Our Research Team

Staff  |  Post-Doctoral FellowsDoctoral Students  |  Undergraduate Researchers  |  Alumni




The research staff of WCAI is responsible for leading the research opportunity process. They work closely with our corporate partners to produce a webinar for the academic community that puts forth a set of compelling business problems paired with a unique and interesting data set that will drive cutting-edge research projects in customer analytics.


Ben Adams, Research Director
Ben Adams is the Research Director of WCAI and is responsible for project management, process, and corporate partner relationships. Ben joined WCAI with 15 years’ experience in software development and client management, and nearly 40 years’ experience in higher education. Having two academic parents helps lengthen that time, he strongly recommends it. Ben has been with Wharton for three years, and the University of Pennsylvania for nearly ten. Prior to coming to Penn, Ben worked in market research, software development, and web-based startups.

Ben holds a B.A. from Fordham University in History and an M.S.E. from the University of Pennsylvania in Technology Management. Ben was introduced to Marketing Analytics as part of his graduate work and is thrilled that his professional vocation can match his personal passion. 

Melissa Hartz, Assistant Research Director
As the Assistant Research Director at WCAI, Melissa Hartz is responsible for timeline coordination, management and distribution of data and serves as a liaison between researchers, corporate partners and the center. She comes to WCAI with experience in people and project management, marketing and a keen eye for detail. Before coming to the University of Pennsylvania, Melissa worked closely with students and faculty members at Princeton University and as a high school English teacher in Beijing, China.

Melissa holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Fairleigh Dickinson University.


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Post-Doctoral Fellows

WCAI’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship program supports recent doctoral graduates as begin their independent research careers. These research fellows are selected through a highly competitive application process and have recently completed a dissertation in a discipline related to customer analytics (i.e. Statistics, Marketing, Computer Science, Engineering). The post-doctoral fellows spend two to three years at WCAI, under the direction of Wharton faculty mentors, working on innovative scholarship motivated by the data and issues of WCAI and its Corporate Partners. 

Dr. Daniel Zantedeschi was selected as a WCAI Post-Doctoral Fellow working on projects supported by the Mars Corporation. He will be conducting research at the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative for two years, working closely with Dr. Elea McDonnell Feit, Prof. Pete Fader, Prof. Eric Bradlow, and other colleagues on questions related to advertising effectiveness in consumer packaged goods. Dr. Zantedeschi earned his doctoral degree from the IROM department at the McCombs School of Business of the University of Texas at Austin. 

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Doctoral Students

WCAI provides support to doctoral students at the Wharton School in two ways: providing data from corporate partners for research projects and providing annual or summer support fellowships. These students are selected through an application process or through one of our corporate partner research opportunities.

Arun Gopalakrishnan is co-author on “A Cross-Cohort Changepoint Model for Customer Base Analysis” with Professor Eric Bradlow and Professor Peter Fader. Arun's primary research interest is in building customer-analytic models that enable firms to better understand and forecast customer behavior, and optimize the marketing mix to target segments. Read more about his research here.

Julie Novak is the 2012 WCAI Doctoral Student Fellow.  Her research focuses on accounting for the persistent problem that users don’t always log into web sites.  She is developing an approach that will allow companies to identify user-sessions where the user doesn’t log in.  Read more about her research here.

Eric Schwartz is co-author on “‛Children of the HMM’: Modeling Longitudinal Customer Behavior at” with Professor Eric Bradlow, Professor Peter Fader, and Dr. Yao Zhang, featuring data from Omnicom client, Additionally, Eric has worked with WCAI corporate partner, Charming Shoppes, to design experiments using a multi-armed bandit approach. Eric Schwartz is a doctoral candidate on the job market and will be attending AMA in Chicago in August 2012. He is interested in interactive marketing and how firms can best learn to manage their customer relationships. Read more about his research here.

Pengyuan Wang received a WCAI summer support fellowship in 2010 and is co-author on “Modeling Multi-Platform Media Consumption for the FIFA World Cup” with Dr. Elea McDonnell Feit, Professor Eric Bradlow and Professor Peter Fader, featuring the data of past WCAI partner ESPN. Her research focuses on quantitative methods that link theory and practice, as well as statistical and quantitative analysis for practical problems. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Statistics at the Wharton School. Read more about her research here.


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Undergraduate Researchers

Tyler Ernst is an undergraduate Management & Technology student graduating in 2013. Tyler was a student in the inaugural offering of the WCAI-developed course “Experiments for Business Decision Making” and  will be serving at TA for that course in 2013.


Edward Wadsworth is a dual degree student at Wharton and the School of Engneering, graduating in 2014. Edward worked to develop an R code platform and manual for the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) models of Professors Bruce Hardie and Pete Fader. This platform makes the models more readily available for practitioner use.


Kevin Zhao is a Management & Technology student graduating in 2014. Kevin supported the research of Marketing doctoral candidate Arun Gopalakrishnan and his project parntering with WHYY to study donor behavior.


Josh Wilson is a undergraduate student Engineering graduating in 2013 and assists with WCAI projects involving Big Data and Hadoop.  After his sophomore year, he interned at WCAI corporate partner Urban Outfitters, Inc.


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Assistant Professor Vibhanshu Abhishek was an awardee on WCAI’s first Research Opportunity program when he was a doctoral student in Wharton’s OPIM department.  He is currently on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University.


Andy Granowitz developed a customized CLV application project for WCAI corporate partner. He is currently an Analyst at Google Analytics.


Dr. Tauhid Zaman received a partial WCAI post-doctoral fellowship supervised by Professor Emily Fox. Tauhid is currently continuing his post-doctoral training at MIT.


Dr. Yao Zhang received a WCAI summer support fellowship when he was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Statistics at the Wharton School. He is co-author on “‛Children of the HMM’: Modeling Longitudinal Customer Behavior at” with Professor Eric Bradlow, Professor Peter Fader, and Dr. Yao Zhang, featuring data from Omnicom client, Dr. Zhang is currently an Associate at Credit Suisse.


Assistant Professor Yaniv Dover received a partial WCAI post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Professor Dina Mayzlin of Yale University School of Management.  His resulting paper, “Promotional Reviews: An Empirical Investigation of Online Review Manipulation,” can be read on the WCAI working paper series.  He has since joined the faculty at Dartmouth, continues to collaborate with WCAI and is currently awarded on the “If You ‘Like’ It, Will You Buy?” Research Opportunity with Professor Scott Neslin, also at Dartmouth.

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