Ivy College of Business’ first PhD graduate

Jing Dai was accepted to the brand new Ivy College of Business doctoral program in the fall 2009, and was Ivy’s first doctoral program graduate in 2013! This was very exciting for Jing as well as the program. Jing moved on to be a faculty member of Ancell School of Business at Western Connecticut State University. Recently, Jing was promoted to Associate Professor at University of Nottingham Ningbo China. We asked her a few questions about her journey into a program that had just evolved.

What made you choose ISU for your doctorate, especially when the program was brand new and untested? 

Before I moved to Ames, I worked as a research assistant in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. My husband was a PhD student in the Department of Economics at ISU. Thus I quit the job in Singapore and started living in Ames. At the very beginning, I didn’t have an intention to study in a PhD program, and I didn’t even know there was a brand new doctoral program in Ivy. Fortunately, I met Prof. Mike Crum by chance. We had a very good talk in his office. He let me know about this doctoral program and encouraged me to apply. Then I become part of the first class of PhD students and later the very first PhD graduate in Ivy. I truly appreciate Prof. Mike Crum’s guidance.

What did you learn at ISU that helped you? 

I truly liked the RA rotation system in the Ivy PhD program. Under this rotation system, I had the chance to work with several excellent professors, for example, Profs. Yoshi Suzuki, Jennifer Blackhurst, and David Cantor, and learned a lot from them. During this learning process, I explored different research areas and helped identify my dissertation topic. Meanwhile, I developed skills on self-learning, multi-task coordination, time management, etc.  I also received great supervision from my co-chairs Frank Montabon and David Cantor. They trained me on how to conduct great academic research. I’m also very honored to have become the first in Ivy to be awarded a Graduate Research Excellence Award in ISU. Additionally, the beautiful campus of ISU also refreshed me after a busy day of studying.

What was your biggest work-related victory that helped you get tenure? 

It’s quite difficult to name the BIGGEST victory for my successful tenure case, but I think some professional contributions I made helped me get tenure. To name a few: 

  1. Research. All of my publications are in leading operations, logistics and supply chain management journals. And most of my publications are in the area of sustainable supply chain management. Those helped me build a national and international reputation in the OLSCM area. Moreover, I was awarded a grant from the National Natural Sciences of Foundation China in 2016, which is one of the most competitive and top level funds in China.  
  2. Teaching. I started a brand new course — Introduction to management sciences for business decisions — in the University of Nottingham, China campus. The student enrollment numbers in this course increased from 8 to 42 to 139 in last three years.   Some students are even interested in operations management and business analysis when they purse further study.
  3. Service. Beyond regular support for school duties, I also successfully co-organized an international conference on operations and supply chain management, which was hosted in the University of Nottingham, China campus. With a balanced and completed profile, I can succeed in my promotion to associate professor.

Any advice you would give students seeking to get a doctorate in business?

Doctoral study is not an easy journey, as it takes a long time to finish.  Sometimes students might lose motivation because they felt they hadn’t produced anything substantial.  It’s not correct. A famous Chinese proverb: “Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”  So please focus on small signs of progress and keep moving forward. Additionally, as a dissertation is a doctoral student’s most important outcome, I would advice them: Write early and often; Read lots of papers, including those from other areas; work closely with supervisors; and manage time effectively. 


From ISU faculty

“Jing was a pleasure to work with during her PhD program and I have enjoyed our continuing collaborations.  She is a hard worker.  She has a big smile and every meeting with her ended with that smile.  She is going to have a great career and I am very proud that she is one of our graduates.”

 – Professor Frank Montabon

“Jing is first and foremost a very bright and inquisitive woman – excellent traits for a researcher!  She entered our program with an outstanding educational and work background which included two masters degrees from top notch universities.  During her time in our Ph.D. program she worked with some of our best faculty researchers, and each one of them spoke very highly of her skills, work ethic, and collegiality.  Everyone wanted to work with her!  The quality of Jing’s dissertation research is clearly evidenced by the three derivative articles she has published in some of our discipline’s best journals. Jing’s career has continued on the steep upward trajectory she started here at Iowa State.  Her research record is enviable, and she is also making major contributions to her university in teaching, curriculum development, and external service.  We are all so proud of her.  One couldn’t ask for a better example and ambassador of our program!”

– Professor Michael Crum

I am very proud of Jing.  Jing has always been an extremely hardworking and top notch colleague.  She is passionate about conducting scholarly research and she is a team player on our research projects. While she was a student at Iowa State, she published one paper at the Journal of Operations Management which received a best paper award.  She was recently awarded a multi-year research grant from the Chinese government to conduct research on environmental management issues in the supply chain. Jing invited me to work with her on this project and I am very honored to do so.

– Professor David Cantor

We congratulate Jing on her hard work, perseverance and accomplishments throughout her doctoral career, and wish her luck in all her future endeavors!