The Marketing Area at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University hosted the fifth edition of the Let’s Talk About Service (LTAS) workshop in New York City on Dec 7-9, 2016. This was the first time this workshop was held outside of Europe.
This workshop aims to introduce young scholars to the wonderful world of service research and to guide them through their PhD journey. This initiative is unique in its kind, since our target audience is the new generation of service researchers. For each edition, a workshop on a particular emerging topic is selected and participants have a chance to learn something new regarding research and publication in the field of services. This year’s theme was the contemporary methodologies in service research. Two half-day workshops by true experts in their fields will be offered to the participants: one on Agent-based modeling and one on sentiment analysis.
The workshop kicked off at the Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus on Wednesday Dec 7 with the opening reception. Participants had an opportunity to meet informally and network before the workshop’s official start next day. Everyone received their conference bags along with Fordham hats and all the necessary information that they would need over next two days. Everyone enjoyed their drinks looking over the Manhattan’s Lincoln Center Arts Complex and listening to the live jazz trio composed of three students at the Fordham’s music program.
Thursday morning started with breakfast at the brand new Gabelli School of Business building at the Lincoln Center campus. This brand new building offers a great Manhattan location with a cutting edge technology and facilities like Innovation Lab and Bloomberg Trading Room. After welcome remarks by Sertan Kabadayi, the Marketing Area Chair and the LTAS Organizer, the Dean of Gabelli School of Business, Donna Rapaccioli officially welcome the participants to Fordham University. Then, Wafa Hammedi, Bart Larivière and Annouk Lievens gave a brief presentation on the history, mission and positioning of LTAS.
After these remarks, the first day continued with the first workshop on sentiment analysis delivered by Bing Liu, professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prof. Liu discussed the benefits of using sentiment analysis and gave detailed information about the technical aspects of using this method. During the first coffee break, the participants had a chance to pick from colorful “I Love NY” mugs to use during those breaks, and even take it back home.
Lunch took place at the Atrium of the Fordham’s campus where participants continued to network and discuss their research projects and career plans with the mentors and senior researchers. On Thursday afternoon, the second workshop on Agent Based Modeling took place where Prof. Barak Libai showed why and how researchers could employ this method using different examples, including one of his research projects. He claimed that under certain circumstances using agent based modeling could be the only option available to the researchers to answer their research questions. He further emphasized that still what matters most in the research process is the research question as everything starts with that question first. As part of Prof. Libai’s presentation, Mohammad Nejad, assistant professor of marketing at Fordham also shared his own research journey using agent based modeling and talked about the challenges that he had faced especially during the review process in different journals.
After a long day of two workshops, the participants walked down the streets of New York City to their group dinner. The amazing views of Times Square accompanied the dinner and participants could experience a real New York evening. The dinner was followed by a “surprise” visit to the Top of the Rock so the participants could enjoy magnificent NYC skyline at night from the 68th floor of the Rockefeller Center.
The second day was a historic day as the Panel Discussion in the morning had all five past, current and in-coming, editors of the Journal of Service Research (JSR): Mary Jo Bitner, Michael Brady, Kay Lemon, A. Parasuraman, and Roland Rust. This was the first time all five editors were around the same table. The panel was moderated by Jay Kandampully, the editor of the Journal of Service Management, and discussed various topics related to the research methodologies. The active participation from the audience generated a great deal of discussion and food for thought for PhD students.
After the panel, the participants started working on theircollaborative research projects. Before the workshop, all the participants had been assigned into teams of four members with two co-mentors based on their research interests. During the collaborative workshops, each team worked together to develop a research topic that they would keep working on after the workshop ended. At the end of multiple sessions of collaborative workshop, each team presented their research topic to the entire group of participants and received constructive feedback from them.
The 5th edition of LTAS ended with a toast where all the participants receiving a farewell gift that would remind them their experience at Fordham and in NYC. Most of the participants were already making plans to attend the next year’s edition in Antwerp, Belgium.
The Marketing Area at Fordham University had the distinct honor of being the first host of this workshop in the US. It took a year-long of planning and preparation, and a lot of hard work. But in the end, it all paid off. It was great to see that all participants left NYC happy with a smile on their faces.
Impressions from the event (for fullscreen/mobile click here)
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