Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D.

--- Clinical Professor of Marketing Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University ---

Most rewarding experience for me is getting students excited about a career in Consumer Insights, and seeing the value of anthropological thinking to consumer research
You’ve always had one foot in academia and the other in the corporate world. How do you navigate these waters?

I've always found that one informs the other - never really separate. It's what other writers often say, that they read multiple books at once, switching off between them, since one often provides a new perspective for the other. While working at BBDO, I was writing articles and publishing books, since the material was fresh and the act of writing helps re-think and re-position marketing ideas. Likewise, since being a professor at Fordham, I can better reflect on occasions of client projects and work on brands, from a more informed perspective and with more research material available to help sort ideas. The idea of assembling different perspectives is always more creative and refreshing for ideas.

How should colleges prepare students to succeed in today’s global economy?

Taking this same approach as above, perhaps students can be better prepared by being versatile and flexible, combining liberal arts and humanities with economics and statistics, for instance. I have finance students in my Business Anthropology class and for them to look at consumer behavior, not from the view of numbers and quantities, but from the perspective of brand rituals, tribal behavior, magical practices is refreshing for them - expands their viewpoints.

How do you create classroom student opportunities that intersect with the corporate and consumer anthropology?

In my teaching approach, I include many case study examples from corporate work I've done using anthropological thinking. I teach the difference between the scientific method which starts with a hypothesis and tests this out- a form of deductive reasoning- with inductive reasoning that starts with context and observations, and looks for patterns that lead to theories and ideas. Students practice this form of analysis in classroom exercises and by conducing fieldwork for their final project.

Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D. Bio:

Timothy de Waal Malefyt is Clinical Professor of Marketing at Gabelli School of Business, Fordham University. As a corporate anthropologist, he was formally VP, Director of Consumer Insights at BBDO advertising in NYC, and VP Senior Account Planner at D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles for Cadillac in Detroit. He is co-editor/co-author of five books: Advertising Cultures (2003); Advertising and Anthropology (2012); and Ethics in the Anthropology of Business (2017); Magical Capitalism (2018); and Women, Consumption and Paradox (2020).

Spotlights
I love talking about my work, life, and perspectives. It's a very engaging and fulfilling experience for me to be able to connect with people openly and honestly on that level.
- Adeet Deshmukh
Guest lecturing is rewarding in that it allows me to stay abreast of what the next generation is thinking and what the top academics are concerned about and it allows me to give back and share my wisdom with tomorrows society leaders.
- Rishad Tobaccowalla
There is a distance between the world of academia and industry-- giving back to students with a professional's perspective tightens that distance and gives students invaluable direction for their future.
- Jared Nicol
The divide between the industry and academia is widening. The next generation of graduates are being armed with knowledge and skills that are irrelevant by the time they graduate. Professionals must collaborate with professors and cultivate classrooms where everyone benefits.
- Richie Etwaru
Bringing in communication professionals to guest lecture in my classroom is an excellent way to bring the material home and to further inspire students and to educate them on the various opportunities in our industry.
- Michelle Truelson
One of the biggest challenges for college professors is insuring that real-world demands of work and of professions are represented. Most professors have career experience working as teachers and researchers and don’t necessarily have detailed understanding of the needs of other professions. At the same time, we are expected to help prepare the next generation to move into business and professions. Guest lectures can be one solution to this challenge. Industry experts, corporate leaders, and business professionals can help insure that class content is relevant to the world of work.
- Matthew Seeger, Ph.D.
Most rewarding experience for me is getting students excited about a career in Consumer Insights, and seeing the value of anthropological thinking to consumer research
- Timothy Malefyt, Ph.D.
I am very motivated to share my life and professional experiences with students, so that I can bring some insight into the world of entrepreneurship, which is the most scary, grueling yet rewarding career path there is.
- Gaye Tomlinson
Speaking provides an opportunity for me to teach and share information that can change lives.
- Karen I. Wilson, Ph.D.
Guest lecturing provides an opportunity to connect with community at-large
- Mugdha Yeolekar, Ph.D.
I like talking about PR because it’s something everything thinks they understand - but they really don’t know how it is different from advertising or marketing. I break it down in simple terms and make the tactics and theories very digestible.
- Andrea Holland
I have been very fortunate in my life and career. It’s my pleasure to share my experience to help others get their start.
- Don Lupo