02 Nov 2022

New Faculty Profiles: Elisabeth C. Paulson


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Elisabeth C. Paulson, assistant professor, Technology and Operations Management

What is your educational background?
I studied math and statistics as an undergraduate. My research advisor at the time, a mathematics professor with a PhD in operations research (OR), introduced me to the field of OR. As someone interested in math applied to real-world problems, it seemed like a perfect fit. After undergrad, I worked in consulting for one year before applying to PhD programs. I received my PhD in OR from MIT in 2021. Before joining HBS, I also completed a one-year postdoc at the Stanford Immigration Policy Lab.

What’s your area of research and what led you to it?
My research focuses on designing interventions for social good. My PhD work centers around using analytics to improve access to, and consumption of, fresh fruits and vegetables among low-income households. During my postdoc, I began developing algorithms to dynamically match refugees and asylum seekers to geographic localities within host countries based on their characteristics and predicted employment opportunities. Although very different applications, both streams of research use existing data to develop more personalized and optimized interventions.

I am drawn to these types of problems both for their potential positive impact on society, and because of the interesting research contexts. My research often intersects the topics of fairness, explainability, machine learning, human behavior, and causal inference, all of which I find fascinating.

What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching TOM in the required curriculum.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an academic?
Ideally, I’d either be a food critic or reality TV show producer. More realistically, I would be a researcher at a policy thinktank or socially-driven start-up.

Where are you from?
I am from State College, PA.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I love strategy games (both card games and board games). I also enjoy traveling and trying new restaurants.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
My favorite book is The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. I prefer TV shows to movies, and my favorite show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I also love anything by Nathan Fielder.

Post a Comment

Comments must be on-topic and civil in tone (with no name calling or personal attacks). Any promotional language or urls will be removed immediately. Your comment may be edited for clarity and length.