Marketing Guru Attributes Success to Mentor
"The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass Amherst changed my life,” reflects Bernie Jaworski ’79, cofounder and vice chairman of Marketspace LLC and president of the Monitor Executive Development (MED) business unit of Monitor Group, a global advisory, banking and executive development firm. Ranked among the top marketing scholars in the U.S., this former professor at the University of Southern California remembers his watershed moment precisely. “Neither of my parents went to college—and at first I found the size and scope of the university intimidating. I didn’t get my footing for a couple of years. And then I took my first class with Professor James Wright. I said to myself, ‘I love this course—and this teacher.’”
Jaworski, now based in Santa Monica, California, ended up doing an independent study with Wright (who retired a number of years ago) and specializing in the Undergraduate Training in Social Research and Analysis (UTSRA) program. (This sociology concentration helps undergraduates learn statistical analysis of social and economic data.) Jaworski did his senior honors thesis with Wright as well, and subsequently graduated magna cum laude. “Jim was my first mentor, and these undergraduate experiences were the catalyst for my career path,” he says without hesitation. “With the full scope courses behind me, I felt exceptionally confident about entering the job market. That training—and the mentors I sought out—are the foundation of what I do today: writing, educating, communicating.”
Jaworski earned his PhD from the Joseph Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 and joined the faculty at the University of Arizona’s College of Business and Public Administration. Granted early tenure in 1990, he was publishing widely, writing on building customer-driven companies, branding, persuasion theory, consumer research, sales force management, and more. “I always looked for developmental feedback from my mentors, particularly in the early stages of my career,” Jaworski notes. “I cannot stress that point enough. Mentors were key to my success.” With a growing list of professional awards and speaking engagements at universities around the country, Jaworski was a man on the move. In 1994 he joined the University of Southern California where he quickly became full professor of marketing and the Tappan Fellow in the College of Business. In 1998 he received the Golden Apple Award as the MBA teacher of the year, selected by the students. He had, in a word, arrived.
“But then, in 1999, I had the opportunity to change careers,” Jaworski explains. “I took a risk and started a new practice area.” Marketspace crafts marketing and business strategy for companies that compete in a multi-channel environment. MED, the training and development division of Monitor, provides highly customized services that teach leaders and management teams to think critically about business and organizational decisions. Jaworski works with an array of industry and consumer companies involved in telecommunications, insurance, construction, semi-conductors, media, software, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The coauthor of four books on e-commerce published since 2000—three of which have been adopted at more than 400 business programs around the world—Jaworski has also led a number of consulting engagements in this rapidly emerging field. He, along with Jeffrey Rayport, recently published Best Face Forward, a Harvard Business School press book for thoughtful business practitioners.
“I am responsible for overall business development and client service, from initial client needs assessment, to proposal development and negotiations, and finally to the actual delivery of executive development programs,” Jaworski says of his current work. “On the delivery side, this means using both traditional MBA-style teaching and more innovative methods: simulations, war gaming, eLearning, action learning, working with teams, and so on.” Certainly, Jaworski is continuing to make a huge impact in his field. In 2002 the Journal of Marketing honored him with the Jagdish Sheth Award for his long-term contribution to marketing theory and practice.
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is benefiting from Jaworski’s expertise as well. He serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, helping to think through issues as they pertain to the future of the institution. “I really feel like I owe a lot to UMass Amherst. When Dean Rifkin tracked me down in LA, I couldn’t say no.”
September 26, 2005