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Smith welcomes new faculty

Posted on September 5, 2023
Faculty and staff recently had the opportunity to get to know some of the new faculty during the business school's annual retreat.
Faculty and staff recently had the opportunity to get to know some of the new faculty during the business school's annual retreat.

Kingston, Ont. – Ten new faculty have joined the business school’s outstanding roster of teachers and researchers in recent months.

The new assistant and associate professors bring a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds to the school, plus expertise in strategy, marketing, accounting, finance, economics, digital technology and management analytics. Here's more on each one:

Bhargav Gopal
Assistant Professor of Business Economics

Bhargav Gopal grew up in Los Angeles and came to Smith over the summer after earning his PhD in economics at Columbia University. Gopal is an applied microeconomist whose research is at the intersection of finance, labour, law and economics. He has a specific interest in how government intervention in labour markets can improve societal outcomes.

In a recent paper, Gopal examined why there are still so few women on corporate boards. More specifically, he looked at the effects of a 2018 California law requiring at least one woman on boards. Within one year of that law taking effect, the number of all-male boards was cut by 30 percentage points, with no reduction to a firm’s value, operating performance or shareholder returns. So why weren’t there already more women on boards? Gopal says he found that many women who were clearly qualified to serve “were more likely to be ‘out of network’, in the sense of not having prior employment experience or connections with existing board members.”

Gopal will teach in the Commerce program. In his spare time, he enjoys playing basketball and hiking.

Sarah Burrows
Assistant Professor of Strategy

Sarah Burrows grew up in Montreal and attended university there, earning an undergraduate degree in psychology at Concordia, followed by a Master of Science in Management at the university’s John Molson School of Business. To earn her PhD in management, she headed to the University of Central Florida. Now, she says, she’s delighted to be back in Canada, having joined Smith’s faculty over the summer.

Burrows’s research connects two areas: entrepreneurship and family business. She says her background in psychology comes in handy examining how family dynamics influence the management of companies and how families nurture entrepreneurship across generations. “Family-owned businesses represent most businesses worldwide. It intrigues me that the majority of business owners choose to mix family and business. And my research investigates how families successfully manage that.”

Burrows will teach in the Commerce program. Her favourite hobby is cooking. “I was raised in a large Italian family, and I was always taught that cooking is a great way to show others you care for them.”

Beste Kucukyazici
Associate Professor of Management Analytics

Beste Kucukyazici isn’t a new face at Goodes Hall. For the past year, she’s been an adjunct assistant professor and the lead of the school’s health-care analytics initiative. On Sept. 1, she became an associate professor of management analytics. Before Smith, she was an assistant professor in the departments of accounting and information systems and supply chain management at Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College. She grew up in Turkey and earned her PhD in operations management at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management.

Kucukyazici’s current research centres on developing and applying prescriptive analytics in health care. In one recent paper, Kucukyazici and a colleague looked at how people who’ve suffered a stroke are taken to hospital and triaged. In those situations, every second counts, so they developed an analytical model to help improve the system so that patients get the care they need. Analytics, she says “can save lives and significantly improve patient quality of life.”

Kucukyazici teaches in the Commerce and MBA programs. Her hobbies include travel, reading and salsa dancing.

Edem Klobodu
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Edem Klobodu arrived at Smith over the summer from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he was a postdoctoral research associate. He grew up in Ghana and completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees there. He earned his PhD in marketing at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Klobodu studies financial inclusion and the role of marketing among underprivileged consumers in financial services. “My research operates at the intersection of marketing and policy, allowing me to derive marketing implications from economic impacts.” Much of his work is based around mobile money and how it lets underprivileged consumers take part in the formal financial sector. “I have the chance to research a consumer group — specifically, consumers at the bottom of the pyramid — that hasn’t received much attention in the marketing literature. By focusing solely on studying them, I am able to find unique solutions to enhance their well-being,” he says.

Klobodu will teach marketing to Commerce students. Outside of work, he enjoys waterfront walks and playing board games with his family.

Yulia Nevskaya
Assistant Professor of Marketing

Before she arrived at Smith over the summer, Yulia Nevskaya was an assistant professor of marketing at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. She grew up in Kostroma, Russia and earned her PhD at the University of Rochester, studying quantitative marketing. She studies how consumers respond to purchase stimulants, such as advertising, loyalty programs, social media influencers and online reviews.

Nevskaya has paid particular attention to online video games. “This is the number one entertainment industry in the world, surpassing the movie industry and major sports leagues combined,” she says. But many worry gamers are playing too much. So Nevskaya and a colleague looked at how to make games less addictive by, for example, alerting gamers to time spent playing, or limiting their playing time. They found these strategies ineffective. “However, specific revisions to the rewards schedule help in taming excessive gaming, without any losses to the game developer’s revenues,” she says.

Nevskaya will teach in the Commerce program and teach a doctoral seminar. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks and travelling.

Abayomi Baiyere
Associate Professor of Digital Technology

The world is going digital and Abayomi Baiyere is right at the centre of its research. His studies cover digital transformation, digital disruption and the societal impact of digitalization. “The why's, how's, what's and implications of digital innovation and digital transformation are exciting as each layer uncovered reveals several other layers waiting to be unearthed,” he says. One of Baiyere’s ongoing research projects investigates how organizations can assess the digital capabilities they need to match their digital transformation goals — something many firms struggle with.

Baiyere grew up in Nigeria. Before academia, he worked for companies such as SAP and ABN AMRO Bank and as an entrepreneur. He earned his PhD in information systems science at the University of Turku in Finland. Prior to joining the faculty at Smith, Baiyere was an associate professor at Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. He is an associate editor of Information Systems Journal (ISJ) and sits on the editorial board of Information and Organization.

Baiyere teaches on the PhD and Master of Digital Product Management programs. As for hobbies, he says, “I like speed chess, steady walks and slow swimming.”

Cory Hinds
Assistant Professor of Accounting

Cory Hinds grew up in Sacramento, California. He joined the faculty at Smith over the summer after earning his PhD in accounting at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on judgment and decision-making in financial markets. That includes looking at what influences retail and professional investment choices.

Hinds says he enjoys this area of study because “what I learn can have meaningful and practical implications for the welfare of individual investors and the efforts of regulators who are tasked with protecting those investors.” In his dissertation, for example, Hinds found that when the stock market does well, individual investors get overconfident. “However, I find that providing investors with a market benchmark, such as the return of the S&P 500 index, helps to reduce this market-induced overconfidence and improves investors’ judgments.”

Hinds will teach in the Commerce program. He enjoys watching sports, travelling, doing crossword puzzles and spending time with his wife and three children.

Alison Taylor
Assistant Professor of Finance

Alison Taylor’s area of study is a timely one: climate risk and financial stability. “Currently, there are a lot of policy discussions by central banks about whether climate change could pose a risk to financial stability and if central banks should take action,” she says. Her research aims to contribute to that discussion and understand how investors and firms adapt to climate-change risks.

In one project, Taylor looked at whether U.S. banks hit hard by the 2007-08 financial crisis were more responsive or less responsive to hurricane risks in the household mortgage market. If financially distressed banks take on a larger hurricane risk, “this could increase the risk of financial instability if a large hurricane hits since they don’t have as much of a financial buffer to absorb a negative shock,” she says. Taylor, who grew up in Kingston and earned her PhD in economics at the University of Toronto, started at Smith over the summer.

She will teach finance to Commerce students. In her spare time, she enjoys running and rock climbing.

Juan Francisco Chavez R.
Assistant Professor of Strategy and Organizations

Juan Francisco Chavez R. was born and raised in Peru. He’s also lived in the United States, the Netherlands and Canada. Chavez is passionate about sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Before he arrived at Smith this summer, he was an instructor in sustainability courses at the University of Victoria’s Gustavson School of Business in British Columbia. He earned his PhD there in international management and organization.

Chavez’s research covers sustainability, organizational theory and strategic management, investigating how to create value for both organizations and stakeholders in a diverse and pluralistic society. “If we think that the purpose of business is to create value, and if we are committed to creating a positive impact in society, it is important to first understand that value and impact are notions that can be defined differently by different people,” he says.

Chavez will teach on the Business for Good class in the Commerce program. Outside work, he enjoys hiking, camping, playing squash and watching movies.

Alina Yue Wang
Assistant Professor of Business Economics

Alina Yue Wang’s research lies at the intersection of political economy and economic history. “I find the development of human capital, the origins of social conflicts and political selection in public administration particularly intriguing,” she says. Wang was born in Tokyo and grew up in Japan, Singapore and China. She earned her PhD in economics at the University of Hong Kong’s business school. Wang is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and will start at Smith in 2024.

One of Wang’s research projects, “Foreign Education, Ideology, and the Fall of Imperial China”, draws upon historical events to understand the nuanced role of human capital in political transformation. Wang and a colleague looked at how the Chinese Qing government’s intent to build a modern nation-state — by sending the country’s best talent to study in Japan starting in 1899 — led to its unexpected demise and ended 2,000 years of imperial rule in China.

Wang is a music lover and is especially fond of classical and country music and has amassed a large vinyl record collection. She is also a certified mixologist.