14 Oct 2022

New Faculty Profiles: Benjamin A. Kirshner


HBS faculty comprises more than 300 scholars and practitioners who bring leading-edge research, extensive experience, and deep insights into the classroom, to organizations, and to leaders across the globe. We asked new faculty at HBS about their background, their new roles, and their interests.

Benjamin (Ben) A. Kirshner, lecturer, Marketing

What did you do before coming to HBS?
I founded Elite SEM (now Tinuiti), a digital performance marketing agency. I was the CEO and chairman, expanding the company’s capabilities over 25 years and leading it to become an award-winning organization. Today, Tinuiti is the largest independent performance marketing agency in North America. Additionally, while leading Tinuiti, I taught digital marketing to over 600 New York University students over a 10 year period.

How have you exercised business in leadership?
Through my experience as founder, CEO and chairman at Tinuiti, I learned that leadership is about creating a healthy culture, ensuring effective succession, and having a “pay-it-forward” mentality. As a result, in 2017, Tinuiti was featured on the Today show as the number one workplace for millennials. I also employed a compensation system that was unique in the advertising agency industry—when we sold the company, because we allowed our employees to be paid in a meritocracy, we proudly produced 28 millionaires.

What will you be teaching?
I will be teaching a Digital Marketing Workshop, helping students go deeper into the various performance marketing channels and exploring SEM, SEO, social media marketing, Amazon (retail marketing), performance partnerships (influencer marketing), mobile app marketing, privacy, data analytics, and media planning.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a professor?
I am curious by nature and spend much of my free time continuing to learn and explore. I am also an active investor and enjoy mentoring several young entrepreneurs.

Where are you from?
I am from Philadelphia but founded Tinuiti in New York City, where I resided for 10 years. In 2010, I relocated Tinuiti to Philadelphia, where I have resided since.

What is something you like to do outside of your academic work?
I love to sail catamarans in the British Virgin Islands. So much so that I started a charter business there just to keep me connected to the island. It’s my family’s favorite adventure.

What’s your favorite book, movie, or piece of art?
I love the Jaume Plensa Inés sculpture on HBS campus. I’m constantly mesmerized by it and seek it out while on campus.

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