Assistant Professor, Bentley University (USA)
Why did you decide to join the HEC Paris PhD Program?
When I decided to join an academic career, I naturally chose HEC Paris for my PhD because of its strong research reputation, top-notch international researchers, extremely supportive research environment, generous financial support, and warm and empathetic atmosphere.
If your academic ideal is to develop truly fundamental and creative theories, which can contribute to both our human knowledge and social welfare changes, HEC Paris is just the right place to start and realize that ideal.
Can you talk about your research?
I decided to work in the marketing field and my research interests focus on how to motivate consumers to make better choices that increase their well-being or communal social welfare, particularly in the context of digital marketing. One stream of my research focuses on developing innovative marketing “nudges” to increase consumers’ well-being via influencing their judgments and choices. Another stream of my research explores consumers’ prosocial behaviors in online settings such as charitable crowdfunding.
In addition to studying consumer behavior and psychology from a theoretical perspective, as a marketing researcher, I strongly emphasize the importance of providing realistic, actionable, and generalizable marketing implications to benefit consumers, companies, and society. In line with this emphasis, most of my projects combine multiple methods such as large-scale randomized field experiments that collaborate with companies, industry archival data, and well-controlled lab experiments.
With his PhD Dissertation « Essays on Marketing Interventions to Influence Consumer Judgments, Choices, and Behaviors », Fei Gao was awarded the HEC Foundation Best Dissertation Prize 2020. Learn more about his research in his interview on knowledge@HEC.
How was your HEC journey?
Looking back over the past six years, deciding to start my PhD career at HEC Paris is undoubtedly the luckiest and the wisest decision.HEC Paris is truly a warm and supportive place, where there is full of intellectual nutrition and the school has significantly shaped the way we reflect and the ability to reflect, which in my opinion is the most important quality for being a good scholar.
The academic team here has been unreservedly encouraging us to pursue original research ideas and providing us with rich material, intellectual, and affective support.
As a PhD graduate of HEC Paris, I will uphold and pass on the academic spirit of HEC Paris whenever and wherever I am.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a PhD?
When considering pursuing a PhD, ask yourself some questions first: whether you are truly curious about this world, whether you have passion to create new knowledge and theory, whether you can persist in a domain for a long time without expecting any immediate reinforcement or reward, while facing countless setbacks and failures in the process of research.
If all your answers are YES without any hesitation, then PhD is just for you!