PhD Student’s Interest in ‘Selecting Others’ Earns Awards


César Zamudio

When César Zamudio dived into doctoral research, he had dogged determination and a belief that his topic — about how people select others in business settings — was unique.

Last month, Mr. Zamudio won honorable mention in the 2011 Marketing Science Institute Alden G. Clayton Dissertation Proposal competition. A prestigious annual contest for junior marketing scholars, the rivalry draws proposals from students at top-ranked universities worldwide.

Besides the award, the institute gave Mr. Zamudio a $3,000 grant to help complete his dissertation.

It focuses on a novel concept, which he calls "choosing others," whether it is choosing employees, business partners or celebrities to speak on a firm's behalf.

"The study of consumer choices has a long tradition in marketing," Mr. Zamudio says. "However, most studies examine settings in which consumers purchase packaged goods, durables and so forth, but very little attention has been paid to situations where people choose other people or firms choose other firms.

Managerially relevant examples, he explains, include social networks, job markets and celebrity endorsements "My research advances methods to examine problems on choosing others and in so doing, contributes to our understanding of job markets, social networks and branding."

Mr. Zamudio also won a $10,000 grant in MSI's "Ideas Challenge" competition, seeking ideas that could substantially improve the field of marketing for scholars, students and professionals. The only competition winner who is a student, he proposed establishment of a global social network of marketing scholars and professionals that allowed for networked resources to increase research output in the field.

Mr. Zamudio, working toward a PhD in management science with an emphasis in marketing, believes marketing is a crucial business discipline "in that it makes us think about how to better serve others – customers, our own employees and shareholders – while at the same time improving an organization's bottom line."

After graduation, he hopes to become a professor at a U.S. university. A native of Monterrey, Mexico, Mr. Zamudio says there are few marketing scientists from his home country, a fact that has motivated him to work hard to become a positive example for students from his homeland.