Class of 2019: Meet the Foster School’s eight new faculty members

Business education is booming at the UW Foster School, which welcomes eight new members to its expanding faculty. Each brings a wealth of expertise and accomplishment—and even greater promise—to Foster this year. Here’s a closer look at the faculty class of 2019.

Ties de Kok
Assistant Professor of Accounting

PhD (accounting), Tilburg University, 2019
MRes (accounting), Tilburg University, 2015
BS (business administration), Tilburg University, 2013

Visiting scholar, UW Foster School of Business, 2018

Financial accounting; capital market research, management accounting; natural language processing; computer science
Most fascinating research discovery: The reading behavior of readers with low financial literacy for financial narratives is near impossible to predict, even with a deep neural network that includes both the content and characteristics of a text.

Nominated for Best PhD Dissertation at Tilburg University (university-wide), 2019

If not a business professor, I would be: starting my own tech startup
Something surprising about me: I am a proficient 3D modeler and have worked a summer job modelling and rendering previews of consumer appliances during my undergrad.
When not at work, I enjoy: board games, video games, hiking, programming, and being a “maker”
Favorite book: The Kindly Ones (Jonathan Littell)
Favorite movie: Saving Private Ryan
Favorite television series: Silicon Valley
Favorite company: Boston Dynamics
Top of my bucket list: Make the world a better place (I don’t have a bucket list)

Alicia DeSantola
Assistant Professor of Management and Organization

PhD (organizational behavior), Harvard University, 2019
AM (sociology), Harvard University, 2016
MS (management science and engineering), Stanford University, 2010
BS with honors (science, technology, & society), Stanford University, 2009
BA (international relations), Stanford University, 2009

Associate Consultant, ZS Associates, 2010-2013

New venture development; entrepreneurial teams; technology and innovation strategy; venture capital
Most fascinating research discovery: The process of scaling up often proves challenging for startup companies. My research suggests that a reason for this is that the “founding” and “growth” stages of a company’s life are typically conceptualized as discrete, yet these stages are intertwined in practice. Ventures that aspire to growth benefit from anticipating more structured environments to come, even when they are making early decisions such as who to bring on to their initial team of joiners.

Kauffman Dissertation Fellow, 2018
Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University, 2017
Departmental Commencement Speaker, Stanford University, 2009
Walter G. Vincenti Thesis Prize, Stanford University, 2009

If not a business professor, I would be: Helping build young companies as an entrepreneur, early team member, or investor.
Something interesting about me: I love learning new languages. I’ve taken classes in four so far (Spanish, French, Latin, and Greek) and would love to continue to learn more in the future.
When not at work, I enjoy: Outdoor activities such as hiking and biking; spending time with family and friends; traveling; testing out recipes in my kitchen.
Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude
Favorite movie: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Favorite television series:  Mad Men; Game of Thrones (seasons 1-7)
Top of my bucket list: Visiting as many national parks as possible—fortunately there are several gorgeous ones near the UW!

Brian Gale
Assistant Professor of Accounting

PhD (accountancy), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2019
JD, University of Chicago Law School, 2009
BS (accounting and finance), Miami University (Ohio), 2006

Tax Associate, Sidley Austin (Chicago), 2010-2014
Research Assistant, University of Chicago Law School, 2009-2010
Audit Intern, PricewaterhouseCoopers (Cincinnati), 2006

Judgment and decision making; accounting regulation; information processing; investors’ use of financial reporting
Most fascinating research discovery: Investors discount information in situations with high ambiguity in the information environment, but only when they do not have to exert effort to acquire the information.

Fred H. Figge Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award, University of Illinois, 2016-2017
Editor, The University of Chicago Law Review, 2008-2009

If not a business professor, I would be: Still a tax attorney (probably)
Something surprising about me: I’ve been to the lowest and highest points in the Lower 48 in the same day.
When not at work, I enjoy: Anything outdoors or active (backpacking, hiking, running, golf, kayaking)
Favorite book: A Tale of Two Cities
Favorite movie: No Country for Old Men
Favorite television series: Parks and Recreation
Favorite company: Starbucks
Top of my bucket list: Backpacking the John Muir Trail

Andrew Hafenbrack
Assistant Professor of Management & Organization

PhD (management-organizational behavior), INSEAD, 2015
MS (management), INSEAD, 2012
BS (decision science), Carnegie Mellon University, 2009

Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Católica-Lisbon School of Business and Economics, 2015-2019
Visiting Doctoral Fellow, Wharton School of Business, 2012-2013

Mindfulness and performance; multicultural experiences; decision-making, social identity
Research has been cited extensively in popular press, including The Atlantic, BBC World News, BloombergBusinessweek, Financial Times,, Forbes, Freakonomics, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, South China Morning Post and Time.
Most fascinating research discovery: It’s a tie between two: Meditating for 8 minutes reduces how motivated people say they are to do unpleasant tasks but it does not reduce their performance on them. And close friendships or long-term romantic relationships with foreigners make people more creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial.

Best Paper Award, Academy of Management (MSR Division), 2019
Best Paper Award, European Academy of Management (Meaning Track), 2019
Organizational Behavior SIG Best Reviewer Award, European Academy of Management, 2018
World’s 40 Best Business School Professors Under 40, Poets & Quants, 2018
Distinguished Teaching Award, Católica-Lisbon SBE, 2018
Best Paper in Innovation Management (runner-up), EBS Universität (Wiesbaden), 2017
Outstanding Reviewer Award, Academy of Management (Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division), 2014, 2017

If not a business professor, I would be: A consultant or opera singer
Something surprising about me: I took seven years of opera lessons
When not at work, I enjoy: eating, cooking, going on adventures with my son
Favorite book: The Sirens of Titan
Favorite movie: I, Tonya
Favorite television series: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Favorite company: Costco
Top of my bucket list: riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Lalit Jain
Assistant Professor of Marketing and International Business

PhD (mathematics), University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016
MM (pure mathematics), University of Waterloo, 2008
BM (pure mathematics), University of Waterloo, 2006

Research Scientist, Allen School of Computer Science, University of Washington, 2018-2019
Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Michigan, 2016-2017
Data Scientist Intern, Consumer Tax Group, Intuit Inc., 2015
Co-Founder, Seventh Harmonic LLC, 2013
Teach for America High School Math Teacher, San Francisco 2008-2010

Building machine learning and adaptive data collection algorithms and systems with humans in the loop; multi-armed bandits, experimental platforms; user preference learning
Most fascinating research discovery: Given the relative distance information between locations—for example, ‘New York is closer to Miami than Los Angeles’—it is possible to recover the distances between them with very little error (up to scaling). This idea can be used to develop algorithms for building rich geometric representations of items, or concepts (like emotions) just based on people’s perceived similarity between them. Such representations can then be used for later inference or product recommendation.

Math Department TA Teaching Award, UW-Madison, 2014

If not a business professor, I would be: A high school math teacher or working on public education policy
Something surprising (or interesting) about me: I’ve done many cross-country trips and lived in many different areas in the US.
When not at work, I enjoy: reading, playing guitar and hiking
Favorite book: The Expanse Series (James S. A. Corey). I’m a huge sci-fi fan.
Favorite movie: Anything by Mel Brooks
Favorite television series: The West Wing or True Detective
Favorite company: India Trunk Sale (my mom’s Indian clothing shop in Knoxville, TN)
Top of my bucket list: Learning how to sail

Lukas Kremens
Assistant Professor of Finance

PhD (finance), London School of Economics, 2019
MRs (finance), London School of Economics, 2015
MS (finance), London School of Economics, 2012
BS (business studies), City University London, 2011

Investment Banking Analyst, Rothschild, 2012-2013
Referee: Journal of Empirical Finance, Journal of Financial Econometrics, Journal of Finance, Economica

International asset pricing; macro finance; asset pricing; financial intermediation
Most fascinating research discovery: If you’re into politics, looking at asset prices going up and down can be more entertaining than it sounds.

Class Teacher Award, London School of Economics, 2016, 2018
SIX Best Paper Award, Swiss Society for Financial Markets, 2018
Best Paper, Annual Conference in International Finance, 2017

If not a business professor, I would be: probably working in a bank (glad I’m not)
When not at work, I enjoy: playing soccer (aka football) and guitar
Favorite book: The World of Yesterday (S. Zweig)
Favorite movie: Quite a few: Shawshank Redemption, Skyfall, 12 Angry Men, Jungle Book (original Disney), Life is Beautiful
Favorite television series: Friends
Favorite company: Borussia Moenchengladbach (German soccer club)
Top of my bucket list: West Coast road trip

Russell Walker
Senior Lecturer of Marketing

MBA (executive), Northwestern University, 2006
PhD (engineering systems), Cornell University, 1999
MS (engineering systems), Cornell University, 1997
BS (civil engineering systems), University of South Florida, 1995

Clinical Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, 2010-2019
Associate Director, Zell Center for Risk Research, Northwestern Kellogg School, 2007-2013
Instructor, Cornell University, 1998-1999
Senior Strategist, Capital One Financial, 2000-2006

Analytics; big data; digital strategies; data monetization; sports analytics; risk management; enterprise and operational risk; data-driven marketing; decision sciences; data science; international business strategy.
Author of From Big Data to Big Profits: Success with Data and Analytics (2015)
Author of Winning with Risk Management (2013)
Author of Risk Management in Financial Institutions (2013)
Most fascinating research discovery: In practice, the people side of analytics is far harder than the analytics itself. More technical people should study culture and less technical people should study logic. There are big gaps in organizations on this front.

Kellogg Impact Award, Northwestern University, 2011
Top Blogger in Big Data and Analytics, KD Nuggets, 2016
Top Blogger in Big Data and Analytics, Onalytica, 2015
Silver Award Medal, Axiom Awards, 2015

If not a business professor, I would be: an NFL owner
Something surprising about me: I greatly enjoy horticulture and all things to do with trees.
When not at work, I enjoy: gardening and hiking with my family
Favorite book: Julius Caesar (a play), Animal Farm
Favorite movie: The Godfather (“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.”)
Favorite television series:
Sopranos (“How ya doing?”)
Favorite company: Costco (great stuff and great prices)
Top of my bucket list: Visit Antarctica

Mingwen Yang
Assistant Professor of Information Systems

PhD (information systems), University of Texas at Dallas, 2019
MS (electrical and computer engineering), Georgia Institute of Technology, 2013
MS (management science and engineering), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2013
BS (information management and information systems), Tianjin University, 2010

Fintech (social trading); online reputation management; cloud computing security; business intelligence and analytics.

Best Paper runner-up (E-Business Cluster), INFORMS Annual Meeting, 2018

If not a business professor, I would be: working in an IT company
Something surprising about me: I have a good sense of direction and expert at reading maps.
When not at work, I enjoy: watching documentaries on archaeology and geography, movies, hiking, city walks
Favorite book: Classical comics set by Tsai Chih Chung
Favorite movie: Inception
Favorite television series:  Friends
Favorite company: Berkshire Hathaway

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