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Vilma Todri

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Why were you interested in obtaining a Ph.D?
My desire to widen my horizons and my appetite to constantly learn new things shaped my interest in obtaining a Ph.D. While holding various industry positions, I noticed that the job was exciting during the first few months and then quickly became repetitive and intellectually not challenging - for me this was true even for positions at companies voted as "Best places to work," such as Google. Besides, I've always had a great interest in creating new knowledge and finding solutions to problems. Hence, embarking on a journey to pursue a Ph.D. seemed like the best next step after gaining some industry experience.
 
What attracted you to NYU’s Stern Ph.D. program?  
NYU Stern has an outstanding Information Systems department and I was certain that I would gain a great education in a top-tier school. This was especially important for me as I would have the opportunity to learn from and work with professors that are leaders in the field. Besides, living in New York City is an experience by itself - the energy and diversity of this city is unparalleled. Overall, I am very glad I chose NYU Stern for my Ph.D. studies.
 
What is your current area of research?
My research focuses on how digital advertising affects consumers' attitudes and their economic decisions in technology-mediated environments. I am particularly interested into measuring advertising effectiveness employing individual-level big data and identifying mechanisms through which we can attribute credit to different advertising channels according to their ability to increase consumers' propensity to make a purchase (digital attribution). I also conduct research on how firms can leverage existing social connections between users to achieve various key objectives. My research interests lie in the intersection of quantitative modeling, experimental designs, and machine learning.
 
How did Stern help you overcome obstacles pertaining to your research?
Stern offered a rigorous curriculum and the ability to learn from renowned faculty. My research is interdisciplinary and it has greatly helped me that Stern not only offers high quality doctoral classes but also provides access to classes of other NYU programs - I've taken Computer Science classes from Courant and Economics classes from Econ GSAS. Besides, NYU Stern has strong connections with the industry which enables empirical researchers to gain access to great data sets and answer important questions with significant managerial implications. Finally, NYU offers access to high performance computing which has greatly facilitated my research as I conduct research with large data sets and I often need to parallelize the execution of a method.

 What is one thing that you have learned from being a student in the Stern Ph.D. program?
One thing I have learned from NYU's Ph.D. program is that persistence is the key to success - that is, you might have to spend endless hours trying, take a new class, or read a new book in order to be able to solve a problem. However, if you persist and keep trying you will, most probably, eventually be rewarded. It’s important not only to have the ability to earn the Ph.D. degree but also the willingness to persist through all the difficulties and challenges that will definitely emerge throughout the process.
 
How do you apply the experience and knowledge you gained at Stern to your current employment?
I am very excited to have joined Emory Goizueta Business School as an Assistant Professor. The experience and knowledge I have gained at NYU will be crucial as I embark on the journey to pursue an academic career. I feel I have gained an outstanding education at NYU. I've been exposed to different approaches and learn as well as applied various methodologies that will be valuable as I will attempt to answer new research questions.