“The program really covers the bases to help you understand what gaps exist in the literature, and how you might address them with your own research. It’s up to you to define what your contribution is going to be.”
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After writing a senior thesis and graduating from Harvard College, I knew that research was of interest to me, but I didn’t quite know what road I was going to take. I worked for several years in advertising and marketing (at Leo Burnett and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton), and really developed a love for the field. I was fascinated by consumer behavior and how managers made decisions, and wanted to delve more deeply into the field from an intellectual perspective.
Initially, I entered the Sociology PhD program at Harvard, but after the Master’s coursework I got wind of the doctoral program in Marketing at HBS. It was like a light bulb went off when I heard the terms “marketing” and “doctoral” together—it was the perfect marriage of my business focus and my academic interests. When I was working as a practitioner to launch brands and campaigns, I was constantly searching for a deeper understanding of consumer behavior. Such higher level insights are difficult to develop when you’re working day-to-day in a firm.
My Research Interests
My own research examines the impact on luxury brands when they are imitated, specifically, by illegal counterfeits. I identify the circumstances under which imitation can validate or contaminate a brand. My aim is to contribute to our general understanding of how consumers define authenticity, and how this is shaped by social structure (networks and class, specifically).
The Marketing Program
The Marketing program provides a strong grounding in a discipline—Economics, Psychology or Sociology—and a focus on rigorous academic research. The program is also entrepreneurial, in that you are given the freedom to pursue your area of interest. You are not expected to merely imitate the work of a professor in the department. When you choose a disciplinary focus—for me it was Sociology—you then learn the theoretical and methodological foundations, as well as management theory. The program really covers the bases to help you understand what gaps exist in the literature, and how you might address them with your own research. It’s up to you to define what your contribution is going to be.
The HBS Experience
My research interests are informed by my personal experiences, but my classes have truly given me the theoretical and methodological training to pursue them. Additionally, the encouragement from my committee and peers, and the time they have taken to explore ideas with me, really aided my progress.
The thing I liked most about the HBS experience was the creative exploration it afforded me. I truly pursued my interests and ideas to the fullest.
I am joining the Management Sciences group at MIT as an Assistant Professor of Marketing.
Advice for prospective doctoral students
The professors here are focused on making sure that you are the most attractive candidate for the academic job market that you can possibly be. The program is not run on auto-pilot; the professors pay close attention to the program and are always striving to make it even better. So, bend their ears and offer ideas about how your program can be enhanced.