Villanova School of Business
“Prof. Vallen has had a remarkable impact on students and on VSB as a whole. She has been recognized by several teaching and research awards–both internally and externally, sits on several editorial review boards, actively participates as a media expert, and has made significant contributions to her field. She is a team player and is always willing to help out.” – Shannon Wilson, Villanova School of Business
Beth Vallen, 45, is Professor of Marketing at Villanova University’s Villanova School of Business.
Her research focuses on issues related to consumer well-being, focusing more specifically on the ways various marketing stimuli—such as labels, choice sets, and product attributes—impact decision making and decision outcomes. Her current work considers the role of information transparency and public policy in health decision-making. She has been published in journals including Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Consumer Psychology, and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
She serves on the editorial review board of a number of journals in the marketing field and is an associate editor at Journal of Consumer Psychology and Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. She is Chair of the Marketing and Society Special Interest Group for the American Marketing Association, and Vice Chair of the Transformative Consumer Research Executive Leadership and Social Impact Advisory Council. At Villanova, she is Faculty Director for the Villanova School of Business Honors Program.
She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, including the Marketing and Society Special Interest Group’s Emerging Scholar Award. She was also awarded the Thomas J. Carmody, Jr. Faculty award for promoting “the integration of teaching, theory, and practice.”
At current institution since what year? 2014
Education: PhD, City University of New York; MBA, Baruch College: BS in Business Administration, Lehigh University
List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Consumer Behavior, Competitive Effectiveness
TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR
I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I realized the ways that research allows you to engage in continuous learning and discovery. As an undergraduate, I participated in an immersive research program that allowed me to work closely with faculty on an academic research project. It quickly became clear that this was the path for me, and I’m grateful to be in an environment where I am challenged and learning every day.
What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I’m currently working on several projects that explore how different elements of labels impact people’s product evaluations and decisions. In one of these, my coauthors and I consider the aspects of warning labels that can alert individuals to the presence of misinformation when consuming news. There is extensive work that looks at product labeling for things like food and cigarettes, and we are seeking to leverage that knowledge to build solutions for fighting infodemics, or the spread of fake news. Certainly, there is no simple remedy to this complex issue. Right now, we understand the importance of how a warning label is designed, but also that a label’s effectiveness in curbing the spread of misinformation depends on the context and different characteristics of the consumer.
If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… in a career that allows me to find answers. Maybe I could be a detective or create the next big true crime documentary.
What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? In the classroom I focus on applied learning—incorporating live cases, current research and news, and guest speakers to bring material to life. In the class I’m currently teaching, students work with a business client on a semester-long case challenge—often something the client team is working on concurrently. This gives students the opportunity to apply what we have learned in class to a business scenario, and also provides experience working with a team in a professional setting. Through in-class interactions as well as client engagement, my primary aim is to prepare my students for life after college.
One word that describes my first time teaching: Humbling.
Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Every day is different. Students change. The business world changes. That means that to be effective you need to be constantly evolving and innovating.
Professor I most admire and why: I’m very fortunate to have had many professors serve as role models and mentors on my (very long) academic journey. Among them, my PhD advisor, Lauren Block, stands as the person I admire the most. Lauren is a brilliant scholar and has taught me so much about working in academia. More importantly, she instilled in me the importance of prioritizing tasks and roles—this has shaped the way that I live my life and has helped me to stay true to the balance of work and family that works best for me.
TEACHING BUSINESS SCHOOL STUDENTS
What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Seeing students develop their own ideas and become fully immersed in their work and challenged by course content is immeasurably rewarding.
What is most challenging? It can be difficult to get caught up in a piece of the class—a concept, a model, a goal—and lose sight of the big picture. Learning to “think” like a marketer is the real measure of success.
In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious.
In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Apathetic.
When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Challenging …. but fair.
LIFE OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
What are your hobbies? Hiking, cooking, and cheering on my kids from the [insert seasonal sport] sideline.
How will you spend your summer? Some research, some summer teaching, and spending time with my family.
Favorite place(s) to vacation: Anywhere without the internet.
Favorite book(s): When I’m not reading for work, I gravitate towards short stories and essays. David Sedaris is a favorite for his relatable and engaging content.
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? The pandemic slow down did offer an opportunity to address the problem of so much content, so little time. I took advantage of this and watched some classics that I’d never seen. One I really enjoyed was Mad Men. I appreciated the interesting branding cases that were included, as well as the strong characters and consideration of the changing business and social climate of the 60s and 70s.
What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I don’t stick to any particular genre, but it should be loud.
THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS
If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… applied learning, and consideration of the changing role of business in society. As we increasingly see companies focus on purpose as well as profit, it’s imperative that we bring these discussions into the classroom.
In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… being good citizens and contributing to the well-being of people and communities.
I’m grateful for… the many wonderful people that have shaped my life—past and present. I am who I am because of my teachers, my colleagues, my collaborators, my friends, and—most importantly—my family.
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