Coffee on the Third Floor – Jean-Pierre Dubé

Even if you have a remote interest in marketing at Booth, Jean-Pierre Dubé is your guy. In his roles as the Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Marketing, director of the Kilts Marketing Center, and the course scheduler for the Marketing department, Prof. Dubé is the primary gatekeeper of the breadth of marketing knowledge that reaches Booth students.  He is also an appointed Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, such that his research areas span both quantitative marketing and economics.

While Dubé has made a home for himself in the Booth Marketing department since 2000, there once was a time in his academic career when his name was not affiliated with marketing. As an Economics Ph.D. student at Northwestern, he discovered his interest in marketing while seeking marketing data for his industrial organization research, formally switching his allegiance to marketing after receiving his Ph.D. While Dubé’s entrance into the field of marketing may be partially attributed to happenstance, the Booth Marketing department’s decision to hire an Economics Ph.D. reflects Booth’s “core discipline” approach to marketing that has drawn faculty members trained in specific fields that are representative of the building blocks of marketing, such as economics and cognitive psychology.

Why, of all marketing concepts, teach pricing strategy? Dubé sees it as a topic that is particularly ripe for a healthy inflow and outflow between the classroom and industry: “I’ve done pricing in the field and research, so I have a good idea of what tools are practical as well as ahead of what most firms are doing in this field. Because of this, there’s a lot of feedback from students that the content of the class is stuff that they’re going to use right away. Whether you’re going into consulting, a consumer goods’ company, a tech company or a business-to-business setting where you’re setting prices. Or if you’re going into private equity and trying to evaluate companies where pricing is the key driver of short-term revenues and profits, understanding their pricing strategy or lack thereof will help you assess whether the company has potential.”

Regardless of the industry or function in which Booth MBAs end up, Dubé has confidence that our students have what they need to leave an impact: “One of the things I love about Booth is that not only do we get a lot of smart students, but the school has attitude. People argue here, and if something doesn’t sound right, they argue about it. And that’s how they behave in the workforce. That’s a trait that recruiters observe about Booth students, that Booth students are willing to challenge the status quo. They are also not afraid to dive into deep analytics when the need arises.”

With that, Dubé leaves words of advice to Booth students: “Read history. Despite getting the scientific knowledge you get from theory and methods, I still think there is a lot to be learned from history. In the last 10 years or so, most of my personal reading has been history. Especially from military history, we can learn a lot from mistakes of the past. We can learn a lot about strategy. We can also learn about our current society and culture by understanding history, especially the major conflicts in our recent history.” While it’s safe to say that history will not be featured on the next Pricing Strategies final, Dubé can relate it directly to your marketing education: “In my own research, I have found that history can be very predictive of current marketing performance. In consumer goods for instance, launch and diffusion patterns from the mid to late 19th century are still highly predictive of market structure today. Patterns of entry in the 19th century continue to explain a large portion of the cross-market variance in market shares for consumer packaged goods today.”

Araba Nti

Araba Nti is a first year at Booth who recently discovered that there’s life above the 2nd floor of Harper Center. She grew up in State College, Pennsylvania and came to Chicago by way of Philadelphia. Araba is majoring in marketing management, strategic management, and operations management, and will be in interning at Pfizer in NYC over the summer.

-Originally published in Chicago Business

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