UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome, Professor Aydin Alptekinoglu, Penn State, Smeal College of Business, to host a research seminar discussing: Choice, Fashion, and the Environment.
In this talk, I intend to give a broad sense of my research portfolio by way of two ongoing projects. I hope it will serve as a good basis for productive conversations during my extended visit to UCL. The first project is about choice and the second about fashion (and its terrible impact on the environment).
In the first part of my talk, I will lay out a theory of discrete choice via sequential search. Essentially every choice involves an information collection or search phase prior to a decision-making phase that culminates in a choice. To study the information collection phase in an important class of search problems and understand how it influences the final choice, I will embed a novel discrete choice model, called the Exponomial Choice model (Alptekinoğlu and Semple 2016, 2021), in a classical model of sequential search with perfect recall. Ultimately, this research delivers the search path and final choice probabilities in closed form, which then enable joint optimization of assortment and prices under discrete choice via sequential search. We are close to submitting the underlying theory to a journal and proceed to the next logical step: Testing the model with archival or field data.
In the second part, I will present analytical and empirical findings from multiple papers that share one overarching idea: Whether adopting mass customization (instead of or besides mass production) can be a win-win from profitability and environmental sustainability standpoints. While I will use the fashion industry as my main context and motivation, this is a broadly applicable and important question. The modus operandi of the fashion industry is mass production of a large variety of fashion items in advance of highly uncertain and fickle demand, which results in colossal overproduction and major contributions to landfills all over the world. Could mass customization – producing on-demand exactly what the customer wants in mass scale – help change this status quo? The short answer is, not always, but it is very promising.
Bio: Aydın Alptekinoğlu is a Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management and Robert G. Schwartz University Endowed Fellow in Business Administration at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Aydın holds a Ph.D. in Operations Management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and has an industrial engineering background. His broad research interest is in product strategy. In particular, he studies Variety, Pricing, and Availability dimensions of product strategy, with product variety management making up the bulk of his research portfolio. He is currently teaching a capstone course to Smeal seniors majoring in supply chain management, and a Ph.D. course on the tools (e.g., discrete choice theory) and topics (e.g., product variety management) that fall under the operations-marketing interface research. He is the current VP of Meetings in the MSOM Society of INFORMS, and has recently (2016-2022) served as the Director of Research at Penn State’s Center for Supply Chain Research. His Google Scholar profile can be accessed at https://scholar.google.com/….