School of Management, Yale University
Saed Alizamir is an award-winning professor from the Yale School of Management. Alizamir’s early work and research focus on operations, sustainability, and public health. As we’ve stated in other top 40 Under 40 Business School Professors profiles, this list gets increasingly competitive each year. One criterion that’s emerged for including professors is if their research impacts our greater world to make it a better place. Alizamir’s early work does just that.
“Broadly speaking, I use cutting-edge methodologies from operations research to tackle managerial problems that involve public-private interactions and entail societal impact,” Alizamir says of his research. “More specifically, I am interested in examining how social responsibility can be promoted in the business world, particularly by incorporating the specific elements of decision-making into the analysis. My research investigates the role of public agencies (such as governmental institutions and NGOs) in enhancing the operational practices of business firms toward generating social value. Overall, the goal of my research is to inform public policy decisions in sustainability and public health domains.”
Alizamir comes high nominated by the Yale community and is nearing 500 Google Scholar citations. He’s also received many research and teaching awards including multiple sustainability awards.
Current age: 39
At current institution since what year? Since 2013
Education: Ph.D. in Business Administration (Decision Sciences), Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
List of MBA courses you currently teach: Operations Engine, Managing Sustainable Operations, The Executive
TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I attended a conference as a master’s student and happened to be at the dinner table with two prominent business school professors. Over the years, I have found business schools to be the nexus of intellectual curiosity and practical relevance, and have realized the enormous impact that business schools have on shaping the world—both through MBA education and academic research.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?
Broadly speaking, I use cutting-edge methodologies from operations research to tackle managerial problems that involve public-private interactions and entail societal impact. More specifically, I am interested in examining how social responsibility can be promoted in the business world, particularly by incorporating the specific elements of decision-making into the analysis. My research investigates the role of public agencies (such as governmental institutions and NGOs) in enhancing the operational practices of business firms toward generating social value. Overall, the goal of my research is to inform public policy decisions in sustainability and public health domains.
Some of my recent work includes the study of subsidy incentives for renewable energies, promoting sustainable practices in agricultural supply chains, demand response programs in residential electricity markets, and managing warning mechanisms against public health crises.
If I weren’t a business school professor … I would probably pursue environmental activism and found a think tank to increase awareness and influence policy decisions in this domain.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor?
I am very passionate about students’ learning experience. Also, I constantly remind the students not to lose sight of the social and environmental implications of business problems.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Over-rehearsed
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: How to strike the right balance between exploring and learning about so many new and intriguing topics versus keeping focus on one specific subject at a time.
Professor I most admire and why: Aside from my advisors, Professors Peng Sun and Francis de Vericourt, to whom I look up and owe a lot, I highly admire Yale SOM’s Professor Edward Kaplan. Through his research and teaching, he has broadened the boundaries of what a business school professor can accomplish. I am inspired by the depth and breadth of his research, and the amount of positive impact he has actually created in the world.
TEACHING MBA STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students?
MBA students are often more mature, and come to class with a wealth of experience from the real world. Their diverse backgrounds and different perspectives make the teaching experience rewarding and enjoyable.
What is most challenging?
Making sure every student is engaged and enforcing classroom norms to avoid distractions.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious (and motivated)
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Distracting
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as … Fair but strict.
LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies?
Tennis, hiking, traveling, soccer (playing and following European leagues)
How will you spend your summer?
Lots of traveling if the pandemic allows
Favorite place(s) to vacation: Rainbow mountains in Peru, Cape Verde, Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, or any other place that is naturally or culturally exotic.
Favorite book(s): Hard to just name a few. Currently I am reading The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel, and the next book on my list is Framers: Human Advantage in an Age of Technology and Turmoil.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much?
I enjoy watching indie movies, especially from foreign filmmakers because they are a great window into different cultures. The two best TV shows I recently watched are Suits and Money Heist.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why?
I listen to all types of music, but have a particular affection for folk music.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… More interactions with companies and businesses, a more diverse set of practically motivated elective courses/projects, and more open-access free courses for underprivileged students around the world.
In my opinion, companies, and organizations today need to do a better job at… Having foresight about the long-term consequences of their decisions on society. As a first step, this requires collecting high-quality data and crafting well-defined standards on various aspects of a company’s business operations.
I’m grateful for… Family, and also belonging to a profession that inspires me to be a constant learner and always vibrant.
Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say:
“I loved this course and Prof. Alizamir is one of my favorite professors that I’ve had so far at SOM. I really appreciated that he did a great job of involving both the Zoom students and in person students. He was very attentive to raised hands on both platforms and great at switching back and forth between the two, much more so than other professors. I also appreciated his sense of humor and ability to make the class really engaging through funny video clips and stories. I also appreciated that he did the course survey early on and really worked to address all the concerns raised in that.”
“I think Professor Alizamir is a fantastic professor. He creates positive learning environments filled with jokes, laughter, interactive and relevant examples, and an acknowledgement that operations is hard and we should all focus on learning rather than mastering. He provided insight into cases across a wide range of industries to demonstrate the relevance of operations in all of our careers, wherever they may take us.”
“Professor Alizamir made what a seemingly boring discipline, incredibly engaging both in his style of presentation as well as his explanation of concepts. I really liked learning the math behind operations research and then seeing it get implemented in practice.”
“Professor Saed is my favorite professor that I’ve had at Yale SOM so far. He is knowledgeable and so engaging. He selects cases that are interesting and also reflective of different cultures and business contexts outside the US. He uses a lot of humor in his classes including funny media clips of people like Shaq to drive home key points. Professor Saed is the best and deserves this recognition!”
“Great class with great content. His pedagogical style is beyond excellent, tying perfectly real life situations with the technical aspects of the Operations class. Working on expanding the scope of the class by introducing new social oriented cases.”