2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: Jeffrey Weinstock, University of Miami

Jeffrey Weinstock

Lecturer

University of Miami, Miami Business School

Without a doubt, 20 years of experience as a wildly successful international marketing executive puts Miami Business School’s Jeffrey Weinstock among excellent business professors. The former industry maven led Teva Pharmaceutical into the European market, served for five years as Carnival Cruise Lines’ Vice President of International Sales & Marketing, and established a Latin market for a $25 million software company. He brings his experience and expertise to Miami Business School students through an array of service activities. He is the founder and faculty advisor of the school’s American Marketing Association chapter, designed two capstone courses for marketing and international finance & marketing majors using semester-long simulations, and extensive career counseling based on 20 years of corporate experience. According to school administrators, many students have reported landing jobs based on knowledge and experience acquired during Weinstock’s simulations and career mentoring. He is a three-time excellence in teaching award recipient.

Education: BA, Economics and Political Science, Yale University; MBA, Marketing, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

At current institution since: 2004

List of courses you currently teach: Foundations of Marketing, Marketing Management, International Marketing Management, Global Strategic Marketing for MBAs, Executive Education courses in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Making the transition from international marketing executive to business school professor after 20 years.  It was a huge change and an enormous leap of faith. I am very proud that I’ve made it work.

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I realized that I’ve spent my whole life teaching, tutoring, and making presentations in front of groups.  I found my high school yearbook and almost every one of my friends wrote “Thank you for helping me with Calculus/Spanish/Chemistry/English.”  That’s when the penny dropped and I understood that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Home

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? I teach in a prestigious Executive MBA program for mid-career professionals.  When I taught STP (Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning) to the first cohort, I explained that this is, in many ways, the core of modern marketing.  I probably said this a few too many times. At the cohort’s graduation ceremony in the 8000-seat Watsco Center on campus, the entire group suddenly stood up, turned to where I was sitting in the stands and started cheering in unison “STP! STP! STP!”  I thought “My work is done here.”

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? Social media has certainly taken on a much more prominent role, as has interest in the intersection between politics and business.  Students have demonstrated an increased eagerness to acquire practical skills and so my focus on applying the theories and concepts to real life has only increased over time.

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” Back in the corporate world as a full-time international marketing consultant.

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: Student handwriting will get worse each year; grading will take you triple the amount of time you plan; and you will have more fun at work than you ever imagined.

Name of the professor you most admire and why: I had two life-changing teachers in high school:  Judith Broadwin was a nationally-recognized expert on teaching calculus and one of the official graders of the AP exam.  She made me fall in love with math. Jerome Mirsky was my Spanish teacher and made me even more of a language geek than I already was.  He also showed me that it was altogether possible to find a career in which I could use my languages. They both helped me soar.

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? My mother was also an educator.  She often told me about that magic moment when “the light goes on” in a student’s eyes. It still gives me chills when it happens.

What’s the biggest challenge? Multitasking is not even a “thing” for today’s undergrads.  It’s like air for them. They want constant stimulation and “quick hits” on many different topics.  I understand and respect that but there’s a lot to be said for focus, too. There is enormous beauty in diving deep into a task or discussion and being completely and utterly engaged.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? One of my best students was so assiduous about footnoting her sources that she even used a footnote on an exam – for a direct quote of mine in class.  That was awesome and hilarious. Actually, the most impressive thing many of my students have done is to apply the practical skills gained in my senior capstone course to their post-college jobs.  We use a computer-based simulation where they run a company for a semester and make detailed weekly decisions. Many of them have written me a few months after graduation to say “Basically, I spend my days at work making the exact same types of decisions I made for the 14 weeks of your course.”   Music to my ears…

What is the least favorite thing one has done? Plagiarism, without a doubt.  That and using an ugly ethnic slur.

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? Many more students are completing double or triple majors, which I think is outstanding.  They are also increasingly focused on landing internships early in their undergrad career to build a strong c.v.

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? Really engage with the material.  Think about what it means and how topics interconnect. And participate actively in class discussions.  As my favorite high school teacher once said, “Learning is not a spectator sport.” You have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …” Tough but fair. Never any surprises.

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? Did the movie “The Nutty Professor” have a theme song?  I am known for my very dry sense of humor in class. Sometimes it’s so dry my students can’t tell if I’m joking or not.  (Hint: I usually am.) I’m also famous for giving tons and tons of examples to illustrate terms and concepts. I can’t think of a better way to ensure that students fully grasp the material.  Finally, I love languages so I always explain the etymologies of complex terms and how they connect to words students already know. Understanding the Latin or Germanic root of a word makes you much less likely to forget it.  Not sure what the theme song would be for that. Maybe “It’s a Small World After All.”

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Passionate

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Apathetic

“If my students can see the connection between different marketing topics and not compartmentalize, then I’ve done my job as their professor.” 

Fun fact about yourself: I know the lyrics to almost every 1970’s TV theme song.

What are your hobbies? I am in an outstanding writing group, I participate in storytelling events (such as the local edition of “The Moth”), I study Yiddish, am very involved in genealogy and I run.

How did you spend your summer? Usually I travel but this summer was devoted to selling my condo and finding a home where I can raise my (soon-to-be-had) dog.

Favorite place to vacation: Places where I have friends and family: New York, Israel, Brazil. Also, the Lake Region in Italy where I have no friends or family but it’s too beautiful for words.

Favorite book: False Papers by André Aciman and At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill.   I actually wrote the authors fan letters.

Favorite movie and/or television show: The 400 Blows by François Truffaut and The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont.

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: A Brazilian singer name Joyce Moreno and an Israeli singer named Achinoam Nini.   Both evoke the periods in my life when I lived in those countries.

Bucket list item #1:  To find the most appropriate way to honor the legacy of my parents, of blessed memory.

What’s the biggest challenge facing business education at the moment? Striking the balance between, on the one hand, preserving business as an academic and scientific discipline and, on the other, providing robust pre-professional training.  Both of these elements are critical in business education and cannot exist independently. The challenge is finding the mix that best serves our students, the community and the world.

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” Small classes with ample opportunity to interact with students

“And much less of this…” Checking off the boxes to ensure we cover every single topic.

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: Having 50 of my students hold CEO or CMO positions at Fortune 500 corporations would be outstanding.  A more modest, but no less important, aspiration for me is to continue to have the opportunity to get my students to let down their guard, jump in headfirst and get as excited about Marketing as I am.  If I can see the light truly go on in the eyes of a couple of hundred (or thousand) more students, I’ll know my work has meant something.