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Hyoduk Shin

Hyoduk Shin

Dr. Hyoduk Shin, professor of Innovation Information Technology and Operations at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, has found a home through his love for teaching and research. But he’s not done yet. Get ready. He’s a big thinker, a revered researcher and educator, and he’s our Jimmy Anklesaria Presidential Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Shin has never felt so ready to take his research to a new, more impactful level.

Dream Big—Think Big.

Dream big—Think big. This simple very American entrepreneurial phrase might feel ubiquitous in Silicon Valley—and other enterprising pockets across the globe. But when Dr. Hyoduk Shin, professor of Innovation Information Technology and Operations at the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, states these same words, you pay attention. The smile, confidence, and energy captivates, inspires—and feels infectious.

And we ought to pay attention. Shin has pulled off something extraordinary, even Herculean. Twelve of his 17 primary research works on forecast information sharing and investment in supply chain management have wound up in top-tier journals including Management Science, Information Systems Research, Operations Research and Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

He’s won multiple awards including the best paper award at a conference on information systems and technology. And now at the Rady School, he’s the Jimmy Anklesaria Presidential Chair in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a prestigious endowment. This accolade makes him feel not only proud, but motivated. “With this honor, I feel even more responsible for delivering research with greater societal impact,” he says.

But what really stands out—beyond this humility and grace—is Shin’s view of his teaching—and tying that work to his research. While professors and PhD students often view research as their work’s backbone and teaching as an “add-on,” Shin adores both. In fact, he feels most engaged when working with students.

He notes that in his first role as assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University—and even at grad school—his focus lay more with researching than teaching. “All I knew was that teaching was part of the job, we had to do it,” Shin recalls in an interview. But he found to his delight and surprise—and in spite of the inevitable discomfort of lecturing on complex topics in English vs. his native Korean—that teaching was super fun and rewarding.

“I honestly was really surprised, because I thought, I mean, look at me: I'm from Asia and I didn’t know whether I would be good or not; but the students seemed to love it. They were laughing and learning a lot. So, to me it was a big surprise—a really big awakening moment.”

This awakening has led Shin to stand out as a faculty member at the Rady School where he’s served for ten years. He’s won a distinguished teaching award, 11 Excellence in Teaching awards, and five Most Valuable Professor awards. Meanwhile, leading national and international academic institutions and conferences regularly invite him to address prominent audiences on supply chain topics.

Shin compares his teaching style to a talk show host. He engages students and does not talk down to them, and makes fun of himself while at the same time ensuring all students master the technical aspects of the supply chain. Under his care, students understand that the supply chain crosses everything they touch and encounter.

He feels proud that his students, as they enjoy a delicious burrito, will wonder if the corn flour comes from China, or if the spice is sourced from Mexico. And that they may question how the seeds sourced in the U.S. get to Mexico to grow and then back to the U.S. for manufacturing. “I like to see my students getting these different perspectives so they start asking: Where is everything coming from?

During his early days as a professor, Shin audited classes to “watch the masters at work.” He practiced— a lot—rehearsing his lectures with his wife who kindly noted his then flat and monotone delivery. “If she stayed awake longer than 30-minutes, I sensed progress,” he recalls.

A Village Boy Done Good

All of this academic success, and his popularity with his students, surprises Shin given the tiny South Korean village from which he emerged. Around 50 percent of the 200 inhabitants at the village in Cheongsong County shared his family name. The remaining half had his wife’s name. Less than 100 people live there now, and that includes his father.

Aside from the mountains and tigers surrounding their homestead, the only other notable landmark was a dreary correctional facility famous for keeping South Korea’s most dangerous, notable criminals. “Our village was small; everyone knew when anyone exchanged cross words with one another and how many spoons you had in your kitchen drawer,” he says.

As a boy, Shin absorbed the mantra his elders shared: Study hard and work hard and you’ll do well. The “well” felt admittedly ambiguous, but Shin took it to mean being able to expand and to leave his village. From Daegu, South Korea’s fifth largest city, he lived his middle school and high school years, feeling “totally lost” in the crowds and progressing on to college. He earned his M.S. in management engineering and B.S. in industrial engineering from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology before moving on to the U.S. where he “did well” again in academia.

Falling in Love with Research

As a researcher, Shin’s work helps companies make better decisions by modeling how the use of technology along the supply chain impacts companies within that supply chain. His topics include forecast information sharing and investment in supply chain management, competitive strategies under operational constraints along with economics of information technology, software and digital goods, release strategies in the motion picture industry and innovation in supply chains.

In 2015, Shin and co-authors published their research in Production and Operations Management on the impact of supply chain contracts and competition on upstream innovation in a supply chain. The researchers looked at three different pricing models between a supplier and manufacturer to determine which one is best, and which one drives the supplier to invest in innovation technology. They concluded that revenue sharing drives most innovation in the supply base and that it’s beneficial for a manufacturer to introduce competition.

In another paper, Shin and co-authors examined the effect a sales agent might have on a manufacturer and a retailer relationship. The paper, published in Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, looks at what happens to their profit as the forecast accuracy changes. Insights gained included seeing how well the retailer predicted their sales volume, and that having a good sales agent benefits the retailer when the wholesale price is fixed.

And in another compelling research paper, published in Information Systems Research, Shin explored software vendors and modeled scenarios that a software company can use to decide when they should offer software as a service, i.e. cloud software, or as a traditional installation. Depending on which bucket a potential software and client fall into, the model recommends how the software should be sold.

Think Big. Act Big.

While his research has been successful, Shin doesn’t feel he’s made his mark, quite yet. He has big plans for the future, including more impactful research—especially now—and feels serious about wanting to do his endowment proud.

He wants to research the huge power shift within the motion picture industry and the diminishing power theater owners have.

He wants to research drug shortages, now happening in the U.S. due to supply chain interruptions and plant fires which disrupt access to ingredients. Also, economies of scales have changed and increased drug shortages. With manufacturers making drugs like Tylenol in one plant instead of two to save on costs, the entire production halts when a plant gets shut down. “All of this feels fascinating and worthy of research,” he shares.

He wonders about the sharing of information and how we can design a system or incentives to make sure that the right people with the right information can share that information with others. Shin also feels eager to push out of his comfort zone and research areas in which he’s not the subject expert—like healthcare.

Outside of research, he also has big plans for San Diego and the Rady School. He hopes to help grow the regional community by supporting the engineering and science talent to commercialize and scale up their businesses. “In terms of population and in terms of talent, we have great potential.” In addition, he leads the Institute for Supply chain Excellence and Innovation (ISEI) as a faculty co-director. Considering San Diego being at the Pacific rim and right across Mexico including cities like Tijuana and Mexicali, Shin believes that there is greater potential to contribute in regional supply chains through ISEI.

All of this perspective and ambition is tied to his shifted belief that academics are not there to impress other academics. Academia is part of society. Also, he states, that when we have our blinders on and focus solely on our goals: graduating from college, securing the top job, making tenure, etc., we fail to contemplate what impact we might make and the legacy we leave behind.

“Someone has to consider the impact, the societal impact, and the impact on business from our life and work,” he reflects. “We live only once. I have to be proud of myself. I have to be able to smile and say ‘I lived my life.’ I think that actually pushes me to think more about the impact of what I want to leave behind.”