Whitman Ph.D. Graduate: Tim Noparumpa

Close partnerships with faculty, customized curriculum and hands-on learning are all key factors of the Ph.D. program offered at Whitman. Ph.D. students are considered key contributors to their specific departments. Tim Noparumpa graduated in 2012 from the Whitman Ph.D. program with skills and experience that helped him pursue research regarding the uncertainties in agricultural supply.

Noparumpa is now serving as an assistant professor of management at Providence College in Rhode Island, and in May 2015, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management published his research findings.

Inspired by his upbringing in a developing nation, Noparumpa realized the importance and potential of a successful agricultural industry to a country’s overall economic success. Using his personal experience, his research explores the opportunities of using wine futures. Winemakers use wine futures when they sell wine by the barrel to mitigate risks of the quality rating at the time of distribution. The benefits of wine futures are twofold; it allows the winemaker “to pass on the quality rating risk to consumers but also allows [the winemaker] to bring in cash for immediate reinvestment into the next vintage,” according to Noparumpa.

Noparumpa credits part of his accomplishment to the skills he learned while studying at Whitman.

“Less is more – at Whitman, we were taught not to think of something complicated, but to think of something insightful,” said Noparumpa. The ability to persevere through long and difficult math proofs and to understand the value of quantitative skills and analysis are additional skills Noparumpa learned at Whitman and now applies daily as an academic researcher.

Achieving publication in a magazine such as “Manufacturing & Service Operations Management” is a valuable accolade for a recent graduate. Noparumpa attributes his ability to create meaningful work for business practitioners and academics alike to developing his research topics around areas that affect his everyday life.

“If you can provide a solution to something that affects you personally, then it is likely the solutions could also be applied to business practices,” said Noparumpa. Noparumpa uses his experience to encourage students to find work that relates to them; “they’ll enjoy the work and have a higher chance of success.”

Sarah Graham