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Dr. Saeed Zolfaghari

Saeed Zolfaghari
BSc, MSc, PhD, PEng
EPH 300
416-979-5000 ext. 555006

Areas of Academic Interest

Operations research/
management science

Loyalty programs

Simulation modelling and analysis

Productivity improvement


Year University Degree
1997 University of Ottawa PhD
1991 Iran University of Science and Technology MSc
1988 Isfahan University of Technology BSc


For most of us, loyalty is something we appreciate in a four-legged friend. For Saeed Zolfaghari and his doctoral students who study the reward programs that businesses offer to customers, loyalty is something that can be analyzed mathematically through simulations and models. “We assess the impact of various loyalty program strategies or structures to understand how they impact profitability or sustainability for a business.”

Zolfaghari and his team build models that isolate critical decisions related to the design of a loyalty program. For example, is it more profitable for a business to offer restricted rewards – like a minimum number of purchases – or unrestricted rewards – like giving consumers a discount on their next purchase?

As a researcher with skills applicable to a huge range of industries, the mystery of discovery fuels Zolfaghari’s loyalty to his craft. “The beauty of research is not knowing what will come out of it,” he says. “There is always something new waiting for you at the end of the process – even if, in the beginning, you feel like you are wandering in the dark.”

Saeed Zolfaghari

“I am fascinated by the idea of continuous improvement and designing systems that can achieve it.”

  • Fellow, Engineering Institute of Canada (2021)
  • IIE Global Faculty Advisor Award (2012)
  • Service Award, Canadian Operational Research Society (2011)
  • Teaching Excellence Award, FEAS, Ryerson University (2007)
  • Practice Prize Award, Canadian Operational Research Society (2006)
  • Bazargan, A., Karray, S., and Zolfaghari, S. “‘Buy n Times, Get One Free’ Loyalty Cards: Are They Profitable for Competing Firms? A Game Theoretic Analysis.” European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 265, no. 2, 2018, pp. 621-630.
  • Goff, K., and Zolfaghari, S. “A Review of Scheduling Problems in the Digital Era of Motion Picture Exhibition.” Interfaces, vol. 47, no. 2, 2017, pp. 175-187.
  • Aldamak, A., Hatami-Marbini, A., and Zolfaghari, S. “Dual Frontiers Without Convexity.” Computers and Industrial Engineering, vol. 101, 2016, pp. 466-478.
  • Jadidi, O., Zolfaghari, S., and Cavalieri, S. “A New Normalized Goal Programming Model for Multi-objective Problems: A Case of Supplier Selection and Order Allocation.” International Journal of Production Economics, vol. 148, 2014, pp. 158-165.
  • Gandomi, A., and Zolfaghari, S. “Profitability of Loyalty Reward Programs: An Analytical Investigation.” Omega, The International Journal of Management Science, vol. 41, no. 4, 2013, pp. 797-807.