Vanitha Swaminathan is the Thomas Marshall Professor of Marketing in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and will serve as President of the AMA Academic Council from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. Raised in India, Professor Swaminathan received her PhD from the University of Georgia and joined the faculty at Katz in 2002. Her research interests focus generally on brand strategy and consumer-brand relationships. In addition to her work with the Academic Council, Professor Swaminathan has played a critical role in the development of AMA's new certification initiatives.
What attracted you to marketing as a discipline of study?
I became interested in marketing as I was doing an MBA with a concentration in both finance and marketing. Marketing is really the study of exchange, and how to make markets work better by connecting customers and companies. It combines elements of an art and a science—developing new products and creating ads require you to be extremely creative, but the analysis of markets and pricing requires you to be very analytical. I like that marketing has both these elements of the creative and the analytical. As a field of study, marketing is interesting because it is interdisciplinary and applied.
What was your first experience with the AMA?
My first experience was with the AMA conference, and of course the AMA Doctoral Consortium that I attended as a doctoral student. It was a great experience interacting with top-notch scholars and hearing them describe their perspectives regarding scholarship and research.
What has been your most memorable publication?
My most memorable was my first publication in Journal of Marketing (JM) on brand strategy (The Impact of Brand Extension Introduction on Choice). It was my first JM publication and it felt fantastic seeing my PhD dissertation come to fruition in the form of a journal article.
Editor's Note: The article focused on the impact of a new brand extension introduction on choice in a behavioral context and received the 2002 Lehmann Award for the Best Dissertation-Based Article published in the Journal of Marketing or Journal of Marketing Research from the AMA Marketing Resaerch Special Interest Group.
What prompted you to join the AMA Academic Council?
I wanted to contribute to the field of marketing and was particularly impressed with the dynamic group at AMA. I also really enjoyed meeting the members of the Academic Council when they asked me to help run the Winter AMA 2015 conference with Tom Brown. I wanted to make a difference to the field of marketing
If you had not gone into marketing, what would have been your alternative career?
I probably would have been a technology entrepreneur or fiction writer.
What about you surprises new students and/or colleagues?
I have traveled to different parts of the world, have lived in three countries, and have tried to learn 6 languages. At the moment, I am only fluent in three out of the six, though!
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee and tea
Learn more about the AMA Academic Council and how you may contribute to the AMA Academic Community.