Stephen Hood, a fall 2021 graduate of the Executive Ph.D. program, currently works with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Photo courtesy of Stephen Hood.

Driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, fall 2021 graduate Stephen Hood was attracted to the Executive Ph.D. program because it allowed him a way to generate new knowledge, explore the world, and solve problems.

“The most important thing I learned from the program is how to identify gaps in existing knowledge and develop research strategies to address those gaps,” said Hood, whose program concentration was marketing. “On one hand, we know very little about the world around us although opportunities to generate new understanding are tremendous, but on the other hand, most people do not perceive the world this way. While it can be difficult to see what we do not already know, research methodologies offer us a solution.”

Hood said he most enjoyed research methodology courses in the Executive Ph.D. program because they provided tools necessary to evaluate existing research as well as conduct new research. “Fluency in a broad assortment of research methodologies allows for a balanced approach to best answer a research question,” he said.

His advice to prospective students: find research topics of personal interest to you and an advisor who is encouraging and supportive.

Hood’s own research addresses how consumers behave when competing in auctions. He found that when consumers competed against other bidders who were product domain experts (i.e. collectors or aficionados) they were willing to bid higher. However, when competing against auction process experts (i.e. professional bidders) they did not bid higher. Furthermore, when consumers perceived themselves as product domain experts they also bid higher than when perceiving themselves as process experts. This behavior further depends on whether consumers win or lose.

My wife and I have attended many auctions over the last several years while I have been conducting this research and it has been a source of enjoyment for both of us,” Hood said.

Hood’s dissertation is entitled "Subjective Assessments of Self and Competitor Expertise: Influences on Bidding and Post-Auction Product Valuation." He and his advisor, Dipankar Chakravarti, have collaborated on a number of papers on this topic which they presented at the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science (ISMS) Conference in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

In addition to his two degrees from Virginia Tech (he also earned an MBA in 2017 and serves on Pamplin’s MBA Advisory Board), Hood holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature from Fuller Theological Seminary.

He has worked in the intelligence community for more than 17 years, six of them as an intelligence officer and human intelligence collector in the U.S. Army. He also held positions at the Central Intelligence Agency and National Intelligence University.

In his current position at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) as strategic advisor for Plans, Programs, and Integration for both the Defense Intelligence Agency and the larger Defense Intelligence Enterprise, he is responsible for identifying and facilitating a coordinated approach on areas related to U.S. strategic competition against adversaries as well as issues of common programmatic concern.

“It was a great benefit for me that Pamplin’s Executive Ph.D. offered scheduling flexibility with a hybrid of online and weekend residencies as it allowed me to simultaneously continue with my career and even apply much of what I learned about consumer behavior in real time.”

- Written by Barbara Micale