A. Serdar Simsek

Serdar Simsek 

A. Serdar Simsek

School of Operations Research and Information Engineering
Cornell University

E-mail: as2899 [at] cornell $dot$ edu
Address: 282 Rhodes Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

B.S. Bilkent University (2008)
M.Phil. Columbia University (2013)
Ph.D. Columbia University (2013)

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Behavioral modeling and empirical methods applied to various OM problems, including pricing and revenue management, business analytics, consumer choice models, customized pricing, sustainable operations, and supply chain networks and coordination


I am an Instructor/Researcher in the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering of Cornell University since August 2013. I received my B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey in 2008 and my Ph.D. in Decision, Risk, and Operations from Columbia University, Graduate School of Business in 2013.

My dissertation research focused on empirically measuring the effectiveness of different pricing policies with a special interest in customized pricing with discretion setting. In this setting, corporate headquarters set a list price for all products but local sales staff are given discretion to adjust (or negotiate) prices for individual deals. This form of pricing is commonly found in most business-to-business markets and in certain business-to-consumer settings, including consumer lending, insurance, real estate, and automobile sales.

The first part of my dissertation –titled Pricing Decentralization in Customized Pricing Systems and Network Models and co-supervised by professors Robert Phillips and Garrett van Ryzin– focuses on the question of how much (if any) pricing discretion should be granted to local sales staff in the customized pricing with discretion setting. The second part of my dissertation is more theoretical and focuses on the effects of decentralization on networks of perishable resources.

Two articles about the essence of my thesis work are published in professional business journals: You can find the one published at Columbia Ideas at Work, titled Dealing in Data, here, and the one published at The European Financial Review, titled Should People or Algorithms Set Prices?, here.

New directions for research:

  • I am still pursuing both lines of research in my thesis, since many interesting questions are yet to be answered in these areas.

  • In addition, I pursued my interest in consumer choice models during my appointment in Cornell ORIE. Currently, I have been working on robust estimation methods for a relatively new choice model based on Markov Chains.

  • I have been conducting research in the sustainable operations area as well. In particular, I am working on the supply chain analysis of contract farming. This emerging practice is used in several countries such as India and Brazil. It generates necessary guarantees to sustain the continued operations of very vulnerable suppliers (farmers) –a major socio-economic goal for these countries– while better positioning the manufacturers to manage the aggregate supply risk.