Mack Innovation Doctoral Association

The Mack Innovation Doctoral Association (MIDAS) is a student-run cross-departmental organization of Wharton PhD students interested in research topics related to innovation, including technology strategy, financing and organizing of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digitization. Its main activities include a seminar series for in-progress student research and the Wharton Innovation Doctoral Symposium (WINDS), a multi-disciplinary doctoral conference that takes place annually.

The MIDAS seminar series offers an informal and stimulating environment for students to propose new research ideas, discuss preliminary work, highlight new data sources, receive suggestions from peers, and circulate helpful information. Industry-academic seminars and workshops connect theory to practice and allow members to watch current innovation challenges play out.

Participation in MIDAS is primarily for Wharton doctoral and postdoctoral students. If you do not meet these criteria but would like to join, please contact the organizers below.

MIDAS is a collaboration between Wharton PhD students, the Mack Institute, and Wharton Doctoral Programs. The seminar was started by two PhD students, Andrea Contigiani (Management) and Kyle Myers (Healthcare), in the spring of 2015.

Seminar Topics

  • Innovation and technology strategy
  • Financing of innovation
  • Organization of innovation
  • Innovation and science policy
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economics of digitization


View the schedule here (restricted access).


View the MIDAs PennBox here (restricted access)

Board 2020–2021

  • Aparajita Agarwal (MGMT) – aapa (at)
  • Logan Bryan (MGMT) – bryanlm (at)
  • Jason Lee (MGMT) – lkwjason (at)
  • Mike Pergler (MGMT) – mpergler (at)
  • Sathya Vijayakumar (MGMT) – sathyav (at)
  • Sirui Wang (OIDD) – siruiw (at)
  • Daniel Wilde (MGMT) – danwilde (at)

How to Join

To sign up, please email the organizers at

Members and Alumni


Aparajita Agarwal

Aparajita is a doctoral student in the Management Department. She is interested in two streams of research. In the first, she studies growth of micro and small enterprises through technology-led innovation in developing economies. In the second, she focuses on social entrepreneurship and impact-led investments in mission-driven companies.

Aymeric Bellon

Aymeric is a doctoral student in the Finance Department. His research interests are applied microeconomics and entrepreneurial finance. His recent research studied the spatial inequalities generated by innovation and how technological surplus is shared geographically through governmental taxes and transfers and how financial frictions affect firms’ creation and survival rates. Aymeric graduated from Ecole Normal Superieure in France and has a Master’s degree in Data Science from ENSAE ParisTech.

Research Keywords:

firm creation; financial constraints; inequality and innovation; public finance

Logan Bryan

Logan is a doctoral student in the Wharton School’s Management Department. He has a BS in Strategic Management from Brigham Young University. Prior to returning to school, Logan worked in corporate and partnership strategy for DaVita Inc., a healthcare services firm in Denver, CO.

Research Keywords:

immigration; innovation; corporate strategy

Qingqing Chen

Qingqing is a PhD student in the Business Economics and Public Policy Department. Her research interest is international business, focusing on technology and risk spillover through international production network. Before joining Wharton, Qingqing received an MS in Economics in Peking University and worked as an intern at the IFPRI (International Food Policy Research Institution). She finished her undergraduate at Peking University and graduated with a BA in Economics and a BS in Statistics.

Research Keywords:

firms’ innovation strategy; global production network; technology spillover

Jaeho Choi

Jaeho is a PhD student in Management with a specialization in Strategy. His current research interests center around the areas of organizational learning and adaptation and behavioral perspectives of strategy. He explores the topics through both computational modeling and empirical analyses. He holds a BA in Public Administration and Business Administration and a MS in Management from Yonsei University, South Korea.

Research Keywords:

organizational learning & adaptation; strategic decision-making

Charu Gupta

Charu Gupta is a PhD student in Health Care Management and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is interested in the economics of innovation, knowledge complementarity and productivity, and the adoption and diffusion of new medical technologies and pharmaceuticals. Prior to her doctoral studies, Charu worked as a Research Assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and as a Research Economist at Precision Health Economics, a health economics consulting firm based in Los Angeles. She holds an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an AB in Economics (with honors) and International Relations from Brown University.

Research Keywords:

health economics; economics of innovation; empirical industrial organization

Karren Knowlton

Karren Knowelton

Karren is in the Management Department at The Wharton School, with a focus on micro-organizational behavior. Her current research focuses on group dynamics, communication, emotion, entrepreneurship, and diversity. She received her BS in mechanical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and worked for Nike for two years as a manufacturing design engineer. She also earned her MBA from Olin Business School, with a focus on operations in the healthcare industry. Prior to coming to Wharton, she partnered with The Kauffman Foundation to conduct qualitative research on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in St. Louis, Missouri.

Research Keywords:

startups; ecosystems; collaboration; gender; networks; learning; geography; regional; local; multi-level

Jason Lee

Jason is a doctoral candidate in the Management Department at the Wharton School.

Research Keywords:

entrepreneurship; technology innovation

Tong Liu

Tong is a PhD student in the Finance Department at the Wharton School. He is interested in dynamic corporate finance, entrepreneurial finance and macro finance. His recent work investigates the financing policies of entrepreneurial firms that are engaged in experimentation and quantifies the welfare loss due to adverse selection in financial markets. Other projects study the relative importance of individual inventors’ human capital and firm’s organizational capital in promoting a firm’s innovation output.

Research Keywords:

dynamic corporate finance; entrepreneurial finance; macro finance

Bowen Lou

Bowen Lou

Bowen Lou is a doctoral student in the Operations, Information and Decisions Department of the Wharton School, with specialization in Information Systems. His research interest lies in the broad area of economics of information technologies. He studies how firms improve their productivity through technology and innovation. Bowen is also passionate about proposing or applying eclectic but robust solutions from network science and natural language processing to derive valuable insights in large-scale datasets and solve real-world problems.

Research Keywords:

technology; productivity; innovation; data analytics; network science; natural language processing


Mauricio is a PhD student in the Wharton School’s Finance Department. He has a BA in Economics from the Universidade de Brasília (UnB) and an MA in Economics from the Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV/EPGE). His research interests include corporate finance, corporate governance and entrepreneurship.

Research Keywords:

asymmetric information; ownership; delegation of authority; feedback effects on financial markets and innovation

Alex Miller

Alex Miller

Alex is a Ph.D. student in Operations, Information, & Decisions with a concentration in information systems and technology. His research interests include crowdsourcing, data mining, and technology strategy. Alex has worked at an ed-tech startup supported by a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation and was previously a digital marketing analyst. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon with a degree in Mathematics.

Research Keywords:

informational technology; crowdsourcing; digital innovation; data mining; technology strategy; A/B testing; startups

Tanya Paul

Tanya Paul

Tanya is a second year PhD in Accounting. Her research interests lie in corporate governance, information flow, and disclosure, especially within the contexts of entrepreneurship and young companies. She is a graduate from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with concentrations in statistics and finance.

Research Keywords

capital markets; disclosure; financial reporting; innovation; technology firms

Michael Pergler

Mike is a doctoral student in the Wharton School’s Management Department. He has BS and Master’s degrees in accounting from Brigham Young University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to entering his doctoral studies, Mike was a partner at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Research Keywords:

entrepreneurship; venture capital; technology innovation

Sathya Vijayakumar

Sathya Vijayakumar

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Sathya is a second year PhD student in Management. He is currently working on research related to mergers and acquisitions and activist investors and prior to the PhD program, he worked as a management consultant advising clients across industries and as a nonprofit manager focused on national Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Sathya holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and an undergraduate degree from UNC Chapel Hill. In his spare time, he enjoys running and fantasy football.

Research Keywords:

mergers; acquisitions; activist investors; social movements

Sathya Vijayakumar

Sirui Wang

Sirui is a doctoral candidate in information systems in the Department of Operations, Information and Decisions.

Research Keywords:

economics of knowledge; technology innovation; computational social science

Dan Wilde

Daniel Wilde

Dan is a doctoral student at the Wharton School’s Management Department. He has a B.S. an MBA from Brigham Young University, and Master’s in Accounting from the College of William & Mary. Prior to returning to school, Dan worked as a CPA for EY and as a consultant for small distressed firms. His research interests encompass the microfoundations of how decision makers sense and shape changing industries.

Hongyu Xiao

Hongyu Xiao

Hongyu Xiao is a doctoral student in the PhD program in Applied Economics at Wharton. His research interests are in urban economics, housing and real estate, economics of innovation, and industrial organization. Before coming to Wharton, he graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a B.A. majoring in Economics and Astronomy, and in 2012 with a M.P.S. in Applied Statistics. His current work focuses on the effect of commuting distance on innovator productivity and retail banking competition.

Research Keywords:

innovation; patent; commuting distance; productivity; agglomeration effects; competition; credit unions; entry barriers


Sarath Balachandran
Jiayi Bao
Andrew Boysen
Andrea Contigiani
John Eklund
Jessica Jeffers
Hideto Koizumi
Fujie Jin
Jessica Kim-Gina
Kyle R. Myers
Lindsay Relihan
Ryan Peters
Lisa Tang
Andy Wu