An important element of the Broad College’s reputation is our commitment to strengthening impactful research and scholarship. We embrace engagement opportunities with peers and take on collaborations where we reach higher and achieve together.

Vijay Kannan, president of DSI and Broad alumnus

Our long-lasting ties to the Decision Sciences Institute demonstrate this commitment perfectly. As one of the oldest societies in the supply chain community, established in 1969, DSI is an international organization helping to use knowledge to improve managerial decision making involving systems and people. And Broad Spartans have been involved in many notable ways over the years.

From faculty taking on leadership roles at DSI’s annual conference to being designated as DSI Fellows — a prestigious group of scholars selected worldwide for their exceptional career contributions — to DSI’s current president being a Broad alumnus, our connections run deep.

“The Broad school has a long history with the Decision Sciences Institute, a global organization with more than 2,500 members. As a Broad alumnus and now DSI president in the footsteps of former faculty Ram Narasimhan and Gary Ragatz, I take pride in Broad faculty continuing to be DSI leaders,” Vijay Kannan, president of DSI and a graduate of MSU’s business doctoral program, said. “I am confident that the success of the Institute will continue to be closely linked to the Broad College.”

Virtual conference success

DSI’s 51st annual conference, held in November, was studded with Broad Spartans bringing together an exceptional virtual experience for more than 1,000 attendees.

Sriram Narayanan, Kesseler Family Endowed Faculty Fellow and co-department editor for empirical supply chain management research at DSI’s flagship publication Decision Sciences, served as the chair of research for the event and played a key role in program leadership. The conference hosted a deans’ panel to discuss the “new normal” and the many challenges for faculty research, teaching, services and programs that may lie ahead.

“The session was very well attended where deans were giving perspective on the new realities of business school education where topics of teaching (online and in person), research and issues of diversity, equity and inclusion were discussed and debated,” Narayanan said. “The session also discussed how business schools can become more valuable community partners.”

Dean Sanjay Gupta headshot

Dean Sanjay Gupta, a featured panelist at DSI’s 51st annual conference

“This is an exciting time at the university because it helps us take ownership of what we have been doing for hundreds of years, but do it with a renewed vigor and a renewed relevance in the marketplace,” said Eli and Edythe L. Broad Dean Sanjay Gupta, who was a featured panelist alongside fellow deans from Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Houston and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The panel of deans discussed everything from the value proposition of business colleges going forward, emphasizing the need to deliver an education and true learning opportunities, to practical approaches to addressing issues related to DEI.

“We have to take ownership and put a stake in the ground for what we are going to change and how we are going to measure the change,” Gupta said on the topic of DEI. He shared how he is collaborating with fellow Big Ten deans to take on increasing diversity in the pool of doctoral students across institutions, as a step in the right direction.

Gupta and the other panelists highlighted how DEI must go beyond demographics and be integrated into curriculums and faculty scholarship and research. “This is our responsibility. This isn’t something that we should just let happen to us; we need to be spearheading it,” he said.

An award and a look ahead

Beyond the success of the panel discussion, faculty across Broad’s departments were instrumental in delivering various tracks of the conference. Sri Talluri, Hoagland-Metzler Endowed Professor of supply chain management and DSI Fellow, was heavily involved, given his role as co-editor in chief of Decision Sciences; Beste Kucukyazici, assistant professor of accounting, led the Big Data Applications track; Tobias Schoenherr, Hoagland-Metzler Endowed Professor of supply chain management, co-led the Purchasing and Supply Chain Management track; Farnoosh Khodakarami, assistant professor of marketing, was the chair of the Social Media Analytics track and Adrian Choo, assistant professor of supply chain management, led the doctoral student showcase — a first at the DSI conference.

“This inaugural track was started with a simple goal to showcase doctoral student papers,” Choo said. “We explored a new approach whereby doctoral student papers were matched with paper discussants from the industry and academia who provided paper reviews and mentoring for the doctoral students.

“I rarely receive any feedback in my prior experiences as a track chair, but this time I received quite a number of emails and verbal feedback from both doctoral students and discussants who told me how beneficial and rewarding participating in this track was,” he said. “I believe the inaugural track was a success and will be a continual event in future DSI conferences, promoting and helping more doctoral students.”

Broad doctoral student Dustin Cole, winner of the best paper award at the conference

As a pleasant end to the successful event, Broad doctoral student Dustin Cole received the best paper award for his thesis, titled “Does Leader Disability Status Improve Performance Outcomes for Workers With a Disability? An Empirical Study in the Apparel Industry.” Cole’s coauthors included Narayanan and Shawnee Vickery, Demmer Legacy Professor and DSI Fellow.

Cole shared that this recognition is meaningful because it gives certainty to the importance and relevancy of his work.

“Working through the Ph.D. program involves working on very long-term projects with uncertainty around the ultimate success of those projects,” Cole said. “Given the uncertainty around those projects, it is good to have faculty outside of MSU recognize them as well done. While the support of the faculty here at MSU is always instrumental in doing the actual research, they are going to be slightly more biased in my favor given I’m a student here, so the outside recognition is a good benchmark of progress.”

Looking ahead, the Broad College is eager to continue in a leadership role with DSI going forward. Narayanan will serve as the conference chair at next year’s event, embracing the theme of equity, inclusion and sustainability — topics that are heightened throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and that he works to understand and improve through his own research.

“Next year’s conference will also aim to bring together thought leaders in the realm of decision making in equity, inclusion, and sustainability,” Narayanan said. “The goal is to discuss important issues like climate change, the focus on building equitable systems and processes within our communities, and with firms taking a role in improving and working with local communities, our conference aims to discuss these challenges.”