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Photo by Susan Young

Tami Kim, a doctoral student at HBS, is conducting research into how the restaurant business could benefit from transparency—literally—by making it possible for chefs and diners to see one another. Her findings on employee and customer satisfaction could help transform how restaurants operate and are designed.

“When customers can see how much effort goes into preparing their food, they appreciate it more, and when kitchen staff see customers enjoying a meal, they become more motivated and productive,” says Kim, who used technology in her study to help chefs and diners interact visually.

Kim is a fourth-year student in Marketing, one of eight doctoral programs offered by HBS. In addition to her research on consumer empowerment, she is pursuing coursework that includes the required Business Education of Scholars and Teachers course, which introduces students to the fundamentals of business and exposes them to various approaches to teaching and developing curricula.

Kim says that her fellowship, which covers her full tuition and includes a living stipend, makes a huge difference in her studies. “It allows me to focus my attention on meaningful research. I am thankful to the donors who have made it possible,” she says. “My fellow students and I feel valued by the School because of the resources that are provided to us.”

Kim also is a mentor to students enrolled in PRIMO (Program for Research in Markets & Organizations), a summer research opportunity for Harvard undergraduates to work with HBS faculty. She herself is a former PRIMO student.

Gifts to the HBS Fund have a significant impact on the doctoral programs, which guarantee fellowships for all students each year of enrollment. The Fund provides 21 percent of the overall doctoral budget. These resources enable the School to offer generous financial support and compete for outstanding candidates who apply to these highly selective programs.

“Tami’s research is a perfect reflection of the Doctoral Programs’ mission—she is a scholar who conducts rigorous research that influences practice. The work that she and her coauthor, Professor Ryan Buell (MBA 2007, DBA 2012), have done will impact not only restaurants, but the service industry overall,” says John Korn, executive director of Doctoral Programs at HBS. “The support that doctoral students receive allows them to become the next generation of outstanding scholars and teachers, and leaders in management education.”

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