Best 40-Under-40 Professor Markus Giesler

Students say:

On the first day of class, Professor Markus Giesler showed a new way to think about marketing beyond the marketing theory of most MBA students. He made it clear that marketing is about constructing the narrative. Markus is a master at weaving a compelling narrative for various brands. This made Markus’ lectures one of a kind and cutting edge within marketing at Schulich.

His significant breadth of knowledge and expertise meant that every class felt new and exciting as he’d challenge the class to think beyond their textbooks. His focus on the psychology and impact of marketing within society made the lectures relevant to every student. Much of the content in Markus’ class is supported by his own research work and his passion is evident in every discussion. I walked into the class unsure if I should drop it. I left the class with a new appreciation for marketing.

– Cary Walkin CPA, CA, MBA Schulich Class of 2013

From day one, Prof. Giesler created a sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity in students’ minds while articulating how marketing impacts our daily lives, at times using actual products as props, thereby relating the marketing concepts and curriculum in very relevant and real terms. His challenging case-based approach, coupled with abundant industry experience examples at blue chip brands, fostered an environment of lively class discussions.

Prof. Giesler’s charismatic personality and undying attitude toward his students’ success (inside and beyond the classroom) encouraged students to push for excellence in understanding marketing as a subject and a function.  

Schulich School of Business is fortunate to have him as faculty, and I wish him the best of luck for future success.

– Inder Dhillon, MBA Schulich Class of 2013

As someone who had never studied marketing, I could not ask for a better instructor then Professor Giesler. From the moment our courses began, he brought the subject to life through dynamic and innovative lessons that I would not have imagined would be found in a MBA program. His experiences and immense knowledge sparked engaging discussions, which gave students the opportunity to delve deeper into the topics covered, as well as the safe environment to ask more challenging questions. 
Not only is Professor Giesler obviously passionate about marketing, but he is dedicated to his students and the opportunities that he can find for them. He is constantly developing new ways to make his courses more accessible, as well as entertaining, and I know that he is the reason that I have such an appreciation for the art of marketing. 
His goal is to make sure that students receive the best education possible, and I cannot thank him enough for being my professor.

– Shayna Goldberg, MBA Schulich Class of 2013

Marketing professor Markus Gielser is willing to go to extreme lengths to convey important lessons–this particular one set off the fire alarm at York University’s Schulich School of Business. Giesler had set his PhD dissertation on fire to demonstrate to his doctoral students that there was more to scholarship–and life–than a thesis. “They fall in love with that document and it’s their pride and joy, even though in reality, it’s just a ticket into the club and everything else that comes after.”  To demonstrate this, he destroyed his own.

Gielser has always been a bit of a classroom renegade. He prefers not to use textbooks in his courses, which range from Marketing Management to Customer Experience Design–he also avoids case studies that he hasn’t experienced firsthand or researched extensively. A co-creative approach guides the trajectory of classroom discussions: Giesler selects five to 10 points he wants to get across, but the students largely decide how the class covers them. “Teaching to me is a collective exercise … where both the students and the professor constantly dialogue to change each other’s worldview. It’s a very energy-costing activity,” he explains. “It’s not something that’s just done by walking into a classroom, and saying, ‘Hey, here are five things you need to remember in order to do good branding’ … You come out of the lecture while drenched in sweat to see that we’re all really fundamentally changed, and that makes the job so hard but also really rewarding.'”

Giesler describes every session as a journey. “You never know what will happen … we can read poetry, we can do sociological texts, we can do field studies, sometimes we leave the classroom and drive over to the mall and do some field work; when new speakers come in, we can confront them with weaknesses in the corporate context … so we really transgress a lot of boundaries that are very common in business schools,” he explains.

While only 37, he’s been teaching marketing for more than a decade since joining York University’s Schulich School of Business in 2004 as an assistant professor. He received tenure in 2008. Outside the classroom, the German-born professor spends his summers traversing Europe with his band, the Rock Soldier–he plays the piano and keyboard. Giesler also maintains a studio near Dusseldorf, Germany, where he writes and records music for movies, documentaries, and radio commercials. “When you go to Germany and listen to the radio, most of the musical backdrop is stuff that I did–so that’s pretty weird every time I go back to Germany and I enter a car and turn on the radio,” he says.

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