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Meet Meng Qi (Annie) Ding, HBA ’19, Ivey PhD candidate

  • Communications
  • |
  • Jan 19, 2022
Meet Meng Qi (Annie) Ding, HBA ’19, Ivey PhD candidate

Meng Qi (Annie) Ding

Ivey’s PhD Program in Business Administration is a full-time research-based program designed to develop scholars and to place graduates at high quality research universities around the world. Our PhD candidates are showcased at conferences around the world, and regularly featured in top-tier academic and industry publications.

To help you get to know them, we’ve asked them about their academic and personal interests.

Get to know: Meng Qi (Annie) Ding, HBA ’19, PhD candidate

While working as a research assistant as an HBA student, Annie Ding discovered her field of interest. That early experience prompted her to do a PhD in Marketing, in the quantitative marketing track. Working with Shane Wang, an associate professor of Marketing, she’s striving to empirically model the impact of user-generated content on firm performance and develop new metrics and methodological tools for managers to employ. Ding was born in Wuhan, China and her family moved to Vancouver when she was 11. She still recalls the delicious food in her native country and the multitude of breakfast options. Read on to learn about her background, research area, and interests.

Q&A with Meng Qi (Annie) Ding

What attracted you to Ivey’s program?

Ivey has a very supportive and diverse faculty group and I was fortunate enough to find a professor working in my field of interest. More importantly, the culture of the PhD program is very friendly and co-operative. Faculty members are always approachable and responsive to students’ needs.

What is your research focus?

I apply both econometrics and machine-learning tools to solve real business problems in marketing. Particularly, I focus on online word-of-mouth and the impact of artificial intelligence.

Why is that area appealing to you? What big problems/issues need to be addressed?

The emergence of Big Data and AI technologies has transformed marketing practices in many unexpected ways. As firms are navigating through an increasingly data-rich environment, marketing analytics and consumer insights are beginning to play a more central role in organizations. However, since about 90 per cent of data are unstructured, that is, data stored in the format of text, audios, images, and videos, marketing practitioners are calling for a new set of tools and metrics developed to help them analyze and discover new insights from unstructured data (e.g., YouTube videos and review images). 

How do you see your research making an impact?

My research centres on the application of machine learning in marketing. Some of my work applies machine-learning tools to develop new metrics. An example is using an object detection algorithm to classify online review images into theory-relevant categories. Additionally, my research also focuses on the application of machine learning for causal identification. Managers can use these new metrics and tools to empirically model the impact of user-generated content on firm performance.

How do you see research as an aid to business improvement?

In the digital era, data is known as the “new oil” because better information helps managers to make the right decision in the midst of uncertainty. Research equips marketers with the right tools and knowledge so firms can take advantage of the explosive growth in online and digital data and arrive at more data-driven decisions.

What previous experience prepared you for this?

Since working as a researcher requires passion and self-motivation, I think my experience working as a research assistant during my undergrad really prepared me well for the PhD program. Being a research assistant gave me an opportunity to learn and find my interest early on.

Where did you grow up and what was it like there?

I grew up in Wuhan, China and my home was a 15-minute walk from the Yangtze River. There was a wide selection of delicious food. I can name 30 different cuisines just for breakfast.

Who have been your strongest influences in life?

My mother. She taught me to be self-independent while also caring for others.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

There are some extreme sports that I really want to try.

What is the most played song on your playlist as of now?

I listen to songs of different genres and languages. The most played song right now is I love you 3000 by Stephanie Poetri.

What book would you recommend to others? Why?

I would recommend The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book has my favourite quote and it teaches me to be grateful for what I have and never judge others.

What tips have you learned for staying connected in an online learning environment?

I think it is important to let others know that you are available and reachable. Exchanging gifts for birthdays and holidays is also a great way to stay connected.