless of faculty, whoever you ask this question, you will receive, more or less, the same answer. You deal with young people, and this keeps you young. That's the reason why you see at many universities across the world professors in their late sixties, early seventies, and they still don't want to retire.



Academia Makes the World a Better Place James Weston, Ph.D. Professor of Finance Rice University

Academia makes the world a better place. It uses basic science to uncover an understanding of the world around us and lends to our appreciation of its beauty.


ABOUT THE FEATURED FACULTY Hajo Adam is an assistant professor of management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research encompasses a wide interdisciplinary focus, investigating the effects of culture on organizational psychological processes and interpersonal dynamics. He received his B.B.A. in international management from the International University in Germany and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in organizational behavior from INSEAD. Deniz Aksen is an associate professor of management information systems at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. His research interests include distribution logistics, reverse logistics, facility and network interdiction problems, and heuristic methods for combinatorial and bi-level optimization. He attended Bogazici University and received his B.S. and M.S. in industrial engineering. He received his Ph.D. in management information systems from Purdue University. Özden Gür Ali is associate dean and associate professor of operations management and information systems at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. She has ten years of global management consulting experience with General Electric and Fortune 100 companies in marketing, sales, productivity, and quality. She received her B.S. in industrial engineering from Bogazici University. She holds an M.S. in industrial and management engineering, and a Ph.D. in decision sciences and engineering systems from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Sumru Altuğ is a professor of economics at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Her research interests include the determinants of business cycles in emerging market economies and sources of long-term economic growth for Turkey. She received a B.A. in economics from University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in economics from University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in economics from the Carnegie Mellon University. Birgül Arslan is an assistant professor of strategic management at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Her research interest is the performance implications of international mergers and acquisitions by emerging market multinationals. She completed her B.A. and M.A. at Boğaziçi University and she received her Ph.D. from école des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris. Zeynep Aycan is a professor of psychology at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Her research interests include cross-cultural approaches to work-family balance and leadership in cultural context. She received a B.A. in psychology from Bosphorous University, an M.A. in social psychology from Bosphorous University, and a Ph.D. in applied psychology from Queen's University.


Richard Batsell is an associate professor of management and associate professor of psychology at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests include mathematical models of choice, development of marketing strategy, and analytical comparison of healthcare costs. He received his B.A. in mathematics and his B.B.A. in statistics and operations research with honors from the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. Sharad Borle is an associate professor of marketing at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research aims to develop quantitative models of consumer behavior and his recent publications have focused on the COM-Poisson distribution. He is also interested in Bayesian econometrics. He obtained a B.S. in electronics engineering from Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India. He received a M.B.A. from the XLRI Institute of Management in Jamshedpur, India, and a Ph.D. in marketing from Carnegie Mellon University. Utpal Dholakia is the George R. Brown Professor of Marketing at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests lie in studying motivational psychology of consumers and online marketing issues such as virtual communities and online auctions. He also studies relational aspects of consumer behavior. He received a B.E. in industrial engineering from the University of Bombay, an M.S. in industrial engineering from the Ohio State University, an M.S. in cognitive psychology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Michigan. Eric Floyd is an assistant professor of accounting at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests include dividend payouts by banks during financial crises and price transparency regulation of healthcare sectors in the United States. He attended the University of Chicago for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He received a B.A. in economics, an M.B.A. from the Booth School of Business, and a Ph.D. in accounting from the Booth School of Business. Gustavo Grullon is the Jesse H. Jones Professor of Finance at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests focus on empirical corporate finance, such as how firms determine their investment, financing, and payout policies. He received his B.A.A. from University of Puerto Rico in finance and economics, his M.S. in management from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. in management from Cornell University. Yael Hochberg is an assistant professor at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Her courses and research concentrate on entrepreneurship, innovation, and the financing of entrepreneurial activity. She serves as the head of the Entrepreneurship Initiative and managing director of the Seed Accelerator Ranking Project. She received her B.A. in industrial engineering and management from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, her M.A. in economics from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in finance from Stanford University.


Robert E. Hoskisson is the George R. Brown Professor of Management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research is focused on corporate strategy and its outcomes in regard to performance and managerial commitment to innovation. In particular, he has examined what creates improved corporate performance and entrepreneurship in the multidivisional firm. He received his B.S. and M.A. from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Management at University of California, Irvine. Haiyang Li is a professor of strategic management and innovation at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research focuses on entrepreneurship in technology innovations with a special focus in the transitioning Chinese economy. He received his B.A. in economics and his M.A. in business economics at Renmin University of China and his Ph.D. in innovation and strategic management at the City University of Hong Kong. Vikas Mittal is the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Marketing at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research focuses on the theory, methodology, and practice of marketing as well as consumer identity. He holds a B.A. in business administration from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in marketing strategy from Temple University. Amit Pazgal is a professor of management and marketing at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests include optimal pricing mechanisms and competitive marketing strategies. He received his B.Sc. from Tel Aviv University and went on to receive his M.Sc. from Tel Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Belgin San-Akca is an assistant professor in international relations at Koç University. Her research focuses on non-state armed groups, their relations with states, and implications for international security and conflict. She attended Boğaziçi University for her undergraduate degree and received a double degree in history and international relations. She received her Ph.D. from University of California at Davis. Scott Sonenshein is a professor of management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research employs field methodologies to explain the resourceful actions of employees in the context of organizational, social, and ethical change. He received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in business ethics, an M. Phil. in management studies from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in management and organizations from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Hasan Subaşı is an adjunct professor of strategic management at Koç University. He holds various industrial memberships including Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists Association (TUSIAD) and Turkish Education Volunteers Foundation (TEGV). During an expansive industry


career he served on the boards of Koç, Arçeik and Akfen. He is alumni of Robert College, the predecessor of Boğaziçi University, holding a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering and a M.B.A. in industrial administration. Barış Tan is the vice president for academic affairs at Koç University. His current research interests are in design, analysis and control of production systems, cooperation in supply chains, analytical and stochastic modeling techniques and business model innovation. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from Bogazici University. He received a M.E. in industrial and systems engineering, a M.SE. in manufacturing systems engineering, and a Ph.D. in operations research from the University of Florida. Ayşegül Özsomer Tunalı is an associate professor of marketing at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. She teaches marketing management, and global marketing. Her recent research focuses on the areas of market orientation, global marketing strategy, global branding, strategic brand management, and market learning. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in marketing and supply chain management. She completed both her M.B.A. and B.A. at Boğaziçi University. İnsan Tunalı is an associate professor of economics at Koç University. His recent research focuses on the areas of population and labor dynamics in Turkey and the Middle East; household survey methodology, and attrition. He received his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering from Middle East Technical University. He received his master’s degree in operations research from University of California at Berkeley, and his M.Eng. in industrial engineering. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. James P. Weston is a professor of finance at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests cover a wide array of corporate finance issues from banking to stock market liquidity and risk management. He received his B.A. in economics from Trinity College, his M.A. in economics from the University of Virginia, and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia. Duane Windsor is a professor of management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests include business ethics, corporate environmental and social performance, corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, leadership, public and nonprofit management, social enterprise, and stakeholder theory. He received his B.A. in political science from Rice University in 1969 and his A.M. and Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Stefan Wuyts is an associate professor of marketing in Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics and Tilburg University. He is interested in research about social networks, business-to-business


marketing, innovation and inter-firm relationships and marketing strategy. He received his B.S. in business engineering; his M.A. in marketing from the Vlerick Management School of the University of Ghent, and his Ph.D. from Erasmus University. Idil Yaveroğlu is an instructor of marketing at Koç University’s College of Administrative Sciences and Economics. Her research interests include pricing, e-consumer behavior and advertising online. She received a B.S. in economics from Middle East Technical University, an M.B.A. from Bilkent University and a Ph.D. in marketing from Georgia State University. Anastasiya Zavyalova is an assistant professor of strategic management at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. Dr. Zavyalova’s research focuses on negative events in organizations and the role of media and organizational identification for stakeholder support following these negative events. She received her B.S. in business administration, financial economics, and marketing from Methodist University and her Ph.D. in strategic management from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Stephen A. Zeff holds the Keith Anderson Professorship in Business and is a professor of accounting at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. His research interests focus on the comparative international history of standard setting for company financial reporting and on the evolution of accounting thought and practice. He received his B.S. in accounting and M.S. in management with a minor in accounting from the University of Colorado. He went on to receive his M.B.A. and his Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Michigan.


Featuring interview excerpts from the business school faculty at Rice University and Koรง University

Turning Points 2015 - 2016  

The Turning Points book series is a product of the School of Social Sciences’ Gateway Study of Leadership (GSL) at Rice University. The sec...

Turning Points 2015 - 2016  

The Turning Points book series is a product of the School of Social Sciences’ Gateway Study of Leadership (GSL) at Rice University. The sec...