2022 Best Undergraduate Professors: Christilene du Plessis, Singapore Management University, Lee Kong Chian School of Business

Christilene du Plessis
Singapore Management University, Lee Kong Chian School of Business

Christilene du Plessis, 36, is Assistant Professor of Marketing at Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University.

Her research focuses on consumers, marketers, and how organizations improve outcomes and create value. It has been published by top management and psychology journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. She is the winner of the Schumann Dissertation Proposal Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology, the Best Student Paper Award from the International Association for Conflict Management, and the Best Graduate Student Poster Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

Her primary teaching interests include marketing research and consumer behavior. She has been included on the Dean’s Teaching Honor List and has been nominated for the Most Promising Teacher Award at the university level.


At current institution since what year? July 2017


  • Ph.D. in Marketing, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, 2014 – 2017
  • M.Sc. in Management, INSEAD, 2011 – 2013
  • B.B.M. (with First Class Honors) in Marketing, University of Queensland, 2004 – 2009
  • B.Sc. in Physiology and Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, 2004 – 2008

List of Undergraduate courses you teach: Marketing Research


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was introduced to Professor Andrew Stephen (then at INSEAD, now at Oxford) while doing my Honors degree at the University of Queensland (UQ). Within the first 10 minutes of chatting to him I knew I wanted to be a business school professor. The thought of doing a job where you could study what sparks your interest, while also giving back to the broader community by sharing knowledge, sounded like a dream come true. In many ways it also has been.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? My research draws on basic insights from marketing, social psychology, microsociology, and management research to explore the consequences of social inequality (i.e., the unequal distribution of resources, opportunities, appraisals, or deference between different individuals or groups in society) for consumer behavior. I also study how consumers form attitudes toward brands and products and how they learn different brand associations. In my most recent published work, my co-authors and I explored how the unequal (vs. equal) distribution of resources between dyad members influences interpersonal trust. We found that interpersonal trust and perceived conflict of interest is higher in dyads where resources are unequally distributed than in dyads where resources are equally distributed.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A psychiatrist or doing neuroscience research.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My desire to learn and develop my thinking and skills, along with my ability to empathize with students.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Exhilarating!

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Professors (and researchers more broadly) are often portrayed as working in isolation to solve big problems. This is far from the truth! The best research comes from teams of researchers who collaborate effectively, bring different disciplinary perspectives to the table, and take initiative to solve problems together. In the classroom, the student experience also largely depends on an instructor’s willingness to learn from others, including their students.

Professor I most admire and why: My Ph.D advisor, Professor Steven Sweldens. I’m constantly in awe of his creativity, integrity, and kindness.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Their enthusiasm and inquisitiveness.

What is most challenging? The undergraduate research course that I teach involves applied statistics and data analysis. Here, the biggest challenge is that students are often fearful of the mathematics involved and come into the course believing that they are “bad at math.” This challenges me to not only find a way to make the math involved in the course easy to digest, but also to encourage students to have an open mind and to focus on improving their understanding and skills. Students are often more focused on judging themselves or comparing their own skills to those of their classmates, rather than on developing their own knowledge.

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Detached

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Fair, I hope!


What are your hobbies? Yoga, reading, and jogging with my husband. I also love training my cat, Tofu.

How will you spend your summer? My husband and I are expecting our first child in March, so I am looking forward to spending the summer with them and our extended family in Europe.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Either Australia (visiting my family) or Switzerland (visiting my husband’s family). In the future, I would also love to visit Spain, Cambodia, and the Maldives.

Favorite book(s): Stoner by John Edward Williams and The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu
What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? “Fringe” created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. The evolution of the father-son relationship between Dr. Walter Bishop and Peter is moving, and the sci-fi aspect adds some fun!

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I enjoy many kinds of music, but my go-to is usually shoegaze (e.g., The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sigur Rós) and dream pop (e.g., School of Seven Bells, Mazzy Star, M83, Beach House). I like these genres because the sound splits your soul apart and washes you away. I also enjoy listening to jazz (e.g., Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong) because it reminds me of the time my husband and I spent in New York.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Smaller classes and experiential learning.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Managing inequality between individuals and groups and promoting a communal orientation among employees.

I’m grateful for… The love and support of my family and friends, both near and far.


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