Fox School of Business PhD candidate Kevin Yili Hong, whose research interests include economic and behavioral issues in online labor markets, has received a tenure-track assistant professorship at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
Hong came to the Fox School from China in 2009, to work with Paul A. Pavlou, Milton F. Stauffer Professor of Information Technology and Strategy and the Fox School’s Chief Research Officer. Hong’s research has appeared in many top journals and proceedings, including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Global Information Management andInternational Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), among others. Some of Hong’s papers have won best paper awards at ICIS, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, and the Academy of Management Conference.
His dissertation focuses on various issues in the emerging online labor markets, using both empirical and analytical methodologies such as econometrics, game theory and field experimentation. Before joining the Fox School, Hong graduated magna cum laude from Beijing Foreign Studies University with a B.S. in Management and a B.A. in English Literature.
What drew you to the Fox School of Business?
I applied to the PhD program in 2008. I got several offers from top MIS PhD programs, but the primary reason I came here was the research interest fit with my advisor, Dr. Paul A. Pavlou. I look up to him, as he is a well-established researcher in the field with a stellar reputation. He has encouraged and convinced me to come here and work with him.
What has it been like working with the faculty here, especially Dr. Pavlou?
All of my experiences have been very positive. He is among the most professional people I’ve seen in my life. I learned so much from him. He cares a lot about my professional life, especially research, and he supports me in every way he can. It is lucky to be his first PhD student and work under his mentorship.
What drew you to your area of research?
For doctoral students, there was always the option of doing something your advisor is doing, basically following in their footsteps by extending their research, and I did some of that. Dr. Pavlou has always encouraged me to explore new phenomena, so I can establish myself as an independent researcher. So what I did was to explore something new – online labor markets – under his guidance. I have three papers in this area, which comprise my dissertation.
Why do you think you stood out to Arizona State, where you’ll be an Assistant Professor?
As I know, they received more than 100 applications, and they narrowed it down to a few candidates. I think what made me stand out was not only having top journal publications, and the reputation of Temple’s Management Information Systems program, but also other intangible capabilities: how you answer questions, how you approach people, how you react to people and other things. I got a lot of guidance from my advisor, Paul A. Pavlou, and Temple’s English language consultant Christina Owings in these aspects.
What are you looking forward to?
ASU’s MIS program is doing really well. They have a new undergraduate program in business analytics, and that’s something I’m interested in teaching. They also started a lot of new online programs, which is interesting as well. Besides teaching, as an Assistant Professor, you are always trying to publish more papers, do more research and collaborate with other faculty and PhD students. And I think my mentality will change as well from a PhD student to a professor, and I’m looking forward to a new life there.
Are you pursuing other research besides your dissertation?
Yes. I have three research streams. The first stream is my dissertation, which is online labor markets. My second research stream is on product uncertainty, and I’ve extended that stream of research with a new phenomenon called “product fit uncertainty.” My third stream is research related to social media and the economic value it provides to firms.
What will you miss about Temple and Philadelphia once you leave?
Philadelphia is a great city. It’s a city where you can get almost anything you want. I’ve gotten to know the city so well, so I know where to go and what to avoid. That’s good. At Temple, obviously all of the professors are great and are not only great researchers but also great people. They’ll provide you with research and emotional support. I’m also glad to see that, in my five years here, we have seen the MIS Department and also school go up immensely in terms of reputation. I just want to see the school reputation go upward and onward.
What advice would you give to prospective Fox PhD students?
For people pursuing a research career, I just think Fox is a great place to be. It has a culture that you start your research from day one, which is very important. So you could ideally have top journal publications by the time you graduate. And most importantly, find an advisor who can support you and get along with you professionally. This is where I was lucky!