In Fall 2016, Hari Ravella joined the first cohort of the Executive Ph.D. program in the marketing concentration. He had two master’s degrees and 25 years of professional experience in information technology but wanted to broaden his scope of knowledge to include research, believing it to be a career asset whether he remained in industry or transitioned to academia.

Ravella said that during his years in the program (he graduated in Fall 2021) he learned from some of the greatest scholars in academia, specifically citing his advisor Dipankar Chakravarti, Rajesh Bagchi, Paul Herr, P.K. Kannan, Raman Kumar, and Frank May.

“All of these professors emphasized both behavioral/qualitative and quantitative research methods and prepared me to think and examine research problems and solutions from multiple perspectives,” said Ravella. He graduated from the program in Fall 2021. 

His research interests focus on consumer behavior and decision making, especially in contexts involving modern technology. “I am passionate about researching various factors that may influence adoption of such AI devices/agents by consumers,” said Ravella, who is a professional services practice leader at Amazon Web Services where he is responsible for convincing large enterprises to adopt the AWS Cloud and services.

In addition to evangelizing the benefits of migrating to the AWS Cloud, he assists customers in getting ready for the Cloud, and once they migrate, helps them tap into its full potential by innovating with advanced analytics and artificial intelligence/machine learning services. He is also responsible for successful delivery of services by a team of consultants. 

Ravella’s previous professional experience includes leading a group at a mid-size IT firm in the human services domain; a global business operation for IBM Commerce Client Success Group in 2015 with over $300M in revenues; and professional services for three product lines in the IBM Software Group with over $40M in revenues and a 200+ strong global team. He has also held positions at Curam Professional Services group; Tata Consultancy Services; Keane Inc; Key Bank; and Iron Mountain.

In his Ph.D. dissertation, Ravella designed artificial intelligence-based smart agents to support physician-patient interactions and studied the influence of communication style (empathetic/impassive) on persuasion and compliance mediated by liking, satisfaction, trust, and anthropomorphism.

While in the Executive Ph.D. program, he had the opportunity to present his research at six international conferences  — the INFORMS Marketing Science Conference in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021; and the Association for Consumer Research (ACR) conference in 2020 and 2021.

Leaning toward a transition to academia, Ravella has been submitting some of his dissertation research to top tier journals in marketing and building a research pipeline to continue his research interests in the areas of consumer behavior, leveraging mixed research methods.

“The Executive Ph.D. program is a journey that sometimes feels like fighting an up-hill battle, but with amazing support from my advisor and committee I made it to the finish line,” said Ravella. “Because the rigor of the program is 100 percent the same as that offered in a full-time program, I believe I am now well-trained to conduct research on whatever path I choose.”