PhD Research Fellows

Abrar Al-Hasan

Abrar Al-Hasan obtained a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Kuwait University, and an MBA from Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. He is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Information Systems. Al-Hasan’s research focuses on online social networks and how they are changing the traditional ways of conducting business. Web 2.0 has allowed social networks and the wisdom of crowds to profoundly impact many traditional business models and creating new ones that can survive in this environment.

One of the most recent business models that seek to radically change the investment sector is social investing. Traditionally the investment sector has been dominated by “experts”, “investment brokerages”, and “analysts”, with most individual investors seeking their advice for investment decisions. Social investing or social stock picking seeks to move away from such centralized sources by tapping into the “wisdom of the crowds”. Understanding how amateur investors as well as the technology vendors can profit from such a marketplace is the focus of Abrar’s current research.

Brad Greenwood

Brad Greenwood is a PhD student at the Robert H Smith School of Business in the Decisions, Operations, and Information Technology department. His research focuses on how discourse affects the willingness of venture capitalists to fund entrepreneurs. Specifically within discourse his research focuses on the fashionability of technologies and how both fashion and herding effect the legitimacy of organizations. Prior to his time at the Smith School he earned his Bachelors and Masters in Information Technology at RPI and Virginia Tech respectively. Brad also holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame and spent several years working as an IT consultant in the greater DC Metro area.

Wei (Vivian) Guo

Wei Guo (Vivian) is a 4th-year PhD student in Strategy and Entrepreneurship in Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland. Prior to joining the PhD program, Vivian obtained her MBA from Marshall University and worked as a graduate research assistant for the Center for Business and Economics Research for two years. She obtained her Bachelor of Business from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, where she majored in both marketing and international business.

Vivian was born in P.R. China and was raised in a family full of entrepreneurs, including her father, aunt, uncle, and older brother. In particular, her father started a venture in the high-tech industry in Southern China and is currently in preparation for an initial public offering. Vivian witnessed almost all of the entrepreneurs in her family struggle at some point with the problem of needing more resources and capital. Because of this, she is particularly interested in understanding how entrepreneurs raise fund and attract external resources. Beside entrepreneurship, Vivian is also actively collaborating with several faculty members on various research projects on firm competition and innovation, including Ken G. Smith, Paul E. Tesluk, Rhonda Reger, and Curt Grimm. In April 2010, Vivian won the “PhD Student Research In Progress” award at the Dingman Center’s Research Competition.

Bryan Stroube

Bryan Stroube is pursuing his PhD in strategic management at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. His current research interests broadly involve how private enterprise and entrepreneurship can be used as development tools in emerging economies. He is also interested in high-tech industries, social networks, and international business (particularly China). Before coming to Smith, he worked at a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing projects for the pharmaceutical and medical industries. He holds a master's degree in economics from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and English from Purdue University.

Lei Zhang

Lei Zhang is a PhD candidate of Management & Organization at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Lei’s research focuses on networks and entrepreneurship. Her current research examines network formation and performance implication at a group level. She studies this question in the context of Venture Capital (VC) syndicates: when VC firms unfamiliar to each other form syndicates together, how a VC firm new to rest group members participates in the syndicate, and how the unfamiliarity within syndicates influences start-up company performance directly and indirectly. 
Lei received her Master degree at Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade. Before she came to US for her PhD studies, she gained two years of business experience at the Bank of Communications, one of the largest commercial banks in China.