Yang Wang

Rice PhD in Business


Yang Wang was born in Nanc hang, China and moved to East Lansing, MI at the age of 6 where both his parents attended graduate school. In 1998, Yang moved to Las Vegas where he later attended high school at the Academy of Math Science and Applied Technology (AMSAT). While at AMSAT, Yang became a National Merit Scholar and later attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) where he majored in Hotel Administration. Yang attended UNLV on a full scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude in two years while working full time in the Las Vegas gaming industry. He credits this experience for developing his work ethic.

Immediately after graduation, Yang began the full time MBA program at UNLV. During the program, Yang was also a revenue analyst with the Las Vegas Sands Corp. where he became fascinated with the complexities of a hotel’s dynamic pricing and inventory allocation decisions. His curiosity led to the pursuit of a PhD in quantitative marketing at Rice University upon completing his MBA. Yang is currently in the coursework stage taking various foundational courses in economics and statistics in addition to research seminars in marketing. Outside of academics, Yang is an avid violinist who has won several state and regional competitions and enjoys spending time with his baby sister who is 18 years younger.

What inspired you to earn a PhD, and why did you choose Rice? 
I come from a family of academics (my father, aunt, and grandmother are all professors) and I have really enjoyed the intellectual communication that has come from belonging to such a family. More importantly, I have always been inquisitive about the world in which we live. Having worked a few years as an analyst in the hotel-casino industry, I have encountered many interesting problems related to a firm’s competitive pricing and distribution decisions but have either lacked the tools or support from management to pursue my curiosity. This experience solidified my goal of pursuing a PhD and an academic career. I chose Rice over several other options because of the strength of the faculty in diverse marketing subfields, the unparalleled support, and the promising trajectory of the Jones School.

What is your research focus?
The opportunity to work with a pair of different faculty in each of the first two semesters has opened my eyes to the world of research and I can’t wait to dive full-heartedly into an area I am passionate about. I feel the consumer behavior seminar and working with Dr. Batsell in the first semester has been a good introduction to the breadth of marketing research. My goal is to find an area I am passionate about by the end of the first year. The beauty of marketing is that almost any piece social science research can be labeled as “marketing,” so I am confident that by summer I will be working on an exciting project that will turn into my summer paper.