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Alys Liang 佳欣

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There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.

                                                                    — Leonard Cohen

I am a PhD candidate at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, where I am very fortunate to be advised by Prof. Stefanus Jasin and Prof. Joline Uichanco. Prior to my PhD journey, I obtained a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics from Peking University. 

         I am on the 2023-2024 academic job market


My research primarily falls within the domain of retail analytics and relates to sustainability issues such as reducing emissions and landfill contributions. I aim to address large-scale business challenges using interpretable, scalable algorithmic decisions supported by comprehensive performance metrics. Methodologically, my research employs optimization, probability, and stochastic analysis toolkits to tackle high-dimensional stochastic optimization problems.


The inspirations of my research come from both observations on evolving priorities in the retail industry and hands-on working experiences across flagship stores, fulfillment centers and warehouses during an in-depth investigation of Nordstrom supply chain. My works comprise two primary streams:


  • Research Stream 1: Product Return Management at Scale

    • ​Survival Priority:  

      • Effectively manage product returns to secure baseline business performance.  

    • Sustainable Business Growth:

      • Design life-cycle adaptive resource allocation strategies for return processing systems.  

  • Research Stream 2: Enhancing Theoretical Foundations for Joint Decision-Making

    • New Insights: 

      • Gain more visibility into joint decision-making efficacy.

    • Methodology Innovations:  

      • Develop effective joint decision-making strategies under stockout-based substitution.


Looking forward, I am passionate about broadening the retail analytics to integrate evolving business priorities as well as environmental, societal sentiments into decision-making frameworks.


I am currently on the 2023-2024 job market, with past journey as my invitation letter to future research collaborations! 

Upcoming Talks

  • 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona, US​​

    • Title:  Combining a Smart Pricing Policy with a Simple Replenishment Policy: Managing Uncertainties in the Presence of Stochastic Purchase Returns

    • Session"ME06. Network Revenue Management and Supply Chain Interface"

    • Location and Time:   October 16, 2023, 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM at CC-North 121C

Past Invited Talks (non-conference) 

  • Guest Speech at Target Corporation, Nov 2022

    • Topic:    Product Returns in Retail: Risk, Challenges and Opportunities

  • Guest Speech at McGill University, Desautels Faculty of Management, Nov 2022

    • Topic:    A Deep Dive into Product Return Management


  • Featured Talks at 'Return Minimization Forum', Nordstrom Inc, Data Science & Analytics Org, Apr-Aug 2022

    • Topic 1:   Customer Return Behavior Analysis: When, Where and How

    • Topic 2:   Supply Chain Risk Incurred by High-volume Returns

    • Topic 3:   Potentials of Coordinated Decisions in Product Return Management

  • Guest Speech at Michigan Ross (MSCM Program), Feb 2022

    • Topic:    A Deep Dive into Reverse Logistics in E-commerce 2.0

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