Assistant Professor Yi Zhu
Room 3-205
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Yi Zhu

Assistant Professor, Mary and Jim Lawrence Fellow


  • PhD 2013
    Business Administration University of Southern California

  • MA 2004
    Economics, University of British Columbia

  • MA 2002
    Management, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

  • BE 1998
    Industry Engineering, Shanghai University of Electric Power


  • Search Advertising
  • Online Auctions
  • Media Slant
  • Social Media
  • Economies of China

Yi Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Marketing, Mary & Jim Lawrence Fellow at the University of Minnesota. He received his PhD in Business Administration from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2013. He worked as a consultant at Shanghai Investment Consulting Corporation before he went to Vancouver, where he received his M.A. in Economics from University of British Columbia. His research interests focus on the application of industrial organization models in marketing, online auctions, search advertising, media slant, and Chinese economy. His recent works have appeared or forthcoming at Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing Research and International Journal of Research in Marketing

In 2015, Zhu is the recipient of the John D.C. Little Award for the best marketing paper published in Marketing Science or Management Science, and the finalist for the Frank M. Bass Award for the best marketing paper derived from a Ph.D. thesis published in INFORMS journals. In 2016, he has been selected as a 2017 Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Young Scholar, a biennial award given to the most promising scholars in marketing who have distinguished themselves as potential leaders of the next generation of marketing academics. Zhu also won Shankar-Spiegel Best Dissertation Proposal Award in 2012. His research was funded by 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Grant, the Marketing Science Institute Grant, Net Institute GrantCIBER dissertation Grant, Carlson Dean's Small Research Grant, and Dean's Research Travel Grant.  Zhu has also won the 2011 James S. Ford/Commerce Associates Ph.D. Fellowship and many other awards during his time at USC. Among the 2013 graduates at USC, Zhu was one of the six awardees of the 2013 USC PhD Achievement Award.  In addition, Zhu was recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Education to be one of the top nine Chinese doctoral students studying abroad for his outstanding academic achievement and research in 2012 —among all graduate students across all subjects.


Selected Works

"Quality Score that Makes You Invest," (with Zsolt Katona)
"Why Customer Service Frustrates Consumers: Exploiting Hassle Costs by a Tiered Customer Service Organization," (with Anthony Dukes), Conditionally Accepted, Marketing Science, 2018
"Prominent Attributes under Limited Attention," (with Anthony Dukes), Marketing Science, 36(5): 645-812, 2017
"When It’s Smart to Copy Your Competitor’s Brand Promise," (with Anthony Dukes), Harvard Business Review (, March 23, 2017
"Effects of TV Advertising on Keyword Search," (with Mingyu Joo and Kenneth C. Wilbur) International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(3):508-523, 2016
"Position Auctions with Budget-Constraints: Implications for Advertisers and Publishers," (with Shijie Lu and Anthony Dukes), Marketing Science, 34(6):895-905,2015
"Selective Reporting of Factual Content by Commercial Media," (with Anthony Dukes), Journal of Marketing Research, 52(1):56-76, 2015
"Television Advertising and Online Search," (with Mingyu Joo, Kenneth C. Wilbur and Bo Cowgill) Management Science, 60(1): 56–73, 2014
"Hybrid Advertising Auctions," (with Kenneth C. Wilbur), Marketing Science, 30(2): 249-273, 2011
"Click Fraud," (with Kenneth C. Wilbur), Marketing Science, 28(2): 293-308, 2009
"Private Sector Industrialization in China: Evidence from Wenzhou," (with John Strauss, Edward Yanmin Qian, Minggao Shen, Dong Liu, Mehdi Majbouri, Qi Sun, Qianfang Ying), in Community, Market and Sate in Development, ed. by Keijiro Otsuka and Kaliappa Kalirajan, Palgrave-McMillan Publishing, 2010.

Current Activities

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 Mary & Jim Lawrence Fellow, Carlson School of Management, UMN

    2018 Finalist, Faculty of the Year, Carlson School of Management, UMN

    2017 Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Young Scholar

    2015 Winner, John D. C. Little Award for the Best Marketing Paper Published in Marketing Science or Management Science

    2015 Finalist, Frank M. Bass Award for the Best Marketing Paper Derived from a Ph.D. Thesis Published in INFORMS Journals

    2015 Haring Symposium Representative (Faculty), Indiana University

    2013- 3M Nontenured Faculty Grant

    2013 USC PhD Achievement Award

    2013 USC Graduate School Travel Award

    2012 Shankar-Spiegel Best Dissertation Proposal Award, Direct Marketing Association

    2012 Extraordinary Potential Prize of Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad, Chinese Ministry of Education

    2012 AMA-Sheth Doctoral Consortium Fellow, University of Washington

    2012 Summer Research Travel Grants, Marshall-USC

    2011 James S. Ford/Commerce Associates Ph.D. Fellowship, Marshall-USC

    2011 Fellow, Annual UH Doctoral Symposium, University of Houston

    2010 Fellow, Workshop on Quantitative Marketing and Structural Econometrics, Duke University

    2008-2013 USC Provost Fellowship, University of Southern California

    2008, 2012 Fellow, INFORMS Marketing Science Conference Doctoral Consortium


Research Grants

  • 2013-2015 Dean's Small Grant, Carlson School of Management, UMN, $5,500

    2012 The Center for International Business Education and Research Dissertation Grant, $1,000

    2010 Marketing Science Institute and the Wharton Interactive Media Initiative Research Grant (with Kenneth C. Wilbur and Mingyu Joo), $12,000

    2008 Net Institute Summer Research Grant (with Kenneth C. Wilbur), $3,000

    2007 US-China Institute Graduate Summer Fieldwork Grants, USC, $2,700