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In Focus Kaushik Sengupta

ISDSI Award Winner

Kaushik Sengupta, an associate professor of management at Hofstra, received second place recognition for his paper "Forecasting Requirements and Their Effects on Supply Chain Collaboration Structures: Insights from Six Case Studies" at the Third Annual Indian Subcontinent Decision Sciences Institute Conference in January 2009.

What is the significance of winning an award from the Indian Subcontinent Decision Sciences Institute (ISDSI)?

ISDSI is a relatively new India subcontinent based region for Decision Sciences Institute (DSI), a premier professional institute for researchers and practitioners of Decision Sciences for the past 40 years. Supply Chain Management is one of the areas covered under Decision Sciences. The Indian region of DSI is quickly becoming popular through annual conferences held in December or January every year – December 2008 marked the organization's third annual conference. Winning an award is significant because this last conference had more than 150 presentations from scholars and practitioners from across the world with representations from universities and companies based in the U.S., Japan, Singapore, India and others. Only two such awards were given at the conference so to be one of the two was quite exciting.

How did you become interested in the topic of supply chain management and forecasting requirements?

This paper is based on the broader topic of collaboration among companies as they interact with other companies in their supply chains. I became interested in this broad topic when I was in the industry, consulting and developing solutions for better supply chain management, which makes the topic of this paper about 13 years old in terms of the time span of interest.

This specific paper was based on six case studies from some of the companies where I was involved in the implementations of supply chain solutions. The idea of the paper was developed over the last couple of years as a culmination of the industry-based data from my direct experiences and the theoretical basis and models for the academic part of the research. The results should help companies understand better the specific business environments they operate in and customize the collaboration solutions accordingly. The research really points out that some of the standard and popular collaboration solutions out there may not work for all companies.

Are you conducting any research studies now?

Yes, I continue to conduct research in the area of supply chain management. Working with a co-researcher from a different university, we are looking at the effects of different types of supply chain networks as it affects the performances of companies. We are doing a cross-industry study for this.

I am also involved with a couple of other research projects with some of my faculty colleagues here at Hofstra, one on outsourcing strategies and an another on the effects of student learning from Distance Learning courses. As Hofstra increases its Distance Learning courses and programs, it becomes vitally important that we know how students are learning, what type of students can learn better in such an environment and other related issues which would make us better instructors in such an environment in the future.

What do you do in your spare time?

A lot of my interests other than research and teaching in Operations and Supply Chain Management really center around my 8-year old daughter. I try to find some activities which would be interesting to an 8-year old child and I try to see how long it keeps her busy…its not an easy job as you can imagine. Other than that, I like watching sports a lot and I like to read on as many varied topics as I can get time for. A lot of time is spent thinking about research topics though because in business, there are so many areas where we don’t understand completely how things work, that there is always a potentially exciting topic that has not been looked at before.

For example, last year when I started developing a couple of the Distance Learning classes, a few of us got interested in this project where we wanted to study how students perceive this online delivery – do they learn better or not in such an environment? Or, is there a specific type of student who performs well with such classes? As online teaching increases, finding the answers to these questions become vitally important.

The other thing that keeps me occupied is the general news and information that is out there. There is so much happening today in such a short span of time that sometimes it becomes difficult to keep up with it. I try to do the best I can while knowing that if I don’t keep up with the happenings in the world, I will not be relevant to my students during the class discussions and more importantly, finding the next best research topic would become that much more difficult. Therefore, a lot of my time is spent in browsing and reading through various types of websites related to news, business etc. information that will help me become a better professor.