Associate Professor of Business Administration
Institution: University of Virginia Darden School of Business
Hometown: Chennai, India
Marital Status: Married
Children: 2 year old son
Education: University of Houston, PhD, Marketing
University of Madres, BE, Computer Engineering
At Darden Since: 2006
Before Darden: University of Connecticut
Fun Fact: “I sell curry sauces with my wife on the weekends in the local market.”
Ask Rajkumar Venkatesan and he’ll most likely tell you that, in business, the customer is always right. This 35-year-old professor focuses his research on developing customer-centric marketing strategies that yield measurable financial results. In 2009, the Marketing Science Institute recognized Professor Venkatesan as one of the top 20 scholars in marketing. Raj, as he is called, has won countless best paper awards for his research which focuses on customer-driven marketing solutions.
When asked to give a quote about what makes Professor Raj Venkatesan such a memorable and impactful professor, I found it difficult to come up with a succinct, yet comprehensive statement. Finally, I realized it is the “Raj brand” that makes him such an influential marketing professor and I decided to use some of the principles of brand management that he taught me to explain…
· “A good brand name should be easy to pronounce, recognize and remember”– From Day 1, Professor Venkatesan told his class to “Please – call me Raj – my last name is hard!”
· “A brand should stand out from competition” – This was easy – in the business world, professors and students are avid PC users. Raj, of course, is a staunch Apple user!
· “A brand is a promise made to the consumer about the good/service they are purchasing”– It is clear to students that Raj understands the importance of this promise. Students in Raj’s classes are treated as his equals – he wants to learn as much from them as they want to learn from him. He brings a passion and excitement to class that infects students – it stretches their thinking and makes them laugh all at the same time. He is able to fashion the ambiguity present in real-world marketing problems, and challenge students to create a better solution.
Raj has certainly made an impact on my career and professional life and I hope to someday pay it forward to other MBA students looking to start their career in marketing… — Kristin Imbalzano
Rajkumar Venkatesan is among “The World’s 40 Best B-School Profs Under the Age of 40“