I finally had the chance to grab a little time with Naufel, whose Marketing course I attended at London Business School, to ask a few questions about how he got where he is, what excites him…and his thoughts on some key marketing issues:
[JJ] Could you please tell us a little about yourself and why you chose the world of Marketing and Academics?
My path to an academic career in Marketing was quite accidental. My undergraduate degree was in Physical Sciences (Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) and after completing my studies, I joined a diversified corporation in Sri Lanka as a management trainee and that kindled my interest in the study of management. While studying for my MBA degree, I took a liking to Economics and Applied Econometrics in particular, and so chose to do further studies (i.e. Ph. D.) in that subject. However, being in a business school, I chose to apply my training to modeling consumer choice and that led me to the field of Marketing. Not a grand design, but one that happened quite fortuitously and I never looked back. It has been a wonderful experience.
Is the end really nigh?
A recession is here again….and as with every economic downturn, echoes of despair and quick fixes permeate the wires. That’s all well, of course, except for the fact that this is no ordinary downturn…this one’s big, real big. Some say we’ve just about hit bottom now, others claim the fall’s decelerating. Only the fittest will survive, proclaim the Darwinians, somewhat gleefully.
That may be true, but the good news is that the evolution of businesses need not be as fatalistic an affair as the evolution of species. The great thing about hitting bottom is it gives the eventual survivors the chance to catch a breath, gather their bearings and strategize about the climb out. It goes without saying that the animal that’ll emerge from the fray will be a leaner and wiser one. This is all about conscious decisions…and the individuals that choose to make them will lead their organizations to even greater heights.
“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson may have put a poetic twist on human fascination with new technology, however the statement certainly lacks in bringing across the crucial importance of marketing. History is littered with examples of great new inventions and astonishing advances that never made the light of day…a lot of times simply because not enough people knew about them or just didn’t understand them.