At last year’s university-wide commencement ceremony, Isenberg students greeted the emcee’s incidental mention of Professor Agha Iqbal Ali with passionate applause. This spring, Ali’s naming as the new Karen and Chuck Peters Family Endowed Professor has evoked similar enthusiasm from the Isenberg community.
Ali, who joined Isenberg in 1987, was the founding chair of Isenberg’s Department of Operations and Information Management and led its expansion from 2006 until last August. In the classroom, he teaches the fundamentals of operations management, management science, optimization, and the design and implementation of mathematical programming algorithms. Long a teaching legend, he earned Isenberg’s Graduate Business Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award twice—in 2004 and 2005. He was also the school’s College Outstanding Teaching Awardee in 2000.
Ali’s diverse research interests include data analytics and performance evaluation, supply chain management, various applications of mathematical programming models, design and implementation of mathematical programming algorithms, and many other concerns.
In November, he earned the Operational Research Society’s Goodeve Medal for an article in its Journal of the Operational Research Society. Applying an optimization model, Ali and a coauthor explored delays in relief to disaster victims. Delays, notes Ali, are more often attributable to deficient distribution and infrastructure than to the actual supply of relief goods and services.
Before joining Isenberg, Ali was at the University of Texas at Austin for seven years, first as assistant professor of operations research and information systems and then as associate director for informatics. He earned his PhD and MS degrees in operations research from Southern Methodist University. He holds three other master’s degrees—two (in computer science and statistics) from Ball State University and one in mathematics from the University of Kashmir.
Professorship benefactors Karen and Chuck Peters are advocates of entrepreneurship education, including Isenberg’s Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. “Our kids and their generation—many of them want to work for themselves,” remarks Karen. “Let’s give them the tools to succeed in any business role.”