Preethika Sainam, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Global Business
Areas of Expertise: 

Quantitative Marketing, Marketing Strategy Under Uncertainty, Channel Structure and Coordination, Optimal Pricing Strategies


Analytic Decision Making, Business Informatics

Professional Bio: 

Preethika Sainam, Ph.D., teaches quantitative marketing classes that enhance the analytical piece of the MBA students’ experience at Thunderbird School of Global Management. She developed her passion for analytic decision making early in her career as a banquet sales manager for Sheraton Hotels & Resorts in Chennai, India. Personal computers were a new tool for non-IT businesses at the time in South India, and Dr. Sainam seized the opportunity. “That job helped me identify my love for data mining in large datasets to help understand customer preferences and sales trends, which ultimately led to my Ph.D.,” she says.

Dr. Sainam says these techniques are now ubiquitous in everyday business. The goal of her teaching is to help students understand and apply statistical techniques to improve the quality of managerial decisions. Her Analytic Decision Making course starts with basic statistics and moves on to cover frequently used managerial models. Her Business Informatics course provides an applied overview of the topic, including the role of large databases and sophisticated analytical models of information systems. Her classes incorporate mini cases and hands-on learning activities so students have a mastery of the statistical techniques they learn. “They see how to use them in real-world business settings,” she says. Dr. Sainam also inserts humor into her lectures, something she learned by watching her father prepare for the lectures he delivered as a medical school professor in Chennai. “Given that I teach relatively dry quantitative classes, I have heard from many students that they love the humor breaks,” she says.

Prior to joining Thunderbird’s fulltime faculty in 2013, Dr. Sainam served as Chief Marketing Officer for a startup in Portland, Oregon. In this capacity she helped craft the firm’s marketing strategy so it could procure funding. Earlier she was an assistant professor at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she engaged in scholarly research and taught marketing research.

Dr. Sainam earned a Ph.D. in marketing and a master’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a master’s degree in management information sciences and an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas. Her undergraduate degree is from Purdue University, where she was a Dean’s Scholar. Her research has been published in Marketing Science and the Journal of Marketing Research, the top publications in her field. Originally from India, Dr. Sainam speaks Tamil, Hindi, French and English.