Dr. Sumadhur Shakya, Assistant Professor of Operations Management & Agribusiness at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), has used @RISK in his own academic research and as a teaching tool in his classes, Operations Management and Supply Chain Management. Indeed, thanks to his championing of the software, 360 students at CSUMB will use @RISK, annually, either in Dr. Shakya’s classes, or in other business courses such as Commodity Trading.
Dr. Shakya says he ‘got hooked’ on Palisade’s software when he was in his Master’s program at North Dakota State University, and later in his Ph.D. at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. He used it to apply a ‘real option model’ for the valuation of random genetic traits, such as drought tolerance, in crop plants to determine their viability at various stages of development. @RISK was useful in accounting for the assorted uncertainties involved in these kinds of prospects, such as the size of the capital investment to develop the traits, rate of adoption post commercialization stage, and expected return to farmers/users in case drought occurs. Through using @RISK’s simulation models, Dr. Shakya’s research concluded that, after a few years of what looked like an out-of-money (financial losses) option, the traits ultimately became profitable after passing the third stage of development, and later during commercialization. “Had it not been for this model I developed via @RISK, most people would not have invested in the development of trait because in the first and second stage of commercialization, the option looked like it was a loss,” says Dr. Shakya.
Now, as a faculty member at CSUMB, Dr. Shakya has advocated for and introduced @RISK to his and other classes, so that students can learn the benefits of quantitative risk analysis in business and operations management. With support of CSUMB, he is in the process of helping to develop a bachelor’s program in AgBusiness that will focus on supply chain management, perishable and non-perishable agricultural commodities, precision agriculture, alternative Ag technology (like vertical farming, genomics, water management etc.) and sustainability, while covering subjects like viticulture and Ag tourism to meet the needs of the Salinas Valley and beyond. It will complement the programs at UC Davis and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. This new program will have a rigorous training in using @RISK to evaluate and model uncertainties in crop rotation plans, inventory management, and the dynamics within the perishable commercial agriculture supply chain. “Our plan is to not just @RISK, but also the DecisionTools Suite,” says Dr. Shakya. “Particularly, we would use StatTools.”
If approved, this new Bachelor’s program would be active and running by 2017.