2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: Timothy Gilbride, University of Notre Dame (Mendoza)

Timothy Gilbride

Steve and Anne Odland Associate Professor of Marketing

University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Tim Gilbride’s research focuses on the development of Bayesian statistical methods to assist researchers and managers to better understand consumer preferences and to make decisions under uncertainty. As a researcher, he’s been recognized as a finalist or honoree for multiple awards including best presentation, best paper, and a young scholar designation. As a professor, in 2012, he was named the Notre Dame Chair in Business Associate Professor of Marketing for the Mendoza College of Business and he’s received multiple awards from Mendoza for outstanding teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Across the board, however, Professor Gilbride is described as a role model and the ultimate form of inspiration for all.

Recalls Shankar Ganeson, Chair of the Marketing Department at Mendoza, “After a recent brain surgery, he was in his office working and preparing for the next week’s class. I was shocked, but knowing Tim, I knew that this was par for the course. I am in complete awe of this person for his commitment, passion and dedication to the students and teaching. Even as he is battling cancer now, he has agreed to teach a completely new course for the MBAs in spring 2019 and a similar course to the UGs in fall 2019.

Age: 52

Education: PhD Business Administration, Marketing, Ohio State University

At current institution since: 2004

List of courses you currently teach: Marketing Analytics (MBA), Data Analytics and Marketing Mix Models (undergrad), Data Based Decision Analysis (undergraduate), Contemporary Marketing Data Analysis (MBA)

Twitter handle: @tgilbride1

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Being a finalist for the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science Long Term Impact Award  for four years – it’s like I’m the Susan Lucci of marketing.

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…”  I took microeconomics in my freshman year of college

“One word that describes my first time teaching…” Horrible! I was arrogant and deserved all the negative feedback I got! Fortunately, I pulled myself up, looked at what I was doing wrong, made corrections and enjoyed a very nice career.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Let’s say policymakers want to encourage the consumption of energy efficient appliances (or some other social good). The policymaker can offer a consumer oriented “mail-in” rebate to those who buy one of the selected machines. Another option is to just pay the retailer directly when they sell one of the energy efficient machines. According to our theoretical analysis, when a consumer oriented rebate is offered (“buy an energy star appliance and send in for a $25 rebate”), retailers will respond by raising the price of all products in their product line. By contrast, if the government agency makes a direct payment to the retailer for every energy star appliance sold, say $2, the retailer will lower the price of the energy star appliance, but increase the price of non-energy star appliances. Empirical work is needed to test these theoretical conclusions.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? Being recognized at commencement for my teaching.

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? It’s not enough to be a good scholar, teacher and colleague, you need to groom a media presence and get mentioned in the regular press on a consistent basis.

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” A researcher in private industry or in government.

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: You need to spend time cultivating a good network outside of academia.

Name of the professor you most admire and why: Dr. John Rapp, formerly of the University of Dayton. A mentor, personal friend and the reason I’m a college professor.

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? Good undergrads are enthusiastic and eager to learn new material – they want to be challenged. We have a lot of good undergrads here at Notre Dame.

What’s the biggest challenge? My courses are typically very quantitative; convincing some students that they are capable of mastering this material can be challenging.

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? Started up several databased marketing companies (not all succeeded!).

What is the least favorite thing one has done? Violated the honor code.

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? Students are so accustomed to group projects that if I assign an individual project, there is almost an audible gasp, and then several questions about how much they can work together.  

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? Ultimately, they must display a more intuitive understanding of the material than just being able to replicate what is in the notes. This catches some students by surprise.

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …”  Strict, fair.

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? “Working in the Coal Mine” – Devo

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

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

“If my students can put structure on an unstructured business problem, then I’ve done my job as their professor.” 

Fun fact about yourself: I once had brain surgery on a Monday, but was back in the classroom leading a review session on Friday.

What are your hobbies? Reading, motorcycles, reading about motorcycles.

How did you spend your summer? A 6,800 mile road trip around the western United States.

Favorite place to vacation: Along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan.

Favorite book: “Anarchy, the State, and Utopia” by Robert Nozick

Favorite movie and/or television show: “The Thin Man”, movie from the 1930’s

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: Alternative Rock from the early/mid-1980’s

Bucket list item #1: Do a 6,800 mile road trip around the western United States.

What’s the biggest challenge facing business education at the moment? Maintaining their purpose and identity as technology once again redefines business. For instance, in marketing, should we be training our students to code so they can automate and generate dashboards for social media campaigns? Or should we be training them to interpret and understand primary and secondary research so they can understand the changing social milieu and be able to create advertising copy and campaigns that appeal to the target market segment?

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” Quantitative analysis built into the substantive courses (e.g. marketing classes that use regression analysis) …

“And much less of this…” quant-only courses taken by a small number of students.

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: Still active in research and teaching, but winding down; pursuing research topics which are interesting but may not pay off in a “quick hit.”

Students say…

“Professor Gilbride’s marketing analytics class is one of the most popular ones among MBAs and UGs. Students tend to choose the class which could be a great means for them to accomplish some career goals. And analytics is discussed today as some panacea to business problems and next industrial revolution trend. So without a doubt, if I was 0.5 seconds late when clicking the “submit” button, I might never be able to sit in Professor Gilbride’s classroom, since there is always a long waiting list. The class is taught in a traditional business education method: case study and presenting, which is highly appreciated among my classmates. Professor Gilbride is a very cool professor and I enjoyed the class a lot.”

“I am definitely not a quant student, but I did enjoy the marketing analytics class. I gained most of my spreadsheet and modeling skills from this class, which are very practical and solid means you are going to use in a real job. I could still remember the cases we did in the class, like pricing and promotion problems. Besides, the way Professor Gilbride teaching and evaluating is not only telling you how to use a spreadsheet, more than that, he looked at how you could use data to support your solutions for specific business issues.”

“Prof. Gilbride is really a very good lecturer. His discussion of the methodology and research made the complex articles seem simple.”

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.