Careers & Student Outcomes

Location Led to Opportunity for Stevens Ph.D. Standout

Harris Kyriakou Made Visits to New York City Tech Companies to Bolster His Research, Studies in Business

Harris Kyriakou graduated from Stevens with a Ph.D. in May 2016.
'We're taught by all these great scholars who are skilled in qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods,' Harris Kyriakou says of Stevens faculty. He earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration in May 2016. (Photo: Bridget Woznica-Kalomoiri)

Carnegie Mellon University is well known for its competitive academic programs, as Harris Kyriakou will tell you — after all, he did his master’s work at the Pittsburgh school. 

But when he began his doctoral work at the School of Business, Kyriakou came to appreciate the location advantage Stevens gave him, as well as the rigor of the curriculum. 

“The focus of my research is in 3D printing and open hardware communities, and many of the startups leading the revolution in 3D printing are in the Brooklyn area,” Kyriakou said. 

That gave him the chance to easily visit with leading experts and executives who are innovating in this space. “Being in Hoboken was the difference between being able to meet with those companies and just hoping to talk to them,” he said. 

Kyriakou, who graduated in May with a Ph.D. in Business Administration, made the most of his five years at Stevens, attending conferences — including a fall Annual Meeting in which he won Best Poster award — and  prepared some of his work for publication. In the fall, he will begin as an assistant professor at IESE, the graduate business school of the University of Navarra, in Barcelona. IESE is considered one of the world’s top schools of business.

“The school has been through a great deal of change, and it has constantly been on an upward trajectory.”

Harris Kyriakou, Ph.D. Business administration '16

Five years ago, when it came time to choosing a school to pursue his Ph.D., Kyriakou was impressed with Stevens’ leadership in technology and business. He said his interest in digital innovation — essentially, the study of how people collaborate and innovate in digital environments, and how those developments create impact in the physical world — dovetailed with the leadership of Stevens faculty in areas like information systems, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence and social media

“The researchers here are more focused on solving problems than they are on specific methods, so we’re taught by all these great scholars who are skilled in qualitative, quantitative and mixed research methods,” Kyriakou said. “That’s an advantage of the Stevens Ph.D. program over other programs.”

An overhaul of Ph.D. program

The School of Business revamped its doctoral program following its accreditation by AACSB International, shifting from a program in Technology Management to Business Administration. Students in the program can now choose from concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Information Systems and Analytics, and Finance. 

“Over the course of my time here, the school has been through a great deal of change, and it has been constantly on an upward trajectory,” Kyriakou said. “I’m very confident that the school will continue improving, in terms of its rankings and its research productivity.”

Jeffrey Nickerson
Dr. Jeffrey Nickerson advised Harris Kyriakou during his studies.

Part of what makes Stevens Ph.D. programs distinct is the nurturing relationship between faculty and doctoral candidates. Kyriakou benefited from his relationship with his advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Nickerson — a widely recognized expert in crowd creativity and collective intelligence — but also got help from other faculty. While preparing a paper for submission to the highly respected journal Management Information Systems Quarterly, some of the most valuable feedback Kyriakou received came from Dr. Gaurav Sabnis, whose background is in marketing, not information systems.

That diversity, though, was just what Kyriakou needed. 

“Gaurav was able to provide some unique insights, thanks to his different perspective,” he said. “He got us to think differently about the focus the paper should take, but also the methods that we could use and how we could frame the paper in a more interesting way.”

Earlier this month, he also got to work with the Dean’s Honorary Visiting Professor, Dr. Ann Majchrzak, an information systems expert who is the USC Associates chaired professor of business administration for the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Management. 

'Incredible opportunities' at Stevens

Their shared interest in information systems made Dr. Majchrzak’s visit particularly valuable for Kyriakou.

“In just a few hours, Ann provided some key insights that will stick with me for a lifetime,” he said. “It’s another one of the incredible opportunities Stevens offers to students and also incoming faculty.”

Harris with his INFORMS award
Harris Kyriakou, right, at the 2015 Annual Meeting of INFORMS, where his work won for Best Poster.

As Kyriakou’s advisor, Dr. Nickerson had the closest look as he guided his student through the rigors of the Stevens program. 

“He’s able to look at the theory and the literature, but also be very hands on, and is able to build things himself,” including a 3D printer of his own, Dr. Nickerson said. 

“From the beginning, he was able to bridge his own interests in things like open hardware with an understanding of what companies were going in this space, while also bringing in what the academic world was thinking about,” Dr. Nickerson said. “Over time, he found ways to link all those different interests together, which is how he wound up meeting people in 3D printing companies, going to Maker Faire or speaking at MIT’s Open Hardware Summit.”

Kyriakou is an excellent teacher, in addition to his research credentials, Nickerson said, which will serve him well at IESE — well known for its emphasis on teaching.

“Harris has learned how to take what he’s discovered and bring it into the classroom,” Dr. Nickerson said. “When you see how outgoing and hands on he is, when you see the different analytical skills he’s learned, and when you see how good he is at showing those techniques to others, you know he’s going to be successful.”