A short write up from Gao Yini (Department of Decision Sciences) on her Overseas Exchange Programme experience with Department of Economics in University of Pennsylvania

It was really a great learning journey during my 5-month exchange program to University of Pennsylvania, which could be summarized by three terms, new knowledge, new research atmosphere, and new friends.

During the 5 months, I have sat in classes in Economic Department and Wharton School of Business. As a PhD student from Operations Research field, the new knowledge I learnt from economic classes truly broadened my horizon and gave me plenty of new perspectives. Different from focusing on one specific business problem, what economists study are more general and philosophical. They usually study big pictures using simple math model. What those experiences brought to me is the possibility of bridging how they view a problem and how we apply our research methodology together and the opportunity of interdisciplinary research ideas.

During my stay in Upenn, I had a weekly discussion session with Prof. Rakesh Vohra on new research ideas. Combining with my research interest in disruption risk management, we came up with a project on understanding the role of platform in mitigating supply chain disruption risk. Although this is just a preliminary idea, I believe in its novelty and would like to continue working on this project after the exchange program. The new research atmosphere there enabled me to have more perspective on my current research agenda by bring other scholars’ inputs.

One of the most enjoyable experiences is always making new friends. In Upenn and Wharton, I met many excellent PhD students. I was constantly amazed by their fresh ideas on both research and life. World is not that big anymore!

I would like to express my great gratitude to PhD office and my department for supporting me on this exchange program. This is really a valuable and memorable journey!