Department of Business Administration

Throughout the Department of Business Administration, a major assessment and review of programs is underway. "Our goal is basically to continue improving — to stay out in front."

- Kent Monroe, Department Head

CURRENTLY THERE ARE EIGHT UNDERGRADUATE CONCENTRATIONS IN THE DEPARTMENT, the most popular by far being marketing (more than 400 students), information systems (more than 130 students), Industrial Distribution Management (80 students), and organization administration (79 students). Many courses — including core requirements — are under reconsideration, as is the introduction of a new concentration in international studies.

FOLLOWING A PERIOD OF REVISION AND REORGANIZATION, the department had its first significant doctoral influx in three years, with the admission of sixteen Ph.D. students for the fall semester — bringing the doctoral enrollment to forty-two. By contrast there were, in 1992, seventy-two doctoral students in seven areas of concentration. A one-to-one ratio of faculty to Ph.D. students is a top priority for the department. The Ph.D. program has been reworked to incorporate an underlying interdisciplinary structure. Four required courses have been developed — a year-long sequence in statistics, a semester-long course in research methods, and two seven-week modules, one on classic literary works in business administration, and one on the philosophy of science. This new core, Monroe believes, will help students "begin to understand how other disciplines view the world. After all, there is more and more need for breadth as well as strength in one's own areas. And these common courses also help students from the different concentrations to know one another." To stay competitive with top business administration programs around the country, the stipend for doctoral students has been substantially raised and is frequently supplemented with fellowships or other support.

THE DECEMBER ISSUE OF AMERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS INCLUDED A PIECE BY PROFESSOR BRIAN WANSINK, who researches the revitalization of fading products. In the article, Wansink describes how he and his colleagues and staff  "set out to identify what makes a brand a candidate for revitalization by analyzing mature brands that were successfully relaunched, and older brands that are still well liked by consumers." Examples of successful revitalization campaigns include Ovaltine, Topol Toothpaste, Gold Bond Medicated Powder, and Doan's Pills. Results of a study conducted by Wansink, with Robert Kent of the University of Delaware and Stephen Hoch of the University of Pennsylvania, were also published in February's Journal of Marketing Research. The study demonstrated that shoppers buy more if they see a numerical display, such as "Three Bags of Chips for $3" or "Limit twelve cans of soup per person." Displays that use multiple unit pricing were shown to increase average sales by over 30 percent in twelve of thirteen product categories. These findings were also reported in Ad Week, Supermarket News, POP Times, Convenience Store News, and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

THE IDM PROGRAM HAS A NEW DIRECTOR — HIGHLY ESTEEMED RESEARCHER BILL QUALLS, formerly of MIT, who joined the Commerce faculty as a professor of business administration in the fall of 1997. He succeeds IDM director and professor emeritus Dick Hill, who established
the IDM program at Illinois. As the program's new director, Qualls envisages a learning and research center with an emphasis on team research. "To be a top-rated academic program we have to provide students with cutting-edge research and tools," he notes." And involving firms in research has direct benefits for the students and the university. We hope to attract a number of sponsors who would be interested in supporting the center." His plans also include
a research conference on the global supply chain and development of a laboratory course in business-to-business selling. Qualls observes: "It's more than likely that IDM is going to grow from its present level. It could comfortably grow to around 125. The need for IDM graduates is evidenced by the number of recruiters who wanted to interview students in this concentration — about 200 last year." He is also looking into the possibility of an IDM concentration in the MBA program.

TWENTY-FIVE SCHOLARS FROM THE U.S. AND EUROPE attended a four-day University of Illinois Marketing Camp from September 25-28. Sponsored by the department and organized by Kent Monroe, the invitational conference brought participants ranging from up-and-coming young faculty to experts in the field. The idea, explains Monroe, "was to stimulate intellectual excitement, and to try to help `fertilize' the research environments at other universities." With presentations on topics ranging from math anxiety to brain research, the conference provided a highly focused forum for sharing the latest findings on the ways consumers process price information. Monroe is editing a proceedings volume, slated for publication next year.

IN RESPONSE TO A SURVEY OF GRADUATES OF THE M.S. FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGERS, the department has hired a director of communications, Ruth Yontz, who is working to strengthen the communication and English skills of executives who enroll in the program.

Former marketing faculty and CBA benefactor, Jag Sheth, at a reception in his honor. Sheth, who now teaches at Emory University, was on campus to deliver a Miller Comm Lecture. (l—r: Kent Monroe, head, Department of Business Administration; Jag Sheth; Fred Gottheil, professor of economics.)

Vilija Grazulis: After Paris

Living in Paris was — great. Mais oui! With a changing coterie of other classmates from CBA, marketing major Vilija Grazulis spent her junior year in the City of Light. From her apartment (not far from Père Lachaise, where some of the world's most famous personalities have been laid to rest — among them, Colette, Oscar Wilde, and Jim Morrison), it was a fifteen-minute stroll to Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP), the highly regarded French business school that is CBA's Parisian partner.

Zut alors! It was great. She studied finance and accounting. "Those classes were in English," says Grazulis. "Fortunately." And she joined Le Quatteur, the canteen and student hangout mostly populated by French students. "I met almost the entire school there," she recalls. "The minute professors got out of class, they would come down to the lounge and talk to us. It makes you feel a lot more relaxed
about what you're doing in class."

Vilija (right) and friend take a
taxi ride, Venetian style.
But beyond "stuff" that's just great, there is "stuff" that is amazing. And amazing is not too strong a word for the week in December that preceded student government elections at ESCP. Picture Com West invaded by Mary Kay reps under the influence of champagne and the image begins to form. "The two days before the student council elections were one big party," Grazulis recalls. "They brought in
a mechanical bull. They brought in virtual reality machines. They gave out free products. There were free haircuts. There were free massages. There was free perfume. It went on all day and all night. The students running for office could
do this because they had corporate sponsorship."

In fact, the emphasis on personal care goes to the very heart of the educational mission of ESCP, which Grazulis says is the training ground for future executives in France's fashion and cosmetic industries. It was a wonderful experience for her, and she is now busy planning her own career, "in product or brand management in entertainment or fashion." And — guess where she's going for graduate work?

"I've applied to five different schools in France."