SDI 2018 Scholar Profiles

Lucas Humphries is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in International Business at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. His research interests include various topics on the international growth of new and small firms.  These include experiential learning and capability development, the role of resource limitations, and qualitative methodologies. Lucas is also interested in the philosophy and sociology of science, or how researchers view and construct knowledge individually and as a group. 

Lucas earned his MBA from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics from Utah State University in Logan, Utah. His previous work experience includes custody accounting at State Street Bank in Boston, Massachusetts.  

Project: Resources and the Growth of Innovation Firms in Global Markets

A common assumption for research in the international small firm literature is that, compared with their larger multination siblings (MNEs), small firms lack resources, which contributes to a liability of newness, smallness and foreignness. A liability of newness (Stinchcombe, 1965) stems in part from a lack of reputation and a newly forming network while a liability of smallness (Aldrich and Auster, 1986) represents a firm's lack of financial and human resources.  And even though both small and large firms exhibit a liability of foreignness (Zaheer, 1995), "resource constraints and liabilities of newness exacerbate the challenges and risks involved", (Bruneel, et al, 2010, p. 164). 

Rather than taking for granted these differences between small and large international firms (Coviello and McAuley, 1999), I place them at the center of my research. In a previous paper (Humphries, WIP), the assumption of limited resources is problematized (Alvesson and Sandberg, 2011) and reconceptualized as limiting resources. More clearly, not all limited resources are actually limiting the growth and internationalization of firms. It is important to fine tune our understanding of the resource restrictions of new and small internationalizing firms and their actual challenges and benefits. 

The focus of the current research is to extend my work on limiting resources of small firms and their internationalization. My prior work used observations from several different industries including tech, service, and products, which allowed for a broad view and general theorizing about small firms. However, for this research, I intend to focus on technology-based start-ups within a specific geographic location.  Using interview data from DC area firms, the current investigation will develop a set of propositions on the antecedents and consequences of limiting resources of technology-based start-up firms competing in international markets. This research will set up future work of developing hypotheses to be further tested using data collected from technology-based DC firms.

SDI Mentor: Pradeep Rau


Michelle Montague-Mfuni is currently a Ph.D. Management student at the University of Memphis where she is focusing on international strategy. Her research interests include international business; home vs. host country strategies; multi-national corporations; corporate social responsibility; political actions; emerging markets; energy and international trade.


Michelle previously worked as a Senior Manager in Strategy at Ernst and Young in South Africa. Additionally, Michelle has a wealth of experience in the fields of corporate finance, trade and investment; foreign exchange derivative options; cash management; mergers and acquisitions and capital markets- having also worked for Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Salomon Brothers and Union Bank of Switzerland Securities in major financial centers such as New York and London; as well as in Africa (South Africa, Kenya & SADC region).

Michelle has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Harvard College and a Masters in Business from the Darden School at the University of Virginia.

Project: Experiential International Business Teaching to Comprehend Millennial Students’ Global Awareness, Understanding and Competence

Interpreting how millennials perceive international trade and other globalization issues and performing a comparative intergenerational perception analysis will provide useful research regarding emerging cognitive institutions.  Comprehension of key constituent viewpoints may offer insights on how to improve the United States competitive global relationships with trade partners. In addition, this research will provide empirical support for the development of an International Business (IB) teaching instrument utilizing images as a medium for communication.

This visual medium draws away from the controversial notion that “English is the global lingua franca” (Doiz, Lasagabaster & Sierra, 2013). It also serves to provide an alternate answer to (Ramsey, Barakat & Abi Aad, 2014) when they asked about a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) manipulation to enhance an individual’s commitment to the study of IB in the classroom. It provides further support for (Cooper & Mitsunga, 2010) when they proport the ‘nested realities’ of faculty members when they engage in international collaborations and extends potential future research to enhance IB learning development instruments.

 Thus, we propose a self-reflection learning tool that can assist not only teaching globalization, but provide valuable research related to GW-CIBER’s theme of Institutions, Policies and Development in International Business. Enlightening a better understanding of cognitive institutions of the millennial generation and prominent IB scholars can assist with conceptual perception research on globalization and the impact on trade.

SDI Mentor: Liesl Riddle


Elena Poliakova is a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA. Her research explores cross-cultural management, international marketing campaigns, and diaspora investment. Elena’s research interests also include language in international business and intercultural negotiations. 

A native of Moscow, Russia, Elena earned her Master’s and PhD degrees in Linguistics at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked in the spheres of marketing and education in Russia, Germany, and the United States and as a translator at international trade fairs in Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, which was the catalyst for her interest in cross-cultural management.

Project: Public-Private Partnership and Diaspora Investment Promotion. The Case of ConnectIreland

A promising target group of investment promotion is diaspora – “expatriate community that maintains ‘a memory, vision or myth’ about the homeland; are committed to the ‘maintenance or restoration’ of the homeland” (2008; Safran, 1991: 83). An important source of financial and non-financial capital, diaspora capital has increasingly contributed to the evolution of business and industry landscapes. Diaspora homeland investment (DHI) marketing remains a promising research area. 

ConnectIreland is an investment promotion organization with a unique referral system launched in 2012, the middle of the recession, to create employment in Ireland. The partnership of ConnectIreland with Ireland's public-sector investment promotion agency IDA could be fruitful for raising propositions about how to measure diaspora investment-related private-public partnerships (PPPs). Since Irish people have a global network of family, friends, and connections at home and abroad, ConnectIreland relies on the personal network and power of diaspora marketing. The private sector of the PPP is operating transnationally, which differentiates this model from PPPs described in prior literature and can generate theoretical contributions. The research questions asked are (1) How to measure public-private partnership (PPP) success in the context of diaspora investment promotion? and (2) Are there measurement issues that are unique to marketing a nation for investment to transnational actors (connectors and investors)?

SDI Mentor: Liesl Riddle


As a human geographer, John is passionate about analyzing institutions, their policies, and the different outcomes they shape for ethnic groups. He became interested in institutions because they are dynamic in form and function and have the power to shape human experiences. 


Institutions have only recently begun to receive attention by geographers, especially in the last decade. Institutions, regardless of type (e.g. cultural, religious, financial or government) are governed by leadership and participation. While the governance of institutions may be similar in hierarchical organization, the impacts of institutional decisions can vary significantly, because of cultural ideologies and affect dissimilar groups differently. Sometimes, members within the same ethnic group that participate in the same institutions can have diverse experiences and outcomes. It is worthwhile, therefore, to examine institutional governance, participant’s culture, their forms of participation, and the policies that either attract or deter participation in order to discover the mechanisms that make institutional policies and development successful or unsuccessful in local, regional, national and international markets. John has published a research article in a refereed journal regarding the role of institutions and how they have dissimilarly shaped the experiences of two major ethnic groups in the U.S., Filipinos and Asian Indians in a New Jersey community. 

In his spare time, John enjoys playing basketball, exercising and playing video games.

Project: How Culture Affects International Business: The Role of Institutions

This project relates to GW-CIBER’s theme of institutions, policies and development in international business in many ways. The analyses of local and international institutions, their policies, and cultural ideologies will shed light on the specific information Asian Indian and Ethiopian immigrants and entrepreneurs utilize when choosing the Washington metropolitan area as the locale for establishing their businesses and enterprises. Furthermore, this project aims to examine the differences of these networks at the international level and how they contribute to economic development and advance the understanding of how immigrant transnational networks in global cities create new or utilize current institutions that promote international business development.

SDI Mentor: Elizabeth Chacko


JuliaJulia Margarete Puaschunder studied Philosophy/Psychology, Business and Public Administration, Social and Economic Sciences, Natural Sciences, Law and Economics (pending). Throughout her academic career, Julia was affiliated with Harvard, Princeton and Columbia University, where she published her work among other distinct journals and international publishing houses. Julia organized conferences and public speakers in North America and Europe. Since 2015 Julia supports the Economics of Climate Change Project Speaker Series hosted at The Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis of The New School for Social Research in New York City.  Julia is included in the ‘2018 Marquis Who’s Who in America and in the World’ among the top 3% professionals around the globe. She was awarded the 2018 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award.

After having captured social responsibility in corporate and financial markets in Europe and North America with attention to Financial Social Responsibility and Socially Responsible Investment, Julia pursued the idea of Eternal Equity — responding to Western world intergenerational equity constraints in the domains of environmental sustainability, overindebtedness and demographic aging. 

Currently, Julia also dedicates interest to Artificial Intelligence Ethics.

Project:Mapping Climate Change Gains and Losses

Climate justice accounts for one of the most challenging global governance goals. Curbing carbon emissions creates a prosperity versus sustainability predicament that pits today’s generation against future world inhabitants. Julia’s previous research innovatively calculated the macroeconomic gains and losses of a warming globe in order to reveal what countries will be gaining and what countries are prospected to be losing from climate change. Based on climate-related GDP prospects around the world until 2100, Julia’s research highlights what industries are expected to grow in what countries. So far, her project has advocated for redistributing these gains into the climate change losing areas in order to offset costs for climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the next logic step, Julia plans to work on concrete policy memos about redistribution strategies. In addition, she would like to fortify the macroeconomic model regarding the gains of a warming globe and study how the private sector and financial markets may benefit from climate change. A concrete business model will outline price prospects and expected financial market projections in the climate change winning areas. Lastly, the societal impetus of climate gains being distributed unequally around the world will be discussed in climate justice imperatives.


SDI Mentor: Anna Helm

Danielle Lee Tomson is a Ph.D. Student in Communications at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is also the Director and Co-Curator of Personal Democracy Forum, a flagship conference about tech, politics, and media. In her academic work, she writes about the intersection of technology, politics, and identity. She focuses on the impact of how regulation, internal policies and use of social media platforms affect both political economy and political movements.  Her research has taken her to Myanmar, Kosovo, Turkey, Georgia, and around the U.S.  Danielle was the founding Membership Director of Civic Hall, a community center for civic technology. Before Civic Hall, Danielle cut her technology teeth as a product manager and innovation consultant for non-profits, government, and corporate clients around the world. You can find her writing on The Huffington Post, Civicist, Medium, and a plethora of academic publications. She is a graduate of Yale University and is proud to have been raised on a horse farm in Western Pennsylvania. Find her on Twitter at @leetomson, though she has muted most social media.

Project: Regulating Facebook and Google: How European General Data Protection Regulation Change and Challenge American Platform Businesses

How does regulation of data used by platform companies in one jurisdiction affect those companies’ business strategies and practices in another? After being initially passed in 1995 and recently amended, the European Union’s overhaul of its General Data Protection Regulation will go into effect May 25, 2018. Already, journalists and experts tracking developments in compliance are anticipating sweeping lawsuits. One of the largest features of GDPR is that regulators can levy significant fines for breaches of the law. GDPR protects a variety of consumer rights, including the right to be forgotten, consent to targeted advertising, the protection of personally identifiable information, and consent of data sharing—to name a few. All of these challenge the fundamental business models of platform companies, who rely on user data collection, analysis, and sharing for ad sales. Given the recent Cambridge Analytica whistleblowers who professed the nonconsensual use of Facebook data and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent testimony before the U.S. congress, now platform companies are considering making GDPR the international standard within and between jurisdictions. This research project analyzes the changes in fundamental business practices around the consent of data collection and use in one jurisdiction—the core of the platform company’s business model—as a result of regulation in another. The paper will consider the changing of platform business practices by engaging with previous literatures on globalization and regulation, platform studies, data protection, and also how regulatory mechanisms can also be used to confront monopoly power across jurisdictions—especially considering the lively debate on antirust and monopoly of technology platforms currently happening. By doing deep descriptive process-tracing of firms as they navigate these regulatory and legal challenges, we will begin to develop frameworks through which we can analyze platform businesses and regulation in the 21st century.

SDI Mentor: David Karpf


Xiangkun is a Finance PhD student at School of Business, University of Connecticut. His research interests include theoretical and empirical asset pricing, corporate governance, and monetary policy transmission. One of his research projects focuses on using options to forecast the physical distribution of corresponding stock returns. Another one focuses on studying how corporate governance affects managers’ risk-taking decisions.

Prior to his doctoral studies, Xiangkun obtained his Master’s degrees from Fordham University and Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University.  

Project: The Role of Bank Lending Channel in Monetary Policy Transmission

In this paper, we investigate how monetary policy affects economy through the bank lending channel. First, although a large amount of research provides evidence on the existence of the bank lending channel from different dimensions, we don’t know the relative effect of the bank lending channel in the monetary transmission mechanism. We will answer this question by measuring how the bank lending channel contributes to the overall change of loan growth to monetary policy change. Second, a central bank can adopt different monetary policy conducts to manage its inflation-output tradeoff. For example, Kashyap and Stein (2012) states that in a country with interest on reserves, the central bank has two distinct tools to reach its short-term policy rate: either alter the interest it pays on reserves or change the quantity of serves in the system. We will explore how the bank lending channel works under different monetary policy conducts.

SDI Mentor: Jiawen Yang