Professor Bruce Newman came to visit the School of Management to discuss issues related to the Colombian peace process and analyze the possibilities of future joint research projects. Below, he explains why he decided to be a scholar, his work and what he loves about it, his impressions of the School, the country, and the peace process, and his hopes for the future.
Bruce Newman is Professor and Wicklander Fellow in Business Ethics at the Driehaus College of Business & Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University. He holds a Ph.D. in Marketing (1981) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the same University (1978).
Among his research interests he focuses on: (i) political marketing, (ii) consumer choice modelling, and (iii) marketing applications to the telecommunications industry. In 1995, he was advisor to the Clinton Administration on Communications Strategy and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Otago (2006), Stanford University (2002-2003), and the University of California-Berkeley (2001-2002).
Currently, Professor Newman is Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Political Marketing. He is also an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Consumer Behavior, Journal of Public Affairs, and Psychology and Marketing, among others.
Host professor, Andrés Barrios tells us about the importance of Professor Newman’s visit to the School of Management.
- How do you know the professor? What are the main research links?
I met Bruce at the American Marketing Association Conference in 2017, and we are currently discussing possible research topics related to the Colombian peace process.
- What is the main purpose of the professor’s visit?
The main purpose of his visit is to open a new research and teaching agenda on Political Marketing.
- Why is it important to have this professor at the School?
Bruce is a prestigious academic and consultant in political marketing. He is the editor of the Journal of Political Marketing, and his visit coincides with the presidential elections in Colombia.
- What are the expectations in terms of his/ her research contribution to the academic area?
There is an opportunity to analyze how social media influenced the peace referendum results from a theoretical perspective.
Interview with Professor Bruce Newman
- When and why did you decide to pursue an academic career?
That is an easy answer. I never had any plans to until I had a class as a grad student, as a junior, and I had an influential professor who suggested that I should consider going on for an MBA. So I said Ok. I got the MBA, and then he said, Why don’t you go on to do a PhD and study under me? And here I am.
- What are the most satisfying aspects of being a scholar?
I love the world of ideas. I love to analyze. I love to create. I love to try and be a visionary, to forecast what’s going to happen in the future. I love to meet people travelling around the world, and I get to do that as a scholar. I love my students. I love to work with students, with other faculty members, doing research and different activities. It’s an ideal lifestyle. I would never give it up.
- What other research areas would you like to develop in the future?
We are talking about holding a conference that I organize every year around the world, next year here at the university either in Bogotá or Cartagena. We are talking about Andrés getting involved in my journal. I have invited him to be on the editorial board. I have invited him to guest edit a special issue that will bring different scholars from Latin America into the issue. This is the first time I have met him, and it is a fast function. I like him; he likes me, I think. So I think we’ll be working together in the future.
- Do you have a special anecdote from your academic life you can share with us?
I have several. Most interesting was going to China and being asked to join a meeting in the Great Hall of the People, which is their white house, with the former deputy chairman to one of the premiers and going into this building that was magnificent, and having a banquet in the Tibetan room with my wife who was with me. That was one of the highlights.
- How does your work contribute to society as a whole?
Well, in a very direct way. It helps to strengthen democracy because marketing is all about understanding people’s needs, hopes, wants, desires, and fears, and responding to this as a government political leader, or political party with the right approach to satisfy those needs and wants. So my reason for getting into this business is to help to strengthen those democracies.
- How would you describe your teaching philosophy?
Teaching philosophy: Open-mindedness, sensitivity, very demanding, expect the unexpected, and treat each student as an individual.
- What do you learn from the interaction with your students?
A ton. I mean, I encourage people to speak up in class. I don’t call on them but I encourage them to contribute. And every person has a story to tell. Each one of us has a story at every age that we are at. So I learn from students. Always.
- During your visit, what surprised you the most about Colombia?
My impression is that it is a country of very friendly people. Exceedingly, one of the friendliest people I have met. It is also a mysterious country. I find Colombia to be a little mysterious in some ways. Full of contradictions it seems. Not easily understood looking at it from the outside. With Andrés, I met the communications team at the Presidential Palace yesterday. We had a meeting with 10 people at the palace and I realized that this peace agreement is a really big burden on the Government and they are struggling to work out how to sell it to the Colombian people. This is why they wanted to meet with me I guess. So I think it is a complex society, and that I have a lot to learn.
- What would you highlight from your visit to Universidad de los Andes School of Management?
There is a high-energy student body, a very active community. It is a serious place, a serous academic institution. Just like Bogotá, it is a potpourri of different types of buildings, environments. I had a tour of the campus, and there was a women’s prison, there was a mental institution, there was a chapel and it is now all part of this university. My impression is that it is a good school. I think students are quite happy to be here; the faculty seems happy to teach here, so I get a good vibe.