Thursday, March 19, 2009

Learning from Students, Getting a PhD, and Travel to China

Next Thursday and Friday will be very special. On Thursday, March 26, 2009, Patrick Qiang is scheduled to defend his doctoral dissertation, "Network Efficiency / Performance Measurement with Vulnerability and Robustness Analysis with Application to Critical Infrastructure." I have had the privilege of chairing Patrick's doctoral dissertation committee at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Patrick will be my 14th doctoral student to graduate. Of special note -- a member of his dissertation committee is Professor June Dong who received her PhD in 1994 from UMass Amherst and is now a Full Professor at the School of Business at SUNY Oswego. Professor Dong will be speaking in the UMass Amherst Spring 2009 INFORMS Speaker Series the following day. Her talk will be on supply chain disruptions. Professor Dong was also a PhD student of mine and her journey from China has been amazing. In a sense, she took me back to her home, when I visited Shanghai in August 2006. I had the very special honor of being a plenary speaker at the Fudan Management Science Forum and was also on the Fudan Management Science Prize Committee. My Chinese hosts could not have been more gracious. What made the trip even more special was being with Professor June Dong who showed me where she had gone to school in Shanghai, where her family had lived, and provided me with a wonderful education on her city.

To obtain a PhD is a lengthy and difficult process. To have had students such as the ones that I have had the privilege to teach and to work with, makes the years of effort most worthwhile! What could make a professor prouder than having students succeed and "fly on their won wings!"