College of Business Administration Welcomes New Faculty Members

KENT, Ohio – The Kent State College of Business Administration welcomes new faculty members at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year: Milad Darani, Ph.D.; Saiying Deng, Ph.D.; Jeremiah Harris, Ph.D.; Umesh Hodeghatta, Ph.D.; Brett Kocher, Ph.D. and Chaojiang (CJ) Wu, Ph.D.


“The Kent State College of Business Administration is pleased to welcome outstanding new faculty members this year,” said College of Business Administration Dean Deborah F. Spake, Ph.D. “These faculty members bring unique research and teaching expertise to their respective disciplines, fostering an environment that supports and encourages students’ success at Kent State.”



Milad Darani, Ph.D.


Darani joins the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship as an assistant professor. He recently earned a Ph.D. in marketing from Texas A&M University. His research focuses on digital marketing and customer relationship management. Using quantitative models to gather information about customer behavior, he helps managers make smarter marketing decisions.



Saiying Deng, Ph.D.

Deng joins the Department of Finance as an associate professor. Her research interests are in banking, empirical corporate finance, and financial accounting. Her recent research seeks to understand how bank geographic diversification affects systemic risk, and the real effects of bank financing on corporate innovation and will be published in an upcoming issue of “Review of Financial Studies.”


Deng earned a Ph.D. in finance from Temple University, and a master’s degree in finance and a bachelor’s degree in information management from Xi’an Jiaotong University (formerly Shaanxi Institute of Finance and Economics) in China. 


“I was attracted to Kent State because of the beautiful and vibrant Kent campus, friendly colleagues, stimulating research environment and strong support for quality research in the Department of Finance and College of Business Administration,” Deng said. “I am proud to be part of the Kent State family.”



Jeremiah Harris, Ph.D.

Harris joins the Department of Finance as assistant professor. His research topics include corporate finance, mergers/acquisitions, repatriation taxes, multinational corporations and innovation.


Harris earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Utah State University.


“I am excited and honored to be joining the Finance Department at Kent State,” Harris stated. “I consider myself fortunate to advance my career while staying in the College and remaining close to my friends/colleagues in the Economics Department.”



Umesh Hodeghatta, Ph.D.

Hodeghatta joins the Department of Management and Information Systems as an associate professor. He spent the last 20 years working in industry for companies such as McAfee, Cisco Systems and AT&T Bell Laboratories. His research focuses on applying deep learning techniques to natural language processing and predicting cyber security attacks.


Hodeghatta earned a Ph.D. in machine learning from the Indian Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in computer engineering from Oklahoma State University.


“During my campus visit, I interacted with several faculty members and found Kent State to be very friendly,” said Hodeghatta. “After spending so many years in the industry, I feel I am at the right place to share my knowledge and help develop industry-academic relationships.”  



Brett Kocher, Ph.D.

Kocher joins the Department of Economics as an assistant professor. His research aims to discover the root causes of financial crises to help prevent their occurrences in the future.


Kocher earned a Ph.D. in economics from Clermont Graduate University, a master’s degree in Finance from Claremont McKenna College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.


“The College’s curriculum provides students the sort of rigorous and practical education needed for success in economics and business,” Kocher said.



Chaojiang (CJ) Wu, Ph.D.

Wu joins the Department of Management and Information Systems as an assistant professor. Using quantitative methods to analyze complex data, he researches better methods of data analysis and applications for businesses.


Wu earned a Ph.D. in business administration and a master’s degree in quantitative analysis from the University of Cincinnati.


“I was attracted to Kent State for its highly reputable programs because of my research collaborations with a number of Kent State alumni,” said Wu. “I am excited about the opportunity to build joint research and contribute to the analytics program here at Kent State.”



Kent State College of Business Administration


Kent State University's College of Business Administration is among the fewer than 1% of business schools worldwide to receive dual AACSB accreditation in both business and accounting.


The Kent State College of Business Administration is ranked as a top business college in Ohio by U.S. News and World Report, ranks as one of the nation’s Best Business Schools by Princeton Review, is ranked Tier One for both MBA and Executive MBA programs in North America by CEO Magazine and ranked by the Sales Education Foundation (SEF) for Professional Sales Education. The College is committed to sustainability as an Advanced Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) signatory and is recognized by the Sales Education Foundation as a top university for professional sales education.


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