Eller Buzz: Experience Eller

High School Ethics Forum 2017

By Macy Forteza, Marketing ’18

The 11th Annual Eller High School Ethics Forum took place on Friday, April 7, 2017 at the UA Stadium Club. The purpose of the event was to provide high school students with hands-on experience in addressing personal and professional ethical dilemmas. The forum was held by the Eller College Center for Leadership Ethics, and sponsored by Vantage West Credit Union.

Sixty high school students from seven schools in Tucson (Salpointe Catholic High School, Nogales High School, San Miguel High School, Arcadia High School, and Westwood High School) were challenged with multiple ethical dilemmas and taught how to work through them. The students were given ethics cases created by Paul Melendez, Professor of Practice in Management and Organizations and Founder of the Center for Leadership Ethics.

Dr. Paul Melendez, Professor of Practice in Management and Operations and Founder of the Center for Leadership Ethics.
Photo by Eller College of Management.

Dr. Melendez’s case, “Child Labor: Little Hands, Big Profits,” discusses child labor in Bangladesh, which does not in fact violate the law in Bangladesh, though it is against the law in the United States. The purpose of this case is to make people think about ethics in the context of culture. The case puts a different perspective on ethical dilemmas; the issue of child labor is accepted in various cultures because it’s a norm. Melendez got students to rustle with the question of Which ethics to do you follow? and Do your actions follow with what you grew up with or what businesses do?

Students from the Center for Leadership Ethics and the professional business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi led discussions while participating high school students evaluated and discussed their ethical explanations for each case.

The forum tested the students, challenging their ethical thinking and interpretations, raising awareness of the importance of corporate social responsibility, and providing a networking opportunity.

Mitch Pisik, Chairman, Board of Directors, Vantage West Credit Union.
Photo courtesy Mitch Pisik.

“The High School Ethics Forum is an outstanding opportunity to expose some of the best and brightest Arizona high school students to the essential concepts and consequences of business and personal ethics,” said Mitch Pisik, Chairman of the Vantage West Credit Union’s Board of Directors.

Pisik has been actively involved in business strategy and ethics forums. He has also given presentations for corporations, been involved with MBA classes, and now works with high school students.

“The responses, discussions, and thought processes of these teenagers were within striking distance of their older brethren. A very impressive group,” said Pisik.

Pisik knows the students left the forum with “an expanded, broader, and deeper appreciation for the complexities of the world overall, and in business specifically.” He was particularly impressed with the quality and quantity of questions they asked him and Melendez.

He left the students with an inspirational statement: “It all starts with ethics. If you have ethics, then you have trust. If you have trust, then you can be a leader. If you are a leader, then you have multiple opportunities. If you have opportunities, then you can succeed in life. And when you succeed, life is sweet. It all starts with ethics.”

Header photo courtesy Paul Melendez.

By Eller College of Management

The Eller MBA program has seen its U.S. News & World Report rankings climb over the last several months.

Students looking for the highest income return from their tuition investment should consider the University of Arizona’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, according to rankings released by U.S. News in November. The authority on best grad schools has ranked the Eller MBA program sixth in the nation for return on investment.

The average salary and signing bonus for Eller MBA students within three months of graduation was $100,850 in 2015. The average student in the Eller MBA program graduated with just over $32,000 in debt. That’s a 3.1 to 1 salary to debt ratio, and places the Eller MBA at the top for ROI.

And this March, the U.S. News & World Report 2018 Best Graduate Schools edition ranked Eller’s Management Information Systems (MIS) No. 2 among public programs in the United States. The MIS program advanced up a notch to No. 4 overall, behind MIT, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Texas – Austin.

“Today’s top companies demand graduates who have a thorough understanding and real-world experience in big-data analytics, cybersecurity and IT development. Eller’s MIS faculty have done an outstanding job preparing students for these careers, and to learn that our MIS program is ranked as the second best among public programs is a true testament to their teaching skills and dedication,” said Eller College Dean Paulo Goes, who previously served as Salter Professor and the department head of MIS.

In addition to the MIS top ranking, the Full-Time Eller MBA program jumped from No. 60 to No. 49 overall, and ranked No. 24 among public programs. Other notable rankings include Eller’s Evening MBA, which tied with six other universities to rank as No. 46 overall and ranked as No. 30 among public programs.

In addition, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program is No. 5 among public programs for the fourth year running. The program ranked No. 15 overall.

Eller MBA Associate Dean Hope Schau said the benefits of earning an Eller MBA have long-lasting effects.

“The Eller Experience extends far beyond graduation,” Schau said. “We have a very strong alumni networking group that fosters recruitment and professional development of our graduate students. We’re also very proud that U.S. News & World Report ranked the Eller MBA sixth in return on investment last November.”

The U.S. News graduate rankings take into consideration a variety of factors including peer and recruiter reputation, average GMAT, average starting salary, percentage of employed students upon graduation, and more. Complete methodology details are available online at www.usnews.com/gradmeth.

The Eller College currently offers four ways to earn an MBA: the Full-Time MBA program at the Tucson campus; a part-time Evening MBA program at both Tucson and Phoenix campuses; an Executive MBA at the Phoenix campus, which is designed for seasoned executives and managers with seven-plus years of experience; and the Online MBA, with six starts per year.

For more details, contact 520.621.4008 or visit ellermba.arizona.edu.


Header graphic by Yvette Anchondo-Leyva.

McGuire New Venture a Finalist in Two Business Plan Competitions with $1.6M in Prizes

By Sarah Mauet

A McGuire Entrepreneurship Program new venture team that is pioneering a new breed of smart sensor technology for self-driving cars was selected as a finalist for two business plan competitions that offered more than $1.6 million in prizes. Nunami Labs was a finalist in the Rice Business Plan Competition and the ASU Innovation Open, both in April. The team won second place and $700 in the Challenge Rounds at the Rice competition.

“I was thrilled to be selected as a finalist,” said Nunami Labs team member Kory Chinn. “Being recognized as a finalist in these competitions validates all the hard work we’re putting in, and is a fantastic opportunity. We are competing against teams from schools like MIT and Stanford, known for producing prominent startups, so being selected for the finals really speaks to the quality and caliber of the McGuire Program.”

The tech startup is being developed by Chinn (MIS and Entrepreneurship ’17), Ryan Leeper (MIS and Entrepreneurship ’17), and Scott Marshall (Electrical and Computer Engineering, ’17). The three students have been working together since fall of 2016 to develop Nunami Labs in the top-ranked McGuire Program, a competitive-entry program in which University of Arizona students spend a year developing an innovation from early-stage idea to launch-ready business plan.

Using innovative technology and manufacturing techniques, the high-performance smart sensors Nunami Labs is commercializing will grant future autonomous vehicles the ability to react to the environment, creating safer roads by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error, said Leeper.

There were 750 applicants for the Rice Business Plan Competition, and Nunami Labs was chosen as one of the 42 finalists to compete April 6-8. The selective competition – known as the world’s richest and largest student startup competition – offered $1.5 million in prizes.

Nunami Labs also was one of nearly three dozen teams that pitched and fielded tough questions from a panel of evaluators in the first round of the ASU Innovation Open, a new intercollegiate innovation competition designed to fuel multidisciplinary teams of collegiate founders. One of four startups selected to compete in the finals on April 2, Nunami Labs received a $5,000 award from Zero Mass Water to prepare for the ASU Innovation Open Demo Day, which had a $100,000 top prize.

While the prizes were a draw, the team is also looking forward to honing its pitching skills and networking with entrepreneurial leaders, potential partners, and investors at the competitions.

“We applied for business plan competitions because they contain a wealth of resources for student startups,” Leeper said. “The feedback from judges will help refine our business plan, there are numerous networking opportunities and chances to meet leaders in the community, and – if we win – the prize money will be huge in our early development.”

An offering of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the UA’s Eller College of Management, the McGuire Program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all fields of study. In fact, McGuire Program students often benefit from collaborating with peers in other fields of study, and Nunami Labs is a great example of the strength of a cross-disciplinary new venture development team, said McGuire Program Director Joseph Broschak, Ph.D. 

“As an engineering student, I wanted to break out of my mold and expand my horizons, and I’ve always been fascinated by the world of business and new ventures,” said Marshall. “The McGuire Program allowed me to branch out into business while allowing me to leverage my engineering abilities.”

In addition to bringing together their multidisciplinary team, the McGuire Program also has been fundamental in facilitating the cross-campus collaborations required to make Nunami Labs possible, said Leeper. The team got the idea for the business at an Engineering Roundtable the McGuire Program hosted early in the Fall semester. When Hao Xin, Ph.D, a UA Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, talked about the sensor technology he invented, the trio jumped at the opportunity to commercialize it.

“The team at Nunami Labs is a great example of how hard work and understanding the principles of entrepreneurship can transport university research from a lab into an emerging growth company,” said McGuire Program Mentor in Residence Dan Janes. “Their ability to bring together leading researchers from Electrical and Computer Engineering, Tech Launch Arizona, and industry experts demonstrates how companies are built by collaboration and community.”

Janes, an experienced and successful tech entrepreneur, has been meeting with Nunami Labs weekly since the group began the program. That extra hands-on guidance and the chance to work on their venture for a year while still in school is giving their business an advantageous head start, said Chinn.

“The McGuire Program offers a tremendous amount of support, as well as guidance from our mentors,” he said. “As successful investors and startup founders themselves, they’ve been in our shoes and can guide us through the uncertainty that comes with venturing into something new and uncharted. Since we are at the early stages of our venture, this mentorship has been especially invaluable.”

Leeper is grateful for the support the McGuire Program has provided in empowering him to create his dream job.

“It’s rewarding and naturally motivating to work for a cause you believe in and have a hand in creating, and the McGuire Program helps make it all possible,” he said. “Everything from resources for prototypes and travel, one-on-one mentorship with business leaders, technology to expand our ideas, event organization, and networking opportunities, the McGuire Program is the perfect mix of tools and people to enable our success.”

For more information about the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, visit mcguire.eller.arizona.edu.

Top image — Ryan Leeper (left) and Kory Chinn presenting their pitch for Nunami Labs during the ASU Innovation Open semifinals — by Pete Zrioka, courtesy Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.


Eller Women Scholars Explore Floor Trading and More at Capital Markets Day

By Eller Professional Development Center

On March 31, about 20 Eller women scholars traveled to the Edward Jones operations center in Tempe, Arizona to learn more about the possibility of careers in capital markets and at Edward Jones.

Eller finance and business economics alum and current corporate bond trader Kelly Chaves hosted the event.

Prior to visiting, some students described their idea of the trading floor as being male-dominated and chaotic as it often appears in the media, but the student job shadows on the trading floor helped break down those stereotypes.

Students took a bus from Tucson to Tempe, where the day began with a welcome address from one of the firm’s general partners. After a brief overview of the company and its culture, students broke into small groups and shadowed each of the unit investment trusts, corporate bonds, and equity desks. Students also had lunch to network with leaders and associates at the firm, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

“I would have to say my favorite part of the day was the networking lunch,” said finance major Alex Andrino. “Although the floor rotation was incredibly informative, I really enjoyed getting to converse with a variety of employees from areas other than the trading floor. It really showed me that the collaborative and friendly culture extends to all departments, not just the trading floor.”

“The most important and arguably the most surprising thing I learned from this experience was that sales and trading is not always as chaotic as people say,” she said. “Through talking with a variety of traders, we really got to see how the culture of Edward Jones differs from the stereotype I constantly hear in the media.” 

Header photo courtesy Eller Professional Development Center.

Alumni Spotlight: Erik Huberman

Shaking Up the Digital Marketing World
Erik Huberman, BSBA in Business Management ’08
Founder and CEO, Hawke Media

By Sue Kern-Fleischer


Erik Huberman has always been an entrepreneur. His first recollection of making income was at age six, when he sold some of his parent’s collectibles to neighbors. By age nine, he figured out how to make thousands of dollars during the Beanie Babies craze.

Fast forward just two short decades, where Huberman’s career has catapulted to tremendous success. The Eller graduate is founder and CEO of Hawke Media, a digital marketing firm that built its reputation as a full-service outsourced CMO by avoiding long-term contracts.

Huberman was named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 entrepreneurs and Inc.’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers in 2016. Last year, Hawke Media was also recognized as Built in Los Angeles’ Top 50 Startups in L.A. and Happy City’s Top Happiest Places to Work.

Frustrated with how traditional and digital agencies operated, Huberman started Hawke Media three years ago. Today, the Santa Monica-based firm has 80 employees.

“Hawke Media is more about people than most businesses,” Huberman said. “Most companies provide a product or a service. In our case, our people are also our product, so our culture is always our most important focus.”

Much of the firm’s success has been a result of Huberman’s ability to recognize weaknesses in the traditional agency model and provide a more efficient, cost-effective alternative.

“Everything we do for clients is on a month-to-month basis, meaning no long contracts, which is rare for the better agencies,” Huberman explained. Clients choose from a menu of services that are all a la carte. 

“From social media ads to email and influencer marketing to web design, we can spin up expertise that the company needs,” he said. “The biggest differentiator for us, though, is the outsourced CMO component. Every company we work with gets a high-level marketing strategist who acts as both a strategy consultant and a project manager. This allows us to really drive the marketing function of a company, and keep on top of everything both internal to the company as well as new marketing opportunities that arise.”

Huberman credits his accelerated career track to watching his father when he was growing up in Ojai, California.

“My dad was an entrepreneur, so I grew up with the mindset that if I were to get a job, it was just to learn something so that I could eventually start my own business. I just assumed that’s what people did at a young age,” he said.

At age 16, he started researching business schools, and he was attracted to the University of Arizona, not only because it was close to California, but because the Eller College of Management ranked high among the nation’s best business schools.

Looking back at his time at Eller, he is grateful for professors like Marty Fox, who taught his strategic management capstone course.

“Marty really encouraged me, and I will never forget that towards the end of the year, he told me he wanted to stay in touch because of his expectations of me,” he said. Working with a cohort also was a great experience for him.

“There was one project we did together that was so valuable that I refer back to it time and time again,” Huberman said. “Our cohort consisted of five people from different majors — including finance, accounting, and marketing — and we had to come up with a business plan and pitch it. I still use the business plan we created as a benchmark for analyzing new ones.”

Now at age 30, Huberman has big plans for growth for Hawke Media. “We’ve been able to exceed our goals so far with innovative projects,” he said. “We have helped build an incubator focused on celebrity marketed products, we created a marketing artificial intelligence platform, we opened a retail store for e-commerce brands, and we are diversifying into real estate.”

A contributing writer for online publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc., Huberman is currently working on a book with William Morris Endeavor titled Greedless, which will outline how to be successful without being greedy.

Between work and leisure, Huberman travels on average six times per month. Finding time for fun is just as important as work.

“I love to travel and take advantage of what life has to offer,” he said. “Recently, I went heli-snowboarding with other entrepreneurs. I also love to exercise and play guitar. There’s a guitar behind my desk in my office and one sitting my living room, always ready to go.”

For those looking to start or grow a business, Huberman offers this advice for success:

“Luck and timing help, but it really comes down to one thing – get it done. Execute, check things off, move forward with projects, and see things through. I’ve worked with thousands of CEOs and founders, and the one thing I’ve seen that holds the successful ones together is that they all know how to execute.”

Photo of Erik Huberman courtesy Hawke Media.

Eller Alumnus Steve Erickson

By Lilly Berkley, UANews


As Steve Erickson sat among a group of other University of Arizona students during an information session with a Teach for America representative, who spoke about work within the organization, something was changing within him.

At that point, Erickson, a student in the Eller College of Management, and his friends — fellow 2005 grads Josh Eich, Michael Dougherty, Evan Witte and Joe Young — had launched BTO Auction Technologies, a drafting platform for fantasy sports, focusing specifically on college rivalries. The group built software used for draft picks, eventually winning the McGuire Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition.

Steve Erickson

Eller alum Steve Erickson said his work at Teach for America “has been an absolute dream. I’m happy and constantly fired up that I get to make a real difference. I deeply believe in our mission and the potential of every child.”
Photo courtesy UANews.

However, learning about the work of Teach for America, a nationwide organization that places recent college and university graduates and professionals in underresourced urban and rural K-12 schools, would change Erickson’s career path completely.

“I was immediately enamored. (The speaker’s) excitement inspired me,” said Erickson, who graduated with degrees in economics and entrepreneurship.

About 48 hours after that session with Teach for America, Erickson decided to dedicate time learning about nationwide equity gaps. Teach for America is driven by a vision that all children deserve a quality education, regardless of their background or access to resources. That resonated with Erickson.

“After that, there was no turning back,” he said. “I had to reflect on my center, what I believed in and what my values were. When I did, those fundamental values led me to join Teach for America, where I thought I could make the biggest impact. I made the difficult decision to walk away from our startup, but knew I was making the right decision.”

After saying goodbye to his business venture, the 22-year-old Erickson began working with “31 eager and energetic fourth-graders” at Quentin Elementary School on the west side of Phoenix.

“They were the most impressive kids, but were far behind academically,” he said. “At 9 years old, they should have been reading chapter books. But some were reading picture books and, on average, were reading just below a second-grade reading level. The same was true for math.”

Not only did he have to teach students to learn, but he had to learn how to teach.

Read the rest of the story on UANews.

Top image courtesy UANews.

Six Questions with Erin McGuire
Ph.D. in Economics ’18

By Macy Forteza, BSBA Marketing ’18 

Erin McGuire is currently a student in the Department of Economics earning her Ph.D. in Economics. She is from Denver, Colorado and obtained her bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon. She also obtained a master’s degree in economics at the University of Colorado. Check out her responses below!

Why did you choose the University of Arizona to pursue your doctoral degree?

The faculty in the Economics Department drew me to UA to pursue my doctoral degree. They are easy to work with and practice high-quality research. It seemed like obtaining a Ph.D from UA would help me to become a productive researcher. 

Why did you choose to study economics?

Ever since I read Freakonomics for AP Microeconomics in high school, I have been interested in economics. I was inspired to do research in the economics of entrepreneurship after observing the recent influx of small craft breweries in Tucson.

What professional experience has contributed to your doctoral studies?

I worked as a chemistry lab assistant in college, did an actuarial internship, and interned for a nonprofit specializing in management training. Though these are quite different from the world of academic economics, they have helped me along the way. 

What have you learned from that experience, as well as your academic studies?

Going through the Ph.D program has improved my research and taught me to communicate more effectively when presenting and teaching.

What does your work/life balance look like?

I work on research most days, but try to find time to run on the Loop with my dog or go to the rec center with my husband. I also really enjoy hiking in Sabino Canyon. 

What are the next steps you plan to take towards your career?

I will be going on the academic job market next year, so this summer I will be presenting at two conferences (one in France!) and improving the papers in my dissertation.

Featured photo courtesy PixabayErin McGuire photo courtesy Erin McGuire.

Input Assumptions are the Key to Valuation
Five Questions with Kevin Zhao, Master’s in Finance ’09
Manager, Valuation Services, Equity Methods

By the Eller Finance Department, for MSF Connect: Alumni News

What type of professional experience have you had so far?

I am a manager at Equity Methods, LLC, a professional services firm that specializes in the advisory, valuation, accounting, and tax services of equity-linked instruments.

Kevin ZhaouWhat surprised you about valuation modeling in practice?

I really had no idea how important input assumptions (e.g., volatility, discount rate) are to the valuation outcome. In college and graduate school, we spent an outsized amount of time on valuation models and how to build them, but overlooked input assumptions or took them for granted. In practice, developing the most accurate input assumptions are at least as important as building the right models. There is a model for almost any and every derivatives instrument out there. There may be multiple types of proprietary models for one instrument, but they are largely similar. The real edge is in input assumptions.

Why did you choose to work for Equity Methods? 

I get to wear multiple hats. On the client service side, helping clients solve their problems and being appreciated by them gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Often times, a client will ask you a question that is seemingly related to my technical expertise, but neither I nor anyone in my firm have encountered it before. Situations like this require me to really innovate and be a creative problem-solver — I love it.

I also get to speak and exhibit at industry conferences, and write and publish thought-leading articles to build and enhance my firm’s reputation and brand recognition in the industry. I make sales pitches to prospective clients and travel to meet clients onsite. I do contracting and management, both people management and project management. With these many opportunities, I don’t get bored.

What was the hardest thing about transitioning into full-time employment after the Master’s in Finance program?

As a universal rule, transitioning is always challenging. For me, the hardest thing is learning the importance of attention to detail and how I am constantly judged by the quality of my work, and learn the skills and habits to do quality work. In college, we are probably judged mainly by producing the correct numbers or on the substance of an essay, more or less. At a workplace, all that still matters, and more – grammar, consistent font size, spacing in a report, well-organized support document, etc. – every single detail matters.

What has your professional experience taught you? 

Technical skills (e.g., the know-how about valuation science) are the foundation of your career, but it has limits. Knowing how to work with and serve fellow human beings (e.g., your colleagues at work, your clients, industry friends) will propel your career to the next level and you can’t do it without that skill.

Top image by geralt, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Kevin Zhao courtesy Kevin Zhao.

Five Questions on Institutional Investing as a Career
Jena Michels, 
Master’s in Finance ’10
Associate, Hedge Fund Investments, The University of Texas Investment Management Company

By the Eller Finance Department, for MSF Connect: Alumni News

What type of professional experience have you had so far?

During my Master’s in Finance, I worked as a graduate assistant for Arizona’s Investment Office. After graduating, I joined a nonprofit hospital system in St. Louis, Missouri helping invest their balance sheet and pension fund. I was working across asset classes (private equity, long-only, hedge funds, etc.) conducting due diligence on managers. In 2013 I moved to Austin, Texas to join the University of Texas endowment to help manage their hedge fund portfolio.

Jena MichelsMost of my professional experience has been in less-structured environments. I have never been part of a formal training program so I have had to learn on the fly and take a lot of initiative.

What surprised you about institutional investing?

The breadth. Careers in finance or investing can often be narrow. With institutional investing, you have the ability to look at a wide variety of investments with an infinite time horizon. That provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and room for creativity that I don’t think is always possible in other finance jobs.

Why did you choose to work for the University of Texas Investment Management Company? 

There is something very special about working for an endowment, which I experienced firsthand at Arizona. I am passionate about education and feel very good about what I do. I get to work in an industry with the brightest and most successful investors, but I’m working to make education more accessible. It’s a win, win.

What was the hardest thing about transitioning into full-time employment after the Master’s in Finance program?

The lack of measurable feedback. In school you always knew where you stood because your performance was measured in the form of grades. The professional world is much more ambiguous and you have less direct feedback about your performance (unless you are a portfolio manager, in which case the market is constantly grading you). That was a struggle for me, and I’m still working on it today.

What has your professional experience taught you? 

You can never be done learning. Experience helps you become more confident with your decisions, but I am always learning something new. I’m always working towards mastery, but I know I’ll never get there. And that’s okay.

Top image by geralt, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Jena Michels courtesy Jena Michels.

Seven Questions with Caleb Warren
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Department of Marketing

Ph.D. in Marketing, University of Colorado, Boulder


“My two primary research questions are (1) what makes things funny? and (2) what makes things cool?”

What brought you to the Eller College?

My wife Nooshin Warren brought me to Eller, both figuratively and literally. She completed her Ph.D. last year at Texas A&M and not only landed a job at the University of Arizona but was able to get me an interview, too. Since I was a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado, I had always thought of the UA as my dream job. The marketing department has an incredible mix of scholars who have done more to inspire my work than any other group. Tucson being a mountainous college town in the Southwest was also a huge draw. When we moved here, Nooshin drove the last leg of our trip from Texas to Arizona, thereby literally bringing me to Eller, too.

How long have you been at Eller?

I started working in the marketing department in July 2017. I had previously worked at Texas A&M University and before that at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

What is your current research, and what most excites you about that area of focus?

Generally, my research uses an experimental approach to study what motivates and influences consumers to value, buy, and use products. I also investigate what effects buying and using products has on consumers’ well-being. Specifically, my two primary research questions are (1) what makes things funny? and (2) what makes things cool? In addition to finding these topics intrinsically interesting, understanding them is critical as marketing continues to become more prevalent in society, yet also more difficult to successfully execute. As the amount of marketing increases, consumers are paying less attention to any of it. Being funny and being cool are two ways that marketers can break through the clutter and capture consumers’ attention. But doing this requires a better understanding of how to be funny and how to be cool. My research tries to improve this understanding.

What are you currently teaching?

I teach courses in consumer behavior and digital marketing. I enjoy getting students to think critically about marketing, politics, religion, or any other individual or institution is influencing their behavior. By understanding the different factors that influence their behavior, often unconsciously, students can gain more agency and control over their lives.

How do you bring your research into your teaching?

The topics that I research are important to understanding both consumer behavior and digital marketing. For example, humor helps marketers attract attention, and attracting attention is a focal topic in consumer behavior and is essential for success in social media marketing. Consequently, I incorporate my research on how to be funny to help teach students one way to attract consumers’ attention.

Beyond research and teaching, what are your passions?

I enjoy outdoor activities, especially hiking, skiing, swimming, and mountain biking. I also love music. I enjoy playing guitar (albeit poorly) and listening to a wide variety of music, from Bob Dylan and Otis Redding to Outkast and Calexico.

What does the Eller Experience mean to you? 

It means working with a great group of colleagues and energetic, open-minded students.

Learn more about Caleb Warren and his research and teaching by visiting his faculty page.

Photo of Caleb Warren by Eller College of Management.