Sen Chai is a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and recently obtained her doctorate from the Technology and Operations Management (TOM) unit at Harvard Business School. Her dissertation is a finalist in the 2014 INFORMS Technology Management Section best dissertation award competition, with the winner yet being named.

Sen’s research examines the entire developmental course of creative innovations from idea conception to commercialization, with the goal of helping managers and policymakers better support innovation and increase organizations’ chances of creating commercially successful ideas. Her current projects focus on understanding how scientific breakthroughs emerge by concentrating on failed opportunities, the process by which researchers or teams of researchers in firms and universities conceive of commercially successful ideas, and the role of physical and virtual conferences as a vehicle for collaboration. In the context of innovation policy, she is studying innovative performance and productivity effects of academic-industry collaboration grants in Denmark and government-backed venture funds in China, as well as understanding which managerial and structural factors of these funding schemes make them more effective. 

Prior to Harvard, Sen worked in the San Francisco and Seattle offices of Deloitte Consulting LLP as a consultant helping clients optimize their business processes. She received a B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a M.S. in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She has also passed all three levels of the CFA curriculum.

Sen grew up in Shanghai, Paris, New York City and Montreal, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and French. She enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures during her free time.