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Renowned Faculty

For workers who aspire to organizational or entrepreneurial leadership positions, our faculty can take them there.

Faculty Spotlight: “Customer for Life”

V. Kumar, Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing

Ph.D., University of Texas; Master’s, Indian Institute of Technology
Bachelor’s, Indian Institute of Technology


V Kumar — or VK as he is popularly known in academic and professional circles — can tell you about customer loyalty and customer lifetime value. His research on these concepts has led to theories that have revolutionized marketing strategies.

Thanks to VK, smart marketers now know to manage customers instead of products. They know to focus on the most profitable rather than the most loyal customers. And they base marketing decisions looking forward rather than backward at metrics.

Recognizing VK’s contributions in making fundamental changes to the profession, the American Marketing Association has awarded him four lifetime achievement awards — for marketing research, retail marketing, marketing strategy, and international marketing — marking the first time in the organization’s history that an individual has been awarded more than twice. Additionally, he has won three more lifetime achievement awards for career contributions, interactive marketing, and business-to-business marketing from other professional organizations.

Kumar, who holds an endowed chair, is executive director of the Center for Excellence in Brand and Customer Management and has been selected as a “legend” in marketing where his contributions to the field of marketing are featured in a 10-volume encyclopedia that includes commentaries by scholars all over the world.

With more than 10 awards for teaching excellence at last count, Kumar leads a variety of courses across many areas of marketing expertise. He also has taught at numerous MBA programs around the world and has conducted executive education seminars at Harvard Business School and the Swedish School of Economics in Helsinki, to name a few.

VK ranks among the world’s top five marketing scholars. Firms that have reported increased profitability due to implementing his strategic framework include IBM, Procter & Gamble, and Prudential Financial, Inc.

Among many other accolades, Kumar has received a fellowship from the Institute for the Study of Business Markets that recognizes leadership and contributions in the business-to-business domain. VK was awarded the Pravasi Achievers Gold Medal in 2010 at The House of Lords in the United Kingdom, and he also received the Bharat Gaurav Award and the Hind Rattan Award from the Union Ministers of India.