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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge

Wednesday, 20 January, 2016 - 13:00 to 14:00
Event location: 
Room W4.05 (Cambridge Judge Business School) Trumpington St, Cambridge, CB2 1AG

Professor Ioana Popescu, INSEAD

Globally, one in every five people does not have access to electricity. These 1.3 billion people are mainly poor and rely on unhealthy solid fuels, such as kerosene, for lighting. Alternative solar-based technologies are healthier and offer greater value, yet they require significant one-time investments which are not affordable to people living on $1/day. Cheaper rechargeable lighting technologies are available, however, their adoption remains low as consumers still use kerosene. We propose a stylised consumer behavior model that offers a rational explanation for these preferences. Our model accounts for income variability and liquidity constraints inherent to bottom of the pyramid markets. We further use this model to explore how a firm offering rechargeable technologies can alter consumer preferences and optimise its revenue model. Our insights from this analysis generate hypotheses we are testing in a randomised field experiment in Rwanda.


Speaker bio

Ioana Popescu is Professor of Decision Sciences and Strategy & Chaired Professor of Revenue Management at INSEAD. She holds a dual PhD in Operations Research and in Applied Mathematics from MIT, and a BA Summa cum Laude in Mathematics and Computer Science from Wellesley College.

Ioana’s research is at the interface of decision analytics and behavioural operations. An expert in revenue management and pricing analytics, she is currently researching new revenue models for the bottom of the pyramid, with the aim to improve access to finance and energy for unserved markets.

Featured in leading academic journals, including Management ScienceOperations ResearchManufacturing & Service Operations Managementand Mathematics of Operations Research, her work has been honored with several research excellence awards, including the M&SOM Best Paper Award (2012), the INFORMS Decision Analysis Best Student Paper Award (2010; finalist 2008), the INFORMS Junior Faculty Best Paper Award (2003; finalist 2005) and a Nicholson prize finalist (2000).

At INSEAD, Professor Popescu has received numerous accolades for her teaching, including the Best Teacher Award for MBA core courses and the Dean’s Commendation for Teaching Excellence every year since instated. Ioana developed the first business course on revenue management and pricing analytics for MBAs and Executives, and she also teaches the Uncertainty, Data and Judgment core course, executive education modules on Decision Making, and a PhD course on Dynamic Programming.

A regular speaker at academic and professional conferences and events, Professor Popescu has held Associate Editor positions at Management ScienceOperations Research and Manufacturing & Service Operations Management. She served as guest editor for INFORMS Transactions on Education, as well as on the board of the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management and on the board of the Revenue Management and Pricing Section of INFORMS. Currently based in Singapore, Ioana has lived on four continents and was honoured as a YGL (2009) by the World Economic Forum.