Union Alumni return to educate students on available career paths


Professor Russ Winer ’73 explaining to students his expertise on the MBA paths available. Photo by Joe Maher

Daniel Wilcox, News Editor

This past Thursday, September 26, the Economics Department, with support from the Economics Club, U-Marketing and the Women in Economics Society hosted a discussion with two Union Alumni, Professors Russ Winer ’73 and Don Lehmann ’66. The talk, titled “Career Paths in Marketing: MBA, PhD and Beyond,” was held in the O’Brien Admission Hall, with Winer and Lehmann speaking about their respective fields of speciality. Both Lehmann and Winer are recipients of the highly prestigious AMA Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as serving as the directors of the Marketing Science Institute.

Winer began the talk. He is the William Joyce Professor of Marketing at the Stern School of Business, New York University. Winer spoke about the time he had spent at Union, noting the campus seemed cleaner than when he had been here. He also explained that he had lived in West College. Winer earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Union, and went on to receive a Master of Science and PhD in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University. He has also written three books, and published more than 80 articles in top journals, including the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science. Winer described his career to the present day: explaining that he had gotten his first job at Columbia and has always been a Professor. When explaining the types of students that normally go into marketing, he made sure that it was known that students come from varied backgrounds, including from math and english majors. Next he began speaking about the historical paths that people took in order to receive their MBA. Around 10 years ago it was common for there to be three types of MBA: a full time MBA, a part time MBA and an Executive MBA. However, he carried on to say that this had now changed into a cornucopia of different options. For example, you can take an MBA online, take a one-year Master of Science program and tailor graduate experiences to what you want to do.

Advising students on what they should do when they choose a graduate program, Winer said that rankings of flagship, full-time MBA programs should be ignored to an extent and that many MBA programs are hard to get into with the average age of participants being 26 years old. When applying for a graduate program, you will be judged holistically, and therefore it is preferable that you have had applicable work experience in order to be competitive.

Following this, Professor Lehmann spoke about his experience with PhD programs. Lehmann is the George E. Warren Professor of Business in Marketing at Columbia. He gained a Bachelor of Arts in Math from Union, with a PhD in Industrial Administration from Purdue University. Lehmann has published more than 100 articles and books, serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is the founding editor of Marketing Letters. He spoke of his accidental step into a PhD program, with him at first going to work for General Electric. With him getting married in his senior year of school, and having a family on the way, he needed to ensure that whatever choice he made was financially viable for him. The PhD program that he joined was mostly paid for by a scholarship, meaning that it became much more affordable. Lehmann went into what a marketing PhD could involve. He explained that it would require the participant to understand what consumers are doing and why, as well as how different actions can affect things such as share prices.

Professor Senerm, Chair of the Economics Department told the Concordiensis that it is important for Union College to host alumni as the department aims to “strengthen ties” and “help students build their network and get inspiration” from what the visiting alumni have to say. He explained that Lehmann and Winer have “developed a life-long personal and academic friendship, leading to numerous co-authored publications,” and this was something that the department wanted to promote with current students.