Professor Jane Zhu: Marketing Success
For Jane Zhu, successfully connecting with college students in the classroom is inextricably tied to cutting-edge and relevant research outside the classroom.
Outside the classroom, she studies real-world topics such as how technological innovations like airline check-in portals and mobile applications solve problems for customers and help businesses succeed. In a recent study, she investigated how firms from two emerging countries build trust in collaboration, such as Chinese firms cooperating in African markets. Zhu regularly draws on examples from her own studies to bring to life her marketing lessons to Suffolk students.
“I believe that the value I can bring to my students resides in my research expertise,” she says. “Applying my research into teaching also brings joyful moments to me, because I can go beyond the fundamentals and engage students into more in-depth discussions on the frontiers of the field.”
Like so many of Suffolk’s faculty, Zhu exemplifies the school’s global focus. A native of China, she earned her bachelor’s and MBA from Fudan University in China, the home of the world’s fastest-growing and most rapidly changing economy. She went on to earn her PhD from the University of Illinois. She has published dozens of papes, presented at marketing conferences throughout the world, and leads a popular Suffolk Global Travel Seminar in China.
Since 2012, Zhu has adopted the concept of “building global awareness locally” by launching two experimental courses, Global Marketing Consulting and Global Product Innovation for MBA and honors students. In the courses, students collaborate with students from a Chinese university and do consulting work for cross-national business clients or innovate new product concepts through global virtual teams.
She recalls the early video conferences between students of different cultures as “chaotic.” But very quickly students learn to use meeting agendas and memos to form cohesion during the meetings – the fundamentals, as it turns out. And it becomes a lifelong learning experience. As one of the clients said to Zhu after a presentation, “Your students may forget what they did for me in three years, but they will not forget these great business habits in their careers.”