2023 Best Undergraduate Professors: Debi Mishra, Binghamton University School of Management


Debi Mishra
Binghamton University School of Management

“Professor Mishra had one of the most positive learning environments I have ever been a part of. He challenges his students, is incredibly passionate about his subject, while also taking the time and effort of caring about his students. I am not taking a class of his this semester, but if I pass him on campus he will always stop and offer a conversation and see how I am doing. On top of his knowledge and experience in Marketing, he is an incredibly sweet, funny guy and would recommend any student take his class.” – Michael Martin

Debi Mishra, 61, is Associate Professor of Marketing at Binghamton University School of Management.

He is the winner of 10 research awards  and 9 teaching awards across 3 different educational institutions. Research awards include Best Dissertation Awards from the Academy of Marketing Science, the Society of Marketing Advances, and the Richard D. Irwin Foundation. He’s also won Best Paper Awards from the American Marketing Association, The American Association for Advances in Health Care Research, and the Society for Marketing Advances.

Teaching awards include the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York, the University wide Teaching Excellence Award at Case Western Reserve University, the Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and six awards for Teaching Excellence at the State University of New York at Binghamton.

He has published 55 papers in journals and conference proceedings including in the top marketing journals such as the Journal of Marketing Research. He has consulted with several Fortune 500 firms in the U.S. and with reputed international brands such as IBM, BHP (Australia), Coles (Australia), Hemas Holdings (Sri Lanka), Larsen and Toubro (India), and Westech Engineering (India). 


At current institution since what year? 1995


  • Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management
  • MBA Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India
  • B.E National Institute of Technology (Rourkela), India

List of Undergraduate courses you teach: 

  • Machine Learning and AI Marketing Strategy
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Strategic Product and Brand Management
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Introduction to Marketing


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when … I read a book as an undergraduate student in Engineering College, titled “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School”, by Mark H. McCormack.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently studying how a company’s internal marketing culture influences the degree to which it adopts Machine Learning and AI practices. The main finding thus far is that adoption of these new technologies is not determined by rational logic per se., but by firms’ desire to comply with institutional norms and appear legitimate (desirable) in the eyes of stakeholders. So, many firms are perhaps wasting money by adopting ML/AI just because it is ‘popular’. Hence, such ‘mimetic isomorphism’ (copying a current dominant practice) confers them with a degree of societal legitimacy, but affects profits negatively.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be … A journalist or a sports (cricket) commentator.

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? My passion for the subjects I teach and a drive to incorporate the most cutting-edge knowledge into my courses.

One word that describes my first-time teaching: Wonderland.

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: The most rewarding and fulfilling life experience.

Professor I most admire and why: Jan B. Heide (University of Wisconsin-Madison), the guru of Modern Marketing and an exemplary thought leader. He has the ‘Midas’ touch as an academic, and has shaped the field of marketing through his stellar contributions to theory and practice, with a boundless appetite for knowledge generation and dissemination. Above all, he is a wonderful mentor who brings out the best in his students.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The opportunity to communicate real-life concepts and clarify esoteric, assumption-based theories and concepts that reside in textbooks and academic research papers.

What is most challenging? Keeping up with the rapid developments in the field, and the technology (e.g., CHATGPT) surrounding effective content delivery.

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

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

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


What are your hobbies? Driving rented Lamborghinis in Italy, assembling mechanical time pieces, Traveling.

How will you spend your summer? Completing research projects.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Bergamo (Italy), Cape Town (South Africa), Nadi (Fiji).

Favorite book(s): A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), Rebecca (Daphne du Maurier), The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith), The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Thomas Kuhn), Reinventing the Bazaar: The Natural History of Markets (John MacMillan)

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Forrest Gump (starring Tom Hanks-1994). In this movie, a ‘bumbling’, ‘stumbling’, ‘odd’, ‘anxious’, ‘physically and mentally’ challenged person navigates through ongoing societal disruption (e.g., the Vietnam War) and succeeds against all odds. He copes by creating and internalizing simplifications of abstract ideas (e.g., the Apple logo represents a fruit company) and by relying on the empathy and love of his girlfriend (Jenna), who sustains him through challenges. In many ways, the disruptive forces unleashed by today’s technological innovations have overwhelmed a generation of middle aged and older Americans. Coping with disruption needs pluck, patience, luck, and empathy-something the movie showcases in a lot of depth. The optics of the movie are as powerful and poignant today as they were 30 years ago. If we wish to create an advanced society where technology marches on, we should also ensure that other ‘disadvantaged’ members are not left behind-yet the relentless march of technology and the inequity in the distribution of wealth threatens to upend this expectation. We need a softer hand, as exemplified by the dominant themes in the Forrest Gump movie to make society ‘whole’ again.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Indian classical music. The meaning of this music is deep-it relates to the Vedic (a body of religious text in Sanskrit) literature and typifies the importance of harmony-something that we need in today’s divisive society.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this … Boundary-less subjects where teachers and scholars don’t fight to create silos. Subjects should be interdisciplinary because business problems in the real world do not come neatly packaged with clean labels like marketing, finance. etc., but an amalgamation of ‘all of the above’.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at … Recognizing the power of technology (e.g., Chat GPT, AI) that can harness massive data sets and influence customers in myriad ways-it is the ‘negatives’ that organizations should focus on and avoid, e.g., how self-regulation can ensure that customers’ privacy is always protected and that society at large is not worse off because of these technological advances.

I’m grateful for … The life that God has given me, the support of my family, and the inspiration that my students provide to excel in the classroom every day.


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