Foster PhD Alumni Spotlight: Amir Fazli, PhD ’18

Collectively, the marketing department at Foster has shaped the future of the field of marketing by training the next generation of top scholars. Recent job placements include Kellogg School of Management, Cornell Tech, and University of Miami, and Indiana University. The quality of job placements reflect the training that prepares UW Foster graduates to push boundaries of knowledge and thrive as valued members of learning communities.

Students in the Foster PhD program get early mentorship from leading scholars in the field. In addition to personalized guidance from a faculty mentor, Foster students have access to leaders in related disciplines such as UW’s prestigious computer science and psychology programs. Rigorous coursework and a supportive learning environment serve as a foundation from which students can launch productive careers.

Today’s spotlight is on Amir Fazli, ’18, currently Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Tell us about your research.

My primary research is on how cloud computing affects marketing decisions. I’m interested in exploring how the growing cloud technology changes the way marketers should act, especially in web-based markets. I use game theory to solve analytical models of the cloud computing market. Some of the general questions I study in this area are: How the cloud’s ability to automatically scale resources affect startups and their decision to enter new markets? What is the effect of cloud computing on security of consumer data? How does the pricing of the cloud affect firms’ choice of diversifying their resources? And many more!

How did you get interested in this research topic?

Living in Seattle was a big part of what shaped my interest in cloud computing. We have Amazon and Microsoft, the top two players in the cloud market, in our backyard and the city is uniquely connected to leaders in the tech industry. I had the opportunity to speak with managers in Amazon’s cloud computing sector and learn about the latest innovations and challenges in the cloud industry. I became really interested in how quickly the cloud computing industry is changing and how frequently new and interesting innovations are introduced in this market. Being located at the center of where all this innovation was happening was a very engaging and motivating experience that shaped my research.

How did the PhD program at UW Foster prepare you for success?

I feel very lucky to have been trained at the Foster PhD program! I can’t imagine where I would be in my academic career without the help and support of the wonderful people who mentored me at Foster. One of the best advantages of Foster is that every PhD student is assigned to a mentor from the first year. This really helped me not feel overwhelmed during my first year and receive invaluable guidance from my advisor. My experience with my fellow PhD students at Foster was also very positive and memorable. All other students were supportive and friendly and we all felt responsible to help any new coming students. If I could go back in time and do my PhD again, I would choose Foster again anytime!

What was your favorite moment in the PhD program?

There is nothing like the moment when you successfully defend your dissertation! It’s the moment years of PhD study is building up to and it felt even better than I expected. It was great to have my committee, the faculty, and fellow students celebrate it with me. Although it was hard to know my time at Foster was coming to an end, it was a wonderful reminder of the warmth and support I had received throughout the years. My memories from my time at UW have been overwhelmingly positive and I always look forward to visiting Seattle to meet up with the great people there.

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