Message from the Director

Jean-Pierre Dubé


In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the James M. Kilts Center for Marketing has continued to serve its mission of elevating the status of marketing at Booth among students, alumni, faculty, and the global business community. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kilts Center. Over the past two decades, the Center has become the heart of the Booth marketing community. What follows is a look back at our successes, which support Booth as it continues to lead the marketing industry by transforming the study and practice of marketing.



Our academic marketing community continues to grow and thrive. For example, several of our senior faculty serve as associate/area editors for the leading marketing journals. In addition, the marketing group received several awards this year. In January 2020, marketing professor Oleg Urminsky was appointed as an MSI Scholar. In Spring 2020, I was named an Academic Fellow at MSI. In summer 2020, Günter Hitsch was named the Kilts Family Professor of Marketing, and Brad Shapiro was named a Faculty Research Fellow at the NBER.

Booth also had an exceptionally successful year with its PhD student placements. Yewon Kim joined Stanford, Tesary Lin joined Boston University, and both Shirsho Biswas and Ali Goli joined the University of Washington. Goli based his job-market paper on data he collected during his internship at Pandora, where he continues to work as a research affiliate.

The marketing community suffered two tremendous losses in 2020. In June, marketing professor Øystein Daljord passed away unexpectedly. His passing came at a pivotal time in his career, with a pipeline of research papers on the verge of completion. Øystein never lost his passion for research and the on-going debate of his and his peers’ scientific ideas. He was a diligent and passionate scholar, a terrific colleague, and most importantly, a good friend. 

In August, Abel P. Jeuland, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing Emeritus, also passed away. Abel joined the marketing faculty in 1975. His research focused on the design and application of analytical marketing tools. He also studied modeling of brand choice, promotions, and channels of distribution. Both Øystein and Abel will be sorely missed. 


Through an on-going relationship with NielsenIQ and Nielsen, the Kilts Center continued to distribute a variety of datasets, including consumer panel, retail scanner, and the Ad Intel database. Recent papers using these data explore such topics as the positive spillover effects of advertising for branded medications on demand for rivals’ brands, the relationship between housing and local retail prices, the role of brand loyalty on choices, and the efficacy of the sugary beverage tax.

The Kilts Center also expanded its relationship with TransUnion, including the expansion of the archive to almost 20 years of historical consumer credit data. Papers using these data cover such topics as Americans’ debt repayment behavior, the impact of medical debt in the US on patients’ financial health, and the causes of financial distress across geographic regions.

The center also initiated a new relationship with Numerator focused on housing and distributing a new omni-channel, consumer panel dataset. Numerator panelists report all categories of purchases, including durable goods, electronics, cannabis, and much more. 

The Center launched its first special collection on Chicago Booth Review. This collection, titled “Lessons from the Great Recession,” leverages NielsenIQ and Nielsen data to look back at the 2008 crisis for guidance on what to expect from consumer behavior, a key macroeconomic driver during the economic crisis that has ensued from the Covid-19 pandemic. The studies document several empirical regularities regarding consumer behavior and macroeconomic consequences.


As part of the continued commitment to demonstrating the importance of marketing skills in a wide range of industries, the Kilts Center supported, participated in, and hosted an impressive line-up of more than 60 events throughout the 2019-20 year.

In collaboration with the Booth Technology Group, the Kilts Center hosted the Product Manager/Product Marketing Manager Workshop, supporting 230 students interested in these roles. Alumni from Facebook, Google, Amazon and more contributed generously to this event to offer advice to our students and educate them about these roles.

The Kilts team also facilitated the Marketing Case Competition to help students hone their skills in real-world scenarios. In collaboration with Pernod Ricard, 36 students faced the challenge of developing short- and long-term strategies for positioning The Glenlivet brand to a new audience segment. Pernod Ricard treated the winning team to a private dinner in downtown Chicago.

The Center welcomed Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe and Andrew Sugerman, ’97, former EVP, Publishing & Digital Media, The Walt Disney Company, and Ann Mukherjee, AB ’87, MBA ’94, former Global CMO, S.C. Johnson & Son as part of the fireside chat series. They shared the role of marketing in their careers and the role of data in marketing and decision-making.

Twenty-four companies sponsored Marketing Labs, with 15 alumni champions helping to bring in companies from across CGP and tech industries. Over 180 students in the Full-Time, Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs received hands-on experience solving real company problems and applying concepts they learned in the classroom. 

Within weeks after the campus shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team swiftly pivoted its programming to a series of virtual events, Kilts Marketing Masters. With an impressive total of 18 events in eight weeks, the group set a record number of events in any spring quarter. The series featured senior-level alumni and executives from Google, Starbucks, Paramount Pictures, SAP, Converse, CVS Health, McDonald’s, and more. An unexpected benefit of this pivot to digital was the increased engagement of and access for part-time students in the Evening and Weekend MBA programs. In addition, Samreen Imami, Associate Director at the Center, was awarded one of Booth’s prestigious 2020 Impact Awards for her central role in the pivot to digital programming during the pandemic.

This past year was clearly robust as we reflected on the past two decades of impact, navigated changes brought about by a global pandemic, and continued to carry out the Center’s mission to promote Booth as a marketing powerhouse. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, we are confident in the caliber of our events and programming, and our ability to expand our global presence and relationships. We are excited about what the future holds for the Center and the thriving Booth marketing community. 


Jean-Pierre Dubé
Faculty Director, Kilts Center for Marketing
Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Marketing, Chicago Booth

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