Innovation and technology developed for one landmark achievement often have second lives thanks to bold thinking and creative collaborations – and that's the idea behind Bryant Tea Talks.
Tea Talks began in November 2017 as a way to stimulate multidisciplinary research and multidisciplinary discussion among faculty, students, and experts at Bryant. The goal: to generate ideas for research, teaching, and curriculum design, says Professor of Finance Hakan Saraoglu, Ph.D., the creator of the Tea Talks at Bryant.
“Each meeting is not an end. It's the beginning, actually, ideally for doing something collaboratively.”
“The Tea Talk’s purpose is to gather people together and find a topic that will then stimulate new thinking – to create an environment where people can come together, collaborate, and share ideas from different disciplines," said Saraoglu. "Each meeting is not an end. It's the beginning, actually, ideally for doing something collaboratively.”
The result of these discussions could be to take on big challenges together.
Complex decision problems and ESG investing
The next topic in the Tea Talk series, to be held Dec. 15th, is intended to stimulate thinking on the implications of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) in making better decisions – a highly relevant topic right now for scholars as well as industry professionals. The talk will focus primarily on the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) phenomenon. Finance Professors Cathy Zheng, David Louton, and Saraoglu and Information Systems and Analytics Professor Chen Zhang will explore the potential benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration in making better decisions.
“The Tea Talk’s purpose is to gather people together and find a topic that will then stimulate new thinking – to create an environment where people can come together, collaborate, and share ideas from different disciplines.”
During the discussion the presenters will illustrate methods, such as the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), that have been used to structure complex decision problems in a diverse set of disciplines. AHP was developed by mathematician R.W. Saaty in 1980 and has been applied in a range of disciplines to solve problems such as selecting a project, selecting a life insurance contract, selecting a site for wildlife management, and more. Saraoglu’s work applying the AHP method for mutual fund selection gained finance industry attention and was referenced by various industry participants, including a reference by a patent used in the robo-advising industry.
A look at two Bryant research projects
Presenters will propose that proper frameworks for solving multi-criteria decision problems require multidisciplinary collaboration. They will discuss two research projects at Bryant: one that proposes a framework for decision making in ESG investing and another that explores the use of robot assistants in multi-criteria decision making (MCDM).
- The first project, conducted by Cathy Zheng, Louton, and Saraoglu, involves a research paper entitled "ESG Investing: A Decision Paradox?" The abstract of the paper: "We pose the question whether environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing constitutes a decision paradox whereby deciding on a selection of a desirable set of stocks for inclusion in an ESG portfolio simultaneously requires selecting a desirable decision-making method to select the stocks. We review the academic and practitioner literature in ESG investing to ground the question in proper context. Comparing the results from two multi-criteria decision-making methods for selecting stocks for an ESG portfolio, we illustrate the sensitivity of resulting selections to different decision-making approaches. We provide a list of suggestions for potential resolution of the paradox."
- The second project, conducted by Chen Zhang, Louton, and Saraoglu, is entitled "Robot Assistant for Multi-Attribute Decisions." It involves a system and method for a robot assistant for multi-attribute decision-making for which a provisional patent application was filed.