Four Business School doctoral candidates receive research awards

Harvard Business School.

Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

3 min read

The Harvard Business School Doctoral Programs and their faculty chair, David Scharfstein, the School’s Edmund Cogswell Converse Professor of Finance and Banking, have announced three recipients of the 2020-2021 Wyss Award for Excellence in Doctoral Research and one winner of the Martin Award for Excellence in Business Economics. The prizes are presented each year based on excellence in innovative dissertation research.

The Wyss Awards are named in honor of Hansjörg Wyss, M.B.A ’65, who established the Hansjörg Wyss Endowment for Doctoral Education in 2004. The Wyss Endowment supports a broad range of efforts to strengthen the Harvard Business School Doctoral Programs, including fellowships and stipends for doctoral students, increased support for field research, new doctoral course development, teaching skills training, and the renovation of doctoral facilities on campus.

The Roger Martin Fund for Doctoral Research was established in 2006 through the generosity of Roger Martin, M.B.A. ’81, former dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. The fund was created in memory of Harvard Business School professor John Lintner, a world-renowned expert in finance and one of Martin’s mentors.

Harvard Business School offers or jointly offers doctoral programs in accounting and management, business economics, health policy (management), marketing, management, organizational behavior, strategy, and technology and operations management. At any given time, approximately 130 HBS doctoral students are completing course work or working on their dissertations at the School.

Three students were awarded the Wyss Award for Excellence in Research and one student was awarded the Martin Award for Excellence in Research.

Below are the students’ projects:

Ximena Garcia-Rada (Marketing)

Garcia-Rada’s dissertation focuses on understanding how consumers make decisions involving close others. She explores using a wide range of tools including laboratory experiments, field studies, in-depth interviews, and analysis of archival data. Overall, her research highlights opportunities to understand how consumers make decisions that impact their well-being and their close relationships.

Sourobh Ghosh (Technology and Operations Management)

Ghosh studies how firms use digital experimentation to drive product innovation and strategy. In one study, he shows that as the cost of experimentation has declined, firms are running more experiments but on lower value opportunities. Overall, Sourobh’s research illustrates that it is important to measure and manage the experimentation process to ensure that it is delivering results that are consistent with the long-run strategic objectives of the firm.

Alexa Scherf (Accounting and Management)

Scherf studies disclosure in a variety of contexts using large sample statistical analysis and field interviews. In one study, she shows that the online publication of public officials’ financial disclosures supports anti-corruption enforcement. In another project, Alexa documents that there is considerable variation in the ways firms prepare corporate disclosures.

Francesca Bastianello

Bastianello models the financial and macroeconomic implications of behavioral biases that affect how individuals learn information and form their beliefs. Her work departs from this unrealistic assumption and instead examines what happens if individuals infer the wrong information from the outcomes they observe because they misunderstand what generates them.