Casablanca, Corsendonk, Como

Summer 2000. Harvard Square. Casablanca (next to Brattle Theater).

Hau Lee and I met for dinner here, and discussed a variety of supply chain topics, ranging from publications, practical impact and purpose of our academic field.

Casablanca is a romantic drama film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It holds a 99% approval rating and a weighted average of 9.41/10 on Rotten Tomatoes.

I had already known Hau for many years, with perhaps the first substantial interaction being in the context of Postponement.

With my first PhD student, Jay Swaminathan and I study postponement using Vanilla Boxes (with IBM product line as an industrial example), in this Management Science article

Hau Lee was the Editor-in-Chief of Management Science then.

The Supply Chain Thought Leaders Conference that Hau created (in 1998, I think), which I attended for the first 5 years, was academically sophisticated, but even more importantly, held at wonderful locations that allowed for broader enjoyment of life. 

In the first one, held at a lavish resort in California, I was asked to speak about Value of Information (including my paper with Srinagesh Gavirneni and Roman Kapuscinski, also in Management Science). The next one was held at Corsendonk (outside Brussels, in Belgium, picture on top), when my co-edited volume Quantitative Methods for Supply Chain Management became first available. Hau contributed a very nice chapter to this volume.  As a wine and Martini fan, perhaps the only beer I drink with some relish is:

Corsendonk is a Belgian beer brand. The brand name refers to the Priory of Corsendonk in Oud-Turnhout; which was in operation from 1398 to 1784, and was rebuilt in 1968 as a hotel complex by new owners Corsendonk Hotels.

The third conference was held at HBS. One of the invited speakers – from outside our field, by Ananth Raman – was Al Roth, and this was the first time I heard about that line of research. (I spoke about Internet-enabled supply chains using slides I had repurposed from my McKinsey executive education sessions; here is a paper with Pinar Keskinocak.) Little did I know that ten years later, I would be meeting Al (first when he was still at Harvard, and then several times at Stanford) about OrganJet

The fourth was held at INSEAD (scroll right on picture on top of post to see a pic from this conference). You see the pattern: it alternated between US and Europe. When the discussion was about choosing the next location, with US in mind, I decided to be disruptive, and offered that Carnegie-Bosch Institute (with Mike Trick as President) may be willing to support it, and that, they would be flexible – even thrilled – if the location was in Europe. What did we pick (Jan Hammond was a co-conspirator, I believe; I gave a talk using SmartOps slides)?

2002. Lake Como. 

Many years later, James Bond discovered it as well:

Spring 2017. Stanford University.

I had a short sabbatical at Stanford GSB, and meeting up with Hau for coffee or lunch (scroll right after INSEAD pic, one with Feryal Erhun, my PhD student, who had been at Stanford for several years, and was visiting the area during that period) or just in his office to chit-chat was one of the many treats of that visit. 

In 2018 and 2019, I visited Stanford campus when I was in the area working with NASA Quantum AI Lab (QuAIL), and Hau always found time to meet with me (scroll right once more on top of post).

Hau, it was great to see you today on zoom at POMS Plenary honoring you.  Look forward to seeing you in person soon. Let me close with:

Hau: Supply Chains = Casablanca: Movies = Corsendonk: Beers = Como: Villas.


  1. Thank you, Sridhar. So many great memories. I really appreciate your kind words.

  2. Great Memories Sridhar – and very nice to see you today at the online event.

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